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Another group might say that black cats are believed to be bad luck in some cultures. As the person reads, they will stop at the end of each paragraph to summarize the paragraph for the group. Another variation might include giving each student a different short text. Students would read aloud and summarize their text, and then the group would evaluate the reader’s performance.
The teacher becomes the scribe and writes the story on the board, and the students can see their experiences taking shape in writing.
This activity can be extended to include a visual component.
The second group now hosts a story gallery, and the first group gets to read stories and ask questions. Keep all of the stories up on the walls so students can see their work, or encourage students to take their stories home to share with their families.
One variation of this activity is to have learners write their stories in small groups of three or four students.
English language teachers are trained to teach language skills, but they do not always learn how to teach the critical thinking skills that help guide learning.
Critical thinking skills are part of many curriculum guidelines, but some teachers may be unsure how to teach these skills.
In this week’s Teacher’s Corner, a read-aloud task is used as the framework for a more demanding task that targets critical thinking skills as well.
The task asks learners to process and then summarize the content of a story while reading aloud in a group. Begin by putting students in the groups planned before class. Tell the class that today they are going to read a story by Edgar Allen Poe called “The Black Cat.” 3.
Have each group discuss what they expect the story might be about based on the title and on what they know about Edgar Allen Poe. Ask the class to share what they’ve discussed in groups, and write the ideas on the board.
For example, one group might say they know Edgar Allen Poe wrote scary stories so they expect this story to be scary. Tell the class that one student will read three paragraphs aloud to the group. When everyone has finished reading, ask students to discuss the questions written on the board in their groups. Finally, bring the class back together and ask for some responses to the questions. The reading should be easy enough for the students to successfully complete the activity, but also difficult enough for them to find the activity challenging.