Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Guest Posts, Listening Classes, Reading Classes

C1: Halloween Special – Spoopy Season

This is a guest post by Soleil García Brito just in time for Halloween. This lesson plan is for C1 students. They will discover the spooky origins of the jack-o-lantern and then learn about the new phenomenon of “spoopy” by doing a gapped text reading exercise. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below:

  1. What are the similarities and differences between these two images?
  • Which of these images do you find the spookiest?
  1. Listening (Part 2) VIDEO – The Messed Up Origins™ of Jack-o’-Lanterns

Watch the video (x2) until 5:17 and fill the gaps (1 to 3 words):

  1. Once you think about the name “Jack-o’-lantern”, it becomes evident that this tradition comes from ____________.
  2. Stingy Jack’s personal qualities made the devil ____________.
  3. On his way home Jack saw _______________ on the ground.
  4. The mutilated corpse’s voice was _____________ Satan himself.
  5. The devil was surprised by Jack’s ______________.
  6. Jack prevented the devil from climbing down the tree by surrounding it with ___________.
  7. The devil gave Jack a glowing ember as a _____________.
  8. According to the legend, Jack walks around _____________________ on October 31st.
  • Reading and Use of English (Part 7)

Read the text and choose the correct paragraph from [A]-[G] to fill in the gaps [1]-[6]. There is one extra paragraph, which you do not need to use.

ADAPTED FROM CULTURE DESK – San Francisco Chronicle

What is spoopy? Your guide to the Internet’s favorite Halloween aesthetic

For the past few years, October has not only heralded the return of Halloween and pumpkin spice lattes, it has also marked the dawning of spoopy season. For a small group of people who belong in the center of a Venn diagram of mellowed-out goths and the “extremely online,” the spoopy aesthetic has become a source of joy and comfort in turbulent times.

[1]

“Spookiness is campy, but spoopiness is campy in a very specific way,” says John Paul Brammer, a New York City writer and advice columnist whose popular memes about the demonic goat from the movie “The Witch” are more of the former. “Spoopy’s whole thing is that it is not frightening. It’s not threatening, not arcane, but uses the trappings of the threatening and the arcane to make the joke: OoOoOooOo!!! SpoooOOoooOOooky!!”

[2]

Its origin is much more straightforward than its meaning. In 2009, the word was spotted on a skeleton-theme sign displayed at a Ross Dress For Less store. Though its ascent took some time, the term gained popularity on niche social media communities like Tumblr until it finally reached escape velocity to spread even further.

[3]

Though it might seem random, the delight of this sort of banal creepiness stems from the desire to look an object of fear in the eye — and laugh.

[4]

In political discourse, Prevas points to anti-transgender activists using the image of Frankenstein’s monster to demonize transgender people. Historically, monsters have often stood in for types of people who were undesirable: racial minorities, immigrants, queer people, anyone outside the “normal.” “I love the unsettling part of (spoopiness),” Prevas says, “that disconnect between seeing the creatures which we expect to see in a horror scenario in a perfectly quotidian scene.”

[5]

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it resonates so well right now, at a time when marginalized people’s status feels extremely fraught and political rhetoric insists on estranging us from polite society. This aesthetic defies the imperative to be afraid: Instead, we embrace the monsters as part of ourselves, as neighbours. To let the monster out is, in a sense, letting oneself out. 

[6]

When we look at the skeleton riding a bike, it almost feels aspirational: This is what life could look like if our cloistered selves were set free. As it turns out, spoopiness might be just what we need right now.

[A] Because I’m a restaurant critic, my gauge of whether or not something has hit the mainstream is “The Great British Bake-Off.” In the 10th season, currently airing on the British Channel 4 and Netflix, Spanish contestant Helena Garcia has emerged as a fan favourite thanks to her memorably macabre but cute creations like a chocolate orange tarantula flanked by macadamia nut spider eggs, eldritch horror pies and bloody green “witch finger” biscuits.

[B] What is “spoopy”? It’s the coupling of wildly absurdist humour with terror — an aesthetic unto itself that, like camp, can be hard to articulate.

[C] Spoopy is a reclamation and reframing of these monsters, a mind-set that boasts, “You say I should be scared of this? Hilarious!”

[D] In fables and literary fiction, monsters are the embodiments of everything that society represses: a “warning system” of sorts, says Christine Prevas, a Columbia University Ph.D. candidate whose research focuses on applying queer theory to contemporary horror. The monster is a taboo made flesh: A prepubescent girl turned foul-mouthed, vomiting demon in “The Exorcist”; a bad sexual encounter run amok in “It Follows.”

[E] When I look at this stuff, it reminds me of how I like to “watch” horror movies by reading their plot summaries on Wikipedia: a digital version of peeking at Medusa’s face by holding up a mirror.

[F] This disruption of the narrative of otherness mirrors the way people actually want to be seen. For instance, queer people can be queer outside of designated contexts like gay bars and the privacy of one’s bedroom, Prevas says. “We’re also queer in the grocery store. We’re also queer on a bicycle.”

[G] Much easier than defining it is sorting through what is and isn’t spoopy. As a start, think of it as friendly and somewhat sarcastic horror: A skeleton isn’t, but a skeleton riding a bike? Definitely spoopy. The Babadook isn’t, but the memes that claim that the monster is a proud gay man? Super spoopy.

  • Language focus (15 min)
  1. Vocabulary

Look at the words in bold in the text and discuss the meaning with a partner:

Former 
Somewhat 
Spotted 
Gauge 
Embodiments 
Unsettling 
Mirrors 

Next, fill in the gaps with the vocabulary words in the correct form to fit the context:

  • Jack saw a mutilated corpse with a(n) _____________  look on its face.
  • His mood ___________ the gloomy weather on that Halloween night.
  • Between risking being tricked and facing Jack’s grumbling stomach for the rest of the trip, the devil chose the _________.
  • Some consider him the very _____________ of evil.
  • The devil was ____________ confused by Jack’s request to pay the bill at the bar.
  • Jack ___________ a mutilated corpse on the ground on his way home from the bar.
USEFUL CHUNKSUse the trappings of (sth) Stem from Run amok In a sense
  • After Jack __________ the level of danger he was in, he decided to trap the devil by using crosses.
Posted in Conversation Classes, Guest Posts, Reading Classes, Vocabulary Classes

B1/B2: First Class 2021



*unsplash.com

This is a guest post by online language tutor and ELT writer Ned Widdows. Ideal for the first class back after Christmas, it is a B1-B2 lesson with reading, vocabulary and speaking, asking learners to reflect on their experiences of 2020 and to look forward to the year ahead.

Download the teacher’s notes and student handout below:

Warmer

Write New Year’s Eve on the board / in the chat and ask students to share:

  1. 5 words connected with New Year (in general)
  2. 5 words connected with New Year 2021

Optional: share this image and ask students to describe what they see.

Briefly discuss how Christmas and New Year this year have been affected by the pandemic.

Procedure:

A – D on Student’s Handout is self-explanatory.

Optional ideas:

  1. Dictate the questions in A.
  2. Check the pronunciation of some of the trickier vocabulary in B, e.g. /ˌpɪktʃəˈresk/ /pəˈreɪd/
  3. Get learners to write new sentences with the verb patterns in C, e.g. I’m trying to learn how to play chess at the moment; She misses spending time with her cousins; etc.
  4. Share a link for a padlet and ask learners to post their texts on it. They can read each other’s and see what they have in common.
Posted in Conversation Classes, Guest Posts, Vocabulary Classes

Guest Post: Long time, no see! – Adjacency Pairs

Image result for long time no see

Image credit: Language Boat – WordPress.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is the second in a series of guest posts by my friend and colleague Josh Widdows, an English teacher and teacher trainer at International House Barcelona.

This is a speaking lesson for strong intermediate/upper-intermediate students aimed at helping our learners to respond more appropriately to each other´s utterances. It highlights the importance of listening carefully and how to reply with better intonation and stress in a natural way. An enjoyable speaking lesson that gives students fun controlled and freer speaking opportunities in a ´mingling´ activity.

Download the PowerPoint, lesson procedure, audio and handout below. There are two different version, one for adults and one for teenagers:

Tapescript

 

Complete the gaps with 1 or 2 words:

 

Conversation 1

 

A:     Good evening.

B:      Hi.

A:     Is anyone sitting here?

B:      No.

A:     Would you _____­­­­__ if I joined you?

B:      Not _____­­­­__ . That would be lovely.

A:     Can I get you a drink?

B:      That’s very _____­­­­__ . I’d love one.

 

Conversation 2

 

A:     It was lovely to see you again, Sue. We really enjoyed ourselves.

Thank you so _____­­­­__  for having us to stay.

B:      Not at all. It’s _____­­­­__ .

A:     But it was really kind of you to put up with all of us, and the animals.

B:      It’s no problem at all. You must come again soon.

A:     Thanks for the offer. We’ll do that. See you again soon, then!

B:      Yes. Have a good trip.

 

Conversation 3

 

A:     I passed!

B:      Oh, well done…at last! Congratulations! We’ll have to celebrate.

A:     Yes. How _____­­­­__ opening a bottle of champagne?

B:      Brilliant _____­­­­__ .

 

Conversation 4

 

A:     Do you fancy _____­­­­__ with us to the

theatre to see Murder in the Garden?

B:      I _____­­­­__ , but you’ll never _____­­­­__ what. My sister saw it yesterday.

A:     Really?

B:      Yes, and I’m afraid she said it wasn’t very good.

 

 

Now listen and check.

 

 

 

Look at the 6 underlined pairs of phrases in the dialogues.

What is their function?

 

Conversation 1

 

A:       Good evening.

B:       Hi.

A:       Is anyone sitting here?

B:       No.

A:       Would you mind if I joined you?

A     B:       Not at all. That would be lovely.

A:       Can I get you a drink?

B     B:       That’s very kind. I’d love one.

 

Conversation 2

 

A:       It was lovely to see you again, Sue. We really enjoyed ourselves.

Thank you so much for having us to stay.

C     B:       Not at all. It’s a pleasure.

A:       But it was really kind of you to put up with all of us and the animals.

B:       It’s no problem at all. You must come again soon.

A:       Thanks for the offer. We’ll do that. See you again soon, then!

B:       Yes. Have a good trip.

 

Conversation 3

 

A:       I passed!

D     B:       Oh, well done…at last! Congratulations! We’ll have to celebrate.

A:       Yes. How about opening a bottle of champagne?

E     B:       Brilliant idea.

 

Conversation 4

 

A:       Do you fancy coming with us to the

theatre to see Murder in the Garden?

F     B:       I would, but you’ll never guess what. My sister saw it yesterday.

A:       Really?

B:       Yes, and I’m afraid she said it wasn’t very good.

 

Match the function to the sentences:

                                                                                Letter

  1. Saying thanks/responding to thanks ______
  2. Giving good news/responding to good news ______
  3. Asking permission/giving permission ______
  4. Inviting/declining an invitation ______
  5. Making a suggestion/responding to a suggestion ______
  6. Making an offer/accepting an offer ______

 

Now think about the sentence stress and connected speech:

 

 

Posted in Guest Posts, Vocabulary Classes

Guest Post: Meet the Parents – Expressions with “Take”

Image result for meeting parents for the first time

Image credit: Neatorama

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is the first in a series of guest posts by my friend and colleague Josh Widdows, an English teacher and teacher trainer at International House Barcelona.

This is a vocabulary lesson plan for strong intermediate/upper-intermediate students based on the idea of meeting your partner’s parents for the first time. It highlights the importance of strong collocations that are rich in the English language, using ‘take’ expressions. A fun and discussion based lesson that allows students to create their own ‘guide’ for meeting the parents for the first time.

Download the PowerPoint, lesson procedure and handout below.

Meet The Parents Presentation

Meet The Parents Task Sheet

Meet The Parents Lesson Procedure

Meet The Parents Lesson Procedure

 

 

Stage Time Focus Procedure Aim
 

Reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0-5

 

 

O/C

 

 

 

 

Individ.

 

O/C

 

(Slide 1): Film poster of ‘Meet The Parents’. Ask:  Have you seen it?

        What’s it about?

        Why can this be a difficult situation?

 

Ss read the article and decide on best ‘tip’.

 

Ss compare and debate which ‘tip’ is the best. Facilitate and direct conversation.

Answer any questions about other lexis.

 

Topicalise lesson and activate schemata about the first meeting of your partner’s parents.

 

Reason to read and gather ideas.

Allow them to share ideas and debate the items.

 

Vocabulary

Focus 1

 

 

5-20

 

Pairs

 

 

 

 

Individ.

 

 

 

Pairs

 

 

Individ.

 

 

 

O/C

 

 

 

 

 

Highlight the first tip’s take expression and get them to underline the other 9. Encourage noticing of whole lexical chunk.

Monitor and mediate.

 

Project article (Slide 2) with underlined expressions. Ss check and notice full form of the expressions.

 

Ss discuss the meaning of each identified item. Model first in o/c.

 

(Slide 3); Ss match the ‘take’ expressions to their meaning. Do first one in o/c and then encourage autonomy.

 

Write up answers and check. Notice the ones they have difficulties with and clarify any misunderstandings.

 

 

 

Allows ss to notice the multiple expressions in the text.

 

 

Notice all particles of the expressions.

 

 

They work out meaning from context.

 

Notice their ‘meaning gap’ and leads them to understanding the true meaning.

Allow ss to check their understanding and question any uncertainties.

 

Vocabulary

Focus 2

 

 

 

20-30

 

Pairs

 

 

 

 

O/C

 

 

 

 

 

Pairs

 

 

Pairs

 

Focus ss on the form of the first ‘take’ expression and discuss form together, eg. take+prep+noun. They then highlight and discuss the forms of the others: NB Poss. Adjs

 

(Slide 4): Project form table, focusing on ‘singular nouns’ and other patterns.

Elicit the meta-language from ss. Talk about plurals and ask queries.

 

 

Notice which phoneme areas they struggle with and highlight weak forms.

 

Ss mumble practice the phrases. Notice any problem areas and then top-up in o/c.

 

 

Model: Give definition of one expression in o/c and elicit the take expression: ‘Which take expression means “to participate”?’

 

One student has the definition table and the other folds theirs in half. The one with open paper, gives the definition, the other gives the take expression. Monitor pronunciation.

 

 

Get them to identify and notice the different forms of the expressions.

 

Allows them to notice that some of the expressions are fixed that some particles cannot be changed.

 

Highlight the connected speech and word stress.

 

Lets ss practice the expressions and notice problem areas.

 

Reinforce form and recycle/practise meaning.

 

Testing encourages more clarity and cognitive depth.

 

Vocabulary Practice

 

30-40

 

Individ.

 

SS complete 10 sentences with the noun extracted.

 

(Slide 5) Project up the full sentences and ss check. Discuss any uncertainties or queries.

 

 

Draw attention to the lexical value and evaluate the form.

Clarify answers.

 

Personal-ised

Practice

 

 

 

40-55

 

3s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O/C

 

In small groups students discuss and share their own ideas and experiences about ‘How to Survive Meeting Your Partner’s Parents for The First Time and ss decide on best tips.

 

Monitor and ensure ss are using the target language appropriately. Feed in and shape any extra language.

 

 

Ss decide on best tip(s) and then feedback in open class. T reformulates language and ss debate their ideas.

 

 

Feedback to whole group and discuss best tips and personalised ideas that have come up.

 

Top-up on learning and answer any queries.

 

 

Ss gain cognitive depth through personalised answers and practice.

 

 

Allows T to check ss are using the items correctly and reinforce confidence in the ss.

 

Further cognitive depth by learning others’ use of the expressions.

 

 

Shared learning opportunities expands knowledge.