I have to admit to being a great fan of ‘The Big Bang Theory’, watching the endless reruns on Spanish cable TV and still laughing at the gags. So I linked this love with a post I read recently by TEFLgeek about practising reported speech and hit upon this variant for practising reported speech.
The exercise hinges on the fact that one of the characters in ‘The Big Bang Theory’, Raj, is completely incapable of speaking with women. Whenever he wants to speak to a woman, he whispers what he wants to say into his friend, Howard’s ear. Interesting, Howard rarely reports what Raj actually says, often answering Raj or commenting on what he has said instead. At other times, he says nothing, or makes a strange whining noise.
The exercise has two parts. In the first part, students are shown clips of Raj attempting to communicate with women. In pairs, they then decide what Raj actually wanted to say, and report it to the class, using the reported speech structures they know. Here is an example clip that you can use.
After they have practised with a few clips, move on to the second phase of the exercise. Here, students prepare a statement or question which they want to express, and in pairs either mime what they want to say or have one whisper to his / her partner and the partner react as Howard reacts. Other teams then have to guess what the pair want to say and reproduce it in reported speech.
I hope you have a lot of fun with this activity in class.
Speaking activities (page)
Speaking activity: Mission Impossible!
Speaking activity: Would I lie to you?
Speaking activity: Jigsaw dictations
I’ve just got back from my first IATEFL Conference, in Harrogate, still feeling elated from the buzz that such big conferences always produce. It’s been great to meet up with so many people I’ve only seen online before, and make new friends. It’s also been great to attend so many fantastic talks and workshops.
I’d like to thank everyone who came along to my session on exploiting video in the classroom. As promised, here is the link to the powerpoint of my presentation. The video clips used are in the same folder, just in case the links in the presentation don’t work. I hope you find it useful.
Write-ups for some of the activities included in the session can be found in the following posts:
Dubbing exercise (Armstrong and Miller RAF Pilots)
Video listening comprehension
Real Beauty – Film English
How to … use video in the classroom
So the Christmas holidays are fading from memory already, but before we start to look ahead and plan the new term, I usually take a moment in class to let my students talk about what they did in the holidays, and about their Christmas presents. There are different activities which can be used to do this. Sometimes I use ‘Speed Dating‘, particularly with older groups, but this year I have used the activity ‘Would I Lie to You?’.
In this activity, I start by asking students to write down one thing they did during the holidays, one place they went and one Christmas present they received. Two of these pieces of information should be true, and one false. I give the a little time to recall all the details surrounding each of these bits of information. When they are ready, the studetns take turns to come to the front of the class, write their three bits of information on the board and answer questions on them from their fellow students. The other students are encouraged to ask open questions in order to get as much detail from their classmate as possible, hopefully causing him / her to make a mistake when talking about the piece of information which is false.
Once the students have asked their questions, have them vote on each piece of information. Make sure they only vote ‘False’ for one of the three. So that all the votes are cast at the same time, I have them write ‘TRUE’ on one side of a piece of paper and ‘FALSE’ on the other side, so that they can register their votes without speaking, and simultaneously.
For less able classes, I use a variant of this game where they simply name three Christmas presents they received, and the others try to find out which one is false.
I’ve just got back from Rome where I attended the 38th National TESOL Italy Conference. This was my first time in this conference, and I am very grateful to the organisers for allowing me to take part.
I’ll write in more detail about my impressions on the talks I attended later, but I wanted to get a link to my presentation here as soon as possible. You can access the powerpoint here, and I hope that the video clips work within the powerpoint in this version. If they don’t, a copy of each clip can be found in the accompanying folder. For written descriptions of the activities, you can visit my post ‘How to … exploit video in class‘, ‘Armstrong and Miller – RAF Pilots‘, ‘Video Listening Comprehension‘ or ‘Real Beauty‘.
I didn’t mention this in the presentation, but with younger students I use ‘The Curse of the Were-rabbit’ rather than the clip we saw from ‘Love Actually’. Students are asked to identify references to rabbits or to vegetables.
A big thank you to everyone who attended this talk (including to my youngest ever participant – thanks for your impeccable behaviour!). I hope you found the ideas useful.
Tomorrow evening I will be flying out to Rome, ready to take part in the 2013 TESOL Italy National Convention, at the Polo Didattico, Piaza Oderico de Pordenone, 3. This will be my first time attending this conference and I am very much looking forward to it. The talks and workshops look very interesting (session abstracts here), and it is always a great experience to meet fellow professionals from other countries. I will be speaking about using video in the classroom on Friday morning, at 10:15. So this weekend, you’ll find me ‘Englishing’ in the Eternal City. Hope to see you there!