Monday, 29 October 2018

Spooky Use of English Practice

Here are some Halloween Use of English activities I prepared for my FCE students. My students always ask for some Halloween related activities, but we can always do fun stuff. I hope that thanks to these activities I will kill two birds with one stone - they will learn something more about Halloween and we will practise Use of English for the FCE exam :).


Part 1 Multiple-choice cloze

For questions 1–8, read the text below and decide which answer (A, B, C or D) best fits each gap.

Halloween: Where It All Began
In Ireland, 1) _____ Halloween originated, the day is still celebrated much as it is in the United States. In rural areas, bonfires are lit as they were in the days of the Celts, and all over the country, children 2) _____ dressed up in costumes and spend the evening “trick-or-treating” in their neighborhoods. After trick-or-treating, most people attend parties with neighbors and friends. At the parties, many games are played, including “snap-apple,” a game in which an apple on a string is tied 3) _____ a doorframe or tree and players attempt to bite the hanging apple. 4) _____ addition to bobbing for apples, parents often arrange treasure hunts, with candy or pastries as the “treasure.” The Irish also play a card 5) _____ where cards are laid face 6) _____ on a table with candy or coins underneath them. When a child chooses a card, he receives whatever prize is found below it.
A traditional food eaten on Halloween is barnbrack, a kind of fruitcake that can be bought in stores or 7) _____ at home. A muslin-wrapped treat is baked inside the cake that, it is said, can foretell the eater’s future. If a ring is found, it means that the person will soon be wed; a piece of straw means that a prosperous year is on its 8) _____. Children are also known to play tricks on their neighbors, such as “knock-a-dolly,” a prank in which children knock on the doors of their neighbors, but run away before the door is opened.

1.
a
when
b
whose
c
where
d
that
2.
a
make
b
set
c
take
d
get
3.
a
to
b
with
c
up
d
along
4.
a
In
b
On
c
With
d
No
5.
a
trick
b
play
c
game
d
toy
6.
a
up
b
down
c
back
d
off
7.
a
cooked
b
fried
c
boiled
d
baked
8.
a
way
b
road
c
path
d
street


Part 2 Open cloze

For questions 1–8, read the text below and think of the word which best fits each gap. Use only one word in each gap. Write your answers in CAPITAL LETTERS.


The Legend of “Stingy Jack”
1)______ October, carved pumpkins peer out from porches and doorsteps in the United States and other parts of the world. Gourd-like orange fruits inscribed with ghoulish faces and illuminated 2) _____ candles are a sure sign of the Halloween season. The practice of decorating “jack-o’-lanterns”—the name comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack—originated in Ireland, 3) _____ large turnips and potatoes served as an early canvas. Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, home of the pumpkin, and it became an integral part of Halloween festivities.
People have been making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween 4) _____ centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself 5) _____ a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to 6) _____ the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, 7) _____ the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack 8) _____ to bother him for ten more years.


Part 3 Word formation

For questions 1–8, read the text below. Use the word given in capitals at the end of some of the lines to form a word that fits in the space in the same line. Write your answers in CAPITAL LETTERS.

The Legend of “Stingy Jack” (continued)
Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an 1) _____ figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, 2) _____ not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a 3) _____ coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this 4) _____ figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, 5) _____ “Jack O’Lantern.”

In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving 6) _____ faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to 7) _____ away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. 8) _____ from these countries brought the jack o’lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack-o’-lanterns.


SAVOUR

WILL

BURN


GHOST
SIMPLE


SCARE

FRIGHT

MIGRATE


Part 4 Transformations

For questions 1–6, complete the second sentence so that it has a similar meaning to the first sentence, using the word given. Do not change the word given. You must use between two and five words, including the word given. Write the missing words in CAPITAL LETTERS.
1. Due to bad weather, Ana Belén had to postpone the Halloween Party.
OFF
The Halloween party had ______________________________ of bad weather.

2. When Paulina was a little girl, she always wore princess dresses.
AS
Paulina used ______________________________ princess when she was little.

3. Fran said, “This is the scariest Halloween Party I have ever attended!”
BEEN
Fran said that it was the scariest Halloween Party ______________________________.

4. Not every child got candies at the Halloween Party.
ENOUGH
There ______________________________ all the children at the Halloween Party.

5. Michael says he liked last year’s Halloween Party more.
AS
According to Michael, this year’s Halloween party ______________________________ the previous one.

6. The Halloween Party was attended by more than 120 students!
IN
More than 120 students ______________________________ Halloween Party.



Texts adapted from: https://www.history.com/

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Practise your Use of English with Songs

Have you ever struggled to prepare an entertaining activity for your teen students to prepare them for the Reading and Use of English part of the exam?

I certainly have and it has taken me some time to come up with something they really loved: SONGS!

My students always ask for song based activities or simply songs. My (students') favourite website is www.lyricstraining.com, we use it at the end of almost every lesson. It's a great activity to have at hand but it only practises listening for specific informationa and might not always be suitable at my students' level.

This is how I decided to adpapt the lyrics available at LyricsTraining to create use of English activities for my students. Here are come examples and link.

Budapest - George Ezra

My house in Budapest
My (1) _____ treasure chest                                                                      HIDE
(2) _____ grand piano                                                                                  GOLD
My (3) _____ Castillo                                                                                    BEAUTY
You, you, I'd leave it all
My acres of a land
I have achieved
It may be hard for you to stop and (4) _____                                    BELIEF

But for you, you, I'd leave it all
(Oh) for you, you, I'd leave it all
Give me one good (5) _____                                                                      REASONABLE
Why I should never make a change
Baby, if you hold me then all of this will go away

My many (6) _____                                                                                       ART
The list (7) _____ on                                                                                     GO
If you just say the words I'll up and run
(Oh) to you, you, I'd leave it all
(Oh) to you, you, I'd leave it all
Give me one good (5) _____                                                                      REASONABLE

Why I should never make a change
Baby, if you hold me then all of this will go away
Give me one good (5) _____                                                                      REASONABLE
Why I should never make a change
Baby, if you hold me then all of this will go away

My friends and family they
Don't understand
They fear they'd (8) _____ so much                                                      LOST
 If, you took my hand
But for you, you, I'd (8) _____ it all                                                       LOST
 (Oh) for you, you, I'd (8)_____ it all                                                     LOST
Give me one good (5) _____                                                                      REASONABLE
Why I should never make a change
Baby, if you hold me then all of this will go away
Give me one good (5) _____                                                                      REASONABLE

Why I should never make a change
Baby, if you hold me then all of this will go away
My house in Budapest
My (1) _____ treasure chest                                                                      HIDE
(2) _____ grand piano                                                                                  GOLD
My (3) _____ Castillo                                                                                    BEAUTY

You, you, I'd leave it all

(Oh) for you, you, I'd leave it all


Students first do the use of English task and then they listen to the song to check their answers!

Do I have to tell you they loved them?

They absolutely did!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

CELTA Written Assignment: Lessons from the classroom

Teaching Strengths

1.     Setting up activities

Before the CELTA course, I used to struggle a lot with setting up activities. I had to repeat some instructions many times and quite often I saw that my students looked puzzled. During the input session with Barbara, I learnt how to successfully set up an activity. During TP sessions, I noticed how fellow trainees Katie and Cristina used ICQs and demoed the activities and I tried to do it during my lessons. At the beginning I always forgot about something but eventually I’ve managed to do it all. My students have been able to follow my instructions and by using ICQs I was sure that they really knew what to do. During Tutorial 2, I was told that setting up activities is one of my main strengths.

2.     Lesson planning

I never prepared detailed lesson plans, I honestly considered them a waste of time. However, I changed my mind while observing fellow trainees teaching. I realised that a good plan means a very well organised lesson. The more detailed the plan the smaller the possibility of being asked a question we are not prepared for. After observing one of the DVD lessons (If I found a little money…), we were given a lesson plan and I realised that it’s a very good idea to include CCQs, ICQs and form checking questions. I noticed during TP sessions that when Katie included her ICQs in the lesson plan she always used them. So I decided to do the same. My tutor commented on how I used my CCQs included in the lesson plan during the TP feedback. Having a well thought plan has helped me overcome my initial stress and move smoothly from one activity to another.

3.     Language analysis

Even though I studied linguistics I never used the knowledge to analyse the language I teach. After observing fellow trainees, Cristina and Ewa, I realised it is important to adjust the language in the classroom  to the learner group and the context (CELTA 5 – 2a).  I started paying more attention to the language I use and analyse more carefully the language in terms of form and meaning. Also, my tutor has highlighted during Tutorial 2 that I’ve worked well on providing clear context and a communicative context for language which led to “meaningful communicative practice of TL”. Thanks to analysing the language I am about to teach I feel more confident during TP sessions and know what kind of problems I can encounter during the lesson which I find very useful.

Development needs

1.     Using too much TTT

Before CELTA course I didn’t know what TTT was and that I definitely overused it. I’ve been working on reducing TTT, especially echoing, but so far I haven’t stopped doing it. I should apply some of the techniques that I observed while watching experienced teachers. During the demo class for the trainees, Declan and Peter used praising students instead of repeating the answer for them. Also, I should elicit more and ask for more justifications from students as I could see in the DVD with Nick (lesson about listening and phonology). Finally, I could use more gestures, for example to show pair work which I saw during TP sessions, for example Cristina uses it very naturally.

2.     Monitoring and error correction

I am a very passive teacher while monitoring. During TP feedback my tutor has suggested that I should interact more at times and I should be more helpful. During TP sessions, I noticed that Nigel and Katie observe students closely and they use of a lot of on-the-spot correction. Something I should definitely include while monitoring. Also, while observing experienced teachers, I noticed how Declan approached students and how Peter used white colour to write students’ mistakes on the board without interrupting the activity. I would like to copy these techniques during my future lessons.

3.     Teaching pronunciation

I am extremely self-conscious about my pronunciation and it visibly affects the way I teach it. In almost every tutor observation notes I can read that I need to focus more on drilling, don’t skip it and use a varied range of drills. During DVD observations, I could see how to use fingers to teach students contractions and connected speech. Later on I had an opportunity to see Ewa, one of the trainees, use this technique during drilling and it worked very well. I would also like to practice drilling in a more friendly atmosphere. During Tutorial 2 it’s been suggested that I sometimes sound like  barking dog. I would definitely like to work on that.

Action plan

Areas to work on:
Action plan:
1.       Reducing TTT
a.       I’ll watch Jo Gakonga’s video on Teacher echo and IRF to analyse the reasons why I echo my students’ answers in order to reduce it.
b.       I’ll read an article on Teacher talking time on https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/teacher-talking-time.
c.        Once a month, I’ll record myself in order to check how much TTT I use.
2.       Improving monitoring and error correction
a.       I will read Chapter 8 on Mistakes and feedback in The practice of English language teaching by Jeremy Harmer.
b.       I’ll plan more time to the PACS stage and I’ll include possible that students might make in the lesson plan so as to have more errors to analyse.
c.        I’ll observe two different colleagues to see how they monitor their students and try to introduce their techniques during my lessons.
3.       Teaching pronunciation
a.       I’ll do an online Teaching pronunciation course  available on the Cambridge English Teacher website to improve my teaching skills in this idea.
b.       I will read Chapter 15 on Teaching pronunciation in The practice of English language teaching by Jeremy Harmer.
c.        I will test drilling first on my colleagues to check if they respond well to my instructions and the techniques I use.
 978 words

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Teaching Practice #8 - Complete lesson plan and materials

TEACHER: Paulina               
WEEK: 4
DAY: Wednesday
LENGTH: 45 min
LEVEL OF SS: Upper-Intermediate DATE: 24/08/2016
TP# 8
TOPIC/THEME:
Reacting to stories and anecdotes
LESSON FOCUS
Functional language
MAIN AIM:
By the end of the lesson students will have practised using new expressions to ask for more information, show surprise, approval or sympathy while listening actively to a story or an anecdote.

Subsidiary Aims:
Students will have also practised reading a dialogue for gist .
Students will also have also practiced narrative tenses by telling stories and anecdotes.
PERSONAL AIMS

  1. To reduce TTT by not echoing students’ answers and eliciting more from students.
  1. To use more varied pronunciation practice and not to forget about drilling.
  1. To work using a range of energy levels by sitting down and modulation of the voice.
CLASS PROFILE:
The class consists of 13 students, 2 men and 11 women, 12 Polish and 1 Ukrainian.
The strongest students are Jerzy and Grażyna (the first one on the left) and they like to contribute a lot during OCFB. Grażyna J. ( on the right) seems to be the weakest student but she enjoys  working with other students. Grażyna, Maria and Grażyna  work well together. Jerzy checks his dictionary a lot. Anna’s rather intolerant of ambiguity, asking lots of questions not always relevant to the topic.
The group as a whole is strong, interested in lessons and very co-operative.
ASSUMPTIONS:
In this lesson, I assume students will have already encountered a range of expressions to show surprise, approval or sympathy and ask for more information. The lesson will be a revision for the majority of the students however some of the expressions may be new.
I also assume students can use a variety of narrative tenses to tell stories and anecdotes.
       ANTICIPATED PROBLEMS & SOLUTIONS FOR LESSON OVERALL:
                     e.g. issues with Classroom management

        ANTICIPATED PROBLEMS
              SOLUTIONS
Problem 1
Students may arrive late and miss the lead-in

Solution 1
Put them in pairs/threes with students, let them join the activity and prepare them for the restricted and freer practice.
Problem 2
Student may use Polish during restricted and freer practise
Solution 2
Tell students that using Polish is forbidden, for both restricted and freer practice allow students to ask you no more than 3 words that they might need while telling their stories.
Problem 3
Students may struggle with restricted practice as it involves different activities (watching a video, telling the story, reacting to it)
Solution 3
Prepare detailed ICQs, demo the activity for the students and monitor closely to ensure students are doing the “right” thing.
Problem 4
Students may not know what to say during the freer practice
Solution 4
Allow students to talk about somebody they know and/or to make up the story. Present a range of ideas for students to choose from.
Problem 5
Students may feel tempted to write down their stories during preparation for the freer practice.
Solution 5
Use ICQs, tell student they can make some notes but they should not write down the whole story. *KEEP in mind that the activity is about listening actively – listeners are more important than speakers.
Problem 5
Students  may be tired as it is the last lesson
Solution 5
Include a range of different activities for example a kinaesthetic matching activity for guided discovery, ask students to stand up while drilling and include some activities that are new to students (for example: videos).
MATERIALS:
handouts for students, pictures, ppt, videos on YouTube
Stage Name
‚‚

Procedure
Stage Aim
Engage

T-s-s-s
s-s
T-s-s-s
3 min
Set-up: Display the wordcloud on the IWB. Tell students that today we’re going to talk about different expressions. Students’ task is to find as many expressions as they can. Tell them that some of the words can be used more than once. Give students 1 minute.
Students: look at the wordcloud and try to make as many expressions as possible
OCFB: Ask some of the students about their ideas. Tell students that they will have a chance to check their guesses in a few minutes.
To generate interest in the specific topic of the lesson: asking for more information, showing surprise, approval and sympathy
Contextualization
T-s-s-s
s
s-s
T-s-s-s
4 min
Set-up: Tell students you’re going to read a short dialogue. Students need to find out: “Why did Monica get off the plane?”. Give students one minute to read the text.
Students: Students read the dialogue
Pair check
OCFB: Elicit the answer from the students.
To show usage in context and convey the general meaning of the items
To practise reading for gist
Meaning clarification
T-s-s-s
s-s
T-s-s-s
5 min
Set-up: Tell students that in the dialogue they could see some expressions and now you’d like them to divide the these expression + some more into 4 different categories. Give students the expressions and set time limit – 1 minutes.
Students in pairs: divide the expressions into 4 categories.
After a minute give students 4 names for each category and ask students to match the functions with the expressions. Set time limit – 1 minute.
OCFB: Display the answers on the board.
To illustrate the target language
Meaning check
T-s-s-s
3 min
Set up: Tell students you want to make sure they know how to use the expressions.
Ask CCQs
Students answer CCQs
No feedback.
To check that learners understand the concept of new target language
Form clarification
T-s-s-s
s
s-s
T-s-s-s
5 min
Set-up: Tell students you want them to have a look at some sentences. Tell them that each sentence has a mistake. Students have to find the mistakes and correct them. DEMO the first example. Set time limit – 1 minute. MONITOR
Students: Look for mistakes and correct them
Pair check
OCFB: Check answers on the IWB, elicit why.
To clarify the tricky areas where students are likely to make errors
Pronunciation clarification
T-s-s-s
s
s-s
T-s-s-s
2 min
Set-up: Ask student to stand up and repeat the expressions after you. Use back chaining.
Students: Repeat the expressions after the teacher.
No feedback
To highlight the pronunciation of new target language – specifically word stress and sentence stress
Restricted practice
T-s-s-s
s
s-s
T-s-s-s
10 min
Set-up: Tell students they’re going to watch two very short videos. They are going to do the task in pairs. One of the students is going to watch a video for a minute and then is going to tell it to the partner using some cues. The other student has to listen actively and react according to the cues given. At the end the student can guess what movie it is. After that students swap roles. The first student listens actively and the second one watches the movie and tells the story to the partner
Students: do the task as described above
MONITOR
No feedback
To provide initial accuracy-focused practice
Freer practice
T-s-s-s
s-s
T-s-s-s
10 min
Set-up: Tell students that this time they’re going to do a similar task but they’re going to tell their own stories and/or anecdotes. Allow students to talk about somebody else to make up the story. Tell students that if they don’t tell the story they need to listen actively, using the expressions from the lesson. Once they finish, they swap. Tell students they should swap after +/-3 minutes. DEMO the activity. Give students 1 minute to think about what they want to say, to ask you some questions and to make some notes.
Students: Do the activity as described above
OCFB: Ask students about some interesting stories you’ve heard about during monitoring.
To provide communicative personalised practice of the target language
PACS
T-s-s-s
3 min
Set up: Write some errors you collected on board, ask pairs to correct them – set time limit - 1 min.
Pairs discuss possible ways to correct the errors seen on the board.
Feedback in open class: ask students where the errors are and elicit correct versions form the students,  change what is on the board.
To encourage learners to help students learn from their errors
LANGUAGE ANALYSIS :
                          GRAMMAR     /    FUNCTIONAL  LG  

Meaning









Form







Pron









Asking for more information
Showing surprise
Showing approval
Showing sympathy
What  happened next?
Really?
Wow!
Oh no!
Then what happened?
You’re joking?
That’s great!
How awful!
How did you feel?
You’re kidding! Right?
That’s fantastic!
What a pity!
What was it like?
No! I don’t believe it.
How wonderful!
That’s a pity!



How
+adjective
That’s


What
+ a pity
That’s


Fixed expressions and phrases.



We use intonation to express different emotions.
Connected speech and stress.
/intrusive sounds/

What  happened next?
Really?
Wow!
Oh no!


Then what happened?
You’re joking?
That’s great!
How/w/awful!
How did you feel?
You’re kidding! Right?
That’s fantastic!
What a pity!
What was it like?
No! I don’t believe it.
How wonderful!
That’s a pity!
WRITTEN RECORD:
What written record will students get of key features of M,F,P  of the language you are teaching?
Handouts with GD and activities.



ANTICIPATED PROBLEMS & SOLUTIONS

               FUNCTIONAL LG    

Meaning:

Problem 1

Level of formality – students may not see the difference in the formality of the given expressions.


Problem 2

Level of appropriacy for given context situation – students may react in inappropriate ways to some situations, e.g.
A: My dog died yesterday. B: How wonderful!

Solutions: Ask CCQs

Do the speakers know each other?
Do they know each other very well?
Is this expression rather formal or informal? (show expressions on the IWB)
Can we use these expressions when somebody dies? (no, no, yes)
Can we use these expressions when the situation is serious? (no, no, yes)
  Form

Problem 1

Students may follow How or That’s with adverbs instead of adjectives (L1 interference), e.g.
That’s fantastically! and How awfully! instead of That’s fantastic! and How awfully!

Problem 2
Students may present simple instead of present continuous in sentences with joke or kid, e.g. Do you joke? instead of Are you joking?, You kid, right? instead of You’re kidding, right?

Problem 3
Students may use present continuous instead of present simple in construction with believe, e.g. I’m not believing you. instead of I don’t believe you.

Problem 4
Students may confuse subject / object questions while asking for more information, e.g. What did happen next? instead of What happened next?

Solution 1 – Ask form checking questions

Can I say: how awfully?
That’s greatly?




Can I say: You joke, right?
Why not?
Elicit from students: Because it’s happening right now, at the moment.


Can I say I am believing you?
Why not?
Elicit from students: Because believe is a state verb (doesn’t take –ing nding).

Can I say: What did happen next?
Why not?
Elicit from students: Because it’s a subject question.

If time, check at PACS
Pronunciation

Problem 1

Students may use flat intonation and consequently sound rude or inappropriate for a certain context.

Problem 2

Students may not connect words, e.g. What _ happened _ next?

 

Problem 3

Students may stress the wrong word in a sentence, e.g. What A pity! Instead of What a pity!

Problem 4
Students may pronounce to strongly the indefinite article a and pronounce it as /æ/ instead of / ə/.

Solution 1

Point this out during pronunciation clarification stage and drill.



Solution 2
Drill the last word > drill the chunk > drill full expression.







Solution 3&4

Highlight word stress during the drilling activity.




 All the necessary materials for this lesson plan are here