Topic: Lessons

Classroom lesson plans and interactive smart board activities.

Nonfinite clauses in literature

In this activity, students look at how nonfinite clauses might be used in their own writing and that of others to vary the structure of a text. On one level, this is about creating something that people like to read: something that is interesting, varied and engaging and designed to hook the reader or suit the style you are hoping to adopt. On another level, it’s about students showing teachers and examiners that they know about different forms and can use them in their writing.

Noun endings

Exploring suffixes and how they affect word class

In this activity we will look at suffixes which change verbs and adjectives into nouns. This process is a part of derivational morphology

Noun identification

In this activity, students work through the criteria for identifying nouns.

Noun identification: Activity 1

Which words do you think are nouns?

Noun identification: Activity 2

I'll see you on Thursday.

Is Thursday a noun?

  • Does it represent a person, place, thing or idea?
  • Can it be singular or plural? Can you say one ___ and two ___s?
  • Can it be possessive? Can you add 's or ' at the end?
  • Can it follow the or a?
  • Can it be replaced with a pronoun like it, he, she, or they?

Noun phrase generator

Students can generate noun phrases using a quick and easy smartboard tool.

Goals

  • Create some new noun phrases.
  • Examine what can and can't happen in noun phrases.
  • Evaluate example noun phrases, looking at why they do or don't work.

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will be generating noun phrases. 

Noun phrase generator: Activity

Use the interactive whiteboard to generate weird and wonderful noun phrases. 

Noun phrases in descriptive writing

Goals

  • To explore the role of noun phrases in descriptive writing.
  • To consider how noun phrases can have ‘descriptive weight’.
  • For students to apply this in their own writing.

Begin by asking your asks students to discuss what ‘things’ are in this description:

In my room, there is an enormous swimming pool, and underneath one of the big windows there is an ice-cream machine.

Nouns and only nouns

Students are asked to communicate using a bank of nouns - and nothing else.

Goals

  • Communicate with a partner using only nouns.
  • Discuss what can and can't be easily expressed using only nouns.
  • Determine which other types of words are useful for expressing complex ideas.

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that this activity will involve you trying to express progressively more complicated concepts and actions to a partner using only these words, your own body language and imagination.

Orientating a scene: prepositions in travel guides

Goals

  • To understand how prepositions construct meaning in a non-fiction text.
  • For students to apply this to their own writing.

What and how do prepositions mean?

Begin by showing your class a list of prepositions (or - even better - ask them to generate the list themselves). Display the list on the board, and ask: what do prepositions do and how do they do it? The discussion should arrive at the following conclusions:

Passives with 'get'

Goals

  • Identify the difference between a get-passive and a standard passive.
  • Describe some of the differences between get-passives and standard passives in terms of grammar, semantics, and pragmatics.

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will look at passives.

First, let's briefly review our understanding of actives, and of passives and get-passives. 

Passives with 'get': Activity

Uncle Ahmed was bitten by the snake.
Uncle Ahmed got bitten by the snake.

A large house was demolished on Westmoreland Hill.
A large house got demolished on Westmoreland Hill.

These temples were abandoned in medieval times.
These temples got abandoned in medieval times.

Past participles in composition

This activity involves working with nonfinite clauses to do some sentence-splitting and sentence-joining. The purpose is to develop your awareness of the different kinds of structures that are available to you as a writer.

Past participles in composition: Activity 1

His report, published yesterday, demands fundamental changes in the way safety is regulated in the North Sea. →

His report was published yesterday. It demands fundamental changes in the way safety is regulated in the North Sea.

Invented in the late sixties, the melotron used a complicated system of loop tape recordings to achieve an effect similar to sampling. →

Past participles in composition: Activity 2

Beckett’s early work was written in English over the period from 1929 to 1938. It seems restless, nomadic. →

Written in English over the period from 1929 to 1938, Beckett’s early work seems restless, nomadic.

The electromagnetic bell was patented in 1878 by Thomas Watson. It is rugged, reliable and loud enough to be heard from some appreciable distance. →

Phonetics and phonology - Consonants

Consonants

Consonants are produced by pushing air up from the lungs and out through the mouth and/or nose. Airflow is disrupted by obstructions made by various combinations of vocal articulator movements, so that audible friction is produced. 

They are described in terms of (1) voicing, (2) place of articulation and (3) manner of articulation.

Phonetics and phonology - Introduction

A series of activities and content for exploring the sounds of English

Goals

  • Understand the difference between phonetics and phonology
  • Explore the ways that we can write sounds down, using the phonetic alphabet
  • Apply this knowledge to a text and consider some of the stylistic effects of sound choices

Lesson Plan

This lesson plan is split into sections, and includes enough material for around 3 hours of teaching: (1) a starter activity (group discussion); (2) an explanation of phonetics and phonology; (3) vowels; (4) consonants; (5) a transcripti

Phonetics and phonology - Starter

Group discussion questions

You could start the lesson by asking students questions such as:

 

Phonetics and phonology - Terminology

What do phoneticians and phonologists do?

Phonetics and phonology are the branches of linguistics that deals with speech sounds. This broad ranging definition is indicative of the broad type of work that phoneticians/phonologists do:

Phonetics and phonology - The sounds of poetry

Looking at the importance of sound in a literary text

Sound patterns in poetry

Here are two extracts from the poem Digging by Seamus Heaney. In the poem, a son talks openly about his perceived failures in following in his father's footsteps, namely because of his lack of skill with a spade and as a farmer.

Read them out loud:

Under my window, a clean rasping sound   
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:   
My father, digging. I look down 

Phonetics and phonology - Transcribing spoken language

Transcribing sounds

In this activity, you'll be using your knowledge of articulatory phonetics to transcribe spoken language. To do so, you'll be using the phonetic alphabet - a system designed by linguists to represent speech sounds on the page.

Phonetics and phonology - Vowels

In the starter activity, we asked the question 'How can we write down speech sounds? For example, how can we capture the difference between a northern British accent saying bath and a southern British accent saying bath?

Phrases: coordination

In this activity, students look at phrases conjoined by coordinating conjunctions.

Goals

  • Identify different types of phrases which have been conjoined with coordinating conjunctions.
  • Consider the effect of conjoining more than one phrase.
  • Consider the effect of omitting coordinating conjunctions.

Lesson plan

Click on the interactive whiteboard icon (top right) and work through the following slides with students.

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