The Olympics: Lesson Plan

So the summer is meant to be here already in the UK, and the Olympics are just round the corner.  What better way to celebrate the Olympics with a lesson plan that introduces all sorts of interesting and fun facts about the Olympics.  This lesson plan allows teachers the opportunity to develop a “reading-relay” or dictation exercise, review vocabulary and sports related to Olympic Summer and Winter Sports as well as provide learners the opportunity for a fun and enjoyable sports quiz in the theme of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”.  All necessary documents for the lesson are below.  Should you have any questions, please leave a comment below.  I hope that you and your learners enjoy the material developed.  If you wish to receive a copy of the documents, please let me know and I would be able to email them to you.


Fun & Interesting Olympics Facts
Olympic Fun Facts – Reading Dication Exercise (Answers)


Reading Relay Template: Fun & Interesting Olympic Facts
Olympic Fun Facts – Reading Dication Exercise


Reading Relay: Classroom Sentences (Olympic Facts – you could stick these sentences up around the classroom)
Olympic Fun Facts – Information (Reading)


Presentation – Olympics Lesson

Presentation – Sports & Olympics Quiz

The Wrong Passport – Lesson Plan

When I was flying to Romania, I packed all my things the evening before but when I arrived at the airport, I had picked up my son’s passport.  However, when I was waiting for the taxi to bring my passport up to Heathrow Airport, I was thinking how suitable this situation would be in the classroom to promote and develop conversation for unexpected situations.  It kind of reminds me of the Mr Bean at the Airport scenario:

After a week, I planned my first lesson and decided to include this as a typical ‘dictogloss’ activity.  ‘Dictogloss’ is best described by Wajnryb (1990) as something that is borrowed from the more traditional dictation activity, where learners “jot down familiar words as they listen … then pool their resources to reconstruct their version of the original text” (ibit. pg.5).  Thus, I decided to write a short piece involving me getting the wrong passport for learners to listen to in class and for them to recreate their version of the incident.  After students have, within groups, recreated the incident in their own words (with the possibility of reviewing grammar or certain phrases: for example, a group of learners wanted to look at the difference between “The flight was supposed to leave at …” and “The flight was due to leave at …”), there is the option to get students to guess what happened next (and the language of modals is a usual indicator for language here).  Finally, there is an opportunity for more exploratory teaching (aka. Dogme ELT discussion) from this topic but I hope the following lesson plan offers some further ideas for your classroom.

Aim of Lesson
To get learners to listen, note down and reconstruct a story that the teacher has prepared.

Sub-Aims of Lesson
To review grammar, phrases and lexis involving the airport.  To prompt discussion involving unexpected situations or accidents.

Level of Learners
This activity works best for any level from Pre-Intermediate or above, preferably teenagers or older.

Progression of Lesson
1. Start the lesson by telling students that you are going to tell a short story and that they need to just listen.
2. Once you have finished the story once, get students to individually write down any words or phrases that they remember (no sentences just yet).
3. Read the story for the second time and get learners to make a note of any other phrases or words that they remember.
4. Next, tell students that they need to individually write their version of the story in their own words (either the first person or third person is fine, as long as they can recreate the story and it reads well).
5. Once students have written their story, group students into pairs or small groups and nominate a team leader.  The team leader is responsible for writing the final version of the story.
6. When students have written the story, hand out a copy of the story to the learners so that they can compare any differences.
7. Monitor students and their writing for any key differences with regards to grammar or phrases and note anything on the whiteboard.
8. Review and scaffold any differences if necessary.
9. The next part of the lesson is to get students to work in their groups to predict what happened next in the story.  Note down any of their ideas on the whiteboard before revealing.
10.  OPTIONAL – If you wish to incorporate discussion in the classroom, you could learners (if they are willing) to share their experiences of an unexpected situation that has arisen during their travels.  As with Dogme ELT, monitor and scaffold language that has emerged during the classroom conversation.

What I wrote for the ‘Dictogloss’ activity is available to view below.  It would be great to hear your ideas regarding ‘Dictogloss’ and whether you have incorporated a similar lesson before.  The best thing about ‘Dictogloss’ is that it is very materials-light and promotes recycling vocabulary and reconstructing a story after several attempts.  The students feel a sense of achievement afterwards and it is highly motivational.

On Thursday 2nd February, I was flying to Romania for the first time.  I packed everything the night before and checked that the taxi would pick me up.  I woke up at 3 o’clock in the morning for my taxi would collect me at four thirty.  I arrived at Heathrow Airport at 6 o’clock in the morning and was checking in.  The flight was due to leave at 9:45am but I realised that I didn’t have my passport: I had my son’s passport!

“Old Wife’s Tales”: Lesson Plan

Here is my first lesson plan for 2012 and something related to “Old Wife’s Tales”.  I created this lesson after watching a video on YouTube about Fan Death.  For those that might be unfamiliar, Fan Death is described by Wikipedia:

Fan death is a widely held belief in South Korea that an electric fan left running overnight in a closed room can cause the death of those inside. Fans sold in Korea are equipped with a timer switch that turns them off after a set number of minutes, which users are frequently urged to set when going to sleep with a fan on.

The Korea Consumer Protection Board (KCPB), a South Korean government-funded public agency, issued a consumer safety alert in 2006 warning that “asphyxiation from electric fans and air conditioners” was among South Korea’s five most common seasonal summer accidents or injuries, according to data they collected.

When I first arrived in Korea, I found it very funny that Koreans would not bat an eyelid and tell me off if I kept my air-conditioning on in my closed apartment (especially over the summer months when it was quite hot and humid).  Anyhow, the lesson plan is below:

Aim of Lesson
To learn, discuss and share more about popular UK and additional country’s “Old Wife’s Tales”.

Level of Learner(s)
This lesson is aimed for learners at levels of Intermediate or above (B1+).

Progression of Lesson
1. Start the lesson by writing on the whiteboard: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” and ask learner(s) if they have heard of this saying.  This should activate learners’ schema and provides a good example of an ‘Old Wife’s Tale’.
2. Ask learners if they have a similar saying from their country and transcribe their examples on the whiteboard.
3. Tell students that they will be re-writing sentences and there are eight sentences which need to be reformulated and handout the following below.  Advise students that they must complete the handout individually.
Old Wifes Tales Reformulation(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();
4. Monitor students to see if they are working well.  Once students have finished, start pairing students together and get them to check their reformulation in small groups/pairs.
5. Elicit from learners the sentences and transcribe their answers on to the whiteboard.  Check for errors and encourage self-correction from the learners.
6. Once the correct sentences are on the whiteboard, ask learners which sentence they think is true or false (all are false apart from the last one).  Try to ask learners why they think some are true or false.  Some language may emerge so be flexible for following the class.
7. The next part of the lesson is to show a video about “Fan Death” and a common Old Wife Tale from South Korea.  If there is a learner from South Korea, get them to explain what Fan Death is (but they may not be familiar with this – so a bit of understanding is required).
8. Show the video below:
9. Get students to talk about the video and whether they think Fan Death is true or false.  Korean learners may be quite direct in their opinion of fan death so some sensitivity is required but hopefully the video will encourage some debate in the subject.  Some language that may arise from the discussion could include: asphyxiation, vortex, etc.  The best thing about the video is that it is a cartoon and takes quite a funny look at Old Wife’s Tales.
10. Finish off the lesson to talk about funny beliefs and get students to share their country’s beliefs.  Perhaps you could start off by providing an example that British people will not walk under a ladder as it is considered bad luck.

Have fun and enjoy the lesson and I look forward to hearing further ideas about how the YouTube video could be incorporated in lessons.  I am aiming this lesson to share cultural ideas and beliefs in the effort that it improves understanding with the learners in the classroom.

Zeitgeist 2011: Lesson Plan

2011 Light Writing, Daily Dose (c) 2011

As 2011 draws to an end, it is a time of reflection, consideration and possibility for the future.  This lesson plan is aimed at B2-C1 level students and may work with selected teenagers, but it may be more successful with adult learners.  Possible language which may emerge could be associated with reflection and talking about the past (There was a Tsunami in Japan, There were the Arab Springs during 2011, etc) as well as talking about what the  future might bring (In 2012, I would like to …, In the next 3 months, I want to …, etc).

As with all material, it is suggested to be sensitive to the learner’s background and choose examples to scaffold that are appropriate: perhaps the talking of natural disasters might not suit Japanese learners.  However, learners may have a story to tell and I suppose you are the teacher that knows your learner better than anyone and can make the choices that are suitable and appropriate for your learners.

Context & Introduction to Topic

  1. When starting the class ask students:
    • what they have achieved during 2011
    • what is their most memorable event during the year
    • what was the most surprising element of 2011
    • learner or teacher resolutions for 2012
  2. Monitor language for correct tense usage, monitor language as well as boarding and scaffolding emergent language
Zeitgeist 2011 YouTube Video
  1. Tell learners that they are going to be watching a video but put learners in pairs or small groups
  2. Describe to each pair or group of learners that before they watch the video, they need to work together and think of five important events that happened in 2011
  3. Elicit possible important events during 2011 from the learners and write their suggestions on the whiteboard
  4. Tell learners that they are going to watch a video that is related to 2011.  The learners need to watch the video and check to see if any of their suggestions are in the video.
  5. Play the video.
  6. Once the video has been played, ask learners to mention what events that were suggested (and transcribed on the whiteboard) are in the video.
  7. Elicit any other important events from 2011 the learners and add these to the whiteboard (if the learners can remember some of the other important events in the video).
  8. Play the video for a second time.
Discussion Time
  1. Once several events from 2011 have been written on the board, tell students that they are going to be working in groups and have to re-order the events in importance (one being the most important and the last one being least important).  All learners within the group must accept the order of importance.
  2. Monitor learners for suitable or potential language that could be used to scaffold (I think … is the most important, Why do you think …?, What do you think?, etc).
  3. After learners have completed the re-ordering activity, get several groups together and to compare results with the potential to debate.
  4. Allow sometime once the debate/discussion has finished for feedback and error correction.
As ever, any feedback on this lesson plan would be greatly appreciated.

iPad Game “Jetpack Joyride”: Lesson Plan

I recently received a copy of “Digital Play” (a book review will be available in the near future), which is written by Kyle Mawer and Graham Stanley, and was inspired by this book to prepare an EFL lesson which incorporated an iPad/iPhone Game.  The game that I decided to focus on is called “Jetpack Joyride“, created by Halfbrick (the company behind many popular iPad/iPhone games such as Fruit Ninja), and is an addictive yet simple game which involves the use of flying through a level.  It is controlled by simply pressing the iPad or iPhone with your finger and is incredibly intuitive.  All material required for this lesson is detailed below.  The only preparation required for this lesson is printing out the material below and cutting up the Story Board Images for distribution for each group of students.  There is a video that is required for the lesson and it is accessible via YouTube and is also available to view below.

Jetpack Joyride Lesson Plan(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

Jetpack Joyride – Story Board Images(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

Image Story Board Template(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

Jetpack Joyride – Rules(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

Please feel free to let me know what you thought of the lesson and also provide feedback if you managed to incorporate this within your class.  I understand that not everyone will have access to an iPad or iPhone but for those that have this game on their smartphone or tablet, it may offer possible ideas to incorporate games within the EFL classroom.  A Wordle for the lesson is provided below and you could incorporate it in the lesson (perhaps as a context creator or to prompt students to write the rules/objectives of the game).

Jetpack Joyride Wordle(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

Nevertheless, have you used digital games within your classroom?  Can you see the future of tablet games within the EFL classroom or is this sort of activity basically a repackaged form of edutainment?  I am keen to hear opinions from other teachers about whether we should be getting learners to play games for language learning or focusing on the basics of language learning.  That being said, I will be using this lesson with a group of Columbian teenage learners and will provide feedback very soon.

Teaching Compound Nouns: Lesson Plan

Last week, I was required to teach ‘Compound Nouns‘ to my current group of Chinese Young Learners.  They are intermediate students and are rather autonomous: they only require a little instruction or guidance.  Nonetheless, it was the first time that I had formally taught ‘Compound Nouns‘ in class and I spent one evening last week thinking what was the best way to introduce it.  I referred to English Grammar Today as well as English Vocabulary in Use which offered some guidance for lesson activities.  Again Sue Annan provided some invaluable advice and emailed me some possible material which was greatly appreciated.  In the end, I decided that preparing my own material whilst referring to the books and advice provided by Sue was more beneficial.

For the lesson, I decided that a matching exercise was useful.  I handed out strips of words to groups of three or four students and they then had to match compound nouns together (‘bus’ + ‘stop’, ‘mother’ + ‘tongue’, etc).  The matching worksheet is provided below but it requires printing, photocopying and cutting up (just a little more preparation than usual).  Once vocabulary was matched together, students transcribed their answers on the whiteboard and then into their notebooks.  Nearer the end of the first lesson, we played a quick game whereby I gave students a topic and they had to think of their own compound nouns.  Topics included ‘jobs’, ‘travel’, ‘kitchen’, etc.

To reinforce the teaching of compound nouns in the second lesson, I had prepared a wordsearch puzzle for the young learners and they were really keen to complete it.  They were seeing who could complete the puzzle the quickest.  In the wordsearch, the nouns which were introduced during the matching exercise were repeated.  Towards the end of the second lesson, I decided to do one more ten minute game.  To begin with, I demonstrated the game to all the students.  The students have to guess what compound noun is being acted.  The rules of the acting game included:

  1. No talking to the students
  2. You are only allowed to mime or act the noun
  3. Two students are invited to the front of class with one student being one noun and the other student being the other noun
  4. Students sitting at their desks must raise their hands if they know the answer
  5. The student that guesses correctly can choose who can go up to the front of class

The game was great fun with the students really getting into acting as a ‘bus’ and another student miming a ‘driver’.  This activity was suggested by a colleague at LTC Eastbourne and something that I will ‘keep up my sleeve’ for a future lesson on compound nouns/adjectives.

I really appreciate some of the tweets that I received from my PLN to help with preparing my lesson.  I would really encourage all my teachers to get on Twitter and extend their PLN.  Some of the tweets I received are below.

Some of the activities suggested above was not done but it will remain a possibility if I do a future lesson.  Please feel free to use the material that I have shared which is available below.

Matching Activity(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();
 (function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

Past Simple Reading Relay: Lesson Plan

I created a lesson plan yesterday for students so that they could practice the Past Simple form.  I found a bit more about Heath Ledger and then created a reading relay.  There are two parts to this lesson; first students have to re-create the past simple question forms and, secondly, students then have to look for the correct information.

You would be able to link this lesson to Superheroes.  Personally, I got students to create their own superheroes and then they look at popular superheroes and we brainstormed vocabulary (alias, superpowers, costume, arch enemy) which we linked to Batman and then finally to Heath Ledger.  It was a long context builder but the students enjoyed it.

Anyhow, please find below the lesson plan and please feel to share and provide feedback.  I hope your students enjoy this.

Question Formation
Heath Ledger Question Formation

Reading Relay
Heath Ledger Reading Relay  

Restaurants in London: Lesson Plan

I created a new lesson about food and restaurants in London the other week for the Chinese students that I am teaching at the moment.  I thought I would share this lesson for my followers.  The lesson is aimed at introducing UK food and restaurant culture in the form of a reading relay activity.  One activity that the students have to do is to complete a question formation prior to the reading relay.  However, before starting the class I would recommend teachers to put up the reading (available below) around the classroom or alternatively arrange eight chairs with the text on each chair.

Visit London – Restaurants

The question formation activity is also available to download and print.

Visit London – Restaurants (Questions)

If you wish to add or make any recommendations to the lesson, please feel free to comment.