Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency

C1/C2 Halloween Spooky Word Formation: The Family Legacy

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This is a lesson plan for C1/C2 students who are preparing for an upcoming exam but still want to celebrate Halloween in some way. Students read a creepy story about an old family home, practice some word formation and then write their own continuation of the story. I wrote the story myself, let me know what you think! Download the handout and teacher’s notes below:

Pre-Reading

You’re going to read the first part of a horror story called “The Family Legacy”, it involves:

  • A father
  • A son
  • An old house

With your partner, make some predictions about what will happen in the story.

Reading

Read the story, ignore the gaps, see if your predictions were correct.

Roger trudged up the drive of the ancient hall, the seat of his family’s power for over two centuries. It stood on the top of the hill looking down over the land around, a 1. ………………(SYMBOL) effigy of the family’s grasp over the local 2. ……………. (POPULATE). Finally it was his, the jewel in the crown of his 3. ……………… (INHERIT) after his father’s passing the previous week. In the end, the death of the formidable patriarch of the family had been far from the 4. ……………… (PAIN) transition we all hope for, screaming night terrors, lashing out 5. ……………… (VIOLENT), catching his 6. ………………(SUSPECT) carers off-guard, until the final descent into silent 7. …………… (MAD) It was something that had befallen the last three generations of men in his family, a thought that he pushed to the back of his mind as a/an 8. ………………. (VOLUNTEER) shudder ran down his spine.

But it was over, and he could now envisage the 9. …………….. (REALISE) of all the 10. ……………… (BOY) hopes and dreams he had had for this 11. ……………….. (CRUMBLE) pile of stone and wood. As he approached the ancient 12. ………………..(WOOD) door, he took the old iron key from his pocket and unlocked it with a 13. ……………….. (SATISFY) thunk. As he stepped across the threshold his 14. ……………….. (FOOT) echoed throughout the house in a/an 15. ……………….. (SETTLE) way. What struck Roger immediately were the reminders of his father’s 16. ……………….. (QUESTION) taste in decorations; floor to ceiling oil paintings of 17. ……………….. (NOTE) ancestors and the heads of various animals mounted on the walls. He relished the thought of finally 18. ……………….. (CLUTTER) the whole place. No sooner had this thought crossed his mind than around the corner came an almost 19. ……………….. (PERCEIVE) breath of air, which flowed through the ground floor, as if the house itself was reacting to a/an 20. ……………….. (INVITATION) guest. The door slammed shut behind Roger, he heard a loud “clang” as the heavy old key hit the stone of the porch outside. Suddenly gripped by panic he grabbed the door handle and pulled with all his 21. ……………….. (STRONG) but to no avail. A sudden sense of 22. ……………….. (CONFINE) enveloped him, but what really set his nerves jangling and a creeping sense of 23. ……………….. (EXIST) dread curling up his back was the voice calling down the stairs from his father’s study….

Word Formation

Now look at the gaps, try to predict what type of word is needed, then attempt to transform the root words to fit the context.

Language Analysis

  1. How does the writer make the story creepy?
  2. Find two examples of onomatopoeia in the text. 
  3. Find and underline the sentence with “around the corner”
    1. What do you notice about the syntax?
  4. Look for impressive collocations with the following words:
Power…………………………………………Grasp…………………………………………Jewel…………………………………………Patriarch…………………………………………Catching…………………………………………Madness…………………………………………Mind…………………………………………Spine…………………………………………Hopes and dreams……………………………Footsteps…………………………………………Taste…………………………………………Relish…………………………………………Guest…………………………………………Door…………………………………………Panic…………………………………………Strength…………………………………………Sense…………………………………………Nerves …………………………………………

Production

Write the next paragraph of the story. Try to use:

  • Inversions: 
    • No sooner…. than….
    • Hardly/Barely/Scarcely….. when
  • An inversion of place:
    • Into the river jumped the boys.
    • At the top of the stairs sat a black cat.
  • Spooky language:
    • A shiver down the spine
    • unsettling/creepy/etc.
Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Listening Classes

2Ts in a Pod: Halloween Special 2020

Image credit: Mark Wilding

2Ts in a Pod is back with our first episode of season 4! It’s the 2020 Halloween special!

Some great creepy stories to use as listening activities in your classes this week! Try the spine-tingling one from 40:09-43:05 by friend of the pod Wilf Merttens.

If you like what you hear, check out Wilf’s podcast The Wilfiad: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-wilfiad/id1198607038

Posted in Advanced C1, Grammar Classes, Proficiency

Halloween Horror Story: C1/C2 Inversions

This is a spooky grammar lesson for Halloween. Students listen to the first part of a horror story in the form of a dictogloss, then continue the story using inversions. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below:

Horror Story Dictogloss – Teacher’s Notes

Pre-Listening

Tell students you’re going to read them the introduction to a horror story. It features a haunted mansion and the first line is “It was a dark and stormy night…” Tell them to make predictions about what will happen.

Dictogloss

Explain the dictogloss to your students:

You will read the story to them several times. A note on delivery, read the text in a natural way, don’t pause mid-sentence, follow the punctuation. You may want to exaggerate the pauses after full stops and commas to give students a bit of extra processing time.

  1. The first time all they have to do is listen.
  2. Second time they can take notes of words and phrases, stress that it’s not a dictation and that they shouldn’t worry if their version is different.
  3. Students compare notes with a partner or in a three.
  4. Students listen for a third time, taking notes and then compare with their group again. You may want to read the text for a fourth time, gauge it with your own group.
  5. Students work to recreate the text. You could do this on a Google doc so you can see the versions taking shape. Assign each group a page of the doc so that they’re not tempted to copy each other.
  6. Show them the original text and copy/paste all their versions below. Have them compare their versions and looks for differences.

It was a dark and stormy night, the wind was whistling through the trees and the rain was pouring down. Not only was I completely soaking wet, but also my teeth were chattering because of the icy wind. I knocked on the door of the ancient run-down mansion as hard as I could; little did I know the horror that awaited me on the other side of the door. No sooner had I ceased my knocking than the door swung slowly open. The darkness on the other side was pitch-black but so desperate was I to get out of the storm that I jumped inside without a second thought. Hardly had I set foot inside the house when the door slammed shut behind me…

Language Focus

Ask students to complete the following language analysis task in pairs:

  • Meaning – substitute the phrases in bold for other, simpler words so that the meaning is the same.
  • Usage – why do you think the writer decided to use the phrases in bold instead of simpler language? What effect do these expressions have on the reader? More emphatic, more exciting, draws the reader in.
  • Form – Look at the word order after the inversion phrases:
    • Not only…
    • Little…
    • No sooner
    • So desperate…
    • Hardly…
  • Complete the formula: Inversion phrase + _______ + _______ + _______

(Inversion phrase + auxiliary verb + subject + verb)

Show students further examples of each inversion:

Not only: used with a wide range of tenses and auxiliary verbs:

  • Not only are vampires afraid of crosses, but also garlic.
  • Not only did the werewolf have sharp teeth, but also long claws.
  • Not only would I recommend calling the police, but also I would run away as fast as I could.

Little: most commonly used with “know” and “realise”:

  • Little did I realise how much danger I was in.
  • Little did she know what had just happened in the other room.

No sooner…. than: Or Hardly…. when Most commonly used with past perfect to express that one action happened immediately after another:

  • No sooner had I closed the door than I heard a strange scratching sound.
  • No sooner had I fallen asleep than a strange light came in through the window.
  • Hardly had the sound stopped when the door burst open.
  • Hardly had I turned around when the beast appeared at the end of the corridor.

So + adjective + that…: Used with a range of adjectives to add emphasis and express consequences:

  • So cold was it that my hands were shaking.
  • So frightening was the beast that even the brave soldier screamed in fear.

Practice – Key

  1. I had just opened the door when the monster appeared.

HAD

Hardly had I opened the door when the monster appeared.

  • They had no idea that the beast was watching their every move.

REALISE

Little did they realise (that) the beast was watching their every move.

  • The enormous size of the beast’s tentacles stopped them from reaching the exit.

WERE

So enormous were the beast’s tentacles that they couldn’t reach the exit.

  • As soon as they were outside the house, she called the police.

HAD

No sooner had they got out of the house than she called the police.

  • The car wouldn’t start and the gun was jammed.

WOULD

Not only would the car not start but also the gun was jammed.

  • They didn’t know that the call was coming from inside the house until it was too late.

THAT

Little did they know/realise that the call was coming from inside the house until it was too late.

Production

Have students write another paragraph of the story either in class or for homework. Encourage them to use as many inversions as possible and other descriptive language.