Autora: María Ángeles Gallardo Castillo                                                    Ultima Modificación:  19/09/2004

Unidad Didáctica 1º Bachillerato. Inglés.

3 Unit of Work.


3.1 Introduction.

Teaching a foreign language is exciting if we are allowed to participate in creating the learning process without the hindrance of closed activities and routines.

This Unit of work is intended to the fun and excitement of learning and involve the students in their own learning process.

In the elaboration of  this Unit we have considered the educational contexts, students, school and  town. The  reference to this is in the planning introduction. The topic Water has been chosen by it relation to the maritime context of the town and the students.

The materials have been designed according to some principles:

ð     The best way to learn a language is by doing things with it the natural way.

ð     Easy tasks from the real world have direct appeal to the learner.

ð     A Creative framework provides an effective learning environment.

ð     Motivation must be created and not presupposed.

ð     The interdisciplinary of the foreign language teaching /learning is a crucial point.

The phase of planning a unit of work should be done, in ideal conditions, by a team of teachers. They should come to an agreement as to the procedures to be followed in the planning and subsequent implementation of the unit.

        The first step would consist on the choice of the theme or interest area and also of the input that is going to be used. This choice has to be made considering the students'  interests and their level of English.

        Then the team must proceed to the specification of communicative objectives and establish relationships with those generally specified for the area and for the stage of instruction. These two steps may be taken in reverse order.

        The third step would be to establish a final task or series of tasks  which will show degree of  attainment of objectives.

       Next we would  come to the specification of necessary or desirable components of the final tasks, these could be either linguistic or related to the topic.

       Finally we get to the actual planning of the  process: from organisation in sequencing steps through enabling and communicative tasks leading to final tasks and a built-in recycling and systematisation of previous knowledge.

       The following is a tentative planning of a concrete unit of work which I have called  Water.  It tries to stick to the preceding guidelines, and has been  designed to be applied in a public secondary school. The first idea that came to us was choosing a theme axe and an interesting topic which both motivates the learner and has a relation with his/her real experiences. In the same way, this topic must join the contents and the objectives fixed for this stage.  The  topic has been chosen because of its  international, national and particularly local implications , its connection with some of the cross-curricular themes in Bachillerato, such as Environment ,Health and  Consumerism and also because of the interest environment has today everywhere.


3.2 Previous knowledge.

This Unit is the result of my own teaching experience. We have had in mind the previous knowledge of the students.

The sequencing of activities is set out from an initial activity (brainstorming) which determines the level of knowledge about topic. It lets the teacher give information and materials progressively from simple to difficult, and from easy to complex and influences a better assimilation of concepts.


3.3 Objectives.

The reference to the objectives is detailed in the general planning in the Unit 2.(Water)

3.4 Time.

The time necessary to carry out the Unit is ten sessions. The whole year is about ninety sessions approximately and in the general planning we programmed nine units, assigning each of them ten hours.


3.5 Assessment.

Students will be given a sheet to evaluate themselves at the end of the Unit. The teacher will also assess him/herself about the unit plan.


3.6 Evaluation.

As we have already said in this 'Memoria',  evaluation is considered not the end of a learning process but an important part of the process itself. So for evaluation we have had in mind three different stages:

ü      Initial evaluation. Through the brainstorming and memory game and wordsquare,  we will activate learners' previous knowledge about water and this will help the teacher to establish learners' needs.

ü      Formative evaluation. Most of the activities are thought to let the student check his/her progress continually and let the teacher make the adequate revision of the activities and strategies being used.

ü      Summative evaluation: Although this kind of evaluation is the result of the assessment of activities and strategies used, and the attitude the learner shows (not to be forgotten; direct observation, daily assessment, class diary, tests, questionnaires, class work and home work and self-assessment sheet), we well take specially into account the result of the game designed by learner at the end of the unit because in doing that, they have to use the macro skills in a integrated way and they have to show their progress in language. It will also be considered 'special' the previously organised talk/workshop about the topic they choose related to water, because of  the same reasons as the game.


3.7 Methodology.

In the development of this Unit,  we have taken into account the following methodological principles:

·                   Linguistic competence is seen from the communicative point of view and not just from the grammatical structures and rules.

·                   Previous learner's experiences, ideas and knowledge are taken as a turning point to associate it with the news material, so learner can change his/her schemes and thus can progress.

·                   Methodology is learner-centred. Students participates actively in setting the objectives, so the process will be adapted to his/her needs and preferences.

·                   We will try to do the learner autonomous in the learning providing him/her with the adequate techniques and strategies.

·                   We are aware of the practical application of learning in everyday life.

·                   The importance of cooperation and pair and group work is appreciated.

·                   The contents are interrelated in global tasks and activities.

·                   It is fostered the interdisciplinary with other areas such as Geography, Physics, Science, Chemistry, Religious Education, Maths.

·                   The topic water can be connected with cross-curricular topics as Health Education, Education for Peace, Environmental Education, Moral and Civic Education, Consumer Education.


3.8 Contents.

According to the steps specified above, the planning of a unit of work is going to be presented now: it has been designed for the first year of Bachillerato to be developed in ten sessions. In this unit we will  make the connection with  the previous knowledge by the revision of  familiar concepts  and linguistic awareness of the student  but in different communicative situations with a greater difficulty . We have assumed that  students had already reached the final objectives of E.S.O.

The reference to these aspects is detailed in the planning of the year, in Unit 2.


3.9 Sequencing of activities.

There are some previous considerations to the sequencing of contents:

Previous knowledge, primacy of interaction, creative aspects of L2, functional character of L2, contextualisation, socio-affective aspects and psycho-cognoscitive features of the students.



It's a warming-up activity. The students make an effort to remember ideas, words and facts related to water and at the same time they learn new vocabulary.


Students will not find difficult to find out the hidden water words in the wordsquare (learning English in funny).

Memory game

Looking at the socio-cultural dimension of the L2 learning, students will identify the two parts of some famous water places as rives, lakes, waterfalls and some things. Students, in groups of  four, are given a set of cards they have to match.

Water quiz

It's a socio-cultural strategy. Students show their previous knowledge of the topic and will get interested in getting more information about it. Teacher may prefer doing the quiz orally, so that students practise the communicative language and learning skills orally or written, or students can work in pairs to try and guess the answers in the quiz.

The water cycle

Text: reading activity. After reading, students will narrate the water cycle, or ask questions to their mates to check their comprehension.

Game: It's a group /pair activity. They use the previous acquired knowledge and strategies. It can be played by two of three players. Students have to imagine the journey a water molecule does in the water cycle and describe the route.

Water and us

It's a reading activity to infer meaning from the context.

How much water is in what?

Activities to practise figures and percentages. Students have to find out in reference materials, the amount of water in some common food, and exchange information with their mates. Pair work.

Water Reading Race

In doing this activity students are fulfilling most of the learning objectives: interpreting a graph or a diagram, looking for specific information, answering questions from visual information, taking part in a game, co-operating with people in order to win the race, understanding new vocabulary.




How much water is used around the house?

Students will get information from a statistic diagram. Activity where common use of water is analysed. It involves taking decision, a dialogue, imperative, should. The provided sheet is the teacher's material. Teacher will copy it without the tip for saving water to use it with the students.

Describe and draw

Speaking activity. Students describe a water place or scene to a mate who will draw what s/he understands.

Water, water everywhere .. Build a solar still

In this activity, instructions are given. The comprehension is checked by the students themselves in the success of the experiment. The passive is practised in the process. English teacher can take advantage of student's likes for experimenting.

Solar still. Experiment sheet

Student writes down all the previous ideas and conclusions after doing the experiment.

How much water is there?

It's a reading activity about the world water supply. Students are given a text with the sentences in a wrong order and they have to order it in a logical way.

Water, what is made of?

This activity is specifically designed for 'Bachillerato Tecnológico' students.

A quick look at the history of water use

Designed for 'Bachillerato Humanístico' students. They have to complete a text with missing words, answer some comprehension questions and write a composition using acquired writing strategies.


Listening activities: fill-in the gaps and put the lines in a logical order. There are many songs related to the topic. These are only some examples but students may offer another options more adequate to their likes.

Andalusian rivers

Students have to identify famous rivers in their area, and find them on a map.

They will co-operate with other classmates to fulfil the activity using reference materials. It is directly connected to the cross curricular topic of  'Cultura Andaluza'.

Non-governmental organisations

Dealing with mixed- ability classes. Some students need  extra help with vocabulary  and grammar and some need more materials and activities to work on. Here are some examples. This particular activity is thought as a remedial work.

Water crossword

This is an activity which revises vocabulary used previously in the Unit. Students may use the bilingual dictionary. It fosters student's self-steam.

It's thought as a reinforcement activity in a mixed-ability class.

Words from the ocean

For advanced learners in a mixed-ability class. Students will be able to identify how modern words have changed meaning from its original to recognise the ocean's prominence in culture, to construct hypothesis and to recognise their relation to maritime culture, due to the location of the town. It refers directly to social studies and language arts.

Teacher answer key is provided.

Self-assessment sheet

Activity to assess the assimilation degree of the information in the learning process, valid for teacher and learner.

The water game

This activity integrated all the strategies, skills and knowledge used and acquired in the Unit. Students will design their own game in groups. They will design the board, the questions and the instructions to play it. They will organise their work. The activity finishes playing another group's game. It is thought as an evaluation task.

Talk / workshop

As this is an activity which compiles all the skills and most of the acquired strategies it is used as an evaluation task as well as the water game and the self-assessment sheet.  Students are given a selection of topics related to water and they have to choose one. Then, they will prepare a short "speech" for their mates. After the "lecture", they will answer the possible questions the "audience"  could ask. Examples of the topics are:

·        Water and us.

·        How we have used water.

·        How much water is in what?

·        Water, what's it made of?

·        A quick look at the history of water use

·        Why treat the water?

·        How is water treated?

·        Health controls

·        Purifying water

·        Some common water quality problems and what causes them

·        Getting the water to the tap

·        How much water is used around the house?

·        In the kitchen and laundry and out in the garden

·        Measuring the flow at home and school

·        Water in business and industry                                                               

·        Water Sports.                                                                                        

·        Health and water.

·        Water in Egypt.

·        Roman aqueducts.

·        Water in Religions.


3.10 Tasks / Activities.

The tasks and activities are given next. Sometimes teacher's is provided and sometimes only learners. Tasks are ordered in the same way as they have been described.


María Ángeles Gallardo Castillo - Septiembre 2004

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