I have to confess that lately I haven’t had much time to publish. I design a lot of cool, if I may say so, activities for my students but posting about them takes time, time I lack right now. But posting is constantly on my mind, and not because I feel I have to do it, but because it makes me happy. So, today is a happy day.

Now, these are two activities I have designed for my C1 students. If C1 is not your level, keep on reading; they are highly adaptable to any level.

  1. Working on the grammar of reporting verbs
  2. Using post-it notes to reinforce and fix mistakes
One. Working on the grammar of reporting verbs
Helping students learn this point of grammar is not an easy task. OMG, they are so many reporting verbs….!!! Plus, some of them can be followed by more than one pattern. A nightmare!!!
STEP 1. The presentation
Even though it is a C1 level,  I felt compelled to explain what a reporting verb is with a small presentation.
For this introduction, I’ve used the first 6 slides. I have used the rest of the presentation to explain the game that follows.

This is the infographic that I have designed. Please, bear in mind:
1. It is not meant to be comprehensive
2. Verbs can follow different patterns
You can get it here

reporting verbs by cristina.cabal

Step 2: Using double-sided cards. Now that we have seen the grammar, let’s put it into practice. You can download the cards here

  • Aim: to place the verbs under the right pattern
  • Before the class: photocopy one set per group of three/four students. In my case, I have photocopied them in different colours.  Also, photocopy the headings with the verb patterns here.

I think the images below clearly demonstrate how we have played this “game”.

Instructions: put students into groups of three and give each group a set of double-sided cards. (you might want to fold them before the game or ask students to fold them; whatever works for you) The aim of the activity is to place the verb on the card under the right column.

First, they guess the pattern and then, before placing it under the right column, they check their guess by turning the card over.

I did it twice:

  1. They just guessed the pattern and placed it under the right column
  2. They did the same as in 1 but, this time,  they also produced a sentence containing the prompts on the card.

Below, students working

Students checking their guess is correct by flipping the card.

 

Two. Using post-it notes to reinforce and fix mistakes
This activity using post-it notes is dedicated to  Maribel, a teacher in Andalucía (I will say no more as I haven’t asked her permission ) who, when we met in person in a teacher training session, gave me a most useful present, a box with 1440 colourful post-it notes (an easy multiplication) + a letter I will always cherish.
The activity is a simple,highly-adaptable one and one that can be done in many different ways (you don’t have to use post-it notes- any discarded scrap of paper will do). I just happen to think that presentation matters and colours and movement is an added bonus in this activity.
Step 1. Writing a reporting verb on a post-it note
Ask students to write on a post-it note a reporting verb. Encourage them to have a look at the infographic (pdf above)and instruct them to make sure they know the grammar of the verb they have written.
Note: If you have a large class, put the students in pairs. You don’t want to have as many as 25 reporting verbs to work with. If you have a 6- 12 student class, you might want to ask them to work individually.
Stick their post-it notes on the walls of the class.
Step 2. Gallery walk. Writing sentences.
On a table in the middle of the class, leave some post-it notes -(a) different colour(s) would be great.
Put students in pairs now and ask them to stand up and do a gallery walk. They will stop at each “picture’ and in pairs write down a sentence containing the reporting verb. They should write the sentences on the post-it notes and put them next to the ‘picture’ it corresponds to. Encourage them to write only when they know exactly what they want to write. Otherwise, it would look very untidy. Also, tell them they need to write a sentence showing they are C1 students (you know how it goes if you don’t push them a tiny bit)
Pairs don’t have to walk clockwise; they can choose any ‘pictures’ on the walls in any order but they must do all of them.
Step 3. Peer correction.
Once they have written their sentences, instruct students to move to the post-it containing their original reporting verb; the one in Step 1, the one they know the grammar for.  Ask them to read the sentences next to their verb
– If they are correct, they should put a tick
– If they are wrong, they should underline the mistake but not correct it
Step 4: Fixing mistakes
Ask students to stand up again, the infographic containing the grammar for those verbs in their hands,  and again do a gallery walk. They should read all the sentences surrounding a “picture’. If their sentence happens to be one of those containing mistakes, they will have to correct it using the infographic as a reference.
Step 5: My turn
Now, it is my turn to make sure, as a teacher, that all the sentences are correct. I have also added my opinion on whether the sentence is a C1-level sentence or a B2-level sentence to encourage them to try harder next time. 🙂
I hope you have enjoyed the activity.

It’s been years since  I last discussed the media and its role in our society in my classes. I don’t really think much has changed since the last time I explored this topic in class.

  • I feel we are still being manipulated by the media
  • I still feel we are, in most cases, misinformed
  • I still feel that the press is controlled by the same networks of people that run everything else
  • I still feel the information we receive is biased and based on speculation rather than hard facts.

But this lesson is meant to be focused on the paparazzi and their work chasing celebrities or famous people. We will discuss the very serious damage that the paparazzi and tabloid media can cause when they constantly invade people’s privacy. We will discuss whether the paparazzi are to blame for some unfortunate events and whether stricter laws should be enforced. We will study vocabulary relevant to this topic and read real examples where the right to have a private life will be discussed. Are you ready?

Step 1: a stirrer.
  1. Ask students: Have you ever met someone famous?

Telling an anecdote about yourself never fails to engage students. It’s only fair that if you are asking them to talk about themselves, you do the same.

2. On the board, write the question below and ask students to briefly comment on this.

 Want fame? Kiss your privacy goodbye! 

Step 2 . Introducing vocabulary

Every time I revise or introduce vocabulary in my classes, I make a point of reminding my students that they need to study the vocabulary in chunks. There is no point in studying the verb “apply” if they don’t know the preposition it collocates with.  The next activity is a good one to remind students of this necessity.

  • Give students two minutes to write all the vocabulary they know related to The media.
  • On the board, write a circle with the word The Media inside. Do a mind-map with all the vocabulary students provide.
  • Drill pronunciation and then do a quick translation exercise to consolidate meaning and pronunciation.

Introduce new vocabulary.

  • To follow a lead
  • paparazzo/paparazzi/amateur paps
  • revulsion/respect for their profession
  • a tip-off/to tip off the paparazzi
  • to gather news
  • to spot a celebrity
  • agency/ˈeɪ.dʒən.si/
  • news outlets
  • news coverage
  • exclusive /ɪkˈskluː.sɪv/
  • a major scoop
  • click-bait story
  • photojournalism
  • tabloid journalism and sensasionalism /senˈseɪ.ʃən.əl.ɪ.zəm/
  • to censor/impose strict censorship /ˈsen.sə.ʃɪp/
  • Celebrity scandals
  • sensational news
  • To harass foreign journalists UK /ˈhær.əs/ AmE /həˈræs/
  • to stalk a celebrity /stɔːk/
  • to pursue or chase celebrities /pəˈsjuː/
  • to catch up on the news
  • to leak to the press
  • to tackle misinformation
  • invasion of privacy /ɪnˈveɪ.ʒən/ /ˈprɪv.ə.si/
  • untrustworthy/reliable sources /ʌnˈtrʌstˌwɜː.ði/
  • accuracy of the reports
  • unverified information
  • biased/unbiased
  • to be in the limelight
  • to be highly sought-after /ˈsɔːt ˌɑːf.tər/

You can follow the rest of the lesson plan using the presentation below. I hope you enjoy it!

In case you are looking for debatable or persuasive topics about the media, here you have some.

Honestly,  not sure if there is anything more fun than turning a classic bingo into a language bingo. Ok, ok, rereading the sentence it is fair to question my fun scale. But I can assure you that it is going to keep your students engaged. That much I can promise.

Playing bingo in my classes is a classic. Not only the usual grid with numbers. The grid can contain pretty much everything and be used to revise almost all skills.

But today, it is going to be a vocabulary bingo with a touch of tech

This activity has two steps:

  1. Building the Word Cloud ( traditionally on the board or, in my case, using the free app Wooclap) https://www.wooclap.com/
  2. Playing Bingo
STEP 1.  Building the wordcloud.

This is a retrieval practice activity where students, using their mobile phones, revise vocabulary taught in previous lessons. In my case, I am teaching The Media and we played bingo with vocabulary from the newspapers and the media.

How to set the activity on Wooclap. Very easy!

  1. Go to Wooclap and register.
  2. Click on Create new event.
  3. Choose WordCloud and click Start Now.
  4. Share the link, the code or the QR Code with your students and Bob’s your uncle.

This video might help you follow these steps

Once the wordcloud is built, revise again pronunciation, form and meaning

And just because I like to play with tools, I have designed my own word cloud on a different tool just because I like the way words are highlighted. Click on the image to see it in action.

Step 2. Playing Bingo

Here we go!!!

One. Have students draw a grid on their notebooks: 3×2 ( 6 words) will work just fine. There should be significantly more words than squares in the bingo card. Ask them to choose any six words from the cloud and fill in the bingo squares.

The idea is to randomly give definitions for the words in the cloud. As students match definitions and words in their bingo, they cross them off. Bingo is shouted when all the squares have been crossed.

Note: Although you might think that everyone knows how to play bingo, trust me when I say several of my students had no idea how to play. So, explain that their goal is to cross all the squares in their grid before anyone else.

Two. How to play

This can be done in two different ways. One requires no preparation, the other one requires a little preparation. If you know me, I am sure you have guessed the one that I favour.

No preparation: randomly define the words in the cloud. I’d suggest keeping a record of the ones you have already done so as not to repeat the same definition twice. It can happen. Trust me.

Preparation: More fun. More drama. More everything.

  1. Write the words in the cloud on small strips of paper.
  2. Search your house for a  suitable bag and put the strips of paper in it. Draw a strip of paper at a time and give a definition for the word. You might need to repeat the definition twice. As students listen to the definition, they have a look at their grids. If they have a word matching the definition, they cross it off. The game continues until someone shouts bingo.
  3. Don’t forget to build suspense. It adds to the game.

A simple but very effective game.

Follow-up: 

  1. Ask a question or several and give students a strip of paper or several. When answering the question, they should try to use the word(s) on their strips.

How do you get the news in your country? Has the way of keeping up to date changed over the years?

Repeat procedure with as many questions as you want students to answer. Ask them to swap their words so that they get new ones.

2. In the next class, I am planning to play bingo again. Same steps but with a twist. This time, the students will draw the slips of paper from the bag and they will be asked to provide the definition.

Inspired by Serena’s blog choice of words.  Here you can revise taking her quiz.

 

 

 

…because a picture is worth a thousand words or so they say.

My plan is to show the pictures one at a time and encourage pair discussion and then whole-class discussion.  That’s the magic of a good visual.

Source: Getty Images

Source: Knoff

 

 

Note: I don’t know the source for some of these pictures. In most cases, they have been uploaded to Pinterest and I have stored them in Topic-based folders.

Should the author of any of these pictures require attribution, kindly let me know.

Fun, interactive and engaging! More?

  • It deals with grammar: the future tense for predictions
  • Students practise asking questions
  • It requires little preparation

Context:

Tell the students you’re a gipsy and that you have the ability to tell their future.  Tell the students they can only ask you one question, so they have to choose carefully what to ask you. (If students are not very confident, ask them to write their questions. On second thoughts, ask them anyway even if they are confident).

The Activity

Now, ask students one by one to ask you their questions. Ask the student posing the question to choose a number, any number up to the number of cards you have created.  Then, shuffle the cards and lay them face down on the table. If they have chosen number 4, place three cards face down on the table and, with a lot of drama, the card which comes fourth face up on the table. This is the answer to their question.

Possible words on the cards?  Yes, it is in the cards/No way/ It’s not likely/ Not a chance/ Absolutely/ Most certainly, no!/Not in this life!/ Most decidedly so!/If you play your cards right/Not in the immediate future/My crystal ball is cloudy, ask again!

  • Laura: Will I be rich?
  • Fortune Teller: No way!
  • David: Will I pass all my final exams?
  • Fortune Teller: Yes, it is in the cards

CARDS : template,PDF

Note: I have been playing this game for a long, long time and I can’t honestly remember if I invented it or someone else did and was passed on to me.