1. My weekend

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Task details

 

Task details

Name of oral assessment task My weekend
EAL curriculum level range  A1, A2, BL, B1, B2, CL, C1, C2
Text orientation Informative
Task type Listening and responding/interaction and negotiation

 


Task specification

Task specification

Purpose To assess students’ ability to discuss the things they did on the weekend
Description Students take part in a discussion with the teacher about what they did the previous weekend.  They are encouraged to ask the teacher about what he/she did on the weekend, and to plan what they would like to do on the next weekend. Students can also be asked what they will be doing on the following weekend.
Assumed knowledge and description
  1. Content knowledge: familiarity with group discussion and writing of simple formulaic recounts of their weekend activities
  2. Text type, genre: informal discussion, recount of activities
  3. Linguistic structures and features:

    • use of simple past tense to talk about past activities
    • subject-verb-object sentences
    • simple future: I will, I want to 
    • use of action verbs to describe everyday activities
    • use of time phrases: in the morning, afternoon, evening, on Saturday, on Sunday; time conjunctions: next, after that
  4. Vocabulary: Common out-of-school activities and places visited; days of the week, morning, afternoon, evening; pronouns: I, we, they, she, he; names of family members: my dad, my mother; names of friends.


Learning/teaching context

 

Learning/teaching context

Language centre/mainstream class EAL support
Learning area English
Topic/teaching unit Everyday activities
Assessment conditions
  1. Individual or pair discussion, or discussion with the teacher
  2. Formal/informal: informal, spontaneous speech
  3. Time limit: around 5 minutes
  4. Teacher intervention: The teacher can repeat, or rephrase questions, prompt students to confirm what they are trying to say, or to provide sentence starters, but should make sure students have ample thinking time to frame their responses by themselves as much as possible.
  5. Access to resources: access to visual resources to assist students in the early stages
  6. Scaffolding (modelled/guided/independent support): modelled
  7. Accommodations: Some students may only be able to confirm or disagree with teacher suggestions of what they did, or can be shown pictures of activities as a prompt to the discussion.
Notes
  • Pre-assessment activities can be extended or reduced as appropriate for the learners.

 

 


Task implementation

 

Task implementation

STAGE ACTION STEPS
Pre-assessment activity
Assessment activity
  • Conduct a discussion with the students, using routine questions about their activities.  Teachers may begin the discussion by telling the students what he/she did on the weekend, then encouraging students to ask questions
  • Students then tell the teacher what they did on the weekend
  • Students can also be asked about the coming weekend
  • The teacher should encourage an interactive discussion, rather than just asking students questions, so the teacher should comment often on what students are saying to encourage them to add to what they are saying, and to ask the teacher questions too.
  • Suggested prompt questions to encourage students to expand on their oral texts:
  1. What did you do on Saturday morning?
  2. That sounds like fun. What else did you do?
  3. I read books on Saturday afternoon. Did you read any books over the weekend? What did you read? Did you enjoy it? Why? Why not?
  4. Would you like to do that again next weekend?
  5. I watched TV, did you? When? What did you watch?
  6. Did you play with your friends? What did you play?
Post-assessment activity
  • Students could complete writing Task 1 after the discussion
  • Students could plan their activities for the following weekend, talk or write about what they would like to do.

 


Assessment criteria

TEAL Oral Task 1 – Unmarked criteria sheet [PDF]

TEAL Oral Task 1- 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 task

This task assesses students’ abilities to talk about the activities they do in out of school contexts. Diary/journal writing and talking about what students do on the weekend or after school is a common way of encouraging students at early Stages of English language learning to communicate. This kind of recount also assists them to learn useful vocabulary sets such as the days of the week, times of the day and night, and the names of activities and pastimes. It also gives them experience in hearing and using the simple past and future tenses. At the earliest stages students often are given simple templates to structure their diary/journal writing, and they then use these formulaic sentences and phrases when talking about what they did. This task is related to TEAL Writing Task 1 My weekend.

Contextual information

The students in the samples had all had many experiences with talking and writing simply about their weekend and after school activities.

Commentary

The students are all at were able to communicate basic information about their weekend or after school activities, and were eager to tell the teacher what they had done. All students, except for Sample 6, are at early stages of English language development. They are mostly confident in being able to recount their activities, and to use formulaic language to talk about their weekends and to ask each other questions. Although the students vary a lot in age, their language skills are quite similar, with their reliance on formulas, and a range of well-known activities. The younger students also generally interact with greater engagement and spontaneity than the older students. They are all able to understand more than they can say, perhaps due to the fact that conversations around weekend activities commonly take place with students at these early levels. Sample 6 is included to show the contrast between the very earliest proficiency and later stages. Because a conversation about weekend activities does not really stretch students’ language skills beyond simple recounting, use of basic time markers, use of basic grammatical structures and well-known vocabulary, it is not really suitable as an activity for the later stages of English language acquisition.

Because a conversation about weekend activities does not really stretch students’ language skills beyond simple recounting, use of common time markers, use of basic grammatical structures and well-known vocabulary, it is not really suitable as an activity for the later stages of English language acquisition. Sample 6 is included to show the contrast between the very earliest proficiency and later stages, where students may competently take part in a discussion, but are not really given scope to display higher proficiency.


Sample 1

Biographical information

Year level: 6

Home language: Burmese

Commentary

When asked what he did on the weekend, the student briefly recounts his activities, mostly in the simple present tense, I just play soccer with my friend and sometime I go to my cousin house … When the teacher asks him specific questions about what he did and when, he is able to give more detail, Morning I go to Chin school after that I go home. When asked what he did on Sunday he says, Stay home, play computer, after that I go church again. His speech has a ‘telegraphic’ quality as he tends to leave out prepositions and other ‘structure’ words. He shares with the teacher the humour around his interest in soccer, but doesn’t understand the teacher when she asks, Who’s your team? answering, I just play for fun. He doesn’t seem to understand the teachers further questioning until she mentions the World Cup, but his reply is not clear.

The teacher then asks him about a recent excursion he went on, asking, Can you tell me a little bit about where we went and what we did on that excursion? He doesn’t answer until the teacher asks further, more specific questions such as, Who did we go with? The student hesitantly replies, Teachers … only just in homework club … I don’t know what this school name. When asked what they did at the school, he hesitantly replies, We just um … watched a film … He looks to the teacher at this point as if aware that the word ‘film’ is not correct. She asks, Was it a film or was it people? And he replies, Na, they people … He is able to say simply what they did, Singing and talk about something … He understands the question, Did you like the music? and agrees that it was ‘fun’. When asked what his favourite bit was he replies, Just like everything … He can also answer the question, Have you ever seen a musical before? No that was my first time.

The student’s pronunciation is at times unclear, and it is not always obvious whether he is pronouncing final consonants such as ‘s’.

Although relying on the teacher a great deal to keep the exchange going, the student understands much of the conversation, especially when the questions are more specific. He uses simple grammatical structures and relies quite a bit on the teacher for topic words. He also uses body language, such as shrugging when he doesn’t understand.

The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets some criteria at level 1 of performance and some at level 2.

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 1 – Criteria sheet – Sample 1


Sample 2

Biographical information

Student A (left of screen)

Age: 14

Home language: Vietnamese

Student B (right of screen)

Age: 13

Home language: Vietnamese

Commentary

The teacher begins the conversation by asking Student A what he did the previous Friday night. The student answers quite slowly, framing his reply, I went to library … then I borrow a book. Student B then asks him What book did you borrow? and he answers, I borrow Vietnamese book. Student B continues to ask questions, which Student A answers with some assistance from the teacher. Student A is not always comprehensible, and his answers are quite formulaic. Student B’s questions are also quite formulaic, but he teasingly asks, Did you have lunch with your family … or you just in library every day? He also asks, Did you go to the cinema and watching some movie, new movie? Student A is able to name his favourite movie, but cannot say what it is about. When the teacher asks, What will you do this weekend, what will you do? he emphasises the word ‘will’, and Student A answers, I will go to library again, and I will borrow book.

The teacher then asks Student B what he did on the weekend. Student B answers with less hesitation and more fluently than Student A, Last week, I had a party, ah, with my family about my sister birthdays, a big party, we had some game with my family and her friends. When asked about the games, he replies animatedly, … and we play some game outside like, ah, we just run round, round, round! He readily understands a question about his favourite hobby, and answers, … my favourite hobby is … badminton. He misunderstands the question, When do you play badminton?, answering, sometimes I play with my brother.

Student A is then asked to question Student B. He asks, What did you do on Sunday morning? Student A thinks about his answer, then says, Sunday morning, let’s see … I go to the library … and I like computer in the library … and after that I go to the shopping centre with my friend, we bought some fruits for lunch … Student A then asks, What will you do on Friday morning? Echoing the question his teacher asks him earlier.

Although both students are clearly very early in their English language learning, Student B is more confident and relaxed and seems to be at a somewhat more advanced level. He asks for clarification when he doesn’t understand. Both students have typical pronunciation difficulties, leaving off final consonants, but Student B sounds more fluent. Both students rely on formulaic questions and answers, and when using these formulas, both students sound at their most fluent. Even though the students are working within predictable routines, they are working hard to produce this language.

The marked criteria sheet shows that Student A meets some criteria at level 1 of performance and some at level 2.

The student’s language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level C1, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

The marked criteria sheet shows that Student B meets most criteria at level 1 of performance, and some at level 2.

The student’s language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level C1, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

 

TEAL Oral task 1 – Criteria sheet – Sample 2 – Student A

TEAL Oral task 1 – Criteria sheet – Sample 2 – Student B


Sample 3

Biographical information

Student A (left of screen)

Age: 12

Home language: Vietnamese

Student B (right of screen)

Age: 12

Home language: Cambodian

Commentary

Student A asks Student B a series of fluent but formulaic questions about her weekend (What did you do on …?) and Student B responds with listing the things she did, for example, Last weekend, last weekend, I do clean my house, we do at the barbeque, on Saturday morning I woke up at 9.00 and we go shopping. I bought some food and drink … As the session continues Student A becomes more involved in the conversation, and when Student B says she listened to music, and then becomes stuck, Student A asks, What songs? When Student B says she had a barbeque, Student A asks quite naturally, Oh with who? Later on when Student B becomes stuck when trying to remember what she did, Student A asks some prompt questions, You listen to music? Watch TV? When the teachers asks her what she will do the next weekend, Students A replies, I will do, ah, soup(?)

When it is Student B’s turn to ask questions, she starts with asking about the coming weekend, but has difficulty forming questions in the future tense, asking, What do you, what will do you on weekend? What will do you eat? The teacher then asks Student A about her hobbies, and she also exhibits some tense confusion, answering, Hobby, ah, I like, I will go like, I like will go swim, play badminton with my sister. The confusion around tense continues, and it is not clear whether the students are talking about the past or the future. Student B asks What will do you on Saturday, on Sunday evening? Student A replies, Evening I listen to music, watch TV and play piano. When the teacher asks Student A what she did last weekend, she replies, Last weekend, I will, I went, go shopping …, probably self-correcting the error she made in saying ‘I will’.

The students both exhibit pronunciation errors typical of early levels, and showing first language pronunciation interference.

The reliance on formulas and the confusion around tenses in both asking and answering common simple questions is consistent with the students being at early levels acquisition. The students show more interaction and assist each other more than those in Sample 2.

The marked criteria sheet shows that Student A meets most criteria at level 1 of performance, and some at level 2.

The student’s language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level C1, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

The marked criteria sheet shows that Student B meets  criteria at level 1 and 2 of performance.

The student’s language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level C1, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral task 1 – Criteria sheet – Sample 3 – Student A

TEAL Oral task 1 – Criteria sheet – Sample 3 – Student B


Sample 4

Biographical information

Student A (left of screen)

Age: 8

Home language: Urdu

Student B (right of screen)

Age: 7

Home language: Farsi

Commentary

Both students are eager to discuss their weekend activities with the teacher, and animatedly interact with her and each other. In response to the teacher’s question, Student B recites what he did on the weekend, using full sentences similar to those that he would have used when writing a journal or dairy, On Saturday I went to the park. I saw Hadi. I play soccer with him. The teacher asks, Who were you playing soccer with, only Hadi? and Student B replies, Yes, and with her brother, big brother. The teacher corrects Student B, saying, With his big brother. Student A then interjects, I know his big brother. When the teacher asks Student B about his weekend activities, he too replies in a formulaic way, On Sunday I went to the library and I see …

They are able to answer the teacher’s question about whether or not they borrowed books. They are reluctant to ask each other questions, but Student B asks the teacher, What did you do? When asked about their homework, Student B says of his journal writing, You say you must, don’t show anyone. Student A continues with safe formulaic grammatical structures when he says, I play volley ball with my friend. The conversation becomes less formulaic as the conversation continues, with Student A able to say who he played with and who taught him how to play, My big brother. He then volunteers that his brother has gone to Tasmania, and can say why, Working. Student A can choose his favourite game, soccer, and give a simple reason, It’s good. Although the teacher asks the student to expand on why he likes soccer, he is not able to, eventually saying, My father teach me running and soccer. Student B chips in, saying, I like running too, showing that he understands the use of the word ‘too’ in this context. He also says, I know soccer than him, as the conversation becomes general he tries to intervene saying, Yes, I know lots of … I know, I can play volley ball …

When asked about next weekend, Student B answers, Next weekend I went to … (teacher corrects him) I’m going to … When Student B asks Student A what he’s going to do, Student A uses the colloquial form, saying, Next weekend I’m gunna do soccer with you. His club is with me.

As the students become more interested in the conversation, and with having their turn, their language departs from the more stilted formulaic style, and they communicate more interactively and are able to communicate quite complex meanings. Student B follows the teacher’s model when he asks Student A a question.

The marked criteria sheet shows that Student B 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 B1, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

The marked criteria sheet shows that Student A 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 task1 – Criteria sheet – Sample 4 – Student A

TEAL Oral task1 – Criteria sheet – Sample 4 – Student B


Sample 5

Biographical information

Student A (left of screen)

Age: 6.11

Home language: Hazaragi

Student B (right of screen)

Age: 8.4

Home language: Farsi

Commentary

The students interact with each other less than those in Sample 4, but do seem listen to the questions and the answers each other give. They both understand most of the teacher’s questions and comments, but tend to answer in the affirmative, even when they don’t really understand. What they say shows their reliance on practised models around the topic. Their knowledge of this language probably also gives them the confidence to move out of these safe waters and to explore other ways of expressing their ideas. Both students pronunciation is quite clear, but with rather a staccato rhythm, common at the early stages.

Student A

Student A begins with a formulaic response, On Sunday I played with my doll. She is eager to show what it can do, asking, I put the song? She agrees that her uncle gave it to her for a special occasion, but it is not clear that she really understands the question, eventually agreeing that it was, ‘Just a little present’. When asked what else she did on the weekend, she replies, I like my doll’s dress. When the question is rephrased she replies with, I went to the shop with my family. When I go to shopping I buy … My brother and my other brother go to swimming pool. She agrees with the teacher that she didn’t want to go swimming but again it is not clear that she really understands the question.

When she is asked the less formulaic question, Do you watch television a lot? She immediately answers, Yes, and came name a favourite, Frozen, and can say where she watches it, In my mums telephone. When asked about her homework she says, On night time I do my homework and I go sleep. I did (do) my journal.

When she talks about next weekend, she does not use the future tense, saying One day I go to the park.

The marked criteria sheet shows that Student A 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.

Click below to view marked criteria sheets for sample 5, Student A: Work in progress!

Student B

Student B begins quite confidently with, I go to the shopping, but then cannot add more until prompted and encouraged by the teacher who asks her what she bought. She replies, I play with my skate. The teacher rephrases that and says, You bought a skateboard, or have you had another one before? The student repeats, Another one. When asked why her parents bought it for her she uses a phrase that came up in the conversation with Student A, saying, … little present. She can say who she went shopping with. When asked about her Sunday activities she says, I watched TV with my brother, and can name the program, Peter Rabbit.

When asked about her homework after Student A has answered the question, she says, Night time I writing my journal, perhaps echoing what Student A has just said.

The marked criteria sheet shows that Student A meets most criteria at level 2 of performance, with some at level 3.

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

The marked criteria sheet shows that Student B 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 1 – Criteria sheet – Sample 5 – Student A

TEAL Oral Task 1 – Criteria sheet – Sample 5 – Student B


Biographical information

Age: 8.11

Home language: Dinka

Commentary

This sample is included to show that a conversation about weekend activities may not stretch students’ language skills beyond simple recounting, use of common time markers, use of basic grammatical structures and well-known vocabulary, so is not really suitable as an activity for the later Stages of English language acquisition. Sample 6  shows the contrast between the very earliest proficiency and later Stages, where students may competently take part in a discussion, but are not really given scope to display higher proficiency.

The student fluently recounts what he did on the holidays, without teacher questioning or prompting. He goes through the days of the week, saying what he did quite simply, but without reliance on learned formulas. He focusses on the chronology of the events rather than on expanding on what he did, so that he uses few adjectives or adverbs. Although he focuses on the chronology he only uses the basic time marker ‘then’. He makes few grammatical errors, but does not attempt to describe complex happenings.

When the teacher asks him some questions, he interacts in a fluent, natural and relaxed style, and adds interesting detail to his recount.

His speech is quick with good pronunciation.

This kind of basic recount, although common in everyday discourse, may not always be challenging enough for students beyond the initial Stages, and demonstrates why it is important for students to undertake a range of assessment tasks that are designed to allow them to display what they know and can do.

The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets most criteria at level 4 of performance.

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

TEAL Oral Task 1 – Criteria sheet – Sample 6


Using this assessment to improve learning

Students can practise the basic future tense, and become aware of the uses of the simple past by completing sentence starters such as:

Last Saturday I went …

Next Saturday I will …

They can also complete simple cloze exercises such as:

Last Friday I ___________ to the cinema, but next Friday I am __________ to play at my friend’s house. I _________ go to the market next Saturday, and then I will _________ to the supermarket on Sunday. Last weekend I did not __________ shopping because it was cold and rainy.

Temporal connectives

The students can also use cues to practise temporal connectives, such as first, then, next, after that, later on, finally etc.

They can also use cues to add detail to their recount e.g. before lunch, on Friday after school


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