Главная страница «Первого сентября»Главная страница журнала «Английский язык»Содержание №2/1999

Make Your Lesson Incredible

Friendly Poetry


Language Arts Activity

In this activity children will compile a list of the things they look for in a friend and use that information to create a simple poem. Using a familiar topic may make poetry a little less daunting for some children.

What you need

Pencils and paper

Crayons, markers, or colored pencils

What to do

On the chalkboard, brainstorm with children a list of characteristics that make a good friend. Then explain that these characteristics will be used to create a free-form class poem. You may want to write the following sample poem on the board to get the class started:


Good Friends

A good friend
Plays with you,
Laughs with you,
Shares with you,
Talks with you,
Listens to you,
Tells your secrets
To anyone.

Have children create their free-form class poem using some of the characteristics from the brainstorming list. Encourage children to illustrate their poems.

Teaching options

Display poems in a special section of your school or classroom and invite others to come and enjoy them.

Set aside time for a class poetry reading where children can share their individual poems with one another, invited parents, and/or another class in your school.


Plan a Vacation

Cultures, Geography, Reading

In this activity students map the route and highlights of a trip. Students trace routes on a map, identify and locate tourist attractions, and explore different countries.

What you need

Push pins

What to do

List places in your state you would like to visit.

Locate each place on the state map.

Trace a line along the roads that go to each place.

Find or draw pictures of the places you want to visit. Add a brief description of what you will do there.

Pin a string from the place on the map to the picture.

Give your map a title.


That’s Incredible Show!

Social Studies/Drama Activity

Children will research world records and then portray the people who broke them in a class interview show.

What you need

The Guinness Book of Records

Children’s magazines that contain amazing facts


What to do

Discuss with children what a world record is and the kinds of records that people try to break. If necessary, write a few on the board:

The most home runs hit in a baseball player’s career is 755 by “Hank” Aaron.

The heaviest lollipop ever made weighed 2,220.5 pounds.

The largest number of jumps using a pogo stick is 177,737.

The largest pizza ever baked was 122 feet, 8 inches around.

Explain to children that they will be searching for incredible facts or records. Use The Guinness Book of Records and Children’s magazines that contain amazing facts.

Verify and approve the chosen records or facts and then have children create their own That’s Incredible Show. Have each child decide whether they want to be an interviewer or a guest on the show. Explain that a guest is the person who was somehow involved in an incredible record or fact. The interviewer is the one who will ask the guest a few questions, such as how they broke the record and why. Note that the guest will know what questions the interviewer will ask in advance. Encourage children to make simple props and costumes to add to the fun.

After the interviews have been rehearsed, the class could present the show to their parents or another class in the school.

Teaching options

Gather all the incredible facts researched and use them to create a program guide for the show.


A Message in a Bottle

Social Studies/Language Arts Activity

In this activity, students will create an imaginary tale of travel and adventure.

What you need

Maps of the world, atlases

Plastic bottles with caps (one for each child writing a tale)

A water table, fish tank, or large basin (optional)

What to do

Tell children that they are going to write a tale about an imaginary adventure or trip that has left them stranded on a desert island. Explain that the only chance for rescue is to write a message, put it in a bottle, and put the bottle in the water, with the hope that someone will find it.

Brainstorm with children the kind of information they should include in their tales. For example, they might want to explain who they are, where they were going when they got stranded, where they left from, and how they were traveling. They should also include information about where they are, such as the climate, what the island is like, what plants and animals they have seen, and how they are surviving. Record their suggestions on the board or chart paper.

When children are ready to begin writing, make maps and/or atlases available to them. They can refer to the maps if they need help planning their trips or spelling the names of places they might want to include in their tales.

When students have finished their tales, have them place the tales in the bottles and set the bottles afloat in the water table (or whatever container of water you have available).

Then have students fish the bottles (not their own) out of the water, and read aloud the tales within. After reading each tale, they can “rescue” the author by using maps and story details to find approximately where he or she is stranded.

Teaching options

If your class is studying a certain area of the world in social studies, you may want to have them write about being stranded on desert islands off the coasts of countries within that region.

You may want to arrange with a teacher of another class to have your tales sent there. Then the students in that class can try to locate the writer of each tale. Your class could do the same with tales from the students in the other class.


Class Mascot

Language Arts Activity

Children will create their own tales to tell using a class mascot for inspiration.

What you need

A class mascot

A backpack

A notebook of ruled paper

What to do

Choose a particular stuffed animal or toy as a class mascot and have children decide upon a name for their new friend. Then brainstorm with children some background information about the mascot. Some ideas might be:

Where and when it was born

All about its family

What its personality is like

How it got its distinctive features

Its best friends

What it likes to do

Where it has already traveled

Each child will then write a paragraph or two, embellishing upon one of the ideas discussed (or any other idea).

Next, explain to children that they will take turns bringing home the mascot and notebook. In the notebook, they are to write their own tale about an adventure the mascot had or something it did. The tale could be about a trip to the dentist or an amusement park. How about a ride on a giant bird? Encourage them to let their imaginations fly. Also, suggest to children that they refer to the information written in class for ideas or details to use in their tales.

Show children the backpack and explain what is inside (in addition to the mascot and notebook):

Information they wrote in class about the mascot

A note to parents explaining what to do

A list of items that should be returned to school.

You might want to keep a list of the dates children take the mascot home and when the mascot should be returned. Each time the mascot returns to school, set aside some special time for the child to tell or read the tale to the rest of the class.

Teaching options

After everyone has written a tale, print each one on a construction paper panel, fastening the individual panels together to form a story quilt. Children could also make panels to illustrate their mascot’s adventures.

Make a story caterpillar with each adventure printed on round body sections.

Create a story scroll – the adventures are all written on a 9- or 12-inch roll of paper. As the adventures add up, the scroll gets longer and longer.


Incredible Excuses

Creative Writing /Drama Activity

In this activity, children will use their imaginations, personal experiences, and a sense of humor to write some creative excuses.

What you need


What to do

Ask children if they know what an excuse is. Discuss various excuses you may have heard from former students who were late to school or missing homework. Explain that some excuses can be quite incredible. If you remember an especially incredible or unusual excuse, share it with the class.

Tell children that they are going to pretend to be parents who need to write a note explaining why their child doesn’t have a homework assignment, or is late to school. Remind them that no ordinary excuses will be accepted. They need to come up with the most incredible excuse they can think of. Children can work in groups or with a partner to brainstorm different ideas for excuses.

When children are ready, have them write their excuses in the form of a brief note addressed to you. When they are finished, have them place their notes inside envelopes. Then have children role-play bringing in the note from home and giving it to the teacher. Children can take turns being the teacher and being the student with the incredible excuse. Have the “teacher” read the excuse aloud, encouraging him or her to read with expression to emphasize the incredible parts of the note. You may want to have children expand the role-playing by having the “teacher” ask the “student” some follow-up questions about the note.

Teaching options

Invite the principal to visit the class and listen to the children read their excuses aloud.

Have an Incredible Excuse Contest. Submit the excuses that the children write to a panel of teachers who will determine which excuse is the most incredible. Or, simply have the class listen to all the excuses and vote for the most incredible one. You may want to have several categories, such as funniest excuse, most unusual, most believable, etc.


Fantastic Pictures!

Language Arts/Art Activity

This activity gives students the opportunity to review nouns and adjectives while creating imaginative works of art.

What you need

2 boxes

Index cards

Art materials

What to do

Set up two boxes, one labeled NOUNS and the other ADJECTIVES. Take 30 index cards (depending on how many students in the class), and write one noun on each card. The more interesting and unusual, the better. Some examples might be: dinosaur, baobab tree, castle, centipede, monster.

Next, write one adjective on 40 or more index cards. Choose adjectives that are interesting and visual, such as purple, tremendous, spotted, fanged, and striped.

Have individual students choose one noun card and at least one adjective card from the boxes. Explain to students that they are to put the adjectives and nouns together and make a drawing (or a collage) of what they describe. The picture must show something fantastic, that is, something that probably couldn’t be found in real life. Note that if the adjective and noun together represent something realistic (for example, a blue box or a red dress), students will need to choose other adjectives.

Teaching options

You may wish to explain the activity to students, and then have them select the nouns and adjectives and write them on the index cards.

Неожиданно и смешно

Смех на уроке английского языка может возникнуть в неожиданный момент. Например, при обсуждении темы, в которой, на первый взгляд, нет ничего смешного. Когда мы рассказываем о британских газетах у журналах, мы обычно говорим о “серьезной” и “желтой” прессе, показываем разницу в подаче материала.

Но даже такая газета как The Times, которую принято считать образцом серьезной, или “quality” прессы много места уделяет не информационным материалам, а в той или иной мере развлекательным. Это может быть рассказ о работе ученых или интервью с ведущим популярного ток-шоу, дискуссия о том, допустимы ли физические наказания в воспитании детей или подборка материалов по садоводству. Каждая газета понимает, что подписчик скорее всего выберет одно издание, и стремится сделать так, чтобы выбрал именно ее. А значит, старается говорить обо всем, что может быть интересно читателю. Так что мы можем сказать, что сегодняшние британские газеты отличаются друг от друга, скорее, не выбором тем, а формой подачи, тоном разговора.

В каждом субботнем номере The Times вы обязательно найдете колонку, представленную так: “Every week, our intrepid columnist is asked to assume a new identity”.

Автор этой колонки, писатель David Bowker изобретает самые неожиданные амплуа. 19 декабря в газете появился его рассказ о том, как он исполнял роль сельского детектива (a nocturnal village sleuth). Ее я и предлагаю обсудить с учеником.

Last Monday evening, I attended the monthly meeting of the local Neighbourhood Watch Association. Two burglaries had taken place in the village in the past six months. In the previous two years, there had only been one robbery. This meant the local crime rate had doubled by 400 per cent. Or perhaps it had quadrupled by 200 per cent. Either way, Doug was pretty concerned.

Doug is the man who hands out our stickers. A criminal acquaintance once told me that houses with “Neighbourhood Watch” stickers on them promote crime, as they usually contain something worth stealing. If this is true, I suppose you could say that Doug personally arranges for people to get robbed. I didn’t tell him this, though. He tends to take himself and his stickers very seriously.

Doug pointed out that in both recent robberies, only video recorders and televisions had been stolen. “Not only that,” I added, “but a month ago I lost my best hat. It was a grey ‘Sherlock Holmes’ deer stalker and I dropped it at the last meeting, and some despicable swine has obviously stolen it”.

Doug ignored me. He was only interested in the recent burglaries. He also asked us to consider that three years ago, there had been no crime in the village. Then suddenly, a positive crime wave! What could this mean?

“Perhaps . . . just perhaps,” suggested Doug, his forefinger raised enigmatically, “the culprit moved into the village three years ago”.

I took exception to this. “Just a minute. I moved into the village three years ago.”

Doug’s finger remained aloft. “I cast no aspersions. I merely record the facts.”

In return, allow me to record the facts. Doug is a pillock. Besides myself and Doug, there were five people present at the meeting. Firstly, consider Mr and Mrs Johansen, the richest people in the village, presumably above suspicion because of their obscene wealth. Then there was old Mrs Coppell, frosty secretary of the Parish Council, not so much God-fearing as feared-by-God. Also present were Anne and Derek Farmer, the last people in the village to have been burgled.

“It’s all very well sitting round here talking,” complained Mrs Farmer. “We need action, not words.”

I surprised myself by saying: “Has anyone considered patrolling the village?” Doug said that he had, but had been forced to rule it out because of his rheumatism. Mr Farmer said he could only patrol on Tuesday evenings, between 6.30pm and 7pm. Without wishing to be critical, I doubt that many burglars are active during this particular time-slot. Johansen said he couldn’t help because he liked to go to bed early. The same applied to Mrs Coppell.

This only left me. Somewhat rashly, I agreed to go on night patrol for a week. What I didn’t tell my fellow watchdogs was that I wasn’t looking for burglars. All I was intersted in was my missing deer stalker.

My favourite fictional detective is Sherlock Holmes. On Wednesday night, I put Holmes’s principles of detection into practise by peeping through peoples’ windows.

Firstly, I went to Johansen’s house. He had already stated in front of witnesses that he went to bed early. But as I tiptoed down his drive at nine minutes past twelve, I noticed that the living room lights were on. I crept to the window and peered through a chink in the curtains. And what should I see but Johansen himself? He wasn’t wearing my hat, but he was drinking beer and smiling. And what was he smiling at? A porn video, no less! Ladies and gentlemen of the jury . . .

On Thursday, I patrolled anew. At seventeen minutes past eleven, I ran straight to the Johansen residence to see if he was watching disgusting filth again. Because if he was, I wanted to watch it too. Unfortunately, the house was in darkness. I wandered over to Farmer farm. I looked throught the kitchen window and saw Mr and Mrs Farmer, drinking tea by the fire. Their wallpaper was covered in brown stains. But neither of them was sporting my deer stalker.

I went directly to Doug’s bungalow to gaze through his bathroom window. The sight that greeted me made my blood run cold. There was a body in the shower. It was Doug’s body. But he wasn’t wearing my deer stalker. That only left one suspect.

On Saturday, I convened an emergency meeting of the Neighbourhood Watch. “No doubt you’re wondering why I gathered you all here,” I began. “From the outset, I suspected that one of you had stolen my favourite hat. But was it Johansen, who watches rude videos? Was it the Farmers, who never decorate their house? Was it Doug, who looks absolutely dreadful in the nude? Or was it you, Mrs Sarah Coppell, who not only stole my hat but is wearing it at this very moment?

“I’m not wearing a hat,” she snapped coldly.

On closer inspection, this turned out to be true. It was an easy mistake to make. The woman’s hair had merely been permed to look like a deer stalker.

When I got home, I told my wife about my faux pas. She went into another room and seconds later, returned with my missing hat. “I’m sorry,” she confessed. “It was never really lost. You looked so stupid in it that I hid it.”

Another mystery solved! Or, to paraphrase Sherlock Holmes: when all the facts have been eliminated, whatever remains, however boring or ridiculous, must be a newspaper article.

 Мы видим, что серьезная пресса бывает и несерьезной. Конечно, этот текст не надо предлагать ученикам, которые занимаются языком недавно – за сложностями языка им трудно будет увидеть юмор и получить от него удовольствие. Я на своих уроках использую подобные тексты, когда хочу как-то вознаградить старания ребенка. Но, конечно, это не единственный возможный вариант.

Мне кажется необходимым еще раз напомнить домашнему учителю: дети любят смешное. И их желание посмеяться мы вполне можем использовать на уроках английского языка.


Наталья Хмелик