9. Animal chat


Task details

Task details

Name of oral assessment task Animal chat
EAL curriculum level range  A1, A2, BL, B1, B2, CL, C1, C2
Text orientation Informative
Task type Listening and responding


Task specification

Task specification

Purpose To assess students’ ability to use common taught vocabulary sets, such as animal names and body parts, size, shape, colour, age, sound, emotions also, concepts such as degree, comparison, classification, to ask questions about the vocabulary set and to give simple instructions in relation to the vocabulary set
Description Students, using sets of animal cards or small plastic animals talk to the teacher about the animals and follow instructions to group and classify the animals.
Assumed knowledge and description
  1. Content knowledge: familiarity with animal names, body parts, and common vocabulary sets taught for classroom learning and communication
  2. Text type, genre: discussion
  3. Linguistic structures and features:

    • Use of simple ‘reporting’ language, such as timeless present tense: dogs have tails, these are all big
    • Simple questioning: Does this…?, Can you find…?
    • Simple instructions: Show me…, Find me…, Put…, Choose two animals…
  4. Vocabulary: animal names, body parts, size, shape, colour, age, sound, emotions, simple expression of concepts such as degree, comparison and classification, numbers to 10, habitat, location


Learning/teaching context

Learning/teaching context

Language centre/mainstream class EAL support
Subject/key syllabus objectives, outcomes   
Topic/teaching unit  Animals
Assessment conditions
  1. Individual activity
  2. Formal/informal: formal, spontaneous speech
  3. Time limit:5 to 10 minutes
  4. Teacher intervention: Students at earlier stages of proficiency may need assistance of various kinds to understand the tasks and concepts, including demonstration, miming such phrases as ‘animals that swim’. Otherwise assistance should be limited to responding to student requests for clarification and encouragement.
  5. Access to resources: cards and/or plastic animals
  6. Scaffolding (modelled/guided/independent support): guided
  7. Accommodations: 
Notes
  • Pre-assessment activities can be extended or reduced as appropriate for the learners.


Task implementation

Task implementation

STAGE ACTION STEPS
Pre-assessment activity
  • Revise vocabulary the students have studied on particular animals, the zoo, farm animals or Australian animals etc. and use this as the basis of the assessment discussion.
  • Students can be given a simple matching or, sorting or classifying task to do, to revise vocabulary they have learned in the past. This activity can then be the basis for starting the conversation which can be extended into other areas/concepts, as appropriate.
Assessment activity
  • The student takes part in a teacher-directed conversation about the animals and their attributes, sorting and classifying and answering simple questions. Students may undertake the activity in pairs, with the teacher. The students can also give each other tasks and questions
  • The task is undertaken in an informal setting with the students, with lots of animal resources.  
  • The conversation should include instructions, for example:
  1. Show me all the animals with a tail.
  2. Put all the brown animals together.
  3. Find all the animals which eat grass.
  4. Show me 5 very big animals.
  5. Find two animals that you like. Tell me why you like them.
  6. Show me an animal that eats meat.
  7. Show me an animal that is bigger than this one.
  8. Tell me what you know about this animal.
  9. Find two or three animals that you would put together. Tell me why you have put these animals together
  • …and questions, for example:
  1. Can this animal fly?
  2. Is this animal a snake?
  3. Are you scared of this animal? Why?
  4. Can you find all of the animals that can jump?
  5. What does this animal eat?
  6. Which animal can run faster, this one or this one?
  7. Does this animal eat grass?
  8. Did you see this animal in your country?
  9. Does this animal live in Australia?
  10. What’s your favourite animal?
  11. Why do you like this animal?
Post-assessment activity
  • Students can write a short report about the animals they talked about, scaffolded by modelling and sentence starters as appropriate. They can provide and label diagrams for additional information 

 


Assessment criteria

TEAL Oral Task 9 – Unmarked criteria sheet [PDF]

TEAL Oral Task 9- Unmarked criteria sheet [Word]

 

An explanation of the purpose, nature and use of criteria sheets is available at 4. Using the assessment criteria.
 


Annotations and commentary

Purpose and value of the task

This task assesses students’ abilities to talk about a common and familiar topic, animals. It also provides opportunities to assess vocabulary sets that relate to animals, which are commonly taught to students new to English, such as animal names, foods and body parts, emotions as well as to conceptually related vocabulary sets such as size, shape, colour, age, sound and food. It can also provide an opportunity to assess students’ use of concepts such as degree, comparison and classification. The relaxed open-ended nature of the discussion allows students to communicate quite complex understandings, and challenges them to use their available English language resources and strategies to take part and show what they know. The kinds of instructions and questions used will depend on the age of the students and any particular units of work they may have done relating to animals.

The task can be undertaken with individuals or pairs of students. They can be encouraged to instruct and ask each other questions, as well as to ask the teacher questions.

Contextual information

The students in these video samples were not prepared specifically for the task, but many had had recent experience with studying aspects of a group of animals, such as farm animals to zoo animals, as well as exposure to basic conceptually related vocabulary sets, often in the context of studying other topics. The students all seemed to be aware of the purpose of the task – to show what they knew about animals. The school in Samples 2 and 3 has a garden with animals, including goats and chickens, so the students at this school have experience with these animals.

Commentary

The students at earlier stages were usually only able to name some animals and give limited information about them. Their discourse is almost entirely teacher mediated, and students often use the vocabulary and phrases that the teachers use in their own questions and comments. As their proficiency increases the students are increasingly able to talk about broader aspects such as classification, and the conversation becomes more interactive.


Sample 1

Biographical information

Year level: 3

Age: 8

Home language: Greek

Commentary

Although prepared for the task the previous day, the student does not always understand the teacher’s instructions and questions, or is not yet able to frame as answer – These butterflies, what do they have? Green, blue … With prompting she can count the legs, and is able to choose an animal of a different colour. She knows the name of the spider and can say why she doesn’t like it – It’s not nice … She can choose a set of ‘different’ animals, and group them, but needs prompting to explain why they are in the groups.

The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets most criteria at level 1 of performance.

The student’s language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level B1, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral task 9 – Criteria sheet – Sample 1

Sample 2

Biographical information

Year level: Foundation

Home language: Pashtu

Commentary

The student engages with the task, she is able to answer some quite complex questions around the animals, what they eat and produce, and can classify them on various attributes. She uses some topic specific words such as insects, and knows the names of a range of animals such as farm animals. She engages with quite long turns. She can deal with issues around the overlapping attributes of animals, moving them to different groups as criteria change, Why are you putting him there? Because he likes to eat grass. She often answers in full, not always grammatically correct, sentences, following simple common patterns, He live on the snow, He do walking, Cat like eat milk, My favourite book is caterpillar. She has some plural confusions and preposition errors, but uses the word ‘too’ correctly, Caterpillars are insects too. This one eat fish too. She does not always understand more complex questions or answer comprehensibly – Teacher: What do you do with the bucket? Student: Bucket in the milk take it the bucket take it and put it on the milk one. Teacher: What do we use the milk to make? Student: Take to the market and somebody buy the milk and bring it home.

The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets most criteria at level 2 of performance, meeting some criteria at level 3.

The student’s language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level A2, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral task 9 – Criteria sheet – Sample 2


Sample 3

Biographical information

Student A (left of screen)

Year level: Foundation

First language: Burmese

Student B (right of screen)

Year level: Foundation

Home language: Burmese

Commentary

Student A (left of screen)

Student A is less confident than Student B, but engaged in the task. When asked directly he usually knows the answer – What did you think it was? Sheep. Where do all these animals live? On the farm. He tends to echo what is said, but clearly understands most of the questions, using some topic specific language. He is less confident than Student A in managing and directing the discussion.

The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets most criteria at level 2 of performance.

The student’s language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level A1, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral Task 9 – Criteria sheet – Sample 3 – Student A

Student B (right of screen)

Student B is confident and eager to show what he knows. His answers are not always comprehensible, but he tries to express some quite complex ideas – this one lives in a different farm, this one lives in a normal farm. He uses some specific vocabulary – Pigs are not pink, pigs are peach … sea, ocean. He can express some degree of ambiguity, using ‘sometimes’ – Sometimes they live on a farm, Sometimes he gets stuck in the snow. His attempts to describe the process for making a jacket show some grammatical errors with plurals and prepositions – You cut the wools and then make it … and then you put some buttons.

The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets most criteria at level 2 of performance, meeting some criteria at level 3.

The student’s language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level A2, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral Task 9 – Criteria sheet – Sample 3 – Student B

Sample 4

Biographical information

Student A (left of screen)

Year level: 1

Home language: Vietnamese

Student B (right of screen)

Year level: 2

Home language: Vietnamese

Commentary

Student A (left of screen)

Student A takes part eagerly in the conversation and is able to express some quite complex ideas about the animals, using topic specific vocabulary. She can understand quite complex questions, and can group the animals and provide explanations – all birds and butterfly can fly. This one is not a bird. She shows some grammatical and word order errors, as well as plural agreement errors – Where is a rabbit one? The horse have furs. Some animals live different countries. She is able to provide explanations for her group of animals – because they eat leaves or grass. 

The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets most criteria at level 3 of performance.

The student’s language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level A2, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral task 9 – Criteria sheet – Sample 4 – Student A

Student B (right of screen)

Student B also uses a range of topic specific vocabulary when talking about her groups, although she shows errors when using the singular/plural forms – they have the same thing, beak, eye, tail and wings. She shows some confusion about the concepts ‘come from’ and ‘live in’ but can justify her choice of the camel as an Australian animal because – Australia has a desert. Her sentence structure is simple but mostly grammatically correct – I went to camp and I ride on a horse. They have tails and fins. Giraffes have furs on here, the mane. 

The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets most criteria at level 3 of performance.

The student’s language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level A2, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral task 9 – Criteria sheet – Sample 4 – Student B



Sample 5

Biographical information

Student A (left of screen)

Year level: 5

Home language: Vietnamese

Student B (right of screen)

Year level: 5

Home language: Tagalog

Commentary

On this task both students seem to be working at around the same level of English language development. They clearly understand the purpose of the discussion and take opportunities to talk about what they know. Student A is rather more confident than Student B and more softly spoken They both listen carefully to the teacher’s questions and comments, and engage in an informative conversation with her and with each other. Student A uses a broad range of topic specific language to talk about the animals, but his explanations are simply structured and contain repetitive elements – They eat food, dog food, they go out for a walk, they howl at night, they do tricks. Birds that fly at night, they fly, they hunt, they stay like between the trees, they look at which animal to hunt before they get them. Like Student A, Student B also uses some quite detailed topic specific language, but again what he says is descriptive rather than explanatory. His grammatical features are quite simply structured, and include repetitive elements – I picked these animals because they are carnivores – meat eaters. They are dangerous animals … they would scratch them and eat them. Student A self-corrects after using an incorrect preposition – on the ocean, when his partner uses the correct term – in the ocean. Some verb forms are challenging, Student B: … these three has... The students both use circumlocution to talk about octopuses’ tentacles when they can’t remember the word – Student A: (gestures) they just push … legs. Student B: … hands. They look to the teacher to provide the word for them. Both students are able to give explanations as to why they like a particular animal, and again their texts are quite simply structured, despite the use of some interesting vocabulary – Student A: we can watch them how they do trickswith professional people …, they play with equipment … people can enjoy the dolphins that do the tricks. Student B is not quite as fluent or informative in his explanation as Student A – I take a wolf because they look cool, they are smart. They interact quite well with each other, echoing and taking cues from each other, but not really discussing or working collaboratively. The students’ pronunciation is clear, with some occasional issues.

Student A: The marked criteria sheet shows that Student A meets most criteria at level 3 of performance, with some at level 4.

The students’ language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level B2, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral task 9 – Criteria sheet – Sample 5 – Student A

Student B: The marked criteria sheet shows that Student B meets most criteria at level 3 of performance, with many at level 4.

The students’ language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level B2, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral task 9 – Criteria sheet – Sample 5 – Student B


Sample 6

Biographical information

Year level: 3

Home language: Hindi

Commentary

The student is confident and fluent using a large range of fillers to structure and keep the conversation going, … I have to say; or something like that; I think;. He interacts fluently and with confidence. He has a range of topic specific knowledge and vocabulary. For example, he can clearly express his ideas about the scorpion, its habitat and habits … it lives in the desert; it’s pretty dangerous; it’s like the sting thing; if this is long enough. He talks through his ideas with assurance, but does not always give comprehensible reasons, such as when asked to explain his groups.

His English language proficiency is beyond the dot points on the criteria sheet, in grammatical accuracy and cultural conventions. This sample is included to provide an insight into what students at higher stages can achieve in this kind of task.

The marked criteria sheet shows that this student meets all criteria at level 4 of performance, with skills that go beyond level 4.

The student’s language use in this task is more consistent with the descriptions of students Level B3, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral task 9 – Criteria sheet – Sample 6


Using this assessment to improve learning

Students can write a report about the animals they talked about, scaffolded by modelling and sentence starters as appropriate. They can provide and label diagrams to add additional information.

 


Skip to toolbar