Something YOUR BODY USES TO LEARN WITH…
The five senses are expressed in many different ways in the English language, making us 'feel' these senses depending on what words we choose to use. Unusually teachers do not dedicate too much time to teaching them, robbing us of 'rich' sensations which are fundamental to learning about everything around us by touching, smelling, looking, hearing, tasting and feeling.
FIND OUT more about THE DIFFERENCES in HOW TO USE these FIVE IMPORTANT WORDS by WATCHING this VIDEO!
British Culture: HOUSES in GB in the PASSIVE TENSE – an amusing reading and listening comprehension activity
A REAL BARGAIN is an amusing unit on the PASSIVE TENSE taken from Streamline English Departures (Hartley & Viney, OUP 1983) – my absolute favourite not only for teaching the passive tense but particulary for imparting a culture lesson on Houses in Great Britain.
With its beautiful illustrations, rich housing vocabulary and amusing content – it makes a fun lesson on British culture.
I usually ask students to read the text taking turns to be the Estate Agent and Mr. Palmer, the prospective buyer, stopping after each paragraph to explain the vocabulary and the passive tense as it develops:
As they read the story I ask very easy listening comprehension questions, paragraph by paragraph, which they do not have so they have to understand them and reread the paragraph to reply. I only explain the vocabulary and cultural habits we have as the story enfolds since I do not want to spoil the amusing ending to the story.
Since I believe in full-immersion, I do not translate the vocabulary but define and illustrate on the board. This is also an opportunity for students to compare their homes and cultural housing traditions to the British ones – an opportunity for class discussion.
block of flats
redecorated (wallpaper is very common)
(as opposed to the old fireplace with the mantelpiece)
- dustbins emptied
- post delivered
- milk delivered
(the milkman with his silent electric van early in the morning)
It was only when a friend of mine came to visit my home in Italy that he opened my eyes to differences I had never considered: “Wow! You have real marble windowsills!” – British windowsills are made of wood which need to be constantly repainted to stop them from rotting. “You have beautiful wooden doors!” British doors are usually just painted over. “Your floors are solid marble or parquet!” British floors are loose floorboards with some kind of covering: carpet, lino…
Any other main differences your students may have noticed watching films? Mine pointed out that in the USA and GB the kitchen sink is always in front of a window – true but I had never noticed.
You can download the materials below.
I hope you find this activity as useful and enjoyable as I do.
The INTERRUPTION GAME: bombarding a classmate with questions – a fast and engaging speaking activity
The INTERRUPTION GAME: a fast, fun, highly effective and exciting no-prep speaking activity which engages all the class against one student.
Set your timer at 5 minutes.
Choose a student to tell us their typical day from the moment they wake up till the moment they turn off the light to sleep. His aim is to get to the end of the day having given a very detailed account filling all the five minutes (no less – no more).
The aim of the rest of the class is to stop him from getting to the end of his day by interrupting him with pertinent details regarding what he is saying:
The teacher listens and makes a note on the board of wrong questions or answers, which are only subsequently corrected altogether by the class guided by the teacher.
I read about this activity in a blog about a year ago but cannot remember who to credit for it. In any case students tend to love it and participate eagerly with the consequential benefit of practice and learning.
I hope you have fun with this activity.
- EMAIL SANTA! – Find correct SIMPLE PAST questions whilst WATCHING ‘THE VERY FAST (and fairly accurate) CHRISTMAS STORY ANIMATION!’ - Father Christmas Live Webcam – last minute NO PREP Christmas activities for ex
The last few days before Christmas are marked by LOW CONCENTRATION and HIGH EXCITEMENT built up by all the pre-Christmas activities and the tiring end of the year. I usually reserve these following activities for just this last period and it always captures the students attention.
You can download the links to these activities below.
I hope you have fun with these last-minute Christmas activites.
Dickens - A CHRISTMAS CAROL – scanning and listening comprehension in a Christmas context – pre-intermediate
A Christmas classic in two pages to practise scanning and listening comprehension skills is another way of approaching Dickens and acquiring exam skills.
I summarized the story to be done in a one-hour lesson so as not to be too tedious and give a sense of completion.
I first hand out the story (see download) or project it on the whiteboard and whilst I’m doing so they can skim it but most students already know the story from films or cartoons if they haven’t already read it.
I divide the class into teams A and B. I then ask them questions on the text without the students being able to read them and the first person to find the answer in the text gets a point for their team. They have to read out the complete sentence to answer.
This activity gives them listening, scanning, reading and pronunciation practice. It's more fun than just reading the story.
There is also a GAP-FILL for homework but one has to first collect in the photocopies with the complete story on it.
The competitive element makes it an exciting activity even for those participants who would normally be easily bored by reading a story. To encourage weaker or less collaborative students (I’m thinking of some teens) I sometimes nominate those students to receive 2 or 3 points each for their team, making sure there are an equal number of ‘specially nominated’ students in each team so as to be fair.
You can download my three sheets below.
I hope you find the activity useful and enjoyable.
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My name is Susan Brodar, born in London into a multilingual family and brought up bilingual English / Italian.