Sunday, 16 October 2011

Evolution with Language Plants

How can I make word categorisation and grammar points more interesting?

I work with teenagers, they find grammar tedious.

They love technology.

I love gardening.

When I met David Warr I knew I'd found my answer.

David has introduced me to language plants and you can find out all about them here - 

Earlier this evening I visited David's blog - and read about his NEW plant maker. The two plants below are created using his Beta PLANT MAKER. The originals were drawn on a Promethean Whiteboard, covered over and revealed during the class.

Back to my original question;

I revealed it bit by bit. (I love ActivInspire software) I contextualised the language with some pens and a table. I asked the students to tell me what they could see. I asked them again and again. They were engaged; actively learning. They were constantly referring back to 'the plant'.

We explored other new plants instantly;

I then tested my students using a favourite worksheet, thanks to English Banana

We explored the answers together and made notes about mistakes.

I think this way of exploring language in a creative, expressive and functional way is incredibly engaging. I look forward to reporting back more on how the new PLANT MAKER is received by my students.

If you haven't tried it out yet, what are you waiting for?

And finally in David's own words;


  1. Hi Mike, this is fantastic! Am so glad you were all engaged. The ActivInspire software sounds great, I've seen it used in a demo. Your plants are amazing. Any feedback o n how to make it easier to use most welcome. What did they think of sharing "th"? That's advanced level gardening, and as you know from the talk you came to, some people think that's taking it too far. Anyway, sounds like you'll be using it again, I hope so - it's designed for people like you!

  2. Thanks for your comment, David. I thought the lesson was fantastic too. I taught it with 20 sixteen to eighteens who are working at entry 1/2. Some learners have fully grasped the colour coding. I think everyone accepted that the shared 'th' in this, that, these and those was audible and therefore naturalu draw it like that.
    The interface on the plant maker is intuitive, I found it frustrating when trying to select words to change their size, especially when near to another word. Maybe a zoom function and a select tool would be good. Overall I love it and my students do too!

  3. Great to hear. Yes, I've had that trouble. There will be some improvements there. Keep up the good work!


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