Lesson Plan 1
Topic: Social Media Language
Duration: 45 min
School: Athens College – Junior High School
Class: Grade 9 Phase 5 (3rd grade of Junior High School)
Class Size: 18
Learners’ Level: C1
Learners’ Age: 14-15
- SmartBoard (alternatively a computer and a projector)
- PowerPoint presentation
- Handout (included in Appendix 1)
- Homework (included in Appendix 2)
- YouTube Video (see Coll-down Stage)
- To develop learners’ speaking skills
- To develop learners’ writing skills
- To develop learners’ cultural awareness
- To develop learners’ ability to develop discourse of different registers
After the end of this lesson, students should be able to:
- Understand the difference between proper English language and its usage on Social Media.
- Be able to discern between formal and informal speech.
- Use the same discourse to convey different meanings.
- Understand the impact of social media, and the internet as a whole, on human society, language and even psyche.
- Some students might not have social media accounts, making the topic irrelevant to them.
- Students might not be familiar with the concept of social media language, memes, or other aspects of the topic.
- Students may be disruptive due to the communicative structure of the lesson.
- Students may not know the meaning of some of the vocabulary used during the presentation.
Opening/ Warm-up: (3 minutes)
T welcomes the students to classroom. After Ss settle down, T introduces topic to Ss by asking them about their own social media presence. When some Ss have talked, T explains that they have been noticing the shift in language that has been occurring due to usage of social media.
To introduce topic and familiarize Ss with the shifts in language usage on social media.
Presentation & Practice Stage: (20 minutes)
T uses a PowerPoint presentation that studies the effect of social media on language and compares and contrasts definitions of words that have had a shift in definition between proper English and social media English. This is done using definitions found on https://www.urbandictionary.com/ and https://dictionary.cambridge.org/ .
Procedure: (T->Ss, Ss->T)
T begins presentation using the ppt. After each slide T asks Ss if they have questions or need clarifications. T encourages Ss to take part in the conversation and give their own opinions and personal experience at any moment during the presentation. From Slide 6 until the end of the presentation T asks Ss to give examples of sentences of each word that is presented (practice stage incorporated into presentation stage).
- Slide 1: Cover of ppt
- Slide 2: T explains to Ss what linguistics is (i.e. the study of language). T uses very basic information as to not confuse Ss. T talks about the present time and about the role the internet plays in our everyday life.
- Slide 3: T talks about human evolution. Humans are creators, they curate their environment to fit their needs. T informs Ss that social media fulfills human need for interaction. Human are social beings. T explains what “meme culture” is and explains that it is the most recent shift in online communication.
- Slide 4: T talks about minority groups and communities. T highlights minority influence on language even before the internet. T explains that much of the language used on social media has been appropriated by these communities
- Slide 5: Title page
- Slides 6, 7, 8, 9, 10: T compares the Cambridge dictionary and urban dictionary definitions of the words presented. After each comparison T asks Ss for examples. If Ss can’t produce them then T assists.
- Slide 11: Bibliography
- Slide 12: T thanks Ss for their attention and co-operation. T asks if there are any final questions, clarifications or additions from the Ss.
To inform students and help them develop a better understanding of the English language as a linguistic system. Ss’s age is not advanced enough to understand linguistics so a simpler and more familiar approach, through social media, can be more effective in developing Ss knowledge.
Production Stage: (10 minutes)
Ss are tasked with producing to paragraphs of similar length using the words included in the presentation. One paragraph must be written using the proper English definitions while the second one must be written using the social media definitions (preferable in the form of a social media post i.e. tweet)
Procedure: (individual activity)
T passes out the Handout prepared for the lesson (see Appendix 1). T instructs Ss to follow the activity and produce their texts in ten minutes. T asks if there are any questions. While Ss do the activity, T walks around the classroom and checks that everyone has understood what they need to do and offers assistance if it is needed.
To give Ss the chance to use their acquired knowledge in order to lock it into their memory without having to learn anything by heart, as well as develop their ability to write in different linguistic registers by using the same content.
Cool Down Stage: (10 minutes)
The whole class watches a video about social media depression. It is a short film about the negative effects of social media to the human, and especially teenage, psyche.
Procedure: (group activity)
T explains to the students that social media can also have negative effects. T highlights that the constant supply of content online can cause symptoms of misery, antisocial behaviours and low self-esteem due to the constant comparison that occurs between users and social media influencers. T explains that likes and followers have become, in a way, the new way to establish one’s self worth. Afterwards, T plays the short film (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXdVPLj_pIk), which lasts 8 minutes and 26 seconds.
Many teenagers suffer from depression, especially due to the massive influence of social media. This particular short film might help Ss understand the danger of social media abuse and addiction, and encourage them to consume online content in moderation, bringing their mental health before their social media accounts.
Closing: (2 minutes)
T thanks Ss for their attention during the lesson. T asks if there are any questions about everything that has been covered. Then, T hands out the Ss’s homework (see Appendix 2) and goes through the instructions and clarifies any misconception about what Ss need to do.
Rationale for Lesson Plan 1
The topic of this lesson is very relevant and appropriate for the age and level of the students of this class. As teenagers, their social standing is crucial to them and social media is the forum in which they conduct a big part of their social life. For this reason, this topic was chosen to spark students’ interest and, in the process, teach them about the English language from a more linguistic perspective.
The opening stage of the lesson is important in order to make a smooth transition for the students. Whether they had recess or another class before the lesson, it is important to understand that we can not demand from the students their total attention from minute one. By having a short conversation on the topic that will be discussed during class, students will be able to participate in the dialogue and thus develop their critical thinking.
The lesson itself has been structured using the PPP methodology of conducting a lesson (presentation, practice, production). This particular method is very useful since the students are able to not only acquire new knowledge but actually use it in real-time. As Raquel Criado states in their paper “A Critical Review of the Presentation-Practice-Production Model (PPP) in Foreign Language Teaching”: “The presentation stage allowes students to paay attention to and notice specific linguistic features”. For this reason, the PPP method is very helpful in this particular instance where students are asked to view the English language as a linguistic system that is alive and constantly changing.
The practice stage has been incorporated into the presentation stage in order to facilitate the time constraints that are resent during any lesson. The PowerPoint presentation is linear so it would not be in the best interest of the class to first give the full presentation and then give students the ability to practice their newly acquired knowledge.
The production stage of the lesson allows students to use what they learned in order to produce written discourse. By comparing and contrasting between their own written production, the students can self-evaluate their understanding of the topic at hand. In addition, this particular activity aids the students in understanding not only the shifts in meaning but also the underlying shifts in register that contribute to the shift in meaning. This can be supported by Mary J. Schleppegrell’s paper “Challenges of the Science Register for ESL students: Errors and Meaning-Making” where she states that “ESL students need to learn to adopt the register features that give their work the authoritativeness and textual structure that realize the meaning expected in standard […] English.” .
The cool-down stage of the lesson includes a video that deals with a very important issue, social media induced depression. Many of the students in this class admitted that they felt addicted to their social media accounts. This fact can lead us to understand that social media poses an important threat to the mental health of teenagers. For this reason, a short film that showcases this phenomenon could help lift the stigma that comes with depression, especially when it is related to social media. The classroom must be a safe place, without judgement. The homework chosen aims at developing this notion. Through the creation of a short vlog (video blog) where students share some personal experience, positive or negative, from their social media usage could help the students develop empathy towards one another and strengthen the “classroom community”. “The intensity of the online world is thought to be a factor that may trigger depression in some adolescents.” (O’Keeffe et al., 2011).
O'Keeffe, Gwenn Schurgin, et al. “The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families.” Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 Apr. 2011, pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/127/4/800.full.
Criado, Raquel, “A critical review of the Presentation-Practice-Production Model (PPP) in Foreign Language Teaching” in R. Monroy (Ed.) Homenaje a Francisco Gutierrez Diez, 2003. pp. 97-115.
Schleppegrell, Mary J. “Challenges of the science register for ESL students: Errors and Meaning making”. In M.J. Schleppegrell & M. C. Colombi (Eds.), Developing advanced literacy in first and second languages: Meaning with power. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002. pp. 119- 142.
Materials for Lesson Plan 1
Lesson Plan 2
Topic: Happy Endings
Duration: 45 min
School: Athens College – Junior High School
Class: Grade 8 Phase 3-4 (2nd grade of Junior High School)
Class Size: 17
Learners’ Level: B2
Learners’ Age: 13-14
- Handout (see Appendix 1)
- SmartBoard (Alternatively, computer and projector)
- Students’ previous book report projects
- To develop students’ reading skills
- To develop students’ writing skills
- To develop students’ critical thinking
- To develop students’ creative tools
After the end of this lesson, students should be able to:
- Critically assess different literary functions
- Produce written discourse by following certain literary styles
- Understand the difference between happy and unconventional endings
- Use creativity to add information on already existing texts
- Students may not be able to understand the terms used in literary analysis (i.e. style, genre, point of view etc.)
- Unknown vocabulary could be present in the while-reading stage
- Students may not be interested in the topic
- Students may feel judged when going through their presentations
- When the teacher goes through the book reports, they could use the students’ work in order to communicate some literary devices to students
- Text could be curated to include only known vocabulary, or if there is any unknown words, teacher should be able to give the definitions if needed
- By using their own work in the pre-reading stage, interest could be sparked if done in way that also gives students feedback on their projects
- Teacher must be careful and sensitive of the projects, albeit honest, in order to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings
Opening/ Warm-up: (2 minutes)
Description/ Procedure: (T->Ss)
T welcomes Ss into the classroom and invites them to begin the lesson. T introduces the topic of the lesson by referring to the projects they observed on the previous lesson. T highlights the fact that in the section “What would I change if I were the author” most Ss changed the ending into a happy one. T explains that this lesson aims at doing the opposite.
Any proper teacher must consider Ss’s need to take some time before settling into a concentrated state. An opening stage gives the ability to create a smooth transition for the Ss and familiarize them with the matter at hand, so they’re prepared.
Pre- Reading Stage: (15 minutes)
During a previous lesson Ss prepared and shared book reports on a variety of different stylistic literary genres. Most of them changed their stories’ endings to fit the narrative of a “happily ever after”. Using their own work, T can introduce the topic and help students understand the idea of different possible outcomes for a story, as well as teach them about literary functions.
Procedure: (T->Ss, Ss->T, Ss->Ss)
Using the SmartBoard (or computer and projector) T accesses the CMS platform of the school, where Ss have uploaded their book reports. One by one, T goes through the Ss’s projects and focuses on the part called “What would I change if I were the author”. T asks Ss to explain their views on the story and why they chose these endings. (If some Ss don’t have happy endings in their project, T can use them as examples of different narratives) As T goes through the projects T gives brief explanations of literary terms (i.e. style, genre, narrative, point of view and others, if need T can use Google Search to find definitions of terms to showcase to Ss). T encourages Ss to give their own opinions and views on their fellow Ss’s projects, with respect towards the work they did.
For Ss to understand these complex ideas that are present in literature, using their own work can be much easier to transmit this knowledge to them. Most students are more receptive when they are getting feedback, rather than a simple presentation of the subject of the lesson and the terms they need to learn. For this reason, an introduction conducted using this method can be more effective.
While- Reading Stage: (15 minutes)
Using an article found on a learning website (learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org) that has been written by an ESL student for other Ss of the same level (B2), the Ss can examine the most well-known source of happy endings, fairy tales. Using these texts, T can showcase the true nature of those fairytales and familiarize students with the realistic narratives that can take place within a story. If Ss have trouble in developing cohesive written discourse, an example of carefully crafted article by an ESL student of their own level and age can be beneficial and inspiring for Ss.
Procedure: (Ss->Ss, group activity)
T explains that after evaluating Ss endings, a dive into the true stories behind fairytales could help Ss understand the idea of different endings better. T passes around handout of article (see appendix 1) and asks for volunteers to read out-loud. After 2 paragraphs T changes speaker and chooses another S. After the end of each reading session T asks Ss whether they have questions and then briefly analyzes what has been read. T encourages Ss to chime in and gives them the ability to explain what they read. After whole text has been read, T asks students to share their favorite fairytale from their childhood and describe the ending of said fairytale. After a few Ss speak, T explains the role of the reader in the literary process. As readers Ss can choose the ending of any story, no story ends after it has been read, readers are technically the drivers of any story.
This text is used for three main reasons. Firstly, it can inspire Ss to write more cohesively, as it is a perfectly written article by Ss’s peer. Secondly, it highlights the reality behind stories, even the most, allegedly, innocent ones. Lastly, it transitions students from being passive into being more active readers.
Post- Reading Stage: (10 minutes)
After examining the possibility of different outcomes of the narratives, Ss are asked to produce their own different endings to their favorite fairytales. They can, thus, use their newly acquired knowledge to introduce their own new elements.
Procedure: (individual activity)
T explains that now it is time for Ss to become the writers. T asks students to follow the activity on their handouts. T shortly explains the activity and advises Ss to be as descriptive as they can. T tells Ss they have 10 minutes to do the activity. While students write, T goes around the classroom and makes sure each S has understood the task. T aids anyone who is stuck and gives advice on using their creativity to imagine a different ending.
This activity could be beneficial to students because it allows them to use their newly acquired knowledge and practice it. It gives them the ability to merge the roles of the reader and the writer and it could help them develop a fully-rounded idea of the literary terms they learnt.
Closure: (2 minutes)
Description/ Procedure: (T->Ss)
T gathers the post reading activity and thanks Ss for their attention and creativity. T asks Ss if there are any final questions or remarks. Afterwards, T passes out the Ss’s homework (see Appendix 2). T goes through homework instructions and explains that Ss will need to rewrite the ending of the books Ss reported on in the previous lesson. T asks if everyone understood and advises students to be creative and use their imagination.
Back-up activity: (10 minutes)
This activity is a group speaking activity that aims at creating a collaborative narrative by the Ss. T conducts a game where one by one, Ss are tasked with adding to the story that begun from T. Ss must add at least one sentence to the story in order to, at some point, conclude it.
T explains to Ss that they will play a game. T explains the rules to the game: 1. Each person must add something, at least a sentence, to the story, 2. There are no limitations to where the story can go, 3. Improvisation is key, 4. Timing is important, no more than 1 minute to each Ss. T then writes on the blackboard (or any alternative tool present) the beginning of the story: “As Timmy left his house to go to school…”. T instructs Ss to take notes and Ss are asked, one by one, to contribute to this story. When everyone has given their addition, the last S must find a way to end the story. Afterwards, T asks Ss to recite the story and explain why they chose to add what they chose.
This activity is used for a maltitude of reasons. Firstly, it helps develop Ss’s speaking skills, especially the features relating to spoteneity and naturally produced speech. Secondly, it forces students to use their creative thinking in a pressurized environment, thus developing their fluency characteristics. Lastly, it is a game, which can be very interesting for learners of this age. Through the creation of a collaborative, improvised narrative, Ss’s group sentiment can be strengthened.
Rationale for Lesson Plan 2
This particular lesson is quite appropriate for the students of this particular class. It has been based upon previous knowledge and it aims at developing their understanding of the English language, not on the basis of its form, but its usage. Using the students’ own work in order to then gain a new perspective and ultimately practice it for themselves can help them solidify that, sort-of complicated, knowledge into their memory.
The pre-reading stage of the lesson focuses upon correcting and advancing the students’ own work. “[…] when well implemented, feedback can consolidate learning about writing and provide opportunities to draw students’ attention to the interaction of meaning and form” (Séror 205). A lot of research has been conducted on the positive effects feedback can have on students. As far as writing goes, L2 students seem to be benefited when given direct and respectful feedback and it can actually aid them to develop a better understanding of literary devices.
In a paper titled “Trends in Peer Learning”, Keith J. Topping states that “The helper’s modelling of enthusiasm, competence, and the possibility of success can influence the self-confidence of the helped”. For this reason, this particular article was chosen for the while-reading stage. Using an article written by a peer of the students (same age and level), albeit a stranger to them, can be helpful to inspire learners and actually model their wok after what they would consider a cohesive and informative text. While developing students’ reading skills, they are also given the opportunity to understand the potential of the learning process. At the same time, the content of the article can help the students get a better understanding of the idea of the narrative and its fluidity, thus developing their critical and creative thinking.
The post- reading stage of the lesson focuses on implementing the methods taught into the students’ writing styles. Narratives, and their rewriting, have been found to facilitate learning in many ways. “Story, or narrative, is a powerful […] tool for teaching and learning because of its ability to hook audiences, activate the pleasure principle, and facilitate retention” (Nathanson 2). It could be argued that through the rewriting of such established narratives, like fairytales, learners could practice their own creativity and, in the process, teach themselves to be active readers, further developing their critical and analytical thinking.
The back-up activity that is provided is an exercise used by theatrical performers to advance their improvisational skills. Language itself contains a substantial amount of improvisation, since it requires the speakers’ full attention and effective use of grammatical, syntactical and lexical items in a cohesive manner in real-time. In addition, it can facilitate the establishment of a group sentiment, something that is crucial to the classroom environment.
Topping, Keith J. “Trends in Peer Learning.” Educational Psychology, Dec. 2005, pp. 631–645.
Séror, Jérémie. "Institutional Forces and L2 Writing Feedback in Higher Education." The Canadian Modern Language Review / La revue canadienne des langues vivantes, vol. 66 no. 2, 2009, pp. 203-232. Project MUSE, muse.jhu.edu/article/369295.
Nathanson, Steven. Harnessing the Power of Story: Using Narrative Reading and Writing Across Content Areas. Reading Horizons: A Journal of Literacy and Language Arts, vol. 47 no. 1, 2006. https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/reading_horizons/vol47/iss1/2