I try to minimize lockstepping my students in the classroom. However, some lockstep activities engender an esprit de corps, thus reinforcing retention.
Here's my whole class/guided practice routine for required reading textbooks in the classroom:
- The instructor models and the students imitate chorally any appropriate lengthed passage at the beginning of a unit. The instructor models both slow articulate and fast blended speech production. The fast speech drills must continue until students all demonstrate improvement in their ability to speed up their speaking and blending correctly.
- The students practice reading aloud with partners. Don't let students read more than one sentence at a turn--this maximizes participation. Have students reread the passage beginning with the other partner so both partners get to read all the sentences aloud. The instructor circulates to answer vocabulary and grammar questions and check for satisfactory pronunciation.
- The students either play Dictation Relay on the chalkboard with the given passage, or they take a pencil/paper dictation test.
- When all the text of the unit has been practiced through dictation, for review, the students play Sentence Hangman.
The independent practice stage of this routine:
- The students participate in any word game activities that reinforce new vocabulary retention. Crossword puzzles, cloze exercises, or my preference: Acrostics.
- The students produce found or created examples of the vocabulary in context. These examples may be shared on the chalkboard or an online forum.
The assessment stage of this routine:
- Students are graded for their ability to comprehend text containing the key vocabulary. I'll use the tests that come with the textbook if they are good enough.
- Students are informed of whether or not they have demonstrated sufficient mastery. Students are redirected to self-study activities for remediation.