ACTFL Handout – Play and Learning Strategies
Teaching Learning Strategies Through Play In Elementary Classrooms
ACTFL 2002 Salt Lake City, Utah
Associate Director National Capital Language Resource Center
Language Learning Specialist
As you play the games or use the toys, please try to be aware of your thoughts. Write your thoughts here:
|Blocks Build a bridge|
|Dolls / CarsPlay with a
|Brain teasers Solve the brain
|Mystery bag Guess what is in
|Matching Game FriendsEach thing in Tray A
has a friend in Tray B. They share the same first sound. Put the
|Organize / Plan||Set goals.
Plan how to accomplish the task.
Plan the task or content sequence.
|Manage My Own Learning||Focus my attention on the task.
Determine how I learn best.
Arrange conditions that help me learn.
Seek opportunities for practice.
|Monitor Task||Check my comprehension:
Does it make
Check my production:
Does it make
Check my progress on the task.
|4||Evaluate||Check how well I have accomplished the
learning task.Check how well I have applied the
strategies.Decide how effective the strategies were
helping me accomplish the task.
|Use Background Knowledge||Think about and use what I already know to
help me do the task.
|Make Predictions||Make logical guesses about what will
happen.Anticipate information to come.
|7||Make Inferences||Use context to make logical guesses about
|8||Personalize||Relate new information to myself.
|Use Real Objects / Role Play||Manipulate real objects as I use the
language.Act out roles in the target language
speaking either out loud or silently.
|Use Selective Attention||Listen or read for specific information.
Focus on key words, phrases, or ideas.
|Find/Apply Patterns||Apply a rule.
Make a rule.
Sound out and apply letter/sound rules.
|Use Resources||Use reference materials.
Use a model.
|13||Transfer, Use Cognates||Apply my linguistic knowledge of a
different language to the target language.Recognize cognates.
|14||Substitute / Paraphrase||Use a similar word or descriptive phrase
for unknown words.
|15||Summarize||Create a mental, oral, or written summary
|16||Group/Classify||Relate or classify words or ideas
|17||Use/Create Graphic Organizers||Use or create a visual representation
as Venn diagrams, time lines, and charts) of important relationships
|18||Take Notes||Write down important words and ideas.
|19||Talk Myself Through It(SelfTalk)||Reduce anxiety by reminding myself of my
progress, the resources I have available, and my goals.
|20||Cooperate||Work with others to complete tasks, build
our confidence, and give and receive feedback.
|Use Imagery||Use or create an image to understand
RELATING PLAY STRATEGIES TO
ACADEMIC LEARNING STRATEGIES
Reading Comprehension –
Grades 1 2
A cloth or paper bag, small identifiable objects
to put in the bag, and an attractive, interesting book at students’
Students work in pairs. Each pair has a bag.
student has a selection of small objects – unknown to the other
They take turns with one student putting an object in the bag and the
student guessing what it is, only by feeling the bag.
Teacher asks students how they are able to identify the
and helps students articulate idea that they are using “clues” even
they cannot see the objects.
Teacher shows students the book to be read and
asks if they know all the words. (If the book is at the instructional
level the answer should be “no.”) The teacher then asks the students
how they might read the book anyway and understand the story. Lead
students to make the
connection that one way is related to how they identified objects in
bag – guessing from clues.
Teacher models – or asks a student to model –
using clues picture, word, title, or text clues – to make guesses
story and/or the meaning of vocabulary words. When students understand
process, explain that this strategy is called “making inferences” (you
want to call it a shorter name like “guessing”) and compare again to
mystery bag game. Explain that we make inferences all the time. Elicit
of when we make inferences in normal life and in play (if someone is
wearing a heavy coat we assume it is cold, if your friend has a big
smile, you assume he is happy.)
Ask students to work in pairs or small groups
reading together, making and discussing inferences about the story.
Move from group to group and ask them what clues are helping them
understand the story and/or vocabulary. Encourage students to make
inferences – and to check the inferences as they progress through the
Ask the students if making inferences is helping
them to understand the story. Discuss why and/or
Give students an example of another situation
where making inferences can be helpful in school, for example in a
specific science setting. Ask the students for more examples where
using inferences can help them do their current school work.
Chamot, A. U., &
J.M. O’Malley (1994). The CALLA Handbook. White Plains, NY:
Chamot, A. U., S.
Barnhardt, P.B. ElDinary, J. Robbins (1999). The Learning
Strategies Handbook. White Plains, NY:
Chamot, A. U. & K.
Anstrom, J. Delett, V. Karwan, A. Bartoshesky, C. Keatley (2002). The
Elementary Immersion Learning Strategies Resource Guide. National Capital
Language Resource Center, Washington, DC: National Capital Language