Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night

Gunpowder Plot

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Sandwiched between the overwhelming popularity of Halloween and all-American Thanksgiving, on November, 5th there is a festival that, in recent years, has gained its lost popularity. Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes’ Night is one of those celebrations that are not rooted in everyday activities or seasonal changes, but in the historical events that took place in the 17th century and whose main character, Guy Fawkes, has become the icon for many who fight the political power (see “V for Vendetta” or the masks of the members of Anonymous).

For those who, like us, enjoy introducing their students to the culture of the target language, here go a couple of links with materials for the classroom. If you are teaching beginners or basic levels, Activity Village (http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/guy-fawkes) has a good range of basic exercises to practice vocabulary.

In case you need something more elaborate for intermediate students, the kibishiaul.com blog (http://kibishipaul.com/blog1/2006/11/05/lesson-16-bonfire-night-video/) has a video lesson with an on-line quiz. Also, for this level, we have the material from Remember Remember (http://www.remember-remember.com/schools/teaching.php#literacy) especially the punctuation activities.

Finally, there is a more humorous BBC video documentary hosted by Nick Knowles that could be a good entertaining and inspiring resource for more advanced students. In this case we have not found any activities, although we suggest students could write a short article on the events described.

If you know of any more materials that could complete this post, please write a comment. We appreciate your collaboration.

What’s the most beautiful city you’ve ever been to?

This is a quick activity to revise the structure presented in the title of this post as a warmer o filler.

LEVEL: pre-intermediate

CONTENTS: superlative + present perfect + ever

TIME: 15 minutes

SKILLS: speaking

Procedure:

Revise the structure with your students elliciting some examples from them, practising questions and answers. Give each student one card and ask them to walk around the classroom asking the question they have to their classmates.

You can download the cards here.

Simple past vs Present Perfect

This activity is thought as a revision warmer for preintermediate students. It’s meant to be short and dynamic. Other activities like this one involve the students filling gaps and deciding which tense they have to use, but this is not the case. These sentences contain information which is especially “local” for the Canary Islands (carnival, beach), so feel free to change anything if you wish.

Level: Pre-intermediate

Contents: past simple vs. present perfect

Skills: speaking, reading

Time: 15 minutes

STEP 1: Revise with your students the differences between these two tenses orally, asking them to give examples.

STEP 2: Explain to them that they are going to read some sentences and will have to “find someone who” among their classmates. Encourage them to ask some follow up questions using the first example:

       Find someone who got ill during carnival.

Follow up: “What happened to you? Did you go to the doctor?”

Searching articles by level on Google

I’m sure you all know Google is an awesome tool and both teachers and students can find lots of utilities among their services: Google search, images, videos, blogger, maps, drive, docs, etc.

Today we are presenting a way to search texts by their reading level. The tool is not 100% efficient, but can help. Just follow the steps on the image and you’ll find texts adapted to the level you are looking for.

This is an example of what you can get if you search for “carrot cake”:

Elementary:  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/carrot-cake-iii/
Intermediate: http://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/recipe-makeovers/healthy-carrot-cake-recipe-makeover-00412000070625/
Advanced: http://www.goodkarmafoods.com/organic-rice-divine-carrot-cake

This post is an adaptation from this one, http://wp.me/pkMQs-115

Lyricsgaps.com

Just a quick post so that I don’t forget that this wonderful site exists 😉

I haven’t used it yet, but sounds promising. It contains gapfill activities based on songs in different languages. It also offers the possibility to create song-based activities for teachers.

And that was it 😉

The Artistifier

Cristina Monti has shared this useful tool with us in our facebook group:

The recent success of the film ‘The Artist‘ seems to have created a lot of interest in silent black and white movies again. These kinds of movies are great for using with students: now you can create your own B&W silent movies using The Artistifier and any clip that you can find on YouTube.

I’ve tried it myself and the results are spectacular. Here you can see a little example of what you can do.

In class I think you can use The Artistifier in many different ways. I’m thinking of showing the site to my students and tell them how it works and ask them to create their own video.

Our mate Iván Conte suggests we can work on body language with it, and thinks this tool can be useful with elementary students.

If you have any other suggestion, please leave your ideas in the comments section, we are eager to see what else we can do.

Learning Chocolate

Learning Chocolate (http://www.learningchocolate.com) is a website full of games to learn English, Japanese, Mandarin or Spanish vocabulary in an easy, fun way that really works. The exercises use pictures, sounds and games to make learning a new language as fun as (they report) enjoying a piece of chocolate!

Games typically involve matching and/or spelling. Students can choose from a range of topics, and it suits best basic/intermediate levels. It can be used either in class or as independent study or revision.

See also: http://www.digitaldialects.com/English.htm