Planning for planning

So, this idea came about today in class. It is just a short one and won’t take up much class time but it may, just may, get your students planning. I’m hoping it will mine.

As I have mentioned before, I spend a lot of my time teaching exam classes, and so writing is a big part in my lessons. One of the things I constantly hear in class is:

“but we don’t have time to plan”

I am sure you have heard that one too. For years I have been getting students to write down as many words about a topic as they can in a minute to prove that they do in fact have time to plan, the logic being that it shows them how much they can actually write in one single minute.

Today, I took things a step further. Having reminded them of the need to plan and having been confronted by nodding students, who I could tell were going to do no such thing, I decided to prove to them the value. Luckily my plan worked. Here it goes:

  • ask students to write down as much as they can about a topic, I chose last weekend, but anything that they will be able to write something about is good.
  • ask them to count the number of words and do group feedback – I had minimum 7, max 21.
  • then ask them in pairs to discuss their plans for next weekend. I gave them 2 mins so that both would have chance to speak.
  • ask them to write down their plans for next weekend as quickly as they can.
  • ask them to count the words – I had minimum 22, max 49

Hopefully the second far outweighs the first, it did in mine and they looked shocked, which was gratifying.

I now got them to look at the two examples, though some had very little in the first. Looking for errors to correct. In general, the second had fewer errors, was more interestingly written and contained double the words.

Case closed!

You could extend it then by asking them to write more, or then as I did to ask them to look at an exam task.

Either way, I found it a handy way to drive home the importance of planning and it did seem to make a difference to their attitude. Let’s see when I mark their writing!

A message to MTV – formal letter writing

So, like many of you, lessons are something which invade every facet of my day.  I can be innocently running my eyes over facebook and they hit me, like this one did.  The beauty of this for me is that there are two complete and separate sections to the lesson.

the listening and the writing

In that sense it is not that dissimilar to the Beatles’ song I did months ago, paperback writer, as shown below, but it differs in that this features a ready made model letter for students to sink their teeth into.

https://textploitationtefl.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/writing-lesson-based-on-a-song/

For the listening section there are a few options and by all means feel free to come up with something different, but I wanted  basic prediction and gist questions and vocab building from an authentic listening text.  Should you just want to focus on the writing, the listening could be dropped, and vice versa. Though, I always think more listening is a good idea.

Aim: practice listening / raise awareness of register / practice letter writing

Procedure: (and answers)

Listening:

pre listening – ask the students what they know about Kylie and Nick Cave. (see worksheet)

Then

You could ask them to quickly do some independent research on their phones asking the following questions:

  1. Why are they both famous?
  2. What do they have in common?
  3. In which year did they work together?

do pair, then class feedback.

Listening tasks – basically follow the worksheet

Now you have activated a bit of schemata you can move onto actually listening

general gist questions

  1. Who is the letter to?
  2. what is the letter about?
  3. What does the writer ask for?
  4. what does the writer say he feels unhappy with?

Vocab building – fill in from listening

Attitudinal questions – for me the answer is amused

Reflection:

ask students to discuss whether they think of the letter and the writer’s decision in small groups. Then do full class feedback.

Writing

This section is focused on recognising register and then on using it.

follow the worksheet, here are the answers

  1. it is formal
  2. words which could be picked out include, but not exclusive to:

grateful / flattered / be withdrawn / furthermore / arise / to be of the opinion that / inhabited / subjecting / appreciate

3. things that are formal:

No contractions / linkers (so / therefore etc.) / formal lexis / longer sentences / introduction / paragraphing

4. Things that are unusual:

all capitalised / the third paragraph where he goes crazy /  no ending name / use of exclamation marks

Production

Planning

In pairs ask students to plan what they would say in reply to the letter, follow instructions on worksheet

monitor during the planning and help them where needed

4. something like this

Dear Mr Cave,

Many thanks for the letter, we at MTV are saddened to hear your decision.

Follow on:

For homework, ask the students to individually finish the letter in a similar style, remind them to think about linkers that might be appropriate and the vocab and grammar that could be used.

Materials:

1 worksheet word doc

worksheet pdf

3 link:

http://pitchfork.com/news/61727-kylie-minogue-reads-nick-caves-infamous-1996-mtv-rejection-letter/

The Beatles – Dead or Alive!

The idea for this one came from a teacher I used to work with, great teacher. He used wikipedia entries on the Beatles to compare Past Simple and Present Perfect. I loved the idea and so when I had to cover a class last minute the other day, I decided I’d try it out.

This is the lesson I did. It works on a couple of things:

Objectives:

  1. Reinforce and examine the difference between present perfect and past simple.
  2. Raise awareness of the features of different texts (in this case wikipedia entries)
  3. Encourage students to notice chunks of English and adopt them into their own writing / speech.
  4. Encourage learner autonomy (ye olde holiest of grails) in reading.

Level: Int / Upper int

Time: 1.5 – 3 hours

Materials: wikipedia present perfect – BEATLES

john and paul

 

Procedure:

(1)

Introduction:

List the following discussion questions on the board:

  • What kind of music do you listen to?
  • Have you ever been to a concert/gig/festival?
  • Have you ever met anyone famous?
  • Who would you like to see perform live?

Let students discuss these questions in small groups. As you monitor, note down any present perfect/past simple mistakes (if there are any) for use later. Choose any errors you like to give feedback, but I find with music discussions, learners very often misuse a lot of vocabulary (e.g. live) and I tend to focus on that area.

(2)

Before Reading

Display the pictures of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. In small groups, students discuss everything they know about the two musicians. Feedback as a whole class and board all of their facts.

(3)

Gist Reading

Fold the sheet in two so that students can only see one wikipedia entry. Divide your class into two groups (Johns and Pauls). Students have 2 minutes to read through the text and note any extra facts that they didn’t know. DO NOT MENTION THAT THEY ARE WIKIPEDIA TEXTS!

Put Johns together to compare their facts and do the same with the Pauls.

Then get a lovely mingle exercise going so that Johns share their info with Pauls.

As a whole class, board the most interesting facts from the students.

(4) 

Focus on genre:

Sit the students down in pairs of Pauls and Johns (to mix them up a bit) Display the following questions and get students to discuss in pairs:

  1. What type of text is this? Where does it come from?
  2. How do you know? What clues are in the text?
  3. What is the writer’s opinion?

Obviously you want the students to notice that not once does the writer give their opinions as it’s a factual text.  (By raising awareness of features of different texts, you can encourage students to think more about what they are writing and about appropriate language for different genres and situations)

(5)

Focus on language 1: Present Perfect

Encourage students to look more closely at what they read. We want to create fully autonomous language analysts. One way is trying the following type of exercise. Little and often is the key.

Display the following questions for discussion:

  1. What are the main tenses used in the texts?
  2. Is there any difference between the tenses used in John’s text and Paul’s text?
  3. Why do you think that is?

What we’re looking for here is that John’s contains past simple only whereas Paul’s contains both. Past simple for his early life with the Beatles and Wings (ahem) and Present Perfect for his life and achievements since then.

At this point, you could bring out any pres perfect errors from the introduction stage and get sts to correct them in pairs.

(6) 

Focus on language 2: Passive

Highlight/Display the following sentence from the text and compare it to the one below it:

“He was murdered three weeks after its release”

“Someone murdered him three weeks after its release”

In pairs, students discuss why the author chose the first one over the second one. What we’re looking for is that the author wanted to keep John Lennon as the focus of the sentence.

Get students to scan the text and find other examples. It might be a good idea at this point to highlight that the musicians are the subject of almost every sentence and definitely every paragraph.

(7)

Focus on language 3: Vocabulary

By now students will be chomping at the bit for all of the vocabulary in the texts. In pairs, get them to find the phrases from the vocabulary section of the worksheet.

Feedback as a whole class. Then point out that there are some phrases that you would commonly find in such an article (e.g. born and raised  / critically acclaimed / of all time). In pairs get students to hunt for more chunks they can lift from the text and use for themselves.

(8) 

Focus on Organisation

Ask students to take one final look at the texts and decide how they are organised. Essentially, in both of them there is a general intro paragraph about the musician and then a second section going into more detail about their various achievements.

(9)

Follow-Up:

You have now focused the students’ attention on all of the necessary features of this genre. It’s now up to them to write something.

In small groups, get them to choose a teacher in the school and give them ten minutes to write a short Wikipedia entry on their life. Allow them to make up whatever crazy details they like. You’ll undoubtedly end up with “teachers who reached worldwide fame for their critically acclaimed present perfect lessons”.

When they’re finished, put them up around the room. Students walk around and vote on whose they like best and whose was most like a wikipedia entry.

Teachers use this time to move around and board some errors on the board and then correct as a group.

(10)

Reflection:

After this type of lesson, you really need to sit down and chat about what’s been achieved. Yes the students have created something, worked on their own errors, gather lots of vocab and discussed the present perfect but the real aim is autonomy!

You want them to take these skills outside and use them when they’re reading their own texts. We need them to be stealing their own chunks of language from their own texts.

Informal, formal and semi-detached-formal emails

In my current position I spend a large portion of my time speaking to students by email…which is great.

What I’ve noticed is that in general, my students tend to be either overly formal or overly informal or an odd combination of both. I also find ridiculously inappropriate sentences nestled in amongst otherwise normal emails.

In an effort to get them thinking about this issue, I came up with a quick and easy lesson for any level from pre-intermediate upwards. It’s can be used as an introduction to a larger lesson on formality in writing or it can be expanded and be a lesson in itself.

This lesson works particularly well with older students who are already using English at work but doesn’t need to be.

Time: 30minutes – 90 minutes

Materialsinformal semi-formal formal emails

Procedure:

(1)

As an intro, I like to ask sts to discuss some the questions on the top of the page. It gets them thinking about how they use English in their countries and what they find difficult.

(2) 

I always introduce this honestly, telling them that I find students often miss the level of formality. I tell them we will analyse two emails and decide on the formality.

(3)

I display the first one on the board, explain that both emails are between 2 colleagues (but they aren’t very close) and ask students to answer the following 2 questions:

  1. what is the objective of this email?
  2. is it formal, semi-formal or informal?

Without checking, I move on to the second one and repeat the questions.

We then discuss both of them and come to the conclusion that they are both looking for details of Friday’s meeting but the first is overly informal and the second overly formal.

(4)

Focus on language chunks:

Next, I hand out both emails and let students discuss in small groups which words/phrases are too informal / too formal or just downright inappropriate (I’m thinking of “I fell asleep” and “Proudly attended”).

After a few minutes we check this as a class.

(5)

Writing practice:

I then get the students back into their groups and have them write their own version of the email in an appropriate, semi-formal register.

(6) 

We then combine the answers and write one definitive answer which sts can take a photo of on their phones and take away with them.

(7)

Homework:

The homework is the reply to the email in an appropriate register.

Brick by Brick – a lego based approach to writing

So, this was an idea I have been knocking backwards and forwards for a while, I started using parts of it a few years ago, and the main idea is to try to treat writing as something which can be broken down, learnt and constructed rather than a mysterious thing that some can do and others can’t.

There are plenty of other blogs on here with a big focus on writing but the aim with this one is to try to do something a bit different.  Hopefully to appeal to visual learners and maybe even the kinaesthetic ones too.

Why lego? Well, lego is built of brightly coloured blocks.  Hopefully all else will become clearer later, if not, then write to me and tell me, as I really need to rethink this!!!

This lesson is focusing on improving essay writing, especially for exams, but it really can be done with lots of different styles, merely change the names/functions of the bricks.

I haven’t used bricks themselves here, but I have included an idea for them to be used later on in the procedure as an option.  I think their use could definitely be of benefit in certain classrooms and with particular classes.  But, as always trust your instincts, you know your class!

Aim: improve writing and enable students to better understand register required for academic writing

Level: High Int +

Time: 1hr +

Procedure:

Planning

  1. basic brainstorm – follow the worksheet and do all class feedback, checking the ideas and boarding ones you are happy with.

Register focus

2. Put students in pairs or groups and ask them to think of language you would / wouldn’t expect in an essay.

Answers: linkers / relative clauses / passives / passive reporting structures / high level vocab / modal verbs to soften / no phrasal verbs / no contractions / no idioms

They might not get them all, but that is fine.

Brick by Brick writing

This is the type of writing I sometimes get from newer students.

I’ve gone for a task-teach-task approach to this part of the lesson as I feel it allows you to measure current student ability better, especially with new classes.

3.1 The students work in pairs to discuss how the writing could be improved

3.2 Ask students to look at the building blocks and show them the example below them.  Get them to consider what each thing is doing to make the writing more formal and to improve it.  Ask them to underline the sections in the corresponding colours, so passives in green etc.

3.3 Controlled practice, ask students to drop in words from the blocks above to complete the sentence.

Obviously here, other options are possible

Moreover, it could be argued that older buildings may play a vital role in a country’s culture . Additionally / Therefore, their preservation could be important in future generations’ education.

3.4 Ask Students to use the approach on one of their ideas from planning section 1, get them to write it, monitor as they do so and prompt and suggest improvements, try to ensure they are using all of the different ‘bricks’.

3.5 Peer editing – ask the students to pass their sentences to other students who have to identify the different ‘bricks’ being used.  This could be done by underlining, or if you have different lego bricks it could be done by the students actually selecting different coloured bricks and putting them together to form a collection, end on end, so: green brick, blue brick, yellow brick, red brick, blue brick, representing the different language used.

3.6 Ask the students to reflect on their normal way of writing and how they think the planning section and how thinking about the writing may help.  It can be helpful here to pull out examples of their writing so that they can see how it could be improved.

3.7 Ask students to complete the essay for homework – remind them to use a plan, I often elicit a workable one from the class and board it before they leave.  Also stress that you are hoping to see the things looked at today, so modals / passives / higher level vocab.

You can even ask them to highlight this for you at home or when they come into class next.

Enjoy!

Materials: worksheet

‘Used to’ and ‘Would’ for past habit dictogloss

This is something I do whenever this language point comes up, it backs up another point that we have mentioned before; students won’t hear something unless they know it exists.

Why bother teaching ‘would’ for past habit?

I got asked this recently, and the best answer I can give is that when speaking native speakers may use ‘used to’ once but will rarely chain it together for a list of repeated actions for that we tend to use good old ‘would’, so if students want to progress and become more natural communicators then knowing this will be a step on the way.

This is a short lesson, hence its inclusion in the mini lessons section, it could be used to introduce the grammar point or to revise it, whatever you choose is fine and the script can obviously be altered to your own life.

Procedure:

Pre task: Ask your students which structures we can use to talk about past habits, if most of the students know would, there may be less call for doing this lesson!

  1. Tell students that you are going to read two sentences twice and that you want them to try to write down as much as they can.  Tell them not to worry about writing down every word but that they need to get the general meaning and then reconstruct the sentences from there.
  2. Read this text, or one you have altered

“When I was young I used to play football everyday, I’d get to school early everyday and me and my friends’d play for about half an hour. Then the bell’d ring and we’d all run to class.”

It is really important to only read it twice and to try to not emphasise ‘would’.

3. Ask them to  try to rewrite in pairs or groups what you said, encourage them but do not mention ‘would’.  Instead, ask questions such as what time is being talked about, present or past?  What type of word has to go before an infinitive etc.

4.  When they have struggled for a while and maybe some of them have got it, reveal it to them either with a hand out or on the board.

5.  Get them to identify the function of ‘used to’ – past habit

6.  Ask them to think about the use of ‘would’ – does it describe future or past?

Ask them which structures we can use to talk about past habits, they should come up with

  1. past simple
  2. used to
  3. would

7. Ask them to correct the following passage.

“When I was young I wanted to be a doctor, I would want to work in a hospital”

then ask them to complete this rule.

We can use used to / past simple / would to talk about past habits when the verb is stative.

we cannot use past simple / would with stative verbs.

8. Production stage

Ask your students to tell their partners something they used to do when they were younger and ask them to decribe the details using “would”.  Ask them to record it so they can listen back and make any corrections that are needed.

9. Reflection

Ask them again which tenses can be used to talk about past habits.  The old test-teach-test.

From here you could move onto present habits, I’ve noticed that some students tend to struggle with present habits, we normally use present simple and will, but some students want to use ‘use to‘ – when we would use ‘usually’.

Narrative tenses – higher levels

Narrative tenses, students normally know them, they can tell you what tense it is, but can they identify their functions? that is always the trickier and more important thing.

This lesson uses a few different short story beginnings and moves from a focus on narrative tenses to language that tells us what sort of story is being told, with a view to improving the students’ own production skills.

It also features something you’ll find in most of our lessons, working out some vocabulary from context.

I must say at this point that some of the vocabulary ideas in this lesson were things I first thought about after teaching from the old New First Certificate Gold.

Level: Upp Int + (high level upp ints)

Aims: To check functions of the different narrative tenses.

Procedure:

Introduction

1.a You could give each student a different story and get them to read them before telling other students in the group.

Or

1.b Place the stories around the walls and the students have to read them.

2. Students are asked to match the stories to one of the following genres

love / action / suspense / horror / sci-fi / fantasy / 

There are I suppose no correct answers but the obvious ones to pick would be:

  • story 1 – horror
  • story 2 – love
  • story 3 – suspense
  • story 4 – sci-fi

3. Ask students to discuss in groups and pairs what they think is typical of each genre and what made them choose the answers they did.  At this point you could highlight some of the vocab you elicit from them on the board.

Grammar focus

Hand out copies of the stories

  1. Ask students to identify examples of past simple / past continuous / past perfect / past perfect continuous.
  2. Ask the students to match the tense to its use
  3. Ask them to look at the timeline for story 1, and then to create one for one of the following three stories.
  4. Ask them to look at the story on page 3 the story and decide how it could be improved by using the different tenses.  Obviously there is no definitive correct version, but set them the challenge of using past simple, past continuous and past perfect.

Vocab focus

  1. Ask students to identify words that are typical of the genre. e.g.:
  • story 1 – wind was howling, crept, old abandoned, 
  • story 2 – sun was shining, fluffy clounds, perfect day,
  • story 3 – nervously, paced
  • story 4 – ice clouds, ship’s computer, new planet gleamed

Also ask them to predict the meaning of the words, don’t let them use dictionaries, explain that the exact meaning is not necessary, just a general idea.  Do whole class feedback on any words which present difficulties.

2. Ask the students to add further words typical of one of the genres to the table on p3.

Materials: worksheet

Follow up activities

  1. The obvious thing is to ask them to carry on one of the stories and there is nothing wrong with that as long as the emphasis is on reusing the grammar and getting them to use some of the vocab they worked on together.

2. Another could be to ask them to record an anecdote for you and email it to you, this gives you the chance to really get them to practice the language in a context they may frequently use.  An advantage of this is you can send them notes on their pronunciation, especially the intonation.

E.g. I was walking down the street yesterday when …

You know what will motivate your class best.

Enjoy

Model answers

I am always shocked by two things when it comes to model answers:

  • Students ignore them in the coursebooks, never look at them, never borrow bits of language from them.
  • Teachers don’t use them, don’t see the value, expecting students to magically be able to produce a piece of writing with almost no instruction.

Both of these are generalisations, but in the many years I have been teaching and observing teachers, both of these things come up time and time again.

This is just a little look at how we can use model answers to get students to notice features of language that they can use in their writing.  It is really simple and totally applicable to any type of writing you can do.

I prepare worksheets like this all the time, one bonus of writing them yourself is that you can focus on exactly what you want.  However, a lot of coursebooks now do exercises like this, focusing students on models.  Even if they don’t, the coursebooks may have examples of text types and typical features at the back of the book.  If you are teaching general English, Cambridge exam books can provide some decent models if you don’t have time to write them yourself.

Level: Upp int – Adv

Aim: raise awareness of what different elements contribute to a piece of writing

Procedure: 

1. Ask students to read the model answer and decide if it is a good example or not, discuss in pairs and then whole class feedback

2. Ask students in turn to look for examples of:

  • hypothetical
  • passives
  • good collocations

3.1 Ask if there is anything that could be improved.  Hopefully they will notice that there is some repetition

  • ‘as’ and ‘however’ used twice
  • It was felt

3.2 Ask if they can think of synonyms for these.  With ‘however’ i ask them to rewrite using ‘although’

It was felt by some, however, that the experience would have been more productive if students had been given more time in each department,

to

Although it was felt by some that the experience would have been more productive if students had been given more time in each department,

4. You can do a synonym hunt for some of the vocab if you think your students will be unfamiliar with it, or if you have trained them how to do this, ask them to work in pairs on the meaning from context.

Follow up

Obviously asking students to do some writing is a good idea, but i am a firm believer that it does not have to be a whole piece of writing.  I would rather see one good paragraph written, with the students focusing on quality and using all of the target language rather than 250 words of mediocrity.

Materials

model answer

How can I write it if I don’t know what it is?

So, this lesson was something I taught yesterday to try to help my students with their writing, I only took over the class recently and in the needs analysis a few of them stated that they needed to work on their writing, two of them telling me that they hadn’t been able to join the advanced level because they hadn’t done well in the writing paper of the level test.  When I asked what had been wrong with the writing, one reported that the writing had been “good but in the wrong style”, I asked what she meant, but she just said, that was what she had been told and wasn’t sure how to change it.  A quick check with the rest of the class confirmed that she was not alone in being a bit lost when it came to how to write in different styles, so I thought I would start at the beginning.

That’s what this lesson is, a beginners guide to genre, or a quick revision of it, whichever you prefer.

Aim: to increase awareness of genre and register in writing, so that the know the key features so that they are at least aware of what they should be using for different writing

Level: High Int + (the class I did this with yesterday were a pre-advanced level)

Procedure:

1. Cut the extracts out from the page, stick them on the wall and invite the students to read them with some background music playing. (I only did this to generate interest as I felt handing them a piece of paper would be a little dull.) While reading I asked them to think about what type of writing they were and where they thought they had come from.

2. Ask them to sit down and discuss it in pairs or groups for a few minutes

3. Write the possibilities on the board and ask them to match the types of writing to the possibilities in their groups.  Once most of them had got close to finishing I asked them to sit down and gave them the worksheet so that they could look at them and confirm their decisions.

4.  Check the answers but at this stage I gave them the answers only, I did not give them reasons.

5. Elicit from the students how they knew the first one was an essay and wrote what they put on the board.  I then asked them as a group to go through the other examples explaining what features of the text they thought were typical.  I monitored and helped to steer them in the right direction if they were lost.

6. Group feedback – you could give them the answer sheet here, but I think it is more fun to elicit and get the information from the students.

7. Give the students the opportunity to check any vocabulary they don’t know, they may have done this already, as always try to encourage them to guess the meanings, but help if needed. (you could arrange a matching exercise here if you wanted with meanings, but as it wasn’t the main focus of the lesson I chose not to this time)

8. Ask the students to arrange the different types of writing into similar styles, don’t set them any rules here, what they decide is often very interesting and useful for them.  If you have them get them to write it up on the IWB, the different groups.  Make sure all the groups are involved even if it is only to affirm other groups decisions.

You can obviously make your suggestions once they have discussed theirs.  For example, all of the formal types together, etc.

Follow on: Obviously writing, but where you go totally depends on your students and where you feel they need practice.  The easiest would be to carry on the story.

You could also get them to predict what the title of the article might be, or activities that get them interacting with the texts more.

Hopefully the good thing is that this lesson can be referred back to whenever you want to focus students on different genres.

 

Materials: 

1.Genre

2. Answers

The Passive Voice: A quick revision

I’m a big fan of using short articles in lessons and although I’m loathe to admit it, the Metro is a great source of material as the articles are usually quite short and not too difficult for the students. Very often, after I’ve taught a language point, I like to revisit it a week or a few days later. My favourite way to do this is to examine it in its natural surroundings. For the passive voice, I very often use newspaper articles.

This is a nice little lesson I did a few years ago. I’ve always enjoyed it. Try it out and let me know what you think.

Materialpassive- an article

Time: 1.5 – 2 hours (depending on follow-up activities)

Level: Pre-int and upwards

Procedure:

(1)

Intro

I like to introduce this with the following discussion questions. It gets the students warmed up, gets them talking from the beginning of the lesson and can be revisited later.

  1. do you read much in English?
  2. what have you read so far today?
  3. do you read English newspapers?
  4. what are the benefits of reading English newspapers?

Feel free to do any error correction you like after this but I think question 4 is the most important. By the end of the lesson you want them to realise that articles can be used, not only for vocabulary and reading practice but also to consolidate their grammar.

I would put their answers from question 4 up on the board, or take a note of them somewhere to refer back to later.

(2)

Pre-Reading

Explain to the students they’re going to read an authentic article from the newspaper and direct them to the prediction questions a the top of the material. NB: make sure they read the second article about the lollipop man. A little bit of ICQing here is important.

Once they’ve come up with some ideas, ask them to skim the article (give them a time and stick to it or you’ll have students painstakingly trawling their way through this tiny article, underlining every second word).

Check their ideas as a class and if needs be, display an image of a lollipop man.

(3)

Vocabulary Focus

Direct the students towards the key vocabulary and allow them to work together without dictionaries to match the definitions to the words/phrases in the text.

if you like, you can allow them to check their ideas with a dictionary afterwards.

(4) 

Post-reading: Engage with the text

At this point I think it’s hugely important that students engage with the text in a meaningful way. They now know the key words and have access to the entire text but what do they think about it? I’ve avoided providing questions here as I don’t like making it an exercise as such.

I usually sit down with the students, try to get them in a circle or small groups and just chat about the article. What do they think? Do they have this kind of job in their country? Is it necessary? What are their local councils like? Do they have much contact with them? Would you find this kind of story in their newspapers?

You just want them engaging and giving an opinion. Judge it yourself and if you need to give them guiding questions, then go for it.

(5)

Language Focus:

At this point, you want to draw their attention to the passive in the text. I’ve pulled out one sentence for them. I’d start by asking them if it’s active or passive and how they know.

then let them off to answer the questions below and discuss as a class when they’re finished.

(6) 

Reflection:

Bring back out their answers from question 4 at the beginning of the lesson and ask them if there’s anything else they can use articles (or any reading text) for. At this point hopefully they’ll mention grammar and you can chat about noticing language points in texts and the benefit of taking a second to look how it’s being used.

(7)

Follow-up 1

I’ve given you some passive V active practice sentence transformation on the second page that students can do for homework or in class as immediate practice.

I’ve also given you a second article that again can be done for homework or in class. Students can immediately practise what they have learnt above and use the article to notice the passive voice.  I would also show them how it can be used to gather word chains (groups of words in a text on the same topic), in this instance it’s CRIME vocabulary.

(8)

Follow-up 2

If you’ve done the first follow-up exercise, I’d get them to do some writing practice using the passive voice and the crime vocab. What you end up with is an article based on what they’ve gleaned from the articles. The idea is that they can go out and try the same with other articles and texts.