You are on page 1of 7

Document prepare pour

Cécile Clavilier teaches at Collège La Nacelle,
Corbeil-Essonnes (91). She is also a teacher
trainer and a regular contributor to New
Standpoints.

Lower Intermediate

Victorian society — Dickens

Oliver Twist
Teacher’s page

worksheet

Lower intermediate

Introduction
The year 2012 is the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens's birth. Not only was Dickens a brilliant storyteller, but he
was also an invaluable witness of his time. This episode of Oliver Twist, adapted as a comic strip, will give pupils a
glimpse of orphanages and workhouses in Victorian England. No doubt they will empathise with the character.
Objectives

Culture: Charles Dickens • Oliver Twist • workhouses, child
labour and regulations in the19th century.
Vocabulary and Grammar in context: making hypotheses •
be going to + V • the simple past • passive voice • vocabulary
related to living and working conditions.

Material

A transparency of the comic strip and an OHP
An Internet access for pupils
New Standpoints Live, Tracks 25-28
A copy of the worksheet per pupil
Copies of the full comic strip www.newstandpoints.com

CEFR

Speaking - Production A2: recapitulating, making sentences from keywords, giving opinions. Interaction A2: role-playing
an interview on a specific topic. Listening A2: catching the main points from a short recording. Reading A2: reading a short
comic strip. A2+: reading for information on the Internet. Writing A2: adapting a comic strip into the pages of a diary.
Final Project

After listening to the beginning of an episode of Oliver Twist, pupils complete the speech bubbles and banners in a comic
strip; in groups they read short texts from the web about Charles Dickens, child labour and workhouses. Then, they reorder the last frames of the comic strip and imagine the end of the episode. Finally, they perform an interview and write a
page from Oliver Twist’s diary.

Procedure
Activity 1. The Beginning of the Story – Classwork
A. Getting Acquainted with Oliver – Listening
Hand out copies of the worksheet. Have the class listen to
Tracks 25 and 26 and say as much as they can. It’s about a
novel by Charles Dickens. The story takes place in England,
north of London, in 1833. A baby is born, but his mother
dies. There's no father. The man who is speaking must be a
doctor. The doctor calls the baby Oliver Twist.
• As pupils recap, write on the board: “Oliver Twist – mother
dies – no father: Oliver is an ? boy” and play track 25 again
to help them spot and understand “orphan”.
• Project the first two frames of the comic strip. Pupils listen
to Track 26 again and complete the bubbles. TASK 1A
B. What’s Going to Happen Next? – Brainstorming
Elicit guesses about what is going to happen next. I think
Oliver is going to live in an orphanage. Perhaps he is going
to be adopted. He is probably going to die...
C. From the Orphanage to the Workhouse – Listening
Play Track 27 and let pupils say as much as they can. Project
Frames 3 to 8. Play Track 27 again and have pupils listen
and complete TASK 1B.
Activity 2. End of the Story – Reading – Group Work
Project the last six frames, jumbled. TASK 2A In pairs, pupils
re-order the frames. They will have to reconstruct the logical
sequence of the narrative as they link the frames together:
ex. “The boy makes fun of Oliver, so Oliver is mad at him.

But Mr Sowerberry catches Oliver and he is furious at Oliver
so he decides to...”
TASK 2B provides some reading help.
• Have the class focus on the last frame and anticipate
what may happen next. I think Oliver is going to find/be
adopted by a nice family. Maybe he’s going to be caught by
the police and sent to prison...
Reading and listening to the whole episode
Distribute copies of the complete comic strip from our
website. Pupils read the text silently while they listen to it.
Activity 3. Charles Dickens, Workhouses and Children in
Victorian Times – Group Work on Line
Divide the class into three groups. Group A works on a
biography of Charles Dickens, Group B on children in
Victorian times and Group C on workhouses. TASK 3 Go
from group to group to help as needed.
Groups report to the class.
Final Tasks
A. An interview – Pair Work
Pupils work in pairs to role-play an interview with a woman
aged 45 in 1874, just after the Factory Act (that declared
child labour under 10 illegal) was passed. TASK 4A
B. Writing a Diary
Pupils imagine the page of Oliver's diary recording the
episode they studied. TASK 4B

New Standpoints - 51 - February 2012

21

Document prepare pour

worksheet

Victorian society — Dickens

student Worksheet
TASK 1
A. Listen and write the dialogue in the speech bubbles.

Frame 5
1. “I’m still hungry.”
means:
a. I haven't eaten
enough.
b. I’ve eaten enough.
c. I’ve eaten too much.
2. The other children’s
situation: ______________
____________________________________________________

B. Listen and write or circle the correct answer.
Frame 3
1. Oliver's age: ____________
2. The woman says:
a. You’re not old enough to go
to work.
b. You’re old enough to go to
work.
c. You’re tall enough to go to
work.
3. The woman wants Oliver:
a. to walk to a new house.
b. to work in her house.
c. to go to a workhouse.
4. Complete:
Oliver accepts /doesn’t accept because he says:
“_______ ________ __________________”
Frame 4
1. Oliver is at:
a. the orphanage.
b. the workhouse.
c. the hospital
2. Oliver is there to:
a. give people food and
drink.
b. work with people.

22

New Standpoints - 51 - February 2012

Frames 6 and 7
1. a. Oliver is going
to ________________
__________________
b. One of the
children thinks
Oliver is ___________

.

2. Mr Bumble says:
“You’re in double /
trouble / table.”
It means:
a. You are going to have problems.
b. You are trembling.
c. You are hungry.

Frame 8
1.a. Place where
Oliver is: ________
________________
b. How long for: _
________________
c. Reason:
________________

________________
d. There, Oliver has nothing to _ _______________________
e. Mr Sowerberry works in a ___________________________
2. Complete:
Oliver went to a cell _______________ he asked for more
food.
3.a. Write two words with the /sel/ pronunciation:
_____________ _____________
Which word is a verb? ________________
Which word is a noun? ________________

Document prepare pour

Victorian society — Dickens
b. Complete with the correct words:
A ________________ is a small room in a prison.
Florists ________________flowers.
B. Complete the sentences about Oliver, using the verbs
(in the passive voice) first in the present, then in the past.
sell • send • put • be born
1.a. Oliver ______________ in a small town north of London.

worksheet

2.a. Oliver ________________ in an orphanage.
b. __________________________________________________
3.a. Oliver ________________ to a workhouse.
b. __________________________________________________
4.a. Oliver ________________ to Mr Sowerberry.
b. __________________________________________________

b. __________________________________________________
TASK 2

A. Put the frames back into the correct order. Be ready to narrate the different events using: first, then, so, because.

un couffin
un coffre
un cercueil
un lit d’appoint
B.1. What is a coffin?
2. Who says: “Oliver has no mother! Oliver has no father!”?
one of Oliver’s friends
a boy working in Mr Sowerberry’s shop
Mr Sowerberry’s son
3. List three facts showing that Oliver was badly treated at Mr Sowerberry’s.
a. __________________________________________________ b. __________________________________________________
c. __________________________________________________
4. The workhouse or Mr Sowerberry’s house: which place is worse? How do you know?
_____________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________
New Standpoints - 51 - February 2012

23

Document prepare pour

worksheet

Victorian society — Dickens

TASK 3

Work in groups and visit the following webpages. Get
ready to report to the class.
A. Go to: http://charlesdickenspage.com/fast-facts.html.
Choose four interesting events from Dickens's life.
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
Find a fact showing that Dickens was famous both when
he was alive and after he was dead.
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
What happened to Dickens when he was a child? How did
that influence his works and ideas?
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
B. Go to: www.bbc.co.uk/schools/primaryhistory, then
click on “Children in Victorian Britain”, then on “Children at
work” and “Children in factories”.

A. An interview.
1874: the Factory Act that declared child labour illegal under
10 has just been passed. A journalist interviews a woman
aged 45 who was an orphan and who lived in a workhouse
until she was 14.
Work in pairs, read your ID cards and get ready to roleplay the interview.

Give examples of differences between rich and poor
families in Dickens's days.

ID Card 2 – the Woman
Answer the questions about your past life:

_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________

workhouse at 9; parents died in a coal mine • older brother
(aged 11) was sent to the same workhouse.

_____________________________________________________

cleaned the road, worked in shops and textile factories.

Choose a picture that illustrates children's conditions. Be
ready to explain why.

same food every day: soup, bread, sometimes carrots and
potatoes • but not enough • hungry all the time.

Examples of jobs?
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
New laws to protect children?
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
C. Go to: www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/homework/
victorians/workhouses.html.
What was a workhouse?
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
Describe the living conditions there.
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
Draw a picture or find one and explain the different parts
of the building.

24

TASK 4

New Standpoints - 51 - February 2012

ID Card 1 – the Journalist
Introduce the topic.
Ask questions about:
the reason why the woman was sent to a workhouse.
the kind of work she did.
the food she had.
the clothes she wore.
her working hours.
the most difficult thing in the workhouse.
her opinion about the Factory Law.

a uniform: an old black dress, shoes that were too small.
working hours: 7:00 am • 7:00 at night • a 15-minute break
for lunch.
everything was difficult: no family (couldn’t see your brother),
no comfort, no food, no water, no sleep • often diseases and
epidemics • many people died.
how children should be treated: work • school • to learn •
10 hours' work a day is still too much.
B. Writing a diary
Imagine Oliver Twist went to school and learned to read
and write. Choose an episode and write his diary in the first
person. Explain what happened to you (the transfer to the
workhouse, the work, the request for food, the punishment
to the cell, the stay at Mr Sowerberry’s, the fight, and finally
the escape).
Describe how you felt and what your hopes were.

Document prepare pour

Victorian society — Dickens
Solutions
Task 1

A. Frame 1
Congratulations, Agnes, it’s a boy.
I want to see my baby before I die.
I love you, my baby. Good-bye!
Frame 2: She’s dead. Take the baby. Let’s call him Oliver. Oliver Twist.
B. Frame 3
1. 9 2. b 3. c 4. accepts: “Yes, Ma'am. Good-bye”
Frame 4
1. b 2. b
Frame 5
1. a 2. hungry too.
Frames 6 + 7
1.a. ask for more b. crazy 2. trouble / a
Frame 8
1.a. in a cell b. a week c. he asked for more d. eat e. shop
2. because
3. a. sell (V) – cell (N)
b. cell – sell
B.1. was born 2. was put 3. was sent 4. was sold
Task 2

A. Top row: 6, 3, 2 Bottom row: 5, 1, 4 First Oliver arrives at
Sowerberry's shop. Then a boy makes fun of him. Oliver is
mad at him but Mr Sowerberry catches Oliver and he wants to
send him back to the workhouse because he's furious at him.
So Oliver goes away, at night because he doesn't want to go
to the workhouse.
B.1. un cercueil
2. A boy working in Mr Sowerberry’s shop (also accept “Mr
Sowerberry’s son,” a reasonable interpretation).
3.a. Mrs Sowerberry gave him the food the dog didn’t finish.
b. He slept in a coffin.
c. In the shop, a boy was nasty to him.
4. The workhouse is worse because Oliver says, “Oh no, sir!
Not the workhouse, please! I’m sorry.” Besides, he prefers running away, thinking, “I don’t want to go to the workhouse!”

worksheet

At age 12, his father was imprisoned for debt and he was
forced to work in a factory to support his family.
Largely self-educated after age 15.
His first book, Sketches by Boz, was published in 1836, Oliver
Twist in 1837-39.
He had 10 children.
2. Buried in the poet's corner in Westminster Abbey.
3. Aged 12 he had to leave school and go to work in a factory to support his family because his father was in prison for
debts.

Group B
1. Children from richer homes were well fed, wore warm
clothes and had shoes on their feet. They did not work, but
went to school or had lessons at home.
Poor children looked thin and hungry, wore ragged clothes,
and some had no shoes. Poor children had to work. They
were lucky if they went to school.
2. Depends on group’s choice of picture.
3. “Piecers” and “scavengers” in cotton mills.
4. 1841: The Mines Act: it stopped children under the age of
10 to work underground in a coal mine.
1847: The Ten Hour Act: it limited children’s work to 10 hours
in a day.
1874: The Factory Act: no child under the age of 10 could be
employed anywhere.
Group C
A workhouse was a place for poor people who had no job or
home. They lived and worked there. It was also for orphaned
(children without parents) and abandoned children, the physically and mentally sick, the disabled, the elderly and unmarried mothers.
A workhouse was large and there were different parts (see
picture) because women, children and men had different living and working areas in the workhouse, they didn’t live together. People in the same family were separated. They could
be punished if they tried to speak to one another.
The poor wore a uniform and the food was very bad and the
same every day.(very often: soup, bread and cheese)
Children could be sold to factories or mines.

Task 3

Group A
1. (Any four): Charles (John Huffam) Dickens.
Born: 1812, died: 1870.

New Standpoints - 51 - February 2012

25

Document prepare pour

worksheet

Victorian society — Dickens

Transcript Track 25

:11

Track 26

:43

Oliver Twist
Oliver Twist is a famous character from the novel about an
orphan boy, by Charles Dickens. Listen to this story.

Can I Have Some More?
A small town 75 miles north of London, England. 1833
Doctor: Congratulations, Agnes, it’s a boy.
Agnes: (to the doctor): I want to see my baby before I die.
Agnes: I love you, my baby. Good-bye!
Doctor: She’s dead. Take the baby. Let’s call him Oliver.
Oliver Twist.
Track 27

1:26

Narrator: An orphanage, 9 years later.
Foster mother: Well, you’re 9 years old now, Oliver.
Old enough to go to work. Go with Mr Bumble to the
workhouse. You can work there, and live there too.
Oliver: Yes, Ma’am. Good-bye.
Bumble: Here you are boy, now get to work.
Narrator: That night, at dinner.
Oliver: I’m still hungry.
Another boy: We all are!
Oliver: I’m going to ask for more.
The other boy: Are you crazy????
Oliver: Please sir, can I have some… more?
Bumble: More??? MORE???? Never!!!! You’re in trouble
now!
Narrator: Bumble puts Oliver in a cell for a week with
nothing to eat. Then, he sells Oliver to a man called Mr
Sowerberry, to work in his shop.
Track 28

1:05

Narrator: At the Sowerberry's house.
Mrs Sowerberry: Here boy, the dog didn’t finish his dinner.
You can eat that.
Mr Sowerberry: You can sleep in my shop. There’s lots of
room! I sell coffins! Ha ha ha!
Oliver: I’m so scared. I hate it here!
Narrator: The next day.
An apprentice: Oliver has no mother! Oliver has no father!
His parents don’t love him. His parents don’t want him.
Oliver: Shut up, you!!!
Mr Sowerberry: I’m sending you back to the workhouse
tomorrow!
Oliver: Oh no, sir! Not the workhouse, please! I’m sorry! I
don’t want to go back to the workhouse!

26

New Standpoints - 51 - February 2012

Document prepare pour

Victorian society — Dickens

worksheet

New Standpoints - 51 - February 2012

27