Posted in Conversation Classes, Reading Classes, TED Talk Lesson Plans, Video Classes

Kicking the Habit: TED Talk, Reading and Discussion

 

Image credit: ted.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for C1+ students on the topic of bad habits based around a TED talk by Judson Brewer and an article from Yahoo Health. You can find the TED talk, students’ handout, reading text and teacher’s notes below:

TED Bad habits sts copy – Students handout

TED bad habits teachers notes

Common Bad Habits – Reading Text

TED  – Breaking Bad Habits – Teacher’s Notes

Step 1: Expressions with habit

What do you think these expressions mean? Do they exist in your language?

He’s been smoking since he was 15 years old and he just can’t kick the habit.

When my grandad retired he didn’t stop getting up at 6am and putting a suit on. Old habits die hard.

I could never go backpacking I’m too much of a creature of habit, I can’t stand changes to my routine.

I’ve always written my essays at the last minute and I normally get good marks. Why break the habit of a lifetime?

Kick the habit = give up/quit a bad habit

Old habits die hard = it’s difficult to stop a habit you’ve been doing for a long time

A creature of habit = someone who likes the security of a routine

Why break the habit of a lifetime? = something you say to a person you know isn’t going to change their habits.

Step 2: Brainstorm bad habits on the board

Step 3: Reading

Give out the reading handout, put students in groups of 3. Students read each section then discuss the meaning of the vocabulary in bold. Then they answer the discusssion questions. Then they move onto the next bad habit.

Step 4: TED Talk

Students watch the TED talk and answer the following questions:

What bad habits does he mention? Being unable to concentrate, phone/internet addiction, stress eating, smoking, distracting yourself from work.

What solution to these bad habits does he suggest? Using mindfulness to focus on the cravings we feel and see them as physical moments that pass.

After watching students discuss:

  1. What do you think of the talk?
  2. Do you have any of the bad habits he mentioned?
  3. Do you think mindfulness would work for you?
  4. Have you ever meditated? Would you consider it?

Step 5: Vocab Focus – Meaning from Context

Students try to guess the meaning of the expressions in bold from the context.

  1. When I was first learning to meditate, the instruction was to simply pay attention to my breath, and when my mind wandered, to bring it back.
  2. Why is it so hard to pay attention? Well, studies show that even when we’re really trying to pay attention to something — like maybe this talk — at some point, about half of us will drift off into a daydream, or have this urge to check our Twitter feed.
  3. Instead of this hunger signal coming from our stomach, this emotional signal — feeling sad — triggers that urge to eat.
  4. Maybe in our teenage years, we were a nerd at school, and we see those rebel kids outside smoking and we think, “Hey, I want to be cool.” So we start smoking. The Marlboro Man wasn’t a dork, and that was no accident.
  5. What if instead of fighting our brains, or trying to force ourselves to pay attention,we instead tapped into this natural, reward-based learning process?
  6. She moved from knowing in her head that smoking was bad for her to knowing it in her bones, and the spell of smoking was broken. She started to become disenchanted with her behavior.
  7. When the prefrontal cortex goes offline, we fall back into our old habits, which is why this disenchantment is so important.
  8. And this is what mindfulness is all about: Seeing really clearly what we get when we get caught up in our behaviors.
  9. We start to notice that cravings are simply made up of body sensations — oh, there’s tightness, there’s tension, there’s restlessness.
  10. These are bite-size pieces of experiences that we can manage from moment to moment rather than getting clobbered by this huge, scary craving that we choke on.

Mind wanders/drift off into a daydream = get distracted

Have/get an urge to do something = a strong desire/impulse

Trigger (v) = activate/set off/cause to function

Nerd = unpopular, studious person

Dork = unpopular, studious person, more pejorative than nerd

Tap into = manage to use something in a way that gives good results. Get access to a resource. Collocations: tap into an energy source, tap into creativity, tap into the water supply.

Know in your bones = feel something using intuition, synonyms: know in my guts, a gut-feeling.

Break a spell = end magic/enchantment

Disenchanted = two meanings. 1. Free from illusion/magic 2. Disappointed, demotivated, disillusioned.

Fall back into old habits = return to old habits after having changed

Get caught up in st = to become completely involved in something, normally bad connotation.

Craving = a consuming desire, normally physical related to addiction.

Restlessness = a state of discomfort, can’t stay still/relax. A restless night.

Bite-size pieces = small easy to manage pieces

Get clobbered = to be beaten/hit severly

Choke on st = not able to breath because of something in your throat

Step 6: Sentence Completion

Students put the expressions from the vocab focus into the following sentences:

  1. He was always so restless at school, he couldn’t sit still for a second.
  2. I’m a bit weird, whenever I go near the edge of a cliff or a tall building I get the sudden urge to jump off!
  3. Don’t worry, everything is going to be alright, I don’t know how but I feel/know it in my bones.
  4. I managed to stop biting my fingernails for 6 months but recently, because of all the stress at work, I have fallen back into old habits.
  5. Most voters are completely disenchanted with politics in general and extremist politicians like Donald Trump are simply tapping into the anger and resentment.
  6. When my Mum was pregnant she had strong cravings for avocado even though she normally hates them.
  7. The earthquake triggered a huge tsunami that hit the coast at 10am.
  8. When I was at school I always used to get into trouble for drifting off into a daydream during class.
  9. 3 hours into the film I got a bit bored and my mind wandered to what I was going to have for dinner.
  10. A man suddenly started to choke on a prawn and a fellow diner had to give him the heimlich maneuver.
  11. I was definitely a bit of a nerd at school but I certainly wasn’t a dork.
  12. I got so caught up in the excitement of the party that I didn’t realise I had missed the last train home.
  13. He caught the rugby ball, turned around and was immediately clobbered by a huge opposition player.
  14. I broke the carrots up into bite-size pieces so that the children wouldn’t choke on

Step 7: Discussion

Students answer questions in pairs.

  1. Were you restless at school? Did you use to drift off into a daydream?
  2. Do you know the heimlich maneuver? Have you ever choked on anything?
  3. Were you a nerd when you were at school?
  4. Do you ever get so caught up in something that you lose all sense of time?
  5. Do you ever get the urge to do something silly or outrageous in social situations?
  6. Do you agree with sentence 5 above? What can we do to change the situation?

Students’ Handout

Expressions with habit

What do you think these expressions mean? Do they exist in your language?

He’s been smoking since he was 15 years old and he just can’t kick the habit.

When my grandad retired he didn’t stop getting up at 6am and putting a suit on. Old habits die hard.

I could never go backpacking I’m too much of a creature of habit, I can’t stand changes to my routine.

I’ve always written my essays at the last minute and I normally get good marks. Why break the habit of a lifetime?

TED Talk

  1. What bad habits does he mention?
  2. What solution to these bad habits does he suggest?

Discussion

  1. What do you think of the talk?
  2. Do you have any of the bad habits he mentioned?
  3. Do you think mindfulness would work for you?
  4. Have you ever meditated? Would you consider it?

Vocabulary Focus

Read the sentences from the transcript and discuss the words/expressions in bold with your partner.

  1. When I was first learning to meditate, the instruction was to simply pay attention to my breath, and when my mind wandered, to bring it back.
  2. Why is it so hard to pay attention? Well, studies show that even when we’re really trying to pay attention to something — like maybe this talk — at some point, about half of us will drift off into a daydream, or have this urge to check our Twitter feed.
  3. Instead of this hunger signal coming from our stomach, this emotional signal — feeling sad — triggers that urge to eat.
  4. Maybe in our teenage years, we were a nerd at school, and we see those rebel kids outside smoking and we think, “Hey, I want to be cool.” So we start smoking. The Marlboro Man wasn’t a dork, and that was no accident.
  5. What if instead of fighting our brains, or trying to force ourselves to pay attention,we instead tapped into this natural, reward-based learning process?
  6. She moved from knowing in her head that smoking was bad for her to knowing it in her bones, and the spell of smoking was broken. She started to become disenchanted with her behavior.
  7. When the prefrontal cortex goes offline, we fall back into our old habits, which is why this disenchantment is so important.
  8. And this is what mindfulness is all about: Seeing really clearly what we get when we get caught up in our behaviors.
  9. We start to notice that cravings are simply made up of body sensations — oh, there’s tightness, there’s tension, there’s restlessness.
  10. These are bite-size pieces of experiences that we can manage from moment to moment rather than getting clobbered by this huge, scary craving that we choke on.

 

Sentence Completion

Complete the sentences with the expressions above.

  1. He was always so ______________ at school, he couldn’t sit still for a second.
  2. I’m a bit weird, whenever I go near the edge of a cliff or a tall building I get the sudden __________ jump off!
  3. Don’t worry, everything is going to be alright, I don’t know how but I ______________________.
  4. I managed to stop biting my fingernails for 6 months but recently, because of all the stress at work, I have __________________________________.
  5. Most voters are completely __________________________ politics in general and extremist politicians like Donald Trump are simply ____________________________ the anger and resentment.
  6. When my Mum was pregnant she had strong _____________ for avocado even though she normally hates them.
  7. The earthquake _______________ a huge tsunami that hit the coast at 10am.
  8. When I was at school I always used to get into trouble for _______________________________ during class.
  9. 3 hours into the film I got a bit bored and my ____________________________ to what I was going to have for dinner.
  10. A man suddenly started to ________________ a prawn and a fellow diner had to give him the heimlich maneuver.
  11. I was definitely a bit of a _____________ at school but I certainly wasn’t a ____________.
  12. I _________________________________ in the excitement of the party that I didn’t realise I had missed the last train home.
  13. He caught the rugby ball, turned around and was immediately ___________________ by a huge opposition player.
  14. I broke the carrots up into __________________ so that the children wouldn’t ___________ them.

Discussion

  1. Were you restless at school? Did you use to drift off into a daydream?
  2. Do you know the heimlich maneuver? Have you ever choked on anything?
  3. Were you a nerd when you were at school?
  4. Do you ever get so caught up in something that you lose all sense of time?
  5. Do you ever get the urge to do something silly or outrageous in social situations?
  6. Do you agree with sentence 5 above? What can we do to change the situation?

Reading Text

Common Bad Habits

Everyone has habits that they would probably be better off without. You may not have any major vices but minor ones add up and deserve attention too. “The small stuff really matters in our lives,” says Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion. “Life is full of the little things.”

In reality, you’re probably not eating poorly or shirking on sleep just once a month, but, more likely, multiple times a week. If you need some help identifying changes you might aim to make, here are some of the most common bad habits and two universal fixes from Goldstein about how we can change for the better.

Stress-Eating

We’re a country of high-stress and high-calorie foods, so it should be no surprise that emotional eating is a common issue. There are many reasons people turn to food when they experience negative emotions, like stress, sadness, and boredom. First of all, food can serve as a distraction from unpleasant goings-on. Research has also suggested that foods that are high in fat and sugar may actually (temporarily) quiet parts of the brain that create and process negative emotions.

  1. Do you stress eat? If so what?
  2. How do you relieve stress?

Sitting Around

Surveys have found that people, on average, spend more than six hours a day sitting. Many people sit while commuting, at work, and while unwinding at the end of the day. It may feel like your body is happier taking a seat, but spending so much time off your feet has serious health effects including increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cognitive decline (like dementia), cancer, bone loss, and even a weakened immune system.

  1. How much of the day do you spend sitting down?
  2. What do you think of the idea of a standing office? Or a standing school?

Not Getting Enough Sleep

Days can feel far too short, especially when you want to catch up with friends at a late dinner or binge-watch your favorite show. Late nights in moderation are okay but getting too little sleep — less than seven hours — on a regular basis can make you more prone to long-term diseases, like hypertension and diabetes, and even short-term illness. Being tired can also affect how you function during the daytime, making you less productive and more prone to errors and accidents.

  1. How much sleep do you need to function well?
  2. How much do you usually get?
  3. Are you more productive in the mornings or the evenings?

Over-Grooming

Picking at your nose and mouth and biting your nails are already social faux pas. They can also be bad for your health. As you should already know, our hands are usually teeming with nasty germs. Putting your fingers in your nose or mouth — even to fish unwanted spinach out of your teeth — is a good way to give those germs easy access to your body. Nail biting, in particular, can also raise your risk of getting skin infections on your fingers and spreading warts to other parts of your hand. In some cases, excessive grooming behaviors are considered a mental disorder related to obsessive-compulsive disorders.

  1. Do you bite your fingernails?
  2. Can you think of any other social faux pas’s? What topics are faux pas when your first meet someone?

Smoking

This may feel like beating a dead horse but more than 42 million people in the U.S. still smoke cigarettes. Although this number continues to drop, it’s good for people to remember why this habit is such a serious one. Smoking is known to cause several types of cancer — including cancers of the lung, mouth, stomach, and pancreas — and increases a person’s risk of heart disease. It’s also harmful to people who are inhaling second-hand smoke. Plus, smoking is expensive. Even a “cheap” $5 pack every day adds up to $1,825.00 each year.

  1. Do you smoke?
  2. Have you ever smoked? If so how did you quit?
  3. What’s the best way to quit smoking? Hypnosis? Acupuncture? Patches? Gum?

Skipping Breakfast

There are mixed findings about whether or not skipping breakfast can help people lose weight. Generally, experts support eating a healthy morning meal because it fuels your body and mind for the beginning of the day. Research has shown that people who eat breakfast perform better in school and at work. If that’s not enough incentive, a recent study from Harvard found that men who regularly skipped breakfast were 27 percent more likely to experience a heart attack or death from coronary heart disease.

  1. Do you have breakfast?
  2. Find out who has the healthiest breakfast in your group.
  3. What’s your favourite meal of the day?

Overspending

Another common bad habit is overspending, usually in the form of compulsive shopping. Credit is partially to blame because it is easy to obtain and use, helping people forgo responsibility and knowledge about their finances. Overspending is also an easy trap to fall into because buying things makes people feel good in many different ways. It can give us a sense of control and add some excitement to a dull day. Being able to spend money can also make us feel better about ourselves.

  1. Do you often overspend?
  2. Are you a compulsive shopper? If so what do you normally buy?

Listening to Loud Music

Hearing is something that often goes with age but there are still steps people can take to give theirs its best possible chance. Very loud, short-term sounds and sounds that may not seem so loud (but occur over a long period of time) can both contribute to noise-induced hearing loss. This affects about 15 percent of Americans, ages 20 to 69 according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Some loud sounds may be unavoidable but exposure anything above 85 decibels (equal to the sound of heavy city traffic) should be minimized. If you have to raise your voice to speak with someone two to three feet away, the sound level is likely over 85 decibels.

  1. Do you listen to loud music? If so how often?
  2. Have you got god hearing?

Phone Addiction

No, your phone isn’t exactly the most threatening addiction. That doesn’t mean it’s something to ignore. Thanks to the advent of push notifications, many of us are now trained to grab our phone the second it flashes — or when we only think it has. This behavior takes our attention away from other things that we should probably value more, like the work in front of us or talking with friends and family.

  1. Are you addicted to your phone?
  2. How often do you check it?
  3. How soon after waking up do you check it?

Link to original article:

https://www.yahoo.com/health/10-common-bad-habits-and-how-to-break-them-107994730858.html

 

Advertisements
Posted in Conversation Classes, Listening Classes

Giving Advice: The Best Way to Quit Smoking

Image credit: tips.pk

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

I’m running the Barcelona Half-Marathon dressed as David Bowie to raise money for Cancer Research, sponsor me here:

https://www.justgiving.com/Timothy-Warre/

This is a lesson plan for B1+ students on the topic of quitting smoking in which students learn the language of asking for, giving, accepting and rejecting advice and using it in a role-play. I prepared and taught this class as part of my productive skills assignment for the DELTA at International House Barcelona.

Download all the materials below:

giving-advice-problem-cards – Role Cards

Smoking TWarre Prod Skills – Powerpoint

TWarre prod skills listening comp qs – Listening questions

TWarre Prod Skills Procedure – Procedure/Teacher’s notes

TWarre prod skills sts handout – Student hand out

Audio File

Procedure:

Stage Time Focus Procedure Aim
Speaking  1 3 mins Closed pairs

 

 

 

OC

Sts ask and answer questions about smoking from 1st slide of powerpoint (pp)

 

Give opportunities for 1 or 2 sts to explain how they quit.

To engage top-down knowledge and personalise topic.

Lead in to pre-listening.

Pre-listening 5 mins Closed pairs

 

 

 

 

OC

 

 

 

 

Closed pairs

Sts brainstorm different ways to quit. Board any that are different to the 4 on slide 2: nicotine gum/patches, e-cigarettes, hypnosis.

 

 

Show 2nd slide, board pronunciation of cigarette, patches and hypnosis. Drill briefly.

/sɪɡə’ret/ /ˈpætʃɪz/ /hɪpˈnəʊsɪs/

 

Sts answer questions at bottom of 2nd slide.

To activate top-down knowledge further and pre-teach some vocab for listening.

 

To check and improve pronunciation.

 

 

Sts react to content.

Listening 5-10 mins Closed pairs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OC

Introduce characters and situation from listening with 3rd slide.

 

 

Give out listening comprehension handout. Sts listen and answer 3 questions from handout:

1.       What methods does Joanne recommend?

2.       What methods does Ian recommend?

3.       Which method does Katy decide to try?

Replay as needed, break into two parts if necessary.

 

Check answers across class.

 

Give out handout, sts listen again with tape script. “Any questions?”

To ground sts in the situation of the listening.

 

TAVI exercise to aid sts listening comprehension. Secondary aim: to introduce exponents of advice in context.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To clear up doubts.

Language focus 10 mins Closed pairs

 

 

 

 

 

 

OC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OC/closed pairs

Sts categorise the exponents listed on the handout by meaning. Elicit correct categories for first 2/3. Show slide 4 with first 3 in correct categories.

 

While sts do this board all exponents  in categories, add phonetic script for pronunciation focus:

Drill pronunciation of:

If I were you, I’d…

/ɪf ˈaɪ wə ju: aɪd/ Stress “I” and “you”

That’s a good idea

/ðæts ə ɡʊd aɪˈdɪə/ stress “that’s”

Why don’t you try

/waɪ dəʊnt jə traɪ/ notice weak “you” compared to in “If I were you”

 

Sts analyse grammar of components. Use 5th slide to give examples, then answers.

Focus on meaning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Focus on form: pronunciation, elements of connected speech.

 

 

 

 

Focus on form: grammar, verb patterns.

Speaking – controlled practice 1 2 mins Grps of 3 Sts use the transcript to practice the dialogue from listening.

 

Monitor and correct pronunciation.

Controlled practice of exponents without pressure of creating new sentences.
Writing + speaking controlled practice 2 5-10 mins OC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grps of 3

Sts write their own dialogue. Explain that we’ll do an example together on the board. Students don’t write anything yet.

 

Label one strong group of students A-C, choose strongest student to be A.

 

Give A a problem card.

 

Using cued dialogue on 6th slide model a dialogue on the board.

 

Sts create their own dialogues in the space on the handout. Monitor and correct written form, board vocabulary.

 

Sts read their dialogues.

Scaffolded controlled practice of exponents without performance pressure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spoken controlled practice.

Speaking controlled practice 3 10 mins Rotating groups of 3 A’s stand up and rotate to the next group. They explain their problem to the new group who give them advice. Less structured, A is now free to accept/reject advice.

 

Repeat until all A’s have spoken to all groups.

Less scaffolded controlled speaking practice.
Wrap-up 5 mins OC A’s tell class the best advice they received. Focus sts attention to emergent language. Sts respond to activity + develop fluency.

Student’s handout

Transcript

Katy: Hi guys, I need your help with a problem I’m having. I want to give up smoking but I’m finding it very difficult. What should I do?

Joanne: Well, if I were you, I’d try to stop smoking gradually. You know, smoke 10 cigarettes today, then 9 tomorrow, 8 the next day until you’ve stopped.

Katy: Hhmmm, I don’t think that’ll work. I tried it last year and it was too difficult.

Ian: I think you should buy an electronic cigarette. My girlfriend has one and she loves it!

Katy: I’m not sure. I think they’re bad for me too.

Joanne: Ok well, why don’t you try nicotine chewing gum or patches? My sister used them to give up.

Katy: Ok, that’s a good idea.

Ian: Or you could try hypnosis, my friend Sarah is a hypnotist, I could give you her number.

Katy: Hhmm, maybe not. I think I’ll try the nicotine chewing gum. Thanks for your advice guys.

Language

Put the expressions in bold (1-10) in the correct box (A-D)

  1. What should I do?
  2. If I were you, I’d try to stop smoking gradually.
  3. I don’t think that’ll work.
  4. I think you should buy an electronic cigarette.
  5. I’m not sure. I think they’re bad for me too.
  6. Why don’t you try nicotine chewing gum or patches?
  7. Ok, that’s a good idea.
  8. You could try
  9. Hhmm, maybe not. I think I’ll try the nicotine chewing gum.
  10. I recommend giving up gradually
A.      Asking for advice. B.      Giving advice. C.      Accepting advice. D.      Rejecting advice.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar

Look at the expressions in the language exercise, how does the grammar work?

  1. If I were you, I’d try to stop smoking gradually.

If I were you, I’d + BASE FORM (stop/go/have/buy etc.)

  1. I think you should buy an electronic cigarette.

I think you should + __________________________________

  1. Why don’t you try nicotine chewing gum or patches?

Why don’t you + _____________________________________

  1. You could try hypnosis/going to a hypnotist.

You could try + _________________________________________

  1. I recommend giving up gradually.

I recommend + _______________________________________

Now practice the dialogue in groups of 3, one person is Katy, one is Ian and one is Joanne.

Writing a new dialogue

Write a new dialogue with your group, you HAVE TO follow the structure below.

A: Hi guys, I need your help with a problem I’m having. (Explain problem)____________________________. What should I do?

B: Well, if I were you, I’d (gives advice) ____________________.

A: (rejects advice) ___________________________.

C: (gives advice) ___________________________.

A: (rejects advice) ____________________________.

B: Ok well, (gives advice) ___________________________.

A: (rejects advice) ____________________________.

C: (gives advice) ______________________________.

A: (accepts advice) __________________________. Thanks for your advice guys!

Posted in Listening Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Scared Stiff! – Fear and Horror Film Expressions

Image credit: metro.co.uk

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

I’m running the Barcelona Half-Marathon dressed as David Bowie to raise money for Cancer Research, sponsor me here:

https://www.justgiving.com/Timothy-Warre/

This is a lesson plan for higher level students (high B2+) in which students learn expressions related to fear and horror movies. It is a good companion activity my Chucky’s Participle Clauses lesson, I plan to teach the two activities in one 90 minute class. You will need the audio file and handouts below:

Scared Stiff Teacher notes

Scared Stiff Student Handout

Listening Audio File

Scared Stiff

Listening Comprehension

First check students understand “scared stiff” then tell them they are going to listen to a man talking about horror films. Dictate them these 5 questions, students write them down. Play the audio twice all the way through.

  1. What’s his opinion of gory films? He doesn’t find them frightening
  2. What types of gory scenes make him uncomfortable? Gory scenes involving eyes
  3. What types of horror films scare him the most? Psychological horror
  4. What sometimes happens while they are watching a horror film? The phone rings or the cat makes a noise, scaring them.
  5. What’s his girlfriend scared of? Spiders and anything that looks like a spider

Being a bit of a scaredy-cat I’m not really into horror films. But every now and then I like to sit down and watch one with my girlfriend. I’m not very squeamish so I don’t really find gory films very frightening but anything to do with eyes gives me the heebie-jeebies, so I find any scenes where people get the eyes cut or poked out really unsettling.

The films that really send shivers down my spine are psychological horror films, for me they’re far scarier than gory films. Maybe ones where some people are exploring a spooky house and there’s some creepy music playing, they really put me on edge because you don’t know when something is going to jump out and scare you half to death. Sometimes the scariest thing is when we’re watching a horror film and the house phone suddenly rings, or the cat makes a sound and we jump out of our skins with fright.

My girlfriend is slightly different to me. She’s petrified of spiders and anything that looks like a spider but they don’t really bother me. Once we watched a film about giant alien bugs and we had to switch it off because she was shaking like a leaf!

Students listen again and write down as many expressions as they can.

Language focus

Students look at the expressions in the box, find them in the text and try to deduce meaning from context.

1.       Scaredy-cat – a person who is easily frightened/scared of a lot of things

2.       Squeamish – a person who can’t deal with the sight of blood/gore

3.       Gory – a film with lots of blood and guts

4.       Gives me the heebie-jeebies – makes me feel uncomfortable/scared/disgusted

5.       Unsettling – makes you feel uncomfortable

6.       Sends shivers down my spine – a physical response to being scared

7.       Spooky – haunted, supernatural

8.       Creepy – discomforting, films can be creepy but people can too, a creepy guy etc.

9.       Put me on edge – makes me nervous

10.   Scare you half to death – scare a lot

11.   Jump out of your skin – gives you a big fright

12.   Petrified of – very scared of

13.   Shake like a leaf – physically trembling with fear

Memory gap-fill

Students turn the hand out over and try to remember the positions of all the expressions to complete the text. If they get stuck they can turn the paper over and look for one expression.

Analysis

Students look at the expressions and analyse them with the following questions to increase chance of retention.

  1. Is the meaning obvious from the words?
  2. Which ones exist in your own language?
  3. Which one is your favourite?
  4. Which one will be the easiest/most difficult to remember? Why?

Discussion

Students discuss the following questions with their partner using the expressions and the language in the box below. Students should be encouraged to use the “showing interest” expressions to actively listen to their partner.

Showing interest Personalising
Uh-huh.

That’s interesting/weird.

Oh, I see.

Right.

Totally/absolutely.

I see what you mean.

I’m exactly the same.

Uh-uh, not me.

No way!

You’re joking

For me personally,

Speaking personally,

From my point of view,

When it comes to (scary movies), I think…

Speaking of (scary movies), in my opinion…

I find (gory movies) really (terrifying)

 

(psychological horror movies) are much/far scarier than (gory movies)

  1. Are you a scaredy-cat?
  2. Are you squeamish? Do gory movies give you the heebie-jeebies?
  3. What type of movies put you on edge?
  4. What are you petrified of?
  5. Can you think of a scene in a film that made you jump out of your skin?
  6. What type of scenes/monsters send shivers down your spine?
  7. Which films left you shaking like a leaf?
  8. What scares you more, a spooky place or creepy music?
  9. What situations are unsettling in real life?
  10. Has a friend or family member ever made you jump out of your skin or scared you half to death?

Follow up

Students right a CAE style review of the scariest film they’ve ever seen, explaining why it was so scary and who they would recommend it to.

Posted in Listening Classes, Proficiency

Proficiency Podcasts: Radiolab, Words

Image credit: publicradiotulsa.org

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is the second in a series of lesson plans based around podcasts for high level learners (high C1+). This one is based on the first part of Words by radiolab. The link, transcript and lesson plan are below:

http://www.radiolab.org/story/91725-words/

Proficiency Podcasts words, Lesson plan

Words Transcript – divided into sections.

Warmer – Charades

SS have to sign the following sentences:

I don’t like bananas

I love soup

I think it will rain

Where is Joan?

I went swimming yesterday.

Can I have a pen?

Was it easy? Which sentences were the easiest? Do you ever play this game with your family?

  1. Do you know sign language?
  2. How difficult is it to communicate without words?
  3. What’s your favourite word in your own language/English?

Listening – Radiolab, words

1st section 00:15 – 01:02

Listen and answer these questions:

  • What happened to Susan? She was hit by a catering truck while riding her bike.
  • What were the consequences? She had concussion and couldn’t go to school.
  • How did she feel? Very bored

Listen once, ss share answers in pairs. Listen again for specific detail and language.

  • How does she describe the accident? A catering truck hit me.
  • How does she describe her feelings? Bored out of my mind.

Follow same sequence with each section, general comprehension questions, then listen again and clear up language problems.

2nd section 01:02 – 1:40

  • What did she do? Why? Her friend suggested that she crashed classes at the local uni.

2nd listen for language.

Make a prediction in pairs:

  • What happened that changed her life?

3rd section 01:40 – 2:15

  • What happened? She walked into a signing class.
  • What was her reaction? Mesmerised

Predict: What’s going to happen next?

4th sections 2:15 – 3:05

  • What happens next? Becomes a signer.
  • Where does she go? LA
  • Who does she meet? A man born deaf.

5th section 3:05 – 3:50

  • How does she describe the man? Beautiful, great cheekbones, black hair black eyes.
  • What’s the guy’s problem? Copies everything, visual echolalia

6th section 3:50 – 4:48

  • What does he realise about the guy? Has no language
  • How does he think the world works? That we figure stuff out visually

7th section 4:48 – 5:07

  • What questions do they ask?
  • What do words do for us?
  • Are they necessary?
  • Can you live without them?
  • Can you think without them?
  • Can you dream without them?
  • Can you swim without them?

Discuss these questions as a class.

Set the rest of this part of the podcast as homework with the following questions:

5:07 – 8:35

  • What problems did she have teaching him? He copied everything she did, he thought everything was an order. Didn’t know how to say goodbye, didn’t know if he would come back.
  • How did she make a breakthrough? Acted out the role of student and role of teacher.
  • What was his reaction? He broke down in tears.

Discussion

  • Have you ever had to communicate without words? Why?
  • How do you make yourself understood if you’re in a country where you don’t speak the language?
  • Have you ever had a misunderstanding with someone in this situation?
  • How much do you rely on signing and body language?
  • Have you ever spoken English on the phone? What was it like?

Accuracy vs Fluency

  • What’s more important accuracy or fluency when speaking?
  • If you spoke extremely accurately but with no fluency what problems would you have? And vice versa.
  • In what situations is it especially important to be accurate?
  • In what situations is it especially important to be fluent?
  • “Only teachers notice your mistakes” Do you agree?
  • “As long as the errors don’t affect understanding they don’t matter” Do you agree?
  • “Little mistakes will go away over time, you don’t have to focus on them.” Do you agree?
  • “Confidence is more important than how much you’ve studied when speaking a foreign language” Do you agree?