Posted in Conversation Classes, Reading Classes

Proficiency book club, lesson 2: Solid Objects by Virginia Woolf

Iron_Lump

This is the second part of a series of posts based around stories from “The Oxford Book of English Short Stories” edited by A.S Byatt. This particular class is based on “Solid Objects” by Virginia Woolf, pages 205-209.

As before set the story as reading homework for the week before.

If you don’t have a copy of the book someone has helpfully uploaded it in pdf here:

http://inkandblotter.com/catalog/pdfiction/SOLID%20OBJECTS,%20Virginia%20Woolf.pdf

This analytical essay by Sam Mitchell about the works of Virginia Woolf may prove useful. It’s a little heavy as it’s an honours thesis but has some useful insights into the story.

https://dspace.lasrworks.org/bitstream/handle/10349/958/2011ENG-MitchellSam.pdf?sequence=1

Lesson Plan:

Start by asking the students for vocabulary problems. Woolf’s style can be confusing so some sections could require a little explanation. Some vocabulary that might cause problems is listed below:

lunging – to lunge, to move towards in a swift movement

tweed – woven material used to make clothes

to fling – to throw without care

to be to hand – to be within reach

to slash – to cut or mark something

to skim – to touch the surface of something lightly

slate – material used to make rooves

to hitch up a sleeve – to roll up or move higher to protect

moat – water around a castle

mantelpiece – surface above a fireplace where objects are kept

on the brink – on the edge

trifling – unimportant

to be cast down – to be depressed

matted – tangled into a lump

Lots of the vocabulary in the story can be used in various contexts, be sure to explore these fully. For example: fling – to have a fling (short sexual relationship)

Once you have cleared up any vocab issues hand out the following discussion questions:

1. Can you describe the characters?

2. What happens in the story?

3. What was your initial reaction to the story?

4. Did you feel sorry for John? Or bemused?

5. What strikes you about the introduction?

6. How can you explain John’s behaviour?

7. What do the objects represent?

8. Do you have any lucky charms? Did you have any when you were a child?

9. Do you collect anything?

10. Did you collect things when you were a child?

Either put the students into small groups to discuss the questionsand then feedback or have an open class discussion.

Here are some ideas and themes that could help fuel discussion:

Story written in 1918 towards the end of World War one. The idea of objects lasting longer than men, so many people died in the war and all that came back were objects: letters, belongings, clothes etc.

The idea of the permanance of objects and the transcience of people. The desire for permanance, ever lasting life.

The simplicity of the objects as pure pieces of different materials and also the mystery surrounding what they used to be.

freeenglishlessonplans.com

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Posted in Writing Classes

Follow up: Homework composition about travelling

travelwriter

This is a homework activity written to follow my previous lesson plan about holidays and traveling here is the link to the original lesson plan:

https://freeenglishlessonplans.com/2013/01/30/holidays-and-travelling-conversation-class/

Here is a link to download the handout for homework:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!300&authkey=!AMJLj8z2NbQgFFI

A travel magazine is running a competition for travel articles about different types of holidays / ways to travel for young people.

Choose 1 type of holiday / way to travel from the class handout and write an article about why it’s good for young people. Include:

  • An interesting introduction to catch the reader’s attention. Include direct questions.
  • Pros and cons of your chosen subject.
  • Reasons why you recommend it to other young people.
  • You can include (invented) anecdotes.

freeenglishlessonplans.com

 

Posted in Writing Classes

Composition: Short story, Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

nighthawks

This is a homework exercise to practice past narrative tenses for intermediate to advanced students (B1-C1) based on the picture above. Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.

Download the handout here:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!294&authkey=!AJdNI7pP–88YxQ

Composition short story

Write a short story (120-150 words) based on this picture.

  • Who are these people?
  • Where is the story set? When is it set?
  • What are they doing?
  • What has happened before this moment?
  • What happens next? (think of an exciting ending)

Generally stories are written in the past so use a selection of past tenses:

  • Past continuous to describe the scene, “The couple were sat at the bar talking and drinking.”
  • Past simple to describe actions in sequence: “The man paid his bill, put on his jacket and left the bar.”
  • Past perfect to describe actions that happened before this moment: “The man had been drinking in another bar before”
  • Mixture of past tenses to describe different actions: “As the man was putting on his jacket, the phone rang…..”

Competition!!!

Open to teachers or students. If you are a teacher send your best student’s story, or if you are a student your story to me at: tim_rd_warre@hotmail.com and I’ll post it to my page for all to see!

Posted in Vocabulary Classes

British slang activity

New British Pub In Falls Church, VA

This is a short fun activity to teach higher level students some British slang.

Here is the handout:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!270&authkey=!AMuzyf2uZLvmlkE

There are several ways you can introduce the vocabulary:

  • For small classes of 2-4 people you can print out a copy of the table below, then leave the slang words in one block but cut out the definitions individually, the students then try to piece the table back together.
  • For a larger group without a computer and projector you could write them all on the board and have students try to come up with definitions in small groups. If they have trouble you could then write up the definitions in a different order and they have to match them.
  • If you have a computer, projector and smart board you can use a fun game on quizlet.com to pre-teach the vocabulary. If you click the link below you can access a flashcard set I have made with the terms. Scroll down to the games section and select the game “scatter”. This is a great game for introducing new vocabulary, I’ll let you explore it for yourself.

http://quizlet.com/19221375/british-slang-for-story-flash-cards/

Here is the target language:

Gutted Very Disappointed
Dodgy Untrustworthy / dangerous.
The Bee’s Knees Really good.
The Dog’s Bollocks Excellent / the best
Alright How are you?
Nosh / Grub Food
Taking the piss out of Making funny insults about a person.
Knackered Tired
Jammy Lucky / Flukey
Fit Attractive
A fiver / a Tenner 5 pounds / 10 pounds
Ta Thank you
Two sandwiches short of a picnic. Stupid.

After teaching the target language split the students into pairs and give each pair a section of the story below. The students now have to translate the story into slang.

Once they have done this have them read it out to class.

Below you will find the story translated.

The story in normal English, hand this out for the students to translate into slang.

  1. I went to my friend’s house to watch the England game the other day. I walked in and said “how are you?” he gave me a beer and I said “thank you.” England lost 4-1 to Germany. My friend and I were very disappointed. We decided to go for some food. The closest pub was selling burgers for £5. When we got to the pub there were some other friends there “How are you?” I asked and they said “Good thank you.”
  1. The pub was in a slightly dangerous part of the city but the burgers were really good. My friend John is very lucky, he always wins money on the gambling machine but tonight he put £10 in the machine and didn’t win. I put £1 in and won £10, “you lucky bastard” said John.
  1. Then a really attractive man / woman walked in, I decided to buy him / her a drink. He / She was really attractive but stupid. I spent £10 on drinks for him/ her but then she got very tired and decided to go home, I didn’t get his / her phone number and I was very disappointed because he / she was very attractive.
  1. Then my friend Pete arrived, he is stupid and he was very drunk. We all said “hello Pete, how are you?” John and my other friends started making funny insults about Pete. He didn’t understand because he’s stupid so he said thank you! I didn’t have any more money so I asked Pete if I could borrow ten pounds, but he only had five pounds. I had one more drink and started to feel tired. We went to the kebab shop next door, there were some dangerous men in there, they started making funny insults about us and we almost had a fight.

The story translated:

 1. I went to my friend’s house to watch the England game the other day. I walked in and said “alright?” he gave me a beer and I said “ta.” England lost 4-1 to Germany. My friend and I were gutted. We decided to go for some grub/nosh. The closest pub was selling burgers for a fiver. When we got to the pub there were some other friends there “alright?” I asked and they said “Good ta.

2. The pub was in a slightly dodgy part of the city but the burgers were the bee’s knees. My friend John is very jammy, he always wins money on the gambling machine but tonight he put a tenner in the machine and didn’t win. I put £1 in and won a tenner, “you jammy bastard” said John.

3. Then a really fit man / woman walked in, I decided to buy him / her a drink. He / She was really fit but two sandwiches short of a picnic. I spent a tenner on drinks for him/ her but then she got knackered and decided to go home, I didn’t get his / her phone number and I was gutted because he / she was very fit.

4. Then my friend Pete arrived, he is two sandwiches short of a picnic and he was very drunk. We all said “hello Pete, alright?” John and my other friends started taking the piss out of Pete. He didn’t understand because he’s two sandwiches short of a picnic so he said ta! I didn’t have any more money so I asked Pete if I could borrow a tenner, but he only had a fiver. I had one more drink and started to feel knackered. We went to the kebab shop next door, there were some dodgy men in there, they started taking the piss out of us and we almost had a fight.

Follow up:

Students write a story for homework using as many of the words as they can. The one whose compositions included the most correctly used slang words wins.

Also for the following class quickly recap the slang words and then award points to students who use them correctly in class.

Posted in Writing Classes

Informal letter to practice to be used to and to get used to.

The aim of this composition is to practice the following structures:

  1. To be used to + a noun / the gerund (being accustomed to something)

At first it was difficult but now I am used to living in a big city.

  1. To get used to + a noun / the gerund (the process of becoming accustomed to something)

It took me a while to get used to the cold weather / living in such a cold country.

Situation:

You are an Erasmus student. You have been living in Edinburgh in Scotland for 3 months. Your best friend has written you a letter. He / She is also interested in doing an Erasmus in the UK. Write her a letter containing the following:

  • A brief description of your course.
  • Different things you have had to adapt to.
  • Would you recommend an Erasmus in the UK or not? Explain why / why not.

Write 150 – 180 words.

Posted in Recommended Websites

Other recommended blogs.

Hitch-Hikers Handbook

A great site full of excellent travel writing, photography and top tips for travelling on a budget.

http://robbiodobbio.wordpress.com/

A blog comprised of short stories and articles.