Tuesday, 22 October 2013


Here's a lesson idea I came up the other day. I was trying to spice up a rather dry FCE coursebook reading on animal cheats so I decided to add a video to the mix. After figuring out these activities, I realised that I wasn't so much improving the reading activity as I was replacing it with a listening, so I changed direction and did something else.

But rather than waste all that hard work, I thought I'd share it with you here instead...

Is JR Cheating Off a Cheater? Or Will He Turn Rat?

1) In groups, ask the students to list all the things they think of when they think of the word 'cheat'.

2) Put their answers on the board in a mind map.

3) Ask them to discuss for a couple of minutes if they think animals can cheat. Get feedback on their opinions.

4) Put students into pairs. One student is A and the other is B. A watches the video without sound.

5) Students A then describes the video to their partner. B tries to remember what happened.

6) Mix up the pairs so all the A's have new B's to talk to. B's have to try and describe the video to their new partner. A's add any missing information to their description.

7) Play the video still without sound. Ask the students to see how they did and what they missed. Did it look how they expected?

8) Ask a couple of students to volunteer to describe the video while it plays. Put some of their best sentences on the board and analyse them with the class. Use them to create a script which class collectively builds with your help.

9) Show the students some vocabulary from the video. You could put it on the board or show it to them visually like this:

Ask if any of the students know what these words and phrases mean. If they don't (and they probably won't know most of them), ask them to identify whether they are nouns, verbs etc.

10) Now play the video with sound. ask the students to try and understand the new vocabulary from the video. You might need to play it more than once.

11) Once students have grasped the meaning, ask them to fit the new vocabulary into the script that you created together.

12) Ask the students to discuss a time someone played a trick on them or deceived them in small groups. Optional homework: Write a description of when someone deceived you.

Hopefully nobody will write about this...
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Tuesday, 15 October 2013

My Talk At RSCON4

My co-presenters during RSCON4
I had the great pleasure of presenting at the RSCON4 conference on the 13th of October. It was an online global event highlighting “wow” moments in teaching and learning, and the entire conference was held online. I'd like to thank all of the organisers for putting together such an amazing event, everyone who came, and my moderator Malu Sciamarelli.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend many sessions as I was travelling, but I will always remember giving my presentation. I had to do my talk from a hotel room in the rainforest of Costa Rica, and five minutes before the start I was warned that there was a group of howler monkeys sitting outside the room! Twice during the talk I had to apologise to everyone for the noise, and make sure that they knew it wasn't me screaming away at the top of my voice.

So if you'd like to watch my talk Making The Most of Reading including my monkey friends, you can find it here.

Presenting, jungle style!

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