Archive for January, 2009

level: intermediate

aims: practice listening for detail, practice speaking, writing using 2nd conditional forms



(The Lesson Plan appears below.)

Those of us lucky enough to have students who fall into the demographic category now referred to as “tween” are always up for some song action in class. The students–out of either genuine interest or simply the lazy-minded perception that doing activities with songs is less “worky” than normal book work type things–clamor for them almost constantly.

Problem is, in recent years, we’ve been flooded by a lot of crap music.  I mean, straight garbage.  I mean, not to offend, maybe one of you out there reading this likes Black-Eyed Peas (I don’t), but you try finding a language point worth teaching in the lyrics of a song like, say, “My Humps”.  Or “Get Retarded”. And don’t even get me started on that High School Musical shite.  And Camp Rock, well, I’m not even trying to go there.

It is with great pleasure, then, that I present “If I Were a Boy” by Beyoncé, complete with idea for warm-up, two videos to use in class, two listening gap-fills, personalization, and a writing activity. (more…)


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So, I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions much.

However this year I’ve got several students preparing for First Certificate, and my goal is that they all pass.  So, if that counts as a New Year’s resolution, so be it, though I reckon it probably just falls under the rubric of “bare minimum of professionalism”.  It’s what they’re payin’ me for, right?

Anyhow, part of the whole deal of preparing intermediate learners for this exam is beating them over the head with phrasal verbs.

The classic “reversi” game as presented in M. Rinvolucri and Paul Davis’s More Grammar Games gives us a way of making the process of learning phrasal verbs at least a bit more fun.

Works great with groups, yes sir.  I encountered a problem, however, in my one-to-one classes.  Since I knew all the answers (obviously, I was the one who designed the cards and made the sentences…), there was no challenge and no real motivation.  Until I struck upon a solution… (more…)

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