Friday, January 11, 2019

Holiday Memories & Language Lessons: Part 2 (People & Culture)

Hi friends! This is Part 2 of my series of blog post on the topic Holiday Memories & Language Lessons. As I've stated in my previous post, there are three parts in this series:

Part 1: Landmarks & Historical Places
Part 2: People & Culture
Part 3: Landscapes & Sceneries

Just like my previous post, I don't intend to write a full lesson plan for the photos and videos that I'm sharing in this post. Instead, I would list down some possible activities that we can do with them. The activities can be done in a single lesson, or in a series of lessons. A lesson can focus on one skill at a time, or it can also be a mixture of different skills. By sharing this with you, I hope we can brainstorm ideas on how we can use our own collection of photos and videos in our language lessons. If you like, you can share your ideas with me in the comment box. We can make this a platform to inspire one another :)

Street Musicians

Some of us like to take photos and videos of people and the culture of the places that we visit. I know I do. This is one of my favourites:

I took the video and photo at the Market Square in Cambridge, UK. I just love watching performances by street musicians. This band is called The Trials of Cato - check them out, they're awesome.

Now how can we use these as stimuli for language lessons? These are some of my ideas:

Listening, Speaking, Vocabulary & Grammar
1. Introduce the words 'street musicians', 'performers', 'buskers'
2. Talk about the musical instruments - introduce vocabulary for different types of musical instruments
3. Adjectives - get students to use adjectives to describe the video. What do they think about the music? How do they feel when they hear the music?
4. Talk about the video. Ask pupils what they can see. How many people are there? What are they doing? How do they look? What do they feel? What objects can the students see? Get students to describe the people and objects that they see in the video.

Reading Comprehension
1. We can get more advanced students to do their own Internet research on 'buskers' or 'street musicians/performers.' Get students to find an article on the topic and create several questions based on the article. The article and the questions can then be shared with the rest of the class.
2. For beginners / less proficient students, teacher can provide a reading passage on the topic, and get students to answer comprehension questions based on the passage. Here are two newspaper articles that I found on Malaysian buskers: Malaysia Gives Buskers a Stage of Their Own and Busking in the Limelight

1. Descriptive writing: students can write a paragraph or a short essay describing everything that they see in the video.
2. Expository writing: get students to write an essay about buskers or street musicians/performers based on the information that they've gathered through their Internet research.
3. Debate/discussion (can also be done as a speaking activity): is busking good or bad?

Barrel Race 

Here's another fun video that I'd like to share with you:

It was taken at Grantchester on Boxing Day. Here's an article to explain what it's all about: Grantchester Boxing Day Barrel Race 2018

Using this video as a stimulus, we can do all of the activities listed for the Street Musicians - just change the context to barrel race. But I have one additional activity for this video, which I think would be nice if done as a group project:

1. Get students into small groups of four or five.
2. Assign random objects in the classroom to each group, e.g. a broom, a wastepaper basket, a marker pen, a chair, a desk etc.
3. Each group would need to design a game using the object that they are assigned with.
4. Each group has to write down the instructions and the rules for the game, as well as the Important Health & Safety Information - refer to this article for an example.
5. Each group presents their ideas to the class. The class can vote for their favourite game.

The class can play the game that gets the highest number of votes, or even all the games if time and circumstances permit.

Stay tuned for Part 3!

That's all for now. See you in the next post, and happy teaching! -ccj

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