The big speech

Communication skills | age 12 - 15 | 90 min.
Bricolage de luxe
The French word “bricolage” means “craft making” but not only the skilled handy crafts themselves are meant, like gluing and cutting out paper to make things, rather the playful use of words and language, too. Young people are often true masters at this game, a talent that can be seen in the many original variations of youth language and in networked communications.
Following their own world of experience, children and teens research the identity-forming elements of everyday language and the differences between those and the standard language. They deal with functions and changes of language as well as their importance in social media. They record their own slang vernacular in a bricolage, a tag cloud.
Bild
children and teens will realize that language can be studied as a form of expression and perhaps have their interest sparked. They will learn to develop positions and to build assessment skills regarding the use of language. They will encounter new tools for the clarification of their own learning processes.
The children and teens will
learn to distinguish between everyday speech, slang and the standard language.
gain awareness of whom they are addressing with their own speech.
use design possibilities, like building a tag cloud on the computer.
be able to critically evaluate the rules of social communication.
The children and teens will
learn how to select representations that are appropriate to both the situation as well as their addressee.
learn how to formulate their ideas and how to research them.
The children and teens will
work out pro and con arguments and hone their ability to deliver an argument, which they can bring into the concluding discussion.
train their own cooperative competencies by working on the computer together.
get to know and practice networking with others.
The children and teens will
work out solution strategies for themselves to look into inquiries in a systematic way.
understand linguistic behaviors and be able to use them in a reflected and conscientious way.
Project procedure
The children’s and teens’’ own speech and language use is the focus of this project, such that the tasks involved are functionally connected in a way that makes sense to the children and teens and stems from their own daily experience.

To get the lesson going, children and teens watch a video of experts discussing the various positions out there about youth language to give them some background. In order to follow the experts’ opinions, the children and teens are encouraged to reflect on the arguments given by the experts in their own debate on what the experts had to say. They then get deeper in the discussion by looking at and analyzing their own speech and the special features of that language and finally document what they’ve see in a tag cloud for the purpose of visualization. This tag cloud will serve as a basis for children and teens to follow up on the question as to what importance language has in social media and what tools are there to help research this kind of social media language.
Divide the learning groupinto 2 groups and choose 2 moderators.

For an introduction to the topic of youth language, both groups then watch the video “Lass ma`talken, Digga” of a panel of experts. One group will take notes on the arguments given by the language protectionists and the others note arguments from the experts supporting the changes.

After the video, let the two groups discuss on their own and have the moderators lead the discussion.

The moderators will note the discussion results on the flip chart.
Recording results: debate; board notes
Social form: group work
After working on the first inquiry and figuring out the pro and con positions on the topic of “youth language” the children and teens deepen their gained insight by drawing comparisons with their own speech.

They will collect their own abbreviations, acronyms and words they and their generation have created and put these together as tags in a word cloud.
They will then make a list of the words that they use the most, a hit list.

Afterward each group will then present its results to the other.

Recording results: Exercise with mind mapping tool
Social form: group work
In the third phase, the children and teens will verify how widely their own hit list words are actually used in social media.

With the aid of a hashtag tracker, they will investigate which hashtags are the most widespread and how they are used online in various contexts.

They will formulate their observations in a group discussion.

Finally, they will choose a hashtag together to send out in a message themselves and then monitor and analyze its propagation online.

Recording results: image on the board, hashtag tracking tool
Social form: group discussion
This project is an example for doing collaborative work in group with digital media. Both the process and the uses of these tools can be transferred to other subject matters and contents.