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I’d like to share with you some incredible lesson plans.

Level: intermediate to advanced

Primary goal: build vocab

Secondary goals: reading, listening, prosody (word stress, timing, intonation)

Time: Adaptable (max of 2 hours in-class, 3-6 hours of homework)

How it works

Each resource has three lessons and three homework assignments.

Before the first class, the student takes a vocabulary quiz based on a resource. This is nothing too complicated–just a Google document where they mark how well they know each word.

Then, in the first lesson, I ask them questions to prep the vocabulary in the video. I use their answers in the vocabulary quiz to choose which vocabulary to focus on.

AFTER taking the pre-vocab quiz and prepping the vocab, I tell them which video to watch (or article to read). They watch/read for homework. I also send them main idea, detail, logic, and inference questions. If it’s a video, they also get prosody (word stress, timing, intonation) questions. They should prepare answers.

In the second lesson, we review the questions. I also help them with anything they had troubles with. We might review some grammar or speaking skills.

Next, we usually take a week or two off. (The lessons continue, but we do a different topic.)

After the break, we return to the article/video. I’ll give them one more assignment and we review it in the third lesson.

Note on Google Docs: I made the folder public on the web. You can copy/paste it to edit it to suit your needs. I think that’s easier, but let me know if you’d like a PDF version:)

Saturday Listening Lesson: Nilofer Merchant 2

Today’s

Vocabulary

(1) To point out: To show a specific thing

I should point out that you need to file this with the other CVs.

(2) Timing: The speed we use when we say something. Also how long we wait between sounds.

Careful timing can make your listeners notice some words more.

(3) Stress: Emphasizing a word by making it louder and longer.

You should stress the important words and say the unimportant words quickly.

Today’s

Questions

1. In the first example, why does she have three big pauses?

a. To add melody to her speech

b. She’s nervous

c. To make you listen carefully

2. What’s the difference between “I had some rice.” and “I did have some rice”?

a. In the first, we don’t know anything for sure

b. The first strengthens the idea because there’s no did

c. The second strengthens the idea because of did

3. Why does she say some words slowly and some words quickly?

a. To stress some words (the important words)

b. She’s nervous

c. To add melody to her speech

7________________________

Saturday Listening Lesson

________________________

By Jeremy Schaar

When listening to a video, you might notice a new word. You might write down the word and then try using it later. After you use it a few times, you remember it and then you know that word. That’s a great way to learn vocabulary. But, if you want to listen better, you need to do a little more. You need to notice how people speak and try to learn those things, just like you learn vocabulary.

I’ve covered this great video by Nilofer Merchant before. But today, I’d like to point out five sentences she says. You should note how she says them and try to repeat speak in the same way.

0:13-0:20

“What you’re doing, right now, at this very moment, is killing you.”

Note her timing. There’s a big pause with each comma. She does this to make people listen carefully.

0:38-0:42

“Sitting is so incredibly prevalent, we don’t even question how much we’re doing it.”

Note how quickly she says “we don’t even”. She says “wedoneven”. You should say it the same. (You can’t really hear the “t” sound at all.) As long as you stress question, people will understand you.

1:22-1:25

“What did get me moving, was a social interaction.”

Note how much she emphasizes the word “did”. She could have just said “What got me…”, but using a strong did gives the sentence strength.

Also note how she emphasizes the word “social” because it’s the most important word in the sentence.

1:32-1:34

“Could you come then?”

Note how she says “kudjuh” instead of “could you”. Then both “come” and “then” are stressed equally.

2:18-2:25

“First there’s this amazing thing about actually getting out of the box, that leads to out-of-the-box-thinking.”

Note how she says some words quickly (“there’s this”) and other words slowly (“out of the box”) to focus our attention on the important words. Words that don’t give any meaning are said quickly.

So, how well did you understand? As always, if you have any questions or want more practice, comment on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!

Answers To Today’s Questions

C, C, A

——————————————

You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Saturday Listening Lesson–Designing For Five Senses and Speaking Practice

Today’s

Vocabulary

(1) Intonation: The way your voice goes up and down while you speak.

In English, rising intonation can create a question..

(2) Word Stress: How loud and long you say something.

You need to give word stress to the important words.

(3) Timing: The speed you say different things and the pauses in your speech.

Timing is very important when singing or telling a joke.

Today’s

Questions

1. What is this video about?

a. Prosody

b. Word stress, timing, and intonation

c. Using five senses in design

2. Why is it hard to understand these phrases?

a. People say them quickly

b. People don’t use the same intonation

c. They have hard vocabulary

3. Why are non-native speakers hard to understand?

a. They have bad grammar

b. They use different intonation, word stress, and timing

c. They use strange words

7________________________

Saturday Listening Lesson

________________________

By Jeremy Schaar

Today’s Saturday listening lesson is on an easy idea. Jinsop Lee says that most design focuses on sight and touch. But these are only two of the five sense. He suggests that designers should start thinking about sound, taste, and smell. Good idea, right?

He makes a chart to show this and I think you’ll easily understand the video.

It’s also a good idea for anyone who makes or markets a product.

For you improving your listening, let’s focus on a few phrases that are simple, but difficult to understand.

:30 Let me tell you about: This is used before presenting an idea

2:30 To do this: This is used before explain how to do something

4:15 I used to: This is used to talk about some past action

4:50 It’s because of the: This is used to explain why something is true

These phrases are easy to understand when you read them, but hard to understand when you hear them. They’re hard because native speakers say them so quickly. We push the words together. Watch these videos to understand. You’ll hear me say the expressions above and then hear Jinsop say them in the video.

While you listen, notice my intonation pattern is similar, but the timing and word stress are different.

For your practice, you need to do two things.

(1) When you’re listening to someone speak, notice the way they say the words.

(2) Practice speaking like Jinsop. If you can speak like him, then you can understand him.

Non-native speakers are really hard to understand when their intonation, timing, or word stress is different, so work hard to make sure yours sounds like a native speaker.

So, how well did you understand? As always, if you have any questions or want more practice, comment on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!

Answers To Today’s Questions

C, A, B

——————————————

You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Timing Lesson Plan

This lesson is part of a series of one-hour lessons that will help students improve their prosody skills. Prosody, in short, is word stress, timing, and intonation. For an introduction to the series, click here.

Name: I believe in Timing

Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Prep Time: Just enough time to understand timing and print the worksheets.

Materials: This worksheet, and this worksheet too. (These are pdfs. If you want to change them, or you can’t download them for some reason, just copy and paste the text at the bottom of the post.)

Primary Objective: Improve Timing Skills

Other Benefits: Have fun singing a nice, slow song. Understand the different ways to use the word “believe”.

Plan:

5 Minutes Listen to “I Believe in You” by Don Williams.

10 Minutes Explain the concept of timing. Go here for more information on how to do this.

10 Minutes Complete this worksheet.  Students should choose which timing you’re using. You can read them out loud to the students. Or you can just play this track.

B didn’t like the movie.

It was…interesting.

Slowly, and slowly.

I waaaaant to go hoooooome.

Yes, No.

I loooove you.

I-love-you-too.

20 Minutes Pass out this worksheet. Students should read the song lyrics and answer the comprehension questions.

10 Minutes Read the song together. Students should listen and repeat each line. Note that the words are timed differently in order to create a steady rhythm. For instance, “mom and dad” and “you” should be said in the same amount of time.

20 Minutes Listen to the song four times. The first two times, just listen. The third time, students should quietly say the words while the song plays. The final time, everyone should sing along.

Extension: Have the students write an extra verse to the song.

Materials

Worksheet—Timing

Listen to these sentences. Answer the questions below.

 

–1–

A: How was the movie?

B: It was interesting.

Did B like the movie? YES NO

–2–

A: I want to go home.

Does A say “home” quickly or slowly?

Does A say “want” quickly or slowly?

–3–

A: I love you.

B: I love you too.

Does A love B?        YES     NO

Does B love A?        YES     NO

Read these sentences to your partner. Your partner should choose if you use short or long timing for the underlined words.

  1. I love football.
  2. Could you please call me on Saturday?
  3. She’s never worn those boots before.
  4. Tokyo was a…great city.
  5. Are we there yet?

Worksheet—Don Williams “I Believe”

Read the lyrics for the song “I Believe” by Don Williams

I don’t believe in superstars,
organic food and foreign cars.
I don’t believe the price of gold;
the certainty of growing old,
that right is right and left is wrong,
that north and south can’t get along,
that east is east and west is west,
and being first is always best. 

But I believe in love.
I believe in babies.
I believe in mom and dad.
And I believe in you.

Well, I don’t believe that heaven waits,
for only those who congregate.
I like to think of God as love:
He’s down below, He’s up above.
He’s watching people everywhere.
He knows who does and doesn’t care.
And I’m an ordinary man.
Sometimes I wonder who I am.

But I believe in love.
I believe in music.
I believe in magic.
And I believe in you.

Well, I know with all my certainty,
what’s going on with you and me,
is a good thing.
It’s true, I believe in you. 

I don’t believe virginity
is as common as it used to be,
in working days and sleeping nights,
that black is black and white is white,
that Superman and Robin Hood
are still alive in Hollywood,
that gasoline’s in short supply,
the rising cost of getting by.

But I believe in love.
I believe in old folks.
I believe in children.
I believe in you.

I believe in love.
I believe in babies.
I believe in mom and dad.
And I believe in you.

Answer these questions about the song

“To believe” means to think it is true. In the song, Don Williams says “I don’t believe…” about many things. For example, “I don’t believe that heaven waits for only those who congregate.” Can you find more examples of things Don Williams doesn’t think are true. 

“To believe in” is different from “to believe”. Let’s look at the difference. To believe in means to (1) trust it or (2) think it’s a good idea or (3) have hope for its future.

Find an example of (1), (2), and (3).

(1)

(2)

(3)

What is organic food?

What does “I don’t believe [in] the certainty of growing old” mean?

“Right is right and left is wrong” is about politicians. Do you know of any “right” politicians? How about a “left” politician?

What does “Heaven waits for only those who congregate mean”?

a)    Only people who believe in God go to heaven

b)   Only people that go to church go to heaven

c)    Only some people go to heaven

Does he think there are more or fewer virgins these days? a) more b) fewer

Do you know who Superman is? How about Robin Hood?

What does “folks” mean?

a)    People

b)   Dogs

c)    Cars

Answer Key

“To believe” means to think it is true. In the song, Don Williams says “I don’t believe…” about many things. For example, “I don’t believe that heaven waits for only those who congregate.” Can you find more examples of things Don Williams doesn’t think are true. 

He doesn’t believe that we will certainly get old, that right is right, that left is wrong, that east is east and west is west and being first is always best, that heaven waits for only those who congregate, that virginity is as common as it used to be, that Superman and Robin Hood are still alive in Hollywood, or that gasoline’s in short supply.

“To believe in” is different from “to believe”. Let’s look at the difference. To believe in means to (1) trust it or (2) think it’s a good idea or (3) have hope for its future.

Find an example of (1), (2), and (3). Answers may be different, but for example.

(1) Mom and Dad

(2) Love

(3) Children

What is organic food? Food without chemicals added to it.

What does “I don’t believe [in] the certainty of growing old” mean? It means that we might die before we are old. (For example, maybe a bus will hit us.)

“Right is right and left is wrong” is about politicians. Do you know of any “right” politicians? How about a “left” politician? George Bush is “right”. Barack Obama is “left”.

What does “Heaven waits for only those who congregate mean”?

a)    Only people who believe in God go to heaven

b) Only people that go to church go to heaven

c)    Only some people go to heaven

Does he think there are more or fewer virgins these days? a) more b) fewer

Do you know who Superman is? How about Robin Hood? They are imaginary heroes.

What does “folks” mean?

a) People

b)   Dogs

c)    Cars

Unstressed

This lesson is part of a series of one-hour lessons that will help students improve their prosody skills. Prosody, in short, is word stress, timing, and intonation. For an introduction to the series, click here.

Name: Unstressed

Time: 1 hour

Prep Time: It depends on how much you already know about word stress. You may have to learn a little more before starting.

Materials: This Worksheet

Primary Objective: Improve Word Stress Skills

Other Benefits: Become familiar with some money expressions

Plan:

5 Minutes Review what word stress is. Explain that today, instead of focusing the stressed words, you’re going to work on noticing the unstressed words.

15 Minutes Pass out this sheet. Read the full sentences from the answer sheet. Make sure to say the missing words with minimal stress. The students should try to write the missing words. Review the answers.

20 Minutes Put the students in groups and ask them to add to the list of commonly unstressed words. Ask them to try to make groups of similar words. Demonstrate by making a list of helper verbs (e.g. have, do, etc.) on the board.

Then, each student should come to the front of the class and write one commonly unstressed word on the board. Demonstrate the groups of words by circling the prepositions, underlining the helper verbs, and putting a square around the pronouns.

Write an example sentence on the board with one word from each group.

5 Minutes Have the students practice reading the sentences on the sheets in pairs.

15 Minutes Have the students write their own sentences. They should leave out or erase the unstressed words. Finally, they should read the sentences for their partner. The partner should try to fill in the missing words.

Extension Practice reading the sentences a final time, but use physical movements to reinforce the stressed/unstressed words. For instance, have everyone stand up. When there is a stressed word, they should jump. When there is an unstressed word, they should duck.

Notes: Just because a group of words is commonly unstressed, doesn’t mean they are always unstressed. Of course, lots of prepositions, pronouns, and helper verbs are stressed sometimes. This is all just a guideline.

Ideas for Homework: Students might watch a short clip of something and rewrite the transcript. They should underline the stressed words. (For example, they might watch a video like this, open the interactive transcript on the right and choose one paragraph for them to do).

Worksheet—Unstressed Words

These words are not usually stressed

Have Are Do Is
The A Lot Not
That It This In
For Of On At

Listen to your teacher read these sentences. Use the words above and other words to complete them.

 

1.  I __________ never saved __________  __________  __________  money.

2.  Don’t __________  think that __________  too expensive?

3.  How __________ __________ usually spend __________  money?

4.  This __________ __________  good price. You should think __________  getting __________.

5.  __________ __________ usually find __________  good deal?

6.  How much __________ __________ pay __________ __________ dress?

7.  Who handles __________  money __________ __________ family?

8.  He asked __________ __________  new loan, but they denied __________.

  1. A: __________ __________ want __________ go shopping?
  2. B: No, I can’t afford __________  buy __________  more clothes.

Answers

 

1.  I have never saved a lot of money.

2.  Don’t you think that is too expensive?

3.  How do you usually spend your money?

4.  This is a good price. You should think about getting it.

5.  Do you usually find a good deal?

6.  How much did you pay for that dress?

7.  Who handles the money in your family?

8.  He asked for a new loan, but they denied him.

  1. A: Do you want to go shopping?
  2. B: No, I can’t afford to buy any more clothes.

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