May 8, 2011

Cycles of Recycling: Cycle 2

Extending students' word knowledge with Collocation forks

If the previous cycle used collocations that students have come across in texts, this one involves more explicit teaching and elaboration. To help learners fully understand and use a new word, it is useful to provide them with its common collocates. This is particularly important with partially learnt vocabulary items.


Recording collocations

“Collocation fork” is a useful way of recording collocations when you want to elaborate on possible uses of a word. Draw it on the board and make sure students copy it into their vocabulary notebooks. Slowly they will get used to this recording format. For example, this is the word fork expanding the verb “join”




an organization
join
the army

the club

Download this HANDOUT where collocation forks appear more clearly or see an example in this photo:



If you want to provide translations, remind your students that they have to translate the whole expression, rather than the word “join”. This will make them aware that words do not correspond on word-for-word basis:



an organization
devenir membre d’un organisation
join
the army
s'engager dans l'armée

the club
adhérer à un club

Obviously, if you want to elaborate on a noun, a reverse fork should be used:


take

pass
(an) exam
fail



You can also use collocation forks to highlight impossible collocations, i.e. common learner mistakes which, for instance, can be a result of negative linguistic transfer.


take

pass
(an) exam
fail


make


Activity 1 – Make up a story

For example: I took my final exam last week but I failed. Hopefully I’ll pass next time.
This works well if the key word is a noun. For suggested collocations click here.
Online dictionaries, such as Cambridge and Macmillan, or online corpus (http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/) are good sources of collocations.

Activity 2 – Guess the key word

What is the key word in these collocation forks?



an organization
___________
the army

the club




the story
___________
your face

all the points



You can draw a few collocation forks on the board and as an option provide a list of the key words (join, cover etc).
This works really well if you have an Interactive WhiteBoard (IWB) because all you have to do is go back to the page where you first drew the forks and simply erase the key words.

You can also turn this into a reverse translation activity where you provide three sentences in your students’ L1 and tell them which word (a verb in this case) will be present in all the English translations.




__________
pagar el alquiler


___________
__________
prestar atencion



__________
costearse los estudios



Activity 3 – Recall the collocations

At the end of the lesson, after you have collected a few word forks on the board, leave the key word but erase the collocates and get your students to recall them. You can give the first letter as a hint




o …
join (a/the)
a …

c …

The idea here is to gradually move from pure recognition (passive knowledge) to actually producing correct collocations (active knowledge). At the beginning of the next lesson, write the keywords on the board again and ask students to provide the collocations, this time without a hint. For example,


        
__________
cover
__________

__________


             
__________
attend
__________

__________

Once again, IWBs allow you to do this activity more efficiently, since you won't have to draw the forks all over again every time. You simply erase the collocates written in the prongs.

Activity 4 – Collocation race

Draw a few collocation forks you have recently focused on in class on the board.
Divide the class into three teams. Each team should send their representative (“captain”) to the board. Supply each captain with a board marker of a different colour. Now each captain should fill one space in each fork with a correct collocation. Each team is allowed to provide only one collocation for each fork so that by the end of the activity each fork has three differently coloured collocations. Each captain is of course allowed to consult with his or her team. The team who finishes first is the winner. However, you have to go through the collocations on the board and eliminate incorrect ones before you announce the winner.

Alternatively, this activity can be done as a relay race. The first member of each team takes a marker, races to the board, writes one collocation and races back to hand the marker to another member of their team. Again, go through the collocations before you decide on the winner.


More recycling activities? Go to Cycles 3 and 4
in ETAI Forum (pp. 9-12)

Also see: Revisiting texts on TeachingEnglish website, which is a variation on Cycle 4 combined with Just-the-Word 

7 comments:

  1. Hi Leo.

    I was in your session in Amit and enjoyed your lecture very much. I wanted to know what software you used for your presentation it was absolutely amazing and I would love to use with my students.
    Thanks, Shai - halperinim@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Shai

    I am glad that you enjoyed my session and have found my blog. I used Prezi for my presentation - http://prezi.com.
    You will find more activities for using video in the classroom here, on my blog.

    Regards

    LEO

    ReplyDelete
  3. Collocation forks are the way to go! Remove repetition.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks David :) But why remove repetition?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Otherwise it's just a long list that students are expected to sift through, and they themselves must find the rules that are hidden in it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Leo,

    Really nice activities. I'm going to try and incorporate some of them into a presentation I'm planning on using short films and videos to help students learn vocabulary. I'll let you know how it goes. Keep up th great work, Leo.

    All the best,
    Kieran

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Kieran
    Good to have you here. I was also thinking of a presentation combining video and my lexical activities :) Please do let me know how yours goes.
    Thank you for the comment
    LEO

    ReplyDelete

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