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Université du Québec à Montréal

Education Department


LIN 3338 GR-40


potential teaching resources

Prepared by:
Khedidja Metriter


Submitted to:

Dr Danielle Guénette

April 9th 2010

Table of content
The resources:

  • 1. A website: Lesson plans and more

  • 2. A website: Book titles

  • 3. A website: Hundreds of activities

  • 4. A novel: Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman

  • 5. A website: Literature in hip hop music!

  • 6. A website: Grammar

  • 7. A short story: The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant

  • 8. A website: Suggested videos

  • 9. A website: Urban Legends

  • 10. A novel: So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld

  • 11. A website: Pronunciation

  • 12. A website: Interactive vocabulary games

  • 13. A book: A guide to literature

  • 14. A website: Novels and sample lessons

  • 15. A website: Grammar and vocabulary activities with feedback

  • 16. A novel: The Painted Drum by Louise Erdrich

  • 17. A website: Poetry

  • 18. A novel: The perfect storm By Sebastian Junger

  • 19. A website: Conversations and dialogues

  • 20. A song: “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel.

Resource #1 A website (with lesson plans and more)
You cannot skip this:

This is a great site that suggests lesson plans, activities and projects for secondary school students (different grades from 5th to 10th ) they are targeting native learners but we can adapt them to suit our EESL classes. These featured lessons and resources help teachers to:

-teach character education in the classroom with standards-based mini-units.

-provide helpful tools for conducting pedagogical projects.

-use the activities for youth gatherings to teach about giving time, talent and treasure, and taking action for the common good.

-offer valuable reading tools, like literature guides which follow the research-based guided-reading model with pre-, while, and post-reading (insightful) questions and activities. The questions make the reading experience more meaningful. The activities engage participants in team-building experiences and teach kids about giving and sharing.

-go through the different themes such as: animal welfare, money management and philanthropic giving, the critical subject of environmental stewardship, generosity of spirit myths and folktales and more.

-exploit novels and stories like

  • Dog Heroes: Fire Dogs.

  • Dog Heroes: Water Rescue Dogs.

  • A Home for Dakota.


Resource # 2  A website (with book titles)

I advise you to visit this site:

As new teachers in Quebec, we may encounter difficulties finding books to suggest to our students. This site is for us since it includes a book nook with children’s books, professional books and also teen/young adult books. This great treasure (especially teen/young adult books) could be used in EESL classes to exploit the different themes or could be assigned for extensive reading.

Various titles are suggested from A to Z. You can check out the books that are available on the monthly thematic unit page. You can also find various books on the previous unit pages.

What is really interesting is that, when you click on the book titles (because they are links), you get access to websites that provide short descriptions of the books, price, and number of pages, readers’ age and some other useful information. Here is an example:

- Don't Think Twice, by Ruth Pennebaker

This was truly one of the best books ever read. It is entertaining, elegantly crafted, has funny, relatable characters, a sense of realism... and above all, (the heroin) Anne's strong voice conveys an amazing story of self-awareness and overcoming hardships." Ruth Pennebaker's Don't Think Twice is a darkly funny, hard-hitting novel set in the late 1960s in a rural Texas home for pregnant teens.

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co / May 2001
262 pages
Grade: From 7 to 9 and young adult
Language: English

As a reading activity, I would suggest that we (as teachers with our students together in class) would follow the main character Anne and compare her personality traits, as she evolves throughout the book to the heroin in another novel How to Deal by Sarah Dessen and focus on the dominating theme, the social issue fiction-pregnancy. The same activity would be fulfilled by the students alone, without the teacher’s guidance this time, but reading another novel Every Little Thing in the World by Nina De Gramont; and as you have certainly noticed, the three novels are written by women authors.

The boys in our classes could be involved when we talk about the heroins’boy friends who do not want to face their responsibilities as fathers to support their pregnant girl friends.


Resource # 3 A website (with hundreds of activities)

Have a look at this site:

The site is entitled the Three Wise Monkeys. I felt breathless when I discovered it for the first time. My mouth and my eyes stayed wide-open while I was reading through its content. The homepage is a huge table with activities, what do I say? They are hundreds of them sorted by title, developers’ name, learners ‘level, aim, grammar points, time needed, materials used...  

By title, you can find, for example Baseball, Crazy Animals, Discovery and more. Whenever you click on one of these titles, you’ll find a page with a detailed description of the activity or the game, including the time needed, the material used, and even a worksheet is there to be printed. Some of them are provided with their variation and teaching tips.

Most of these activities are useful for advanced secondary school students, and the time to fulfill them varies from 5/10 minutes (as time-filler) to more elaborated activities that extend from 10 to 50 minutes and even to an entire period.


Resource # 4 (A novel)

Are you are looking for a novel to use in class? I would suggest this one:

-Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman, is general fiction

It was published in September 2004 by Hyperion Books for Children. It is suitable for young adult learners.

The story is that of a seventeen-year-old boy. Vince's life is constantly complicated by the fact that he is the son of a powerful Mafia boss, a relationship that threatens to destroy his romance with the daughter of an FBI agent.

The author’s Biography: he was born on October 23, 1963 in Montreal, Quebec.
Gordon Korman is one of the most beloved contemporary authors of today with more than 40 middle-grade novels to his credit. He published his first book at the wee age of fourteen. Originally from Quebec, Gordon and his wife, a teacher, now live on Long Island with their little boy.

He wrote his first book when he was 12 years old. “It wasn't on purpose.” Gordon says, “In my school, the track and field coach had to teach language arts, and for writing, he just told us to work on whatever we wanted for the rest of the year.” As the class monitor for Arrow Book Club, he sent his manuscript to Scholastic. This Can't be Happening at Macdonald Hall was published in 1978, when Gordon was fourteen. He now has 65 novels to his credit, most recently The Juvie Three. Future projects include a Swindle sequel and the second book in the Scholastic series The 39 Clues.

I enjoyed Son of the Mob because it changes what Vince (the hero) is doing very frequently. I also liked it because it brought in new characters throughout the whole book.

I would recommend this book to teachers whose students (aged 15 to 18) do not mind reading a lot of pages so things can be explained. I wouldn't recommend this book to people who don't like when books jump to different subjects often.

The topics that are dealt with in this book are: character and values, culture and diversity, friends and friendship.

As an interesting activity, we can ask the students to compare this book to another one (to find about similarities and differences).Walk Two Moons written by Sharon Creech could be selected for this purpose. These books are alike because the characters have suspicion about one another. In Walk Two Moons, Phoebe thinks that Margaret Cadaver, her neighbour, is a murderer. In this case of suspicion, Phoebe was wrong. In Son of the Mob, Agent Bite-Me believes that Anthony Luca is the head of the Mafia. But, In this case Agent Bite-Me is right. These two books are different because Walk Two Moons is set in Euclid, Ohio but Son of the Mob is set in New York. Also in Walk Two Moons, the main character is a girl, and the author is a woman whereas in Son of the Mob, the main character is a boy and the author is a man. (The students can come up with this comparison to know more about the plot, the characterization...)

I really like Son of the Mob because the students will find action, comedy, and romance, three genres of books they often enjoy reading, all squeezed into one book.

The following link makes the book more interesting because it relates to other books the author wrote. You will find him in interviews with the famous actress Whoopi Goldberg. an interview with Gordon Korman and a series of 17 short video clips with emphasis on The 39 Clues, one of his amazing creations: books, online game and card packs available.

In addition, this second link shows a short video about some of the characters, in Son of the Mob, which could serve as a pre-reading activity


Resource #5 A website (literature in hip hop music?!)

This site offers a great idea on how to motivate the students using music. Not any music: hip hop music (you can watch the video there)

Flocabulary program (as it is called in USA) produces educational hip-hop music and engaging curricular materials to teach academic content for grades 3-12 (native speakers) but could be adapted and used in EESL classes in various themes.

The word up project uses multisensory instruction to build vocabulary proficiency and reading skills. This great idea empowers students to use the words in their own speech and writing.

As a first example, you will find a sample: entitled “Shakespeare is Hip-Hop

Play: Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act II, scene i
Concept: A modern interpretation of the moment when Puck is recognized by a fairy and gets a chance to brag about his exploits.
Lyrics: Shakespeare (Verse 1), Escher (Verse 2)

Just click here to listen to that:

Below is what a teacher said about the program when she presented it to her students:

“I played Shakespeare Is Hip Hop. Oh, my goodness! If you could have been in that classroom! One by one, they all got up, many on top of their tables and danced as if life had been infused into them!” - Karen Wootton, Teacher

A second example would be found at (here you will listen to Five Things. This Flocabulary song teaches students the five elements in a short story (plot, character, conflict, theme, and setting, I find it an amazing gift!).

The third example is:, a song about the famous singer, Charles Ray’s biography.

Another great example you will find here, provides The Pit and the Pendulum, a music video that brings Edgar Allan Poe's frightening story to life. It appears on the page with an adapted as well as the original version of the poem.

This wonderful site provides a free song for each of the subjects: Vocabulary, Literature, Social Studies, Math and Science (that can inspire us as EESL teachers).

It is indicated on the site that some of the material can be used for free, especially the songs that we are allowed to use in our classroom, download them and share them. ¸

It could be used to hook students when you start a unit or to watch as a sample for the final task: choosing a piece of literature and accompany it with hip hop music. Why not?


Resource # 6 A website (Grammar)

Do you want your students to improve their written English or avoid some common errors in their writing production? If your answer is yes, then here is where you will find detailed explanations on various aspects of the English Grammar.

There are 177grammar pages available with short and simple explanations which are easy to remember. There is also a special table with all English tenses.

The Grammar explanations include the different parts of speech, asking questions, forming the passive voice, reporting statements and more.

You can even download printable worksheets as pdf files for your students to use with no copyright issue.

I enjoy surfing on this German site which offers several vocabulary explanations followed by exercises and interactive tests. Our EESL secondary cycle two learners will like the various games: confusing words, crosswords, Hangman and more.


Resource # 7 A short story

For the teachers who like short stories with EESL classes (secondary 4 and 5), the translated story The Necklace by the French author Guy de Maupassant would be a great text to use.

“The Necklace” begins with a description of Madame Mathilde Loisel. Though she is “pretty and charming,” she and her husband, a clerk in the Ministry of Education, are not well off financially. She has always dreamed of a life of leisure, with attentive servants and a large home, but her lifestyle is decidedly more modest. Ashamed of her social standing, she no longer visits Madame Forestier, an old school friend who has become rich.An event occurs and her life is seriously shattered.

It is an interesting story that teaches us many lessons

-People should be happy with what they have.

-Honesty is the best policy.

-We may pay a terrible price for greed and desire (Mme. Loise’s fatal flaw, her desire for material things, and her ‘fakeness’ just like the necklace)

After the teacher and the students go through the different aspects of the story (literal, inferential, evaluative…) they can move to another genre such as the fable to make a comparison in terms of the moral conveyed and characterization.

We can ask the students to write a play/a skit based on this story then performs it in front of the class or create a board game. If the students have artistic talents, we can ask them to draw a strip cartoon representing the moment Mme Loisel noticed Mme Forestier in the Champs-Elysees to the moment they parted. You will find plenty of samples on YouTube to show your students and help them do the task.


Resource # 8 A website (suggested videos)

If you are looking for interesting videos to use in class to teach specific subjects, you are on the right site with since it offers a wide range of videos from Arts and Craft to Travel. You can also make your students work on it for their research projects because it includes collections of videos sorted by category. A section is there, for them, which describes each video content and provides comments left by viewers who have watched these videos.

You can use many of the videos (when chosen for their quality and appropriateness) for listening activities since the sound is clear, the pace is not fast and the quality is good.

A good example is the video entitled:  How to get a calorie scorching workout that could be used in an LES that deals with sports in relation to health. We can show this video as a post-reading activity to start a discussion on students’ food habits (paying attention to calories).


Resources # 9 A website (about Urban Legends)

Are you interested by urban legends, folklore and myths? Here is a site you will enjoy exploiting with your students (EESL class).

Urban legends thrive on people's deepest fears- that our safe world can crack at any moment and a madman will change our lives forever. That alone is enough to give the students some second thoughts about our everyday routine.

Legends and folklore tales range from the maniacal serial killer to the completely unexplained (it is for you to select the stories you like to teach in your class). Chances are you'll find many versions of these stories as they get passed on from person to person. The kids have a tendency to twist the plots and make them fit their particular circumstances. The Halloween season seems to bring out the best of local urban legends, both old and new.

Many of these spooky stories are old classics from years past. They may not be the version you've heard, but that's what makes it fun. With the help of your students, you will get many variations, some relating to ghosts, the supernatural, and hoaxes. These legends are not always suitable for young kids or the faint of heart. If you have got nerves of steel, proceed with caution...Get comfortable, dim the lights and read through some classic as well as modern urban legends, myths and folklore. Did it really happen, or was it just a figment of someone's imagination?

Let’s discover the site:

You can include this resource in a unit about superstition and its role in people’s life (when they see a black cat, a broken mirror, to walk beneath an open ladder...maybe Halloween is the best moment to deal with urban legends)


Resource 10 A novel

Among the novels I read recently is So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld the book was published on September 8th 2005 by Razorbill (first published in 2004)

This 240 page novel is for young adult students (I would use it in EESL classes (Secondary 5) with some adaptations to bring to the texts I will teach in class. What I liked about it was Westerfeld's random but related drops of interesting and mostly useless trivia. The theme centers around advertising, lemming behaviour, teenage lust for the latest thing, etc. He makes some good comments, and really nails what he calls the “cool pyramid” – innovators on top, with the “idiot” masses lining up to buy “stuff” at the bottom. A lot of the story was very thought-provoking. Plus he created an interesting mystery story to go along with it. I did especially like the way his narrator refused to say brand names (except for Google), and had to come up with elaborate descriptions of things/companies to substitute, a very nice touch. His description at the end of Nike’s marketing strategy was priceless, and spot on. The plot for this book is not what I was expecting but it would be good if you knew what you were getting into with your students. The writing language is simple and understandable, but the problem I have is that the author went out of his way to not mention brands. For example, when talking about Apple computers he says, “a certain computer that is also a fruit commonly used in making pies” the only characters that stood out were the two protagonists, Hunter and Jen.

It is an appropriate book that helps you lead a discussion on teens consuming habits with your students. A final task for your LES would be a survey followed by a report on their community’s consuming habits-in terms of clothes and fashion, either within their school, their families, town.


Resource # 11 A website (about pronunciation)

The purpose of the website is to help people improve their American English pronunciation. The website suggests a series of videos explaining in detail how each sound is created, as well as a blog to share ideas. This website exists thanks to Rachel (the creator) and an ESL teacher who has taught English as a second language in Boston and in some foreign countries.. These video blogs are uploaded through the “YouTube” site. Moreover, Rachel`s website is divided into eight marvellous sections: How To Use This Site, The Sound Chart, The Sounds, The Mouth Positions, The Exercises, The 1-on-1, The Contact and About sections.

I would recommend using this site to fulfill two purposes. The first one is (for us) to find solutions when we encounter a problem with one of our students who faces difficulties in pronouncing some English sounds and we like him to improve his productive vocabulary. The second one is to advise the site to your students to consult at home as an extra resource when preparing for their oral presentations.


Resource # 12 A website (interactive vocabulary games)

I really like this wonderful interactive website dealing with amazing vocabulary games.

When you think of vocabulary in relation to secondary school, you generally think about preparation for college entrance exams. Secondary students who are preparing to further their education must put their energy into building a strong vocabulary during their final years in school. But even if your students are proficient, they will find these games very challenging especially when they set the timer to do the activities.

Learning Vocabulary Fun is a very fun way to build vocabulary skills! The learners will click on the games there, to play without interruption (I’m sure of that, I have personally become addicted. These are different kinds of games, for different levels from easy to very difficult dealing with a great variety of topics. Have fun!


Resource # 13 A book (a guide to literature)

How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster.

This is a book I wanted to suggest. It is a very entertaining guide to literature for us (as teachers) to help us hook our students and motivate them to learn the language using literature.

It gives us ideas on how to show our learners what it means when a fictional hero takes a journey, shares a meal, gets drenched in a sudden rain shower...

The book demonstrates a smart, accessible, and thoroughly satisfying examination of what it means to read a work of literature. Guess what? It isn’t all that hard, not when we have a knowledgeable guide to show the way.

We should mention to our students that the idea for the story is really not a new idea: that no book is really original, that all literature is based on previous patterns, archetypes and recurrences. There's only one story with millions of permutations, which means readers continue to meet the same old friends, whether it's a female character who is remarkably like Ophelia or Anna Karenina...or an old man who reminds us (as readers) of King Lear, or a young lad who reminds us of Huck Finn.

Our students don't always see the connections: the recurrences of characters and themes through different stories. When we help them begin to notice those threads, they may feel a sort of "aha! factor." “We've discovered a long-lost friend”.

So when we help our students become aware of the possibility that the literary text we are studying is speaking to other texts, when it seems like there's a connection, it's probably there, the more similarities and correspondences they begin to notice, and the more alive the text becomes.
If you follow my advice, you will discover in this "engaging, thought-provoking, maddening, fun" book, that the author Foster explores the greatest works in literature. So, imagine the entertainment of it all with your students: beauty, fun, and so much more!


Resource # 14 A website (about novels and sample lessons)

what a great site that suggests sample lessons and novels and more about literary resources you can use in your classes or just direct your students towards them so that they get inspired to start an assigned project or make a research to complete their notes on any aspect of the English language.

It is a useful site for secondary advanced learners from grade 7 to 11. They can proceed by author’s last name from A to Z (from the alphabetic list) to look for any piece of writing to read or do the activities online.

As teachers, you can quickly find resources that will really help you teach literature in EESL classes.

Web Links: Many web links are free, but some are simply links to a place where you can buy the item listed (either as a printed book or booklet, or as a downloadable file, usually in PDF format). The free web links include a very wide range of resources:

  • Lesson Plans and Unit Plans for classroom instruction;

  • Teaching Ideas (usually less detailed than a Lesson Plan);

  • Teacher’s Guides and Reader’s Guides, usually from publishers;

  • Study Guides created by teachers, students, or others;

  • Webquests designed by teachers or students to allow students to explore information (on the internet) related to a book;

  • Quizzes, including “Accelerated Reading” quizzes;

  • Questions : discussion questions, review questions, and comprehension questions;

  • Book and movie listings, to allow you to browse a title.


Resource #15 A website (grammar and vocabulary activities with feedback)

The whole site includes a wide range of activities for ESL teachers as well as for ESL students.

On the Teachers’ page, you will find pintables activities together with suggested dialogues that may save a lot of your time when you need to adapt some of the activities in the textbooks you are already using in class. In addition to that there is a section that helps you create your own matching quizzes, your own website. Grammar and Vocabulary activities are there waiting for you to be used in your classes. You will get a lot of fun trying them with your students.

The Students (any secondary level from 1 to 5) will find very interesting activities to develop their four skills. The awesome ones are the listening activities since they provide a clear and appropriate native speaker pronunciation.

It is useful for class discussion: for each dyads or groups of three, you can assign a story to listen to (it should be related to the topic you are dealing with in class (friendship, honesty, food...) then ask your students to present the story they listened to or write a report on it relating it to your topic, comparing and contrasting elements.


Resource # 16 A novel

The Painted Drum by Louise Erdrich


When Faye Travers is called upon to appraise the estate of a family in her small New Hampshire town, she isn't surprised to discover a forgotten cache of valuable Native American artifacts. But she is stunned when she finds a rare drum—a powerful yet delicate object, ornamented with symbols she doesn't recognize, dressed in red tassels and a beaded belt and skirt—especially since, without touching the instrument, she hears it sound.

From Faye's discovery, we trace the drum's passage from the reservation on the northern plains to New Hampshire and back. Through the voice of Bernard Shaawano, an Ojibwe, we learn how his grandfather fashioned the drum after years of mourning his young daughter's death, and how it changes the lives of those whose paths its crosses.

Through these compelling voices, The Painted Drum explores the strange power that lost children exert on the memories of those they leave behind, and as the novel unfolds, its elegantly crafted narrative comes to embody the intricate, transformative rhythms of human grief.

Questions for Discussion

  1. How would you characterize the relationship between Faye Travers and Kurt Krahe, and how does it change over the course of the novel?

  2. How does The Painted Drum affect Faye Travers, Bernard Shaawano, Simon Jack, and Shawnee individually, and to what extent can the drum's mystical qualities be explained by its unusual origins?

  3. How significant is the wolf attack on Anaquot's older daughter in the larger context of The Painted Drum, and why might the author have chosen to relate this event in the "story within a story" format?

  4. To what extent do you agree with Faye and Elsie Travers that the theft of the drum from the Jewett Parker Tatro estate and the return of it to the Ojibwe people was an ethical decision?

  5. How does the author use the theme of grief relating to the deaths of young children to connect different characters in The Painted Drum?

  6. To what extent do the creatures that populate The Painted Drum—wolves, ravens, coyotes, a chained dog, an errant bear—seem to represent or symbolize something other than their animal selves?

  7. Why do Anaquot and Ziigwan'aage agree to befriend one another and conspire against Simon Jack?

  8. Of all of the characters in The Painted Drum, which did you find most memorable, and why?

  9. How does the accidental fire at Ira's house awaken the drum, and what accounts for Shawnee's ability to hear it?

  10. To what extent does Faye's discovery of missing dog's skeleton in the final scene of the book bring the narrative of the novel full-circle?

About the Author

Louise Erdrich is the author of eleven novels as well as volumes of poetry, children's books, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel Love Medicine won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse was a finalist for the National Book Award. She lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore.


Resource # 17 A website (about poetry)

If you like the following poem:

Trees (by Joyce Kilmer)

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

You will enjoy this site:
It contains short poems you would use to initiate the students to poetry. It is helpful to provide them with a glossary of poetry terms that would make them appreciate learning about poetry and why not create their own after you teach them some basic elements. The site contains a variety of poems but it is for you to select the ones that could suit your EESL secondary 3 and 4 classes.

You will find links to other sites (for example that suggest more and different types of poetry like ballads, sonnets...

You will use them as time-fillers (10 minutes before the bell with short funny activities) or to set the tone for a new novel or any topic you want to teach. they are good to use as cloze test to review some grammar aspects such as the use of pronouns, determiners, prepositions and more.


Resource # 18 A novel

This is an amazing novel ready to be read and exploited in class:

The perfect storm: a true story of en against the sea. (Published in 1997)

By Sebastian Junger

He is a National Magazine award-winning journalist who writes for numerous publications, including Outside, American Heritage, and Men's Journal. He has lived most of his life on the Massachusetts coast and now resides in New York City.

His novel is one of the most nightmarish stories. The author is great in offering the reader his unbelievably vivid description of the sensation of drowning. Worse, this is nonfiction, ferociously dramatic and thoroughly tragic narration (it happened in 1991 Gloucester Mass). It tells us about the experience of being caught at sea in the jaws of a "perfect" storm (that is, one formed of an almost unique combination of factors), a monstrous tempest that couldn't get any worse, is tremendously captured by Junger. That’s a real-life thriller that leaves us with the taste of salt on our tongues and a terror of the deep.

How to exploit it in class?

We can show the students the movie extract (of the same story) and ask them what it reminds them of? They would normally think about the Titanic.

As a warm-up activity, you can give them some questions to answer while watching the movie. That’s a good way to introduce the novel, to work on it; then compare some of its aspects (the setting, the characters, the plot...) with those in the Titanic.


Resource # 19 A website (conversations and dialogues)

I love this site and so you will, because it contains a collection of authentic, entertaining conversations in native English. It is designed to help the advanced student of ESL understand English as it is actually spoken, and not (necessarily) as it is taught in school.  Inside this site your students and you will find audio files and transcripts of actual conversations between native speakers.  As advanced students of EESL class, they will have the opportunity to practice and enjoy the fables and the dialogues in audio files. The students will develop their language knowledge and will like to work on this site on a daily basis because of the content and its quality that deals with various subjects. It is true that the content provided is of a small quantity but how great it is! Many of these listening documents can be used as pre-reading activities to introduce the text you want to teach or as post-reading exercises to wrap up a discussion about a specific topic such as clothing, skateboarding and more.


Resource # 20 A song

This is a wonderful song to be used in class within a unit about music, or any other unit: “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel.

I have discovered it thanks to my cooperative teacher during my first internship in a secondary three (EESL) class. One interesting activity is to print the song with some underlined words in the text. Once your students listen to it and get familiar with its meaning through comprehension and vocabulary activities, you attract their attention to the underlined words. They will find out that they are names of people, of countries, inventions, events, movies... You will ask them to do a research on these items (you either let them select their item or assign them). They can do this activity individually, in pairs or in small groups. It’s for you to decide which aspect to target according to your unit. We got so much fun observing the students excited and eager to know about the person, the place or any element they were searching for.

Reading and Writing Activities

Students can fill in the blanks before, during, or after listening to the song, and then check to see whether their word choices made sense semantically, even if they did not pick the exact word used. This helps build the important skill of forming hypotheses based on context (predicting). This activity, called cloze, is usually created by deleting words at predetermined intervals, e.g. every 5th or 7th word. However, words can be deleted instead to practice a target grammar point, such as past tense verbs, prepositions, or compound nouns, or to identify key words.

Another popular activity to do with this song or any other one is to cut it into lines (on small strips of paper) and have students put them in the correct order as they listen to the song. This can be done individually or in small groups. It may be necessary to play the song several times. After the lines of the song have been put in order, the song can be played once more as students read or sing along. Alternatively, the class can be divided into teams with identical sets of strips and compete to see which group can put the strips in the correct order first.


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