Level: intermediate, upper intermediate
Aims: Practice the use of phrases to structure a narrative, introduce and practice verb + obj. + to + inf., talk about stressful situations at work or school.
MS Word:or PDF:
Bits of card with the phrases “to start, plus, finally, on top of all that, but that’s not all, finally, all told”
(The Lesson Plan can be found at the bottom of the page.)
Ladies and gentlemen, an exercise in reverse engineering.
So, I was short on time and desperately trying for the umpteenth time to find some new way to get this one particular grammar point through to one class of mine.
Specifically, the structure of verb + object + to + infinitive. Don’t know about other languages in other places but many speakers of Spanish (and probably most other Romance languages) find it nearly impossible to avoid sentences such as “My boss wants that I go? Goes? Will go?”
This is something that gets kind of passed over in most materials I’ve looked at, being touched on ever so slightly in your typical Intermediate “-ing vs. to” unit, or in the context of reported speech, i.e. with reported commands (as in the example, “He told me to go straight to Hell. He also told me not to pass Go and not to collect $200”).
But I felt it needed special attention on its own, with all the big family of verbs that take this structure, be it ask, tell, force, persuade, beg, want, etc.
And all I could find on Google were pages and pages of fill-in-the-blank type exercises for self-study. Nothing really worth building a whole lesson on. Or…?
Then the light bulb went off. Since there was apparently no material on the matter to be had in the good ol’ interweb, I was just gonna have to do it my damn self.
So I thought, “Why not work backwards? Why not take these fill-in-the-blank sentences and use them to create a text for the students to read? Then you can draw some crappy stickman drawings based on the story and there you go! A nice well-rounded lesson with pertinent target language practice using a variety of skills! I’m the f?@*in’ man!!!”
So, witness this:
I found some exercises on a website that included the following examples(in more or less this format, except with a little text box to type in the answer):
My boss (told/I) do the reports by Friday.
My colleague (ask/I) to send the fax to his colleague.
Tom (want/I) help him with his presentation.
He (ask/I) remind him to call Hong Kong.
We show (they) how (use) the projector.
Our boss (forced/we) to go to the conference.
Immediately I imagined that it was all the same person speaking in these sentences, and I thought, “Poor bastard. His boss and his coworkers are playing him for a chump, making him do all the sh!t work.” That’s when the light bulb went off and I saw the story trying to come out of the exercises.
From there, it was a question of fleshing out the story, adding another language point to the text (phrases like “On top of that”, “But that’s not all”, “eventually”) to spice things up and help shore up the narrative skills needed for the production phase, etc. And of course the above-mentioned crappy stickman drawings.
So, just click on the links at the top of the page for the worksheets and pictures and refer to the lesson plan below:
“STRESSED OUT” VERB + OBJECT + TO + INFINITIVE LESSON PLAN
STAGE ONE * WARMER 1. Draw a big round, smiley face on the board. (We’ll call him “Ralph”.) Elicit possible emotional adjectives that could fit the face. Erase the face and draw another one, more ambiguous. Try to elicit more emotional adjectives. The third one, draw a face that screams out “stressed”. When students say “stressed”, elicit reasons why he may be “stressed”.
STAGE TWO * SPEAKING Give groups of Ss the story pictures. Tell them to work together to put the pictures in order. When they finish, give them slips of paper with the story-telling phrases. Tell them to take turns telling the story using a phrase to go with each picture. Then, have one or two groups share their versions of the story with the rest of class.
STAGE THREE * READING When they finish, give them the hand-out and tell them to put the pictures in order according to the story in Ralph’s e-mail, and then fill in the blanks with the story-telling phrases.
STAGE FOUR * GRAMMAR In part II, Ss cover the text in part I and complete sentences in boxes 1-7. After completing each example they check their answer with the text and then, covering the text again, move on to the next sentence. This can be done as a whole class.
STAGE FIVE * VOCABULARY Board all the verbs in the sentences. Elicit more examples of verbs with this kind of meaning and structure, as well as example sentences provided by Ss.
STAGE SIX * WRITING Ss prepare an anecdote similar to the one in the text, about a stressful situation at work, using the verbs and phrases from the text in part I. Then they form groups and share their anecdotes. In the group they choose who has the most stressful anecdote and then share the most stressful with the class as a whole in feedback.
Hope this is helpful in some way, shape or form.