Now that I’ve fully surrendered my soul to the whims of the hoary Mammon of digital technology, I sometimes wonder what exactly I did to prepare classes before I got my computer.
But then I realize that the real change in habits wasn’t a result of buying the computer at all, really. It was the printer that really changed the game. Before buying the printer, I could use the ol’ laptop to search and research and look up all sorts of stuff, but the final step, getting it to the piece of paper to give to my students, required either A) a trip to the nearest locutorio/cybercafe joint (kind of a pain in the ass, actually) or B) meticulously copying out the necessary text by hand.
This series of worksheets and videos is a case in point: on one hand, you have a couple of Youtube videos downloaded and saved on the pen-drive, or to DVD or whatever. Pretty high-tech. Then on the other hand, you have some handmade worksheets written in felt-tip marker on graph paper. Not so high-tech.
Anyhow…this was originally created for some students who were using the Happy Earth 2 book, which has a little story on the Titanic and a brief exercise with past continuous.
Please note that I have never seen the film Titanic. Never have, never will. Personally, I was surprised that some of my kids, who are pretty young were familiar with the film or have seen it. I suppose it was one of the highest grossing films of all time, after all, but still.
After the aforementioned lesson from the book, I felt my kids were ready to do a little more with that ever-so-useful verb tense, hence the following (which, in fact, I will be using today):
“Titanic” past continuous worksheets and videos
1. If by chance you have the Happy Earth 2 book, go ahead to do the lesson from Unit 5 about the Titanic. If not, no big deal, start here:
I do the “cover-up-the-picture-and-slowly-reveal-it” trick, starting with just the point of the ship and moving down, soliciting ideas from Ss bit by bit. At some point (some sooner than others), Ss will realize they are looking at a clock and a ship. Ask what time it is (quarter to eleven)
, and then ask what happened at quarter to eleven (note the use of past continuous, start using it yourself but don’t lean on Ss too hard to use it, at least not yet). (The ship sank.)
2. Then you bust out a little matching exercise, with lots of extra sentences for extra input, with some pictures in your best Andrew Wright Pictures for Language Learning style, and some sentences, like so:
3. Now is when you show them the first video. There are over a thousand videos of amateur animations of the Titanic sinking on Youtube, using Sims 2, or Legos, or MS Paint, or whatever. The Sims ones are good because in my experience kids know the Sims games and are intrigued by the way it’s used to make little movies like this one.
Here’s the one I used:
Ss write down sentences to answer the question: “What was happening while the Titanic sank?” You may want to give them some prompts, like this:
Show the video and check their answers (making sure they have was/were correct depending on the subject, and spelling, etc.)
4. Then it’s time to set up the next video. I have yet another sheet here, with some more pictures:
First, ask Ss what they see in each picture, fairly simple. (I chose to make drawings of people water-skiing and surfing because we’d talked about that in a previous lesson.) Then they match up the sentences below with the picture, putting the words in the correct order.
5. Then you move on to the next video. This is one with some of the characters of Titanic represented as Sims doing Sims-like things.
You can pause after each little scene and ask a question like, “What happened while the man and the woman were having dinner?” or whatever, eliciting past simple verbs each time.
Then you can board an example sentence of the target language, i.e. “Jack was looking at the sea and thinking when Rose came and kissed him”, and do an explanation of past continuous vs. past simple.
Then they can practice with an exercise such as this one: 6.
Once you’ve had enough of all this Titanic crap, and if you feel like Ss are ready to try their hand at producing this type of language, you can give them an easy activity like this:
on some little pieces of card, you draw little stickmen doing obvious stuff that obviously is an activity being done over a period of time (walking down the street, playing football, whatever). then on another set of little cards (maybe a different color?), you make some little drawings that are obviously stuff that happens in a moment, a phone ringing, someone breaking their leg, finding $100, etc. Ss have to match the longer activity with the action that interrupted it. (for example, The boys were playing football when one of them fell and broke their leg.) (The teacher’s book of the new edition of Project 3 has a good example of this type of game.)
Maybe you think my drawings or crap or my choice of videos is suspect. Well, that’s cool, try and develop your own shtuff then; all this is here for is just to generate some ideas for creating a coherent flow of activities and thangs, you smell me?
Or maybe you think, “Damn, man, this stuff ain’t got the swagger like them other activities, you fallin’ off, man, Nicky.” To which I reply, “Aw, hell naw, I’m just up in here trying to keep it real, that’s all.”