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LISTENING & SPEAKING THEMATIC UNIT

Listening and Speaking Thematic Unit:


Colorado State University
Kathleen Hamel

LISTENING & SPEAKING THEMATIC UNIT

Description of classroom setting:


The lesson plans for this thematic unit are for a classroom that consists of six adult
learners of English. All six students are employed by Colorado State University in positions that
range from working in the dining halls to cleaning the dorm rooms. They are enrolled in a
Workplace English program through INTO at CSU. The class meets twice a week on Tuesday
and Thursday from 3:15-4:15pm for a ten-week period in the fall of 2014, with the option of
reenrolling in the class in the spring of 2015. The program is voluntary to these students; some
even get paid from the university (their employer) to attend these classes. The learners first
languages were Spanish and Uzbek, with 5 of the students originally from Mexico and the other
from Uzbekistan. The learners range in all four of their skills, listening, speaking, reading and
writing, but for the purpose of this thematic unit, the focus will be on listening and speaking. The
highest-level student, according to the ACTFL (2012) proficiency guidelines, would be
intermediate-mid with the lowest considered to be novice-mid, with most students falling into
intermediate-low.
Course Description:
The purpose of this program is to focus on three areas to improve their English: health
and emergencies, workplace vocabulary and social day-to-day interactions, allowing an ease of
transition into thematic units. Based upon these needs this thematic unit will focus on health for
5 one-hour class sessions and will be the second out of three thematic units for the class. This
applies directly to the needs of the students since these situations are ones occur in their life.
In addition, with the requirements we need to fulfill as directed by the program, we also
receive input from students. We give a needs assessment on the very first day of class, to see
what the student struggles with and what theyd like to learn, we do this by a free response from

LISTENING & SPEAKING THEMATIC UNIT

the students; its important that they are able to express their needs in whatever detail they deem
necessary. Then at the end of week five, we again distribute another needs assessment. We ask
them questions about what theyve learned in the class so far and what theyd still like to learn
(in their own opinion).
The goals of this class coincide with the thematic units that the class will cover. A student
should be able to learn the different language needed based upon the setting that arises in their
daily lives; this unit will focus on work experiences with additional information about health and
emergencies and various social dialogues. The objectives within those course goals include:
recognizing the types of dialogue one can encounter in day-to-day experiences and how to carry
oneself while in those conversations whether it be talking to a manager about requesting time off
or fulfilling a prescription. Therefore, based off these goals and objectives, the syllabus adopts
task-based and situational characteristics.
Within the syllabus of the course, homework is given to these students on a weekly basis.
However, it is not always expected that these students will return it to you or even remember that
homework was assigned. The purpose of this homework is to strengthen skills they have been
practicing in class; however, due to ties with their employer, who essentially has a direct say in
this program, homework is a requirement for those purposes. As you can see in the When Im
sick homework from lesson one (found in Lesson 1 Activities), there is a place for an
employees signature (a coworker); we encourage having them engage with native speakers in
their workplace since the purpose of this program is to better their workplace English and the
requirement of the signature ensures reliability on the part of the student.
Language skills that will be focused on this thematic unit will include: simple past
(regular and irregular verbs) and the pronunciation of /ed/, /id/ and /t/ in reference to past tense

LISTENING & SPEAKING THEMATIC UNIT

verbs. Students will also learn how to pronounce and identify key vocabulary in reference to
body parts and their symptoms (Lesson 1, Activity 1). From this activity following
pronunciation, students will be able to develop their listening skills in order to identify
symptoms. Students will also analyze information across texts (Lesson 2, Activity 1) and be able
to synthesize patterns within those texts. And for speaking skills, students will be able to produce
spoken discourse on a specific topic (Lesson 1, Activity 3). Past the two lessons planned, the
next two lessons students will learn to be able to use the simple future and the differences
between ordinal and cardinal numbers and when to use each. The goals of these lessons integrate
with the language skills to learn: how to talk with a doctor at an appointment, how to describe
the types of pain you feel and how to be able to talk in the past tense.

Theoretical foundations
Aligning with the goals of the workplace program, its imperative that students develop
the capability to be communicative in the three content-focused areas. The use of the contentfocused areas, health and emergencies, workplace vocabulary and social day-to-day interactions,
allow students to see the relevance in developing these communicative skills. In order for these
adult learners to be able to do this, their input is necessary. If we do not know what our students
possible day-to-day interactions include, then the students must assess their own needs in those
situations. Once their needs have been analyzed, the methods for teaching will include the use of
repetition and total physical response, so that learning is being fostered in a relaxing setting,
which can be hard to accomplish with adult learners who may be more reserved about their
English capabilities.

LISTENING & SPEAKING THEMATIC UNIT

The learning of a language should be done with communicative intent (Larsen-Freeman


& Anderson, 2011, p.122)

The physical activation of the students in the classroom allows for a fast, non-stressful
environment of learning a language- in line of thought with TPR (Larsen-Freeman &
Anderson, 2011, p.104).

When learners perceive the relevance of their language use, they are motivated to learn
(Larsen-Freeman & Anderson, 2011, p.138).

The repetition of the language is important in the evaluation process to indicate what has
and has not been learned (Larsen-Freeman & Anderson, 2011, p.155)

The curriculum is not predetermined, however it is constantly being evolved based on


students needs in their responses in the needs analysis (Larsen-Freeman & Anderson,
2011, p.174)

Lesson Plan 1
Overview of lesson objectives for students:

To be able to identify the throat, elbow, knee, wrist, and hips.

To call in sick to work because of symptoms (sore throat, headache, backache. etc.) they
are experiencing

To be able to carry out a doctors office visit with appropriate communicative intent

To be able to use creative thinking in order to create a dialogue

To be able to actively listen to a dialogue

Materials Needed:

LISTENING & SPEAKING THEMATIC UNIT

Whiteboard

Dry erase markers

Over-head projector

Outline of a human body- projection sheet

6 The Human Body handouts (same image as the projection)

6 Whats the matter? grid

Whats the matter? dialogue

6 When Im sick homework assignments

Warm up: Simon Says 5 minutes


Purpose:

To be able to evaluate the students existing knowledge of different body parts.

To allow the students to get motivated to learn by physically engaging them.

To use TPR so that students have better recognition of the respective body parts

Procedures:
Have all of the students stand up. Explain that we will start off class with a quick game called
Simon Says. Start by explaining the rules of Simon Says while providing examples along the
way:
o

When I say, Simon says touch your nose then touch your nose. So whatever
body part I say is the body part that you should teach.

If I just say, Touch your nose and you touch your nose, then you have lost the
game and must sit down.

If you do not know the body part that I say, then sit down.

Whoever is the last person standing, wins!

LISTENING & SPEAKING THEMATIC UNIT

Simon says touch your feet.

Simon says touch your ears.

Touch your lips.

Simon says touch your elbow.

Touch your hips.

By this point in the activity, I would have assumed all if not most of the students would
be sitting down at this point. I would ask the students if they had a guess at where your elbows or
hips would be. I ask them why they think it would be useful to know body parts.
Transition: One of the reasons to know your body parts is so you can describe where
you are having pain, or what is known as symptoms.
Activity 1: Introduce new vocabulary to be used in dialogue- 10 minutes
Purpose:

To be identify body parts that the students already know with the addition of five new
body parts and symptoms that occupy certain body parts

Procedures:

Pass out The Human Body handout (adapted from Medical Library)

Display The Human Body projection sheet on the whiteboard.

Ask the students what body parts they know, as they say, label them on the whiteboard
o

When students answer with a body part, they must point to that body part.

Point to the five highlighted body parts, ask the students if they know their names

Ask the students if they know of aches, pains or symptoms they could have, and where
they are located
o

As they are mentioned, display on the whiteboard

LISTENING & SPEAKING THEMATIC UNIT

Emphasize the differences of aches vs pains


Transition: Its important to know how youre feeling and the symptoms that are
associated in order to be able to tell your workplace that you wont be able to come into
work or call the school where your child attends school to inform them that they are too
sick to go to class.

Activity 2: Whats the matter?- 15 minutes (adapted from Queens Library, Whats the Matter?)
Purpose:

To identify vocabulary regarding symptoms through listening

Procedures:

Pass out Whats the matter? grid

Explain that five mini-dialogues will be read, twice.

Indicate the symptoms that the person is describing by checking off the correct answer in
the box that correlates with that conversation.

Read each dialogue at a slow pace. (Under Lesson 1 Activities)

Repeat dialogues after all have been read once but at a normal native speaker speed.

Ask students to get into two groups of three to check answers.

Go through answers as a whole class.


Transition: If your symptoms get worse, you may have to go see the doctor. Do you
usually tell doctors or your coworkers more specific parts about your symptoms (like
how long youve had them)? What are the steps when visiting the doctor?

Activity 3: A Doctors Visit: a dialogue- 20 minutes

LISTENING & SPEAKING THEMATIC UNIT

Purpose:

To practice real-life conversation in a health setting, specifically- the doctors office

To have students use their creative productive skills in speaking

Have students actively listening to a dialogue

Procedures:

Pass out A Doctors Visit handout

Go over the instructions with the students, encourage them to write a script down so they
can use it when they present to the class

Ask them what typically happens at a doctors appointment

Pair them up & read directions

Students create their dialogue & practice, about 10-15 minutes

Have students present to their classmates, about 5-10 minutes

Closure: 10 minutes
Purpose:

To review learned body parts and symptoms; how we describe these symptoms to co
workers and doctors

Go over questions in HW assignment together

HW Assignment:

Complete the When Im Sick... homework, it will be due next class. (two days from
present day)

Evaluation

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For this lesson students were evaluated on performance by their correctness in Whats
the Matter? and by their production of A Doctors Visit.

Progress in this lesson is measured by the students understanding and utilization of new
vocabulary and informal feedback is provided when needed.

Lesson 2
Overview of lesson objectives: By the end of this lesson, students will:

To be able to negotiate meaning through listening and speaking

To be able to identify different verbs tense through listening and speaking

To know that for regular simple past verbs, it is indicated by -ed

To recognize the difference between regular and irregular past tense verbs

To be able to identify and pronounce /ed/, /id/ and /t/

Materials Needed:

Four strips of paper, see Dictation Game under Lesson 2 activities

Tape

Whiteboard

Dry-erase markers

6 of the How to read a prescription label handouts

Projector

The Time I Was Sick projection sheet

6 pronunciation chart sheets

6 List of Irregular Past Tense Verbs

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Pronunciation of /t/, /id/ and /ed/ sheet

Warm Up-Running Dictation- 10 minutes (adapted from Heyman, 2014, p.5)


Purpose:

To physically engage the students in their learning.

To practice vocabulary used last class

To start introduction of past tense verbs

Procedure:

Ask students what we learned about in the last class.

Point to the four sentences that are taped on the wall and explain that we will be using
them in a game.

Pair the students up and ask them to get out a piece of paper and something to write with.

Ask for a volunteer to present the demonstration: ask the student to sit down with the
paper and pencil. I run to one of the sentences, remember as much as I can, run back to
the student and tell them what I remembered while they write that information down.
This continues until that sentence is finished. I continue to explain that they will take
turns being the runner and the writer, so they each do two sentences on each task. I
explain that you want to go as fast as you can, its a race, but its important to be accurate
because the winner is whoever has the most sentences correct.

They complete the exercise.

Once theyre finished, have the students write their sentences on the board. After theyre
up, read each sentence out loud while asking the class if they see any mistakes. If they
arent noticing the problem, restate it with emphasis on where the problem is.

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Have students repeat sentences out loud together.


Transition: Usually, you tell your family members or maybe even your friends that you

were sick and went to the doctors office. When you tell someone something that happened, do
you tell them in the present or the past tense? In what tense do you generally tell stories?

Activity 1: Introduction of Simple Past: The Time I Was Sick- 20 minutes


Purpose:

To introduce students how to recognize regular verbs in the simple past (-ed)

To allow students to be able to differentiate regular vs irregular verbs

Procedure:

Display The Time I Was Sick projection sheet (under Lesson 2 activities) on the
whiteboard

Ask a student to start reading the first sentence. Explain that each student will read one
sentence and then the person sitting to his or her left will read the next one.

Ask students to pair up and to get out a sheet of paper.

Ask them to identify all the verbs in the passage & write it down on their paper as a
reference.

As a class go over their findings and display on board. Present verbs in two columns;
ones with ed endings and the other with irregular verbs. Ask if they see a pattern in the
verbs. Ask questions like: when is this story happening? Now? Or before today?

Indicate that regular past tense verbs end with ed and the rest and considered to be
irregular.

Ask if they know of any more verbs in the past tense that were not discussed

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Transition: So weve talked about how -ed indicates regular verbs in the simple past tense.
Have you noticed that -ed sounds differently depending on the word? (Emphasize the ending
when pronouncing the next three words) Worked, lived, visited.

Activity 2: Pronunciation of /ed/, /id/ and /t/- 10 minutes


Purpose:

To learn the ability to tell the differences between the sounds /ed/, /id/ and /t/

To be able to pronunciation the variations between the three

Procedure:

Start off by writing Worked, Lived, Visited on the board in three columns

Pronounce these words, emphasizing the -ed of the verbs; ask the students if they
notice a difference in the way they sound

Pass out Pronunciation charts (Lesson 2 activities) (adapted Elbaum, 2005, p.227)

Write t under Worked, ed under Lived and id under Visited; explain that ed is
pronounced three different ways when in reference to the past tense

Go through the rules of when to use these different pronunciations as demonstrated in the
second Pronunciation Chart under Lesson 2 activities (this chart indicates the information
that the students will write down throughout this activity).
o

For coughed (under t)- emphasize that although the spelling of cough includes a
gh the sound of the gh is f allowing for coughed to be pronounced with t

Transition: Its important to know how to say these words in the past tense because its
the way in which we tell stories, something we do all the time. So lets practice how to use these
three different pronunciations to tell someone something that happened (emphasize ed).

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Activity 3: Practice of simple past & /ed/, /id/ and /t/- 10 minutes
Purpose:

To practice using the past tense verbs with a focus on regular past tense verbs

To allow for students to differentiate the pronunciation of /ed/, /id/ and /t/

Procedure:

Ask for a student volunteer to come up front- go over the example in Pronunciation of
/t/, /id/ and /ed/ (taken Azar & Hagen, 2006, p.224)(Lesson 2 Activities)

Go through each example, using different students for different numbers and rotating
them through after everyone has been once

Closure: Once youve been to the doctors office... -10 minutes

So weve practiced telling about what happened at the doctors office. And we now know
how to pronounce a lot of those past tense verbs we use when telling the story of going to
the doctor. Once he gives us a prescription though, whats next? Where do you go to fill
that prescription? When we go to the pharmacy and the pharmacist give us drugs, its
important to know how to take those medications.

Explain the homework assignment, How to read a prescription label

Distribute Irregular Past Tense Verbs (Elbaum, 2005, p. 239) I will introduce this
piece of paper, showing students that these are a lot of irregular verbs that come up, I will
not go over all of them for time purposes but indicate to the class that if they have any
questions that can ask me at the beginning of the next class.

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HW Assignments:

How to read a prescription label handout (adapted from Queens Library, Reading a
Prescription Label)

Evaluation

Students are evaluated in Activity 3 by their understandability in the pronunciation


differences.

If the students appear that they are understanding the use of ed and its different
pronunciation through production, then that is considered progress.

Lesson 3 & 4: Sequence and Scope


Lesson
#
3

Objectives

Activities

- To be able to have a
conversation with a pharmacist
- To be able to ask for clarification
in multiple ways
- To be able to identify the future
tense, be going to and will

- Going to the pharmacy- students will get into


pairs and practice the questions that a pharmacist
might ask
- Lesson about future verb tense

- To learn the differences between


cardinal and ordinal numbers
- To know in what situations to
use ordinal numbers
- To be able to identify sentences
in past/present/future

-What place am I in line? activity


- Differences between cardinal and ordinal
numbers
- Dictation using different verb tenses- have the
students identify tenses after they have listened
and written the dictation; have ordinal numbers
included throughout the prose

Evaluation of Students in Unit


Since this course is for workplace purposes, and not academic ones, students are
evaluated throughout the course through comprehension activities in class. Comprehension
activities might include: dictations, cloze activity or other types of activities. Mistakes are
corrected as they occur naturally in class. Within the evaluation, progress is seen through proper

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productive output from the student. Within the needs assessment, students are able to self-assess
their progress in addition to giving feedback on the course (Nation & Newton, 2009, p. 165)

Closure of Unit
To wrap up this unit, we will transition from health into the workplace section. To
transition to this unit we will discuss stomach problems and present an activity dealing with food
poisoning. That allows for opening of food safety and other aspects of food. Not only does this
apply to students working in the kitchen but also those who dont-since most people cook at least
some of their meals and it would be important for them to know kitchen vocabulary.

LISTENING & SPEAKING THEMATIC UNIT


Lesson 1 Activities

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Lesson 2 Activities

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Pronunciation of /t/, /id/ and /ed/

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How to read a prescription label

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Reference
Azar, B.S., & Hagen, S.A. (2006). Basic English Grammar, Third Edition. White, Plains, NY:
Pearson Longman.
Elbaum, S. N. (2005). Grammar in Context 1, Fourth Edition. Boson, MD: Thomson Heinle.
Heyman, A. (July 2014). 12 Dynamic Activites for Language Learners (Conference Workshop).
At Summer Summit 2014. Sioux Falls, SD:South Dakota Department of Labor and
Regulation.
Larsen-Freeman, D., & Anderson, M. (2011). Techniques & Principle in Language Teaching.
New York, NYs: Oxford University Press
Medical Anatomy. (2013). [Illustration of outline of the human body] Retrieved from
http://medicalanatomy.net/outline-human-body/
Nation I.P., & Netwon, J. (2009). Teaching ESL/EFL Listening and Speaking. New York, NY:
Routledge
Queens Library. Reading Prescription Labels. In Health Literary Curriculum for ESOL Learners
(Beginner Level) (session 11). Retrieved from
https://www.queenslibrary.org/sites/default/files/health_literacy/PDF_teachers/Session_1
1-We.pdf
Queens Library. Whats the Matter?. In Health Literary Curriculum for ESOL Learners
(Beginner Level) (session 2). Retrieved from
https://www.queenslibrary.org/sites/default/files/health_literacy/PDF_teachers/Session_0
2-We.pdf