Reflections on the No.1 Ladies detective Agency

no 1 ladies detective agency

Having this class reader has been just the best idea for this final term. After preparing a bunch of stuff for the second class and then finding out that only one person had read chapter 2 I have since planned things that would incude those who hadn’t read it as well as those that had. I’ve seen the group twice since half term and have based both lessons around the book using minimal resources. Ideas for the lessons have come from my colleague, ELTChat links or a blog that I follow. Thanks to my PLN for some great ideas.

Lesson one:
Five chapters in I wanted to look at some of the themes of the book. So I started with some contiversial statements, such as ‘marriage is forever’, ‘housework should be paid’ and ‘women can’t run businesses’. The students had to stand in the agree or disagree corner and then give their reasons. At times there were gender divides (2 men, 6 women) and others there were nationality divides (2 Poles, 6 Pakistanis) but the discussion was always interesting, including some insights into arranged marriage, Islam and Catholicism.  I then elicited the themes we’d been discussing and a couple of students noted that these were the themes from the book (smart cookies!)
Pairs of students then picked 2 or 3 pages based on one of the themes and had to write questions (2 on meaning, 2 on grammar and 2 on vocabulary). At this stage I was surprised to be reminded how at L1 they still struggle to form questions, but it was really interesting to see what section of their page they chose to focus on. Luckily I only had 3 groups to monitor, as one student had a support worker with her, so each pair got to have lots of attention and I enjoyed being able to spend this time with them, talking about things they wanted to talk about from the book. All questions were posted to the class blog, for them to answer as they wished.
I want to thank Sam for the great idea.
Lesson two:
With all exams over and only 1 week left I wasn’t expecting so many students, but a little disappointed with only three. But I really loved the lesson, and I really love backtracking how the ideas came about. Firstly, I read the chapter the night before the lesson. A new character tells a folk tale, and this ‘story within a story’ reminded me of the ELTChat session on storytelling, that I’d bookmarked about 10 tweets that I had yet to go through.Also, from  my RSS feed I’d also found a blog on ’40 things to do with a text’. Thirdly, I’d run the DTELLS session on resources, where we’d played Kim’s Game with random objects and then discussed how these objects could be used in class. I then set a challenge to use one of the ideas in the next week. So, with all the CPD activities I put my class together.
warmer: students took 2 or 3 things out of their bag, added to my own and we played Kim’s Game. From this I told the story about my Moomins Bag and asked them to tell us a story about their object. From this I learnt that one student stopped going to school when she was 8 because her Grandmother was blind, and as the eldest it was her responsibility to stay home and take care of her. Another student talked about her obsession with buying new bags, and she peer taught ‘shopaholic’. The third student struggles with personalising his stories and he talked in  more general terms about education in rural Pakistan and how lucky he was to be able to go to the city to do his Metric. I’ve been teaching this class for 35 weeks – but I feel this was one week that they really spoke about themselves. (the only other lesson I can think of was when they wrote about their Ideal Day and one student wrote that in her Ideal Day she wouldn’t get married so young, she’d have more time with her friends before meeting her husband and having kids)
Following this, I read aloud the section of the chapter with the folk tale. I then gave them strips of paper, covered sections of the story (no. 300 on the blog) and asked them to re-write a couple of paragraphs. When asked what was their favourite part of the lesson, they both said that activity. Once they’d finished they had to check through and give a tick if they thought it was definitely correct, a question mark if unsure and a cross if they knew it was wrong and had just guessed. Finally, they checked their answers. For the stronger student it was interesting to see that about 90% of his answers were grammatically correct, even if he’d not got the correct word and we were able to look at word chunks, such as ‘on the edge’. The weaker student also had spelling mistakes as well as some grammatically incorrect answers.

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