MAIN ACTIVITIES Visualization, speaking, gap fill, vocabulary acquisition, prediction.
SUITABLE FOR Teens and adults, Pre-Advanced (B2.2) and above
TEACHER’S NOTES (Click here for a pdf of the Teacher’s Notes.)
Tell students that they are going to listen to something with their eyes closed. After listening, they tell a partner about the images they visualized. Who did they see? Where? What were they doing? Why? etc. Play from 00:25 to 01:02 (sound only).
Students tell each other what they visualized in as much detail as possible. Ask a couple of students to tell the rest of the class what they talked about. Did most people have similar ideas?
Play the clip again, this time with both sound and images. Students (in pairs) answer the questions in step 1 based on what they saw. (Two male giraffes are going to fight over a female in the African desert.)
Tell students that they are going to read a description of the fight. Display or give them a copy of the script. They read it quickly and say which word which is out of place.
Now they work together to replace the word banana** with another word (a different one for each banana).
Play the video from 01:05 to 03:23 so that students can compare what they wrote with the words used in the documentary. (rival, chance, blows, desert, fight, legs, reign)
Students vote on which giraffe will win – the old bull or the young rival. Play the clip until 04:35 and ask how the the old giraffe won (He ducked and aimed a blow at his rival’s underbelly). Tell students that the young giraffe didn’t die; he was just knocked out.
Say that the clip comes from the first episode of the BBC series Africa, and encourage those who like nature programmes to look for more David Attenborough documentaries and watch them in English. If you have a class wiki, students can look for nature clips on YouTube, upload them and comment on each other’s choices.
** The banana idea comes from this post about different ways to do a gap fill / cloze on David Petrie’s blog.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Vocabulary expansion, prediction, sports idioms
SUITABLE FOR Upper Intermediate (B2) and above
TEACHER’S NOTES (Click here for a pdf of the Teacher’s Notes.)
Show the class the word cloud below and ask them to name the sport.
Divide the class into four groups – A, B, C and D – and organise the groups in a rough circle around the room. There must be at least one person in each group who has a mobile phone or tablet with an internet connection. If you have a big class, you can make eight groups. Display this image and ask them to tell each other what they know about baseball – its vocabulary and its rules. They can use mobiles or dictionaries to look things up.
Ask each group to nominate one member, who must then go and “visit” the next group in a clockwise direction. The visitor and the group compare ideas. Afterwards, the visitors return to their respective groups and give some feedback.
Display this page from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary so that groups can check their predictions.
Tell students that it’s traditional in baseball to have a ceremonial opening pitch, usually performed by someone famous or to celebrate some special event. Tell them that they are going to watch a different YouTube video each showing ceremonial pitches which are famous for being unusual in some way. Each group has to watch their video and work out how to describe exactly what happened in English.
Get each group to watch one of the videos below. In class, you can do this by getting students to look for the video on YouTube using the descriptions in italics as follows:
Group A cirque du soleil baseball pitch
Group B Max Ashton baseball pitch
Group C Shin Soo-Ji baseball pitch
Group D Zombies baseball pitch
Give students time (and some help!) to come up with accurate descriptions of the scene.
Once they’re ready, reorganise the class into four new groups where there is a representative of each original group in each new one, i.e. the new groups are made up of at least one person each from A, B, C and D. There must be a mobile phone or tablet with an internet connection in each new group.
Each person now takes it in turns to show the opening scene of their original video, being careful to stop it before the ball is thrown. The others have to guess what happens next. The person who showed the video then gives a point to the person who was closest before describing verbally what happens in the video without showing it.
Once all the opening scenes have been seen, they then watch each full video to see what actually happens. Now the group have to decide who gets a point for having given the most accurate verbal description.
Ask students which video they liked best and why. To round off the lesson, ask students to use their mobiles or a dictionary to first figure out the meanings of these questions – all containing sporting idioms – and then answer them.
Main Activities Vocabulary acquisition, word formation, talking about mobile phone use
Suitable for Pre-Advanced (B2.2) teens and adults.
We’re moving on to a “mobile” theme this month on the blog and this first post is designed to encourage students to push at the boundaries of their vocabulary and to think about word form as tested in exams such as the First Certificate and Advanced. Thanks to our colleague Nikki for the heads-up on this beautiful and thought-provoking short film about how much those little phones have taken over our lives.
TEACHER’S NOTES (Click here for a pdf version)
Divide the class into two large groups – A and B. Then, within each group, form pairs so that all As are working with another A and vice-versa. Tell them that they’re going to hear the audio from a short piece of video. They have to guess the different places and events from what they hear. Some are more obvious than others and they’ll need to use their imaginations. Play the video (sound only) and stop at the following points, asking the students to write down what they think is happening and where:
a. 00:10 e. 01:00 i. 01:30
b. 00:24 f. 01:05 j. 01:50
c. 00:43 g. 01:09 k. 02:03
d. 00:51 h. 01:22
Once all the pairs have written their agreed suggestions, hand out the A/B answer sheet to the two large groups. Give them time to look up words/phrases for pronunciation or meaning using dictionaries or mobiles as they’ll have to tell a partner the answer in a moment.
Make A/B pairs. Each person has the answers that the other one is missing. They take it in turns to read each other their suggestions from step 1 and then to hear the answer from their partner.
Tell them that the protagonist of the video is annoyed by a similar thing in all of the scenes described. Ask them to guess with their partner what it might be.
Now show them the video to see if they guessed correctly.
Keep the students in the same A/B pairs. Tell them that you’re going to give them this sheet with 11 sentences describing the people with the mobiles. In each sentence, similar to the FCE/CAE word formation exercise, there is a word missing. To fill the gap, they must use the appropriate version of the word given in bold at the end of the sentence. Note that two of the words don’t need to be changed at all, and one is not the base word, as in the Cambridge exam. They get one point for each correct answer but only if the spelling is perfect!
Now regroup the class into groups of three and ask them to discuss the questions below the 11 sentences. Encourage people to ask questions for vocabulary etc. and make your own notes on interesting errors or nice language, for example. Write everything up on the board and allow some time to go through it at the end of their discussion.
Tell students not to take notes. Finish by telling them that they’re going to use their mobiles for something positive and then ask them to stand up and take a photo of the board. Ask them to write up their own notes, either in their notebooks or on their computer, using the photo. Bring them in, or print them out for the next day to compare how they’ve organised the information.
In our third post this month, eggs get another mention, a word cloud makes another appearance, and there’s a focus on words with multiple meanings. This time we use footage from the BBC documentary series Wild Caribbean. In the clip we see a cast of crabs (or a consortium of crabs, according to some sources) travel from land to sea to lay their eggs. And this week there’s no boiling, scrambling, poaching, frying or chocolate eggs to make starving students faint with hunger during classes at lunch or dinner time.
In our second slightly egg-themed post this month, we take a look at some traditional foods that are eaten at Easter. First, we focus on collocation and explore words that can combine with chocolate, Easter and lamb. We then move on to watch a couple of videos stuffed with a mouth-watering mixture of Easter edibles. To finish off, students put all the vocabulary into practice before going off to do some food photography at home.
Image made using photos taken from http://flickr.com/eltpics by @mkofab, @YTatLE, @eltpics, @CsillaBen, @CsillaBen and @steve_muir used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial license, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/
To finish our paper theme this month, here’s a video-based lesson from a new section in The Guardian newspaper, where experts encourage people to try out new things. There are prediction and listening tasks while watching the musician teach the cook how to busk successfully in London. To finish off, we have a webquest for homework to find out more.