Language aims - learning to describe and talk about people, appearance and families, using he / she, his/ her and many new adjectives, revising and expanding vocabulary. Thinking aims:  - learning to build and use the ENV model when decribing a person, noticing similarities and differences, using the same material to look at people from different perspectives.

The main character in the coursebook, Chris, ‘wakens’ to find himself in the middle of the maths lesson. It seems that his visit to  Ice-cream Island and the friends he made there have all been a dream. Or have they?

Step 1. Question for pupils (Challenge). How can Chris describe his ice-cream friends to his real classmates, to make them sound believable and interesting? He wants his friends to be interested and want to meet them.

Step 2 We returned to the task they did in a previous lesson where they suggested many sentences to describe a woman in a specific picture. I wrote out the sentences they suggested and these can now act as a bank from which we can also start to bulid an ENV model for describing a person. As they hadn’t done this before, we did it together.
They stuck the list of sentences in their notebooks next to a blank page onto which they wrote out the ENV model. The element was the lady, the names of the features were hobbies, skills, appearance, character, pets, age, home, posessions, family etc. and the values were the sentences they had thought up about the lady.
(see Describing people part 4, for a description of this lesson with another class). Homework: Write about one of the ice-cream characters. They could choose which.

They suggested sentences about the characters from their homework and we wrote some on the blackboard.

My plan was to build a new ENV model on the blackboard based on their homework descriptions of the characters. However, they were interested in the sentences and I went straight on to the next question for them:  Now you want your old classmates to be very interested in your ice-cream friends. Which sentences would be the most important?

In this case I went through the sentences and not the parameters, which would have been better. We discussed which sentences would be most interesting for their classmates to hear about. They agreed that ‘Her hair is long.’ or ‘He’s tall’ and such like weren’t particularly interesting, but it was interesting to know she’s got a pig for a pet. This discussion would have been better if we’d talked of what we mean by ‘interesting’. However, they did somehow get the idea, and I asked them to score out any sentences in their books which they thought weren’t interesting.

Step 3 CHECKING AND REFLECTION: They then read aloud what was left and we discussed that it wasn’t always easy to recognise the characters as they’d removed the physical descriptions.

Step 1 CHANGING TASK: Now, your classmates are very interested in the ice-cream people and want to meet them. One of your ice-cream friends is coming to see you. Your classmate is going to meet him at the airport. You describe him/her to your classmate so that they’d recognise him / her.
They did this task for a few minutes and then I wrote up suggestions on the board. We listened to and reflected on answers by considering which would be the most important when describing a person for recognition? They suggested how many stars each sentence should get depending on how important it would be for recognising a person (so ‘He likes chocolate ice-cream’ got no stars, while ‘He’s tall’ got two stars). They enjoyed reflecting on this, but we should have discussed what we mean by important in this case and again looking at parameters might have been better, as they had many different opinions.

Homework -  adding a limitation to the task. You are not able to get to the airport on time. You write a text message with only two sentences to your classmate. He should be able to recognise your friend from these. So which are absolutely the most important things to say for recognition? How is this person different from others? They are not allowed to mention colour (as this is so obvious – the characters are all different colours.)

My reflections on this lesson: As already said, I should have brought out the parameters again. I think the reason I didn’t was that we’d done that with the lady the previous lesson, and it seemed like a good idea to find out their sentences and suggestions now. Next lesson we’ll look at them again and decide which parameters would be the most important for each purpose and if the ENV model could help us with this.


# Larisa Sardiko 2011-05-06 16:07
Susan, I always enjoy reading your reflections - they are so vivid and clear, and inspiring.
I liked your idea of grading sentences according to importance - yes, discussing what 'important' means for this task/purpose would possibly have brought to the parameters of describing a person for this specific purpose - recognition.
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