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.

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.

One approach to presentations

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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!