Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Totem Pole Prompt Sticks

Totem Pole Prompt Sticks

  • Why totem pole? The pictures carved into totem poles tell the reader information and I see the link between this and a "pow wow" - having a conversation.
  • To develop and promote conversation :  asking and answering questions leading to preparing and practising a simple conversation using familiar vocabulary and structures in new contexts
  • Each box on the totem pole prompt stick is a visual prompt for the children to develop their simple spoken conversation.
  • The totem pole prompts start off as horizontal strips - questions prompted by pictures to prompt responses . It reads from left to right just like following a story for young language learners 

These are  card strips made from one A4 template of seven or eight identical strips or they could be computer generated and drag and drop pictures that the children can reorder  and create their own "pow wow" totem poles for more advanced activities - see below. 

Set the scene with this simple You Tube clip , which practises colours and numbers but extend this by asking the children when you pause the clip to decide what incidental greetings or questions might these two characters the cow boy and the squaw ask each other. Brainstorm possible answers. The responses expected from the children will depend on the stage they are at in their target language learning.

Simple conversation asking and answering questions- Y4 LKS2  activity
  1. 1.       Revisit and practise with the children how people from different countries physically greet each other or say farewell   ?
  2. Introduce each prompt picture on the totem pole and discuss with the children possible greetings / farewells and questions that the very simple picture clues suggest ( in this order the prompts require a greeting / a name question and response /a where do you live question with a true or imaginary response / an open question –what do you like ? or a closed question – do you like + animals etc/ a farewell .
  3. Children should spend a few minutes practising with a partner how to ask the individual  questions – remind the children to listen out for good pronunciation and the use of intonation when asking a question.
  4.  Children should then spend a few minutes practising their true responses as themselves
  5. Children should then work with a partner to create  simple questions and responses using the pictures on their totem pole sticks as their prompts and the order they should work in.
  6. Can the children re-run their questions and answers and add physical responses etc
  7. Pairs to practise their dialogues – taking it in turns to be the questioner or the responder(themselves)
  8.  Invite pairs to perform their dialogues for the class .
Extend  this activity by revisiting and creating new characters with the questions and answers

Using APPS such as the String APP where children can generate a picture of a cartoon character sitting in their own classrooms  , you could ask the children to use the same totem pole prompt stick to create an imaginary conversation between themselves and the strange visitor from the “String APP” . Check out Mr Parkinson’s blog here  to find out more about the String APP. Here is an example used in Literacy with Mr Parkinson's class at Davyhulme CP School Augmented reality clip

Extending conversations and creating an interesting performance using familiar language in a new context- possibly an activity to develop as a revisit activity in Year 5 and Year 6 UKS2

Here we want to encourage the children to move from a simple question- answer dialogue to a more engaging conversation that flows .

Give out the vertical totem poles this time 

A.      Revisit the simple dialogues the children made using their prompt   sticks in Year 4
B    If the children created their own character videos etc then share     some of these with the class as a memory jogger 
C.      How much more can they say now? Explore this with the class.   Now ask the children to take the basic building block prompts from their totem pole prompts and cut these up and rearrange them as the scaffold upon which to develop a new dialogue 

D.     Can they add  new picture prompts or create a new totem pole       prompt stick of their own so that they can share the new        questions and answers they have practised ?
E.      Introduce  simple phrases  such as   “and you ?” or “pardon” or “can you repeat that? or “me too “ etc – see highlighted text below which gives you a simple example of this .Encourage the children to generate a conversation based upon a simple question and answer dialogue that will to flow  e.g.

Hello ! How are you ?
I am fine and you?
Me too! I am called ...... What are you called?
I am called ..............Where do you live ?
I live in ........ And you? Where do you live ?
I live in ..............I like ..........What do you like ?
I like ............. Do you like ..........?
No I prefer ............
Nice to meet you !
Bye for now 
 See you soon!

F.   Allow the children time now to create a conversation with the   new language with a partner .
G.    Challenge some of the children to participate in a three  or four way conversation once they have completed task E successfully .
H.  Either perform or film the conversations on IPads or Chrome Books  and share on class IWB as an “Our Class Conversations  “ film clips .

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