Eric Herman does a great job with his son. It is so engaging, even for adults. A song but with dialogue – it has it all.
Use in millions of ways:
1. Pause ask what is the right animal. 2. Watch, students write down the names of all the animals. Then organize or write sentences using “can” A monkey can…. etc… 3. Sing the song/rewrite the song using different animals. 4. Make/draw Wingdingdongdilly’s (animals with different body parts). Discuss as a group to review body part vocab. 5. Just enjoy!
When I was a young(er) teacher, quite cut off and alone in a town in the Czech Rep. — one of the books that were my best friends was “The Dimensions of the Present Moment” – a collection of essays by the Czech immunologist / poet , Miroslav Holub (more on him HERE). In one essay, he outlined how each breath / line of poetry is less than 3 seconds or 1 moment. He continued to outline how a moment can be defined as 3 seconds. About the time it takes for to oxygenate over and over, the brain.
I’ve always returned to that thought, that moment.
This video really shows what moments are…. It could be used in class to great effect. Just go through and pause. Ask the students what is happening at that moment. If I have time this week, I’m going to make some learning material for this… enjoy the moments!
You can use these cards to teach with this video. (just be careful of “one” scene which is adult – get the edited version of the video on EFL Classroom 2.0!).
Students can read out their card as the scene appears. Or play last one standing. They sit down when their card appears. Those left standing win. Or show a scene and ask students to write 5 sentences for it, using the 5ws. Lots of rich, contextualized language production possible!
Hat’s off to David Truss for helping me find this marvelous video!
Long ago, when lost in translation, in E. Europe, I was a copy editor for a English Chinese business magazine. I’d get the articles and polish them and send them back. This was in the very early days of the internet. Part of my job was rewriting the headlines. The Chinese were good English writers and speakers but not native speakers! So often, I’d come upon a “screamer”.
Today, I put together this presentation for a syntax / semantics presentation I’ll be doing. However, besides English teachers, it could be a nice resource for high level English learners. Lots of problems with word order, double meaning, reference, ambiguity and pragamatics too (see Grice’s Maxims – these break quite a few!). Also, lots of semantic and semiotical nuiance in these….. Also, see on our Practice page many more. Like – I Saw The Sign and this one about funny signs found around the world – Broken English. Also “Silly Signs” and “Funny Billboards”
The best thing to do with these is to see if your students “get it”. If not, you might skip it, rather than explain it (like we do with jokes, never explain one!). However, if they see something there, you might get them to try and propose a correct headline…
Beyond everything, they are just absolutely funny. So don’t think too much, just enjoy. Just like we usually use language – without thought!
Short videos like those on Youtube or EFL Classroom, are perfect “engaging” starters for great language learning. I did a previous blog post on ways to use videos, especially “silent videos”. Also see my own presentation with “cautions” when using video. Here are some suggestions on how to use videos which have vocabulary in them, like this favorite, the Elephant Song.
Play the video and give students a task. This is so important! The task must be VERY simple but keep them focused. Like, “write down 3 things you see” or as in the case with the Elephant Song, “write down all the names of animals, you hear/see”.
After this, you have many activities you can do with this vocabulary.
1. Pause the video, ask students to predict. Ask, “What animal does he really mean?”
2. Guessing Game. The teacher describes an animal and the students guess. Whichever group guesses first, wins a point. Continue until all have been guessed/marked out. Then, students in pairs or groups do the same activity.
3. Categorizing, organizing. The teacher gives the students some categories. The students put the vocabulary under the appropriate category with comments. For the Elephant Song you might use… Rank / Habitat / Legs / Diet / Edible / Sound / Colour / Features
4. Comparatives. Students write sentences comparing the vocabulary. Put up some scaffolding sentences to guide the writing. Ex. “A / An ….. is …………er than a / an …………… ” “A / An ……….. is more ………….. than a / an ………….”
5. Matching Walkaround. Give students a post it note (small ones). They write down their favorite animal and then go around asking others – “Do you like …….?” If they find a match, they link arms and continue to find more matches. Afterwards, review who likes what animal.
5b Indian Poker. Same thing with post it notes. But the students put the post it note on the forehead of a friend. Everyone walks around asking questions to see if they can guess what animal/vocabulary item they are. “Do I have big ears?”, “Do I have 4 legs?”. “Do I live in the jungle?”. Once they guess which animal they are, they can sit back down. This is an all time FAV. with students.
6. Student created Bingo. Give students an A4 sheet . They make a bingo card and draw in the animals to fill up the card. Then, they walk around asking questions… ex. “Have you ever killed / kissed / touched / eaten / seen ……..?”. If a student says yes, they draw an 0 , if “no”, they draw an X in the square. They continue asking others until they have a Bingo and can sit down.
7. Plan a Zoo. This one is unique to this video. Give the students an A4. Together, draw along the perimeter cages and places for animals in the zoo. Just as many as animals on your list. The students discuss where it is best to put the animals and then report back to class. They have to be careful, a bear can’t be near a dog!A dog can’t be near a cat!
I’ve long been one who “protests” the dictionary as a form of enslavement! It is a traffic cop, a false prophet saying and prescribing what words are “right” and which are “wrong”. BAAAAAAHHHHH
This delightful TED Talk is really entertaining and in her quirky way, this “lexicographer” pleads for technology to liberate words and give us a beautiful dictionary where words , ALL words are equal and beautiful and loved. It’s a great watch and you’ll pick up a few beautiful words. I love her wrapping up — “The internet like the dictionary is only words and enthusiasm!”. So true.
Recently there was a brouhah and huzza about the 1,000,000th English word. One was even plucked from the pantheon-Web 2.0 (I wonder who got the check/prize?). However, who cares how many? It is how they are used and most importantly, how words are sucked upon and LOVED! Dictionaries are just books written by people! Samuel Johnson’s collosus “A Dictionary of the English Language” comes foremost to mind – but whatever the effort, they are still human and just OPINION. I feel in love with his book and moreso his mind but the end result was I also began to see the dictionary for what it was – a fiction, a work of art (or trash).
If you are interested in challenging your own notion of “the dictionary” and thinking about how it really has harmed our language, the organic bloodwell of English – I’d recommend looking at a few of the earliest alternative dictionaries that challenged the institutionalized and imprisoned view of what is a word and how we should use it…. (and we still should challenge the OED – god! you even have to pay to look up one of the words they “own” – how can one own a word???) If I get the time, I’ll hunt up my own thrice almost published “Idiot’s Dictionary” and post an excerpt. Been awhile since I looked at this collosus I compiled during my poetic days……