Making reading fun: Using graded readers with young learners
A) Match the sentence halves:
- We have breakfast at __________.
- We have a mid-morning snack at __________.
- We have lunch at __________.
- We have a cup of tea and a biscuit at __________.
- We have dinner at __________.
- We have supper at __________.
- We have a snack __________.
a) whenever we feel a bit peckish!
b) one o’clock.
c) six o’clock in the evening.
d) about eleven o’clock.
e) eight o’clock at night.
f) seven o’clock in the morning.
g) about four o’clock in the afternoon.
B) What time do YOU eat during the day?
Answers (no peeping!):
1. f) 2. d) 3. b) 4. g) 5. c) 6. e) 7. a)
IELTS Academic Task 1 Correction: Students Use Smartphones in Class.
- Warmers – 10 mins (optional)
- Preparing presentations – 15 mins
- Giving presentations – 15 mins
Warmer 1: Follow the Clap.
After taking the register T randomly starts clapping slowly, then encourages SS to join in: ‘Clap with me!’ Then varies the speed – slower or faster. When everybody is clapping in time, T varies the timing and SS have to try to follow the clap. Then clap in time, then vary the timing and/or speed, etc. T asks: ‘What’s the point of doing this?’ SS: ‘To get us to focus’, ‘To get us to listen/watch’, ‘To get us to follow’. Let different SS lead the clap.
Warmer 2: Line Up.
SS make a long line against the wall. T asks them to line up in order of:
- first name (A-Z)
- height (shortest to tallest)
- what time you went to bed last night (earliest to latest)
- birthday (January to December)
SS give their answers in order. T can have short conversations.
SS work in pairs. Tell them you are going to give each pair $1,200 (or in local currency). Put the instructions on the board (see image above). Run through the instructions; ensure everybody understands what they have to do; stress the aim is to hear a spoken presentation from each pair by the end of the lesson.
- It was a good opening gambit. SS were immediately interested when I said I was going to give each pair 4000 zl (Zloty) in cash! However, only one pair bought me a present! (A trip to Sydney, Australia.) I chose 4000 zl because it’s a good amount of money, but not a ridiculous amount – like five million pounds. You could give a different amount. Stress that SS have to spend all of the money (to the last penny) and that they can’t invest it. One pair wanted to invest all of their money in Bitcoin.
- It was a nice challenge for SS to work in pairs and get the presentation ready in around 15 minutes, then present it. I repeated this lesson several times during the week with different groups and towards the end of the week I cut one then both of the warmers to allow more time for preparation and presentations.
- It was a good ‘clockwork toy’ activity – set it up and watch them go! There was a good positive hum of activity from SS during the preparation stage. I allowed them to research prices online – on laptops and mobile phones. All SS were engaged. It was a relevant and motivating task. There was a nice element of wish-fulfilment for the SS – choosing presents with somebody else’s money.
- Following on from last week’s lesson about the weather, I aimed to get them to use more English in the classroom, rather than L1 (Polish). I asked two of the higher-level groups to try to speak only in English during the prep stage as well as during the presentations. I monitored this and when I heard them doing it, it really felt like I was doing my job properly for the first time – getting them talking in English during the lesson. My challenge is to roll this out to all other groups, as far as possible, over the next few days and weeks.
- After last week I aimed to use the same model, and it worked again: warmer -> pair research on PCs or mobile -> presentations.
- When SS did their presentations, they would often present the information by rote, like this: ‘Person: my mum. Present: a scarf. Price: one hundred Zloty…’ and so on. They didn’t present the information in sentences, so it was not very interesting to listen to. As lessons went on I realised this and asked them to try to connect the data in sentence forms. Some of them did. I started promising to give them a better mark for their presentations if they used sentence forms. The model could be: ‘I would buy [present] for [person] at [shop] because [reason], and I think their reaction would be…’
- SS not listening to each other during the presentations. This is more of a behaviour issue. I’m thinking about how to improve this.
- I hadn’t anticipated this problem, but many SS had trouble – while presenting – with saying longer numbers, for example, saying 1350 in words – ‘one thousand, three hundred and…’
- SS giggling when presenting their work. For some it meant a lower mark. I hope the novelty of having to give presentations will wear off, and this be much less of a problem.
- The biggest issue is that time is always against us. The lesson has to be delivered and done in about forty minutes. All feedback has to be given in those forty minutes too. Timing is so important. Next week there will be a new lesson to deal with. The bell rings and the SS rush off to think about another subject with another teacher. If we had an hour or ninety minutes we could have more time for preparation and time to address issues of sentence forms, numbers, and listening to one another… I wondered whether I should devote two weeks to one topic, but by next week the SS will have probably forgotten what we did. It’s the transferable skills that we can work on week-in, week-out – via different topics: working together, researching and preparing information, speaking in public, and listening to other people.
When somebody says this idiom to you they usually mean that you are one of a kind, unique, and an incredibly special kind of person. There is nobody else like you, because after you were created the mould that you came out of was broken to make sure that no more yous could be made. (Think moulds in a factory mass-producing something. In American English it is spelled mold.)
So the meaning is often positive and may be used in a romantic situation or to flatter somebody by telling them how great they are. However, it can also have a negative meaning due to the ambiguity of the word when. If when means ‘while’ or ‘at the time of’ making you, then the meaning is positive, but if when means ‘after’ making you, the meaning is negative, e.g. ‘they broke the mould deliberately so that no more yous could be created – because I/we don’t like you.’
We can also use this idiom sarcastically, when somebody makes a trivial mistake or says something a bit silly, to point out that we think they are original or unusual – not run-of-the-mill. Not normal.
It’s rather an old-fashioned idiom, so we might expect an older person to use it. It may be used as a quite corny chat-up line. A bit like this line: ‘Are you sure you aren’t tired?’ ‘Why? ‘Because you’ve been running through my mind all day!’
On a first date:
Jemima: I’m so glad you invited me to this party.
Alan: I’m so happy you said yes! You know, Jemima – they broke the mould when they made you!
Jemima: Oh don’t be silly. (Pause) Really?
Frida: My boss has been on my back all morning about the Jensen account. What a dork!
Olga: He’s always on your case! What an odd guy he is. Sad, really. You know, they really broke the mould when they made him.
Frida: I hope they did!
Tom: I’ve just realised that today is Wednesday, not Tuesday! I’ve spent all day thinking it was Tuesday! What an idiot!
Ida: What are you like! You know, they really broke the mould when they made you!
Robert Godwin-Jones, Ph.D., is Professor of World Languages and International Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, and past Director of the English Language Program there. He writes a regular column on emerging technologies for the journal Language Learning & Technology. In the second of four posts on using mobile devices in the language classroom, Robert provides……
Get your students writing and performing with our brand new free printable worksheets and the accompanying free podcast!
Listen and download the free MP3 lesson: Story Planning – My Life Without… (14 MB, Google Drive)
This fun and multifaceted writing activity includes story planning, writing an article or story for a newspaper or magazine, grammar practice in the form of writing wh-questions and yes/no questions, and also group work with students creating, producing, performing, and peer-assessing role plays based on the original stories!
Download the free worksheets below and get your students to use their imaginations on the topic of My Life Without…Story Planning - My Life Without...
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Free podcast featuring new ideas for teaching English as a Foreign Language for summer 2017!
Can you teach an old dog new ELT tricks?
Yes, you can in my case! Here are some of the new lesson ideas that I tried out while working at a language school in the UK this summer. Feel free to try them yourselves – they worked really well for me! If you need any further information about the activities, please contact me here or via Twitter @purlandtraining
Free image courtesy of Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/en/jenga-wooden-blocks-game-play-2558356/
Here is the full list of activities mentioned in the podcast:
- Rank five things in order of importance
- What did you do last night?
- 29% of English words come from French
- Create your own country
- World tour – plan a 25-day trip
- Group quiz with Jenga blocks
- Talent show
- Haiku – writing poems with 3 lines: 5 syllables / 7 syllables / 5 syllables
- Introducing English slang words and phrases
- What to do and say at the airport
- House prices quiz
- Find a thing starting with the letter…
- Create your own bakery (see here: http://purlandtraining.com/2017/07/16/free-podcast-create-your-own-bakery-free-lesson-plan/)
- Is British English better than American English? (see here: http://purlandtraining.com/free-lessons/podcasts/is-british-english-better-than-american-english/)