“The World’s Strictest Parents” Youtube Lesson Plan

Levels: intermediate to advanced.
Ages: teens; adults.
Type: engaging and working with interesting TV excerpts; encouraging students to justify their opinions.
Skills: listening; speaking.
Language focus: vocab – parents & children, agreeing/disagreeing/giving opinions; grammar – imperatives, unreal conditionals.

Time needed: approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Preparation: copies of this worksheet and chopped-up copies of these questions for all students. These pictures of Stefan and Lizzie (the main protagonists) – one per six or so students should be plenty. Access to a laptop or interactive whiteboard for the video part of the lesson. Whiteboard and pens.

Procedure:

  1. Divide students into pairs or groups of three. Draw a bee on the whiteboard and elicit what it is; board “spelling bee” and elicit what each team of two or three students must do.
  2. Dictate the following list of adjectives and ask students to write them as they think they are spelt: obedient, fun-loving, respectful, lenient, strict, lazy, hard-working, adventurous, rebellious, loving, bossy, demanding. You can go over any unknown vocabulary with them afterwards – the test now is to use their knowledge of English spelling to write the words.
  3. Pairs have a minute or two to check each other’s spelling and agree on a team list of words. They then pass their team list to the group on their left, who will give one point for each correctly spelt word. Nominate different students to spell the words and deal with any vocabulary questions as they arise. Board the words as they are spelt and elicit any corrections. Drill pronunciation as necessary.
  4. Students give feedback to their peers. Teacher asks: did anyone get more than five points? More than ten? to find the top team.
  5. Teacher boards two columns, one headed “parents” and the other headed “teenagers.” Re-group students into fours or fives and ask them to decide together which adjectives go best with “parents” and which with “teenagers.” Elicit that they must agree on their answers and that they must justify them.
  6. Get feedback from the class – which adjective goes where, and why. Promote disagreement wherever possible, as this will encourage students to justify their choices.
  7. Divide students into new pairs or threes and give out this worksheet. Ask them to decide together on the most appropriate minimum ages to do these activities, and to give reasons for their answers.
  8. After a few minutes, and if the enthusiasm for discussion is still there, combine pairs into larger groups of fours or fives and ask them to agree on a list of ages; extend this again until you have a class decision.
  9. Get feedback and find out why students have ascribed the ages they have.
  10. Board “The World’s Strictest Parents” and explain that students will watch a British programme with this title. Show the pictures of Stefan and Lizzie (see above) and ask students what adjectives they would use to describe them.
  11. Ask students what they think will happen in this programme, then play the first 1 minute 30 seconds and check their answers as a class (useful questions to ask could be: how many British teenagers do we follow in each programme? [two]; how long do they go away for? [one week]; in this episode, which country do they go to? [Ghana]).
  12. Give each student a copy of the questions on Part One of this worksheet. Explain that they will now watch part one of the programme, and ask them to listen for the answers to each of these questions. Explain any unknown vocabulary on the question sheet.
  13. Play part one of the youtube video, get your students initial reactions, go through the answers together and ask what they think will happen next. Give out the questions for part two of the video and repeat the procedure above.
  14. After playing part two and going through the answers to the questions, ask students how they think the programme will end. Do they think the teenagers’ behaviour will improve? Do they think the teenagers will miss Ghana when they return home? Do they think the teenagers will start to love life with their host family in Ghana? etc.
  15. Play the first six minutes (exactly) of Part V of the programme above. Ask your students who they think has changed the most, and whether they think Lizzie will change. Ask them how they think the programme will end and, if you have time and your students are still in the mood to watch, play the episode Finale (below).
  16. Round off the lesson with a discussion. You could use these questions to get things going or keep the lesson on track: is it good to be strict? Do you think the teenagers have changed permanently, or is it just a temporary change? How are the British and Ghanaian families different? Which family would you prefer to live with? How would your life change if you had to live with the Ghanaian family? Is your family more like the British one or the Ghanaian one? How do you feel about that?

“Superstition” by Stevie Wonder – Lesson Plan

Levels: pre-intermediate to upper intermediate.
Ages: teens; adults.
Type: conversation; song gapfill; first conditional practice/review.
Skills: listening; speaking; writing.
Language focus: vocab re superstitions and luck; first conditional practice.

Materials:
a recording of the song “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder (a great version on YouTube is here).
one copy of the song lyrics (for you), a gapfill sheet and “Call My Bluff” cards, ALL of which is here

Time needed: 50 minutes.

Procedure:

  1. Print some pictures or draw on the board: a black cat, a four-leaf clover, a horseshoe, etc. Elicit “superstition” and “superstitious”, “lucky/unlucky”, “good luck/bad luck”.
  2. Allow 5 minutes or so for students to think of as many superstitions as they know. This is always quite interesting, as each country will have their own superstitions that will not be known to the whole group. Some useful vocabulary will probably arise.
  3. Board their ideas. Make sure you have 13, ladders and broken mirrors on the board. Teach or elicit that an old fashioned word for mirror is looking glass.
  4. Play verse 1 and chorus of the song. Which does he mention? (ladder, looking glass and 13).
    You can listen to the song here:
  5. Play the whole song (twice if necessary) and students complete the gapfill.
  6. Ask the students what Stevie thinks about superstition. Does he think it is a good or a bad thing, and why? What do they think? Do they believe in any superstitions? Why do people believe in them? What could be the drawbacks in believing in superstitions? Students discuss in groups of three. This normally stimulates a good discussion or debate among students, and some good vocabulary (you may want to pre-teach phrases like “just in case”, “to be on the safe side”, “paranoid”, “all in the mind”).
  7. Board: If you break a mirror, you will have 7 years of bad luck.Elicit that this is a sentence in the first conditional, and that it is a real and not a hypothetical situation. Elicit form (If + infinitive, will/imperative).
  8. Tell students that they are going to invent some superstitions and see if their classmates can guess an invented superstition from a real one. Give each student a card with a real superstition on it, and tell them to create two new ones, using the first conditional. Monitor carefully at this stage.
  9. Students work in groups of three and take it in turns to read out their three superstitions. The others in their group must guess which is the real one.
  10. Feedback and error correct. Do they have any favourite ones?

Extension activity: writing (set this for homework). Do you believe in any superstitions? Do you think superstition is good or bad? Why?

“She’s Leaving Home” by the Beatles – Lesson Plan

Levels: intermediate to upper-intermediate.
Ages: teens; adults.
Type: song gapfill; letter writing based on responses to the song.
Skills: listening; speaking; reading; writing; pronunciation (rhymes).
Language focus: vocab as arises from the song and subsequent writing activity.

Materials:
You will need a recording of “She’s Leaving Home” by the Beatles (a YouTube version is here),
a copy of the lyrics,
several copies of the first verse printed out (widely spaced) for the running dictation, copies of the gapfill exercise and copies of the discussion questions (all here).
You will also need a large space for the running dictation – either a large classroom or the use of a corridor.

Time needed: 50 minutes.

Procedure:

  1. Set up a running dictation of the first verse of the song (page 2 of the attachment). Don’t say anything about it at this stage.
  2. When over half of the pairs have finished, sit students down in their pairs and get them to compare their writing with each other. Ask them what kind of text they think it is (a letter, an article, a poem?). They will probably guess it is a song.
  3. Give them the original text and play verse 1 at the same time, so they can check their running dictation against the real text while listening.
    You can listen to the song here:
  4. Vocab input: handkerchief (demonstrate with realia or use a tissue but make sure they know a handkerchief is made of fabric. Concept check: Is a handkerchief made of paper? Is it modern or old fashioned to have a handkerchief? Elicit part of speech, syllables, stress etc)clutching (demonstrate with a board pen, first holding, then clutching. Concept check: Do I feel relaxed when I clutch the pen?)
  5. Brief discussion in pairs or groups of three: Who is this person? Where is she going?
  6. Board guesses (real answer: a young girl, probably a teenager, is running away from her parents’ house. Don’t tell them yet!).
    Play the chorus. Were their guesses correct?
  7. Vocab input: pre-teach or elicit snores, dressing gown, denied, sacrificed
  8. Play song all the way through (twice if necessary). Students complete gapfill (page 1 of attachment). Double gaps are phrasal verbs.
  9. Ask students if it is a sad or a happy song. This may get them in the mood for speaking. Give them the discussion questions (page 3 of the attachment) and go through them in pairs or groups of three. Go through the answers as a class.

Extension activity:
You could set this up in class and set as homework, or do in pairs in class. Tell the students to imagine they are this girl, and that they are leaving home. They are going to write the note to their parents. Start the letter like this and make sure all the questions are covered:

Dear Mum and Dad,

  • Why am I leaving?
  • Where am I going?
  • How do I feel? (am I sorry?)
  • Do I plan to ever come back?