From Head to Toe

Eric Carle as an author has created lots of wonderful books. I adore their style, design and drawings. It's always a pleasure to work with his masterpieces. This time I needed something positive to revise vocabulary concerning parts of the body, species of wild animals and the use of "can". A quick search on YT and look what popped up:

 Task 1:

LOTS and HOTS questions revising previous knowledge, e.g:
 1. Show me your... (names of various parts of the body)
2. Which part(s) of your body do you use to...(write, eat, jump, etc.)?
3. Which wild animals can swim?
4. Which animals can't walk?

Task 2:
We watch the film shown above. I encourage children to start singing and copying the moves.

Task 3:
We watch the chant again analysing and repeating the actions mentioned.

Task 4:
I divide the class into three groups hand out three different sets of riddles about animals. In this case I made use of a ready worksheet found at http://busyteacher.org (that I really recommend!).
The students read the riddles one by one to other teams and the first one to guess the name of the animal scores the point. The winners are of course those with the highest score.

Task 5:
It's time for vocabulary. In case of lower grade students I make sure they note down the names of the animals. For upper grade students I prepare a compilation of all the new words and phrases that appeared in the riddles.

Task 6:
Time for a game. Children play "Simon Says" but include phrases from the chant (raise you shoulders, kick your legs, bend your neck, etc.)



I have decided to try CLIL with my oldest students who are 14-16 years old. As a topic I chose something I am familiar with - comedies. such words like "slapstick", "sitcom" or "canned laughter" are quite unknown to them and to be honest, I got lots of satisfaction from teaching them something I learnt being much younger during my studies.

Task 1
HOTS and LOTS questions were about films they watch, their favourite comedies, the reasons why they find a film funny. I also asked if they have ever come across these notions I mentioned before. They tried to quess their meanings and I have to admit they were pretty close giving the right answers! 

Task 2
Students were given a short original descriptions of the types od comedies: a slapstick, a stand-up and a sitcom. Their task was to match the descriptions with the names.

(a slapstick)
Comedy characterized by broad humour, absurd situations, and vigorous, often violent action. It took its name from a paddlelike device, probably introduced by 16th-century commedia dell'arte troupes, that produced a resounding whack when one comic actor used it to strike another. This comedy became popular in 19th-century music halls and vaudeville theatres and was carried into the 20th century by silent-movie comedians such as Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and Mack Sennett's Keystone Kops and later by Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, and the Three Stooges.

 (a sitcom)

Radio or television comedy series that involves a continuing cast of characters in a succession of episodes. Often the characters are markedly different types thrown together by circumstance and occupying a shared environment such as an apartment building or workplace. Typically half an hour in length and either taped in front of a studio audience or employing canned applause, they are marked by verbal sparring and rapidly resolved conflicts.

(a stand-up)

This kind of a comedy can be defined as a comedy that is performed by an individual who stands in front of a live audience and tells jokes while speaking indirectly to them. The comedian performs with the aid of a microphone, which is either hand-held or mounted. There performances are later released on DVDs, internet or TV.

Task 3
We checked their answers together wondering what the characteristics of all types are. After each piece we watched a short film to see if all the elements were in:

We watched old movies and Mr Bean to compare if the genre is still the same.

Here the task was different as students were shown the film without a canned laughter. Their job was to tell me what was wrong, akward in the film.

In this case I put a pressure on the fact that a stand-up sometimes can be offensive, politically incorrect but that is one of its features.

Task 4
CLIL wants students to be creative and using the content in their culture (do you remember 4Cs?). Students got the homework:
- prepare a stand-up
- perform a slapstick

More details in the file: CLICK