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Worksheet Wednesday: Passive Voice with Ratatouille

ratatouilleEveryone loves the Disney/Pixar movie Ratatouille, right? Who wouldn’t want to follow the adventures of a precocious rat running around a Michelin star restaurant?

Inspired by an exercise on the always-useful Movie Segments to Assess Grammar Goals blog, I made these pages for my Intermediate level classes to accompany a short clip from the popular film. The objective is to get the students more comfortable with passive voice. In this lesson, I assume the students have already been introduced to the grammar structure. A typical ~45 minute lesson plan exploiting this worksheet would go something like this:

Warm-up: small group/partner discussion – Do you like to cook? What can you cook by yourself? etc  Or questions about dining out, like “What’s the fanciest restaurant you’ve been to?” or the like. “What would you do if you saw a mouse or rat in a restaurant?”
Then ask if they’ve seen Ratatouille. You can show the poster of the movie or a still from it to jog their memory. See if they can summarize the film or give a rough outline of its plot.

Watch the clip. It’s 3 minutes long. You can download the clip here. You can have them take notes on part A of the worksheet if you like.

Have the students recount what happened in the clip. Make sure they know who the three characters are (Remy, Colete, and Linguini). Some concept check questions will help make sure they can do the rest of the exercises.

Then, you can have them do either exercise B or C, depending on whether they’ve had an introduction to passive voice already or not. If not, starting with part C might be better, with some instruction on how to form the passive voice first. If they have, then B can be enough, with C as some extra practice for reinforcement.

A wrap-up discussion can be done next, with similar questions from the warm-up, but guide them to use passive voice. You can give them a topic like “Describe the last time you ate out.” and model an example with passive voice. “My friends and I went to Tony’s Italian. Spaghetti was served. The dish was prepared without cheese. … ” Concept check questions using passive voice can be used to steer them in the right direction.

There you have it. Let me know if you use this, and tell me how it goes!

Download the worksheet and answer key:

passive voice – ratatouille

passive voice – ratatouille AK

Ratatouille video clip

 

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The Scarecrow: Lesson on Relative Clauses

On Wednesdays, I (often) share a worksheet or lesson that I’ve used in my ESL classes. You are always free to use and modify these as you like. If you do, please include attribution to me and don’t even think about selling it. This week, the worksheet was designed for intermediate (B2+/C1) students.

scarecrowOne of the objectives slated for this week was a review of relative clauses ahead of teaching reduced relative clauses. This seemed like a great opportunity to put some of my ICELT training to the test, and to incorporate material from a great workshop on using speechless video in class given by my colleague Kendra last year. The video I chose for this lesson was a very well-made piece called The Scarecrow from, of all things, Chipolte. But don’t worry, there’s no advertising in the video. It features great visuals and a lot to discuss.

organic-sticker-19324676This lesson can be used to review relative clauses, if you follow my worksheet. But, it can also work for any number of other skills and language. The lesson starts with a vocabulary elicitation exercise; students generate some useful words based on several pictures. Then they discuss a few questions to warm them up and activate schemata. Then they predict what the video might be about. While they watch the video, they are encouraged to take notes, using a prepared note-taking box with space for characters, settings, things, events, and notes. After watching, they check their predictions (we learned in our ICELT class that most teachers cultivateforget or just skip this step, so don’t do that!). Then they are asked to write a brief summary using their notes, which I had them do with their partners. From that, we move into a few comprehension questions, but the questions are actually nudging them into the real objective: relative clauses. Each of the questions is written as a relative clause, which many of my students didn’t notice until I asked them what the sentences had in common.

crowThen there is an exercise centered around identifying the relative clause and its components. That’s followed by an error-correction exercise and then a return to the summary they wrote earlier, which they will rewrite using relative clauses.

That was all the time I had for my lesson, but if I had more, I would have included a speaking activity, where the students would write their own questions and quiz each other, all the while using relative clauses. With even more time, I would have loved to have used this for a group discussion activity, since we just set the group discussion assessment criteria and tasks in my class. C’est la vie.

As I said, you could easily re-work this lesson to cover many other grammar topics or receptive/productive skills. The video could easily lead into a group discussion lesson, debate, essay writing, surveys and presentations, and much more.

Download the worksheet:  the scarecrow – relative clauses

Have fun!

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Creative Commons License
The Scarecrow: Relative Clauses by Chris Sanders is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Worksheet Wednesday: Taboo

For this week’s Worksheet Wednesday, I’m not sharing a worksheet. See you later, folks.

taboocardI kid, I kid. But really, there’s no worksheet. Rather, I want to talk about a fun technique I use periodically to review vocabulary. Maybe you’ve played the excellent party game Taboo, the fast-paced word guessing game. A quick primer on the rules: two teams compete to guess the most number of words from the game cards. Each round, one member of a team has 90 seconds to describe the target word at the top of a Taboo card to her team while avoiding the ‘taboo’ words on the card. If the team guesses the word, they get a point. If the current ‘it’ member passes on a card or says one of the taboo words, then the other team gets a point. All the while, a member of the other team watches the ‘it’ to make sure they don’t say one of the taboo words. Hilarity ensues.

taboosheet
One of my vocabulary Taboo sheets for an intermediate class.

For my classes, I typically make a Word doc. with 9 text bordered text boxes aligned on it. In each, I’ll put the target vocabulary in a smaller box (or just underlined) at the top, then 4 forbidden taboo words under it. I’ll also include a number of fun words, like Gandalf or banana.

For struggling classes, I’ll change the rules a bit a let them use the taboo words as suggested clues. This lets the teams get more points from actually guessing the words instead of from the other team passing.

When I have large classes, I like to make 4 teams, pair 2 teams together, and give each of the 2 pairs a set of my Taboo cards. I’ll let them keep track of the time and points and float between the games, chiding them for L1 use or maybe whispering clues to a team that is falling far behind.

If you don’t feel like making your own cards, you can easily use the real game. You’ll need to weed out irrelevant cards; Taboo always has a lot of pop culture references that won’t resonate internationally.

Enjoy!

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