miércoles, 20 de abril de 2011

The Magnificent Seven

Get hold of a pen and paper. When you play the video below, you'll hear seven words. Try to write them down with the sequence number. With students I usually repeat each one, but you're not getting it that easy, my EFL chum ;)

Compare your list with the one at the end of this post. How did you get on?

But with my class I do the following:

1. Ask them in pairs to compare.  Leave them to discuss it.

2. Draw the class back together. Elicit and produce the correct list on the board. Check meaning, usage, pronunciation, whatever.

3. Tell them they're going to produce a coherent story of a paragraph including all the seven words. They will have three minutes.

4. Put them in pairs, and remind them you want a single cooperative effort per pair, not individual efforts. And please write legibly!

(I usually say three minutes but end up being a bit flexible. But the idea of having to do something fast helps them to focus, I find.)

5. Bring everybody back together and ask each pair to pass their story to the pair on their left. This may be the hardest bit to organise ;) Ask them to read and discuss the story they now have. Whether or not you want to settle for one round of peer-reading or do another one will depend mainly on your class size. Meanwhile, circulate and help if needed.

6. After the reading, it's a good idea to take a some time to clear up questions or errors. How much time? You'll know better than me. It might also be appropriate to choose some stories for the students to read to each other. (It's not something we do much, is it? Getting students to read to each other?)

Dun dun-da-dun, dun da-da-da-dun...

Other minimal septets? See if you can find seven English words with this:

/p~t/  e.g. "pit, pet"

or with

/st~l/ e.g. "steel"

PS It's both gratifying and annoying when you find somebody else has come up with a similar idea to yours. Gratifying because it means you may be on the right track, and annoying because you thought nobody else has good ideas ;) Here you can see Johanna Stirling demonstrating a related exercise, among other things.

My septet from the video was beat, bit, bet, bat, boat, boot, bite. And do submit your story or other minimal septets. The best story wins a plateful of my mother-in-law's excellent barbecue ribs.

7 comentarios:

  1. A brilliant little exercise that hits so many different points. I'll definitely try it soon and keep it up my sleeve for those classes that need a quick, Plan-B fix. Thanks!

  2. It's a great one-minute-to-plan lesson that produces lots of varied work for the learners. It often runs to 30 minutes or more, actually.

    You'd be a Scot yourself, Gordon, would you? Good luck in Argentina, by the way.

    1. Paula and Vanessa (upper ints) came up with this on their first go. I liked it cos it they did it in 2 mins and its very concise. Great fun with this in class yesterday anyway cheers.

      'A bat discovered that its heart didn't beat and it's mouth didn't bite, so it bet a bit of money to travel abroad in a boat wearing one boot'

    2. Never noticed your comment, Steve, sorry.

      A lovely story. Kind of needs to be developed into a fable, dontcha think?

  3. Yep. Born and raised in the west of Scotland but haven't lived there permanently for about 10 years now.

    Looks like we started our blogs around the same time. Welcome to the blogosphere - it gets addictive. :-)

  4. Seeing as you are recording yourself for your blog, how about treating us all to a spot of your guitar playing. Despite your humility in your personal details, you've been paid (in beer) for many years and a little song/verse to play with our learners would, I'm sure, go down a treat. You never know, this could be your thing...

  5. Shucks! Well you're the poet, so you write it and treat us to a plant, then I'll happily ruin it for you.

    PS Any chance of a plant for The Beatles' Because?