Entertainment while under lockdown- Speaking/mediation activities

These days, plenty of world-famous artists are livestreaming impromptu concerts from home through social media; theatres are streaming older productions for free…Is this going to have a long-lasting effect on the way entertainment is produced and consumed?

Here you can find some speaking activities as well as a mediation activity on the subject:

SPEAKING: 

Click/tap on the screenshot to download file

MEDIATION IN WRITING:

Click/tap on the screenshot to download the file

These are some of the examples mentioned in the activities:

You may also like:

Mediation in speaking- C1: Operación Triunfo-cómo les ha ido a los ganadores del concurso

For our unit on entertainment, you are welcome to try this mediation task:

You’re on a video call with European friends discussing the cancellation of the Eurovision song contest, and that leads to how effective TV talent shows are at launching unknown artists’ careers. You have read this article about Operación Triunfo, one of the most successful talent shows in Spain ever. Summarise the main points of the article and the charts in it to contribute to the conversation in no more than 3’30’’.

[The length is a bit longer this time because the text is slightly longer than it should, and it also includes graphs (usually you would have 3 minutes).]

Click on any of the screenshots to download the worksheet.

 

If you think you are going to need extra help selecting the relevant information, or with some vocabulary, you may have a look at this annotated version

Source text

The story of Keep Calm and Carry On

It might be something everyone can relate to these days…

Subtitled video here.

Original poster from Barter Books

C2 mediation in speech- Christmas in Spain

The mediation-in-speech paper in the EE.OO.II. in Aragón includes a cross-linguistic mediation task: students receive a text, infographic, chart…in Spanish, and they have to mediate it into the target language, in our case, English.

As we are dealing with Christmas-related topics these days in class, I thought of using two articles in Spanish around two controversial matters that have hit the headlines recently: the Nativity scene in Barcelona and the Christmas display in Vigo.

The context I provided students with is the following: These days you are hosting an Erasmus visit in your school. There are Greek, French and Turkish teachers in the group. The common language you are using is English. They have heard something about the news, but don’t really know what all the fuss is about, so they would like to know more about the subject. Help them understand what is happening, and what the controversy is all about. 

These are the CV descriptors I wanted to work on:

  • Relaying specific information in speech: Can explain (in Language B) the relevance of specific information found in a particular section of a long, complex text (written in Language A) (p.107).
  • Facilitating pluricultural space: Can mediate effectively and naturally between members of his/her own and other communities, taking account of socio-cultural and sociolinguistic differences (p. 123).

The strategies I imagined students should be using are:

  • streamlining a text
  • adapting language
  • linking to previous knowledge

Some possible language they can use can be found here.

After carrying out the tasks in class, I realised I could provide them with a WAGOLL (What a Good One Looks Like), a sample task which could work as a model for them to see what aspects they should have been concentrating on, and a possible mediation sample. That is why I came up with a Thinglink poster for the article on the nativity scene: First, I highlighted content and key words that I felt were relevant. Then, I took a screenshot of the text, which I uploaded to Thinglink. Then I added links with text comments, stressing what points were essential, and therefore should be mentioned, as well as some cultural points that may need explaining for the hearer to be able to get the full picture. Finally, on the microphone icon, I added a link to a recording of myself mediating the text.

 

Click on the image to open Thinglink (opens in a new tab)

Transcript of the recording here

To be honest, I am not sure this can be regarded as a ‘good’ mediation task. But hopefully, it will help students come to terms with the kind of strategies they should be using, and perhaps give them some idea of expressions they can use when faced with these tasks.

 

Christmas ads 2019

Christmas is around the corner. In the run-up to Christmas, businesses and brands release their very best ads, typically tearjerkers, to catch consumers off-guard and lure them to shop till they drop. I’m well aware of their persuasion strategies, of course. And yet, every year I find myself having a look at British Christmas ads, as they tend to be longer, and usually tell a story, which will allow me to exploit them in the classroom even further than ordinary ads. This is a selection of the ones I liked the most this year:

VISA

a rendition of Queen’s ‘Somebody to Love’ by real shopkeepers struggling to survive in the high street.

Extended version

Alternative version- shopkeepers singing All I Want for Xmas is you

Sainsbury’s– Nicholas the Sweep

Set in Dickensian London, it showcases the story of a waif-an orphan child and chimney sweep, unfairly accused of stealing.

Resources: the ad is set in Victorian England/Dickensian London. Some related vocabulary may be useful to start with:

Click on the image to open the word cloud. Links to definitions can be found by clicking on each word.

  • What do you mean when you say that somebody is ‘rotten to the core’?
  • The story is told by a 3rd-person narrator. How would you narrate the story using 1st-person narrative…
          • a. from Mrs Sainsbury’s point of view? 
          • b. from Nicholas the sweep’s point of view?
  • Imagine the story were to be published as a book. How would you retell it?

John Lewis & Waitrose– Excitable Edgar

Resources to use the ad in the classroom:

Fortnum and Mason– What’s in a Fortnum and Mason hamper? (list of traditional Christmas foods and elements in Britain)

Watch the ad and write down as many foods, gifts and Christmas traditions as you can.

Aldi-Kevin the Carrot #4 (Let Me Entertain You):

Resources to use the ad in the classroom: The Literacy Shed

Sky– ET came home for Christmas

Joules– Wallace and Gromit

Iceland supermarkets– Frozen II

Lidl

M&S Christmas Food (Christmas market)

Smyths toys– If I Were a Toy

Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day– You may want to take part in this…

Further resources:

Apostrophe Protection Society closes down

The Apostrophe Protection Society (APS) has been forced to shut down, due to an alleged lack of interest in the subject.  Listen to the  news report below to find out more:

You can read the transcript here

You can also read this article, or have a look at some ‘apostrophe catastrophes’.

This is no trifling matter. For example,  should it be King’s Cross or Kings Cross? On the tube map, it says ‘King’s Cross’, but on the National Rail website, it does refer to the station as ‘Kings Cross’, which illustrates the insecurities in the use of the apostrophe over the centuries.

Some time ago, a grammar vigilante was claimed to roam the streets of Bristol late at night correcting bad punctuation on Bristol shop fronts.

With all this in mind, you could think of possible speaking points:

  • Can you see the APS and this grammar vigilante’s points? What’s your take on their actions?
  • Is English spelling and punctuation being neglected? If so, what may be some possible causes?
  • Would English benefit from having an ‘Academy of the English Language’, just like Spanish or French have?
  • Should written  language adopt more similar conventions to spoken language?

Follow-up to the story (Dec 9th 2019): Renewed interest in apostrophes after society closed down

Speaking voices in English I like

These are some of the speaking voices in English I like the most, and that I somehow consider ‘models’ of good pronunciation, stress, enunciation…At some points in life, when I have had to do public speaking, I have reminded myself of some of them, thinking, for example: ‘you should show the same poise as Audrey Hepburn when you’re speaking’.

To my mind, their voices are a delight to listen to and might prove a model to imitate when speaking English.

Audrey Hepburn:

Sabrina (1954)

Brian May:

Desert Island Discs (BBC Radio 4)

Benedict Cumberbatch:

‘Sherlock’ (BBC 2010-2017)

The Imitation Game (2014):

Martin Freeman:

Jeremy Irons:

‘Brideshead Revisited’ (Granada TV 1981)

Emma Thompson

Much Ado About Nothing (1992)

Kenneth Branagh:

Look Back in Anger (1989):

Hamlet (1996):

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002):

Nicole Kidman:

The Others (2001)

Hugh Grant:

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Notting Hill (1999)

Stephen Fry & Hugh Laurie

‘A Bit of Fry and Laurie’ (1987-1995)

Kate Winslet:

Downton Abbey cast:

Michael Sheen:

The Queen (2006)

‘Good Omens’ (Amazon Prime 2019)

Jack Davenport:

‘Coupling’ (BBC 2000-2004)

‘Next of Kin’ (ITV 2018)