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Lesson plan to accompany the May 2001 Newsletter

To see the text used in the plan

For a Word version

Preliminary information

Level: Intermediate/upper intermediate

Time: 90 minutes

To give extensive & intensive reading practice
To provide some memory tools
To give oral fluency practice
To review & expand on the lexical field of 'memory'

That the stds will find the topic interesting & useful for their learning
That, in general, the vocab will not be too difficult
That the grammar will pose no problems to comprehension

Anticipated problems:
Some vocab items might not be known - depending on the group.

Materials & aids:
Article & Techniques from the Daily Mail 17.4.01
Comprehension tasks - see below


Stage 1: Lead in to raise interest - memory test

std<>std, tch< > stds, 10/15 mins

1. Ask the stds if they have a good memory, would they benefit from improving it etc.
2. Dictate a list of words, which when they've finished taking them down, have 1 minute to write down as many as possible.

Possible list of words; guitar, red, house, light, English, work, sex, scissors, tree, teacher, sun, window, computer, song, book, friend, car, brother, selfish, television

3. Stds compare how many they remembered & discuss how they went about trying to remember them.
4. General feedback - discuss the techniques & tell them about the article they are going to read.

Stage 2: Reading - to view the whole text

std, std<>std, tch<>stds, 25mins

Part 1
1. Set the task for the first paragraph - what three types of memory does the author mention? (ans: semantic, episodic & implicit)
2. Stds read & compare answers in pairs.
3. General feedback - discuss the answers.

Part 2
1. Take out the headings to each section:

I'm sorry, what was your name?
Thursday night is football night
Cracking the code
Boost your memory by 'chunking'
Use it or lose it
So why did you go into the kitchen

Stds read quickly - set a time limit of e.g. two minutes max. - & decide which section corresponds to which heading. Stds do this individually & then compare in pairs.
2. Feedback

Part 3 - comprehension check:
1. Stds read & answer the following tasks:

1. Explain the following terms, as defined in the article:


2. What can help 'retention'?

3. How does 'chunking' help?

4. What's the difference between long & short-term memory?

5. Look at the 5 ways to avoid forgetting & put them on a scale of easy to difficult to do.


6. Identify the different techniques in the last section 'So why did you..'

2. Stds do the task individually & then compare in pairs.
3. Feedback.

Stage 3: Language focus - 20 minutes?
You decide what you feel your group would benefit from focusing on. The text is good for cohesive devices, overall coherence of the article - trace the way the writer argues the case, newspaper article style, relative clauses

The lexical field of 'memory' can be extracted & expanded upon:
From the first section only!

brain, computer, forget, remember, memory improvement, memory power, sharpen up your mind, learn, master, re-learn, skill, experience, research, general knowledge, factual material, improve, store, semantic memory, episodic memory, implicit memory, fairly constant, decline with age, keep your mind active, memory/skill...will come back, memory boost.

Get the stds to underline the related vocab, write them out into a 'mind map' (together with the word stress!) - prepare your own on an OHP, if possible. Then focus on your & ask if any you missed & they copy any they missed - explain any words as necessary. Choose some to expand on & look at the word family.

Stage 4: Information exchange & discussion

stds<>stds, tch<>stds, 25/20 mins

1. Put the stds into groups of four & hand out one of the 'Tricks for Everyday Experiences' - see the end of the text for these. Explain that they have to tell their group about this technique & they have to try & persuade the others that their technique is more useful than the others.
2. Activity - monitor & take notes.
3. Feedback - see if anyone's technique dominated & why.
4. In their groups of four the stds then have to decide how they can use all this information - from the article & the techniques - in their language learning.
5. Discussion - monitor & take notes.
6. Feedback - draw together the different ideas - make a list for yourself to feed in if they are not forthcoming from the stds.

Stage 5: Performance analysis

tch<>stds, 5/10 mins

1. Discuss the good & not so good utterances that came out during the lesson, with specific reference to language that you have been recently been dealing with.



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