Using textivate to present and practise a model, before adapting...

N.B. You'll need a Premium or Group subscription if you want your students to be able to create textivate activities based on their own texts or on modified texts.

This seems an obvious use of textivate to me...

Choose a short example text containing key vocab and structures, such as this one, on the subject of "Ma maison" / "Chez moi" for KS3 French:

J'habite une petite maison dans un village à la campagne.
Chez moi il y a six pièces en tout.
Au rez-de-chaussée il y a une cuisine, un grand salon et une salle de bains. Il n'y a pas de salle à manger chez moi.
Au premier étage il y a trois chambres.
Dehors il y a un grand jardin avec beaucoup d'arbres. Il y a aussi un garage.
J'aime bien ma maison parce que j'aime le jardin, et j'adore habiter à la campagne.

Add a glossary of key vocab terms, so that students can understand the text, and add a few extra things that students might want to be able to use to describe their own situation, and you end up with this combination of text + vocab matching activities:

The above link provides access to all activities. You have up to 60 interactive activities to choose from!

Depending on how much work you've already done on the topic, you could start with either the text work or the vocab work. Whichever way you play it, the lesson essentially has 2 parts: 

1. Learn the model text and vocab

(a) Vocab

Within the vocab group of exercises there is a wide range of differentiation. For example, Flashcards can be used to present vocab or for students to test themselves. Snap is a recognition exercise, where students need to decide whether or not the match is correct. Shuffle presents up to 10 matching pairs in a drag and drop match activity. There are various multiple choice matching activities, with different levels of difficulty: 1 in3; 1 in 4; 1 in 5; 1 in 10; or multi choice games such as Million. Then there are various click match and memory activities (with varying numbers of matching items - the more the items, the harder the exercise). And then there are the text input activities, where students have to fill in the missing letter for the entire list of items: Vowels, Consonants, 50:50, Initials, No letters; also Anagrams, which provides a bit more support. Then there are games such as Hangman, Snake and Invaders. Lots to choose from!

(b) Text

The text activities are a great way of getting students to memorize a whole text.

You can start with the Multi-Choice activities such as 1 in 3, 1 in 4 or 1 in 5, which split the text up into several chunks and students have to rebuild it by selecting from the alternatives. 

The tile exercises can be used to great effect. Start with 2x3 (6 chunks of text) and once the exercise is completed, click on +tiles to work up through the levels. Each time there are more chunks of text to re-order (and obviously, each chunk contains less text) so it gets progressively more difficult, until you get to 4x6 (24 chunks of text).

Million is similar to 1 in 4, but if you make a mistake, the game is over.

Next word has 3 levels of difficulty. By default, the exercise requires you to rebuild the text 1 word at a time by selecting from 10 possibilities. If you click on +word, it will be 2 words at a time. Click it again and the exercise will work 3 words at a time. So it's a good idea to start with 3 words then click on -word to work back to 1 word at a time.

There are 2 gap-fills. The random one, which is different every time and automatically generated. And the user-defined one, which is added by the person who creates the resource. The random one is great because each time you restart the exercise you have a different set of gaps. The user-defined one, however, has the advantage that it allows you to focus on specific words in the text.

Then there are the text input exercises. Students can complete these by typing in the missing letters, or they could just use them to help them to recite the text orally, to check they they have it memorized. These are: Vowels, Consonants, 50:50, Initials, No letters. Note that 50:50, Initials and No letters also have a +/-gaps button, so you can choose to have fewer words blanked out. By default, it works on every word, but you can work with as few as 1 in 5 words.

In addition, you also have the anagrams exercise, which blanks out the whole text, and presents an anagram for a word when you click on it. This also has the +/-gaps button, so you can have a text with every 5th word blanked out, where an anagram for the word appears when you click on it.

And finally there are the Invaders and Snake games based on missing letters from the text.

Some of the above activities are better suited to students working by themselves on their own computer / laptop / ipad, but many of them are ideal for use with the whole class using a projector / interactive whiteboard (any kind).

How long you spend on all of the above depends on you / the time you have available / the progress made by your students. (It's clear, though, that you'll need to be selective...)

2. Write an adapted / personalised text based on the model

My idea is that if students have learnt the model text and they understand (a) what the words mean and (b) how they all fit together, they should then be able to write their own version of the text.

They could go back to the textivate home page containing the text:

Then they could remove all of the [#] markers, either manually, or by clicking the "Extra gap-fill" icon (the gap-fill icon with the number 2 in it) and then clicking the button to "Remove all gaps" - which is MUCH easier.

Then they could start adapting the text to fit them.

Maybe you could present extra vocab on the board as and when required.

Once they are happy with their text (and maybe after you've checked it - up to you), they can then choose froif m all of the activities listed in 1(b) above, this time based on their own text.

How is this NOT going to be productive in terms of your students' language learning?

N.B. You'll need a Premium or Group subscription if you want your students to be able to create textivate activities based on their own texts or on modified texts.