Tag Archives: retrieval practice

Relationships: A Multi-Skill Lesson Plan for C1 Students

I find it really hard to stick to the textbook every time the lesson is about Relationships. With any other lessons, about any other topics, it might be easier to be content with following the dictates of the textbook. But I think Relationships, and all sorts of ideas spring up. Not all of them are good, to be honest. But these, I have tried and tested in class. They work.

This lesson is divided into two chunks:

  1. The first part is dedicated to revising, reinforcing, and introducing new vocabulary.
  2. The second part is dedicated to honing students’ listening and speaking skills using different visual inputs: images, audio, video, and cards.

VOCABULARY

GUESSING THE TOPIC WITH A FRIENDLIER VERSION OF THE GAME HANGMAN

Students will need to guess what topic we will cover in class next, But…. There are rules to follow:

  • The class is divided into 2 teams. Each team names a spokesperson.
  • Let’s say Team 1 starts. Now, to get the chance to say a letter to solve the puzzle, they’ll have to answer a content review question.  For example: “what preposition collocates with the verb “depend”?”. After a quick discussion with the members of their group, the spokesperson will give an answer. If correct, they can suggest a letter. Whether it is a correct or incorrect guess, the turn will pass to Team B, who will get another content review question and the chance to guess a letter if the answer to the review question is correct.
  • Important: Teams can’t try to solve the puzzle until half the letters have been guessed(i.e. if the word has 14 letters, 7 must have been guessed) and only the Team playing will have this chance.
  • If they guess and fail, their turn will be skipped.

GAME: THE 15 SECONDS CROSSWORD GAME TO REVISE VOCABULARY
    • Divide the class into 2 teams.
    • Team A chooses a representative who chooses a number from the crossword puzzle, reads the description, and has 15 seconds to guess the answer with the help of their team.
    • If they guess the answer, they can continue playing until
    1. they can’t guess the word,
    2. they run out of time (remember 15 seconds) or
    3. they guess three answers in a row.

    If this happens, it is Team B’s turn.

    • The winner is the team that solves the last clue.

    In this case, the terms in the crossword were related to the “relationships”
    NOTE: (click on the top right-hand corner to enlarge the crossword)

INTRODUCING NEW VOCABULARY: PEER TEACHING AND PARTNER DISCUSSION.

More Vocabulary here. Give students some individual time to read through the vocabulary, underlining any new terms.

  • Building on the belief that ” to teach is to learn twice” (Whitman, 1998), ask students to get into groups of 4 and help each other with any vocabulary they haven’t been able to guess on their own.
  • Whole class: ask students in Group 1 which vocabulary items are still unfamiliar to them. Ask the other groups in the class to volunteer an explanation if they know. If nobody in the class knows, clarify the meaning. Continue in the same fashion with all the groups until all the vocabulary has been clarified.
  •   Work on pronunciation and then test students by giving a definition and asking them to quickly give you the term.

SPEAKING and LISTENING

MARRIAGE

SPEAKING.

Display this picture and ask students to comment on this picture. Ask:

Who do you feel more sorry for? The bride, the groom, or the mother-in-law?

 LISTENING. Why bother with marriage? Watch from 0:00- 0:34

Play the beginning of the video (0:00- 0:34) In pairs or small groups, comment on the following:

  1. What is the speaker’s view on marriage? Do you agree with his view?
  2. Are there more benefits or drawbacks to getting married in your country nowadays?
  3. What is the right age to get married in your country? And to have children?

FAMILIES: LISTENING and SPEAKING
    • Write NUCLEAR FAMILY on the board and ask students to explain what type of family a nuclear family is and what other different family types they know. Write them on the board. Ideally, they will come up with stepfamilies (also called blended families), cohabitation, extended family, lone parenting, DINKS (I know, unlikely!) and some others.
    • Time for listening.  First Listening: Play the audio once and ask students to jot down the different types of families that are mentioned (stepfamilies. Cohabitation, DINKS, lone parenting and people living alone). Write them on the board. You will probably need to add People living alone.  Second Listening: Note-taking. Form groups of 4 students and assign a different kind of family to each of them. Ask them to take notes, as their final task would be to retell the information they hear about their assigned family structure. NOTE: I have assigned cohabitation and DINKS to the same person.
    • Follow-up: ask students in their groups to comment on the strengths and weaknesses of each type of family structure

Transcript here

Types of Families de cristina.cabal

PARENTS AND THEIR OFFSPRING: SPEAKING AND LISTENING

1. LYING. Play this video where children confess the biggest lie they have told their mums, in front of their mums. Ask students to confess theirs.

2. OVERPROTECTING PARENTS.

Ask these questions

  • What is considered overprotective parenting?
  • What can overparenting do to a child?

FAMILY TRACKING APPS. Display with the OHP this article from the BBC about family tracking apps and ask them to read the first 3 paragraphs. Ask students to talk about the advantages and drawbacks for both parents and children.

SPEAKING CARDS: FINDING THE MATCHING PAIR.

Put students into groups of 3 or 4. Give each group a set of cards and ask them to place them face upon the table.  Student A begins by taking the beginning of the question (in blue) and finding the matching pair (in orange).

Student A has two minutes to express his/her opinion. Then, it is Student B’s turn.

PDF here

Relationships. Conversation questions de cristina.cabal

I know, a long lesson. But, you know, it’s better to have too much than too little.

Retrieval Practice Activity Using Cards for Any Level

And I am back. Yeahhhh!  Hopefully, I’ll have more time to write about all the activities that have worked wonders in my class. Hopefully.

But, before you continue I have an important announcement: I love retrieval practice activities! And this activity is all about pulling vocabulary out. Are you ready?

 

Whether you have just stumbled upon this blog or are a long-time visitor, you have to know that, first and foremost in my mind before I give my students a writing or speaking activity, is retrieval practice. We need to bring to the front of their minds the language we want them to use. If we don’t do it, what inevitably happens is that students will keep on using what they already feel comfortable using. And that won’t work. We are aiming at improving their level of English.

So, let me summarize this simple, highly-adaptable  idea.

  • Part 1: students, in groups,  revise key vocabulary using cards that contain the definition for the target language.
  • Part 2: students use these cards in a speaking activity.

NOTE: I am sharing with you the card template, but you can easily simplify the activity by just typing the definitions on a slip of paper. Me? I love visuals. I think they make a difference.

Now, that you are interested, let’s explain in detail:

PREPARATION
  • Vocabulary.Choose some vocabulary you want your students to use and revise. It shouldn’t be new vocabulary.Remember this is a retrieval practice activity. Type (if digital) or write the definition. Print and cut the cards. You will need a set of cards per group. As explained above, I love using visually appealing stuff, but you can easily simplify this part  using scraps of paper.
  • Conversation Questions. Prepare some conversation questions related to the topic.

Here’s the template in Canva I have used. You will need to create a free account to download it.

ACTIVITY 1. RETRIEVAL PRACTICE

STEP 1: Arrange students into groups of 3 and give each group a set of cards. Working together, they read the definition and try to come up with the word/expression that matches the definition. Ask them to use a pencil as they might not get all the answers right.

STEP 2. Whole class. Check answers. Clarify. Work on pronunciation.  You know the drill!

ACTIVITY 2. SPEAKING

STEP 1: Students in the same groups.Ask students to put the cards on a pile face down on the table.

STEP 2: Tell students they are going to do some speaking practice and the first student to start speaking, for example,  will be the youngest and then, the activity will continue clockwise. Let’s call him Student A.

Ask the first question and Student A will pick up a card and show it to the other students in his/her group. Student A will have about 90 seconds to answer the question trying to use the word/expression on the card. If he manages to use it, he can keep the card.; if not, it will be returned to the pile.

I forgot to mention you would need a timer. You can easily find one on Classroomscreen

Repeat procedure for Students B and C and repeat until all the cards have been used or you run out of questions.

How many cards?  A multiple of three works well since we are working with groups of three students. Thus, 6, 9, or 12 will work fine.  If you revise 12 words and only give them 6 questions, that should be fine too. They don’t have to use all of them. As an alternative, you can instruct students to choose two words rather than just one and keep the one(s) they have managed to use.

Note: I have used this activity in C1. The topic was Relationships and the answers are as follow:

1.the main breadwinner 2. black sheep 3. the spitting image 4. to fall out 5. to take after (phrasal verb) 6. to see eye to eye 7. to keep an eye on someone 8. sibling 9. to be under age 10. To come of age 11. to get on/along with somebody 12. to make up

AND AGAIN. Yes. Again

Whole class now.

  1. Gather all of the cards and review the target vocabulary again while providing definitions.
  2. Give each student a card. Have them read the definition aloud and give this card to the first student who answers correctly and manages to give a sentence using the word/expression. I guess you know who the winner of this little game is. A round of applause for the winner is a good prize. We are poor teachers, here.

I hope you have liked this simple game. If you put it into practice, please let me know how it goes.

Free Website to Create your Own Multidecker Cards to Learn/Revise Vocabulary

One of my biggest goals when I started posting, was to have a virtual space where I could share free websites or apps that helped me teach better and more effectively by offering my students an alternative to the predictable, and less varied, exercises in the textbooks.

If you have been a regular visitor of this blog, you might have guessed by now the importance I place on reinforcing and revising content. I have always found students learn much more when prompted to remember, even when they can’t.

This website I am sharing with you today is meant for that, to help students revise and learn. It is multidecker app, meaning that you can have as many as 4 different categories.  For example:

  • you can write cards ( for ex. blooper on one side of the card and on the other side its definition )  and then test yourself with the options I know or Not Yet.
  • You can have two options of your choice; for example regular and irregular verbs
  • Once in, you can have 3 options; for example when working with nouns, countable, uncountable and both.
  • And you can have four options; for example four lexical categories.

See here a 3-decker example for prepositions of time.

So, this super simple website works like this:

  1. The first amazing thing is that you don’t even have to sign up to use the already created decks  in the library. Check it out here. Just choose one, click play, and off you go!
  2. But… if you want to create your sets, then you have to sign up. Don’t worry, as I said it’s free.
  3. You can use the search box to find what you are looking for and if you like a deck, just click on the heart and you will find them stored in your Favourites.

 

Let’s see how to create your own deck. I have made a video to help you go about it but, trust me, it is a piece of cake.

First, go to multidecker.com/ and sign up.

Time to share the link or play in class and… enjoy learning, enjoy teaching!!!