TED Talk: Pamela Meyer, How to spot a liar

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This is a lesson based around Pamela Meyer’s TED talk “How to spot a liar” on the subject of dishonesty in society.

You will need the annotated transcript, the vocabulary exercises and the discussion questions:

Pamela Meyer TED Lesson Plan

Pamela Meyer TED transcript

Pamela Meyer worksheet 1

Pamela Meyer Vocabulary Homework

Note: These classes were designed for a two hour post proficiency conversation class. I normally set the video as homework for my students the week before.

Warmer – Two truths one lie

The old classic activity. Write three sentences about yourself on the board; two true and one false, I wrote:

  1. I met Leo Messi and Mascherano on the beach.
  2. I collect comic books.
  3. I used to be a builder before I was a teacher.

Give students two minutes to ask you questions to try and catch you in a lie. Then they must say which one they think is true and explain why, did they pick up on any vocal or body language signals. Then reveal which one is a lie (number 2 for me). Award one point to each student that guessed correctly and one point to yourself for each student you duped.

Now give students five minutes to do the same; write three sentences about themselves, two true, one false and continue the game. The winner is the person with the most points, who earns the title master liespotter.

  • Who was the best liar?
  • Who was the best liespotter?

Vocabulary Matching

Give out the vocabulary matching sheet and the transcript. Put students in pairs and have them complete the exercise, the vocabulary words are in order as they appear in the transcript so if they get stuck they can find the word in context to aid their understanding.

Key:

1-k, 2-d, 3-j, 4-c, 5-a, 6-v, 7-t, 8-r, 9-q, 10-n, 11-e, 12-u, 13-l, 14-w, 15-x/b, 16-x/b, 17-p, 18-m, 19-o, 20-h, 21-I, 22-s, 23-g, 24-f.

Discussion Questions

The answers to the comprehension questions can be found underlined in the transcript.

Write the following quotes from the talk on the board:

“We’re all liars”

“lying is a cooperative act”

What does she mean? Do you agree?

  1. Why do people lie? Brainstorm on the board.
  2. How much money did she say was lost because of fraud? Nearly a $trillion.
  3. How much money is lost to fraud in your country?
  4. Can you think of any big fraud cases?
  5. How often are we lied to on an average day? From 10-200 times
  6. What does she say about when strangers meet for the first time? That they lie to each other on average 3 times in first 10 minutes.
  7. What does she say about the difference between men and women? That men tend to lie more about themselves while women lie to protect people.
  8. Do you think this is true?
  9. What does she say about marriage and relationships? That married people lie to each other in 1 in every 10 interactions.
  10. What lies do couples tell each other?
  11. Are these little white lies?
  12. What does she say about animals lying? Coco the gorilla blamed a kitten for ripping a sink off the wall.
  13. What does she say about how children develop their deception skills? Babies fake crying, children hiding, bluffing and flattering to get what they want.
  14. She says we live in a post truth society, what does she mean by that? With the internet, politics and capitalist society we are surrounded by scammers, and exaggeration.
  15. How often do normal people distinguish a lie from the truth? 54% of the time
  16. How often do liespotters distinguish a lie from the truth? 90% of the time.
  17. What are the speech patterns of a liar we see in the Clinton video? Emphatic denial, formal phrases, distancing language.
  18. What are the body language patterns? Freeze upper body, too much eye contact, blink more, chatter with fingertips, fidget, don’t smile with eyes.
  19. Could you identify these actions in the videos?
  20. Are you a good liespotter?
  21. What other videos did she show? Grieving mothers, lying politicians.
  22. What did she say about the attitudes of honest/dishonest people? Dishonest people tend to be more detailed, and stick to a chronological order.

Homework

Set the other vocabulary worksheet as homework.

Chucky’s Participle Clauses

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This is a lesson plan for higher levels (C1+) to teach participle clauses based around the theme of phobias and horror films.

You will need to download the powerpoint and lesson plan:

Chucky’s Participle Clauses

Chucky’s Participle Clauses Lesson Plan

Warmer

What are you scared of?

Brainstorm different phobias on the board.

What gives you nightmares?

Have any specific films given you nightmares?

Have you seen any of the Chucky films?

Chucky Prank Video

Show the Chucky bus stop prank video until 2:20, tell students to focus on the actions:

Have them report back the different actions they saw.

Powerpoint

Go through the powerpoint, it will take students through present participle clauses and perfect participle clauses.

Guess My Job Game

Cut out and give out the job cards on the hand out, tell students to keep them secret from the rest of the class.

Students have to imagine that they are the person on their card; they have been invited to the class to share their experiences with the other students and give advice using participle clauses.

Example: Explorer, Having traveled all over the world, I can say that there’s no place like home. Having learnt 6 different languages, I thoroughly recommend it because it has broadened my mind immensely.

Give students a couple of minutes to think of their sentences, they then read them to the rest of the class who have to guess what job card they were given.

Having robbed a lot of banks, I have loads of money” “Are you a bank robber?” “Yes, I am!”

Homework

Set a film/book review task as participle clause can easily be used to describe narratives, encourage students to use at least 2 in their review.

Seeing her sister nominated to participate in the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteered to take her place.”

Having never seen a troll before, Bilbo was petrified.”

TED Talk: Daniel Kish, How I use sonar to navigate the world

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This is a conversation lesson plan for higher levels (B2+) based on Daniel Kish’s TED talk “How I use sonar to navigate the world”.

You can either watch the video in class or set it as homework. I have included a copy of the transcript which some students may find useful. You can download the lesson plan below:

TED Talk Daniel Kish Lesson Plan

Daniel Kish TED (transcript)

Introduction Questions

What do you call a person who can’t see?

What would it be like to be blind?

How do you feel when you see a blind person in the street?

Are there any advantages to be being blind?

Think of some things that blind people can and can’t do.

How do blind people navigate the world?

What do you think would be the most difficult thing for a blind person to do?

Show the video.

Discussion Questions

What was your initial reaction to the video?

What did you think when you first saw Daniel?

What did he say about the way in which people treat and react to blind people in society?

What’s his message?

Describe how he navigates the world.

What does he call this system?

Do you think you could use flash sonar?

Do you think you have good eyesight/a good sense of smell etc.?

  • sight/vision
  • smell
  • taste
  • touch
  • hearing

With a partner try to put your senses in order of importance. (This should spark off a lively debate)

Try and come up with a definitive order as a class.

If you had to lose one of your senses, which would you choose and why?

Debate

Divide the class into 5 groups and write the 5 senses on small pieces of paper. Each group picks a piece of paper, they then have to explain why the sense they have picked is the most important. Give them a few minutes to think of some arguments and every day situations to back them up.

Follow up activity

Students write a CAE/CPE report/proposal detailing ways in which a school or public space could be adapted for blind people. Alternatively, you could set an essay based on the TED talk evaluating Daniel Kish’s upbringing compared to more conventional parenting styles for blind/disabled children.

Bucket List: Conversation Topic

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This is a conversation topic, based around the idea of a bucket list, written with higher levels in mind (C1+). However, I have included a version for lower levels.

Download the lesson plan and student’s handout here:

Bucket List Conversation Class

Bucket List Student’s handout Advanced

Bucket List handout intermediate

Bucket List Conversation Class

Write on the board: My grandfather kicked the bucket last week.

Show the first part of the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8k79w-nJD4#t=13

to kick the bucket – to die How else can we say this?

  1. Pass ________
  2. Bite the _______
  3. Give up the ________
  4. ________ one’s last.

To pass away, bite the dust, perish (usually in an accident), give up the ghost, breathe one’s last.

  1. What is a bucket list?

A list of activities that people want to do before they die.

  1. What do you think of this idea?
  2. Have you seen the film?
  3. Who do you think invented this idea?
  4. Why has it become so widely-know?
  5. What is FOMO?

Fear of missing out – a modern phenomenon linked to social media. People tend to think theat they are missing an amazing experience.

Daily Mail Survey Guessing Game.

 

The Daily Mail newspaper conducted a survey to see what the British public most commonly put on their bucket lists.

Can you guess some activities people chose?

Give students a few minutes to jot down some ideas in pairs. Make it into a game, pairs read out their suggestions one at a time and you award them points depending on where it is in the top 40: 4 points for the top 10, 3 for top 20, 2 for top 30, 1 for top 40.

Language for talking about plans/hopes/dreams

Go over the language in the boxes below:

Positive Negative
I’ve always fancied…

I’m dying/itching to try…

… is a burning ambition of mine.

… would be right up my street.

… is one for the bucket list.

A pipe dream (an unrealistic/improbable dream)

I would jump at the chance to…

If you offered me the chance to…, I would bite your hand off.

I’d give it a go.

I have no desire to…

… doesn’t appeal to me (at all)

Whatever floats your boat.

To each their own

The idea of … doesn’t do anything for me.

You wouldn’t catch me …ing

… is not my thing.

… is not for me.

Daily Mail Top 10

  1. Have a holiday home abroad
  2. Learn a new language
  3. Go on holiday to the Maldives .
  4. Buy a house
  5. Swim with dolphins
  6. Drive Route 66
  7. Ride a hot air balloon
  8. See the Egyptian Pyramids
  9. Go to a casino in Las Vegas
  10. Visit Venice

Have students discuss the top ten and decide if they would be on their bucket list. You can then either show them the rest of the top 40 or go to http://bucketlist.org/featured/ for more ideas for students to create their own bucket lists. Daily Mail Top 40:

  1. Have a holiday home abroad
  2. Learn a new language
  3. Go on holiday to the Maldives
  4. Buy a house
  5. Swim with dolphins
  6. Drive Route 66
  7. Ride a hot air balloon
  8. See the Egyptian Pyramids
  9. Go to a casino in Las Vegas
  10. Visit Venice
  11. Go up the Empire State Building
  12. Go on a cruise
  13. Go whale watching
  14. Climb a mountain
  15. Go up the Eiffel tower
  16. Learn an instrument
  17. Work in a different country
  18. Float in the Dead Sea
  19. Write a novel
  20. Drive a racing car
  21. Change career
  22. Trek the Inca Trail
  23. Be a volunteer for a good cause
  24. Be an extra in a film
  25. Go scuba diving
  26. Try out surfing
  27. Hold a Koala
  28. Feed a penguin
  29. Get a tattoo
  30. Backpack Europe
  31. Own a designer watch
  32. Ride a gondola
  33. Run a big race
  34. Bungee jump
  35. Reach the top of my career ladder
  36. Own a Mulberry handbag
  37. Ride a camel
  38. Ride on a horse and cart
  39. Write a film
  40. Change hair colour

Daily Mail article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-2695728/Buying-holiday-home-driving-Route-66-trip-Maldives-British-bucket-list-40-things-die.html

CAE Writing Part 1: A Formal Essay

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This is a lesson plan to help students approach and complete the new formal essay task in the CAE writing paper.

You will need the handout and teacher’s key:

CAE Writing Part 1 handout

CAE Writing key

Task Type

The new CAE writing part 1 is a formal essay based on a talk/lecture that the student has recently attended. There are always 3 bullet points that the lecture discussed, of which the candidate must only address two. There are also some quotes from other attendees/surveyed people that can be used. The final part of the task will include a question that the essay MUST answer.

essay shopping

Credit: Spotlight on Advanced – Cengage Learning and National Geographic.

Planning

Make enough copies of the 2nd page of the hand out for one between two. Cut the hand out up, give the slips of paper with the different planning steps to the students and have them put them in order. My suggested order is as follows:

  1. Read task carefully. Underline most important parts; focus on the question that your essay MUST
  2. Brainstorm ideas based on the 3 bullet points.
  3. Choose the 2 bullet point you have the most ideas about.
  4. Brainstorm ways to express your ideas and the quotes in the task using advanced grammar:
  • Inversions: Not only is/do…..but also… Rarely/seldom do people….
  • Double comparatives: The cheaper the…., the more popular…
  • Participle clauses: Being a keen shopper myself,… Having bought many products online,….
  • Advanced linkers: Despite the fact that…., ….. due to the fact that = because
  1. Plan your introduction:
  • An interesting way to introduce the topic.
  • Formal questions that the essay will answer.
  1. Plan your conclusion: Focus on answering the question you underlined in step 1.
  2. Write
  3. Reread carefully checking for:
  • Repetition of words/structures.
  • Contractions
  • Boring/informal vocabulary.
  • Also Furthermore/moreover. Because due/owing to the fact that. Although In spite of the fact that. However nonetheless/nevertheless.
  • Have you answered the question completely?

Have students complete step 1 in pairs:

essay shopping underlined

Have students complete step 2 as a CAE speaking part 3 task. Draw a spider diagram on the board. In the middle write: What influences where/how people shop? On the 3 spokes write the three bullet points: Convenience, cost and enjoyment. Briefly recap some language for speaking tasks and have students discuss the topic for 3 minutes.

Hold a plenary session and board all the students ideas in note form. Then put them in pairs to complete the next step: Brainstorming impressive grammar structures to use.

When shopping online not only do you avoid paying parking fees, but also crowds of people.

Having shopped both online and in stores, I would say that….

Linkers activity

Give out 1 copy of the third page of the handout to each student and have them complete it in pairs.

Pimp my paragraph

Either hand out the paragraph upgrade sheet out or project it on to the board. Students must upgrade the language in the paragraph to make it more impressive and more formal.

Introduction Phrases:

I got these great phrases from another handout I found on the internet:

More and more families are choosing to have only one child.

The trend nowadays is towards having smaller families.

Over the past ten years or so the media have frequently carried reports of ……………

Recent research indicates that the number of teenagers who smoke is increasing.

Hardly a week goes by without another report of …………….. appearing in the media.

This raises the issue of whether ……………..

Although most people would generally agree that …………… few would deny that …………….

I hope you find these activities useful in developing your students’ writing abilities, I appreciate any feedback or constructive criticism in the comments section.