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Offline Jenny Villalba

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« on: September 16, 2010, 02:20:45 AM »
My friend Dustin Kelly, a MATESL graduate professional has just started a new club at UIUC called the ALTESL (Alliance of learners and teachers of English as a second language). He modeled a lesson plan for the core and new members and shared some interesting information in one of our meetings last week.

The information Dustin shared is about a pop band called TMBG (They must be giants), whose CD titled ?Here comes science? has been really successful here in the U.S and about which I did not know anything before. You can find out more about them on the link below:

I think part of what Dustin shared with us could work really well as a schema-theory ?based pre-reading activity for a science class and I have come up with a follow- up activity.

In general, the literature says that from the view of process ? oriented approaches to reading, meaning is acquired when there is a successful interaction between the reader and the text; the notion of schema activation (background knowledge) is basic in comprehension (interaction of new info with old knowledge). Therefore, if the topic learners are reading about is more familiar for them, they can make inferences more easily. (Anderson and Pearson: schema- theoretic view).

Dustin presented a group of chemical elements on a sheet of paper and gave us specific instructions to think about people, items or places that came up to our minds as soon as we read their names. Some of the elements listed were: nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon and oxygen.

We discussed it in groups and then Dustin played a music video called ?The Elements? by TMBG. It is also available on the web under this link:
They Might Be Giants: "Meet the Elements" (BB Video)

There were some other activities and we enjoyed the video very much. At the end, he provided a copy of the song lyrics.

I think the lyrics of the song could also be successfully used for vocabulary comprehension through a CLOZE exercise. We could delete some vocabulary items (the ones referring to chemical elements, for example) and ask Ss to complete it  with options given (this could be done whether before or after watching the video). When done before, the focus would be reading comprehension and when after, some memory would be involved but it may be pretty productive, too.

The happy news is that there are other songs we can also use. In fact you can find the lyrics of all TMBG?s Here comes Science album on this link:

I think another really nice and useful song in this album is ?The Bloodmobile?. You have both the video and lyrics here:

In my experience, Ss enjoy songs very much and they are really good for modeling pronunciation, too.  I want to thank Dustin for allowing me to share part of his lesson with you and hope these links and ideas can help for reading in your English for specific purpose lessons!  ;D