Stuart Mill English

How to Learn, How to Teach English

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


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

No Plan. No Problem.

No plan. No problem.

Teachers: What would you do if you got to your classroom and realized that you’d forgotten all of your materials? How about if a colleague gets sick and you have to step in without a plan? Or imagine you start teaching and realize two minutes in that everyone already knows everything you were going to teach that day.

It happens and it’s good to be prepared. Here are five ideas for teaching a lesson without materials. Do you have any more ideas? It’d be great to read them in the comments.

BreakingNewsEnglish If you’re the really prepared type (or want to be), go to Choose two lessons that look good, print them off and make some copies. When your bad day happens, you can just whip them out and go like it was your plan all along.

Vocab Review Celebrity” requires no prep, is very educational, and super fun to boot.

Moving Lines After having students come up with some questions on a theme, put them in two lines. Have them ask all their questions and then slide half the students down one spot and repeat the questions again, and again, and again. (For a fuller description, go here.)

Dialogues Tried and true. Write dialogues on a theme, review them in pairs, edit them, write them again, and present them to the class.

Descriptive Essays Or, set them to writing essays. Choose a big theme like “Your Friends” or “Your Hometown” or “Vacation Spots”. Have them describe things in detail: a paragraph on each friend, all the places they go in their hometowns, each vacation they’ve taken. The more details you ask for, the bigger the topic, the longer it’ll go on. Done right, work on descriptive essays can last years.

September 10, 2010 Posted by | Teaching Strategies | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment