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:

Celtic Airs. Música y lecturas para una Navidad

Desde Celtic Airs nos informan de esta actividad, que tendrá lugar el viernes 21 de diciembre, a las 19.30, en el museo del Foro de Caesaraugusta:

MÚSICA Y LECTURAS PARA UNA NAVIDAD

Nos gusta preparar el invierno: hace veinte siglos, nuestros antepasados  estarían buscando una pelliza con que cubrir sus hombros, una toga o un  manto más recio. El frío despierta la nostalgia y no hay mejor cosa que  la música y la poesía para acercarnos a lo que añoramos. En las piedras de este museo resuenan aún los cantos de las Saturnalia, esas fiestas  que se celebraban por estas mismas fechas. Al noroeste, los celtas  festejaban el Lá an Dreoilín, bailando y cantando hasta el amanecer.

Nosotros pondremos voz y música fronteriza con que calentar el ánimo  porque ¿sabía que solo la voz despierta conjuros olvidados? Acompáñenos  en este viaje a su propia frontera.

Interpretación musical y lecturas a cargo de Celtic Airs. Los  participantes son Bárbara Arizti, Ana Hornero (Departamento de Filología  Inglesa y Alemana de la Universidad de Zaragoza), Jorge Sanz Barajas,  Carlos Revuelto, Alberto Miranda, Toño Pérez, Clara Lorente y Clara  Mata.

La cita: el día 21 de diciembre, a las 19:30h en el Museo del Foro  Romano (Zaragoza). Entrada libre hasta completar el aforo.

Más información en su página de Facebook y en este enlace.

Christmas 2018- ads and songs for the classroom

However Christmassy you may or may not be, this is a time of the year when lots of audiovisual texts and materials are released, which gives teachers very nice opportunities to use them in class. These are some possible ideas:

John Lewis’ s ad 2018: 

John Lewis released yet again another heart-warming ad, featuring Sir Elton John. The real Elton John opens this backwards look at his career through a series of flashbacks, á la Benjamin Button, and with a string of John’ s look-alikes. The ad comes to a close with Elton John as a child, being given his first ever piano.  The soundtrack to the ad is provided by his hit song “Your Song”.

The slogan (Some gifts are more than just a gift) may be playing with the two meanings of ‘gift’ (present / talent).

As to the meaning of ‘gift’ as ‘present’, Elton John himself donated a piano to St Pancras station in London back in 2016.

Classroom questions and activities:

  • What’s the gift you liked the most? Did it have an impact just at the time of receiving it, or later in life?
  • What are the reasons why people like presents?

Cadbury ad 2018- Secret Santa:

  • What’s the fun in Secret Santa? 
  • What are the reasons why families / friends / colleagues do it? 
  • What strategies can you use to leave your presents / notes and not be noticed? 

Wayfair- Santa caught red-handed (sort of):

  • What would you do if you found Santa / the Three Wise Men in your living room?
  • How can Santa /the Three Wise Men deliver presents to children everywhere in just one night? 

But then, after all this consumerism, some reflection on alternative presents may be in order. This speaker discusses in this clip his DIY take on presents for his family and loved ones:

Transcript here

BBC Christmas 2017:

Ideas for activities and resources here.

Previous years’ ads and resources:

 

Greenpeace-Iceland supermarkets banned Xmas ad

Greenpeace and Iceland supermarkets were banned from showing their joint Christmas 2018 ad on British TV, for being deemed (=considered) ‘political’, and as such, not complying with advertising rules in the UK. Controversy ensued (=followed), with a petition to show it on TV even reaching more than 670,000 signatures. The ad, however, could eventually be shown on social media, attracting millions of views and worldwide support.

You can watch the ad below. The second version features onscreen subtitles.

 

Full text here (p.8)

The text has been written in rhymed poem form. The voice over is by Emma Thompson, in my view one of the best RP (received pronunciation, Standard British English) speaking voices in the English speaking world. Both her accent and intonation provide a great example to be imitated by students of English.

Given both the relevant message and the enchanting prosody of the ad, the following activity could be carried out: before watching the video, just show some screenshots from the ad, like the ones below:

  • Where is the ad set?
  • What is the ad going to be about?

Then, hand out the worksheet below to students. Ask them to guess the missing word(s) in each gap in pairs. That way, their expectations about the message that the ad will be conveying will be activated before actually watching the ad.

You can then play the original ad for students to check their answers against the original text. Which version do they like best?

You can finally ask them to pay attention and try to imitate the stress and rhythm of the poem, as well as the pronunciation of keywords and rhyming words.

Some primary schools in the UK worked alongside Greenpeace and created new versions of the poem of their own:

Sia- Everyday is Christmas

Australian singer-songwriter Sia has released an album called ‘Everyday is Christmas’, with 10 brand new songs about the holiday season. The tone of the songs ranges from festive to the one in Sia’s best-known ballads.

I feel some of the songs in the album could be used in a classroom context, replacing other classics teachers themselves might be tired of using year after year. The videos for three of the songs can also be attractive to young children, as they use claymation.

In any case, here’s a playlist with Christmas-related songs, as well as Sia’s full album:

M5U6- travel- Heathrow airport Xmas ad

You may watch this Christmas ad from Heathrow airport below:

Can you list all the places in the airport / steps in the process of arriving home that these two characters go through?