Joey’s Room-Mate Search

Leave a comment

Képtalálat a következőre: „Joey's room-mate search”

This is a video-based lesson connected to the topic of ‘Home’. The level is B1+ but it can be adapted to lower levels as well.

Before wathcing

The students are in pairs and discuss the characteristics of a perfect room-mate. After a couple of minutes of discussion adjectives can be gathered (written on the board) in a plenary.

Following the above discussion the students agree on the “perfect ad” for a room-mate. They can even write the advertisement in pairs, so that the ads can be compared and the best one voted for.

The students are told that we are going to watch a segment from the series ‘Friends’, and discuss the situation why Joey is looking for a new room-mate. (Chandler is about to move out as he and Monica have decided to live together. Monica’s room-mate, Rachel is also looking for a new place to rent.

While watching

The students watch the segment and answer the following questions:

  • What 3 things does Joey offer to Rachel?
  • What does Chandler find strange in Joey’s ad?
  • Why is he advertising like that?
  • What is the misunderstanding between Joey and the girl in blue T-shirt?
  • Why did Joey take the shower curtain down? Is his explanation true?
  • Why doesn’t Rachel accept Joey’s offer for the second time, either?
  • What test does Joey give to the girl? Why?

After watching:

The students are in pairs again and write questions that they find appropriate when looking for a room-mate.

They act out an “interview” situation.


Jimmy Wales on English

Leave a comment

Képtalálat a következőre: „Jimmy Wales”

It is beneficial to remind our students from time to time why they are learning English. I found this video the other day as a supplementary material to a unit in Solutions Upper-Intermediate. The unit focuses on writing biographies – I found it a bit dry so here is a short video to make it more alive and discuss the importance of language learning.

First we read the short biography of Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia. Then we worked on the vocab, put events in order, found paragraph titles, so usual stuff… Then came the video:

  1. Students watch the video and answer the following questions:
  • What is the connection between Wikipedia and the English language?
  • What opportunities are there for translation in Wikipedia?
  • Why is English the most popular language in Wikipedia?
  • Where does Jimmy Wales have problems understanding English and why?
  • Why do non-native speakers tend to speak more slowly when they speak in English?
  • Why does Jimmy Wales consider learning languages important?

2. Following a discussion of the answers students were given the possibility to discuss their own views of language learning with the questions below:

a) If you use Wikipedia, what language do you read it and why?
b) Why do you think English has become so important world-wide?
c) What „kind of English” do you find the most difficult to understand and why? What’s the easiest?
d) Are you afraid to speak in English with foreigners? Why/why not?
e) Why are you learning English?
f) List at least 3 reasons why you think it is beneficial to learn languages!

The above activity was done in small groups and a spokespersonn from each group summarised the discussions so we could wrap it up in a plenary.

The World’s English Mania

Leave a comment

Many thanks to IELTS Advantage, where I found the post about the best TED Talks the other day. At the same time some of my students were blogging about language learning, more precisely about learning Icelandic,which I found surprising. Anyway, that post and Jay Walker’s talk on why the world is obsessed with learning English inspired me and the result was today’s English lesson.

The lesson is appropriate for levels B1-B2 and focuses on listening and speaking mainly.

1. Warmer

Students are in groups and they come up with a definition of the word ‘mania’.

After discussing their ideas, they get the words of the definitions of ‘mania’ on cards that they have to unjumble to make up the definitions themselves.

Definition 1: An extremely strong enthusiasm for something especially among a lot of people

Definition 2: A mental illness that makes someone behave in an extremely excited and active way.

They brainstorm ideas of what manias people can have, and share them with the whole class.

2. Pre-watching acitivity:

We agree that today we are looking at mania according to the first definition. I put the title of the talk on the board – the students discuss in groups what they think the title means. They try to guess how many people are trying to learn English, why they are trying to learn English and what the benefits of learning Englsih are.

3. During watching:

The students watch the video once to check their predictions.

They watch it for the second time to answer some questions on their worksheet.

3. Post-watching activity

The students discuss in groups if they agree or disagree with the speaker and why. They also discuss why they are learning English and what motivates them when learning a language. The spokesperson from each group reports about their discussion to the whole class.

Survival stories

Leave a comment

This is a video-based activity but in fact I’d rather call it a listening task although the background stories are part of a video clip.
The topic comes from a coursebook: Solutions Upper-Intermediate but as it is based on a true story, it can be used with any theme discussing survival stories, or luck or even disasters with happy ending.
The original story in the coursebook is that of the Baileys, but it was just obvious that other exciting survival stories could be discussed here.

So I took this video and the students only listened to the first 10 stories. As the video is counting down from 25, we listened till nr. 16. The students had to match some key words to the survival stories.
Then they had to understand numbers/dates and what they refer to. They discussed that in pairs before frontal feedback.
Finally they could listen to the 3 and half minutes again and in pairs put together each story as they had heard them.

As follow-up the students have to look for other interesting survival stories, one each of them and present it to the class in detail, thus practising the use of narrative tenses.

The worksheet can be downloaded from here.

One approach to presentations

1 Comment

It is an evergreen question: when a student or group of students presents a topic, what do the other students do? How can I make the rest of the class listen – really listen, i.e. listen actively to that presentation?

Obviously they have to be given a task connected to the presentation they are listening to. But should I prepare the task, or can that also be the responsibility of the students?

Step one: Choose a topic

We were discussing ‘environment’ which topic offers a wide variety of problems to look at. Having watched and analysed the issue of biodiversity with the help of a funny but at the same time thought provoking video the students had to form groups. There are 16 students in this class, so they formed 4 groups of 4.

First we listened to and discussed the introduction then when it arrived at the world map the students could sit down at a computer, check what information each sub-topic offers and choose the one they think they can prepare a good presentation about.

Step two: Setting deadlines

First deadline: When the groups had chosen their topics they had to work on the key words first. I expected my students to send me (in our digital classroom) the most important words connected to their presentation topic. These were not only key words but also new words, so the vocabulary the rest of the class needed to be able to understand the what they were going to lecture about. I prepared a set of quizlet cards about hte new vocabulary with quizlet.com which students love so much!

Second deadline: The next task was to prepare five comprehension questions about their topic that they also had to send me in a prvate message. It was important that they ask something they intended to mention in their presentation, so that the others would be able to answer the questions.

Third deadline: It was the date when the presentations had to be prepared. Each students had to participate in the end-product, they had to work together and present together.

Step three: Present, take notes and finally answer the questions

That’s exactly what happened. The students presented their chosen topic. Some with pictures, some with notes on the whiteboard – as they wished. The audience had to take notes. As they had all sent me questions, they knew that they would have to answer the questions the other groups had prepared for them, so they were really busy taking notes!

When all the groups were ready they had to sit in front of a computer and go to the fantastic Sorcrative website. I love this site as you can check students’ knowledge or get feedback in many different ways with very little preparation on your side! I have got a registration there, so I logged in with Teacher log in, I was given a room number that I gave my students who then were able to enter that virtual classroom with ‘Student log in’.

This time I used the ‘Short answer’ task type where I only asked the questions and waited for students responses that they typed in, and submitted – it appeared on my screen and we could immediately discuss if the answer was correct or not.

Conclusion: Students knew from the very beginning that they have to pay attention in order to be able to answer the questions. They were involved in the preparation of the task as well as the feed-back and not only in  the presentation phase.

This is just one approach to presentations in the classroom, there must be lots of other ideas that I’d be happy to experinent with!