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Lesson plan to accompany the November 2001 Newsletter

Listening, 'gossip' vocabulary & speaking

For a Word version

Preliminary information

Time: 1 hour

Level: Intermediate upwards

To give extensive & intensive listening practice - stages 2 & 4
To introduce a lexical set around the theme of 'gossip'- stage 3
To give controlled speaking practice - stage 4
To give freer speaking practice
- stage 5

That the stds get on well together & will enjoy the topic, that the listening tasks will be challenging but manageable & that some of the vocabulary will be known.

Anticipated Problems and Solutions:
That the song might be difficult for some - have the scripts handy in case.

Song on tape & tapescript of  'I Heard It Through The Grapevive' - stage 2
Tape & tapescript for the rumour listening - stage 4
Board for the vocab - stage 3
Information cards for the gossip spreading - stage 5 - not included here.


Stage 1 - Warmer - Chinese whispers

5 mins tch<>stds, std<>std

1) Explain how to play the game - you will whisper to one std a sentence who will then whisper it to the next & so on around the class until the last std says the sentence out loud to see if it is the same as the original.
2) Activity.

Stage 2 - Song

20 mins tch<>stds, std<>std

1) Play the first few bars of the song & ask stds to identify the song.
2) Stds compare ideas.
3) Feedback - explain 'grapevine'.

4) Set task - how does the singer feel? Why?
5) Play tape.
6) Stds compare ideas.
7) Feedback

You might want to leave the song there, not getting into it in any more detail. Or;

8) Set more intensive task - there's not much information in the lyrics so an unjumbling task might be appropriate here - cut up the song, every line or two lines, & the stds listen & put it in order.
9) Handout slips of paper.
10) Play tape & stds put papers in order.
11) Feedback - go through the order - check understanding as you go along.
12) You could then play the song again so they can read & listen at the same time.

'I Heard It Through The Grapevine'

people gossiping

Written by: Norman Whitfield/Barrett Strong
Performed by: Marvin Gaye

Ooh, I bet you're wondering how I knew
'bout you're plans to make me blue
with some other guy that you knew before.
Between the two of us guys
you know I love you more.
It took me by surprise I must say,
when I found out yesterday.
Don't you know that...

I heard it through the grapevine
not much longer would you be mine.
Oh I heard it through the grapevine,
Oh and I'm just about to lose my mind.
Honey, honey yeah.

I know that a man ain't supposed to cry,
but these tears I can't hold inside.
Losin' you would end my life you see,
cause you mean that much to me.
You could have told me yourself
that you love someone else.


People say believe half of what you see,
son, and none of what you hear.
I can't help bein' confused
if it's true please tell me dear?
Do you plan to let me go
for the other guy you loved before?
Don't you know...


Extra stage to the lesson
- below is a biography of Marvin Gaye. If yuor stds are interested in music & the musicians this would make a short interesting reading.
You could begin by brainstorming what they know about him - they might know he was shot bay his father & a couple of his songs - & thn a quick read to verify the brainstorm. Then on to some more detailed questions & then a discussion - 'success in death' etc....

A brief biography of Marvin Gaye - from the Rolling Stone site

As the best selling Motown artist of all-time, Marvin Gaye's soulful voicehelped shape the "Motown Sound."

Born April 2, 1939, he grew up in a deeply religious family (his father, Marvin Sr., was an ordained minister). As a young man he traveled first to Chicago and later to Detroit with Harvey Fuqua, the leader of Harvey and the Moonglows, one of the East Coast's most notable doo-wop groups.

Marvin, along with the Moonglows, first recorded for Chess Records in 1959in Chicago. Later, Harvey, with Marvin in tow, eventually landed inDetroit. Under the tutelage and guidance of Motown founder Berry Gordy,Jr., Marvin began recording for Motown in 1961, releasing The Soulful Moods Of Marvin Gaye.

With aspirations of becoming the next Nat King Cole, Gaye hit pay dirt in1964 with his duet album with Mary Wells, on which the tune "My Guy" became Motown's third No. 1 hit. Gaye was repeatedly paired with femaleperformers, including Kim Weston, Tammi Terrell and Diana Ross.

The What's Going On album, recorded in 1971, focused on the issuesof the environment, the Vietnam War and the state of life in urban America.Featuring such Top 10 hits as "What's Going On," "Mercy Mercy Me (TheEcology)" and "Inner City Blues (Makes Me Want To Holler)," it was the first R&B "concept" album.

Gaye had an unsuccessful marriage to Gordy's sister, Anna. After some toughtimes, he won two Grammy awards--"Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male" and"Best R&B Instrumental Performance"--for the 1982 release Sexual Healing.

Gaye was shot to death by his father in 1984, but his albums continue to sell successfully posthumously.

Stage 3 - Vocabulary of 'gossip'

20 mins tch<>stds

1)Elicit the following, checking meaning, eliciting the word stress & drilling each one & then put on the board.
Vocabulary: to gossip, a gossip, to spread gossip / a rumour. A gossip(monger), scandal, to scandalise.....
2) Stds copy from the board.
3) Personalise the vocab: have you heard any good gossip recently? (Have some up your sleeve to tell the group) Do you gossip? What about?

Stage 4 - Listening

20 mins tch<>stds, std<>std

1) Set task - play the tape all through & ask stds to count the conversations, decide whether the speakers are male or female & generally what they are talking about.
2) Play tape.
3) Stds compare.
4) Feedback - clarify that this is a 'changing story'.

5) Play the tape again & ask the stds to note down what happens in each dialogue.
6) Play tape - maybe give the recorder to the stds to control when to stop, re-listen etc.
7) Stds compare ideas
8) Feedback.
(I should have the tapescripts to hand if you think it might be too challenging for the stds. You are then able to give the tapescripts for the stds to read & listen to the tape at the same time.)

9) Give out the tapescripts
10) Play the tape again & the stds listen & read at the same time.
11) The stds, in pairs then complete the following dialogue. Clarify the new information - 'German' - & get them to put it into the next dialogue.
12) Stds do the activity - go round & help out.
13) Stds act out their conversations & then have a vote on the best one.

Gossip tapescript

people gossiping

Dialogue 1

a. Hello Jane. How's it going?
b. Not bad. I'm a bit tired at the moment. Lots of work.
a. Have you heard about Pete?
b. No, what about him?
a. Well, you know he was going to get married next week?
b. Yes. To the Spanish girl, Maria.
a. Well, he's called it off.
b. You don't say! But why?
a. Well, he told Sarah that he wasn't ready to settle down.
b. Well. I suppose it's better to decide now rather than after the wedding.
a. True.

Dialogue 2

b. Hey, fancy meeting you here. Shopping?
c. Yes, lots of people, aren't there?
b. Mmm. What do you think about Pete then?
c. What about him?
b. Well he's called of the wedding because he's having an affair with Sarah.
c. What! I don't believe it. Pete & Sarah!
b. Well, apparently. That's what I heard anyway.
c. I though Sarah was moving to France in the summer.
b. Yes, so did I. Maybe she's changed her mind.

Dialogue 3

c. You'll never guess what I heard about Sarah the other day.
d. Tell me. Some gossip!
c. Well, she & Pete have gone to live on the south coast of France!
d. Really! That's a turn up for the books. Luck them.
c. Sarah doesn't speak French, she's quite good with German though. I think he speaks a little French.
d. Yes. Shouldn't be too much of a problem with the language. ...I don't see them together for long though.
c. No, I don't think it'll last.

Dialogue 4

Continue the conversation


Stage 5 - Freer speaking - roleplay

20 mins tch<>stds, stds<>stds

Give out bits of information - one piece to each std containing one piece of (innocent!!) gossip about another std. The stds go round, listen to others & give their gossip. When they speak to someone new pass on the gossip but change a part of it - as in the tape. At the end find out the stories about each of the stds.
This is an excellent activity for a group that know each other & get on well together - lots of fun. I should be wary of using this if there are any antagonisms in the class. You don't want stds spreading unpleasant things about each other. Stress at the beginning of the activity that it is a fun one & should be carried out as such.

While the activity is going on, take notes of language areas that crop up & give feedback, picking up on both the positive & the negative, at the end.


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