So, this lesson arose from my desire to get students to think about filling in listening gap fills while thinking about the grammar and language of the gap, not just robotically writing what they heard.
I chose this song as it tells a story, or is like two people telling their side of a story to a policeman. V cartoon-like and simple which served the purpose.
I’ve expanded it here to include a little section on reporting verbs and comparatives and also suggested a couple of follow ons.
It obviously fits neatly into a unit on crime or as an extension to reported speech.
PS When I first did this, I didn’t tell them it was a song. It was an exam class and I wanted to surprise them. I am still unconvinced as to whether telling them or not is better. I leave it up to you to decide.
- Level: Intermediate / Upper-Intermediate / Advanced (at a push)
- Aim: to focus students on the grammar of the gaps they are filling / to practise listening to language at a faster pace than normally presented.
- Time: 30mins +
Activating stigmata / pre-listening:
Write “I didn’t do it” on the board. Ask students when they might say this?
Ask them to predict what is missing and think of answers that could work.
check in pairs / small groups
Listen and fill in. – listen as many times as needed, I have normally found twice is enough.
- T.V. set
- honest as
They will probably make a fuss about number 3 / 5 / 6 as it is not the words used. Explain that the meaning here is more important. (if you are doing it for an exam class they would never do anything as nasty as number 3 but it pays for students to think about the sentence meaning, not just note down the word.)
*You could ask them to listen again and take notes of what is actually said for the answer to each.
Ask the students to underline all of the reporting verbs in the worksheet.
claim / say / ask / boast / deny
Now ask them to turn over to the second page.
This is about getting them to notice the structures used. For most this will be revision
- Which are followed by a direct object? ask
- Which are followed by that + clause? deny / boast / claim / say
Getting them to think of their own words that are similar is great as it allows you to see what they do / don’t know and also to correct any misconceptions.
Maybe ask them the difference in meaning of the words, or at least clarify it.
‘claims’ often expresses doubt from the speaker about whether what is being said is true and students may not know this.
‘As honest as’
- As ________ as – which type of word completes this structure? – adj
- If you were going to make it negative, where would ‘not’ go? not as adj as
‘The longer the daylight, the less I do wrong’
The + comparative + noun / clause, + the comparative + noun / clause
- What does this phrase mean? possibly crime at night, accept different interpretations that work
- Why would someone English use this sort of structure? to emphasis something
“The more I practice, the luckier I get” – what does this mean?
See if you can write one yourself, e.g. the more I sleep, ….
Ask students to find examples of reporting verbs in newspapers and bring them into class. I normally ask for 5-10 different verbs. It encourages them to be autonomous as well as getting them to notice language. Plus it gets them reading outside of class.
Also, you could ask them to turn the song lyrics into a short news report, recycling the reporting verbs.
Maybe give them a short introduction such as
“police were called yesterday to a burglary in London, when they arrived they caught two men red handed. They arrested both and took them for interview where the first man claimed …