Topic: Secondary

Sub-topics

Relevant for Secondary School teachers and students.

Formal and informal: Activity

working with register variation

The concept of register is about the idea of appropriate language, which is shaped by context. Thinking about context is a fundamental part of language analysis, and is a useful 'way in' to exploring language choices and meanings. 

Being able to vary your register is an important skill.

In this activity we will start by looking at two real letters. One of them is a personal letter and the other a business letter. You can download them, or read through them here:

Information structuring

In this activity, students will be asked to find different ways to express a similar meaning. You may be surprised at just how many different ways you can find! The activity is based on an idea from Max Morenberg’s book Doing Grammar (3rd edition, Oxford University Press, 2002).

Information structuring: Activity

  • Sally was late. It annoyed the boss.

  • Sally was late and it annoyed the boss.
  • It annoyed the boss that Sally was late.
  • Sally’s lateness annoyed the boss.

Language and context

Sometimes great humour is born from taking language out of context. This lesson explores that fact with some examples, and asks students to think of some of their own.

Morphology - an introduction

In this lesson, students explore word morphology. Morphology is an area of language study concerned with how words are formed. While syntax is about the larger structures formed when words are put together, morphology is about the structure within words.

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. 

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.

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:

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