Archive for September, 2010

Recently Alex over at TEFLtastic has been pondering questions such as “Why are Advanced level textbooks so crap?” and “Do you need to be able to discuss globalization to be Advanced?”

Regarding that first one, various commenters at the post in question were quick to point  to factors such as 1) “weird grammar bits and obscure vocabulary”, 2) “trying to do and crowd in too much”, and 3) publishers “don’t care that much” about Advanced textbooks (being that they don’t sell as much as Elementary level books).

In the Advanced textbook I’m using now–like pretty much every textbook of any level ever produced by anyone ever (for adult learners at least)–there’s a unit on the Lottery.

In this case, it’s an excuse to review mixed conditionals, expressing regret (“I wish I had bought a ticket”, “If only I could win the Pick-6″, and so forth), you know, all that good stuff.  Being not so enthused about the listening and the ensuing”grammary”, “conditional-y” segment in the coursebook, I dove into the multimedia miasma that is Youtube in search of some at least nominally relevant video to show the class, and came up with this:

Psyched I was, being that the target language was right there waiting for them at the end.  (“My wife said she wished she’d torn the ticket up”, “Do you wish you’d never won?”).  Plus there was the perverse attraction of doing something different–something depressing.  I’m usually one to constantly play up everything for yuks, so this seemed like a nice change of pace from my “thuggish-cracker” sense of humor (Nick Jaworski dixit).

I made a little task sheet to go along with the video, which is here: “LOTTERY CURSE“.

Before showing the video, I would play the first minute or so with the sound off, introducing the “characters” (Jack, Brandi, and Jesse), and getting students to talk about them, what their relation is, and what they think will happen to the three of them.

Then distribute the handout, play it once all the way through and have them try to complete the sentences 1-10.  You may need to start it around 4:18 the second time around for students to get the last three sentences in.  Check the answers as a class, move on to part II of the worksheet and discuss.

Then in the last part, students write a sentence using the extremely skeletal prompt in part III.  This is meant to elicit a variety of conditionals–2nd, 3rd, mixed, whatever.  When they’ve finished, have some students come up to the board and write their sentences.  Then you can compare and contrast the forms, the meaning, etc., transitioning into whatever controlled practice activity floats your boat thereafter.

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