Stuart Mill English

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Timing Lesson Plan

This lesson is part of a series of one-hour lessons that will help students improve their prosody skills. Prosody, in short, is word stress, timing, and intonation. For an introduction to the series, click here.

Name: I believe in Timing

Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Prep Time: Just enough time to understand timing and print the worksheets.

Materials: This worksheet, and this worksheet too. (These are pdfs. If you want to change them, or you can’t download them for some reason, just copy and paste the text at the bottom of the post.)

Primary Objective: Improve Timing Skills

Other Benefits: Have fun singing a nice, slow song. Understand the different ways to use the word “believe”.

Plan:

5 Minutes Listen to “I Believe in You” by Don Williams.

10 Minutes Explain the concept of timing. Go here for more information on how to do this.

10 Minutes Complete this worksheet.  Students should choose which timing you’re using. You can read them out loud to the students. Or you can just play this track.


B didn’t like the movie.

It was…interesting.

Slowly, and slowly.

I waaaaant to go hoooooome.

Yes, No.

I loooove you.

I-love-you-too.

20 Minutes Pass out this worksheet. Students should read the song lyrics and answer the comprehension questions.

10 Minutes Read the song together. Students should listen and repeat each line. Note that the words are timed differently in order to create a steady rhythm. For instance, “mom and dad” and “you” should be said in the same amount of time.

20 Minutes Listen to the song four times. The first two times, just listen. The third time, students should quietly say the words while the song plays. The final time, everyone should sing along.

Extension: Have the students write an extra verse to the song.

Materials

Worksheet—Timing

Listen to these sentences. Answer the questions below.

 

–1–

A: How was the movie?

B: It was interesting.

Did B like the movie? YES NO

–2–

A: I want to go home.

Does A say “home” quickly or slowly?

Does A say “want” quickly or slowly?

–3–

A: I love you.

B: I love you too.

Does A love B?        YES     NO

Does B love A?        YES     NO

Read these sentences to your partner. Your partner should choose if you use short or long timing for the underlined words.

  1. I love football.
  2. Could you please call me on Saturday?
  3. She’s never worn those boots before.
  4. Tokyo was a…great city.
  5. Are we there yet?

Worksheet—Don Williams “I Believe”

Read the lyrics for the song “I Believe” by Don Williams

I don’t believe in superstars,
organic food and foreign cars.
I don’t believe the price of gold;
the certainty of growing old,
that right is right and left is wrong,
that north and south can’t get along,
that east is east and west is west,
and being first is always best. 

But I believe in love.
I believe in babies.
I believe in mom and dad.
And I believe in you.

Well, I don’t believe that heaven waits,
for only those who congregate.
I like to think of God as love:
He’s down below, He’s up above.
He’s watching people everywhere.
He knows who does and doesn’t care.
And I’m an ordinary man.
Sometimes I wonder who I am.

But I believe in love.
I believe in music.
I believe in magic.
And I believe in you.

Well, I know with all my certainty,
what’s going on with you and me,
is a good thing.
It’s true, I believe in you. 

I don’t believe virginity
is as common as it used to be,
in working days and sleeping nights,
that black is black and white is white,
that Superman and Robin Hood
are still alive in Hollywood,
that gasoline’s in short supply,
the rising cost of getting by.

But I believe in love.
I believe in old folks.
I believe in children.
I believe in you.

I believe in love.
I believe in babies.
I believe in mom and dad.
And I believe in you.

Answer these questions about the song

“To believe” means to think it is true. In the song, Don Williams says “I don’t believe…” about many things. For example, “I don’t believe that heaven waits for only those who congregate.” Can you find more examples of things Don Williams doesn’t think are true. 

“To believe in” is different from “to believe”. Let’s look at the difference. To believe in means to (1) trust it or (2) think it’s a good idea or (3) have hope for its future.

Find an example of (1), (2), and (3).

(1)

(2)

(3)

What is organic food?

What does “I don’t believe [in] the certainty of growing old” mean?

“Right is right and left is wrong” is about politicians. Do you know of any “right” politicians? How about a “left” politician?

What does “Heaven waits for only those who congregate mean”?

a)    Only people who believe in God go to heaven

b)   Only people that go to church go to heaven

c)    Only some people go to heaven

Does he think there are more or fewer virgins these days? a) more b) fewer

Do you know who Superman is? How about Robin Hood?

What does “folks” mean?

a)    People

b)   Dogs

c)    Cars

Answer Key

“To believe” means to think it is true. In the song, Don Williams says “I don’t believe…” about many things. For example, “I don’t believe that heaven waits for only those who congregate.” Can you find more examples of things Don Williams doesn’t think are true. 

He doesn’t believe that we will certainly get old, that right is right, that left is wrong, that east is east and west is west and being first is always best, that heaven waits for only those who congregate, that virginity is as common as it used to be, that Superman and Robin Hood are still alive in Hollywood, or that gasoline’s in short supply.

“To believe in” is different from “to believe”. Let’s look at the difference. To believe in means to (1) trust it or (2) think it’s a good idea or (3) have hope for its future.

Find an example of (1), (2), and (3). Answers may be different, but for example.

(1) Mom and Dad

(2) Love

(3) Children

What is organic food? Food without chemicals added to it.

What does “I don’t believe [in] the certainty of growing old” mean? It means that we might die before we are old. (For example, maybe a bus will hit us.)

“Right is right and left is wrong” is about politicians. Do you know of any “right” politicians? How about a “left” politician? George Bush is “right”. Barack Obama is “left”.

What does “Heaven waits for only those who congregate mean”?

a)    Only people who believe in God go to heaven

b) Only people that go to church go to heaven

c)    Only some people go to heaven

Does he think there are more or fewer virgins these days? a) more b) fewer

Do you know who Superman is? How about Robin Hood? They are imaginary heroes.

What does “folks” mean?

a) People

b)   Dogs

c)    Cars

March 30, 2011 Posted by | Lesson Plans, Word Stress, Timing, and Intonation (Prosody) Lesson Plans | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unstressed

This lesson is part of a series of one-hour lessons that will help students improve their prosody skills. Prosody, in short, is word stress, timing, and intonation. For an introduction to the series, click here.

Name: Unstressed

Time: 1 hour

Prep Time: It depends on how much you already know about word stress. You may have to learn a little more before starting.

Materials: This Worksheet

Primary Objective: Improve Word Stress Skills

Other Benefits: Become familiar with some money expressions

Plan:

5 Minutes Review what word stress is. Explain that today, instead of focusing the stressed words, you’re going to work on noticing the unstressed words.

15 Minutes Pass out this sheet. Read the full sentences from the answer sheet. Make sure to say the missing words with minimal stress. The students should try to write the missing words. Review the answers.

20 Minutes Put the students in groups and ask them to add to the list of commonly unstressed words. Ask them to try to make groups of similar words. Demonstrate by making a list of helper verbs (e.g. have, do, etc.) on the board.

Then, each student should come to the front of the class and write one commonly unstressed word on the board. Demonstrate the groups of words by circling the prepositions, underlining the helper verbs, and putting a square around the pronouns.

Write an example sentence on the board with one word from each group.

5 Minutes Have the students practice reading the sentences on the sheets in pairs.

15 Minutes Have the students write their own sentences. They should leave out or erase the unstressed words. Finally, they should read the sentences for their partner. The partner should try to fill in the missing words.

Extension Practice reading the sentences a final time, but use physical movements to reinforce the stressed/unstressed words. For instance, have everyone stand up. When there is a stressed word, they should jump. When there is an unstressed word, they should duck.

Notes: Just because a group of words is commonly unstressed, doesn’t mean they are always unstressed. Of course, lots of prepositions, pronouns, and helper verbs are stressed sometimes. This is all just a guideline.

Ideas for Homework: Students might watch a short clip of something and rewrite the transcript. They should underline the stressed words. (For example, they might watch a video like this, open the interactive transcript on the right and choose one paragraph for them to do).

Worksheet—Unstressed Words

These words are not usually stressed

Have Are Do Is
The A Lot Not
That It This In
For Of On At

Listen to your teacher read these sentences. Use the words above and other words to complete them.

 

1.  I __________ never saved __________  __________  __________  money.

2.  Don’t __________  think that __________  too expensive?

3.  How __________ __________ usually spend __________  money?

4.  This __________ __________  good price. You should think __________  getting __________.

5.  __________ __________ usually find __________  good deal?

6.  How much __________ __________ pay __________ __________ dress?

7.  Who handles __________  money __________ __________ family?

8.  He asked __________ __________  new loan, but they denied __________.

  1. A: __________ __________ want __________ go shopping?
  2. B: No, I can’t afford __________  buy __________  more clothes.

Answers

 

1.  I have never saved a lot of money.

2.  Don’t you think that is too expensive?

3.  How do you usually spend your money?

4.  This is a good price. You should think about getting it.

5.  Do you usually find a good deal?

6.  How much did you pay for that dress?

7.  Who handles the money in your family?

8.  He asked for a new loan, but they denied him.

  1. A: Do you want to go shopping?
  2. B: No, I can’t afford to buy any more clothes.

November 1, 2010 Posted by | Lesson Plans, Word Stress, Timing, and Intonation (Prosody) Lesson Plans | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Word Bubbles

This lesson is part of a series of one-hour lessons that will help students improve their prosody skills. Prosody, in short, is word stress, timing, and intonation. For an introduction to the series, click here.

Name: Word Bubbles

Time: 1 hour

Prep Time: None

Materials: These Worksheets

Primary Objective: Improve word stress skills

Other Benefits: Discuss sports

Plan:

Introduce the concept (5 minutes) On the board, write three sentences with circles above each word. Bigger circles mean more stress. Read them with the students.

(Note: It’s difficult to change the font in this blog, so in place of circles, you’ll see letters here. S=Small, M=Medium, B=Big. On the worksheets, you’ll see circles (bubbles) instead.)

S     B    M   S

I   love football.

S       B  M  S

She’s so stupid.

M  S       S      M      M

I don’t think that’s true.

Practice as a class (25 minutes) Pass out the first page of these worksheets. Students should listen to you read the sentences and make circles above the syllables depending on how much stress the syllable needs. More stress means a bigger circle.

Then, pass out another worksheet with suggested answers and practice reading the sentences together.

Practice in Pairs (20 minutes) Pass out the third worksheet to half the class with similar but slightly different sentences.

Pass out the fourth worksheet to the other half of the class.

Students should complete the worksheet in pairs, with one student reading and the other making circles above their words.

Then they should practice reading them in pairs.

Finally, practice reading them as a class.

On their own (10 Minutes) Now, ask students to write a couple sentences on their own and make their own circles above the words. They should practice reading these in pairs as well.

Extension: Instead of just writing a few sentences, students might write whole dialogues and note the word stress throughout.

Ideas for Homework: Tell the students to choose a song they enjoy, find the lyrics, and create stress markings for them.

October 20, 2010 Posted by | Lesson Plans, Word Stress, Timing, and Intonation (Prosody) Lesson Plans | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hands over Mouths

This is part of a series of lesson plans on word stress, timing, and intonation. Click here to read a short introduction.

Name: Hands over mouths

Prep Time: None (Enough time to print the worksheets)

Materials: Worksheets (Click to download or see below)

Primary Objective: Practice Word Stress

Other Benefits: Discuss Travel

Plan:

15 Minutes

Give the students the worksheets. First they should write their own endings to the sentences. Then they should match the given endings. Just walk around and check them as they’re writing.

15 Minutes

Now, read the sentences out loud for the students. They should listen and repeat. Pay careful attention to make sure that they are stressing the correct words. If you’d prefer, you can play this track for them instead.


5 Minutes

Now, students should look at their sheets and underline the stressed words.

5 Minutes

Next, read the sentences out loud and have the students repeat them again.

10 Minutes

Walk around and give specialized help as the students practice reading in pairs.

5 Minutes

Now, choose a random sentence and read it with your hands over your mouth. The students should guess which sentence you read. Do another. Ask them how they were able to guess if they couldn’t understand any sounds?

5 Minutes

Now the students should again practice reading the sentences in pairs, but this time with their hands over their mouths. Partners should guess which sentence they were reading.

Extension

After reading each sentence again, students should ask each other: Do you agree or disagree? Why?

Ideas for Homework: Write 10 travel sentences and underline the stressed words.

In case you have trouble downloading the handout, here are the sentences for this activity. Of course you can also write different sentences that better suit your class.

I like to travel alone, but sometimes I travel with other people.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you travel to?

When I fly, I prefer to have a window seat.

I spent too much time on the beach and got sunburned.

I’d much rather walk around a museum, than sit on a cruise ship.

There’s no way one suitcase would ever hold everything I want to bring.

The last place on earth I’d want to go is Alaska. It’s too cold!

I never forget to bring my towel when I travel; it’s the most important thing for me.

I just love tasting all the new foods when I’m at restaurants in new cities.

My advice is to travel in the fall; it’s not too cold, but it’s also not too busy.

September 29, 2010 Posted by | Lesson Plans, Word Stress, Timing, and Intonation (Prosody) Lesson Plans | , , , | 1 Comment

Limericks Lesson Plan

This is part of a series of lesson plans on word stress, timing, and intonation. Click here to read a short introduction.

You might Read this Teaching Strategy on using limericks in the classroom before doing this lesson plan. You’ll find some limericks you might use at the beginning of the lesson.

Name: Limericks

Time: 1 hour

Prep Time: You’ll need to get a few limericks beforehand. (Here’s some.)

Materials: Some limericks

Primary Objective: Improve timing and word stress skills

Other Benefits: Practice counting syllables

Plan:

Present Some Limericks (15 minutes): Present three short limericks of the AABBA structure. Write them on the board one at a time. Discuss what they mean. Mention the number of syllables in each line of the poem and that they rhyme.

Writing Pomes as a Class (15 minutes): Now you’re going to write some new poems as a class. First, ask the class for a short sentence. Write it on the board. On a separate piece of the board, write the last word. Then ask the students for a bunch of words that rhyme with it. Write those on the board too. Now, ask the students for another short sentence that ends in one of those words. (Don’t worry about the syllable count just yet.)

You should end up with something like this…

Short sentence: I went to the store to buy a red dress.

Dress: Mess, Confess, Less, Guess, etc.

Second Short sentence: When I eat I make a mess.

Repeat the process to get the third and fourth lines of your poem

Now get one more sentence that rhymes with the first line.

Now, you should have something like this:

I went to the store to buy a red dress.

When I eat I make a mess

I hate using a spoon.

I hope you come soon.

When I buy things I want to pay less

It’s not a great poem, but it doesn’t matter. You’re just working on the form.

You’re almost done. Next, count the syllables in each line with your class. Change the sentences as needed to make the lines that rhyme have the same number of syllables. You can easily change the syllable counts in sentences by adding adjectives and adverbs. (e.g. I bought a book à I really bought a green book.)

Now you should have something like this:

I went to the store to buy a dress. 9

When I eat I really make a mess. 9

I hate using a spoon. 6

I hope you come home soon. 6

When I buy things I want to pay less. 9

Congratulations! You and your class have written a limerick. Now, write two more.

Write Poems in Groups (30 minutes): Finally, put the students into groups and have them write a few poems of their own.

Extension: Ask the students to draw a picture related to one of their poems and then present it to the class.

Ideas for Homework: Send the students on a hunt for limericks on the internet. At the beginning of the next class they can share them in groups.

September 22, 2010 Posted by | Lesson Plans, Word Stress, Timing, and Intonation (Prosody) Lesson Plans | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Introduction to Word Stress, Timing, and Intonation (Prosody) Lesson Plans

Prosody (Word Stress, Timing, and Intonation) Lesson Plans

In recent years, language teachers have generally agreed that teaching word stress, timing, and intonation are very important. Not every class, nor every student, needs prosody work; but many do.

Fine and dandy, but how to teach it exactly? This is the introduction to a series of lesson plans on prosody. The lessons will appear in the coming weeks.

Just a few notes:

First, in the introduction to Sue F. Miller’s wonderful book “Targeting Pronunciation: Communicating Clearly in English”, she says that the most important thing in any lesson on prosody is listening and repeating. Word to that and you’ll see it a lot here.

Also, there needs to be something to practice. Material is provided here around various themes. You can easily switch it up though. Using sentences and vocabulary from your units is a great idea.

Click here to see all the lesson plans.

Here are some other helpful posts on prosody.

September 8, 2010 Posted by | Lesson Plans, Teaching Strategies, Word Stress, Timing, and Intonation (Prosody) Lesson Plans | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Ten Sentences

This is part of a series of lesson plans on word stress, timing, and intonation. Click here to read a short introduction.

Name: Ten Sentences

Time: 1 hour

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Materials: Personality Adjectives (Click to download or see below)

Primary Objective: Improve Word Stress Skills

Other Benefits: Practice Personality Adjectives

Plan:

10 Minutes

Print and present the Personality Adjectives with personality adjectives. (Or write everything on the board.) Have the students fill it in as best they can.

15 Minutes

Now, read the sentences out loud for the students. They should listen and repeat. Pay careful attention to make sure that they are stressing the correct words. If you’d prefer, you can play this track for them instead.


5 Minutes

Now, students should look at their sheets and underline the stressed words.

5 Minutes

Next, read the sentences out loud and have the students repeat them again.

10 Minutes

Walk around and give specialized help as the students practice reading in pairs.

5 Minutes

Finally, have the students listen and repeat one more time as a class

10 Minutes

Review the meanings of the personality adjectives. Ask the students to choose four words and write new sentences with them. They should underline the stressed words in their sentences.

Ideas for Homework

Ask the students to find examples of some of the personality adjectives in real English materials. (They can search for them on the internet.) During the next class, they can present the sentences.

Words

Lazy, Happy, Funny, Interesting, Quiet, Witty, Sweet, Demanding, Hardworking, Carefree

Fill In The Blanks

I envy her. She’s always smiling. She’s a really ______________________ person.

Isn’t she an ______________________ professor? I just love listening to her lectures.

She’s always writing songs for me. When I first met her, I thought she was just a ______________________ girl, but now that I know her, I think she’s super ______________________.

I like my boss, but he’s too ______________________. If we don’t relax sometimes, we’ll go crazy!

Sometimes I wish I could be more ______________________, like my brother. Nothing bothers him.

If you want to be successful, the most important thing is to be ______________________.

Why are you always so ______________________?! Clean your room! Do your homework! Do anything!

Why is Jake my best friend? You know, he makes me laugh. He’s ______________________. That’s really important to me.

I wish I were more ______________________. I never think of good things to say until hours later.

Answers

I envy her. She’s always smiling. She’s a really happy person.

Isn’t she an interesting professor? I just love listening to her lectures.

She’s always writing songs for me. When I first met her, I thought she was just a quiet girl, but now that I know her, I think she’s super sweet.

I like my boss, but he’s too demanding. If we don’t relax sometimes, we’ll go crazy!

Sometimes I wish I could be more carefree, like my brother. Nothing bothers him.

If you want to be successful, the most important thing is to be hardworking.

Why are you always so lazy?! Clean your room! Do your homework! Do anything!

Why is Jake my best friend? You know, he makes me laugh. He’s funny. That’s really important to me.

I wish I were more witty. I never think of good things to say until hours later.

September 1, 2010 Posted by | Lesson Plans, Word Stress, Timing, and Intonation (Prosody) Lesson Plans | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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