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Joey’s Room-Mate Search

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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.

Simple activities with a text for lower levels

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This is a collection of ideas one can do with a text to improve students’ reading skills. And perhaps not only the reading skills. I was trying to do the activities when I thought we had exploited the text in every possible way “dictated” by the coursebook and the students ( weak A2 level) still had problems with it.

  • Actually there were three shorter sections to read, so I grouped the students so that each group was focusing on one particular text. The reading was written in the Simple Present tense first person singular, so the students first had to read it out in third person singular, taking turns to read out the individual sentences.
  • The question words were listed on the board, together with a general revision of word order in questions in the Simple Present tense. Students were now forming questions with those question wors, write them down and finally had to ask and answer those questions.
  • Key words of the three sections were put on cards. The students took a card from the pile placed face down on the desk and they had to define, explain the words to each other: the rest of the group guessed the words.
  • On a different lesson the questions were on slips placed face down on the desk, students took turns to look at a question on slips and answer them. Then placed the questions face up on the desk and simply by looking at the questions tried to retell the story the questions were based upon. Finally the questions were taken away and students had to remember the text they have worked with.
  • One member from the group reads out the text deliberately making factual mistakes. For example if the text says: “I live in Turkey”, the student could say “I live in Norway” – the other students in the group have to listen carefully, and if they spot a mistake, say “Stop!” and correct the mistake. The reader then carries on with the text.
  • As the tasks are very often based on cards, when the groups are ready with one particular series of tasks with a pack of cards or slips, they rotate, i.e. they stand up and move over to a desk, where they find hte cards of the other text(s).
  • Sentences from the texts were taken and cut up into words. The students were in pairs and they had to reorder the cards to make meaningful sentences. When they were ready, I quickly checked the sentences. If they were correct, they could mix/shuffle the word cards, and leave it on the desk, while they were walking to the next desk where another sentence was waiting for them to reorder (previously reordered then mixed up by their peers). With this technique, students move around the classroom, concentrate on the correct order of words, meaning of words, collaborate, and revise the story of simple reading texts.
  • Students took a word – anything they liked. They wrote a sentence demonstrating the meaning of the word, but leaving the word itself out – thus producing a gapped sentence. They fixed the papers with their sentences on the walls of the classroom. The sentences were numbered. The students walked around the classroom and tried to guess the missing words of each of the sentences, by taking note of hte number of the sentence and the word they thought fitted the sentence.
  • Pictures were placed around the classroom walls. Students had to associate the words with one or more of the pictures and explain their choices.

Jimmy Wales on English

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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

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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

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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.

Why grammar? Ask the craftle pruncers!

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Sometimes you simply have to show your students why grammar is important.  A fun way of doing it is analysing the following text made up of nonsense words:

 

The craftle pruncers were snockering so croippily in the hontarbrun that Splod Crampid brocked them lurgly to snocker cliplier because he coulnd’t prunce with so much croip.

“Oh, we’re stal quobbly, Splod Crampid,” gebrocked the pruncers.

“We did not flample that our snocker was so croippy.”

 

Well, that’s how I started the school year with my more advanced students: I read it out to them.  They were shocked at first but then realized that even the above text can be analysed, understood and even the following 10 questions can be answered in an intelligent way:

 

1. Who or what in the text were snockering?

2. Where were the craftle pruncers?

3. What were they doing?

4. How were they doing it?

5. What did Splod Crampid brock them to do?

6. How did Splod Crampid brock them?

7. Why couldn’t Splod Crampid prunce?

8. What word in the text do you think is the opposite in meaning to ‘croipily’? Why?

9. What did the pruncers gebrock to Splod Crampid?

10. Did the craftle pruncers flample that their snocker was so croippy?

 

The students even admitted that their grammar knowledge made it possible for them to answer the questions – meaning was unimportant here, as grammar structures solved all the problems.

I’d like to thank a former colleague, Réka, for this brilliant text and the idea of using it this way.