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eachingEnglish T

| Lesson plans

Bleak House (fog)


Level: Upper-Intermediate and Advanced Age: Teens/adults who enjoy creative writing Aim: For students to understand how stylistic choices can influence meaning, and practise making such choices in their own work Subsidiary aim: For students to practise reading for gist Time: 90 mins approx Materials: Text and exercises copy on two sides of one piece of paper Suggested timetable fit: After a creative writing lesson, when students have brought the first draft of their writing with them to class. Alternatively, as a stand-alone lesson.

Procedure
Stage and stage aim(s) Prediction (to focus sts on topic, and set task for gist reading) Gist reading (for sts to develop the skill of skimming for main ideas) Timing 5 Interaction T st st st T - st 8 st Procedure Ask sts what sort of weather they prefer. Tell sts they will read a text set in London during November. Pairs/3s predict how the weather will be described. Using adjectives, they make two columns; one of likely and one of unlikely weather. Brief feedback to whiteboard. Hand out materials. Focus sts on the questions in Exercise 1. Tell them they have 4 minutes to find the answers. Emphasise that there are some words even an educated native speaker will find difficult, but that doesnt stop the meaning from coming through. Same pairs/3s discuss their answers. Encourage them to go back to text to justify their answers/find supporting evidence. Class feedback. Answer, weather is muddy/foggy/dark. Maybe rainy (from drizzle). Pairs work through Exercise 2. Allow dictionary use as outlined. Feedback Answers: (a) comparing the black, sooty flakes to snow, and saying it is like snow that has decided to wear black, like humans do when in mourning. (b) comparing the fog to smoke, like the smoke in the captains pipe.

st - st T - st Detailed reading (to help students understand imagery) 12 st st T - st

www.teachingenglish.org.uk BBC | British Council 2011

Detailed reading 2 (focus on stylistic choices in writing) 20 st st (T monitoring actively to provide support, especially for part b)

eachingEnglish T

| Lesson plans

Speaking

15

st

st - st Writing 30 st st

Pairs/small groups work through the two tasks. Feedback (a) Is a simple matter of counting. Answer 13 mentions of fog. (b) Each paragraph has 6 sentences. There is no main verb for a sentence in the entire passage. This is obvious in sentences like the first one in each paragraph. Where there are main verbs they are in dependent clauses, not the main clause of the sentence. Examples include had but newly retired (line 1-2), it would not be (2), have been slipping and sliding (8), it flows (11), and as if they were (19). Instead, -ing forms have been used extensively. Smoke lowering (3), jostling (6), creeping lyinghovering (14) As to why, it creates a sense of timelessness, as no main verbs mean no tense. Other interpretations may be just as valid. Give sts 4 minutes to think of favourite writing, writing that has struck them as beautifully styled. It could be in English or another language, including L1. It could be prose or poetry. Groups of 4/5 share their ideas. All class feedback. Sts share the first drafts of their creative writing in pairs or small groups. Ideally, this is reasonably short, in which case they can read aloud to bring out any stylistic emphasis. Students then consult each other about what changes could be made to make the style more aligned to the message being given or the impression created; how to make it more impactful. Sts can start redrafting if time allows, and try out early changes on each other. Redraft can be finished at home. It can be given in for assessment or (preferably) posted round the room for students to read and enjoy. They could vote for their favourite piece in lieu of assessment.

www.teachingenglish.org.uk BBC | British Council 2011