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LING 610

Favorite Meal Questioning

I. Rationale

This activity is focused on helping young students ask questions at home and convey
the information at school. Many students speak Yupik in the home and use English
as their second language in the school. To culminate the activity, students will write
a short paragraph about their favorite meal and share it with the class.

The activity will accomplish many language related goals. By discussing a topic that
comes from their own home and experience, students will be displaying a) their
funds of knowledge and b) using authentic language to describe it to others in the
class and at school.

A) Funds of knowledge
Moll et al (1992) describe funds of knowledge as the knowledge and skills found in
local households. They use this premise to argue that teachers who make us of this
knowledge will be able to organize their teaching that is more meaningful and of a
higher quality (p.1). This approach is particularly important in dealing with
students whose households are viewed as being poor, not only economically but in
terms of the quality of experiences for the child. (p.1).

While doing this activity, students are able to draw on their knowledge of food that
has significance within their households and thus their lives. Since all of the
students who will be using this task live in a village setting where subsistence is a
major part of life, it is hoped that some will be able to include traditional foods in
their feedback and sharing with the class.

B) Authentic language
Gilmore (2007) outlines several ways to define authenticity. He states,
Authenticity relates to the language produced by native speakers for native
speakers in a particular language community (p. 98), and the language produced
by a real speaker/writer for a real audience(p.98).

By looking at these connections with authentic language, this activity seeks to have
students engage with family members while discussing a real topic. While
discussing this topic, students are able to use the language skills that they possess in
order to get the information that is needed and will then relate that information to
their audience, peers in the classroom.

II. Description

1. Pre-Task
LING 610

To begin the activity, explain that students are going to have a chance to talk about
their favorite meal that someone makes at home. To prepare for the activity, they
are going to ask some questions at home and use that information the following day.
Provide lined paper and have the students copy down these questions that they will
use to get more information about their favorite meal:
What ingredients make up my favorite meal?
How long does it take to make?
Who makes my favorite meal?
What food groups are included?
Is this made at specific times of year?

2. Task Cycle
Students take the information they wrote down to help them write a paragraph
about their favorite meal. Model on the board how the answers can be turned into
complete sentences. Give time for students to tell their shoulder partner what their
favorite meal is and to share the answers that they wrote down. Encourage them to
use complete sentences while sharing. Then give time for them write a rough draft.
While they are writing, monitor student work. Use prompts such as, Is that a
complete thought? or Can you use a sentence to say that?

For the final draft, give students a choice of a visual. They can bring in a picture
from home, draw a picture, or look for an example picture online. The picture will
be posted with their paragraph and displayed on the bulletin board.

3. Post Task
Before students display their final draft, they will take turns reading their paragraph
for their table group. Members of the group will have an opportunity to ask a
question of the reader to get more information about the meal or to share similar

III. Reflection

While I was planning the activity, I realized that some students are not going to have
meals that are cooked at home as their favorite. Some of their favorite foods might
come from restaurants or are frozen foods that are not really cooked in the sense
that I was thinking. Students were still able to talk about the different food groups
and who made the meal, but it didnt fully meet my expectations for the activity.

I was a bit worried about having students ask questions at home. I didnt know if
the information would get back to school or not. Even though many kids forgot their
paper, they showed enthusiasm about the conversations that they had at home. It
also seemed to create a connection between school and home. They were excited to
share about themselves and their families and homes.

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A young childs favorite thing is an easy way to get them talking. This was no
exception. Even after they were done writing, their conversations remained on
topics of home, family, and food. I enjoyed hearing what they had to share and they
enjoyed sharing their work with the class and their friends at school.

LING 610

Gilmore, A. (2007). Authentic Materials and Authenticity in Foreign Language
Learning. Language Teaching, 40, 97-118.

Moll, L. C., Amanti, C., Neff, D., & Gonzalez, N. (1992). Funds of Knowledge for
Teaching: Using a Qualitative Approach to Connect Homes and Classrooms.
Theory into Practice, 31(2), 132-141.