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How to practice modal verbs


How to practice modal verbs

     In this chapter I am going to present some techniques and materials designed to give students practice in using the modal verbs. I am going to present both oral and written practice techniques.

ORAL PRACTICE

    I this section I am going to present different ways of getting students to practise English modal verbs orally. I am going to talk about oral drills, information gap activities, games, personalisation and localization and oral communicative activities.

Oral drills

Jeremy Harmer [1]points out that: “Drills are usually very controlled and therefore they have limited potential. Because they are fairly repetitive and not very creative they should not be used for too long or too frequently. However, they do give students the opportunity for ‘safe’ practice; accuracy can be focused on as the students get a chance to rehearse language.”



a)     Four-phase drills

     In a four-phase drill the students are encouraged to ask a question and on the basis of the answer they follow it with another question.

     When I  conduct a four-phase drill designed for beginners to practise the question form: “Can you…..?”, first I start the activity by showing flashcards of people doing different activities and I elicit the names of these activities from the students (e.g. play football, speak French, write stories, skate, etc). Then I pick a card and I ask a student, for example:

T: Can you speak French?

S: No, I can not.

T: What language can you speak?

S: I can speak English.

Next I ask a student to pick another card and to question another student about the activity on the card:

S1: Can you skate?

S2: No, I can’t

S1: Can you play football?

S2: Yes, I can.

After the drill is practised in front of the whole class I put the students in pairs, giving them photos of different animals or birds. The students are to ask each other about the abilities of those. Then some pairs are to do the drill in front of the whole class.

Four-phase drills are useful for practice and revision of specific question forms and they can be successfully used for a quick five-minute sessions after these questions have been introduced, perhaps in a previous class.

b)     Mixed question and answer drills

     The difference between mixed question and answer drills and four-phase drills is that the former have more questions than the latter and they can be asked in any order.

In the following example I use four postcards on which I have drawn a spider, a parrot, a tortoise and a rabbit. Near each of them I write two activities (one which can be done by that animal and one that can’t be done). I ask a student:

“Can spiders crawl?        “Can spiders swim?

S1: Yes, they can.”          S2: No, they can’t.”

Then I write these two questions and answers on the board and ask the students to practice the questions for the other drawings in pairs.

As an extension the students can write their own model, e.g. “Spiders can crawl but they can’t swim.”

c)     Chain drills

     Chain drills are ways of practising a particular structure over and over again in the context of either a game and/or a personal element. For example I ask the students to sit in a large circle and to imagine a big lie about what they could do when they were two. I begin by saying: “When I was two I could train a dolphin to read”. The student staying next to me has to repeat my lie and to add his own, e.g. “When I was two I could train a dolphin to read and I could fly”. The third student has to remember the first two lies and to add his/her own and so on. The student who can’t remember what the ones before him have said gets out of the game. The student who remembers all the lies wins.

This chain drill is an amusing way of getting practice of a modal verb. The memory element added makes the game more interesting.

Information gap activities

     With information gap activities different students are given different bits of information. By sharing this information they can complete the task. They are more involving than drills and also more motivating than a lot of question and answer practice.

For example a ‘Picture dictation activity’ is an information gap activity used to make the students understand that the modal verb can accompanies the verb ‘to see’ to express an action taking place at the moment of speaking.

     To start this activity I put the students in pairs and give to one of them a picture, asking him/her not to show it to his/her partner. Then I ask the student holding the picture “What can you see in this picture? Describe it to your partner.” The other student has to draw what his partner is describing to him. In the end they compare the drawing and the picture to see if they did well.

Another example of an information gap activity is called “The Application”. This is designed for intermediate students and it can be used for oral practice but also for reading and form-filling, too.

Students are divided into pairs, asking them not to look at each other’s papers. They are told they must each complete the paper in front of them.

This is what Student A receives:

By asking Student B questions, fill in the missing information in the letter of application below. (Student B will also ask you questions).

Tel……………………                                       10. Blue Street

                                                                              Bucharest

Personnel Manager

Chance @Co.

Bucharest

1st December                                                       10th March

Dear Sir,

I …………like to apply for the post of Export Manager which I saw advertised in the last Saturday “Free Romania”.

I am………years old and unmarried. At present I am Assistant Manager at a furniture company. Prior to this I was ……. ….. work for three years as a secretary at I.B.M. and three years as ……………

I attended ………….School from the age of eleven to eighteen, where I …….. ………. …. Obtain ……O-levels and …..A-level.

After this I went to Brighton College for Further Education, where I obtained ………….I ……..speak …………….and……………and have a working knowledge of both language.

Although I enjoy my present job I should like one which offers more responsibility and especially a job where I would be able to use my own initiative and travel abroad. My present salary is……..

I enclose my present employer’s name as referee and look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

    Julie Evans 

When you have finished, compare books to check that you have filled in the missing information correctly.

 

And this is what Student B receives:

Asking Student A questions, fill in the missing information in the form bellow. (Student a will also ask you questions.)

APPLICATION FORM                               Job Applied For:………

Name: Julie Evans

Address:………………………………..     Tel:3245890

Age: 32

Education:    School: Hove Comprehension

                     College:…………………..

Qualifications: School: 7 0-Levels, 1 A-Level

                       College: Certificate of Business Studies

Present job:………………………..Salary: 50,000$

Previous job: Manager at Suffolk Chemicals (2 years)

Foreign languages spoken: French and German- both very well,

Reasons for leaving present job: ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Date:………………………………………….Signature: …………………………

      The material makes students ask a large number of questions in order to complete their task. In order to ask these questions both students have to read their material and work out what questions to ask.

     Before students are put in pairs I usually demonstrate this technique by using another application form and working with a student in front of the class.

    When this activity is over I can conduct feedback by getting the students to ask and answer the questions with the whole class listening. This serves to check if they got the information right.

     Information gap tasks provide students with a reason to communicate with each other, and can be designed to practise, as in the model above the use of modal verbs.

   

Games

    Games are a vital part of any teacher’s equipment, not only for the language practice they provide but also for the therapeutic effect they have. Jeremy Harmer[2] points out: “Games can be used at any stage of a class to provide an amusing and challenging respite from any classroom activity, and are especially useful at the end of a long day to send the students away feeling cheerful about their English class.” I shall give a few examples:

a)     Ask the right question

     I play this game at primary school students especially as a warm-up activity. Students are divided into pairs in which there is A and B. Student A in each pair is given five cards on which there are written different words such as the following:

in the morning, can, play basketball, M. Jordan, cook pancakes.

Student A then has to ask B questions so that B gives exactly the answer written on A’s card. If B fails to give the exact answer A has to ask the question again until B gets it exactly right.

This game is suitable for all levels and for more advanced students I usually choose more difficult answers. It is also great fun and quite difficult since A has to think of exactly the right question to get exactly the right answer.

b)     ‘Yes/no’ game

     Students are divided into teams. Each team must think of a famous person and his skills. The game commences when one person from A team asks someone from B team a question which can only be answered with ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

If team B finds out the name of the famous person after only a maximum of ten questions they get two points. If it takes them between ten and twenty questions they get one point. They get no point if they do not discover who the famous person is after asking twenty questions. The questions could begin with “Is this person a man?”

(the question “Is this person a man or a woman?”  is not acceptable because it is not a ‘yes/no’ question).  

A charade element to the idea so that students can mime either actions (“Can you swim?”) or occupations (“Do you play football with other people?”)

     c) Noughts and crosses

This popular children’s game can easily be adapted for the English classroom enabling me to ensure practice of the modal verbs.

I divide the class into two teams; one representing noughts (O) and the other crosses (X). I put the following on the table:

                                Was able to      had to        could

                                 Should             can            need

                                Don’t have to   ought to    must

The team selects the square it wishes to play for, and a member of the team has to say a sentence using the word on that square. If the sentence is correct the square is filled wih a nought or a cross, depending on the team the player comes from.

More fun can be added to this game if I use a card on which all the squares are covered. The students select a square which I uncover, and the team has to make a sentence with whatever is underneath.

d)Quizzes

Quizzes can always be used to practise modal verbs in a pleasant and motivating way. In this example students will be practising the use of ‘was/were able to’.

The students are divided into two teams. Each time is given time to write a number of general knowledge questions using ‘was/were able to’. Their questions might be like the following:

Who was the first man who was able to speak on the phone?

Who was the first man who was able to drive a car?

Which was the animal that stepped first on the moon?

Which place were people able to fly for the first time?  etc.

    In the game a member of Team A asks a question to a member of Team B. If the question is said correctly Team A gets one point. If the member of Team B gets the answer immediately the team gets two points. If she or he has to confer with the rest of the team to get the answer the team gets one point.

     Games are great fun for the students and provide practice in an amusing context.

Personalisation

Personalisation refers to that stage of practice where students use language they have recently learned to talk about themselves and their lives. Such stages can obviously be very controlled or very free. I think that when students are involved in an immediate creativity stage and I ask them to produce their own sentences using a modal verb, I should insist on additional remarks to be done. What I want to say is that where a student gives a yes/no type answer he or she must then add a comment to it like in the example:

S2: Can you play football?

S1: Yes.

T: Yes…and?

S1: Yes… I play football every weekend.

Particularly during personalisation the teacher can prompt the use of additional remarks and follow-up questions in order to encourage realistic communication.

An example of personalisation is this: I bring a number of cards of different activities and I ask a student to come and pick a card. If the student, for example, picks the card with the verb ‘dance’ on it I ask the student:

T: Can you dance, Mary?

S: Yes, I can.

T: Where do you dance?

S: I dance at a dance class every Monday.

T: Could you dance last year, too?

S: Yes, I could. I started dancing when I was ten.

This type of exercise can be used at some stage after the students have learnt the new modal verb or it may form an immediate creativity stage.

Oral interaction

Oral interaction means activities designed to encourage practice of specific language in an enjoyable and active way. I shall present two activities of this kind.

a)     Find someone who

    This activity is designed to get the students asking a number of different questions in an active way.

Each student is given the following card:

FIND SOMEONE WHO:                                        NAME:

has to wear a uniform at school                        …………..

doesn’t have to take the rubbish out                 …………..

has to water the plants                                       …………..

has to make his/her bed                                    …………..

doesn’t have to wash his/her socks                   …………..

has to clean her/his room                                   …………

b)     Questionnaire: “What can you do in the countryside but you can’t do in the city?

Questionnaires are a useful way of encouraging practice of specific language items in a motivating and interesting way. In this example students will ask each other specific activities for living in the countryside compared to living in a city and they will also ask different opinions about these.

First I and the students discuss different spare time activities. The students are then given the following form:

Activity:

Tick if you do it in the countryside

Tick if you do it in the city

Tick if you think it is interesting

Tick if you think it is boring

milk a cow

ride a bike

travel in a cart

meet your friends in the park

go skateboarding

feed the poultry

The students then question each other asking questions as: “Where can you milk a cow?”, “What do you think of this?”. As the form suggests they put ticks where indicated.

When they have filled in their questionnaire they will write a short paragraph such as the following:

‘Most of the children can feed the poultry and milk the cow in the countryside. They think these activities are boring’, etc.

This questionnaire thus provides practice of the present form ‘can’ and shows how oral and written skills can be integrated.

Oral communicative activities

1 Reaching a consensus

In this activity students have to agree with each other after a certain amount of discussion. The task is not complete until they do. Consensus activities are very successful in promoting free and spontaneous language use. An example of such activity is called “Moral dilemmas”. The stages for this activity are:

Stage 1 The students are given a situation and alternative suggestions for acting in such a situation. They are told that they are invigilating an important school exam. They see a student cheating with notes he or she has illegally brought into the exam room. They have four possible courses of action:

-        Ignore the accident.

-        Warn the student that if he/she cheats again he/she will be reported to the authorities.

-        Ask the student to leave the exam, tear up his/her exam and mark him/her as absent.

-        Report the student to the authorities, in which case he or she will have to leave school.

Stage 2 Students are put in small groups to reach a consensus on this issue.

Stage 3 Pairs of groups are combined and have to reach a consensus on which alternative    to adopt.

Stage 4 The procedure can be repeated with groups joined each other.

After Stage 3 a feedback session can be conducted in front of the whole class in which groups are to justify their choices.

2 Discussion

In order to start an interesting discussion a teacher should:

a)     Put students in groups first. This will allow them to give opinions in a less threatening environment than in front of the whole class and it also gives the teacher a chance to see if the topic is interesting for the students.

b)     Give students a chance to prepare. Where a more formal discussion is due to take place students need a chance to prepare their opinions. This is suitable especially for debates.

c)     Give students a task. One way of promoting discussion is to give students a task as part of the discussion process. They can be given a list of controversial statements about a topic and asked to score them from 0(=very negative) to 5 (=very positive). They can do this in pairs and groups.

The example I am going to present is called “Smoking?!” and it is based on a controversial topic. The activity begins like this: the students are giving the following statements about smoking and then they are told they have to circle the number which best reflects their agreement or disagreement with the statement ( 0=totally disagree, 5=totally agree)

1 Smokers should be forced to give up this habit.                                           0 1 2 3 4 5

2 Smoking should be banned in all public places.                                           0 1 2 3 4 5

3 There should be separate area for smokers an all restaurants and cafes.      0 1 2 3 4 5

4 People who smoke in no-smoking areas should be put in prison.                0 1 2 3 4 5

After scoring the students compare their answers in pairs and then in groups and they have to agree on a score.

     A more formal discussion is called a debate, an activity suitable for more advanced students. In a debate the students are divided in two sides and each side argue a case which is then put to vote. In such an activity I give students a controversial proposition such as “Whoever sells drugs to teenagers should go to prison for life”. Then I put the students into two groups which have to prepare arguments either in favour of the proposition or against the proposition. When the arguments are ready the teams elect two persons who make formal speeches to argue their case. All the other students can then take part with short interventions. At the end of the discussion a free vote is organised to see whether the proposition wins or not.

Discussion activities are an important part of many lessons. The main thing a teacher should remember is that proper organization can ensure their success.

3 Relaying instructions

     In this type of activity students have to give each other instructions. The success of the activity depends on whether the students to whom the instructions are given perform the task successfully. A relaying instructions activity is called “Exercising”. The stages of this activity are:

Stage 1 I write down some instructions, e.g. “You must jump as high as you can”, “You    must stand on your left leg”, “You must touch your nose twice”. These are given to individual students without the others to see them.

Stage 2 The students have to get their colleagues to do the exercises using only words (not gestures).

     This activity can be very amusing and involves real communication.

4  Problem solving

    Problem-solving activities encourage students to talk together to find a solution to a problem. An example is the following:

   The students are given a complex situation and told to solve the problem: “There is a man, hanging from the ceiling in an empty house in the desert. There is nothing in the room, not a single piece of furniture; there is just a little water on the floor and a truck in front of the house. How could the man kill himself?”

     Students are put in groups and they are to express different possibilities till they find the right answer (the man must have stood up on a block of ice he had brought there using the truck, when the ice melted, he must have been left without feet support). The most ingenious students are given good marks.

     This exercise is suitable for intermediate students. Apart from organizing the groups and conducting feedback, I can leave the students very much on their own.

5 Talking about yourself

     A teacher can use students’ lives and feelings for interpersonal exchanges. Such activities are often used at the beginning of a class (warm-up activity) to create a good and positive atmosphere and willingness to discuss. Such an activity is called “What skills we have in common”. It is used for beginners. Students are put in pairs and told to discover five skills they have in common. These encourages them to cover a large range of activities as leisure time activities, hobbies, etc (e.g. “Can you play the piano/ play football/ write backwards?”) This activity is also a positive one since it investigates what joins people together.

6 Simulation and role play

     The idea of simulation is to create the pretence of a real-life situation in the classroom: students ‘simulate’ the real world. This way, a teacher is actually trying to give students practice in real-world English. Sometimes the students are asked to play someone else and thus they do a role play.

     The main advantage of a role play is that the students do not have to take responsibility for their actions or words- in other words it’s the character they are playing who speaks, not themselves. I have noticed that some shy students are more talkative when playing roles.

     During a simulation a teacher can act as a participant  (the advantage of this is that he/she can help the simulation along if it gets into difficulty) or as a prompter (making suggestions about what the students could say and do next but only when it is absolutely necessarily for the success of the activity). A simulation  should never be teacher-dominated because this would restrict the students from communicating among themselves.

    After the simulation has finished the teacher should conduct feedback with the students. The object here is to discuss with them whether the activity was successful and why certain decisions were reached. It is important for the teacher to conduct feedback about the context of an activity such as simulation as well as discussing the use of English. The main motive of this activity is to make students to develop their ability to communicate efficiently.

   The role play I am going to present is called “Giving advice”. As a preparation of the role play I make copies of the material so that every student in the class has a card. The stages of this activity are:

Stage 1: I write the words Money Problems on the board and ask students to brainstorm in pairs as many different money problems as they can think of. I set a time limit of 2 minutes. I also give the first example:”You owe money to a friend and you can’t pay it back”.

Stage 2: I elicit students’ suggestions and I write them on the board. I also use this stage to review the following words: to owe, to borrow, to lend, to spend, to inherit, and to pay.

Stage 3: I explain to the students that they are going to do a role play on some money problems and that I am going to give cards to only half of the students. I also explain to them that they have a problem listed on the card and that they must talk to three different people and ask for their advice.

Stage 4: I distribute the role cards and I tell the students with the cards to talk to a partner about the problem. After three or four minutes, I tell the students with the cards to talk to a different partner.

    In order to accomplish this task only the students with the role cards need to move around. The other students remain where they are.

This stage has to be repeated two times to make the role play more successfully.

Stage 5: At the end of the activity, I ask the students to tell their problem to the class and to explain what was the best solution offered.

 Stage 6: Optional: I can do correction work on the mistakes I have heard during the role play or I can give examples of the good language I have heard. Then, stage 4 can be repeated but with different students holding the role cards.

The cards for this role play are:

You owe money to a friend and you can not pay it back. Ask other people for advice.

You inherited a large sum of money and you don’t know what to do with it. Ask other people for advice.

A friend owes you money and hasn’t paid it yet. You feel uncomfortable asking for it. Ask other people for advice.

You think your wife/husband isn’t responsible with money. You would like him/her to be more careful, but he/she doesn’t listen. Ask other people for advice.

You need to borrow some money, but the bank won’t give it to you. Ask other people for advice.

You think your wife/husband is too careful with his/her money. He/she never buys anything nice! You are always arguing about money. Ask other people for advice.

This simulation is suitable for intermediate students and it is very amusing. It gives the students a chance to step out of the role of language students and to use their language in realistic context.

WRITTEN PRACTICE

In this section I am going to write about ways of encouraging written practice. I shall present the following techniques: sentence writing, parallel writing, oral composition, dictation and written communicative activities. Writing is very important and this is emphasized by Rivers wilga M. and Mary S. Temperley[3] who say: “However grammatical concepts are introduced and demonstrated, it is essential that the students’ activity be directed as soon as possible to the concept in use. Understanding the operation of the grammar, observing its functioning, or practicing the effective use of it in exercises will not ensure that the student can use it efficiently in writing. Experiments in the writing of English by native speakers have shown specifically that the formal study of grammar and grammatical terminology does not improve skill in writing. After language learners have been shown how the various parts of the language system operate, they seem to benefit more from the discussion of the types of errors they are making in their writing in relation to what they were trying to say, with opportunity provided to correct their errors in context.”

Sentence writing

       a) Fill-in

In this example of sentence writing the aim is to give students practice in the specific usage of modal verbs in writing. The activity is based on exercise 1 page 66 from the textbook English Scrapbook, ed. Oxford University Press. The students have to fill the blanks in five sentences with the correct forms of can, could and be able to.

e.g.

a) We ……..still consider Leonardo da Vinci a man of outstanding ability.

b) He ……….use his both hands with great ease. For drawing and writing he used his left hand, for painting he used his right hand.

c) He ………..write backwards from right to left.

d) He tried hard to understand the “why” of everything but he……………..

e) Nature is too complex. One man ……………solve the basic problems but let’s hope that in future people ………………solve all life’s mysteries.

This activity, although very restricted can be used as a good sentence-writing practice and students feel involved and challenged because they have to choose from three alternatives.

    b) What can/can’t you do?

    This activity starts after the students listen and repeat the words from exercise 2a, page 61, English Scrapbook textbook, ed. Oxford University Press.

     In this example students are asked to look at some pictures with different things for leisure time activities in them (bicycle, skateboard, roller-blades, roller-skates, ice-skates, motorcycle). The students are asked to use the pictures and to write five sentences about what they can/can’t do.

E.g. I can roller-skate but I can’t ride a bicycle.

     This exercise has the advantage of getting the students to use specific language (in this case the modal verb can in order to express ability) to make their own sentences. Thus it is slightly more involving than the first example.

Parallel writing

The concept of parallel writing is central to the teaching of connected discourse since it suggests that students should have a model from which to start working. In other words, students will see first a piece of writing and then use it as a basis for their own work. Thus they will be guided towards developing their own ability to express themselves in written English.

This activity is called “Crazes across the ages” and it is based on a newspaper article from the textbook mentioned above page 61 and at the end of the activity they will be capable of writing a short description of a craze (here something in fashion for spending leisure time at teenagers)




First the students are put in pairs to talk about their abilities, saying what they could, can and will be able to do. Then I ask them to read the newspaper article about a craze called in-line skating. After that I find out if there is any vocabulary the students do not understand. When it is clear that the students understood the text I pass to asking comprehension questions to check they have understood the text. I write the questions on the board and after that I ask students to come to the board and write the answers for these:

    In which country did this craze start?

    Who was it started for?

    Why were the blades changed for wheel?

    What are the advantages of roller-blading?

    How fast can roller-bladers go?

    Who can use in-line roller-skates?

     This kind of writing that students have to do here is very controlled and the activity is very muck like an oral drill.

     Then I put students in groups and ask them to find and discuss a craze they prefer and after that to write six sentences about a craze, using the newspaper article as a model for their writing. At this moment they are free to write whatever they like. This activity is suitable for intermediate students and it encourages freer writing more than controlled writing.

Oral compositions

     Oral compositions have been popular in language teaching for a long time. The idea is that the teacher and the class together build up a narrative before the students are then asked to write it.

     Oral compositions can he handled with visual or aural stimuli. That means I can show the students pictures, mime a story or play a tape for them with a series of sounds.

The example I am going to present is called “A stabbing incident” and it uses pictures. This activity is suitable for advanced students. I start by getting the students to look at the pictures and describe those using modal verbs. I ask the students to use must have+ past participle to express their deductions about the past and should/shouldn’t have+ past participle to criticize past actions or express regret.

e.g. He must have felt terrible about stabbing Kim.

       He should have been given a toy knife.

       He shouldn’t have let himself be persuaded.

 Then I put them in pairs to put the pictures in the correct order. Next some pairs are to tell the story in front of the class. After that I ask them to look at the final picture for the story which has not been introduced till then and I ask the students to tell if this affect their version of the events.

     When doing this kind of activity I must be ready to encourage students to speak by guiding them what to say through questions. A teacher should keep in mind that oral compositions work better if students do not see all the pictures at the same time. Oral compositions can be used for practising various past forms of modal verbs but they take a lot of time and thus they are used sparingly.

Dictation

I shall present two examples of this technique I find very interesting:

     a) Poetry dictation

In this activity students dictate to each other in an involving way. For example for 3rd class, beginners I bring a copy of the poem:

I can sing                           I can climb                                    I can draw                                    

Can you sing?                   Can you climb?                             Can you draw?

I can dance                        I can run                                        I can play

Can you dance?                Can you run?                                  Can you play?

Now clap your hands,       It’s lots of fun,                               It’s a happy day,

Clap your hands!              It’s lots of fun!                               A happy day!

The students are put in groups. Each group sends a member up to the poem where they read only the first two lines. They take the first two lines to their group and dictate them. Now a second member of the group goes to the poem and read the following two lines so that they can be dictated to the group. A third student goes for the next two lines and so on. The technique keeps students guessing about what the next lines will be. They are far more involving in the meaning of the poem than they would be if they were just reading it, and they are getting writing practice.

b) Solving a puzzle

     If I want students to discuss without giving them first something to start from, they usually don’t say much. Little dictations can get the students working as in the following example:

First I tell the students to get out a pen and a piece of paper and I dictate the following:

“There is a bird in a locked room. How did it get in? It must have got in somehow. It can’t have come through the door”

I ask them to write some possibilities or impossibilities to solve the mystery.

This activity is proper for intermediate students. It makes them write motivated and interested in solving the mystery.

Written communicative activities: Writing is often relegated to the status of homework. This is not right, especially because communicative writing can play a valuable part in the class. I shall give examples of ‘relaying instructions’, ‘writing reports and advertisements’, ‘co-operative writing’ and ‘exchanging letters’ activities.

1 Relaying instructions

   In this activity one group of students has information for the performance of a task, and they have to get another group to perform the same task by giving them written instructions. Such an activity is “A shape jungle” in which students draw different animals using various shapes. This activity involves writing the instructions like this: “First you must draw a big circle for the head. You must draw two small circle for the eyes and two triangles for the ears.” The stages of this activity are:

Stage 1 A small group of students is given material to draw an animal using shapes:   pieces of paper, pencils, crayons, rulers, etc,) and they are told to draw their animal.

Stage 2 The group now writes instructions which will enable other students to duplicate their drawing.

Stage 3 Other students are given the instructions and told to draw the shape animal by reading the instructions.

This activity has the advantage of immediate feedback because the original group can see how well they have written instructions by watching the efforts of the other students to duplicate their shape animal.

2 Writing an advertisement

     After the students have learned the household items in the 6th grade they are to do an advertisement for an ideal household item, for example a  ‘homework-doer’ .The advertisement must contain the skills that make the ‘homework-doer’ so special.(e.g. It can solve fifty problems a second, it doesn’t have to rest, it can write five essays in a minute). The stages of this activity are:

Stage 1 The class discusses what makes a successful advertisement.

Stage 2 The class is divided into groups. They are told that their task is to design an ideal household item and write an advertisement for it which will appear in the class magazine.

Stage 3 When they have completed their advertisements they can pass them round the class. Alternatively they can be given week to design the artwork for their text. The advertisements can then be pinned to the class notice board.

3 Co-operative writing

In this activity the process of co-operation of the students is important as the fact as the writing itself. The activity I am going to present is called “A common fairy story”. In this activity students are put into groups and told they are going to write joint stories. The stages of this activity are:

Stage 1 Students are put in groups (if possible of equal numbers).

Stage 2 Students are told to write on a piece of paper the following sentence : “Once upon a time there was a huge dragon who could fly and talk but he couldn’t get away from a magic spell “.

Stage 3 The students are then instructed to continue the story by writing the next sentence.

Stage 4 The students are then told to give their piece of writing to the student on their left They should continue the story they have in front of them by writing the next sentence. The procedure is repeated have gone round the whole group.

Stage 5 The stories are now returned to their originators (by passing the papers to the student on the left). They must write the concluding sentence. Students can read the resulting tales to the rest of the class.

This activity is very enjoyable for the students because it produces different stories.

4 Exchanging letters

An exchanging letter activity is called “The Agony Column”. It involves students writing letters to ‘agony columns’- those parts of newspapers and magazines where supposed experts give advice on everything, on any kind of problems. In this activity students invent some problem and then have it answered by other members of the class. The stages of this activity are:

Stage 1 The class and I discuss ‘agony columns’ and the students come with their own examples. If they can’t give examples I shall show them an example of an agony column.

Stage 2 I put students into small groups and ask each group to think of a problem and then write a letter.

Stage 3 The letters from each group are then given to another group who have to reach a consensus regarding the best answer and then write a reply.

Stage 4 The reply is given then to the original group to consider. The best letter or the most amusing one will get a good mark.

    This activity is particularly suitable after the students have been working on the language of advice. It can be used with intermediate or advanced students. It provides students with a reason to communicate with each other. When the activity is over I conduct feedback by getting some students to read their letters in front of the whole class

                                           

                                             Lesson Plan

School: School Number 14, Pitesti

Grade: 3C, 2 hours a week

Level: beginners

Textbook: Set Sail!-Third grade

Topic: CAN

Date: 10th March

Method: Communicative

Type of lesson: Mixed

Title of the lesson: Pet Shop Fun!

General Competence: to stir interest in the usage of the modal verb can to express abilities

Specific competences:

-to enable students to listen for details,

-to request students to make their own dialogues,

-to encourage students to speak about their abilities,

Skills:

  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Writing

Strategies:

  • personalization
  • conversation
  • drills
  • fill-in exercise

Interaction:

  • teacher-student
  • student-teacher
  • student-student

Aids: textbook pictures, activity books, drawings, cassette, hand-outs, poster, spinners;

Assumption: some activities might take too much time, so the teacher will be prepared to shorten some of them;

Evaluation: continuous through observation and analysis of answers;

Procedure:

·       stages

·       timing

·       class management

·       teaching aids

·       procedure

·       skills

Stages

Aims

                                                                                                           Procedures  

                                                  Class

                                             Manage-

ment

                                                     

                                    Teaching

                                         aids

                           Skills

              Time  

Warm-

up

-to get students’

attention;

-to create

willingness

to discuss;

The teacher greets the students and asks them different questions such as: “How are you today?”, “What’s the weather like today?”.

Game: Chinese whisper. First the students are divided in three groups. Then, the students are told they are going to play a game and the teacher explains the rules to them. The teacher whispers the name of an animal to a student of each group. This student is then asked to whisper the same word to his/her partner, who then whispers it to the next pupil, etc. the teacher asks the last student to call out the animal to check if the animal is the right one. The procedure is repeated several times.

group

work

  

speaking

listening

4

min

Home-

work

check-up

To check every pupil’s

home-

work

The teacher listens to students’ homework and corrects the errors.

3

min

Lead-in

to present

the theme

of the unit

The teacher reads the title of the unit and elicits what the lesson is going to be about: animals and their abilities.

speaking

1

min

Presentation

to help students learn the new vocabulary

The teacher pins up a poster entitled “Animals and birds, big and small!” on the board. Then she points to each animal or bird, reads and says the appropriate word (spider, tortoise, parrot, rabbit, and sea horse). The students repeat chorally and then individually. Then the teacher points to the animals or birds in random order and she invites the students to tell the corresponding words.

After that the teacher mimes and says an action (crawl, fly, jump, swim, walk, talk). The pupils repeat after the teacher. Next the teacher says an action and the students have to say which animal can do this action.

e.g. Teacher: swim

       Class: sea horse

Class

work

poster

listening

speaking

5

min

Listening 1

and writing

To listen for general

understand-

ing

The teacher asks the students to open their books at page 44, exercise1. The teacher reads the instructions and explains the task. She plays the chant on the cassette. The pupils listen and read. The teacher says the chant and mimes the words and she encourages students to join with her. She plays the cassette again.  The students listen and do the miming. Then the teacher plays the chant again and the students mime and sing along.

What can crawl? (the teacher mimes crawling)

A spider can! (the teacher mimes  the spider with fingertips moving on the table)

What can fly? (the teacher mimes flying)

A bird can! (the teacher joins hands at thumbs and mimes flying) …

The teacher goes on like this for the rest of the chant.

Extension:

The teacher points to the poster with the animals and birds mentioned above and then she says and writes: “Look at the spider. It can jump”. The students repeat after the teacher who then points to the picture of the bird and elicits similar sentences from a student. The same procedure is followed with rabbit, sea horse, tortoise and parrot. The sentences will be written on the backboard and the students will copy them

class

work

cassette

textbook

blackboard

listening

reading

8

min

Listening 2

and Reading

to develop

the students’

listening and reading skills;

to listen for general understanding;

to listen for details;

Exercise 2,page 44

The teacher goes through the pictures of the dialogue with the students and sets the scene by asking questions.

e.g. teacher (pointing to the animals in the shop window and the sign in picture 1) Look! This is a pet shop!

Teacher: (pointing to the spider in picture 2) What’s this?

 Class: a spider   etc.

The teacher reads the instructions and explains the task. She plays the cassette. The students listen and thick the animals they hear. The teacher can play the cassette more than once if she thinks it is necessary. Then she checks the students’ answers.

Animals to be ticked: spider, parrot.

After that, the teacher plays the cassette with pauses for the students to listen and repeat chorally. The teacher checks the students’ pronunciation and intonation. Then, the pupils take roles and read out the dialogue.

Extension:

1 The teacher holds up her book to the class. She says the dialogue and points to the pictures in turn. The teacher repeats, this time inviting pupils to complete her sentences.

e.g. Teacher: A pet  shop! Let’s get a present for Chuckles’…

Class: birthday!  etc.

2 The students must have their books closed during this activity.

 The teacher reads out sentences spoken by a character in the dialogue. The teacher asks individual students to tell who it was.

e.g. Teacher: Look at the spider!

       Student: Lulu!

class

work

cassette

textbook

Listening

reading

8

Presentation

and practice of the modal verb CAN

To help students understand the verb ‘can’

to help students practice;

to involve as many students as possible;

to make students practice in a pleasant way;

The teacher writes on the board: “I can talk”. “A parrot can talk”. The teacher elicits from the pupils that can is the same in all persons. The teacher does the same to present the interrogative and the negative (long and short forms). Then the students make true sentences about what they can or can’t do.

e.g. I can swim.

      I can’t fly.

The teacher presents the short answer of the verb ‘can’. The teacher asks “Can birds fly?”  The students answer: “Yes”. The teacher says “Yes, they can”. The teacher also explains and writes on the blackboard the short and long negative answer. She explains that the positive short answers of the verb ‘can’ is ‘Yes+ personal subject pronouns+ can whereas the negative short answer is No +personal subject pronoun + can’t. The students will copy the rules and the examples in their notebooks.

Exercise 3, page 45

The students are to do this exercise in pairs. The teacher reads the instructions and explains the task.

The students ask and answer to complete the task. The teacher goes round the class to provide the necessary help. Then she asks some pairs to report back to the class.

e.g. A: Can tortoises walk?

     B: Yes, they can.

     A: Can they talk?

     B: No, they can’t.

class

work

pair

work

board,

textbook

speaking,

writing

11

min

Evaluation

to check understanding;

to involve students in conversational situations;

 to make students practice in a pleasant way;

Before going into the class the teacher has prepared a fill-in hand-out for each student:

Find someone who can:  NAME      -play tennis

-speak French

-play the piano

-climb a tree

-play basketball

-ride a bike

-jump as a frog

-tell a joke.

The teacher explains to the student that they can circulate and ask their classmates till they find someone who does the activities on the hand-out.

The teacher demonstrates the activity and the students complete their task. After that some students are to report to the class.

Game: exercise 4 page 45

Before going to the class the teacher prepares two spinners like the one in the textbook. The teacher divides the class into two teams, A and B, and hands one spinner to each team. Team A’s spinner has the animals: fish, kangaroo, elephant, horse, rabbit, frog, parrot and dog whereas team B’s spinner has: chimp, dolphin, cat, mouse, duck, sea horse, tortoise and spider. The teacher reads the example and explains the game. The students from each team take it in turns to flip the pointer. The students must say two things the animal the pointer points to can do and one thing it can’t do. Each correct sentence gets one point. The winner is the team with the most points.

e.g. Team A Student 1: (pointer shows elephant): It can run and walk, but it can’t fly.

   Teacher: 1 point for team A.

  Team B Student 1:(pointer shows duck): It can swim and walk, but it can’t fly.

 Teacher: Wrong. No point for team B.  etc.

class work

pair

work

group

work

hand-out

spinners

speaking

listening

9

min

Homework

To be sure the students are able to use the modal verb ‘can’ correctly,

The students will have as homework exercises 1 and 2 from the activity book, page 24. The teacher reads and explains the task for each exercise and gives a model for exercise 2.

class

work

Activity

book

writing




1 min

                                             Lesson Plan

School: School Number 14, Pitesti

Grade: 3C, 2 hours a week

Level: beginners

Textbook: Set Sail!-Third grade

Topic: Consolidation of the modal verb CAN

Date: 12th March

Method: Communicative

Type of lesson: Mixed

Title of the lesson: Unit 6

General Competence: to stir interest in the usage of the modal verb can to express different abilities;

Specific competences:

-to involve students in conversational situations;

-to enable students to listen for details,

-to request students to make their own dialogues,

-to encourage students to speak about their abilities,

Vocabulary: the verbs: to sing, to dance, to climb, to run, to draw, to play;  

Skills:

  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Writing

Strategies:

  • personalization
  • conversation
  • drills
  • fill-in exercise

Interaction:

  • teacher-student
  • student-teacher
  • student-student

Aids: textbook pictures, activity books, drawings, cassette, poster, drawing paper, flashcards

Assumption: some activities might take too much time, so the teacher will be prepared to shorten some of them;

Evaluation: continuous through observation and analysis of answers;

Stages

Aims

Procedures

Class

manage

ment                                           

Teaching

aids

                        Skills

            Time

Warm-

up

to get

students’ attention;

to create

 a good positive atmosphere

The teacher greets the students and asks them different questions such as: “How are you today?”, “What’s the weather like today?”. Then the teacher writes the following names and activities in random order: spider, tortoise, parrot, rabbit, sea horse, crawl, talk, swim, jump, and walk. Individual students come to the board and match the animal to the action it can do. The teacher asks the rest of the class for verification.

class

work

board

speaking

4 min

Home-

work

check-

up

to check every student’

homework

The teacher listens to students’ homework and using student-student correction, checks the students’ work.

class

work

board

listening

writing

4

min

Presentation

and practice

to present and activate the vocabulary of the lesson

With students’ books closed, the teacher pins up the flashcards (sing, dance, climb, run, draw, play), one at a time. The teacher points to, says and writes the respective action. The students repeat, chorally and individually. Then, the teacher removes the flashcards from the board and hands them out to various students. The students come to the board and pins them up next to the respective words.

Extension:

The teacher mimes and says: sing. The students listen and repeat chorally and individually. The teacher follows the same procedure with the rest of the actions (dance, climb, run, draw and play). The teacher says the action in random order. The students mime the action and repeat the word.  

class

work

flashcards

speaking

writing

8

min

Listening 1

To listen for general understanding

The students are put in pairs. The teacher reads the instructions and explains the activity. The teacher plays the cassette. The students listen and follow the lines.

Then the teacher plays the chant again and pauses the cassette. In pairs, the students find the stickers, show it for verification to the teacher and then they stick it in the appropriate square. The teacher repeats the procedure until the students have found all the stickers. The teacher plays the chant again and the students listen and sing along.

Extension:

The teacher plays the cassette and the students listen and do the actions.

e.g. I can sing (mime singing)

      Can you sing?

       I can dance (dance)

       Can you dance?

       Now clap your hands, (pupils clap their hands)

       Clap your hands!  etc.

.

 

pair

work

class

work

cassette

textbook

listening

reading

6

min

Consolidation

practice of the verb ‘can’

to help students understand the usage of modal verb better;

Exercise 6, page 46

The teacher reads the instructions and the example, and explains the task. The students look at the pictures and the prompts and make sentences orally in the class. The teacher checks the students’ answers:

2 A bird has got a small body and short legs. It can fly but it can’t dance.

3 A rabbit has got a small tail and long ears. It can jump but it can’t sing.     etc.

class

work

textbook

speaking

4

min

Reading and

Writing

to practise receptive and productive skills

Exercise 7, page 47

The teacher reads the questions and allows the students some time to read the text in exercise 7 and answer the questions. The teacher checks the students’ answers. Then individual students read out from the text.

1 eleven             4 Yes, he can.

2 Yes, he has.    5 No, he can’t.

3 No, he hasn’t  6 Yes, he can.

Exercise 8, page 47: Write about your pet!

The teacher asks the pupils to use exercise 7 as a model and demonstrates a similar text about their pet orally in class. The teacher asks them to cut the corresponding Pen-to-paper Sheet from the Activity Book. The teacher asks them to stick on or draw a picture of their pet and write about it a draft in their notebooks. The teacher corrects some of the drafts with the whole class and tells the students to finish this as a project at home.

class

work

individual

work

textbook

Activity

book

reading

writing

6 min

Listening 2

to familiarise the pupils with the pronunciation of the English language;

Exercise 9, page 47

The teacher plays the cassette. The teacher focuses the students’ attention on how al is pronounced. The students listen and repeat. The teacher checks the students’ intonation and pronunciation.

class

work

textbook

listening

2 min

Evaluation

An activity  to check comprehension

to involve as many students as possible

Brainstorming activity (exercise 10, page 47)

The students are to do this activity in pairs in three minutes. Then they report back to the class. The teacher asks the rest of the class for verification.

Possible answers:

1 sea horse, fish

2 rabbit, dog, cat

3 parrot, chick, duck

4 elephant, chimp, rabbit

5 kangaroo, mouse, horse

6 chimp, cat, koala.

Additional activity:

The teacher gives each student a piece of paper and asks the students to draw a picture of themselves in the centre and all around symbols depicting what they can do (e.g. a tennis racket if they can play tennis). Then, they come to a poster entitled “The kids in 3rd C class” , stick their piece of paper and speak about it:

e.g. Student: “This is me. I can play tennis and I can dance”.  etc.

pair

work

individual

work

Textbook

poster

drawing paper

speaking

writing

8 min

Homework

To give students writing practice

The teacher asks the students to finish their composition about their pet, paying attention to spelling and the design of their work, trying to be very creative. They can also write about their pet on a piece of paper or they can design their project in any way they like.

individual work

project

writing

1 min

 

                                                    Lesson Plan

School: School Number 14, Pitesti;

Grade: 7 C, 2 hours a week;

Level: intermediate;

Textbook: English Scrapbook, Oxford University Press, 7th grade

Topic: Modal verbs should/shouldn’t have + Past Participle;

Date: 12th May

Method: Communicative

Type of lesson: Mixed

Title of the lesson: Enigmas

Communicative aims: Expressing criticism and regret;

Specific competences:

-to encourage students to express regret and criticism;

-to raise students’ interest and motivate them for the reading activity;

-to familiarise the students with the vocabulary necessary for understanding the reading text;

Vocabulary:

-active: to sink, lifeboat, premonition, enigma, iceberg, to hit, to strike, crew, passenger, to rescue, to warn, to receive, unsinkable, steamship;

-passive: to supply, to launch, survivor, to work in shifts;

Skills:

  • READING
  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Writing

Strategies:

  • personalization
  • conversation
  • drills
  • writing a presentation

Interaction:

  • teacher-student
  • student-teacher
  • student-student

Aids: textbook pictures, activity books, cassette, poster, 

Assumption:

- some students may not know certain facts about The titanic, so the teacher will be prepared with information concerning this ship;

-some activities might take too much time, so the teacher will be prepared to shorten some of them;

Evaluation: continuous through observation and analysis of answers;

Stages

Aims

Procedure

Class

manage-

ment

Teaching

aids

Skills

          Time

Warm-up

to get

students’ attention;

to create a positive atmosphere;

The teacher greets the students and asks them about the weather, their feelings, etc.

Game: the teacher explains the rules of a game meant to revise the Past Participle of the verbs. The teacher uses a paper ball, says a verb in the first form and throws the ball to a student who has to say all the other two forms. If he/she can’t do this he/she will get out of the game and other student will take his place. This will say the first form of a verb and will throw the ball to another student who will have to give the other forms of the verb and so on.

class

work

paper ball

speaking

3 min.

Homework

check-up

to check the students’

homework

The teacher listens to students’ homework and corrects the errors.

3

min

Lead-in and

Pre-reading activity

to prepare the students for the lesson

The teacher announces the topic of the lesson: the tragedy of the ship “Titanic” and then the teacher conducts a brainstorming activity asking the students what they know already about the Titanic. The teacher draws a word-umbrella on the board with the heading ‘Titanic’ and under it writes the bits of information elicited from the students.

During the discussion the teacher introduces the words: iceberg, to hit/hit/hit, to strike/struck/struck, to sink/sank/sunk, lifeboat, passenger and survivor.

The students may have the following contributions:

famous ship

 It was its first trip over the Atlantic Ocean,

it hit/struck an iceberg,

It sank,

few survivors

a lot of passengers aboard

not enough lifeboats.

Then the students are put in pairs and the teacher asks them to write questions about other things they would like to know about the Titanic.

class

work

pair

work

board

speaking

writing

4

min

Reading

to develop the skill of reading for specific information,

 to practise inferring meaning from the context;

exercise 1b, page 74

The teacher tells the students to open their books, read the text silently and check if they can find answers to their questions.

They should be able to work out the meanings of the words: unsinkable, to receive, to warn, warnings and to rescue from the context. The teacher supplies the answers they could not find in the text reading the background information sheet attached to this lesson plan.

The teacher explains the news words:

enigma= a person, thing or situation that is hard to understand.

premonition=the feeling that something is about to happen.

iceberg=an enormous piece of ice broken off a glacier. It floats with most of its bulk beneath the surface of the water. Consequently it is a great danger to ships.

The students have to copy the new words and explanations in their notebooks.

class

work

textbook

board

reading

6

min

Writing a presentation

to develop the skill of reading for specific information;

to practise making notes;

to practise doing presentations;

 exercise 1 c, page 74

Students read the text again in pairs and make notes on the main issues connected with the sinking of the Titanic. A few pairs report to the class. Then each two pairs are united to make a group and they are asked to write a presentation on the Titanic. The teacher asks them to use the following key points for their presentation which the teacher wrote on a poster before the lesson:

The Titanic hit an iceberg.

It sank four hours later.

The Californian and the Carpathia were nearby when the tragedy happened.

The Carpathia came to help two hours after the ship had sunk.

It saved only 750 people.

The Californian did not come to help because they did not receive the Titanic’s call for help.

The radio officer on the Californian had gone to bed just before the iceberg struck the Titanic. The officers on deck couldn’t understand the situation. Everybody thought the Titanic couldn’t sink.

A few groups read their presentation to the class.

pair

work

group

work

poster

writing

speaking

6 min

Presenting should/

shouldn’t

have +

Past

Participle

to introduce the language needed for expressing criticism about a past action.

The teacher writes the following two sentences on the board and reads them with expressive intonation:

a) A tragedy like this should never have happened.

b) It should never happen again.

The teacher underlines the two contrasting verb forms: should happen and shouldn’t have happened.

The teacher asks the students to decide in pairs which of them expresses criticism.

The teacher asks the following questions and elicits answers from the students:” which of these two sentences expresses criticism: a) or b)?

Does the criticism refer to a present situation or a past situation?

The teacher discusses with the students the difference in meaning between the two verb forms. If the students have difficulties in understanding the differences the teacher may give them the Romanian equivalent which will help them grasp the meaning of the new grammatical concept.

Answers:

-sentence a) expresses criticism.

-the criticism refers to a past situation.

Then the teacher asks students to read the Language Focus box.

class



work

pair

 work

board

speaking

8

min

Listening 1

to introduce the correct pronunciation of the new structure;

to practise the correct pronunciation of should have and shouldn’t have;

Exercise 2 c), page 74

The teacher plays the cassette. The students listen and repeat the sentences in chorus and individually.

Tapescript:

It shouldn’t have happened.

I should have left earlier.

Extension: exercise 2 d), page 74.

The teacher asks students to read out the sentences quickly, correcting them if it is necessary.

class

work

cassette

listening

4

min

Practice

to practise expressing criticism about a past action

Exercise 3, page 75

In pairs, students comment on the situation on the book and practise the new structure: should have + Past Participle/ shouldn’t have +Past Participle.

Possible answers:

a) The steamship company shouldn’t have thought that the Titanic was completely safe in all situations.

b) The company shouldn’t have supplied lifeboats for only half the people.

c) Many boats shouldn’t have been launched half-empty.

d) They shouldn’t have gone/ been going so fast in that area.

e) The passengers should have received their lifeboats number.

f) They should have practised the lifeboats drill before the accident.

g) Radio Officers on the Carpathia should have worked 24 hours a day.

Some pairs are to report to the class.

If there is enough time exercises 1 and 2 page 34 from the Activity book will be solved in class.

pair

work

textbook

speaking

5 min

Listening 2

to develop the students’

skill of listening for specific information.

The teacher explains that the sinking of the Titanic was puzzling and difficult to understand for everybody. Some people thought the accident was mysterious, that it was an enigma. The teacher tells the students that some coincidences preceded the accident and these strange happenings can be interpreted as premonition. The teacher makes sure the students understand the meaning of the phrase to have a premonition=to have the feeling that something is about to happen, often something unpleasant, even though you do not have a rational reason for it.

The teacher plays the cassette and asks the students to thick the premonitions they hear. The teacher conducts the feedback orally.

Answers: a), c), d), f).

class

work

cassette

listening

3

min

Evaluation

to check comprehension;

to encourage critical thinking and expressing personal opinions.

Exercise 5, page 75

The students are put in groups and they are asked to read and answer the questions in the book while discussing the topic.

The teacher conducts the feedback. Each group reports some of their opinions. The teacher has to encourage students to express their personal opinions and to draw a conclusion.  In the end the conclusion will be written on the board and copied by the students.

Possible answers:

a) The officials should have taken the premonitions into consideration and they should have taken some firm measures to avoid the accident.

b) The people should have been informed about the premonitions so they could make their own choice about whether they wanted to take the risk or not.

c) They shouldn’t have listened to the fortune tellers as many of them can’t foresee what is going to happen.

d) People’s dreams and intuitions should be taken into consideration but we should be very critical about such things.

e) We have heard people talking about premonitions.

group

work

textbook

board

speaking

6 min

Homework

to give students enough written practise

The teacher explains the task to the students and reads the example. The teacher makes sure the students understand the task.

class

work

textbook

reading

writing

2

Background Information

 The Titanic

     A great passenger sheep thought to be unsinkable struck an iceberg in the Atlantic off the coast of Newfoundland during its first voyage from Southtampton to New York and sank, causing a tragic loss of life. The iceberg tore a 300-foot hole in the hull and water poured in. When the wireless operator sent out an SOS signal, six ships began to race towards the Titanic. But the two ships that were closest did not here the desperate call for help. There are now many theories as to why the Titanic sank.

     Emily Richards, a survivor of the tragedy said later: “It was the most frightening sight I have ever seen. The sea was full of bodies. The water was so icy that nobody could survive for more than a few minutes”.

Exercise 4, page 74

Tapescript

A lot of strange coincidences seem to predict the sinking of the Titanic. Perhaps the best way to explain them is as premonitions.

In 1898, 14 years before the Titanic sank, a novel called Futility was written by Morgan Robertson. In the book, the titan, a huge ship, sank soon after hitting an iceberg. Like the Titanic, the Titan was considered to be unsinkable and so was provided with too few lifeboats for the large number of passengers it was carrying.

The premonitions of the accident also took the form of dreams. At least 9 people reported dreams in which a ship hit an iceberg and sank soon afterwards.

Two fortune tellers also warned of the disaster. They foresaw the accident.

Several other people had strange intuitions that something would go wrong.

Last, but not least, some would-be passengers felt so worried about the journey that they cancelled their tickets at the last minute.

Strangely enough, at least 20 people had premonitions of this kind about the sinking of the Titanic.

Lesson Plan

School: Number 14, Pitesti;

Grade: 7 C, 2 hours a week;

Level: intermediate;

Textbook: English Scrapbook, Oxford University Press, 7th grade

Topic: can, could, be able to;

Date: 12th  April

Method: Communicative

Type of lesson: Mixed

Title of the lesson: Crazes across the ages

Communicative aims: Expressing abilitits;

Specific competences:

-to encourage students to express preferences and wishes;

-to raise students’ interest and motivate them for the reading activity;

-to familiarise the students with the vocabulary necessary for understanding the reading text;

-to help students to talk about crazes across the ages;

Vocabulary:

-active: roller-skates, skateboard, ice-skates, roller-blades, motorcycle, hula hoop, pogo stick, game boy, Rubik’s cube, Barbie doll;

-passive: in-line, grow, by storm, old-fashioned, muscle, to develop, smooth, to provide, agility, practice, safety, protective, helmet, knee pads, elbow pad, wrist band, spread;

Pronunciation: Stress on compound words

Skills:

  • READING
  • Speaking
  • Writing
  • Listening

Strategies:

  • personalization
  • conversation
  • drills
  • playing a game
  • brainstorming activity

Interaction:

  • teacher-student
  • student-teacher
  • student-student

Aids: textbook pictures, activity books, cassette, poster, hand-outs;

Assumption: some students may not understand clearly the difference between could and was/were able to for expressing past abilities, so the teacher will be prepared to help them understand these;

Evaluation: continuous through observation and analysis of answers;

Stages

Aims

Procedures

Class

manage-

ment

Teaching

Aids

Skills 

Time

Warm-

up

to create a

positive atmosphere

The teacher greets the pupils and asks them about the weather, how they feel that day, etc.

Game:

The teacher explains a game to the student: a student comes in front of a class and thinks of a famous person not telling her/his name. The student has to mime the famous person’s abilities so the other students guess his/her identity. The student to guess first conducts the game then.

class

work

speaking

4

min

Homework

check-up

to check every student’s

homework;

The teacher listens to students’ homework and using student-student correction corrects the errors.

class

work

4

min

Lead-in

to stir

students’

interest;

The teacher announces the topic of the lesson: Crazes across the ages and elicits from the students the kinds of crazes they know. With the students’ help, the teacher complete a poster called: “Crazes past and present”, writing different leisure time activities told by students (e.g. Kinder surprises, electric trains, puzzles, Lego, Nintendo, computer games).

class

work

board

poster

speaking

4

min

Listening

and speaking

to introduce vocabulary of ‘crazes’

to practise

stress in compound

words;

to practise the vocabulary of ‘crazes’; to express preferences and wishes;

to give further practice of the vocabulary of ‘crazes’;

to express abilities;

to raise awareness  of how verbs are formed from nouns;

The teacher tells students to listen to the cassette exercise 2a), page 60 . The teacher asks them to say which part of each word is stressed: the first or the second part.

The teacher tells students that they are going to listen to each word in turn and asks them to repeat.

Then the teacher divides students in pairs and asks them to draw the words very quickly: the first student will draw three and the other the last three words. Then they swap notebooks and name the objects drawn.

Some pairs read aloud the words.

Answer:

The first part of each word is stressed.

Exercise 2b, page 60

the teacher tells the students to look back at the pictures in Exercise 2 a and work in pairs to make up sentences referring to the things they have got, and to express wishes about the things they would like to have.

Example:

A I’ve got a pair of roller-skates, but I’d like to have a bicycle.

B I’ve got a skateboard, but I’d like a motorcycle.

Exercise 2c, page 60

The teacher tells the students to read the example in the textbook. The teacher draws their attention to the fact that except for bicycle and motorcycle that go with the verb to ride, all the other nouns can be used as verbs.

Then the teacher asks the students to make up sentences similar to the example. The teacher should accept any reasonable sentence in the Present or Past Simple, e.g. I couldn’t ice-skate last year, but I can ice-skate now.

class

work

pair

work

textbook

listening

4

min

Introducing

the past and future forms of the modal verb “can’

to teach students to express present, past and future abilities;

The teacher writes on the board:

Present            Past       

I can drive.  I could drive last year, too.

Then the teacher asks a student if he/she can drive and then the teacher asks the student ‘When will you be able to drive?’ and the student will certainly answer ‘When I am 18.’ The teacher will write another column on the board looking like this:

     Future

You will be able to drive when you are 18.

The students will copy the examples in their notebooks. After that, the teacher asks the students:

‘How do we express ability in the present?’

How do we express ability in the past?’

‘How do we express ability in the future?’

The teacher elicits the answers: can, could/was were able to and will be able to.

The teacher also points out the difference between the past abilities expressed by could and was/were able to: permanent ability versus momentary ability, by discussing the following examples:

I could swim last year.

When the ship caught fire I was able to swim to the shore.

class

work

board

speaking

writing

8

min

Practice for expressing abilities

to give students controlled practice in expressing ability;

to give students further practice in expressing ability;

Exercise 3b, page 61

The teacher asks the students to copy the sentences in their notebooks and to fill in the sentences with only one word required by the meaning. As the teacher checks the answer she asks the students to read the sentences aloud.

Answers: a) will; b) could; c) be; d) can; e) able; f) are/were.

Exercise 3c, page 61

The teacher divides students in pairs and asks them to take turns in asking questions about abilities they had, have or will have. The teacher asks them to follow the example in the textbook and advises them to use not only can and could, but also be able to.

The teacher moves from one pair to another and checks their conversation.

class

work

pair

work

textbook

writing

speaking

8

min

Reading

to develop the skill of reading for general understanding;

to develop the skill of reading for specific information.

Exercise 4 a), page 61

The teacher asks the students to read the newspaper article and to find another word for the craze called in-line skating. This exercise practises reading for general understanding so the teacher will not insist on each unknown word. If there are unknown words the teacher will give a quick translation for them and then the reading will move on.

Answer: roller-blading.

Exercise 4b), page 61

This exercise consists of comprehension-check questions. The students are asked to scan the text and answer the question orally.

Answers:

a) This craze started in the USA.

b) It was started for Canadian ice hockey players.

c) They changed the blades for wheels because they wanted to train during the summer time.

d) The advantages of roller blading are that skaters can exercise the same muscles on the road as they can have the same speed and agility they have with ice-skates.

e) Roller-bladers can go up to 30 miles per hour.

f) The protective equipment consists of a helmet, knee and elbow protectors, and special wrist protectors.

g) The in-line roller-skaters can be used by anyone who wants to get somewhere fast.

If there is enough time the teacher will ask the students to do exercise 5, page 24 from the activity book. The teacher will explain the task and will give an example.

class

work

textbook

activity

book

reading

6 min.

Evaluation

to check

comprehension.

Fill-in exercise:

The teacher gives to the students a fill-in exercise written on a hand-out which will look like this:

Find someone who:      Name:          

-could play tennis last year

-can play tennis very well

-was able to win a competition

-could run fast when he/she was seven

-was able to get a ten in the last Math test

Some students report to the class their findings.

Game: The chain of lies.

The teacher explains the rules of the game: the students sit in a circle and the teacher says a lie, like: “When I was one, I could solve ten Math problems a day”; the student next to the teacher has to say the teacher’s lie and his/her own; the second student has to remember the other lies completely and to add his/her own; the student who can’t remember all the lies gets out of the game and the student who remembers all wins. If a student says a very funny lie gets a point which can be used for a forgotten lie.

individual

work

class

work

hand-out

speaking

writing

10 min.

Homework

to give students enough writing practice;

Exercise 5, page 61

The students are asked to look at the crazes in the pictures or written on the “Crazes past and present” poster and choose a craze they might like to describe for homework. The teacher asks them to write at least six sentences describing this craze.

class

work

textbook

poster

speaking

2

min.

 



[1] Jeremy Harmer, “How to Teach Language”, Longman, 1998, page 92

[2] Jeremy Harmer, “How to Teach Language”, Longman, 1998, page 101

[3]  Rivers, Wilga M., Temperley,  Mary S., “a Practical Guide to the Teaching of English As a Second or Foreign Language,Oxford Unoversity Press, 1978, page 296






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