You could run text together with
gaps between words & withoutgapsbet
Here are a couple of ideas to
use text that is 'runtogether':
imagine you have been
looking at the vocabulary for cinema recently & you
want to quickly review it. Give out the following text &
ask the students to find the word boundaries. Good for warmers.
you could use whole utterences
strung together & students identify where the breaks
are. Then go on to analyse the language.
Students could then mark the
tone units & look for the tonic syllables. For more
on tone units & prominence.
a variation could be to find the words that don't
fit into the lexical set - the odd one out.
to use for awareness of English spelling have a string
of unknown or fictitious words & stds divide up the
string into possible English words. stds compare ideas &
then as a class discuss choices e.g. where would you make
the breaks in this string.
write out a song or poem you are going to use in
paragraph form without capitals or punctuations. Read out
the poem or play the song & the students make corrections,
adding capitals & punctuation. For example:
It's been a hard day's night
and I've been working like a dog it's been a hard day's
night I should be sleeping like a dog but when I get home
to you I find the things that you do will make me feel all
You know I work all day to
get you money to buy you things and it's worth it just to
hear you say You're gonna give everything so why I love
to come home 'cause when I get you alone you know I'll be
When I'm home everything seems
to be all right when I'm home feeling you holding me tight,
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Henny was telling me about an
experiment she tried out recently with her beginner group.
It has to do with the age-old problem of encouraging the
students to speak in English & not reverting unnecessarily
to their native language.
Henny had the idea of giving
each student a card with 'In English, please' written on
it. These cards were nicely presented on coloured card &
plastified, helping to increase their value.
When in pairwork, if their partner
was speaking too much Spanish, the student would simply
hold up the card. So instead of just asking each other to
speaking Spanish, which they rarely would, this way of doing
it means less loss of face for the 'offender' & more
chance that they will ask each other to cut down on the
It was working well. The students
were enthusiastic about using the cards & time spent
in the class was being maximised.
Another important use for the
cards is for the students to also use them for the teacher
if they feel the teacher is using too much of their native
language. Democracy at work, empowering the learners.
Try it out & see.
You can read Henny's articles on the site:
diversity - Managing Same-Sex Orientation in the Classroom
to the Learners: The Role of the Learner Diary in RSA/ UCLES
CTEFLA Teaching Practice
the In-Service Feedback Session to Actively Promote Teacher
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The 5th of November
As Bonfire Night is with us on
the 5th, Tuesday evening, here are some ideas on the theme.
Before beginning you might like
to take get a cup of tea & take a break with this link.
I like fireworks but I don't like to be too near them when
they go off or land so this is an ideal way of appreciating
them. Total control.
Although Bonfire Night is celebrated on Tuesday evening,
there's no reason why you shouldn't look at it later on
the week if it doesn't fit with your timetable for earlier
on in the week.
Here's an outline for an intermediate upwards reading, vocabulary
& speaking lesson. Clearly the texts could be exploited
for many different language areas so have a good look to
see if there's anything that fits with your particular group/student.
1. Start the lesson by putting
this rhyme on the board, explain any difficult vocab &
then elicit what they might know. If nothing then tell them
all will be explained in the reading text coming up. You
could also look at the rhythm. For
using cuisenaire rods for rhythm.
The 5th of November
Gunpowder treason and plot
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!"
The texts used below are used
with permission from http://www.bonefire.org/guy/
2. Copy the text & cut up
each paragraph, give a copy of the paragraphs mixed up to
each pair & the put into a logical order. In the feedback
discuss why they chose the orders - the cohesive devices.
History of the Gunpowder Plot
In 1605, Guy Fawkes (also known as
Guido - yes, really) and a group of conspirators
attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament.
After Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603,
English Catholics who had had a rough time under
her reign had hoped that her successor, James I,
would be more tolerant of their religion. Alas,
he was not, and this angered a number of young men
who decided that violent action was the answer.
One young man in particular, Robert
Catesby suggested to some close friends that the
thing to do was to blow up the Houses of Parliament.
In doing so, they would kill the King, maybe even
the Prince of Wales, and the Members of Parliament
who were making life difficult for the Catholics.
Today these conspirators would be known as extremists,
To carry out their plan, the conspirators
got hold of 36 barrels of gunpowder - and stored
it in a cellar, just under the House of Lords.
But as the group worked on the plot,
it became clear that some innocent people would
be hurt or killed in the attack. Some of the plotters
started having second thoughts. One of the group
members even sent an anonymous letter warning his
friend, Lord Monteagle, to stay away from the Parliament
on November 5th.
The warning letter reached the King,
and the King's forces made plans to stop the conspirators.
Guy Fawkes, who was in the cellar of the parliament
with the 36 barrels of gunpowder when the authorities
stormed it in the early hours of November 5th, was
caught, tortured and executed.
It's unclear if the conspirators would
ever have been able to pull off their plan to blow
up the Parliament even if they had not been betrayed
- some people think the gunpowder they were planning
to use was so old as to be useless. Since Guy Fawkes
and his colleagues got caught before trying to ignite
the powder, we'll never know for certain.
These days, Guy Fawkes Day is also
known as Bonfire Night. The event is commemorated
every year with fireworks and burning effigies of
Guy Fawkes on a bonfire.
Some of the English have been known
to wonder whether they are celebrating Fawkes' execution
or honoring his attempt to do away with the government.
3. Elicit the story.
4. Get the stds to highlight
all the vocabulary connected to the lexical set of Bonfire
Night. e.g. plot, Guy Fawkes, James I, Catholics, violent,
Robert Catesby, blow up, Parliament, kill, king, conspirators,
plan, gunpowder, stored in the cellar, anonymous letter,
Lord Monteagle, caught, tortured, executed, betrayed, ignite
the powder, fireworks, burning effigies, bonfire, celebrating.
In the feedback sort out any
problems - careful about getting bogged down in this though.
5. Put the title from the next text on the board & get
the stds to talk about how they might have been framed.
there really a Gunpowder Plot, or were the "conspirators"
framed by the King?'
6. Stds then read the following text to see if they were
there really a Gunpowder Plot, or were the "conspirators"
framed by the King?
There was no doubt an attempt to blow
up Parliament. But Guy Fawkes and his associates
may have been caught in a Jacobean sting operation.
Many of the plotters were known traitors.
It would have been unlikely that they could gather
36 barrels of gunpowder and store them in a cellar
under the house of Lords without the security forces
Furthermore, the letter warning one
of the members of government to stay away from Parliament
is believed today to have been fabricated by the
king's officials. Historians suggest that the letter
was simply a tool for the King's officials who already
knew about the plot from the very mouth of one of
the plotters. The suspected turncoat? Jeremy Tresham.
As a tool for the king's men, the
letter was ideal. It made it easy to explain how
the king found out about the Plot and stopped it
just in time before his untimely death. At the same
time, the letter was vague enough to give the officials
all the latitude they wanted in falsifying confessions
and to pursue their own anti-Catholic ends.
There are two fundamental problems
with the letter. Firstly, the letter was unsigned.
Any and all of the conspirators, once apprehended,
might have saved themselves from torture and perhaps
even death if they had claimed to have written it.
None did. In fact, not one of the conspirators who
was caught appears to have known about the letter.
Secondly, the letter was very vague in its content.
It said nothing about the details of the planned
attack. Still, the king and his men knew exactly
the where and when to catch the conspirators and
stop the plot. How did they know?
7. Response to the texts - discuss
what the stds think - framed or not.
8. Discuss what happens nowadays
- pre-teach 'effigies' - stds read the text. You could set
some comprehension questions with this & the above texts.
The tradition of Guy Fawkes-related
bonfires actually began the very same year as the
failed coup. The Plot was foiled in the night between
the 4th and 5th of November 1605. Already on the
5th, agitated Londoners who knew little more than
that their King had been saved, joyfully lit bonfires
in thanksgiving. As years progressed, however, the
ritual became more elaborate.
Soon, people began placing effigies
onto bonfires, and fireworks were added to the celebrations.
Effigies of Guy Fawkes, and sometimes those of the
Pope, graced the pyres. Still today, some communities
throw dummies of both Guy Fawkes and the Pope on
the bonfire (and even those of a contemporary politician
or two), although the gesture is seen by most as
a quirky tradition, rather than an expression of
hostility towards the Pope.
Preparations for Bonfire Night celebrations
include making a dummy of Guy Fawkes, which is called
"the Guy". Some children even keep up
an old tradition of walking in the streets, carrying
"the Guy" they have just made, and beg
passers-by for "a penny for the Guy."
The kids use the money to buy fireworks for the
On the night itself, Guy is placed
on top of the bonfire, which is then set alight;
and fireworks displays fill the sky.
The extent of the celebrations and
the size of the bonfire varies from one community
to the next. Lewes, in the South East of England,
is famous for its Bonfire Night festivities and
consistently attracts thousands of people each year
Bonfire Night is not only celebrated
in Britain. The tradition crossed the oceans and
established itself in the British colonies during
the centuries. It was actively celebrated in New
England as "Pope Day" as late as the 18th
century. Today, November 5th bonfires still light
up in far out places like Newfoundland in Canada,
and some areas in New Zealand.
9. Follow up activities:
A discussion on capital
punishment could begin with this short text on the gruesome
outcome from the 'Conspirators' text.
'All imprisoned plotters were executed
publicly in March 1607. They were "hanged,
drawn, and quartered", a brutal practice which
authorities hoped would instil terror in other potential
Did public executions really function
as a deterrent? Or did they simply feed the climate
of violence that encouraged Catesby and his men
to pursue their deadly aims?'
Discussion on the dangers
of fireworks (bangers, catherine wheels, rockets..) - there
are always stories in summer months of accidents at Spanish
Any similar events in
history & celebrations in stds own countries - careful
here as could be a sensitive area.
With the younger learner
you could give a brief oral version of the story & the
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the Past Teaching Tips