Arguing…Who doesn’t?

This turned out to be a great topic for an upper-intermediate adult class 🙂 : Men vs women stereotypical behaviour when arguing.

Flickr Photo by Niko Kahkonen under CC BY NC-SA- 2.0

Flickr Photo by Niko Kahkonen under CC BY NC-SA- 2.0

Outline of the lesson:

Lead in

  • Describe a scenario to the Ss where a couple (man and a woman) are having an argument, for example at a restaurant, at a bus stop, in the supermarket, etc.
  • Ask Ss to discuss in pairs: Stereotypically, how are they behaving differently?
  • Open class feedback

Vocabulary

  • Provide your students with a vocabulary list on behavioural tendencies which they must categorise in a Venn diagram, whether it is more likely of a man, a woman or both.  Examples : withdraw, beat around the bush, be straightforward, cry, raise the tone of voice, be sarcastic, roll your eyes, etc.
  • Work on the vocabulary with the Ss – meaning and pronunciation – and have them work in small groups to contrast their opinions. This is more interesting if you can mix men and women within the same group.
  • Open class feedback

Video

  • Ss will watch the following video : Weird things all couples fight about.
  • Before they do so, ask them to predict what they arguments will be about. Let them know they are everyday minor arguments a couple would have.
  • Play the video. Ss check for their predictions.
  • If want and have time, play it twice, the second time with the captions so that they can focus on language for further work on colloquial speech.

Role play

  • Ideally, pair up male and female students and ask them to switch roles for the task. (The man should play the woman and viceversa)
  • Give them time to prepare a 30 second role play of an argument similar to the ones in the video. Ask them to try and include as much stereotypical behaviour as possible.
  • Each pair will perform in front of the whole class. After each performance, the audience must:

(a) Describe what the argument was about

(b) Point out any stereotypical behaviour

(c) Rate the performance from 1-10 based on: creativity and humour, language use and dramatisation skills.

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Could you whisper that again, please?

Photo from Flickr by Ricky Thakrar under CC BY -NC-ND 2.0

Photo from Flickr by Ricky Thakrar under CC BY -NC-ND 2.0

Here is an exciting and dynamic game I used in class the other day to review vocabulary. It is similar to the Chinese Whispers classic but with a competitive twist to it. 🙂

RULES: 

– Divide your students into two teams and your board into two halves. The teams will line up facing the board perpendicularly.

– Shout out a vocabulary topic you’d like to review.

– Starting from the last student in line, they will whisper a word along the team members and the first student in line will write it on the board. Once he/she has finished writing it, they must move to the end of the line and keep it going to write as many words as possible.

– If a member of the group considers there is a spelling error, they are allowed to correct it when it’s their turn to be at the board.

– To increase the excitement, after a couple of minutes, change the vocabulary topic. 🙂

VARIATIONS: 

– This game could also be used as a warm up task to brainstorm vocabulary on a topic that is about to be covered.

Pronunciation focus: Ask students to come up with vocabulary that includes certain phonemes.

Grammar focus: Shout out a prepositions and students will write down matching verbs. HAVE FUN 🙂

Blind dates

I found a lovely video that I used with a Pre-Intermediate class on blind dates and I couldn’t help sharing it. 🙂

Outline of the lesson:

  • Use the video as a lead in. Stop it at various points and ask students what they think will happen next.
  • Elicit the context (a blind date) and provide them with some discussion questions related to what happened in the video.
  • What does he/she look like? vs. What is he/she like? Teach descriptive adjectives for physical appearance and character/personality.
  • Provide students with some dating profiles. In pairs they can focus on the language style and the vocabulary and discuss which personal qualities would be more valuable or important to them.
  • Using those same dating profiles or asking students to write their own profile on a post it note ( it could be about a person they know) ask them to mingle, ask questions and try to find the perfect match.
  • Finally, give them some general questions about blind dates (personal experiences, what could go wrong?, advice on good spots for a blind date in their city, who should pay? etc)

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/22924551″>Blind Date</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user5407066″>Hallie Wilson</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Drill me to tears

An idea for finding out more about your students’ history as language learners.

When you get a new group of students, the first class (actually the first few) is really aimed at getting to know them and analysing their needs as language learners.

Of course, a needs analysis is quite a serious matter as you will be basing on it your choices on material, class dynamics, topics, methodology and even the arrangement of the furniture in the classroom. Nevertheless, I like to think that the first day is also by far the best opportunity to set the tone for the learning experience you will be sharing together and allowing your students to take charge and have a saying on how its going to develop. They’ll appreciate your interest in getting to know them as individual learners within a group, their past and their expectations.

Students are usually quite nervous and stressed on the first day and that’s why some good humour is the best ice breaker you would ever find. Trust me, they are not expecting this one 😉

OUTLINE OF THE PLAN:

1) Ss watch part of a video. (Stop it at 22 seconds).

Discuss what is going on:  Who is the woman? Who is the man? Where are they? 

2) Watch some more and stop at 1.21.

Discuss: What is the teacher doing? Is it working? 

3) Watch the rest of it. ( give some time for the laughter to invade the room 🙂  )

Discuss: What happened in the end? How did each of them feel?

4) Ss work in pairs and answer the following questions:

Have you ever been in  a similar situation as a learner? How did / would you feel? 

How important is motivation when learning a language?

What do you find most challenging about learning English? 

Discuss the answers as an open class.

 

After this, I would provide each Ss with a questionnaire to find out some more about them. Have them interview each other in pairs so they can practice their speaking skills 🙂

The type of questionnaire would depend on the age and level of the students but I would suggest to add some questions that can provide you with information on their preferences regarding topics, materials, sources, tasks, etc.

The more you know about their history as language learners the higher the chances of succeeding in helping them to keep on progressing. 🙂

 

How great do you need to be?

AN IDEA FOR USING PHOTOS IN CLASS

At the moment I am gleefully reading Sir Ken Robinson’s The Element, a profoundly inspiring read I strongly recommend.

His views on intelligence, imagination and creativity have led me to create a new page on my blog:

8+1 Photo-Talking

(click on link or menu to have a look at my first few 🙂 Please feel free to use them in class )

Here I combine my long-ago interest in the power of images, more recently on photography specifically, with my love for creating teaching materials.

How great do you need to be at something to feel confident enough to share it with others and be motivated to dig deeper into your potential????

I’ve never taken a photography course. I don’t even have a great camera.

Taking this into account, I find that using my own photos as class material is a good way to promote the idea that you do not need to be professionally skilled to make a creative use of something that has a bit of yourself. 🙂

And of course, it’s going to be a great experience to see language emerge from sharing my very own photos.

This is why I have chosen this new section of my blog to fulfill my second goal FEED YOURSELF INSPIRATION, for the 30 Goals Challenge founded by Shelly Terrell.

These photographs are snippets of moments I have lived and beautiful things I have seen which I felt the need to capture. They are inspiring to me because they are a reminder of my creative potential regardless my expertise. I will admit I find them beautiful and feel proud to share them.

As a teacher, I believe this is something we should promote in our students: explore, create, enjoy and value your own potential.

FORTUNE TELLERS MAKE THEM SPEAK!

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I’ll start off by admitting I expected this to work well, taking into account its game form, but it wasn’t just good, it was WONDERFUL to see one group after another wanting to start playing and wanting to communicate in English !!!

At the moment, I am working with very young learners, but I believe it could be used up until 12 years old easily. Using it with teenagers or adults would probably work as well, although I’d imagine it would be more of a warm up or end of lesson review activity. I am a firm believer that adults and teenagers like these kind of simple children’s games as long as they are not treated like children and proves useful for their learning process. Like I said, the amount of time designated to the activity is a decisive variable.

I have used this activity with the 5 year old students on the topic of food in order to review the vocabulary and do some controlled practice for : Do you like….? /  Yes I do / No I don’t

Each student was given a template to make a fortune teller. It had the numbers 1-8, 4 colours and the food items they had learnt during the unit. I downloaded a blank template and drew in the specific vocabulary I wanted them to use.

IMG_3660IMG_3668

 

 

 

 

 

So, we did various things with it:

1. Playing in closed pairs, taking turns while sitting down at their usual spot in the classroom.

2. Lining up in two rows, facing each other, playing on and off as the teacher says  Ready…Steady…Go! or  STOP!

They really enjoyed it and tried to ask as many times as possible in one go, competing with other pairs and showing off how many turns they had taken within the same time limit.

3. A kind of  “musical statues”: The music starts to play and they are meant to move around the room randomly. When the music stops, they have to use their fortune teller to ask whoever is the nearest to them and try to keep the rest of their body as still as possible. We had a good laugh here too.

OTHER POSSIBILITIES :

Such an effective outcome made me think of other topics or functional language to use it with

  • Feelings : Are you ….?  (happy, sad, angry, tired, bored, etc.)
  • Ability : Can you …..? (swim, ride a bike, play the piano, etc.)
  • Telling the time and routines : What time do you ….?  (wake up, have breakfast, go to school, etc.)
  • Possessions: Have you got …? (any pets, a bike, a computer, etc.)
  • Favourites: What is your favourite ….? (sport, food, book, day of the week, etc.)
  • Occupations: What does a/an  ______ do?  (dentist, tailor, zoo keeper, etc.)

You can probably come up with many more of these.

FOR ADULTS AND TEENAGERS:

A slight variation on the form might make this a classroom tool which could be used once in a while to revise vocabulary.

  • Instead of using 4 colours use  verb, noun, adjective and adverb and on the inside write letters of the alphabet. They must think of a word that suits that part of speech which either starts or contains that letter.
  • Another twist to it would be, write phonemic symbols on the inside and keep the parts of speech on the outside. They must come up with vocabulary which includes that phoneme.

You can restrict it to a recent unit you have been doing or give them absolute freedom to dig into their background knowledge.

 

TRY IT OUT AND LET ME KNOW 🙂