venerdì 28 febbraio 2020

When was the last time you went red-faced? A lesson plan about embarrassing moments

Hi everyone,

I know coronavirus is what you expected I was going to talk about today, but no, I won't. There is a lot of going on already and I'm not a medicine expert.

I'd like to share with you a lesson plan I created some time ago for my DipTesol teaching practice. I used it with B2 adult learners but it can work with teenagers, too.
I was inspired by this article and this viral video .

The objective of the lesson was to enable Ls to talk about an embarrassing moment in their/someone’s lives.

Here you will find the lesson stages, 
and these are the materials I used .

Let me know if this lesson plan has worked with your students too!

Ps. If you (student/teacher) want to take up Skype lessons with me, fill out this form!

martedì 18 febbraio 2020

'Station Squabble': a picture-telling activity

Hi folks,

here I am again with a new teaching idea I came up with thanks to a photograph which went viral last week. I'm talking about the shot 'Station Squabble' which has made Sam Rowley win the Wildlife Photographer of the Year LUMIX People's Choice award. Apparently Sam spent late nights at a central London tube stop, down on his belly trying to get the perfect low-angle view. His two subjects had been foraging separately until they chanced across the same morsel of food. For a split second, they argued over who should have it before then going their separate ways.
If you haven't seen the picture yet, I am sure your curiosity has been aroused. I'm not going to show you the photo now, though, I'd like to share my lesson plan first!

Level: A2
Age: Pre-teens/Teens
Target language: Cohesive devices - Substitution/Ellipsis + Sentence stress

1. Warm-up activity - Call My Bluff
Board the phrase 'Station Squabble', most Ls at this level will struggle to understand the meaning of 'squabble' so you can play the game Call My Bluff.
Provide Ls with three/four definitions of the word squabble, but only one of them must be correct ('an argument over something that is not important' -
Ls in pairs/small groups guess which the correct definition is through a poll activity. (If you're a tech-savvy teacher, you might use this website.)

2. Self-assessment
Without telling Ls which definition is the correct one, ask them to read a short dialogue which is an example of a 'squabble' that really happened between two friends. This task will get Ls to understand whether their answers were right or wrong and avoid direct teacher's corrective feedback.
3. Working on the text
Ask Ls to work in pairs.
a. Ls decide which word is missing in the first line. 
b. Ls describe the two characters (whose name is the same).

4.a Focus on TL
Ask Ls work in small groups.
a. Ls try to explain the difference between 'my' and 'mine'.
b. Ls say which word 'did' replaces.

Substitution involves some linguistic item substituting for another item occurring in the prior linguistic context.

Ellipsis is like Substitution except that it involves deleting information recoverable from some prior context rather than replacing the information with a word like do or so. (Meyer, 2002)

4.b Focus on Phonology - Sentence stress
We know that grammar words are usually unstressed. However, in this short dialogue they are. Drill the sentences focusing on the stress by using bullets on the words which are 'strong'. 

5. Showing the photograph
It's time to show the photograph! 
Tell Ls you have a picture of the squabble you've been talking about. Show it to your students and they check out their predictions.
Sam Rowley/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The word missing is 'food'; the phrase 'food morsel' is correct, too. 

lunedì 10 febbraio 2020

Valentine's Day - 'Print Your Guy'

Yes, I know I'm a soppy romantic young lady, but I couldn't help sharing with you this video you can use in class over this week or even better on Valentine's Day. My students really enjoyed watching this short film and found it much easier to learn and memorise the target language I had decided to introduce with it.

Video : Print your guy
Level: B1-upwards 
Age: Teens/Adults
Target language: Adjectives to describe personality + character

1. Warm-up: Vision off 
I told my students I was going to play a short film but they couldn't watch it. They had to listen and guess what was happening. 
Typical answers were: Someone is watching TV. It's a TV advert. It's about love. Etc.

Another option would be starting off with telling students the beginning of the story.
Pamela lives on her own in an apartment in Paris. One evening while watching a movie she sees a commercial for a company who claim they can print her perfect guy, by logging on at Very excited, she runs to her computer to order one, but when it arrives, she realizes that the product wasn't exactly what she was expecting! 
Ask students, 'Why didn't the product live up to her expectations?' (You might need to elicit the meaning of 'live up to')

After getting some feedback from the students I showed them these screenshots.
Screenshot from 'Print your guy'
Screenshot from 'Print your guy'
2. Target language: Adjectives to describe personality
Starting from the principle we never know how much our learners know, I asked all the class to tell me what their perfect guy/girl would be like by only using three words.
Of course, just a few people were confident enough to answer, (but I had already expected that).
I boarded the adjectives that came up, I elicited their meanings and drilled their pronunciation. 
Then I gave each group a set of adjectives and they had to find their definitions on the post-it notes I had stuck on the walls before the lesson started.
Some adjectives and their definitions
3. Speaking activity:
3.a  Predictive task
Back to the short film! I asked my students to look at the picture of Pamela (the main character of the video) and predict which type of guy she was looking for. In pairs learners used the TL learnt and then shared their ideas with the other students. I showed them the short film till 02:16, then we had some whole-class feedback. 
3.b Drawing dictation
The second 'perfect guy' is the manly type. Students worked in pairs, one could watch the video (till 03:28) while the other one had to draw what their partner was dictating them. We had some feedback and voted for the best drawing, too.
3.c Free conversation
Students felt that the third attempt was the right one and instinctively expressed their opinions about who the perfect guy could be. I was really glad that they were autonomous and for a few minutes I let them speak without interrupting them. However, as a teacher, I need to take into account time management, so I asked them to watch the short film till 04:25.

4. Writing activity: Review
After four attempts Pamela has not found her 'perfect guy' yet. I asked students to put themselves in Pamela's shoes and write a short review about the website and its products.

5. Cooling-down activity: Reflection
I let students watch the short movie till the end and I asked them about the meaning of 'perfect match'. I was really satisfied with the fact that students felt so comfortable that they spoke about their private lives and relationships.  

I hope you will spend a great Valentine's Day with your students and loved ones!

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