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. 

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