St. Valentine’s day is approaching so here’s a lesson plan on the topic of love and friendship. Students warm up by playing a word game (stages 4-5) that
- encourages them to think deeper about what they read into a range of concepts related to love and friendship and
- pushes them to recall vocabulary on these topics
The lesson ends in a discussion activity (stage 6).
Length: 30-60 min (depending on whether you do the discussion activity)
Focus: speaking (a conversation class)
Stage One. Tell the students that you’re going to show them several photos and that you found all of these photos with one search on Google. Ask them to guess the search term. Board all their suggestions. (My search term was ‘St. Valentine’s day’, but anything topic-related will do.)
(Collage produced using http://www.fotor.com/features/collage.html)
[Optional] If the students came up with the topic of St. Valentine’s day and it seems to be relevant, ask them, ‘What other words do you associate with this topic?’ (board all suggestions, positive ones alongside negative ones, e.g. ‘commercialized’).
Say ‘I’m thinking of one of these pictures. I’ll tell you my associations – guess which picture I’m thinking about (this is the picture of three hands).
- vow (for a B2-C1 class)
Get the students to quiz each other in new pairs: one person chooses a picture and says their associations, the second guesses which picture is being described; listen in an board some of the students’ associations. FB: By this point there should be more than 20-30 words on the board (some possible associations: stained glass/ saint/ candies/ newborn/ aisle/ unity/ loyalty/ smooch/ swans/ merchandise). Refer the s/s to the board and ask them which words can be associated with more than one picture.
Tell the students that you’re going to play an extract from a song. Tell them that the title of this song is an emotion and that their task is to guess the title. Play one or two times without the video (black out the projector by pressing B); when the s/s understand that the title is ‘love’ either cirle it if it’s already on the board or board it. Say: the title is spelled incorrectly now. How to spell it right? Play one more time if necessary (the singer says how he interprets each letter in the word ‘love’, so it should be spelled L.O.V.E.)
Stage Three. Board and ask the student to copy the following 4 lines (alternatively, print them out beforehand)
L ______ ______ ______ ______ ______ look at me
O ______ ______ ______ only one ______ ______
V ______ ‘very very ______’
E ______ ‘even more ______ ______ ______ ______ ______’
Ask them to try and remember what goes into the gaps; and then play the first line and ask them to predict what should be in the second line; play the rest of the extract. Say that you’re going to interpret the rest of the words on the board in the same way. At this point, add full stops in some of the words in a different colour.
Stage Four. Say that you’re going to give the students an example: that you’re thinking of a word and that you’re going to give them letters from that word in random order but that you’ll say how you interpret each letter. The students should try and guess the word before all letters have been revealed (allow 30 seconds thinking time after giving each letter & its interpretation – use a timer. If the class guesses the word (‘smile’) earlier than all letters have been revealed, encourage them to come up with associations for the remaining letters.
L is for ‘universal language‘
S is for the way it can start a friendship
E is for emotion and positive energy that you share // add ‘encouragement’ with advanced students
M is for mouth
I is for intrigue, inspiration and interaction
Tell the students that now they are going to challenge each other in the same way. Ask them to work in pairs or groups of 3 and choose more words from the ones listed on the board. Their objective is to find associations they both share and, if they come up with more than one association for the same letter, they should discuss which association is more interesting. Allow 10 minutes – or more if the discussion is lively.
You could play the song while they’re working.
Stage Five. Students play the guessing game – either as a whole group/ in groups consisting of two pairs from stage five / in new pairs.
Project/print out questions for students to discuss. Ask each person to pick 4-5 questions. Optionally, after some of the pairs have finished, regroup the students.
- What do you look for in friends? Do all your friends have something in common or are some of them very different from others?
- Do you think your friends who don’t know each other would get along? Why/why not?
Tell your partner about two friends who you think wouldn’t get along/would get along especially well.
- What was your best friendship? Are you still friends with him or her? What is your first memory of that person? What is your happiest memory of that person?
- What qualities do you admire in other people?
- What behavior of others hurts you most? When you have upset someone by your actions, what do you try to do?
- Who are the best/the most inspiring/ the most unlikely couples/friends you know?
- What’s your attitude towards Valentine’s Day?
Do you think it makes single people feel lonely?
Do you think Valentine’s Day is too commercial or consumerist?
- Do you remember giving someone a very heartfelt gift? Who did you give it to? Why did you feel so strongly about this gift?
- Have you received any gifts that you still keep and would be very upset to lose? Who and when gave them to you?
Monitor to collect instances of topic-related language that could be corrected/upgraded; content feedback; language feedback.
If you’re short of time, you can skip Stage 1 and prepare words for stage five yourself. Cut them up into unique slips if you want to conduct stage six as a whole-class activity, or print a list for each pair (two different lists in total) if you’d like to re-group the students.
Here are some suggested words:
Links to the photos used in the collage above: