Below you can find a list of concrete activities that you can use in a group of newcomers or a group with newcomers. They are grouped by the language skill that is the most prominent. You will notice that you can organize these activities classically or in a differentiated context such as group work or contract work (see “classroom methods”). With ‘contract work’ we refer to an activity package which the teacher provides for each student for a specific period. He/she will complete his/her contract with a certain period of time, during which he/she can decide independently on the duration and sequence of the activities.
Some references in the texts:
“writing board”: refers to a tablet computer that students can use in the classroom, a small whiteboard or a white sheet of paper in a plastic folder. Students can write on it. It allows you to have a quick view on the right answers when they hold the board in front of them.
(*): students that are illiterate or in a very early stage of literacy can do this activity.
“diff”: means ‘differentiation tip’, sometimes it is possible to differentiate within this activity.
1 - listening skills
2 - reading skills
3 - speaking skills
4 - writing skills
These methods can stimulate your creativity as a teacher. In these frames you can give tasks chronologically as well as simultaneously (according to the student’s needs).
Example of an inclusive lesson
In this lesson, we started from a traditional lesson and made it accessible for newly arrived students.
Testimonies of teachers
These teachers tried out the didactical structures described above and testify about their experiences.
1. Exit tickets
Exit tickets allow you to have a clear view on what your pupils learned in your lesson or how they assess themselves. Make them write their name on a paper and let them put it in one of 3 boxes. Box 1 means “I clearly understood everything”, box 2 means “I still have some difficulties”, box 3 means “I didn’t get it at all”.
Teacher Emmelien gave a dictation. At the end, her students put their dictation in one of the 3 boxes.
Box 1: “This was easy for me”.
Box 2: “It was quite difficult”.
Box 3: “It will be a disaster”.
In this way, she can see if her students know how competent they are.
Teacher Liesbet made an evaluation form in which pupils assess themselves as well. In this form, the students hang their name next to the smiley the correspond with their feeling:
Green smiley: I clearly got it
Yellow smiley: I still have some difficulties
Red smiley: It’s too hard.
In this way, she knows on which aspects she has to focus in the next lesson
2. Flipping the classroom
Teacher Freya makes small movies about some specific instructions. During a corner work, students watch the movies and follow the instruction. They can look twice if they didn’t understand from the first time. In this way, Freya gives the role of instructor out of hands, and she can be a coach for those students who really need it.
Teacher Emmelien works with pre-teaching. Those students who need it, get some extra instruction about the things they don’t know yet, so they can fully participate with the others during the lesson.
Jokers allow pupils and students to take their learning process in their own hands. Imagine you give them a test with several evaluation criteria. They can use a joker for one specific evaluation criteria. This means that you don’t take this one into account. Or: that it counts double. In this way, you lower the barrier for some students to participate in some activities, and on the other hand you can provide an extra challenge for fast learners.
When students have to give a presentation, and your criteria are:
- language 4 points
- content 4 points
- structure 4 points
- intonation 4 points,
it can relieve pupils when they can eliminate one of these criteria the first time when they have to present.
Teacher Mieke uses jokers as follows: she lets her students read the feedback that she wrote on their other tasks. Her students invent one personal evaluation criteria and they can receive an extra point when they take it into account.
5. Wednesday afternoon class
Teacher Barbara does not close her classroom doors on Wednesday afternoon to give extra support to students who need it.
6. Creative activities with texts
Differentiation does not mean that all the students do different activities. It also means that you bear in mind the different interests and strategies that your students develop. Teacher Barbara provides different ways to explore new texts.