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Feel free to send your ideas to my email: / To use the lesson plans in my blog, you do NOT need photocopies for students. You MAY need to print instructions or to use a projector and/or a computer.

Browse LABELS to the right, underneath to find prompts and tasks.New!! VIDEO BLOGS on English for Communications and on English for Office Applications (Computers). See links below.

* English for Communications. Click HERE. By Beatriz Papaseit Fernández and myself, María Zabala Peña

* English for Office Applications (Computers :Word 2007 and more). Click HERE. By Beatriz Papaseit Fernández and myself, María Zabala Peña

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Using a picture prompt to ask questions to intertwined characters

Purpose: students practice asking questions in the past. The level of the questions and answers depends on the level of the students. At the end of the activity, as a follow-up to the speaking task, students could write a letter or email.

Level: students need to know how to ask questions in the past using question words and they need enough vocabulary to ask about age, family, relationships, job, likes, dislikes and past life.  Students may have to use modals and a variety of pasts in their answers.

The teacher may have to help the students with vocabulary or can give them a dictionary.

Materials: a photo of a person. At the end of this post I propose some photos the teacher can project on the white board with the  Projector . There are many more pictures/portraits available at google images.  I offer a variety of pictures that  may appeal to children, teenagers and adults. The one of the girl in the office could cater for the needs of students in administration related vocational training programs.

Procedure:  Students may work individually or in groups.

A) Show a picture of a character to the students and ask them to write down 15 questions for that character. Note that the first 6 questions will be very similar in all groups (how old are you? Are you married? etc.) The aim of asking the students to write down 15 questions is to force them to produce more creative questions as well as to practice question structures.  You may not have to wait until everybody has 15 questions if the production is adequate.

B) When the students are ready, tell one of them to come to the front of the class and impersonate the character in the picture. He/she has to answer his/her classmates’ questions.  As he/she answers, the other students will spontaneously change their questions according to the characters' answers. This allows students to practice question structures without previously having written them down.

Note that as the character-student answers, new characters will pop out: his/her mother, his/her husband, his/her boss...

C) When you spot an interesting character (the husband, for example), tell the student at the front of the classroom to go back to his/her seat. Ask another student to come to the front of the classroom. His/her role is to impersonate “the husband” by answering  his/her  classmates’ questions.

D) Proceed this way until 4 or 5 students-characters have answered their classmates’ questions.

F) Possible follow-up: divide the students in 4 or 5 teams, depending on how many characters you have had.

Each group of students represents a character (eg. the mother, the husband, the cleaner, the child, the boss, or the secretary of the person in the picture).  Ask students to write an email or a letter to the character.  

Thanks to Roger Hunt, our English methodology teacher at International House, summer 2010 for this idea. The course  I took was "Language Analysis for Teaching Purposes"

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Game: Fortunately and Unfortunately

Purpose: this game can be used as a warmer to revise the simple past tense.
No materials needed.
Level: any level but students need a basic knowledge of the simple past tense.
Procedure: this game works with a group of up to twenty something students. Students need to tell a story. The first one needs to start his/her sentence with the word “Fortunately”.
The next student needs to continue the story by using  “Unfortunately”.
The student that comes after needs to continue the story but this time his/her first word is “Fortunately”.

The opener can be anything that may interest the students.
At the end of the task the students may vote for the best sentence. 
Look at the example:

Teacher: Yesterday the Queen of England went to the opening of an important bank. Fortunately.., continue Laura.

Laura: Fortunately, the weather was very good. Unfortunately, continue Sandra
Sandra: Unfortunately her dress was too tight for the hot weather. Fortunately, continue Pedro
Pedro: Fortunately, she could unfasten her belt. Unfortunately, continue Juan

The story continues until everybody has contributed to the story.
You can ask students what their favourite sentence was. 

Thanks to Rosie Burke, one of our methodology teachers at International House, summer course 2010 for this idea. The course was "Language Analysis for Teaching Purposes"

Present continuous drill with Very Funny Dogs

Purpose:  students practice the present continuous by watching a video in which dogs perform several actions.
Level: very basic. Students need to know how to form the present continuous and how to use some action verbs  (see list underneath).
Material: provided video + pen and paper to take notes.
Video Option 1:  you can watch it on-line in the blog (see end of blog).
Video Option 2:  download  the video from my site by clicking HERE
Then you can open it and watch it without an Internet connection. The video has MP4 format. Make sure you have a current version of  your video reader (RealPlayer, Windows Media, VLC,...) installed in your computer. 
Procedure:  tell the students they are going to see some dogs in action. They need to take notes of the actions and after that, in pairs or teams, create as many true sentences in present continuous as they can. The team/pair with more correct sentences is the winner.
Actions:  you may want to copy,  paste and print the list of actions underneath. Some students will know some of the basic verbs, higher achievers will know more verbs. This task caters for  students in a multi-level classroom :

The dog is /dogs are:
Dancing against a window
Skating on the skate board
Falling into the pool
Running after a frisbee
Wearing glasses on its behind/rear
Driving a pick-up truck /lorry
Leaning against a wall
Falling from a couch
Eating a bone
Running after a Scalextric car
Posing for a picture (with a cat)
Looking at the camera after being naughty/breaking a flower pot
Belly dancing
Imitating a roadsign
Looking like its/their owners
Rolling up against a sofa
Falling asleep/looking groggy
Biting a tree branch and hanging from it
raising its ears
Dressed as an alien
Falling from a sofa head first
Looking out of a window
Being caressed  
Getting dirty with sand
Playing with a toy/a ring
Playing with a baby cat (the cat is biting its ear )
Carrying a dumbbell
Posing for a picture
Laying with a cat
Sitting in a truck, wearing sunglasses, and fixing the rearview mirror with its paw
Picking up its mess (faeces) with a dustpan and broom
Flying  around a maypole
Running in circles
wearing glasses while reading a book
Happily looking at the camera