TeachingEnglish Lesson plans

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1 Topic: Heroes and sidekicks from popular culture Aims: - To help students talk about familiar fictional characters - To develop students reading skills - To develop students pronunciation skills - To develop students communication skills Level: Low intermediate B1/B2 Introduction This lesson asks students to talk about international heroes and sidekicks as well as similar characters from local popular culture. It includes pronunciation work on adjectives to describe personality and question formation practice. Procedure Write Batman on the board or display a picture of him. Ask the students what they know about him. Do they know the name of his sidekick? (Robin). Tell the students that they are going to talk more about heroes and sidekicks in this lesson. Task 1 - Heroes and sidekicks mingle and match. Cut out the strips and hand out one to each student. If you don t have a conveniently sized class of 12 see Not 12 students? below for suggestions. Students mingle with their classmates to find their partner. Demonstrate how to do this with a student and elicit useful language onto the board before they start, e.g., I m Sherlock Holmes. What s your name?/ My name s Sherlock. Who are you? When partners have found each other they should write their paired up character names on the board and then sit down. Ask students which of these characters they have seen on TV/ at the cinema/ in video games/ in books and ask what they know (if anything) about the characters. Can they say which is the hero and which is the sidekick? Not 12 students? If there is an even number of students, do enough copies so that everyone ends up with a partner. If there is an uneven number you can join in or join two students together to function as one character. With a class of less than 12, you could repeat the activity with the unused strips to pair up all the characters.

2 Task 1 You are Sherlock Holmes. Find Doctor Watson. You are Doctor Watson. Find Sherlock Holmes. You are Bart Simpson. Find Milhouse Van Houten. You are Milhouse Van Houten. Find Bart Simpson. You are Harry Potter. Find Ron Weasely. You are Ron Weasely. Find Harry Potter. You are Sonic the Hedgehog. Find Tails. You are Tails. Find Sonic the Hedgehog.

3 You are SpongeBob Squarepants. Find Patrick Star. You are Patrick Star. Find SpongeBob Squarepants. You are Dora the Explorer. Find Boots. You are Boots. Find Dora the Explorer Answers task 1: (heroes followed by side kick) Bart Simpson Milhouse Van Houten (From The Simpsons tv show) Sonic the Hedgehog Tails (video game characters) Harry Potter Ron Weasely (From the Harry Potter books/films) SpongeBob Squarepants Patrick Star (From the SpongeBob Squarepants tv show) Sherlock Holmes Dr Watson (From the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) Dora the Explorer Boots (From the kids tv show Dora the Explorer ) Handout the worksheet for task 2 and ask students to scan the text and say which heroes and sidekicks from the list on the board are mentioned. Answer task 2: Sherlock & Dr Watson, Dora & Boots, Bart & Milhouse Now ask students to read the text in more detail and complete the chart in task 3. Ask students to work in pairs and then compare answers in small groups. If necessary deal with vocabulary now by asking students to underline new words before looking them up in a dictionary or asking other students/the teacher. Personality adjectives are dealt with in the next task.

4 2 Read the text quickly. Which heroes and sidekicks are described? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Doctor Watson in Holmes is an eccentric and untidy detective who smokes a pipe and shares a flat in London and solves mysteries with his assistant Dr Watson. Dr Watson is a reliable and ordinary man who has a moustache. Sherlock Holmes s famous catchphrase is Elementary my dear Watson. Dora and Boots were created for a kids cartoon series called Dora the Explorer in The friends go on trips to help someone or to find something. Dora is a bilingual Latina girl who never gets angry and is always positive. She always carries a purple backpack and her favourite catch phrase is We did it! Her sidekick is a monkey called Boots. Look at his feet to see why he has this name. He s enthusiastic, athletic and friendly. They are both 10-year-old boys, have yellow skin and go the same school but apart from that these friends from the TV show the Simpsons don t have much in common. Milhouse is well behaved at school and he is a bit nerdy. Bart is cool, popular, and rebellious and he is always in trouble at school. His catch phrases include Eat my shorts!, I didn t do it. and Ay caramba! 3. Read the text again. Use the information in the text to complete the chart. Name Male or female? Hero or sidekick? Appearance Personality Catch phrase Sherlock Holmes male hero Smokes a pipe eccentric and untidy Elementary my dear Watson

5 Answer task 3: Name Male or female? Hero or sidekick? Appearance Personality Catch phrase? Sherlock Holmes male hero Smokes a pipe eccentric and untidy Elementary my dear Watson Doctor Watson male sidekick Has a moustache reliable, ordinary Dora female hero purple backpack Boots male sidekick Monkey, wears red boots Bilingual, positive, never angry enthusiastic, athletic and friendly We did it! Bart male hero yellow cool, popular, rebellious, always in trouble at school Eat my shorts! and Ay caramba! I didn t do it. Milhouse male sidekick yellow well behaved at school, a bit nerdy

6 Task 4 looks at pronunciation (number of syllables and word stress) of adjectives to describe personality. Tell students to turn over their papers for a moment and ask them if they can remember any of the adjectives used to describe the characters in the text. Have students look at the box of adjectives in task 4 and tell them that they have to put the words in the right column according to the number of syllables. Get students started by counting syllables of the first few adjectives on your fingers with the class (an-gry, ath-let-ic). Students can continue in pairs. Monitor and make sure students are saying the words to help them count syllables. Students could use dictionaries to help them. Check answers as a class. Now ask students to underline the stressed syllable of each adjective. If this is an unfamiliar activity, you could do this a class. Students who are used to identifying word stress can work in pairs. Read out the words and exaggerate the stress to check answers. In pairs students say which adjectives from the chart describe the characters from the text. Monitor and praise correct word stress and help with pronunciation. About meaning: If your students know the characters then this should help them understand the adjectives. You could quickly clarify meaning with dictionaries/ translation. 4 How many syllables? Write these adjectives from the text in the correct column. angry athletic cool eccentric enthusiastic friendly nerdy ordinary popular positive rebellious reliable untidy well-behaved 1 syllable 2 syllables 3 syllables 4 syllables 5 syllables angry Underline the main stress of each adjective. Can you remember which adjectives describe each character in the text?

7 Answer task 4: 1 syllable 2 syllables 3 syllables 4 syllables 5 syllables cool angry athletic enthusiastic friendly eccentric nerdy popular positive rebelious untidy well-behaved ordinary See task 3 answers to check which adjectives describe which character. Ask students to complete the missing words in the game of 20 questions in task 5. They can do this very easily by looking at the adjectives in task 4. Elicit or explain the rules of 20 questions: Student B thinks of a person (in this case a hero or sidekick from the lesson). Student A can then ask a maximum of 20 questions to find out the mystery person. B can only answer yes or no. Demonstrate the game to the class with a student before students continue playing in pairs. Monitor and insist on correct word order for questions. Encourage students to use the information in the charts from tasks 3 and 4.

8 5. Play 20 questions. Are you.? A and B are playing 20 questions using the information in the chart from task 3. Can you complete the dialogue with the correct adjectives? A: Are you e c and u _ y? B: No A: Are you c l and r s? A: Yes B: Are you Bart? A: Yes! Now play 20 questions with a partner. Student A: Choose a character from the text in task 2. Don t tell student B. Student B: Use the information in the chart from task 3 to ask your partner questions. Answers task 5: A: Are you eccentric and untidy? B: No A: Are you cool and rebellious? A: Yes B: Are you Bart? A: Yes! If you want your students to do some writing on this theme then continue with tasks 6 and 7. You could compile a class list of heroes and sidekicks on the board. Then either have students work in pairs to write their descriptions or write a description as a class on the board, asking for ideas and feeding in language and corrections as necessary.

9 6. Can you think of any other heroes and sidekicks? Make a list with a partner. 7. Choose/invent a hero and sidekick. Write a description with a partner. Remember to include a name, appearance, personality and abilities and maybe a catch phrase. Possible answers task 6: Below are some international examples. Encourage students to think of more examples from popular culture in their country. Captain Kirk Spock Don Quixote Sancho Panza The Lone Ranger Tonto Task 8 is a discussion activity. Students could read and make notes before they give their opinions in small groups.

10 8. Discussion Are heroes usually male or female? Why? Which fictional heroes and sidekicks are good or bad role models for young children? Imagine you are going to a heroes and sidekick fancy dress party. Which character do you decide to go as? Did you have a hero when you were little (or do you have one now)? Who? You could finish with a song about heroes. Find and print the lyrics online. Chop up the verses and ask the students to order them as they listen. Here are a few suggestions: No more heroes by the Stranglers. Watch them live on Top of the pops 1977 here: Heroes by David Bowie: I need a hero By Jennifer Saunders in Shrek 2:

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