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Lesson Plan: The Hunt for News

It’s been years since  I last discussed the media and its role in our society in my classes. I don’t really think much has changed since the last time I explored this topic in class.

  • I feel we are still being manipulated by the media
  • I still feel we are, in most cases, misinformed
  • I still feel that the press is controlled by the same networks of people that run everything else
  • I still feel the information we receive is biased and based on speculation rather than hard facts.

But this lesson is meant to be focused on the paparazzi and their work chasing celebrities or famous people. We will discuss the very serious damage that the paparazzi and tabloid media can cause when they constantly invade people’s privacy. We will discuss whether the paparazzi are to blame for some unfortunate events and whether stricter laws should be enforced. We will study vocabulary relevant to this topic and read real examples where the right to have a private life will be discussed. Are you ready?

Step 1: a stirrer.
  1. Ask students: Have you ever met someone famous?

Telling an anecdote about yourself never fails to engage students. It’s only fair that if you are asking them to talk about themselves, you do the same.

2. On the board, write the question below and ask students to briefly comment on this.

 Want fame? Kiss your privacy goodbye! 

Step 2 . Introducing vocabulary

Every time I revise or introduce vocabulary in my classes, I make a point of reminding my students that they need to study the vocabulary in chunks. There is no point in studying the verb “apply” if they don’t know the preposition it collocates with.  The next activity is a good one to remind students of this necessity.

  • Give students two minutes to write all the vocabulary they know related to The media.
  • On the board, write a circle with the word The Media inside. Do a mind-map with all the vocabulary students provide.
  • Drill pronunciation and then do a quick translation exercise to consolidate meaning and pronunciation.

Introduce new vocabulary.

  • To follow a lead
  • paparazzo/paparazzi/amateur paps
  • revulsion/respect for their profession
  • a tip-off/to tip off the paparazzi
  • to gather news
  • to spot a celebrity
  • agency/ˈeɪ.dʒən.si/
  • news outlets
  • news coverage
  • exclusive /ɪkˈskluː.sɪv/
  • a major scoop
  • click-bait story
  • photojournalism
  • tabloid journalism and sensasionalism /senˈseɪ.ʃən.əl.ɪ.zəm/
  • to censor/impose strict censorship /ˈsen.sə.ʃɪp/
  • Celebrity scandals
  • sensational news
  • To harass foreign journalists UK /ˈhær.əs/ AmE /həˈræs/
  • to stalk a celebrity /stɔːk/
  • to pursue or chase celebrities /pəˈsjuː/
  • to catch up on the news
  • to leak to the press
  • to tackle misinformation
  • invasion of privacy /ɪnˈveɪ.ʒən/ /ˈprɪv.ə.si/
  • untrustworthy/reliable sources /ʌnˈtrʌstˌwɜː.ði/
  • accuracy of the reports
  • unverified information
  • biased/unbiased
  • to be in the limelight
  • to be highly sought-after /ˈsɔːt ˌɑːf.tər/

You can follow the rest of the lesson plan using the presentation below. I hope you enjoy it!

The Hunt for News

In case you are looking for debatable or persuasive topics about the media, here you have some.

Science and Research: Vocabulary, Listening and Conversation Questions for C1 students

Back to the grind with an engaging lesson on Science and Research.

  • Topic: Science
  • Level: C1
  • Skill and subskills: Vocabulary, Speaking, listening

Warm-up: Scientists and their discoveries and inventions

1. In pairs: In 1 minute, write as many scientists as you can think of together. Do you recall what they are known for?

2. Whole class. Display the exercise and do it as a whole class.  Students should rank the 3 most important discoveries or inventions in pairs, giving reasons for their choices.

Vocabulary. The words you need.
    • a major breakthrough in the fight against
    • to address the underlying cause of autism
    • to extract DNA from
    • to undertake/carry out a survey
    • to test animals in labs
    • to do experiments on sheep
    • the experiment was flawed
    • to do /carry out research
    • the findings show/ the findings highlight the importance…
    • to pave the way for …
    • lack of funding / get funding
    • genetic disorders
    • genetic engineering
    • gene manipulation
    • to invest in space studies
    • cutting-edge technology
    • to benefit or to harm people
    • to be more prevalent than
    • to clone
    • to devise a way to …
    • to carry out examinations
    • to successfully transplant
    • scientific theories 
    • to provide conclusive evidence
    • to be sceptical (UK)/skeptical (US) about…
    • to have growing concerns about
    • to go beyond the edge of ethics
    • a drugs trial
    • unethical research

Listening:Many Clinics Use Genetic Diagnosis to Choose Sex

Step 1. Pre-Listening:

Read the beginning of the news and ask students to discuss what the news is about

Prenatal genetic testing: A growing number of doctors are pushing the ethical limits of the procedure called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD.

Some say doctors are going beyond the edge of ethics. Some doctors analyze an embryo’s DNA so parents…

Step 2. Listening Comprension.

TRUE or FALSE?

  1. There is not a 100%  guarantee of success when choosing the sex of your baby.
  2. The American Society of Reproduction Medicine approves of this technique.
  3. The Indian couple is afraid of stigmatization.
  4. In Indian culture, having girls is less desirable than having boys.
  5. According to Dr Potter, the desired sex in most cases is male.

Source and transcript: https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6654619&t=1641299618264

Step 3. Now, on the board, write the question: “ Is it ethical to choose the sex of your baby?” and ask students to, individually, list some reasons to defend their position. Put them in pairs to discuss their opinions and then do a whole-class debate.

Note: You will also find this question (slightly modified) in the exercise below.

Speaking: Activating vocabulary

Display the first question and have students, as a whole class, come up with the word that best fits in the gap.

The Environment: Do we Really Care?

This month many of us, teachers and students alike,  are celebrating the anniversary of all kinds of things we had no idea would define the year ahead of us.  I distinctly remember the day when only two or three students turned up for class and  myself saying things like: “this soon will pass” and “I will see you in a fortnight! before going into confinement.

With human activity slowing down due to the strict restrictions, March will probably also mark the month when our planet could breathe some fresh air for the first time in decades.  Reversing decades of destruction is, of course, not possible in such a short time, but at least, we could have a glimpse of what the earth would feel like without fossil fuels.

The lesson I am sharing with you today is, as you have probably guessed, explores the theme of the environment and is meant for C1 students.

I have designed the lesson using my favourite tool ever, Spark Adobe Page, but in the presentation, you will find links to other websites that will help my students work on vocabulary relevant to talk about this topic, enhance their listening skills by watching videos and discuss questions to boost their speaking abilities. Also, at the end of the post, you can have a look at a writing collaborative activity using Google Slides.

Before you jump right into the lesson in Spark Adobe, perhaps you would like to explore some vocabulary related to the environment.  I have used the awesome tool Flippity. I cannot embed the activity but click on the image to have a good look at all the possibilities it offers for introducing, revising and reinforcing.  As you can see, I have created an activity with a template, but then I can reuse it in a number of different ways. That’s what I call, a real time-saver!


Ready to explore the lesson? This is what you will find in this visual session

  • Natural Disasters: Vocabulary  and exercises
  • Natural disasters: Conversation questions
  • National Geographic repository of videos explaining natural disasters
  • Man-made disaster Video activity with a pronunciation game
  • Environment: vocabulary and games
  • Speaking: conversation questions to  use vocabulary  in context

The Environment. Do we really care?

To round up the lesson, I gave students a writing activity using Google slides in editing mode.  This beautiful template has been designed by Paula from Slides Mania. Thanks; Paula, I think I can call myself a Slides Maniac.


By the way, if you want students As and Bs to work on their questions at the same time, it might be a good idea to use a Chrome extension to split the screen into two. I use Tab Resizer. But, if you do not want to install an extension on the Chrome bar, you can always do it manually.

  1. Depress the left mouse button and “grab” the window.
  2. Keep the mouse button depressed and drag the window all the way over to the RIGHT of your screen. …
  3. Now you should be able to see the other open window, behind the half window that’s to the right

I hope you have enjoyed the lesson

Brainstorming, Introducing and Revising Vocabulary Related to Work for C1 Students

Undeniable. This course is proving to be quite challenging. Having your students sitting in rows, stuck on their seats and only being able to talk to the person on their right or on their left has me racking my brains trying to find attractive alternatives to some of the successful dynamics I used in the past.

With teaching online on the rise, more than ever I have been juggling different tools to make sure the work my students do at home is relevant, effective and motivating. I think Genial.ly, the tool I have used in this lesson, is a must-have in any teachers’ toolbox.

In this lesson, you will find:

  • Activating prior knowledge:  handout
  • Introducing new vocabulary: handout
  • Speaking activity
  • Engaging game to revise Vocabulary

Step 1. Activating Students’ Prior Knowledge. Brainstorming

Before introducing new vocabulary, it is crucial to help them activate prior knowledge so that they don’t feel overwhelmed by how much they need to learn. Learning expands gradually from previous knowledge and we cannot and should not neglect this important step.

To brainstorm vocabulary, I gave them 2 minutes to write down on their notebooks, words or expressions related to “work”. On the board, I wrote Work and then wrote their suggestions, exemplifying, clarifying and drilling pronunciation.

When appropriate and relevant, I also started introducing new terms, like the minimum wage as represented in the picture below.   Some  other vocabulary they came up with is here

Step 2: Introducing New Vocabulary

PDF here

Individual Work: I gave them this photocopy and a couple of minutes to underline any new words/expressions.

Whole class: Then,  I instructed them to ask the question. Does anyone know what the meaning of…. is?  Only when no one in the class could come up with a clear explanation, did I offer it.  Until then, it is all about asking students to tap into their previous knowledge.

Step 3: Firts attempt at introducing some new vocabulary in a speaking activity

I divided the class into As and Bs and asked As to choose three new words they wanted to use in their speech. I wrote them on the board under the headings A’s words/ B’s words.

I gave As this statement to discuss: Unpaid internships should be banned and I gave B’s Retirement age: higher or lower? I let them have some thinking time and asked them to do the speaking task.

Step 4: Revising Vocabulary with a Game

This proved to be an engaging game to revise vocabulary. You will find the instructions in the second slide, but watch the video with my students doing the activity if you want a sneak peek of how much fun we had.

And here’s the game. I have made the template editable in case you want to add your own pictures. To reveal the hidden word, you’ll need to hover the mouse pointer over the picture.

More vocabulary

Lesson Plan for C1: Politics and Politicians.

I am certain I am not the only one who is fed up with politicians. Should you ask my friends, they’ll tell you that I never talk about politics. I never criticize or praise politicians. I talk about life, about life issues, but always being respectful of other people’s attitudes. I don’t like radical people. I don’t want them around me. I know that some of you might think knowing about politics is a necessity. I don’t disagree.  However, getting into heated arguments with people who have a different point of view is, in my opinion, a waste of time and frustrating. So, I don’t do it. And, in this frame of mind, I will approach this lesson about Politics.

PDF Teacher’s     PDF Student’s

Warm-up. Whole class
  •  What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the word POLITICIAN?
  • What is the minimum voting age in your country? Should it be higher or lower?   See: Voting age around the world
  • What are the main political parties in your country? Who is the most controversial politician?  useful vocabulary here.

 

Working on Vocabulary: Adjectives
  • On the board, write three headings: positive, negative and neutral and ask students to do the same in their notebooks. Tell them you are going to dictate a list of adjectives and qualities that can be applied to politicians.
  • Start calling out adjectives and ask them to place them under one of the columns. You might need to spell some of them, or alternatively write them down on the board. It is a good opportunity to drill pronunciation and clarify/teach meanings.
  • Do the exercise on the board. There might be slight disagreements and that is just fine.

Focusing on Listening:  How the US  and the UK election works

This listening exercise has different parts

Individual work:

  • Students are divided into pairs. Student A listens to How the US election works and Student B to How the UK election works. In my case, I have set it as homework but you can do it in class, asking students to bring some earbuds.
  • As students listen, ask them to write down any words/expressions related to the topic. Ask them to look them up and practise their pronunciation as they might be asked to explain some terms to the class.

In class:

  • Using Mentimeter, ask them to write the words they jotted down from the video. Once the cloud is formed, point to one word and ask them to explain it.

  • Pair up A and B and ask them to report their findings.

Student A. How the US election works

Student B: The voting system in the Uk

Follow up: Cloze with a twist.

Give students the transcript for both videos. Tell them you have deleted some words from the transcript. They will have to listen very attentively as there are no empty spaces showing there is a missing word. Ask them to compare in pairs before correcting the exercise.  You will find the exercise in the PDF.

Working on Vocabulary

Have a look at how these verbs collocate

  • Boost the economy
  • Harm/benefit someone or an organization
  • Put a strain on the finances of a country/area
  • Exacerbate a problem
  • Undermine the morale of citizens
  • Create divisions
  • Lead to tensions
  • Cut taxes
  • Extend working hours
  • Increase public spending
  • Abolish unemployment benefits
  • Allow a vote on independence
  • Increase penalties for…
  • Damage the economy
  • Resolve existing social problems
  • Rise of income inequality
  • Reform the education system
  • Solve social problems
  • Ensure prosperity
  • Hold an election
  • Rig the election
  • Stand for election

Other words you might want to know: floating voters. popularity ratings, a right-winger, a left-winger, a polling station, a running mate, a high turnout, voting booth, ballot card

Speaking

Before each section, ask students to call out 6 words or expressions they have learned in this unit. Divide the class into As and Bs and assign As three words and Bs three words. Display the first section and ask them to take in turns to answer the questions trying to use the vocabulary on the board

Politcs and Policiticians

 

Speaking and writing using Flipgrid

I have been dying to use Flipgris’s new update. “And what is it that has you so excited?” -you might be wondering. Well, it is the possibility of responding to a video in a written form.  Imagine the possibilities, imagine the potential it has for language teaching.

So, here’s the first activity for my students using the brand new Text Comments. I know it is a dangerous activity, but I teach adults and am relying on their self-restraint.