Today, Varinder Unlu goes back to using the coursebook after trying Dogme out for a day.
This is Varinder’s account of her 7th Day using the coursebook.
Meanwhile, let me hand you over to Varinder…
3rd May 2012
For those of you who have been following this teach-off from the beginning, you may remember that when I started two weeks ago I asked the class to pick a book to read and they choose Sherlock Holmes – short stories. We talked about the first story in one of the lessons last week and yesterday the students asked me when we would be talking about the rest of the book, so I in keeping with what the learners want – I did that today for the first part of the lesson.
Objectives for today’s lesson:
To discuss Sherlock Holmes stories
To introduce/revise reported speech – questions and statements
To improve student speaking
To improve student listening
The class started almost on time – I was a few minutes late. When I got to the classroom there were seven students already there. I didn’t want to start the first activity until more of the learners were there so we played “back to the board”.
By about 9.15 most of the students had arrived. I divided the class into two groups and put the discussion questions (see below)up on the IWB. I went through the questions with them to make sure that they knew what was being asked of them.
- Did you feel that the book met your expectations? Were you disappointed?
- Did you enjoy the book and stories? Why? Why not?
- How did the book compare to other books by the author (or other books in the same genre)?
- What about the plot of the different stories? Did it pull you in; or did you feel you had to force yourself to read the book?
- How realistic was the characterization? Would you want to meet any of the characters? Did you like them? Hate them?
- Did the actions of the characters seem plausible? Why? Why not?
- How does the setting figure into the stories? Is the setting a character? Does it come to life? Did you feel you were experiencing the time and place in which the stories was set?
- How would the stories have been different if it had taken place in a different time or place?
- Did the stories end the way you expected?
- Would you recommend this book to other readers? To your close friend? Why/why not?
The groups started their discussions and I monitored and occasionally asked questions to help things along. There some great answers to the questions. Once the students had finished their discussion we did a class feedback of their answers. At the end of this we talked again about the importance of reading especially as some of the students were saying that they had learned a lot from the book and it had helped them to see words in context. I explained that they should go to the school library and borrow more books to read and continue reading in English for pleasure.
- To lead into the first activity in the book (page 70) I wrote the word “speak” on the board and asked the students to discuss in pairs the different ways of speaking. During feedback we got a lot of lovely language from the learners: slowly, quickly, loudly, quietly etc (see pic of whiteboard for rest). I then added some of the ones they had not got: whisper, sigh, mumble, groan. I drilled the language as the words were put up on the board by asking students how the word was pronounced and the picking the best pronunciation to model for the rest of the class. I prefer to drill in this way as it takes the focus away from me and there is always one student in the class who can be used to model it.
- I then asked the group to look at page 70 and the read the instructions for the first activity. I usually allow students to read the instructions for themselves as it is an invaluable skill for them to have to be able to read instructions and follow them – particularly important when they’re taking exams but also in their day to day life. I checked that they had understood the instructions by asking: How many people are you going to listen to? How many phrases are there? What do you have to do with the people and the phrases?
- I played the listening and students listened and matched up. I allowed students to check their answers in pairs and played the listening one more time for consolidation and then conducted quick class feedback.
- Next I asked the student to look at the words in the grey box in exercise 2 and went through the pronunciation. I then asked the students to work with their partner to explain any words they knew the meaning of and their partner did not. The students then did the activity which was to match the words up to the sentences which had their definitions in them.
- During feedback there were a few questions, especially as the form of the word sometimes had to change if students were to say the sentence with the word from the grey box. One was likes to chat/chatting. Students wanted to know if this could be used in both ways ie like + to + infinitive or like + verb ing. As they seemed keen know this I thought that after the break we would go through the sentences again.
- After the break focused the students’ attention back on the sentences and asked them to re-write them using the correct form of the word. We went through them and students were asking questions about why like and love can be followed by the infinitive with to and the verb + ing. So I gave the students the grammar exercise at the back of the book on page 148 for homework. It gives a brief explanation of verbs followed by –ing and infinitive with to. I will ask them in tomorrow’s lesson if they have an questions and will clarify if there is still confusion.
- We moved onto the lead in for the Reading activity. I asked the students to look at the two questions and discuss with their partner. We went through their answers briefly. Here there was confusion over overheard and eavesdrop, which we went through and also the word gossip.
- I then asked the students to read the conversations on page 71 and decide which one they thought was the funniest. Students discussed their answers with their partners. I conducted class feedback and went thought any problems with lexis – squirrel, pay check, salary, wages. One of the Brazilian students said that in Brazil they refer to payslip as the onion because every time you open it makes you cry!! (I thought this was really funny and so did class). Students enjoyed this activity and there was a lot of talking and asking of questions.
I think because the class now know each other well and I know their different characters and a quite a lot about their personal interests, we could joke about things and everyone knew what was being talked about.
- Finally I went through some of the pronunciation of words and some meanings that were up in my vocab column on the whiteboard.
As is often the case in real life teaching (as opposed to CELTA or DELTA observation lesson), we didn’t get to the reported speech part of this lesson. Something we will continue with tomorrow.
I have been thinking about this lesson a lot, especially when students brought up the questions about like and love. Of course because the lesson focus was reported speech I didn’t want to spend too much time on this but wanted to help as well. That’s why I thought it better to give them something to do by themselves and then see if they have any questions rather than start focusing on that. I think my teaching in ESOL taught me to keep things simple and manageable so rather than overloading the learners with various things in one lesson, I feel it’s better to focus on one thing. This has worked for me and my learners in the past and I have achieved a great level of success with students by giving them manageable chunks of language to focus on.
This is a lovely lesson in the Global and there’s a lot that comes out of it for the learners.