Level: Upper intermediate
Time: Depends what you do with it
Timetable fit: Valentine's Day is
round the corner & a good enough reason for a lesson on the
theme of romance. See the Feb
2000 Newsletter for other 'romance' activities.
To give reading practice - the sub-skills you deal with will
depend on how you tackle the text
To review specific language areas - see below for suggested
To give freer speaking practice - during the speaking stages
on the reading procedure outlined below & during one of
the follow-up activities
1. Lead in - quotes about romance
1. Elicit 14th February & Valentine's Day
& any information about the tradition & what they think about
2. On an OHT or handout the quotes about
romance - in pairs/small groups stds read them & discuss which
refer specifically to 'romance' & which have wider meanings,
they like/don't like etc. There are quite a few below so only
choose a few - or make it into a longer more in-depth activity.
Your words are my food, your breath my wine. You are
everything to me.
Hopeless romantics are only hopeless
in the eyes of those who don't believe in romance.
The only true gift is a portion
Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is only one happiness in
life, to love and be loved.
How vast a memory has love!
I like not only to be loved, but
to be told I am loved.
We are shaped and fashioned by
what we love.
It is only with the heart that
one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible
to the eye.
Antoine de Saint Exupery
You will find as you look back
upon your life that the moments when you have truly
lived, are the moments when you have done things in
the spirit of love.
A kiss is a lovely trick, designed
by nature, to stop words when speech becomes superfluous.
Love can hope where reason would
Love is an act of endless forgiveness,
a tender look which becomes a habit
Love can find a way
When love and skill work together
expect a miracle
3. Feedback - class discussion.
2. Reading - A Love Story
1. Instructions for the reading - 'going
to read the text bit by bit & stds have to predict what will
Emphasise that they have to get the general idea & not to
get bogged down in vocabulary - we'll look at that later.
You could draw their attention to the language of deduction
2. Part 1 - stds read & then compare ideas
about what happened & what might happen - in pairs.
3. Feedback - as a class discuss what happened & what might happen.
4. Continue in the same way with parts 2
- 8, inclusive.
5. Handout that last section 'The woman's
face broadened....response to the unattractive.' - stds read.
6. Class discussion on the ending & story
in general & the last sentence in particular - the 'response'
to the text - an important stage..
(An alternative to this could be to hand
all of the paragraphs jumbled up & the stds put them in order
- but not the last part of the story which they can write/predict
before seeing it. Then focus on the links that helped them
to decide on the correct order)
3. Language focus - here is a selection
of areas you could focus on depending on the needs of your
stds. I should only look at a couple of them.
.Collect the bits of the story & give a full copy to all of
Focus on the language of physical descriptions:
Focus the stds on the descriptions of the two women - paragraphs
5 & 6/7 - & ask them, in pairs, to extract vocabulary & put
them into two columns: clothes & physical characteristics.
You could give out dictionaries for them to use. Clarify problems
in the feedback.
If you have some pictures of people who are similar looking
to the two women in the story you could ask the stds to discuss
the differences between the visuals & the written descriptions.
Focus on vocab:
Among the vocab there are a lot of interesting verbs in the
text. Vocab you could look at: straightened, to be intrigued,
notes pencilled in the margin, a thoughtful soul, an insightful
mind, to locate, to grow to know, a seed falling on a fertile
heart, a romance was budding, to schedule a meeting, lapel,
a provocative smile, deep longing, a true spirit, to square
ones shoulders, to salute, to be choked by the bitterness
of disappointment, wisdom ....
I wouldn't deal with all of these - consider the level & needs
of the group & try to link the vocabulary items into a lexical
set. You may want to pre-teach some of these items before
the reading if you consider them crucial to comprehension.
Focus on cohesive devices:
Choose some reference words - pronouns & stds work out
whether they refer forwards or backwards & what it is
they actually refer to.
You could look at why the paragraphs are in the order they
are - what links each to the next. Also the overall organisation
of the text e.g. starting at the station & then telling
how he arrived there etc.
Focus on past tenses:
Ask the stds to underline examples of the past simple, the
past continuous & the past perfect. Feedback on the differences
in form & use, followed by a short written exercise to consolidate
Focus on the second conditional:
Focus the stds on 'if he really cared, it wouldn't matter...' & elicit the structure - put the sentence on the board & analyse
the clauses. Follow up with a short written exercise to consolidate.
Focus on the third conditional:
'If he had/hadn't done X, he would/wouldn't have done Y' Elicit
the facts of the story & put them in chronological order on
the board. From these elicit, highlight & drill some third
conditional sentences. e.g. If he hadn't been sent overseas,
he would've met her earlier. If he had tried to go with Miss
Maynell in the station, he would have never seen her again.
The stds could write out three sentences about the story of
Focus on reported speech: Stds
write out the original dialogue between the two women from
the information in paragraph 9.
4. Follow up activities:
Think of a title for the story. Re-tell love
stories they had heard of/read.
Devise different endings - stds write alternative
endings to the story.
Using the same characters, write a different
Roleplay/write the conversation in the restaurant
when they meet for the first time.
Letter writing - John doesn't go up to the
older woman & writes her a letter instead explaining himself.
See the Feb
2000 Newsletter for more on the theme of 'romance'.
Text - A Love Story
John Blanchard stood up from the bench,
straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd
of people making their way through Grand Central Station.
He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose
face he didn't, the girl with the rose. His interest
in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida
library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself
intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with
the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting
reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind.
In the front of the book, he discovered
the previous owner's name, Miss Hollis Maynell. With
time and effort he located her address. She lived in
New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself
and inviting her to correspond. The next day he was
shipped overseas for service in World War II.
During the next year and one-month
the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each
letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance
was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she
refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn't
matter what she looked like.
When the day finally came for him to
return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting
- 7:00 PM at the Grand Central Station in New York.
'You'll recognize me,' she wrote, 'by the red rose I'll
be wearing on my lapel.' So at 7:00 he was in the station
looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face
he'd never seen.
I'll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what
happened: A young woman was coming toward me, her figure
long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from
her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as flowers. Her
lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale
green suit she was like springtime come alive. I started
toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was
not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small, provocative
smile curved her lips. 'Going my way, sailor?' she murmured.
Almost uncontrollably I made one step closer to her,
and then I saw Hollis Maynell. She was standing almost
directly behind the girl.
A woman well past 40, she had graying
hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump,
her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes.
The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away.
I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my
desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing
for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me
and upheld my own.
And there she stood. Her pale, plump
face was gentle and sensible, her gray eyes had a warm
and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped
the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was
to identify me to her. This would not be love, but it
would be something precious, something perhaps even
better than love, a friendship for which I had been
and must ever be grateful.
I squared my shoulders and saluted
and held out the book to the woman, even though while
I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment.
'I'm Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss
Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me; may I take
you to dinner?'
The woman's face broadened into a
tolerant smile. 'I don't know what this is about, son,'
she answered, 'but the young lady in the green suit
who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on
my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner,
I should go and tell you that she is waiting for you
in the big restaurant across the street. She said it
was some kind of test!'
It's not difficult to understand and
admire Miss Maynell's wisdom. The true nature of a heart
is seen in its response to the unattractive.