Last week I asked my learners what they wanted to do over the last few weeks of term. Of course one of the first things that came up was ‘Play Kahoot’. I made a deal with them – we can play Kahoot if they make the Kahoots (well, the questions at least)! This post is a short summary of the lesson and how it went, and some ideas on how you might do something similar.
This is a small group of five, A2-level teenagers, all of whom have prepared for and completed (mock) the Cambridge A2 Key exam. On the day, however, only three learners turned up, so we did the activity as one group instead of two.
As learners came into class, I asked them what they did at the weekend and the normal entry routine we have – we always have a good chat, laugh at and with each other, and get ready for the class in a relaxed way. I then asked them what makes a good Kahoot, and these are the things they came up with:
- Includes good and interesting information
- Has clear questions
- Has four options for each question unless it is a true or false question
- Has answers for questions
- Has at least ten questions
We then decided together that this would be the success criteria for our task. I also asked learners where they could find information from for the quiz. The main one that came up was the internet, but one of my kids said the course book, which I thought was excellent. I told them that they could use any of the information from the course book (from the units and activities we had done). I then asked what type of questions could be used. They came up with the following list:
- Vocabulary questions
- Grammar questions
- Textual questions
I thought this was pretty damn cool – they not only identified grammar AND vocabulary, but they also identified that fact that they could get information from texts we have used in class! This was one of the things I was worried about; that is, I thought that maybe they would just ask grammar questions.
I gave instructions for the task- these were checked and repeated. I gave out a sheet for learners to write their questions and options, and a separate one for them to write the questions and the correct answer. These were then divided up between the group. I initially gave learners twenty minutes to complete the task, and once they started I sat back and observed.
UPDATE: After doing this with a number of classes, I found that this task works best with two learners in each group. When there are three, one learner tends to do much less work unless they are very motivated. Also, I found that when learners are in pairs they are more likely to engage in LREs together, rather than seeking assistance from me.
Were they successful?
In my minds, certainly. They were able to create a list of seven clear questions with options. They would have had more however the class time as almost finished! Their questions included all three types of questions, and they spoke in English the whole time, so I viewed this as quite a successful task.
Did we engage in FonF?
Yes, we did engage in FonF; however, this was done only three times:
- A learner used age instead of year (e.g. It is from a different age). This was causing some issues in communication with other learners, although they worked out a meaning together based on visual cues (they had years from a text in front of them). I simply asked the learner to repeat what he had said and then recast age. He was able to give me year.
- A learner was asking another learner to write the interrogation point. In Spanish, question mark (?) is signo/punto de interrogación, so the learner was compensating using direct translation. The interesting thing was that it wasn’t causing any breakdown in communication, but it certainly wasn’t something that I felt could be left to continue throughout the whole task.
- A learner struggled to form ‘Ronaldo was born in’, using ‘Ronaldo born’ instead. I only intervened with FonF after a significant LRE, and it was simply to confirm what they were asking.
It was really interesting to see the LREs that came up in class. There were only two, surprisingly, but they were significant and it was brilliant to see how learners constructed meaning together, drew on their declarative knowledge to help each other, and come to a final conclusion before seeking confirmation from myself. The LREs focused on:
- Too much vs. Too many
- To be born
Just so it is clear, I only had to provide confirmation for to be born, and that was really only minimal. With too much and too many, they were able to work it out by themselves, using examples of countable and uncountable, which I though was brilliant.
It is pretty clear that I took a facilitative role in this lesson, as the teacher does is TBLT. Yes, learners did seek assistance a number of times, but that was learner initiated. The times I did step in were for things that I believed would cause communication issues down the line, but again I didn’t put in jeopardy the task integrity by shifting the focus fully onto form; rather, I tried to engage in FonF in a relatively quick and indiscreet way while keeping the primary focus on meaning.
After learners finished their questions, they gave their sheets to me and we then revisited some of the errors that come up in the class. Learners were able to tell me why they were wrong and even provide examples. I also asked learners three questions:
- Did you enjoy the activity?
- Do you think you performed well as a group?
- Are you excited to see your finalised Kahoot?
Normally I would get them to write an answer to the reflective question, but due to time we just did this through conversation.
So, what happens now? Well, I will take their questions, options and answers and upload them to Kahoot. I know what you’re thinking, ‘why can’t they do that?’. This is a fair point; however, these classes are in-person and not online, so learners do not have immediate access to computers. Secondly, if I put them on Kahoot I know that the answers are going to be selected and I will be able to ensure the Kahoot is a success from the ‘running the activity’ side of things. After I have uploaded the questions, I will repeat this task with my other classes at the same level so that we have a pool of learner-generated Kahoots that focus on the content they have covered throughout the year. And, of course, we will play the Kahoots in our next lesson!
Over to you!
This worked really well in my context, but would this work in yours? Some things you might consider:
- This is a second-year A2 Key class, and they did really well to carry out the activity with very little assistance. With lower level classes, I would expect to be asked to assist a lot more, or perhaps even guide them more in forming their questions for the Kahoot.
- Learners had used many parts of the course book but not all (we skip around the book a lot). This meant that learners had to be very selective and choose parts that we had covered before. Perhaps it might be worthwhile getting your learners to do the same.
- We focused on the whole year, but perhaps you want this informal assessment to more focused on the term. You could ask learners to focus only on the parts you have done throughout the term.
- With one-to-one classes this might be difficult to do. However, you could create the Kahoot with your one-to-one and play the Kahoot with a different one-to-one. This can then be done again, but the other way round. It might be useful to choose a common theme/s.
I am relatively new to creating and publishing complete lesson plans, but If figure that I should start experimenting and putting myself out there! I have created the lesson plan and materials here below. Feel free to download and use – and give me feedback (please!).