I am working with graded readers, short stories and novels with my classes. I was also preparing my talk for TESOL France and looking for some new ideas to share, I designed the following lesson inspired from Chaz Pugliese’s Gossip activity from the book Being Creative. The activity may not sound similar but while reading it, I just thought this will be a fun activity. I’m planning to do it this week with my 12th graders.
Level: B2 and above
Put students in 3s
As and Bs will speak
Cs will eavesdrop and take notes while As and Bs are talking.
A and B are characters from the novel/short story you’re reading in the class.
Tell them they are going to gossip about another character from the story.
For example: Squealer and Napoleon gossip about Boxer (Animal Farm)
Cs are either a passerby, a student from your class or a 4th character from the story. They will take notes of what they’ve heard and will inform the class after the activity.
Variation: If the students will not be able to improvise, you can put them in 3s and give some time to write the dialogue. Then Cs from each group go to listen to another A and B’s gossip.
“Let us go singing as far as we go: the road will be less tedious.”
Choices are important in our lives. Sometimes there are times we regret, there are times we pray for what we’ve chosen.
I have a group of mixed-ability students in grade 11 studying mostly languages. Some of them are not happy because that was not what they actually wanted but that was the only option to take.
I had a very disappointing lesson the other day and when I arrived home I thought what I could do for them to realize or do something for themselves until the next fork appears on the road they had chosen. And I decided to go to the class with a poem. Yes, I chose The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost as I thought with a little help, they would be able to understand the poem and we’d be able to talk about our decisions. To sum up, it was a great lesson. We all enjoyed it and I think they also revised their decisions or their attitudes towards their choices.
Now I’d like to tell you how I planned the lesson. First of all I found some very valuable lesson ideas on the poem and took some inspiration from them and I prepared one suitable for my students.
First I asked what the word ‘road’ meant. Then I asked what it could be used as a metaphor. We looked at the picture I chose as a warm up. ( If you search Google/Yahoo images as “Two Roads”, you’ll get some pictures of the woods that come to a fork)
The students described the picture and then I asked them what they would do if they were in this picture, how they would feel, how they would decide. The best part of the lesson was actually here and I hadn’t predicted that while preparing it. They talked about how they would be both nervous and excited. We talked about what they could encounter on the road, where these roads might take them.
Then we brainstormed words/ideas related with roads. I chose a recording of the poem on YouTube and told students to listen and jot down any words or phrases they heard/caught/liked.
After listening to the poem twice, I gave them the handouts and told them to read the poem and find if the words they had heard were really in the poem. Then we discussed the poem. We talked about if the poet was happy with his choice, if the poem was sad or happy or hopeful. Now I’m waiting for their bookmarks on the poem. They’ll use the ideas from here.
wordle created with AnswerGarden
Tagxedo link of AnswerGarden words/phrases
image taken from yahoo images
I am not a fan of online games. I don’t play any but my son spends most of his free time playing online games. I have lots of students who do the same and when the subject is online games, even the quietest one starts to speak. A few years ago I had three students in my class. They were very much interested in games. They were very interesting boys because they were not ordinary players as they learned a lot about mythology and literature playing these games. One of them is writing stories and probably he’ll become a famous writer one day. That’s my hope for him.
I was clearing my files during the break and I came across a handout I coped from a book (unfortunately I don’t remember the name of the book) on literature. There were questions about favourite titles and characters. I put the handout among the ones I’d like to use this year but then suddenly I thought about another activity. Why shouldn’t I adapt it to games that the students are fond of playing and would work on the activity eagerly?
So here are my questions. I’ll be very happy if you can suggest other questions for this activity.
Think about the online games you love playing. First finish the sentences then compare your answers with your partner.
- I think I’m like the character ————————– from the game ———— because ———————-.
- I like the title of the game ————————— because ———————-.
- The game which I find very challenging is ———————————.
- I want to meet the character ———————- from the game —————- because ————————-
- The character whose action I admire is ————————– because ——-
- For me the most interesting 3 online games are ———————————.
- It is easy to win a game in ————————– because ———————–
- It is difficult to win a game in ———————– because ———————-.
- The game ——————- is set in a ——————————. It is —————–.
- 10. In the game ———————— you need to be a team to win.
Here you can find the handout I prepared for the activity.
Links to some blogs and interesting posts on online games
Target Language : Narrative Tenses, Adjectives to describe emotions, feelings, etc.
Give each student a handout with the chart below.
Play the sound effects you chose
Ask the students to fill in the following chart
|What do you see?
|What do you hear?
|What do you feel?
|What do you taste?
|What do you smell?
When your students finish completing their charts, ask them to share with their friends.
Remind them how we can start to write a first paragraph of a story. ( how we set the scene, etc)
Optional: you can ask your students to draw the scene based on their chart.
Then tell students to write an introduction paragraph for a short story or a novel.
You can download free sound effects
Flipped Classroom, Blended Learning, techy tools … These have been in our lives for a few years. Everyday we come across with a new tool, a new site a new idea that we can use in our classes.
I just discovered the following tools and I’m planning to give them a try in the New Year.
#1 Buncee is another web-based content creation tool. You can add in photos, videos, audio, text, drawings and more. You can ask your students to create their projects on Buncee or you can create your lessons online.
#2 Todaysmeet is another tool that I’ll try in 2014. TodaysMeet gives you a room where you can connect with your audience. Your audience doesn’t have to register or know anything about technology. You can create a room and decide how long it will be open for. You can ask a question and ask your students answer it before you start a lesson, it can be used to brainstorm or after reading a book, story or watching a movie, you can ask your students to give their opinion or discuss certain questions or even play trivia pursuit in class if you have iPads or a computer lab in the school.
#3 Edcanvas is now Blendspace and is another web-based content creation tool. You can add content from the web or your desktop directly so you can add a powerpoint or a pdf file easily to your canvas. Once finished, you can share it, embed it or print it.
#4 Journal Jar is a site that I’m planning to use as a warm-up tool or it may even come handy when I finish early. On the site, you’ll see a jar. When you click “shake”, you’ll be given a writing topic. You can set time limits and ask your students to write short paragraphs until you shake the jar for the next question or tell them they will speak for a minute on the given topic.
#5 Padlet, AKA wallwisher, an old friend with new features, an online noticeboard where you can add your ideas on little sticky notes and then print out the document or save it as a pdf file on your computer.