Tag Archives: pair work

Teaching Blog: Choosing Presents – Pair Presentations

Teaching Blog: Choosing Presents - Pair Presentations

Procedure:

  • 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.

Activity:

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.

What worked:

  • 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.

Challenges:

  • 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.
Fast Food and the Environment - Discussion Questions

Fast Food and the Environment – Discussion Questions (Part 2)

Discuss these questions with a partner or small group, or write down your answers:

1. Which option do you prefer and why?

a. restaurant food vs. home-cooked food?
b. supermarket vs. farmers’ market?
c. farmers’ market vs. home-grown food?
d. thermos flask vs. plastic drink cup?
e. new fast food place opening in your town vs. new library / school?
f. to do something yourself vs. to have it done for you?
g. to cook for yourself vs. to have food cooked for you

2. What does the phrase carbon neutral mean? What is the cost of recycling? Is it carbon neutral?

3. What is a carbon footprint? Do you know yours? If yes, how did you found out? If not, why not? Do you think it is necessary to know? Why do some businesses have bigger carbon footprints?

4. Which companies consume the most resources in the world? Why do they do it? Do we need them to do so?

5. What is the connection between fast food and deforestation? What is the solution?

6. In the future, will we be able to grow meat in a lab? Will this solve the problem of cutting down trees in order to make farmland for animals that are destined to be eaten as fast food?

7. Why are some people apathetic when it comes to the environment?

8. Are wind turbines effective in generating enough green power – or are they rather a blot on the landscape?

9. What effect does fast food have on… a) our societies, b) our town centres, c) our waistlines, d) our health, e) our wallets, f) the weather?

10. Is fast food harmful? Why is it legal to buy products that are bad for you? Should it be illegal to sell harmful products? Why do fast food companies target children in particular?

11. Does fast food need to be the same (uniform) all over the world? Is it?

12. What’s the point of eating a healthy meal / salad at a fast food chain? Do you do that? Why?

13. Does fast food tell us anything about the decline in Western culture in the 21st century? What?

14. What would happen if half of the fast food restaurants in the world closed down voluntarily?

15. Agree or disagree? ‘Why should I separate my rubbish at a fast food restaurant? I don’t want to feel like a member of staff. That’s their job! They should do it. I paid for my food.’

16. Why do people leave their used fast food wrappers in places of natural beauty, e.g. forests?

17. What are the dangers of consuming too much… a) salt, b) sugar, c) fat, d) meat, e) caffeine?

18. Agree or disagree? ‘You should never take more than you give.’ – Tim Rice, ‘Circle of Life’.

19. Agree or disagree? ‘When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realise that one cannot eat money.’ – Native American saying.

Singing - Discussion Words

FREE Podcast! Episode 12 – Discussion Questions about Singing

Talk about the topic of Singing with your friends with these great discussion questions. The discussion questions are below. Please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes! Thank you!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/purland-on-elt/id1204714487?mt=2

Discussion Questions

Singing

Ask and answer the questions with a partner or small group:

  1. What is singing? Can you sing? Do you sing? What do you sing? When do you sing? Do you sing in the shower or sing along to the radio while in the car or at work? How would you describe your voice? Why do you sing? In what situations? Can you sing part of a song now? If not, why not? Is it embarrassing to sing in public? Why? / Why not? Would you be happy to sing on a stage in public for money? For how much? Why do people prefer to sing when they are on their own? What would happen if you sang more often – either at work or at home?
  1. If you think you can’t sing, why is that? Do you sing out of tune? How can you judge that? Would you like to be able to sing? Have you ever had singing lessons? Do you believe that the ability to sing is genetic or can anybody learn to sing? Is there any advantage in being able to sing? Is it possible to improve your singing technique? Research has shown that only 2% do not possess the required skills[1]. Do you agree?
  1. Who is your favourite singer? Why? Do you prefer male or female voices? Do you prefer a solo singer or a group who sing in harmony together? Why? Who is the best singer of the past fifty years in your opinion? Who is the best current singer? How many different kinds of singer can you think of? What is the difference between singing and rapping? Do you like rap music? Why? / Why not?
  1. Why do people sing? What uses does singing have, for example: to celebrate, to worship, to mourn, to entertain, and so on. Is singing a necessary function of life? Do we all sing in private? Why do children make up their own songs and sing so often? Do you believe that only humans can sing? Do birds sing, or is the sound that they make produced mechanically rather than by choice?
  1. How do we sing? How are the following parts of the body used: a) diaphragm, b) larynx, c) vocal cords, d) tongue, e) teeth, f) chest, g) head? Have you ever watched a very good singer and noticed how they use their bodies to sing? How do professional singers warm up their voices and how do they take care of them?
  1. Do you think that it is a good job to be a professional singer? Why? / Why not? What would be the hardships and pleasures of this kind of job? How much money do you think they make? Is it worth being a busker – singing in the street all day? Imagine a day in the life of… a) an opera singer, b) a pop singer, c) a busker, d) a vocal coach, e) a singer in a West End musical, f) a children’s entertainer… and so on.
  1. Have you ever joined a choir? Tell me about it. If not, would you like to? Why do people sing in their spare time for free? Is community singing enjoyable? Why? / Why not? Have you ever sung in a foreign language? Do you sing in church, or as part of a service of worship? Does singing have a spiritual significance for you?
  1. What is your favourite song? Have you ever heard it sung by another person? What is the effect when different people record a version of the same song? Have you ever written a song? Would you like to be a famous singer-songwriter? Why? / Why not?

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2015/may/22/why-cant-we-all-sing-well-the-science-of-song-eurovision