Keep Calm and Carry On – Lesson Plan

It is sometimes exciting to find something that you really want to teach – right now! But although I can’t gather my students at this very moment, I can at least outline this lesson for me and you.

It all started today when I was thinking that I would like to give virtual stickers for my students when I grade an online or digital assignment. When I grade a hand written assignment, I always have great stickers, such as “Keep it up” and “Good work” like those in the picture on the right, which were given to me by ECB publishing house.

stickers

I couldn’t find online badges without copyrights, so I thought I’d do it myself, when I came across the images of “Keep Calm and Carry On”

 

posters. Hey, I thought, I could make my virtual badges look like these:

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Then I realized, I don’t know anything about these very familiar posters. So I started digging in and as it turns out, I think that it can be an interesting English-History lesson for my students. Moreover, if I do decide to use these as badges, They will understand the source for it.

Here is the lesson plan. I will be happy to read moderations and suggestions for making it better.

Activity 1: Streetview of Barter’s Bookshop.

Since the original posters were found in London’s Barter’s Bookshop, I thought starting there would be nice. With Google’s service Streetview I will show the place to the students and ask them: What is this place? Where is it in the world? Why do you think that it’s interesting?

Barters Bookshop

Second activity: Reading

I will tell the students that in 1999, something interesting was found in this bookshop and refer them to the website “Keep Calm and Carry On”, to “History”.  

While reading, the students will answer these comprehension questions:

paragraph 1

  1. Before reading: Find the meaning of “propaganda” and write it down.
  2. Why did the British government decide to create “moral boosting posters”?
  3. What are “testing times”?

Paragraph 2

  1. Translate the first two poster to your language. How do you find them? Are they motivating in times of war?

Paragraph 3

  1. Translate the third poster to your language.
  2. Why wasn’t the first poster used during the war?

Paragraphs 4-6

  1. How was this poster re-discovered?
  2. In your opinion, what makes this poster so popular nowadays?

Activity 3: a video.

After reading, the esl/efl students may find this video interesting as a visual representation of the story.

Look at these parodies and find one that is especially funny or interesting in your eyes. Write why you chose it (If you have the digital option, the students can copy their choices to a shared wall and write the answer next to the picture.

Activity 5: Generate your own poster.

This activity can be done around a certain topic or without guidance.

Go to the “Keep Calm and Carry On” generator and create your own poster.

Good Luck – you are more than welcome to share your student’s work!

 

Further reading:

Wikipedia – keep calm and carry on.

Know your meme – Keep Calm and Carry On

Current Events – Reading the News

We always try to make learning relevant and up to date. One way to achieve this, alongside to reading and writing, is reading the news. However, the regular English and American news websites are too challenging for many pupils.

The websites I present bring the news in an easier language that our students can deal with. The stories are up to date and the students enjoy reading them, because they feel that unlike textbooks, the texts are relevant and new. 

You can use the computers room, smartphones or give that task as homework. 

A very simple activity in my classroom looks like this:

  1. Go to the website XXXX.com
  2. Choose one of the level 2 articles and read it. 
  3. write
  • What is the article about? 
  • What are the most important details? 
  • Why is this “news”? 
  • Write 3 questions that have no answers in the article. 
  • Copy 3 new words and translate them. 

The work can be done in teams, so that every member has to contribute one question. They can present the article in front of the class as a summary activity. 

A daily updating website with stories in three levels. You can choose a subject and a level, There are also exercises to practice after reading. The exercises can be downloaded and printed. Some of the news stories are written and some are on video. 

This website offers current texts in 7 different levels. The texts can be read and listened to. There are also handouts (work pages) and mini lessons with pre- and post- reading activities. The activities can be downloaded and printed.

BBC Learning English – Words in the News – 2015

BBC Learning English – Words in the News – up to 2014

These two pages in the “BBC Learning English” website present video stories as well as written articles and audio texts. The texts are marded with different levels of reading. You can download both the audio and the pdf version of the texts to your computers or mobile devices. Each text is accompanied by exercises and explanation of difficult vocabulary. 


Here is an example of an audio report:press the picture.



You may comment on this post, make further suggestions for using the news in our classrooms, and offer more websites that you know and like. 



















Texting Abbreviations – A Whatsapp Lesson!

This lesson was initialized as a very long ice-breaker to the subjects of digital communication. My 9th grade students were glad to discover that the text book connections (ECB publish house), presented them with texting abbreviations. They thought it was very cool.


My purpose was to open the subject with a real experience of texting, together with challenging the students in composing and writing a dialogue.


Preparation: I asked one of the students to open a Whatsapp group for the class. As I entered the lesson, I made it clear that anyone who will insert irrelevant comments will be deleted from the group. It is important to note that the activity can be done in a forum of any kind, but since we are dealing with text messaging, I wanted it to be as real as possible.


Process:

1. I asked the students what abbreviations they use in Hebrew when they text and they gave me a few examples.

2. I asked the students to take their phone (at least one per table) and I sent them a few samples found on the web:

3. the students read from each pictures in “role plays”.

4. I sent the link to “texting abbreviations” website to the students and gave them the following assignment:


With a partner, make up two characters. Try to find something interesing. It could even be an astornaout and a Macdonalds’ worker, the sun and the moon etc.

Compose a dialogue between the two characters, with at least 8-10 sentences. Use as much texting abbreviations as possible.

In your notebook, write the abbreviated version and the regular English version.

Copy the abbreviated version and send it to the group on whatsapp.


The students enjoyed and were very occupied. They had to find the appropriate words for their story, match suitable abbreviations and sometimes change the words in order to find abbreviations. Here is some of their early work: can you understand? 🙂

Two Girls Talking

Whats up girl, what are you doing? 

Great, thank you, what about you? 

I will see you tonight. It is going to be great. 

It’s a date!

I’ll be there. 

By the way, please call me later. 

Ok, be seeing you. 

bye. 

Great.

A Birthday Party


Whats up? Tomorrow in the weekend I celebrate my birthday party. Will you be there? Please call me.

I don’t know. I’ll see it over and write back.

Thank you.

By the way, can I bring my boyfriend?

As far as I know you didn’t have a boyfriend.

Dan is my boyfriend.

Laugh out loud! Dan is my boyfriend and by the way you are not invited to my birthday party.

Break up over the phone…

 Sahar, I need to tell you something…if you see (this message) please call me.

why? whats up?

I don’t know how to tell you.

Please tell me.

I want to break up.

But why?

I will talk to you tomorrow. I got to go.

A daughter is using her texting abbreviations to mislead her father to grant her permission for a date. 

Whats up dad? Tonight I have a date. I will be late. Is it ok?

I’m ok, It’s ok you can go. How are you?

I feel great. Thank you. see you later.

Wait a second, with who are you doing your homework?

With no one.

Speak English!!!

See you, Got to go….

 

Brainstorming using web tools.

Brainstormers and Ice-breakers

We often open our lesson with a brainstorming question.

The advantages of brainstorming, according to the website ehow, are:

1. Creative Thinking Is Encouraged – students can think “out of the box” and hear new ideas from their peers. 

2. Most ideas are accepted – when students see their ideas on the board, they are empowered. 

3. Everyone is part of the team – brainstorming isn’t about who knows best, who studied at home or who understands the material. There is a chance for everyone

4. It’s exciting and easy – from my experience, students love the chance of parcipating, having an influence over the lesson and comment on what their peers are saying. 

Even with these advantages, there are many students who don’t participate in brainstorming activities, who like to be quiet and listen and don’t contribute. On the other hand, there are students who use this activity to say whatever comes to their mind without thinking first. 

There are several digital tools that help make brainstorming more engaging for all students, well constructed and very visual. I bring a few examples here.  

The students can participate in the activity with mobile devices, computers or tablets, but it is advised to use a projector connected to the teacher’s device. 

Answer Garden – plant a question, grow answers.

A very easy to use tool, no need to sign up! 

1. Prior or during a lesson, enter the site answergarden.ch

2. Click the + button at the upper right section of the page. 

 3. At the “topic”, write a question that the students will answer in one or two words (see example).

4. 

a. Choose “brainstorm” mode if you want to allow identical answers to be submitted.

b. Choose “classroom” mode if you want to allow only individual new questions. 

c. Choose “moderator” mode if you want to approve each entry before it is published. 

d. Choose “lock” mode if you want to lock the garden to any new submissions. 

5. Answer length – you can choose 20 or 40 characters. It is usually best to instruct one or two word answer at the most. 

6. Admin password and reminder email – only if you register, which isn’t a must. 

7. Broadcast – The garden can “last” from one hour to a week. 

8. Create – When you Click ‘create’, you are transferred to the primary page, which your students also view. This is the page you want to share with them, to have them answer the question. 










Sharing

In order to share your garden with the students, copy the URL from the URL bar and paste it in your forum/email/any messaging tool you use. 

Lino-it – a virtual canvas for sticky notes and web content. 

Lino-it is a sticky notes’ virtual canvas that can help us do collaborative brainstorming and thoughts sharing in the classroom. The teacher creates the canvas and sends the link to the students. She adds a question on the canvas or asks the question in class. The children enter the website and post their thoughts, pictures and videos. all according to what the teacher asked. 

Bare in mind that it is essential to give some ground rules before any cooperative activity: the use of clean language and staying on-task are essential. This is a part of the important educational value that comes with such assignments. Our students must learn how to behave in virtual environments. 

Examples: 

– During the teaching the subject of “Natural Disasters”, I invited my students to find volcano eruption videos on youtube and share them on the canvas. They had to write the place, date and 2 more details about the eruption, so they also used the dictionary and had to dig dip in youtube in order to find a suitable video (some videos were without any details so they couldn’t use them). When all was ready, we watched the videos and the children were enthusiastic to share what they learned. 

– When teaching nouns, adjectives or any other grammatical subject, you can ask the students to share a picture of a noun and it’s name. they can also add a sentence with this noun.

How to create a Lino-it canvas for your students:

1. Go to the website linoit

2. Click on “Sign Up” – you may use your gmail/facebook account so that you won’t have to remember a new password. There is an option to do this without signing up, but as a teacher you need control over the canvas. 












3. After the registration, you arrive to a page with all your previous canvases and the option to create a new one. Click on “create a new Canvas”












4. Name your new canvas (see picture below).

5. Choose a background – use the ones offered or upload your own in the option “upload an image”.

6. Tick the option “everyone may post stickies” so that your students will be able to use it – you can change it later, after the assignment is done. 

7. Tick the option – allow guests to post stickies, from the reason. 

8. Click “create canvas”. 













9. Your new canvas is ready! Look at the right bottom side of the page. there is a picture of a tablet. It shows you that the size of the canvas is larger than the size of the screen – students can simply post stickies on all the canvas and you can reach it with the mouse. 










10. On the right upper corner is the option to share stickies and web content. Click on a sticky note, write inside and click “post”. 

11. If you want to share a video, music or picture, click on their symbol and upload them from your computer. 


Important – only the teacher can change stickies locations, so you shoud refresh your page and move stickies so that the students won’t put stickies on top of one another. This problem does not exist in the next tool, padlet. 



Sharing the canvas with your students

In order to share the canvas, copy the url from the url bar and paste it in a message to your students. 

Padlet – another canvas with great features. 


Padlet is very similar to Linoit, but it requires less work from the teacher – you don’t have to move stickies from one place to another, they can be automatically arranged. 

How to create a Padlet canvas:

1. Go into Padlet.comClick on “sign up”. Sign up with your google or facebook account, or create an account with a new username and password. 


3. Click on: “yes, I’m a techer”. 


4. On the dashboard, you will see your previous padlets and the option to create a new one. Click it. 


5. On the right side of your canvas, click on “settings”. 

costumize the wallpaper, layout and privacy (see pictures with prefferable choices below). 

6. Now, choose “share”, copy the link from the bottom (where it sayse Mobilize) and share it with your students. 

Following the Neapl Earthquake – Teaching about Earhquakes and Natural Disasters

If you wish to address the subject of earhquakes and natural disasters, after the horrible disaster that happened in Nepal on April 25th, I suggest the use of “Tales of Disasters” Kit of videos and assignments. The videos and materials were created by “No Strings International” and there are many more interesting materials on their website. 

These are illusrative videos that use muppets to teach kids who live in disaster areas, what to do when something of this sort happens. The English used is not very easy, but the kids can understand the occurence from watching. It is of course good to accompany the video with guided questions.

The videos are about the amiable villagers of a village called “Desouana Balu”.

For example, here is the video of an earthquake:

the booklet is for all 5 videos, about floods, earthquakes, landslides, tsunami and volcanos.

Links to the rest of the videos: