Posted in Conversation Classes, TED Talk Lesson Plans, Vocabulary Classes

TED Talk: Pamela Meyer, How to spot a liar

Image credit: http://www.ted.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson based around Pamela Meyer’s TED talk “How to spot a liar” on the subject of dishonesty in society.

You will need the annotated transcript, the vocabulary exercises and the discussion questions:

Pamela Meyer TED Lesson Plan

Pamela Meyer TED transcript

Pamela Meyer worksheet 1

Pamela Meyer Vocabulary Homework

Note: These classes were designed for a two hour post proficiency conversation class. I normally set the video as homework for my students the week before.

Warmer – Two truths one lie

The old classic activity. Write three sentences about yourself on the board; two true and one false, I wrote:

  1. I met Leo Messi and Mascherano on the beach.
  2. I collect comic books.
  3. I used to be a builder before I was a teacher.

Give students two minutes to ask you questions to try and catch you in a lie. Then they must say which one they think is true and explain why, did they pick up on any vocal or body language signals. Then reveal which one is a lie (number 2 for me). Award one point to each student that guessed correctly and one point to yourself for each student you duped.

Now give students five minutes to do the same; write three sentences about themselves, two true, one false and continue the game. The winner is the person with the most points, who earns the title master liespotter.

  • Who was the best liar?
  • Who was the best liespotter?

Vocabulary Matching

Give out the vocabulary matching sheet and the transcript. Put students in pairs and have them complete the exercise, the vocabulary words are in order as they appear in the transcript so if they get stuck they can find the word in context to aid their understanding.

Key:

1-k, 2-d, 3-j, 4-c, 5-a, 6-v, 7-t, 8-r, 9-q, 10-n, 11-e, 12-u, 13-l, 14-w, 15-x/b, 16-x/b, 17-p, 18-m, 19-o, 20-h, 21-I, 22-s, 23-g, 24-f.

Discussion Questions

The answers to the comprehension questions can be found underlined in the transcript.

Write the following quotes from the talk on the board:

“We’re all liars”

“lying is a cooperative act”

What does she mean? Do you agree?

  1. Why do people lie? Brainstorm on the board.
  2. How much money did she say was lost because of fraud? Nearly a $trillion.
  3. How much money is lost to fraud in your country?
  4. Can you think of any big fraud cases?
  5. How often are we lied to on an average day? From 10-200 times
  6. What does she say about when strangers meet for the first time? That they lie to each other on average 3 times in first 10 minutes.
  7. What does she say about the difference between men and women? That men tend to lie more about themselves while women lie to protect people.
  8. Do you think this is true?
  9. What does she say about marriage and relationships? That married people lie to each other in 1 in every 10 interactions.
  10. What lies do couples tell each other?
  11. Are these little white lies?
  12. What does she say about animals lying? Coco the gorilla blamed a kitten for ripping a sink off the wall.
  13. What does she say about how children develop their deception skills? Babies fake crying, children hiding, bluffing and flattering to get what they want.
  14. She says we live in a post truth society, what does she mean by that? With the internet, politics and capitalist society we are surrounded by scammers, and exaggeration.
  15. How often do normal people distinguish a lie from the truth? 54% of the time
  16. How often do liespotters distinguish a lie from the truth? 90% of the time.
  17. What are the speech patterns of a liar we see in the Clinton video? Emphatic denial, formal phrases, distancing language.
  18. What are the body language patterns? Freeze upper body, too much eye contact, blink more, chatter with fingertips, fidget, don’t smile with eyes.
  19. Could you identify these actions in the videos?
  20. Are you a good liespotter?
  21. What other videos did she show? Grieving mothers, lying politicians.
  22. What did she say about the attitudes of honest/dishonest people? Dishonest people tend to be more detailed, and stick to a chronological order.

Homework

Set the other vocabulary worksheet as homework.

Posted in Grammar Classes, Video Classes

Chucky’s Participle Clauses

Photo credit: http://www.eltern.de/foren/2007-plauderforum-neu/1181239-chucky.html

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for higher levels (C1+) to teach participle clauses based around the theme of phobias and horror films.

You will need to download the powerpoint and lesson plan:

chuckys-participle-clauses-update

chucky-worksheet

Chucky’s Participle Clauses Lesson Plan

Warmer

What are you scared of?

Brainstorm different phobias on the board.

What gives you nightmares?

Have any specific films given you nightmares?

Have you seen any of the Chucky films?

Chucky Prank Video

Show the Chucky bus stop prank video until 2:20, tell students to focus on the actions:

Have them report back the different actions they saw.

Powerpoint

Go through the powerpoint, it will take students through present participle clauses and perfect participle clauses.

Guess My Job Game

Cut out and give out the job cards on the hand out, tell students to keep them secret from the rest of the class.

Students have to imagine that they are the person on their card; they have been invited to the class to share their experiences with the other students and give advice using participle clauses.

Example: Explorer, Having traveled all over the world, I can say that there’s no place like home. Having learnt 6 different languages, I thoroughly recommend it because it has broadened my mind immensely.

Give students a couple of minutes to think of their sentences, they then read them to the rest of the class who have to guess what job card they were given.

Having robbed a lot of banks, I have loads of money” “Are you a bank robber?” “Yes, I am!”

Homework

Set a film/book review task as participle clause can easily be used to describe narratives, encourage students to use at least 2 in their review.

Seeing her sister nominated to participate in the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteered to take her place.”

Having never seen a troll before, Bilbo was petrified.”

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

TED Talk: Daniel Kish, How I use sonar to navigate the world

Photo credit: http://www.ted.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a conversation lesson plan for higher levels (B2+) based on Daniel Kish’s TED talk “How I use sonar to navigate the world”.

You can either watch the video in class or set it as homework. I have included a copy of the transcript which some students may find useful. You can download the lesson plan below:

TED Talk Daniel Kish Lesson Plan

Daniel Kish TED (transcript)

Introduction Questions

What do you call a person who can’t see?

What would it be like to be blind?

How do you feel when you see a blind person in the street?

Are there any advantages to be being blind?

Think of some things that blind people can and can’t do.

How do blind people navigate the world?

What do you think would be the most difficult thing for a blind person to do?

Show the video.

Discussion Questions

What was your initial reaction to the video?

What did you think when you first saw Daniel?

What did he say about the way in which people treat and react to blind people in society?

What’s his message?

Describe how he navigates the world.

What does he call this system?

Do you think you could use flash sonar?

Do you think you have good eyesight/a good sense of smell etc.?

  • sight/vision
  • smell
  • taste
  • touch
  • hearing

With a partner try to put your senses in order of importance. (This should spark off a lively debate)

Try and come up with a definitive order as a class.

If you had to lose one of your senses, which would you choose and why?

Debate

Divide the class into 5 groups and write the 5 senses on small pieces of paper. Each group picks a piece of paper, they then have to explain why the sense they have picked is the most important. Give them a few minutes to think of some arguments and every day situations to back them up.

Follow up activity

Students write a CAE/CPE report/proposal detailing ways in which a school or public space could be adapted for blind people. Alternatively, you could set an essay based on the TED talk evaluating Daniel Kish’s upbringing compared to more conventional parenting styles for blind/disabled children.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Video Classes

TED talk: Sir Ken Robinson, How schools kill creativity

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This is another TED Talk lesson, this time based around Sir Ken Robinson’s fascinating talk on creativity in the education system. Please find an annotated transcript below. All I’ve done is underlined some interesting points he makes and vocabulary he uses, you can use them as a jumping off point for class discussion or simply mine them for useful vocabulary.

Ken Robinson TED annotated transcript

Posted in Recommended Websites, Video Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Idiom Video Clips

I just came across this amazing set of short video clips which illustrate English idioms literally. Show the first, acted out section students have to guess the idiom, then they have to deduce the meaning.

Update: Pearson have moved their content but you can now find the videos on youtube:

Here’s a little gap fill and conversation exercise I’ve made for the first 6 idioms:

Expressions

Posted in Grammar Classes, Video Classes

Video Lesson: Jurassic Park 3rd Conditionals

This is a lesson plan to practice the 3rd conditional using clips from the film Jurassic Park. There are two different activities, one for FCE level and one for CAE/CPE.

FCE

Use the Jurassic Park powerpoint to introduce the characters from the film and the formula for the 3rd conditional and then show the t-rex attack video:

Then students come up with as many 3rd conditional sentences as they can.

If Ian hadn’t run to the toilet, the t-rex wouldn’t have eaten Gennaro.

If the kids hadn’t been so stupid, the t-rex would have left them alone.

If Alan hadn’t distracted the t-rex, it would have eaten the kids.

You can also repeat the exercise with Dennis Nedry’s death scene:

CAE/CPE

The video can also be used to practice the more advanced conditionals needed for the CAE and CPE exams. Use my prezi on advanced conditionals to go over the grammar first. Then introduce the characters and story with the powerpoint from the link above.

Use the video to practice conditionals with noun phrases:

If it hadn’t been for Alan’s bravery, the t-rex would have eaten the kids.

But for Ian’s stupidity, Gennaro wouldn’t have been eaten.

Or inverted conditionals:

Had the kids not attracted the t-rex’s attention, it might have left them alone.

Had it not been for the glass, the t-rex would have eaten the kids.

I recommend giving students the noun phrases you want them to use before watching, then let them watch the video. Afterwards, they make the sentences together in pairs.

Noun phrases:

the flashlight/torch

Alan Grant’s bravery

the kid’s stupidity

Ian Malcolm’s stupidity

the glass

Again, if you have time or if you want to recap at the end of the class or the beginning of the next lesson, show the Nedry video.

Follow up:

Composition: Review/letter of complaint about a trip to Jurassic Park. It would be a good way to practice formal phrases for complaining but in a funny context.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Video Classes

TED talks lesson: The happy secret to better work by Shawn Achor

This is a lesson plan for higher levels (C1+) based around Shawn Achor’s TED talk “The happy secret to better work” about ways to apply positive psychology in our day to day lives.

Shawn speaks very quickly, so some students may have trouble keeping up. I suggest setting the video as homework and giving students the link to the transcript as well (you can find it on the TED website); in this way they can watch and rewatch to ensure they understand it fully.

Or download the transcript here.

Video:

Or alternatively you could watch it in class.

Vocabulary and Comprehension questions:

Before watching give out the handout and read through the vocabulary and comprehension questions.

Vocabulary:

  • Boarding school – school where the students live on campus
  • Bunk bed – two single beds one above the other
  • Tailor st towards sb – to make something specifically to fit somebody
  • Glean information – to gather/collect
  • To be at the vanguard of something – to be leading st (This laboratory is at the vanguard of cancer research)
  • Advil – a painkilling drug

Comprehension Questions:

  1. What happens in the anecdote Shawn tells at the start of the talk? His sister falls off the bed and he uses positive psychology to stop her from crying and waking up their parents.
  2. Why does he tell the anecdote? To introduce the topic of positive psychology
  3. What is the purpose of the graph he shows? To introduce the idea of “the cult of the average” and his cynicism about modern psychological studies.
  4. What example of “the cult of the average” does he give? The speed at which children learn to read.
  5. What effect does watching the news have on Shawn’s brain? It changes his perspective of the ratio between positive and negative things.
  6. What is “medical school syndrome”? When medical students start studying symptoms of different disease, they start to think they have them all.
  7. What do Shawn’s friends assume about Harvard students? That they will all be happy just because they go to Harvard
  8. What does Shawn think of the boarding school’s “wellness week”? That it is actually a “sickness week” because it focuses too much on negative things
  9. What problems with the way happiness and success are related in society does Shawn highlight? That happiness is always on the other side of success
  10. How can we rewire our brains to be more positive? Through techniques such as: documenting our gratitude for 3 things a day, by journaling a positive experience every day, doing more exercise, meditating, and random or conscious act of kindness.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Which of these activities do you do?
  2. Which of these activities would you consider doing?
  3. Do you keep a diary/journal? Did you use to when you were younger?
  4. What is the message of the video?
  5. In which fields do you think this theory would be helpful?
  6. How could they be implemented?
  7. Tell the class a similar anecdote about your childhood to the one Shawn tells at the start of the video.
Posted in Conversation Classes, Video Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Video Lesson: Mr. Bean

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Just a quick note…

Before you use these materials… We’ve created a new podcast aimed at B2+ level English students and teachers alike. You can listen for free at our SoundCloud page below. We have released 5 episodes so far and you can download teacher’s notes to accompany them from our Facebook page or from this blog. All comments and feedback welcome! Give us a like and a share 😉

https://soundcloud.com/2tspod


https://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast/

This is a video lesson based around the video “Mr. Bean packs his suitcase” thanks to British Council for bringing it to my attention in their lesson plan on making predictions but I’ve adapted it for use in different ways with different levels.

Kids and lower levels

The aim of this lesson plan is to practice holiday vocabulary (clothes and items that go in a suitcase) and some basic grammar structure.

Project a picture of a suitcase on to the board (or draw one) and ask “What do you put in your suitcase when you go on holiday?”  Brainstorm things that you pack on the board. Make sure students know:

  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • swimming shorts/trunks
  • towel
  • underpants
  • can of baked beans
  • cloth/flannel
  • soap
  • book
  • suitcase
  • trousers
  • shorts
  • shoes
  • teddy bear
  • scissors

You could also use this quizlet set to go over clothes vocabulary.

If children are old enough to write, put them in pairs and hand out post-it-notes and a pencil to each pair. Tell them they are going to watch a video of a silly man packing his suitcase, they have to write 5 things on the post-it that they think he will put in his suitcase. Have them copy the following:

Mr. Bean will put

  1. _________
  2. _________
  3. _________
  4. _________
  5. _________

in his suitcase.

Then stick all the post-its on the board and show the video. The team that guesses the most objects correctly wins. Have them read out their original post-it using past simple affirmative and negative forms: “Mr.Bean put a shirt in his suitcase. He didn’t put a mobile phone in his suitcase.”

Higher levels – video dictations

Ask students: What do you have to do before you go on holiday?

Buy your ticket, pack your suitcase, find your passport etc.

Pre-teach the following vocabulary:

Objects:

  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • swimming shorts/trunks
  • towel
  • underpants
  • can of baked beans
  • cloth/flannel
  • soap
  • book
  • suitcase
  • trousers
  • shorts
  • shoes
  • teddy bear
  • scissors

Verbs:

  • to fit (the chair doesn’t in my bag)
  • to take out (I took a pen out of my bag)
  • to pack a suitcase
  • to swap (I swapped the shirt for a t-shirt)
  • pick up (I picked up the pen)
  • throw away (I threw away the coke can)
  • to choose (I chose the red shirt)
  • to do eeny-meany-miney-mo
  • to realise (I realised I had forgotten my passport)
  • to squeeze (I squeezed the toothpaste)
  • to snap in half (He snapped the pencil in half)

Put students in pairs and arrange them so that 1 is facing the screen and one has their back to the screen. Tell them that the one facing the screen is going to watch 20 seconds of the video then describe it to their partner, their partner will then repeat back what they’ve heard to make sure they have understood. Students then change positions and repeat until minute 3:14. Then let all students watch the end together. Alternatively students could come up with predictions for how the video will end.

I recommend pausing the video quite frequently so that students can concentrate on describing 2 or three actions accurately rather than trying to describe a big chunk of the video.

Then replay the whole video from the start so that everyone can watch it together, ask students if they think their partner described the action well.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Video Classes

TED talks lesson: Logan Laplante on “Hack-schooling”

This is a discussion class for higher levels (high B2 – C2) based around the Logan Laplante’s TED talk video on “hack-schooling” a form of home schooling based round applicable skills and hands-on experience.

The video is 11 minutes long so I set it for homework the lesson before so that students could watch and rewatch as many times as they needed to fully understand it. Alternatively, you could watch it in class if you have time.

Vocabulary

Logan uses some skier/skater American slang, for example:

To be stoked – to be excited about/interested in something

to be bummed out – to be annoyed/disappointed

Other vocab that might need highlighting:

To log out of reality – to escape from reality

mashup – a mixture/fusion of different elements

hacker mindset – a mindset is a set of attitudes a person has

Discussion questions

  1. What was your first impression of Logan?
  2. How old is he?
  3. Is he a typical 13 year old?
  4. What are the 8 keys to happiness? (Exercise/diet and nutrition/time in nature/contribution and service to others/relationships/recreation/religious and spiritual)
  5. What do you think of this idea?
  6. How does he define a “hacker”? (A person who changes and improves established systems)
  7. What is “hack-schooling”? (opportunistic learning that doesn’t follow a curriculum with no fixed structure)
  8. What do you think of this idea?
  9. How and what does Logan learn?
  10. Is it for everyone?
  11. Is it only for people from a privileged background?
  12. “Schools are orientated towards making a living rather than making a life” What do you think of this statement? Do you agree?
  13. Do students today learn applicable skills?
  14. What do you think Logan is going to be when he grows up?
  15. What would your friends say if you pulled your children out of school?

Role-play

Put students in pairs of groups of 3 and have them role play the last question, student A has decided to pull their kids out of school to teach them at home, student B thinks they are crazy!

Debate

“The education system does not prepare students for life.”

Split group in to two groups, 1 in support and 1 against the motion. Follow standard debate structure, 2 minute opening arguments, rebuttals etc.