ESL Lesson Plan: LC, Pair Work & Assignment for "End of the World"
I am presently updating some of my listening comprehension exercises by offering new ideas as to how to exploit them particularly worksheets for oral training in pair work. I have already offered "Honesty" and "The Iceberg Project" with written and oral worksheets. The third one is the narrative the "The End of the World is Near" based on the radio play adapted by Orson Welles in 1938 from the science-fiction novel "The War of the Worlds".
Can people even today be deceived by the media into believing what is not true
I believe this is a very topical theme today with the proliferation of messages we receive every day through the media.
This narrative (in podcasts Nos. 34 & 35) has been cut into two parts with an introduction, a continuous reading and a listen-and-repeat section for each part. There are also "opinion" questions in the recording that students can take down in dictation and prepare orally or silently after completing each part. These exercises are appropriate for all levels from A2 to C1—thus good for mixed level classes. The oral files can be used in labs, in class or as "oral" homework when students have access to computers.
Two podcasts from "Your English" on the "End of the World"
You can download them here:
- Your English No. 34 for "End of the World Part 1"
Listening comprehension fill ins + exercise:
Key for listening comprehension fill ins:
Key for exercise (teachers can flll in the key with the native language of their students):
- Your English No. 35 for "End of the World Part 2"
Listening comprehension fill ins + exercise:
Key for listening comprehension fill ins:
Key for exercise:
- If you prefer you can go to iTunes, type my name "Marianne Raynaud", and get the whole series of "Your English" including Nos. 34 & 35 free of charge.
There is a new intensive pair work "oral" worksheet/key
As many teachers have to deal with fairly large classes with 20 or more students, I thought it might be good for the students to work on the listening comprehension in pairs—after listening to the recorded version several times and having completed the fill in + exercise worksheet. This pair work activity is a different way of working on listening comprehension "orally" on top of using the gap-fill grid and the debate questions (oral/written assignment).
One recto-verso paper for part one
So after working on recording of part one to the class (playing it or reading it aloud yourself) and having the student do the fill ins and the exercise, you hand out one recto-verso paper (worksheet number one below) to each pair of students. They take turns being the "teacher", i.e. they read the text aloud (without letting their partner see the text), they do the listen-and-repeat part having their partner repeat, and then they ask the sort of questions we teachers tend to ask the whole class. The "student-teacher" gets help through the key words given on the sheet. Of course you will have even better results if you do this on day 2 after the students have learned the text by heart.
On the paper the questions to be asked by the “student teacher” are printed with some words that the “student” should be using in the answer (given in parentheses). Again the “student teacher” is instructed not to show the paper to his to her partner.
The teacher will have to walk around to see and hear whether the students are speaking correctly, but I can assure you they will all be active and they will enjoy this activity much more than having the teacher put the questions to the whole class and answering one after another.
A short list of debate questions
There is an additional page (below), which the teacher should not print out or give to the students. It a page of advice. It also has the short list of debate questions found at the end of the recording (Podcast 34) that the teacher can write on the board or project to the class. I strongly suggest that before discussing these questions in pair work the students should change partners. These activities (reading, easy questions and then debate questions) should take about 30 minutes after which the teacher may decide to open up the discussion to the whole class—in that case please look at my suggestions on the "Questions for Debate" page.
The assignment after the first session should be to learn that second part by heart. It can also be to write 150 words on one of the debate questions, and be ready to talk about their opinions in class without referring to their papers.
Part 2 of "End of the World" on a different day
Personally, I think it is advisable to do "End of the World Pt 2" on a different day. The students should first be asked to memorize part one and be ready to recite it to a partner at the next session. If they seem reluctant, tell them that this narrative is full of exactly the type of expressions that are on international tests and that they will be reciting to a partner and not in front of the whole class. That should reassure and motivate them. I would like to point out that all the verbs in part one are in the simple present (giving opinions and information) and all the verbs in part two are in the simple past (telling what happened). So this narrative provides practice with useful structures and important tenses.
One recto-verso paper for part two & debate questions
During the second class you put the students in pairs. First they recite part one to each other—very important. Second they listen to the recording of part two (or you read it aloud yourself) and they complete the gap-fill exercise. Then you give out the oral worksheet for part two (below), and they start the different exercises leading up the debate questions that you project or write on the board. It is best to ask the students to change partners for this second pair work activity.
For a debate on a controversial subject with advanced students:
Groups of three or four to "talk" about their essays
At the end of the second session instead of having a whole class discussion this time you can ask the students to get up, form different groups of three or four, and (while they are standing) talk about what they said to their partners concerning the debate questions.
The assignment after the second session should be to learn that second part by heart. It can also be to write 150 words on one of the debate questions. This can be a graded written assignment. In that case it is best to correct it, give it back and have the students speak the following week about their opinions based on the essays THEY have corrected and reprinted.
Students with great mastery of English
Students who are near fluent or at least speak well may well take to this list of controversial issues. These are ideas that the medias have tried to make us believe. Students may come up with similar issues affecting their own countries.
Print out with issues:
Great success with this theme
I have always had great success with this theme of "how the medias influence our ideas and behavior", which today seems just as valid and up-to-date as in the past. With the lesson plan mentioned above all the students will be participating actively and will wind up expressing their ideas far more than when the teacher asks them to answer a factual question or to express their personal opinion (unprepared) in front of everyone else.
I’d love some feedback
I would really enjoy getting some feedback from teachers using these podcasts and worksheets. Just write to Marianne Raynaud. You can also contact me if you have any questions.
All the files on this page available in MS Word
All the files mentioned on this page are available in MS Word in my digital book, which is much more than an e-book. If you purchase this digital book QualityTime-ESL: The Digital Resource Book on a DVD (which includes the video documents), you will get all the recordings, scripts and worksheets of our different series plus 1,300 other files (MS Word, MP3, PPT and video). To purchase it for €29 plus shipping, just go to the store.There is now a lighter downloadable version—without videos and with most but not all of the materials associated with the podcasts..
With the MS DOC files you’ll be able to customize the worksheets, i.e. add vocabulary in your students’ native language, additional explanations or instructions like the due date of the essay assignment. Teachers who buy the book say they are overwhelmed by the quantity of excellent materials. In fact there are 1,500 different files, and that’s why it is on a DVD. There is a lighter version available—without the videos showing students performing in class or doing pair work/ group work. Most of the other files are on the lighter version too.