Here’s a lesson idea I came up the other day. I was trying to spice up a rather dry FCE coursebook reading on animal cheats so I decided to add a video to the mix. After figuring out these activities, I realised that I wasn’t so much improving the reading activity as I was replacing it with a listening, so I changed direction and did something else.

But rather than waste all that hard work, I thought I’d share it with you here instead…

Is JR Cheating Off a Cheater? Or Will He Turn Rat?

1) In groups, ask the students to list all the things they think of when they think of the word ‘cheat’.

2) Put their answers on the board in a mind map.

3) Ask them to discuss for a couple of minutes if they think animals can cheat. Get feedback on their opinions.

4) Put students into pairs. One student is A and the other is B. A watches the video without sound.

5) Students A then describes the video to their partner. B tries to remember what happened.

6) Mix up the pairs so all the A’s have new B’s to talk to. B’s have to try and describe the video to their new partner. A’s add any missing information to their description.

7) Play the video still without sound. Ask the students to see how they did and what they missed. Did it look how they expected?

8) Ask a couple of students to volunteer to describe the video while it plays. Put some of their best sentences on the board and analyse them with the class. Use them to create a script which class collectively builds with your help.

9) Show the students some vocabulary from the video. You could put it on the board or show it to them visually like this:

Ask if any of the students know what these words and phrases mean. If they don’t (and they probably won’t know most of them), ask them to identify whether they are nouns, verbs etc.

10) Now play the video with sound. ask the students to try and understand the new vocabulary from the video. You might need to play it more than once.

11) Once students have grasped the meaning, ask them to fit the new vocabulary into the script that you created together.

12) Ask the students to discuss a time someone played a trick on them or deceived them in small groups. Optional homework: Write a description of when someone deceived you.

Hopefully nobody will write about this…

6 thoughts on “Cheat!

  1. I like this activity a lot because it is so communicative. The pupils have a chance to talk to different partners and they have to listen carefully because otherwise they won't be able to explain it to their other partner. I'm just wondering, how will you show the video to the pupils A? Do you go to a computer room or do they have a tablet? If you don't have one of these at your disposition, I think it is hard to show it to the A's when the B's aren't supposed to see it.

  2. I think this exercise is great. The video is very short which is good because it'll keep your students concentrated. I do believe it might be difficult to find a video that will fit into the topic of a coursebook. Of course you should strictly follow the course book. I will try this exercise when I find a good video that will suit my course book topics. I agree with Bieke about the practical issue. You can't show the video with a projector because then students B will see the video as well. You should use a tablet of some sort. Nowadays many schools have tablets though.

  3. Thanks Bieke. As for the practical aspects of how you show the video, it just depends on what's available to you at the time. At the moment I have a television connected to a laptop, so I would just instruct half the class to close their eyes – that shouldn't be too difficult!

  4. Jasmien – Do we always have to follow the coursebook? Who knows your students better, you or the book? Supplementary materials can be useful in giving variety to your lessons and be useful in revising key elements of the language.

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