Following on from last week’s lesson, where we generated a whole lot of vocabulary relating to fictional people’s personalities, I wanted to do some recycling by putting it into use in the ‘real-world’. In fact, the lesson idea came from Cecilia Lemos’ Valentine’s Day lesson . I thought the concept of sticking post-its on people’s backs would really suit my students, and keep them interested and having fun, two things that are high on my agenda when planning classes.
I started the lesson with a Wordle of the vocabulary I had collected from the previous week (see Personalities 1). From this, I asked students to choose some words that they knew or recalled from the previous week, and decide whether they applied to Joo Won or Ra Im. Then, we tried to define the words by their opposites, with groups of students given 2 minutes to find as many as possible, or use their knowledge if only one of the pair was in the Wordle. This got them thinking about the vocabulary again, so it was time to move on to the fun part: first defining 5 adjectives that applied to them, and second 5 characteristics they would look for in a partner. Then came the sticking of post-its to each others backs. Finally, we played a kind of personality & dating game show by calling students to the front, and comparing their lists with their backs, and their backs with the partner lists. “Couple candies” were awarded to well-matched pairs.
I owe Cecilia a vote of thanks, as this lesson was great fun, and loved by pretty much all of my students. It always helps to get them out of their seats and moving around; this doesn’t happen very often in their regular classes. What I really liked about the lesson was that it gave all of my students a chance to do some real communication, even if they barely spoke English, or were too shy to do so. The Worldle really captured their imaginations too. I’ll definitely use it again to present and work with some vocabulary. I think this was one of the most fun lessons to teach that I’ve ever done with my students.
I still hold some lingering concerns about how hard this really pushes students though. Again they gravitated towards the easier vocabulary, but there were definitely some more interesting words used by the better students, so at least it gives students the chance to find a level at which they are comfortable. This lesson also comes with a word of warning, if you try it with teenagers they will take the chance to tease each other through the medium of post-its. In general Korean classrooms are full of kids teasing each other, and it is definitely a part of society here. Nevertheless, care should be taken to choose students to talk to at the end who can handle a few good-natured taunts stuck to their back, and incidents of genuine bullying (of which there was one) should be dealt with as you see fit.
As for improvements, I’d like to make this a little more communicative at the end, and I would do with a small group. However, with the time allowed and class size, it seemed easier to run it as a whole group activity, with everyone answering questions about personality, and then listening to find a partner. The beginning of the lesson is also a little dry, and perhaps could do with an active warm up to get everyone going, but apart from that not too much needs changing here.
The lesson plan can be found below. As always, I’d love to hear your comments.