Barry deals with “get” collocations and inequality.

Barry, the main character in this lesson, has wormed his way into a number of our lessons. If you’d like to see his other ones you could try here, here, here, or even here.

With this lesson I have learnt something about myself. I have learnt that try as I might, I cannot write a lesson without including some study skills. I tried to do a straight collocations lesson for my students and came out with a collocations + online concordance lesson.

“Get” is one that my students ask about all the time and I am often reluctant to do a lesson on it as I never feel it will do much good unless students actually go out and start to notice these collocations themselves. It’s the whole fish saying thing:

Give me some “get” collocations and I’ll use them for a day, teach me to find them and I’ll use them forever…

That’s the saying, right?

Objectives:

  1. By the end of the lesson students will be better able to notice collocations in context and to use an online concordance to find common collocations.

Time: 1-2 hours

Level: intermediate and above

Material:

  1. Barry Deals with Get Collocations – teachers’ copy
  2. Barry Deals with Get Collocations – worksheet

Procedure:

  1. Display the question: what are the major issues we face in the workplace these days? Sts discuss. Feedback as a class and deal with any emerging language but don’t focus on any one over the others.
  2. Explain students are going to read an extract from story. In it, the main character raises an issue with his boss. Read the story and decide in pairs what that issue is. The issue is inequality in the workplace.
  3. Discuss as a class if they have similar issues in their countries and what could be done to avoid this in the future.
  4. Explain that one word is used quite frequently in the story (get) and see if they can find it.
  5. Sts underline all meanings of get and document them and their colocation in the space below.
  6. In small groups, sts examine the get phrases and decide what they mean in this context.
  7. Optional practice: sts write their own sentences using the phrases to check understanding.
  8. Discuss the following questions with sts:
  9. Do you avoid get in general? Why?
  10. Do you use alternative words?
  11. Are these words more or less natural than get?
  12. Where can you find more examples of collocations?
  13. Depending on your tech, either display the following on an iwb or take sts to computer rooms or encourage them to use their phones. For the purposes of this procedure I will assume you are using an iwb. If you don’t have any tech, I have taken some examples and copied them into the worksheet for you.
  14. Display the British national online corpus and explain what it is. Ask sts how this could be useful. Show them how to use it with “get” as an example.
  15. Turn over the page and ask sts to analyse the examples. Are they the same as previous examples, are some different?
  16. Feedback as a class.
  17. Direct students to the controlled practice exercise to do by themselves and then check in pairs.
  18. T deals with any errors or confusion. (Note: confusion and errors will probably occur when manipulating these semi-fixed language chunks in context. Students tend to understand them but can struggle when it comes to using them.)

Optional follow up:

  1. To encourage some level of autonomy, ask the students to choose another verb they find difficult to use. Suggest “have” or “pick” or something that has a lot of collocations or uses.
  2. Students use the concordance and find common collocations. They record them in a spider gram like with get.
  3. Students write their own story using as many as they can.

Optional Follow up 2:

  1. Students write the conversation between Barry and his boss and act it out, trying to incorporate as many “get” collocations as possible.
  2. T gives points for originality, accuracy and use of collocations and decides on a winning pair.

Listening to build vocabulary – Collocations

This is a lesson that I had almost forgotten, until recently I taught a private student who wanted to focus on improving vocabulary to talk about art. Though the topic is art a lot of the collocations are more general than that and I think are a useful addition to students knowledge from B2 upwards.

This is a short little lesson, though there are undoubtedly ways in which you could stretch it, I’ll give you a couple of ideas at the end.

The lesson is based on a 9 minute film about art in Siena, so may not be to everyone’s taste, but it is nicely done and well-presented in my opinion, and features Andrew Graham-Dixon, who I am rather fond of.  Students who I have used this with have found it relatively easy to understand what he is saying which is good as the focus here is on collocation, though you could easily build some pron work into this.

Aims: to increase students collocation knowledge / to practice listening using an authentic text.

Level: B2 +

Procedure:

Pre-listening

Discussion regarding Siena, has anyone been and then fast independent research using mobiles and then all class feedback

Listening

For this to begin with the main focus is prediction, put students in groups and ask them to think of words which might fit. During group feedback praise good collocations and highlight ones which don’t quite work.

Explain to the students that all you want them to do is watch and try to complete the gapped phrases.  They should be able to get most at the first listen, but be prepared to play it again if need be. Get students to check with a partner and then do group feedback.

Speaking and follow on

This is just a quick follow on to tie it together

However, what I would ask them to do next is to either write a short radio or video show that they present to the class or ask them to find a clip and to take note of what they believe to be strong collocations and bring them to class.

Materials

Video:

Taken from a BBC programme – via youtube

Worksheet:

 

 

 

 

Binomials, dictagloss and expanding range

So, a good friend of mine, Kat, has started her DELTA, so I dug out some of my books and started flicking through them and had the idea that Binomials might be quite a useful thing to help my students make their informal writing seem a little more natural and give it that extra sparkle it needs.

This lesson grew from that and starts with a dictagloss, something I am quite a fan of, before moving onto a language focus.  The text here isn’t authentic but is a series of little monologues which enabled me to emphasise the target language.

From there the lesson moves on to look at collocation building with the binomials and the construction of chunks which can be used in students own writing or speaking.  There is a little bit of a focus on punctuation too, as this is something often neglected.

Aim: raise awareness of binomials and collocations

Level: Advanced, maybe a strong Upp Int if you scaffold.

Procedure:

Dictogloss

  1. Read the 1st extract twice and ask the students to take notes and write down as much as they can, I have been known to read it three times. (recording included, but it might be more fun to read it)
  2. Ask the students how the person is feeling.
  3. Ask the students in pairs to check what they have written and see if they can make it work grammatically.
  4. Compare it to extract 1 – you could either put this on the board or photocopy half of the teachers copy and hand them out in groups.

Binomials

Give the students the sheet with the extract on and the question, page 2.

  1. Ask the students to look at the 5 questions written on the worksheet.
  2. Do group feedback, you want them to underline:

Answers below:

  • sick and tired / life and soul / ups and downs
  • they make it more informal and more natural
  • informal
  • to make their own writing and speaking more natural and more interesting
  • I’ll be honest / I mean / like everyone /

 

3. Now look at extract 2.  Ask the students if they can predict the missing words, read the text once for them to check.

4. Ask the students to try to fill in the table, the box below has the answers but tell them to try to do it without initially if you want to raise the level of challenge.

Now check together as a group and accept any others which would work, e.g. life and death as well as life and soul.

Collocations

My students struggled with this, so you could allow them to use dictionaries, looking at the examples or encourage them to look online or use something like the British National Corpus

http://phrasesinenglish.org/searchBNC.html

e.g. spick and span – usually works with the verb ‘be’

Why do this?  As well as making them more autonomous, i just think it is a far more engaging task than you telling them what the answers are, you might also get some interesting different answers this way.

Plus it will help them later on.

Punctuation

This is a really important element that students have difficulty with and since there are often a lack of rules, teachers avoid. Therefore it is something to focus their attention on, getting them to ‘notice’ the punctuation as it occurs

Follow the instructions on the sheet.  I would be tempted to get the to add them to the board if you can copy and paste into an IWB before the big test so that you can observe any errors that you can then highlight and teach.

Follow on activities

The obvious ways to go, would be to get students to record little monologues or dialogues, where they have to use 3 of the binomials.

Alternatively, and this is what I did, ask your students to write a blog about something, e.g. living in their home town, whatever topic you have been doing recently will be fine.  I was teaching a Cambridge exam class and so we focused on article writing.

Materials: