teacher sdaie strategy edtech

Gossip About the SDAIE strategy: Coffee Klatch! (and Edtech, too!)

I interviewed a teacher about his use of technology and, unsolicited, he burst out in praise of two things: his SDAIE training and his classroom projector.  What was the marriage of training and technology that made him so happy?  It’s called Coffee Klatch (an Americanized version of the German word kaffeeklatsch, which means “coffee gossip.”

Here’s an example that he gave me that relates to teaching the vocab for the story Lucky Dragon.
Students stand in pairs, one facing the screen, one facing away.  The setting is described to the students as “pretend you’re at a social gathering, a fancy party, and you are talking in low tones to your partner about one specific topic so that no one else can hear.”  He describes how a student interjected excitedly: “Oh! Like we’re gossiping?”  They get the idea immediately.

On the screen is a Powerpoint slide with the following lines:

•To be shocked is: to feel a lot of surprise.
•The term shocked can be defined as: feeling a lot of surprise.
•The term shocked signifies a feeling of a lot of surprise.
•The definition of the term shocked is feeling a lot of surprise.
The student facing the screen whispers these lines in low tones to the their partner.  Then the students switch positions and a new set of lines appears, recited in low tones by the student now facing the screen.
•Based on what you’re saying, to be shocked is: to feel a lot of surprise.
•So, you’re saying that shocked means: someone feels a lot of surprise.
•In other words, shocked means: feeling a lot of surprise.
•The definition of the term shocked is: to feel a lot of surprise.
Student engagement: check!
A real life social context to provide meaning: check!
Easy system for monitoring student participation: check! (watch the mouths of the partners facing the screen)
Story or text-based vocabulary: check!  (shocked)
Academic language: check! (in other words, definition, defined, signifies)
Try out this SDAIE (Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English) strategy with academic language and sentence frames projected onto your screen and let us know how it works with you.

3 thoughts on “Gossip About the SDAIE strategy: Coffee Klatch! (and Edtech, too!)”

  1. I hate to be negative, but I don’t think this is really going to count as a real life social context. They’re not facing each other, they’re standing, and they’re talking about vocabulary words.

    What a bad date idea. “Hey baby, let’s bump rumps and get shocked together.”

    I haven’t read too much about SDAIE’s explicit components, but is mind-numbing repetition one of them? I surely hope that all of the students know the word “surprise.” I could see how this activity could be used to practice negotiating meaning over the telephone, where speakers don’t have the benefit of visual cues, but as a method for delivering iterations of definitions it seems a bit wonky.

  2. @aaron Interesting response. Thanks for sharing that. I love how closely you’ve read the strategy and responded clearly to its various parts. To clarify one possible misunderstanding: the speakers ARE facing each other.

    Another question: is this only a method for delivering iterations of definitions? How might the exercise also provide scaffolded practice of academic language?

  3. SDAIE is not a method for delivering iterated definitions. It’s a method designed for teaching ESL, but its principles can be applied in any classroom, really, especially for remedial ones. It’s not fast-paced, so it’s not good for the mainstream classroom.

    You’re right about the facing. I’d imagined them back to back.

    There’s no real point in pretending. If you want the kids to be in a coffee shop, take them to one or bring the coffee shop to them. This would be a great way to stimulate casual chat about the topic, but it’s not authentic in that people don’t often meet up for an espresso and a vocab review. A vocab review is a vocab review, plain and simple. You can doll it up with graphic organizers and whatnot, but it is what it is.

    After the vocab had been introduced, you could play the elicitation game (where one kid is faced away from the word and the rest of the class has to try to make him say it (like 10,000 pyramid).

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