As teachers in the Israeli school system we need to assist our students to finish high school with knowledge of approximately 5,200 lexical items in English. According to Professor Batia Laufer, without massive input there will be low word gains. Furthermore, the input needs to be at the right level, and properly spaced.
I created this speaking lesson for my 10th grade ‘Keep Talking’ class, based on Laufer’s assertion that we need to ‘activate’ our students’ passive vocabulary. Firstly, I asked my students to recall the meaning of some lexical items previously taught. I presented the words in English, and asked students to recall and translate the words into L1 (receptive skill), and then use some of the words (productive skill), to complete the given tasks, based on picture prompts.
You can see an example of one pair’s work below, and then listen to an excerpt of their ‘Pair and Share’ activity, in order to see how engaged my students were.
If you get a chance to do this activity with your students, I’d love to hear about it.
As I continue to work with my 10th grade students in the new ‘Keep Talking’ programme, I have created two lesson plans to supplement the approved speaking booklets. The lessons may be used to supplement the travel units, in each of the books, or as a standalone ‘speaking’ unit. The lesson plans are aimed at students from both intermediate and proficiency levels (CEFR levels A2/B1 – C1). I have provided suggested times, however, the lessons may need more or less time depending on the class. My overarching objective in this course is to get the students speaking in pairs and small groups, and to make sure they both increase their lexis and their confidence, in a fun and engaging learning environment.
Speaking is the most challenging of the four skills to teach in large heterogeneous classes. As speaking is interactive and demands an almost instant response, the pressure to ‘perform’ is often overwhelming for students.
With this in mind I created a fun lesson plan based on the famous song ‘It’s Friday I’m in Love’ by The Cure. Not one of my 10th grade students knew the song but they all quickly ‘fell in love’ with it.
My aim was to get the students speaking and using the lexical chunks from the song. However, to my amazement they quickly began singing the song, and asked me to play it again and again.