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No sleep -
lesson plan
Empty bed

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Preliminary information

Time: 70 minutes??

Level: Pre-intermediate

To give intensive & extensive reading practice
To introduce vocab connected to the lexical set of sleep
To review comparatives & superlatives, used to, direct & indirect speech in news reports..........
To give freer speaking practice
Other aims depending on language focus & follow up...

That the stds will be interested in the content of the text - sleep.
That the language in the text will not be difficult - the .

Anticipated Problems and Solutions:
Some of the vocabulary may be challenging, depending on the level - pre-teach essential items - a vocab focus after the reading

The article text from


Stage 1 - Intro to the theme & article
20 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
1. Introduce the idea of sleep through a class questionnaire to find out who is the laziest & the least laziest std in the class i.e. the std who spends longest in bed on average. This should be a fun activity & presented as such so as not to offend anyone.
Set up the task - the grid below is to be completed by all mingling & asking & answering questions. At the end they find out who spends the most time in bed. If a low level, elicit question might ask: What time do you get up/go to bed? Poss. highlight the habitual meaning.

Time goes to bed
Time gets up
No. of hours in bed

2. Activity - stds mingle
3. Feedback - stds tot up the hours & who is the laziest & least laziest - a possible discussion ensues. Poss. a brief focus on comparatives & superlatives.

Stage 2 - Reading
10 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
1. As an extension of the feedback, elicit if the stds would like to live with less sleep. How much? Why?
2. Tell the stds the title 'Ukrainian hasn't slept in 20 years' - get some reactions.
3. Set the reading task - why hasn't he slept for 20 years & what effect has this had on him - grade for lower levels.
Handout text - task
4. Stds compare ideas.
5. Feedback
You could give a comprehension task but this reading might be sufficient - design to suit.

Stage 3 - Vocab focus
10-15 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
1. Ask stds to underline all words connected to 'sleep'
2. Pairwork - go through the text together.
3. Feedback - put 'sleep' in the middle of the board & as you elicit the words from the text add them as in a spidergram - slept, doze off, nod off, awake, send to sleep, eyes getting droopy, wide awake, fall asleep, insomnia - could also pick up on the two meanings of: 'attempts by doctors to put him to sleep have failed'
4. Ask stds to suggest more words connected to 'sleep' - add them on to the spidergram - you could introduce some more.

Other areas you could focus on:
- used to
- in/direct speech & how the writer chooses to use both at different times

Stage 4 - Response to the text & extension
30 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
1. Elicit what the stds think about the text - believable? Heard anything similar before? Would like the same to happen to you? what would you do with so much time on your hands?
2. Set up the sleep survey - similar to the first activity, the stds will ask & answer questions about their sleep habits. This time though, they design the questionnaire in pairs. At the end they report back their findings to the class.
3. Task - pairs work out the questions they want to ask - you have some ideas up your sleeve eg.
How do you normally lie when you go to sleep?
Do you read in bed? For how long?
how long does it take you to get to sleep?
Do you get insomnia? what do you do to get to sleep?
Do you need an alarm to wake you up?

Sleep Survey
Write your questions below & take notes on answers for each person you interview
Name >>>               

4. Interviews - stds mingle & 'interview' each other.
5. Stds collate their results - they prepare the mini-presentation of their results to the class.
6. Stds take it in turns presenting their results.

Ukrainian hasn't slept in 20 years

A 63-year-old man who hasn't slept for more than two decades has been told there is nothing wrong with him by doctors.

Ukrainian Fyodor Nesterchuk from the town of Kamen-Kashirsky said the last time he managed to doze off was more than 20 years ago.

"I can't remember the exact date and I don't know why it started, but all of a sudden I found it more and more difficult to nod off until eventually I was awake the entire night.

"I used to read boring scientific periodicals in the hope they would send me to sleep. But as soon as I felt my eyes getting droopy and put the magazine down, I would find myself wide awake again. I thought it would just be a phase but its gone on for over 20 years now and I've simply had to get used to it.

"Now when everyone else sleeps I get stuck into a good book," said Nesterchuk.

All attempts by doctors to put him to sleep have failed and they now say there's nothing wrong with the insurance broker.

Local doctor Fyodor Koshel who has examined Nesterchuk extensively and has been unable to make him fall asleep, said he has no idea of the cause of the insomnia and added medically there is nothing wrong with him.

"We have no idea why he can't sleep, maybe it's the result of a past illness. But pathologically speaking, he's not in any pain and so there isn't anything actually wrong with him," said Dr Koshel.

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