Letter to the teacher...

Before you begin...
All links and resources to sites are listed to the right.  In addition, links to skill steps have been provided for you in case you need a refresher on how to use the software in some of these activities.

I've been teaching ESL for over 10 years, and I've always found that no matter what level you teach, even at the advanced level, students are unable to express a body part, injury or illness properly. I've heard things like "I have achy womb", "I have a headaCHe", "sore musKles", or socially awkward expressions of discomfort where using euphemisms would be necessary.  As you know, euphemisms is a difficult thing to master because it's something that's culturally understood.  Therefore, this has inspired me to create fun lessons and activities to practice using useful vocabulary on health, illness, and injury. 

I have also given a workshop on how to use Microsoft Photo Story 3 for Windows as a lesson idea for teaching vocabulary on illness and injury.  

Target Student Population
This was designed with adult learners in mind who are English as a Second/Foreign Language students, but middle school and high school grades would also be appropriate levels.  The target language level would be Pre-Intermediate to High-Intermediate.  Some of the activities may also be adapted (scaled up or down) to be more level-appropriate. This is best taught in a multilingual and multinational environment where speaking, practice, and partner work are some of the main lesson objectives.

The Curriculum Unit
So let's take a look at the curriculum unit.  I have been able to adapt some of my existing lesson plans to this curriculum unit.  This is a vocabulary-focused unit which has been designed so that the level of creativity and production of skills can build and be used gradually. There are 8 Ready Set Go's where the first half is heavily focused on language synthesis.  Speaking and practice for these first-half activities are incorporated throughout and the digital activities require further language development where working with tables and charts and short writings will be assigned.  The latter half will require language production and using different digital tools and creating projects to reinforce the lesson objective. 

The curriculum unit begins with a lesson on cultural and social rules regarding expressing discomfort with bodily functions.  Students will learn how to differentiate a real situation from the appropriate euphemism.  For example, 'I have to go pee' is the real situation.  The euphemism to use in this case could be 'I have to use the little boys room' or 'Nature calls!'.  This usually gets a lot of laughs, so have fun with this activity! Then for the next 3 activities, students will be doing an intensive practice on learning all the body parts.  This can be a long, drawn-out process, which is why this has been divided into 3 activities.  The activities and websites will require repetition, practice and testing of knowledge.  The following 2 activities build upon the previous activities.  Knowledge of body parts should be mastered at this point as it will be applied to situations where an illness or injury can occur.  The digital outcomes become projects at this point- mind mapping on Inspiration, creating a poster on Abode Photo Shop or PowerPoint- where the objective calls for the production of lexical and writing resources.  And finally, the last two activities will recall all previous objectives and involve a slideshow storytelling project and using news research to create a digital product.  I have included a student model for some of these activities to give the teacher and student an idea on standard and design.

Learning Objectives
Students will demonstrate an understanding of using euphemisms when expressing discomfort with bodily functions and differentiating the real situation from the euphemized language.

Students will demonstrate an understanding of expressing parts of the body on the head, neck, arm, leg, external body, and internal parts.

Students will demonstrate an understanding of expressing parts of the body, illnesses and injuries associated with them, how to express them, and their remedies.

Students will demonstrate an understanding of all parts of the body and expressions associated with them by creating a digital slideshow as storytelling.   

Students will demonstrate an understanding of all parts of the body and expressions associated with them by doing news research and creating various digital products.

Prior Knowledge
It is assumed that each student including the teacher has their own Google site.  Before you begin the activities, it is best if each student created a page on their Google site just for this unit so this can be a portfolio of all of their work and projects.  You may name it "The Body, Illness, and Injury".  It is also assumed that there is a class YouTube site and all video projects should be uploaded to be shared onto this site.  Students should be familiar with researching and uploading digital images, using mind mapping software, and creating slideshows or a multimedia digital product.

List of Materials
Dual platform computers for Mac and PC for students and teacher
Access to the Internet
LCD Projector
Class Google site
Class YouTube site
Software: Adobe Photo Shop, Gimp, iMovie, Inspiration, Photo Story 3, Picasa, Windows Movie Maker

The assessment strategies used in this curriculum unit are learner-centered, and to demonstrate their learning, students will work with a partner to create an original, creative, and digital product.  A rubric has been included for the final project, Hot Off the Press.

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