Posted in Conversation Classes, Current Affairs Classes, Reading Classes

The Spanish Timetable: Reading and Speaking Activity

siesta

 

This is a reading and speaking activity based around an article from the New York Times about possible changes to the Spanish working say timetable. The original article is quite long so I have edited it down a bit, it should be suitable for B2/FCE upwards. Here is a link to the edited version and the discussion questions:

Spain time article

Start by asking students to tell the class about their average day with specific focus on the times at which they get up, eat, go to work, go to bed etc. Ask them if they follow the typical Spanish timetable outlined in the introduction to the article. Do they eat late? Do they have a siesta?

Once they have shared their different schedules set the class a time limit depending on their level to quickly read the article and underline any unfamiliar vocabulary. This could include:

To hunker down – to meet up/get together

a boon – a bonus

a lag – a delay

Go over the new vocabulary on the board, then either split the class into small groups and give out the discussion questions or hold a whole-class discussion. Below are the discussion questions from the hand out:

What’s your initial reaction to the article?

Do you agree with any of the opinions stated? Which ones?

Describe your daily routine; does it follow the “Spanish” timetable?

What are the advantages/disadvantages of both the Spanish and the “European” timetable?

How difficult would you find it to adjust to a new timetable?

Do you think changing the timetable would affect the country’s culture?

Do you think most people would find it easy of difficult to adjust to a new timetable?

Do you think the current system helps people be efficient?

 

When you have finished the questions you could organise a class debate for/against the idea of changing the Spanish timetable to be more in line with the rest of Europe. Sometimes when organising debate teams it’s a good idea to force your students to argue for a point that they don’t actually agree with. Debate structure should be as follows:

  • Each team presents their argument (3 uninterrupted minutes per team)  – the other team must remain silent but can take notes for the rebuttals later
  • Rebuttals (10 minutes) – Teams can attack the opposition’s arguments based on statements made in the presentation of their argument.
  • Result – Teacher can decide which team has the most coherent argument.

You may find my activity on language of agreement/disagreement useful for the debate.

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Posted in Recommended Websites

Great site for teaching resources

videoclass

 

Here is a link to some great resources from our friends at tefl-iberia.com:

Here you can find everything from class resources to job opportunities:

http://www.tefl-iberia.com/resources/

Whereas this section of the site is a particular favourite of mine as it contains loads of great lesson plans based around short video clips:

http://www.tefl-iberia.com/resources/video-activities/

Hope you like it!

Posted in Conversation Classes, Reading Classes

Persepolis Journal: Chapter 5, The Letter

persepolis pic

This is a series of lesson plans based around “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi. Each plan deals with the next chapter of the book, students read a chapter a week and bring any vocabulary questions they have to class.

Vocabulary

Here are some things that may cause problems from chapter 5.

a porter – a person who carries bags in a hotel or hospital

weave – wove – woven = in relation to the weaving of carpets on the first page.

maid – a cleaner / person who helps maintain a house or cleans a hotel room.

to get along with somebody – to have a friendly relationship

to lace a shoe – to tie a bow to keep a shoe on

to slap – to hit with an open hand

Discussion Questions

  1. What happens in this chapter?
  2. What new characters do we meet?
  3. What does Marji learn in this chapter?
  4. Are there distinct social classes in your country?
  5. Can people marry people from other social classes?
  6. Have you ever sent love letters?
  7. Did you have a crush / infatuation when you were growing up?
  8. We see Mehri telling Marji scary stories about jackals, what scary stories do you remember from you childhood?
Posted in Conversation Classes, Reading Classes

Persepolis Journal: Chapter 4, Persepolis

persepolis pic

This is the fourth in a series of lesson plans based around the graphic novel “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi.

Vocabulary

Here is some of the vocabulary that students had difficulty with from this chapter.

to be ashamed – to feel regret or embarrassment

to take in – strange choice of verb in the text as it is used in the context of Marji’s grandmother taking in sewing. Here is means to start doing an activity. I advised my students to use “take up” instead.

sewing – students had problems with pronunciation, stress that the verb “to sew” is pronounced the same as “so”.

verbs that collocate with “a promise” – make a promise, break a promise, keep a promise.

“the population couldn’t have cared less” – useful, common expression meaning not to care.

cemetery – place where dead people are buried.

stretcher – equipment to carry an injured person.

widow – wife of a dead man.

Discussion Questions

  1. What happens in this chapter?
  2. What new information do we learn?
  3. How did it make you feel?
  4. How does the chapter end?
  5. Why is Marji confused?
  6. In this chapter we see Marji asking her grandmother to tell her stories of her life. What stories did your grandparents / parents tell you about their lives?
  7. In this chapter Marji’s grandmother talks about politicians who don’t keep their promises. Do the politicians in your country keep theirs? Can you think of any examples of promises they have kept and broken?
  8. Marji’s Dad bravely tries to take photos of the demonstrations. How important is this kind of action?
  9. Can you think of any famous war correspondents? Or famous war photography?
  10. How do people document demonstrations and revolutions nowadays?
  11. How has this activity changed since the time Persepolis was written?

Next week chapter 5: The Letter

 

Posted in Conversation Classes, Reading Classes

Persepolis Journal: Chapter 3, The Water Cell

persepolis pic

This is the third in a series of posts based around the graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. I am reading through the book with several groups of ESL students. Each week we go over new vocabulary that arises and have a short discussion based on any issues that come up.

Vocabulary

There are several vocab points that came up from this chapter:

a putsch = a coup

to overthrow = to remove a government from power

proof = noun from verb “to prove”

westerner = person from the west, also northerner, southerner, easterner.

illiterate = someone who cannot read or write

vast = very big

nevertheless = 1 use as a contrast linker like “however” or another use is as a synonym of “anyway”

entourage = group of people who accompany and support a person

the rabble = a disorganised group of people, here referring to the workers

to rule = to govern

to be sidetracked = to be distracted or prevented from doing something

wrinkled = with fold lines

Discussion Questions

  1. What happened in this chapter?
  2. What was your reaction to it?
  3. What new information do we learn in this chapter?
  4. How aware were people of British involvement in regime change at the time?
  5. Were your country’s government involved in anything similar?
  6. Do you think this type of interference still happens today?
  7. How have the tactics and strategies changed?
  8. On the opening page we see the police’s heavy-handed response to the demonstrations, are the police heavy-handed in your country? What was the governments reaction to the last big demonstration in your country?

Next week chapter 4: Persepolis

Posted in Recommended Websites, Writing Classes

Zombie Apocalypse Training 101, with Steven Seagal

seagalandthezombies

Need help getting teenage students to produce compositions? Why not try this great warm up game from my friend Magistra Monson. The idea is you take clippings from real news stories and use them as a jumping off point for creative or argumentative writing. The class works as a team adding a paragraph each to the story with hilarious consequences. Definitely an idea I’m gonna use in my next teen class, or even with adults. You can download different introductory paragraphs from Magistra’s blog.

This has actually helped inspire a pipe dream I have for a new blog based around crowd sourced short stories. The working title at the moment is “Crowd Shorts” watch this space………………………. and pay attention to big Steve, that guys knows his onions.

freeenglishlessonplans.com

Posted in Conversation Classes, Reading Classes

Persepolis Journal: Chapter 1

persepolis pic

This is the first of a series of posts based around the graphic novel “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi. They are suitable for a wide range of levels (A2 – C2). You will need a copy of the book (or a cheeky pdf).

Each week you set the students a chapter of the book as homework. Each chapter consists of approximately 9 pages and the graphic style makes them easy and quick to read. In graphic novels students are presented with direct speech rather than prose, this helps them to pick up more natural language of expression. Also graphic novels are easier to follow than more traditional stories as much of the story is conveyed by the pictures. This means students are less likely to get lost and give up.

The first 15-20 minutes of the following class will be dedicated to vocabulary issues from the chapter and group discussions based on the themes that arise therein.

First ask students for clarification of any new vocabulary and encourage them to share new vocabulary they have learned at home relating to the chapter.

Chapter 1 discussion questions:

  1. What happened in chapter one?
  2. How did the chapter make you feel?
  3. How would you describe Marji? (Head-strong? Precocious? imaginative?
  4. What themes and issues are introduced?
  5. What are your views on single sex schools?
  6. What are you views on compulsory uniforms of any kind?
  7. Have you ever taken part in a demonstration? When? Where? What was it for / against?
  8. Do you think that public demonstrations and protests work?