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Lesson Plan: Work

After a little bit of a crazy few months, we are finally heading for final exams. More craziness. I know. But, of a different kind.

My first time on Twitter was in December 2015. I was kind of “forced” to open a Twitter account as I was doing an online talk for the British Council on “How to Keep students Motivated” and the app we were using for the event required that I had a Twitter handle.  I didn’t know much about Twitter and even thought, in my ignorance,  it was something bound to disappear but I couldn’t be more mistaken. I love Twitter and have to say  I am kind of hooked on it.  What? You are not following me?  Hey! You’re missing out! This is my twitter handle @blogdecristina.   I hope to meet you all there.

Anyway, I got the idea for the first exercise in this lesson plan from Twitter.  Twitter users were tweeting about “five jobs I have had” and I was like “hmm, that’s a good idea to start a lesson about work!” and without further ado, I set out to write this post about work. Hope you find it useful.

Step 1. Writing and Speaking.Three Jobs I have Had.  

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.  On the board, write the following:

Before working as a teacher,

  • I worked as a waitress
  • I worked on a farm picking apples
  • I worked as a baby sitter

Briefly, explain your experiences working in the jobs you have chosen to share with them and then ask them to do the same. Once they have written their sentences, ask them to work in groups of 3 sharing their experiences in these jobs. They are gonna love this exercise!

Step 2. Writing. Choose a Job Game. Working with adjectives
  • Write on the board or give students a hand-out with adjectives used to describe positive character traits for the workplace. Check that they know the meanings.
ambitious confident conscientious easy-going hard-working
honest loyal methodical motivated reliable
punctual responsible dynamic cheerful charming
communicative flexible sociable creative resourceful
  • Display the collage below and ask students to identify the jobs in the collage.

  • Individually and without telling anybody, students choose one of the jobs in the collage and write three clues for the rest of the class/group to guess the job.
  • The first clue needs to necessarily include three character traits associated with the job. This clue is worth 3 points.
  • The second clue needs to be associated with either the workplace or the people you work with if you are doing this job. This clue is worth 2 points.
  • The third clue needs to be associated with something you are required to do in this job. This clue is worth 1 point.
  • Once they all have their clues, ask students to form groups of 4. Taking it in turns, they read Clue 1. If someone guesses the job after reading clue 1, they score 3 points; if clue number 2 has to be read, they will score 2 points …etc.
  • Rules: if a student in the group has a wrong guess for a job, he won’t be allowed to guess again for this job. This will prevent students from giving wild guesses.

Example:

  • In this job, you have to be hard-working, cheerful dynamic and sociable.
  • In this job, you have to work with young and old people
  • In this job, you have to take orders

Answer: waiter

Step 3: Introducing/Revising & Consolidating Vocabulary related to Work

 

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 work, excluding professions.
  • On the board, write a circle with the word Work 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.

I find it really important to tap into students’ prior knowledge, especially when teaching vocabulary. If they feel they know most of the words, they won’t feel overwhelmed and will be able to maintain a positive attitude.

PDF Vocabulary 

Step 4.Speaking. Playing Cards. A game to activate vocabulary

Aim: to activate vocabulary in a speaking activity

Give each student 10 pieces of paper, more or less the size of a card in a deck of cards. Ask them to write down vocabulary they can remember related to work. Encourage them to write chunks, for ex. “apply for” or “quit a job”.  They should write each chunk on a different piece of paper. Encourage legible clear handwriting. Once this is done:

  1. Ask students to form groups of three
  2. Ask them to place their cards face down on the table. They might want to shuffle them a bit. Each student is dealt two cards.
  3. Display the first question from the presentation below and ask students to discuss it trying to use the words in their cards. As soon as they use the chunk in a card, they discard it and take a new one, they should always have two cards in their hands.
  4. Allow 4 minutes per question and then display a new question for the students to discuss.
  5. Students continue in the same way using vocabulary, discarding and taking new cards until there are none left in the pile. At this point, they will count the number of cards they have managed to use. Each card is worth 1 point. Very quickly they decide who the winner is and shuffling the cards the game starts all over again until all the questions have been answered or you deem appropriate.

Work

Step 5. Oral and written Mediation

Yes. Mediation.  I know some of you hate it, and some of you don’t even know what it is. Mediation and I, I think we have clicked, and as  I am afraid it is here to stay, emotional intelligence should apply here if we want to keep the good vibes coming. I have decided to be smart and embrace mediation.

Below, you’ll find two examples of oral interlinguistic, also called cross-linguistic,  mediation and an example of written interlinguistic mediation

Interested in spicing up your lessons? I ran face-to-face workshops helping teachers integrate technology in their classes in an easy way, using free online digital tools. Practical tested ideas that combine traditional teaching with modern techniques. Fun and learning, a win-win!

From teacher to teacher. In English and in Spanish.

Lesson Plan: Crime and Punishment

Yay! It’s March! One of my fav seasons! I’m basically ticking off the days in my calendar until March 31 when we turn the clocks ahead and get more hours of daylight. In case you haven’t figured yet, I’m a sucker for bright sunny days.

This lesson plan about Crime and Punishment has been on my to-make list for a long time. And since I’m also ticking off the days before finals, I have decided to finally write it.  “Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today” or so they say.

This lesson plan is intended to fill a four-hour lesson or maybe a bit more. My classes are 110 minutes long so my intention is to dedicate two classes to talking about this topic. You can skip some of the tasks – don’t you dare!- if you don’t want to spend four hours talking about crime and punishment.

Day 1

Day One is a bit more boring than Day 2. Be warned!

Step 1: Lead-in.

1. Revising vocabulary. At this level, students know some common vocabulary related to crime and it’s always a good idea to tap into students’ prior knowledge. You want them to feel they are learning, but you probably don’t want them to feel overwhelmed by the amount of vocabulary they have to study.

Write Crime on the board and ask students in pairs to write down as many different crimes as they can think of.

Ask for feedback and write them on the board. It might be a good idea to introduce at this point the names for the criminals and the action verbs for each crime.

Example: they write kidnapping, and they also get kidnapper and to kidnap

2. Speaking: Point to some of the crimes on the board and ask simple questions such as

Do you know anyone who has been burgled/ mugged/kidnapped/ stopped by the police while drunk-driving? What happened?

Step 2: Introducing New Vocabulary.

1. A Game with FlipCards. As I wrote in another post, Quizlet and I have made up, it’s not that we had fallen out, it’s just that I found other flip card apps more visually appealing.  I still think they could update their app but the truth is that now I find myself using Quizlet more and more often. I am planning to use Quizlet in two ways. The one below- Flashcards mode-on Day 1 and Quizlet Live on Day 2 ( I warned you, Day 2 is more fun!)

Procedure: Divide the class into Team A and Team B.  They should name a spokesperson for each team. Flip a virtual coin to decide who starts the game. Let’s say Team A starts the game. Display the first definition and ask Team A to guess the crime. Allow a maximum of 10 seconds and ask the spokesperson to tell you the crime. They can continue playing until they make a mistake or cannot come up with the crime matching the definition. At this point,  the turn goes to Team B who can try to guess the crime.  If they can’t, they will still continue trying to guess crimes until again they make a mistake or cannot provide the crime for the definition on display. Every correct guess scores 1 point. It goes without saying the winner is the team who has scored the most points.

The idea is to facilitate learning, so after the game do the exercise again with the whole class, this time trying to focus only on the pictures and quickly saying the crime. A third time at the end of the class? Why not!

Introduce the term “white-collar crimes”  also called “corporate crime”. Explain that white-collar crimes are those financially motivated, nonviolent crimes committed by business and government professionals. Ask students to name some white-collar crimes and ask:

Do you think white-collar criminals should do time in jail?

Want to go the extra mile? For a more extensive list, click here

2. Vocabulary related to Crime and Punishment.

We have the crimes and the criminals. Now, what else? To talk about crimes and punishment we need vocabulary. Find the PDF here

3. Confusing words: steal, rob and burgle

This post about the difference between these three verbs published some time ago, comes in handy. Check it out

Step 3: Speaking. 

Time: 2 minutes per question

Ask students to work in groups of three.  Name them Student A, B and C. Give each of them a scrap of paper and ask them to write 4 words they remember related to crimes. Display the first question from the presentation below and ask student As in the group to answer the question trying to use the words in their scraps of paper.  Display the second question and ask student Bs to do the same. Repeat procedure for student Cs.

Ask students to swap scraps of paper within the members of their group and then ask all the student As in the groups to move to another group. Repeat the procedure above.

Note: Ask students to keep their scraps of paper as they will be used on Day 2.

Step 4: Listening and Speaking. Note-taking

Play the following videos. The task for each of them is the same.

  • Ask students to take notes and summarize the information
  • Ask: Does the punishment fit the crime?

Five teens charged for murder for throwing rocks

Animal abuse

Drunk driving

I know, I know... I said  two hours... maybe a bit more :)

Day 2

Day 2 is all about reinforcing vocabulary, playing and speaking. Check it out!

Continue reading Lesson Plan: Crime and Punishment

Lesson Plan. Success and Failure

Step 1. Lead-in

Number 1. Display the collage below and ask students whether they know any of these people.  Ask them in pairs to discuss what they have in common.

Ask for feedback. Hopefully, they will tell you what you want to hear from them; that they are all very successful people.

The people below are Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, Amancio Ortega and Jeff Bezos. Just in case 🙂

Number 2. On the board, write the words ” success” and “failure”. You might want to drill pronunciation /səkˈses/  and  /ˈfeɪljə(r)/. Ask: what are the verbs?  What are the adjectives?

Teach the adjectives successful and  failed  and the verbs succeed in/ at  and fail in.

  • He is a successful writer/ He is a failed writer.
  • He has succeeded in life/ he has succeeded at work/ He has failed in his attempt to win the race

Number 3.  Ask students in pairs to brainstorm vocabulary they associate to success and failure. You might want to teach some more advanced vocabulary. Ask students to write three columns on their notebooks ( words related to Success/ words related to failure/ related to both ). Write the words down, one at a time, on the board and ask students to tell you whether they are related to success or failure or both.

  • to accomplish / accomplishment
  • to achieve/( remarkable) achievement
  • to take risks / a risk taker
  • a visionary
  • a dreamer
  • an entrepreneur
  • an opportunist
  • to take a chance
  • to make a fortune
  • a half-baked idea
  • to chew over an idea
  • to be the main breadwinner
  • to save for a rainy day
  • unprecedented/modest success
  • to bring out the best in people
  • to be doomed to failure
  • to blow it
  • to be quite a feat
  • to suffer a setback
  • to do something as a last resort

Ask students in pairs to discuss the following questions. Encourage the use of vocabulary

  1. Talk about a successful person you know
  2. Is success important to you?
  3. What is your biggest success in life?
  4. Share with your partner a time when you failed at something. What happened? How did you feel?

 

Step 2: Listening: Cloze Test

Tell them they are going to see Lady Gaga’s acceptance speech at Oscars 2019 for best original song.

Procedure:

Display this gapped text with the OHP or print it. Don’t play the video  yet.

 

  • Ask students to predict the lexical category or part of speech that could fit each gap: is it a noun, an adjective, a preposition or maybe an article? Allow a couple of minutes for this task. You might want to show an example.

For example, I wrote a letter___ my mother (students will most likely agree, they ‘ll       need   a preposition to fill in this gap)

Let’s start:

  • Ask students to work in pairs. Ask Student A to face the board. Ask Student B to face away from the board and concentrate on the text.
  • Tell students you’ll write the words on the board in random order, but each of the words will be identified with a number. If you have 9 gaps in the cloze text, you will write the words on the board preceded by the number. Tell Student B to do the same in case he cannot guess a word in the allotted time. For ex: 1. house  2. wrote 3. for.
  • Write one of the missing words on the board, and ask student A to define the word, or give a synonym or antonym for student B to guess and write down. For example, if the word on the board is “wrote”, Student A might say “it’s a verb in the past and you use a pen or a pencil to do it”.
  • Tell students you’ll write a new word every 30 seconds. If Student B guesses the word quickly, he might try to use the rest of the time (up until the 30 seconds)  to try to place the word in the right gap but tell them you’ll not wait.
  • Continue in the same way until you have written all the missing words. The words should be written in random order.

NOTE: If one of the words hasn’t been guessed, at the end of this part Student A will need to try to define the words again. (Remember that the words are still written on the board).  This time, Student A can help Student B  by giving him the first letter.

  • Once they have all the words, Students A and B will work together to complete the gapped test.
  • Place a bell on your table and ask the first pair to finish to come up to your table. Silently check that the exercise is correct and if it is, ask them to ring the bell. From that moment, the rest of the class will have one minute to finish the exercise.

The missing words from Lady Gaga’s acceptance speech are: 1. sister 2. sung  3. hard  4. winning 5. fight  6. passion  7. fall  8. stand   9. brave.

Don’t forget to write the board in random order.

Play Lady Gaga’s acceptance speech and ask students in pairs to comment on it and give you feedback.

Step 3: Speaking. Quotes.

Ask students in groups of three to discuss the following quotes. Display the first quote and allow them to discuss it for about 4 or 5 minutes and then get feedback. Display the second one and repeat procedure.

Food for Thought Issues. A lesson about Food for B2 students

February is a short month. First round of exams is over and I need to concentrate on preparing my students to take standardized exams. I am beginning to feel the pressure. OMG! It’s only February and I  am already a bit stressed out. Will I make it to the end of the course with all my wits about me? Highly unlikely!

So, next topic on my list is Food and Nutrition and all the subtopics around it, which are …like a lot.

What you will see in this post is an example of how I prepare my students to take oral exams.

  • Revision and introduction of vocabulary-related terms
  • Listening Comprehension Activity: Food waste
  • Pronunciation Activity: Organic Food No More Nutritious
  • Speaking Activity through Reading passages with Follow-up Questions
  • Mediation Activities

Continue reading Food for Thought Issues. A lesson about Food for B2 students

Lesson Plan: Save Mother Earth

Hey! How’s the new year treating you?

Question for you. Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions? Or let me rephrase it, have you announced to friends and family that you are finally going to hit the gym, eat fewer carbs and give up smoking? Have you? Sorry to be the party pooper here. Statistics say that only 8% of the people who make New Year’s resolutions stick to them. I am definitely part of the 92%. What about you?

However, I have made a New Year’s resolution. It’s the same I made last year. I am going to try to reuse single-use disposable plastic bags when I do my daily shopping. Last year,  I even went as far as putting a bunch of these bags in the boot of my car. There they are. Exactly in the same place. This year I am going to try again. I am really going to try. It’s not that I don’t want to. I really want to do my part. It’s just that I forget. So, I am considering moving the bags to the front seat. It might work. What do you think?

That’s what I’m eco-guilty of. What about you? What is your darkest eco-sin?

The lesson today is aimed at students with a language level of B2  (upper-intermediate) and focuses on revising, learning and using vocabulary related to the environment and environmental issues through a variety of engaging activities which will help them learn vocabulary and  improve listening, speaking and writing.

Introducing the Topic: Playing Hangman. Vocabulary and Speaking

Aim: Introduce some common vocabulary and to work on pronunciation.

On the board, write the word “Environment” and drill pronunciation.

Divide the class into two or three groups, depending on the number of students in your class.

  • Team A starts saying one letter. Whether they guess right or wrong, the turn goes now to Team B who will say another letter.
  • To try to guess the hidden word, a member of the team will need to stand up and say. “We know!”. If they guess right, they score 1 point. If they don’t, the other team can say up to two letters before anybody tries to guess again.
  • Note: they can only attempt to guess the word once half the letters have been guessed. For this, before each game, you will have to count the number of gaps. For example, if the word contains 8 letters, they can only guess when 4 letters have been filled.

There are four words and expressions to be learnt or revised with this exercise. After they have guessed the words, ask them a question where the target word is used in context. You might need to introduce some new vocabulary at this stage.

  1. Environment: What do you do to help the environment?
  2. Global warming: How do you feel when you hear about global warming?
  3. Recycle: Do you recycle? What kind of things do you recycle?
  4. Renewable energies: Do you know what renewable energies are? Do you use any of them? Why? Why not?
Leaning Vocabulary
  • Drill pronunciation as you teach the words and then flip the cards to see how they are used in context. Do this exercise twice.
  • Reinforcement: there are 24 terms here. Ask students in pairs to write in two minutes as many as they can remember.

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Listening. School Strike for Climate Change

In this inspiring thought-provoking talk, 15-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg addresses the world leaders demanding they act against climate change.

Ask students to take down notes from Greta’s talk and then in pairs talk about the most important ideas in her speech.

Encourage the use of vocabulary.

Three Speaking  Activities
  1. Gallery Walk. Thought-provoking Posters with a Humorous Twist. Giving a Monologue.

Posters here

  • Put the posters containing environmental issues up on the walls of the class.
  • Ask students to stand up, tour the gallery and choose a poster they would like to talk about for about 4 minutes.
  • Ask students to stand next to the poster they would like to talk about.
  • Arrange students in groups of three, being careful to mix students doing different posters.
  • Ask students to sit down and give them 3 minutes to prepare their speeches. Encourage the use of specific vocabulary.
  • Students, in their groups, gallery walk stopping next to the posters they have chosen and delivering their speeches.

 

2. Speaking: Pictures with prompts. Monologues.

Pair students up. Give each of them a speaking task. Allow them 2 minutes to prepare their monologue and ask them to speak for about four minutes.

Student A

Student B

Oral and Written Mediation

Oral Mediation

PDF 1  PDF 2

Context: A friend of yours from New Zealand, who until two weeks ago lived for 20 years in a monastery in Bhutan, has decided to pay you a visit. He doesn’t speak the language and besides, knows nothing of the real world we live in.

Student A. He shows you this infographic but needs help to understand it.  Choose two or three ideas and explain what they mean.

Student B. He sees this cartoon in a newspaper and doesn’t understand it. Explain it to him.

Written Mediation

See the Task  here

Hope you have enjoyed the lesson!