Intonation awareness – Football Fever

Levels: pre-intermediate to advanced.
Scope: teens; adults.
Type: responding to excited sports commentary; dictogloss.
Skills: listening; writing; pronunciation (sentence stress and chunking, conveying feelings through intonation).
Language focus: grammar and vocab structures (and register) from the commentary.

Preparation: record a short but excitable segment of football commentary from youtube or another resource.
For example:


  1. Draw the axes of a graph on the board. Label the horizontal line “time” and the vertical line “excitement.” Ask the students to each copy this graph.
  2. Explain that students will hear part of a football commentary and they should draw a line showing when and how much the commentator gets excited. Elicit that they should listen for the volume, pitch and speed of the commentatorʼs delivery to find this out.
  3. Play the recording and allow the students to make their graph.
  4. Ask the students to compare their graphs in small groups. Are they the same? Are there any differences?
  5. If necessary, play the recording once more and allow students to make any amendments in the light of their discussion.
  6. Nominate one student to be in charge of playback and board the MP3 player symbols for “play,” “pause” and “rewind.” Drill these words.
  7. Ask students to listen and write down what they hear the commentator say. Explain that they can control the student in charge of playback (who should also write) by saying “play,” “pause” and “rewind.”
  8. If possible, leave the room for a few minutes and let the students get on with it.
  9. Come back and ask students to compare their texts in pairs. Elicit sentences and board them, correcting grammar and vocabulary (and perhaps playersʼ or teamʼs names) as necessary.
  10. Play the recording again, pausing every time the boarded text deviates from what the commentator says. Elicit the changes in the text and make them, so it reads as the original.
  11. Ask students to practice saying the commentary in pairs. As should try to be as excitable as possible and Bs should try to be as tired or bored as possible. Then swap roles.
  12. students say the dictation along with the commentator, emulating his delivery.

After doing this, it might be fun to ask the students to think of an exciting moment from their lives; give them a couple of minutes to think about what they want to share and make any notes; put them in pairs or small groups to share their ideas and ask follow-up questions; and then ask each pair or group to choose one exciting moment and write a commentary about it. Teacher can monitor and help with language as the students write together in their groups. Then the students can practice and perform their commentary, perhaps stopping halfway through and eliciting from other students in the class what they think will happen next.

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