Topical lesson: 12 December 2009 Holy cow a minister who tells jokes

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1 Task 1: Discussion Do you use any social networking or blogging sites? If so, which? What sort of things do you / other people write? Do you ever find the messages: a. funny b. offensive? If so, why? Task 2: Vocabulary You are going to read an article about a joke on Twitter. Before you read, do the vocabulary activities about jokes and humour. Verbs Do the verbs below describe an unkind action or not? Tick the correct column in the table. verb unkind not unkind depends to mock somebody/something to tease somebody to make fun of somebody/something to pull somebody s leg to wind somebody up to laugh at somebody/something Adjectives Match the types of humour on the left to the descriptions on the right. type of description humour 1. funny a. saying the opposite of what you mean, to be funny or unkind 2. witty b. trying to be clever and funny, but really just annoying 3. amusing c. funny with words 4. sarcastic d. makes you laugh 5. facetious e. funny and entertaining; makes you smile

2 Verb-noun collocations Add the verbs from the list to the mind map below. crack get make play take tell a practical joke / a trick a joke a pun Which verb: a. means to understand b. is often used with can t to mean react(s) badly to? Adjective-noun collocations Complete the expressions with the correct adjective from the list. bad cruel dirty practical private sick terrible 1. a / joke = not funny 2. a / joke = very unkind 3. a joke = about sex 4. a joke = a trick 5. a joke = shared and understood by the few people involved

3 Expressions Explain what the speaker means in each sentence below. 1. I didn t find it very funny. 2. Oh, lighten up, for goodness sake! 3. It fell a bit flat. 4. I never remember the punch-line. 5. She suddenly saw the funny side. 6. Hey, just joking/kidding! 7. I hate being the butt of all his jokes. Task 3: Scanning Now read the article quickly and highlight any words or expressions from task 2. Task 4: Reading for detail Read the article again and answer the questions. 1. Who is described as articulate and funny? 2. What was his witty reply? 3. Who was angry, and why? 4. Who told people to lighten up? 5. What were the results of the incident? Task 5: Discussion: humour Discuss the questions below. Try to use vocabulary from task 2. Sense of humour What makes you laugh? Do you think you are ever: a. witty b. sarcastic c. facetious?

4 Jokes Do you like telling jokes? Do you like listening to jokes? Do you know any jokes in English? Offensive jokes Do you think any of these subjects are unsuitable topics for jokes: 1. people from a different a. country b. region c. class/caste d. religion e. profession 2. members of the opposite sex 3. sex 4. death 5. physically or mentally handicapped people 6. people s physical appearance? Task 6: Discussion: censorship Should there be censorship of: a. films b. TV series c. TV news d. newspapers e. websites f. blog threads? Does it make a difference if: a. children might see it b. there is a war on? Task 7: Role-play Work in two groups. One group works for a tabloid newspaper; the other works for a broadsheet. With the members of your group, decide whether to publish the stories below. If you decide to publish them, will they appear on the front page or inside the newspaper?

5 1. A foreign newspaper publishes a cartoon making fun of Islam. 2. There is a terrorist attack in a small town abroad. 3. A national politician is involved in a financial scandal. 4. A film star splits up with her boyfriend. 5. Chemicals leak into a river in your country. 6. The government of your country plans cuts in the health budget. 7. The American President makes a speech about the environment. 8. The Education Minister in your country criticises standards in schools. 9. A comedian insults your country s Prime Minister / President. 10. Scientists discover a new constellation. Explain your decisions to a member of the other group. Task 8: Writing In pairs, write the front page of your newspaper from task 7. Remember to include: the title of your newspaper the topics you agreed on headlines pictures, if appropriate suitable newspaper language. Task 9: Vocabulary revision Do the exercises, using vocabulary from task 2. Say it another way. 1. I didn t understand the joke. 2. It didn t make me laugh. 3. I m not being serious. 4. He reacts badly to jokes. 5. I ve forgotten how the joke ends. 6. Don t take it so seriously! 7. The joke wasn t a great success.

6 What sort of joke is it? 1. Q: What has four legs and one arm? A: A Doberman in a playground. 2. We balanced a bucket of water above the door and when the boss opened the door, the water fell on him. 3. Q: Why was the chicken happy? A: Everything was eggcellent.

7 Teacher s notes and key Task 1: Discussion During the discussion, make sure that Twitter is mentioned and that students know a message on Twitter is called a tweet. Task 2: Vocabulary Verbs verb unkind not unkind depends to mock somebody/something to tease somebody to make fun of somebody/something to pull somebody s leg to wind somebody up to laugh at somebody/something Adjectives 1 d; 2 c; 3 e; 4 a; 5 b Verb-noun collocations play a practical joke /a trick crack a joke make a pun make tell get = understand take = react well/badly to* *Often used with can/can t: She just can t take a joke. She took it really well. Adjective-noun collocations 1. a bad / terrible joke 2. a cruel / sick joke 3. a dirty joke 4. a practical joke 5. a private joke Expressions 1. It didn t make me laugh. 2. Don t be so serious. 3. The joke wasn t a great success. 4. I never remember the way the joke ends. 5. She suddenly saw why the joke was funny. 6. I m only joking. 7. I hate the fact that all his jokes are about me.

8 Task 3: Scanning sense of humour; funny; witty; mocking; to lighten up; a joke; wit Task 4: Reading for detail 1. India s Deputy Foreign Minister, Shashi Tharoor 2. out of solidarity with all our holy cows 3. religious Hindus all over India, who thought he was making fun of their religion 4. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh 5. Shashi Tharoor stopped making jokes on Twitter Task 5: Discussion: humour If students are shocked by the subject of the article, you may want to miss out the section on offensive jokes. Task 7: Role-play Again, if students are shocked by the subject of the article, you may want to miss out point 1. You may need to explain the difference between tabloids and broadsheets. Explain that students can invent the details of each incident. Afterwards, put students into pairs, one from each group, to have them explain their decisions. Task 8: Writing This activity works best if students have already done work on newspaper language. They could produce their front page in Word or Publisher, or, for a bit of fun, they could go to to download an image of their article looking like an extract from a real newspaper. Task 9: Vocabulary revision Say it another way. 1. I didn t get the joke. 2. I didn t find it funny. 3. I m just kidding / joking / teasing / pulling your leg. 4. He can t take a joke. 5. I ve forgotten the punch-line. 6. Lighten up! 7. The joke fell a bit flat. What sort of joke is it? 1. a cruel/sick joke 2. a practical joke 3. a bad/terrible joke; a pun

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