Is there something in my teeth?

A designer Lessons ESL lesson plan developed by George Chilton

Hello! It’s been a while, I blame August ( and a bit of September!)  in Spain. It’s far too hot, which makes me far too lazy, and the blog suffers as a result. Anyway, this is the first lesson back from my summer break, and it looks at reported speech and discussion for pre-intermediate classes.  The class is around 90 minutes long, but has lots of scope for extension and homework activities. It’s a versatile class as there are lots of other things you could do with the images. If you have any other useful directions to go with this, feel free to write in and share your ideas.

Lesson: The Big Picture

Level: Trinity Grade 8, B2.2 CEFR,  Intermediate, teens and adults

Aim: To create dialogues based on images, peer dictation practice, use reported speech

Grammar: Reported speech in various tenses

Materials: Cartoons drawn by Villemard in 1910, predicting what life would be like in the year 2000 (En L’an 2000). Students might be surprised to see just how accurate he was about certain things. See slideshow below – also find in the PDF: Reported Speech Table_Villemard_1910_images.

Images are fairly low-resolution and won’t lend themselves to much photocopying.

Preparation: Print out reported speech table for each student. Print out enough colour copies of the pictures for your class to be split into pairs and share at least four cards. Make sure to laminate the pictures, so you can use them again.

Using the cover image

The phrase “the elephant in the room” is literal this time – and it’s a brilliantly creepy picture. Start off by asking the students to describe what they see, get them to provide a caption, and imagine what is happening in the room.

Optionally, If they’re feeling creative, put them in pairs, or make a three if numbers dictate, and have them construct a five line dialogue between the elephant and themselves.  They should then read out the dialogues together. Remember it’s a warm up, so don’t try to push them too much at this point.

You’ll notice that the image is not directly related to the lesson, but it does lead in to the tasks they will be completing together later on. I think it’s weird enough to capture most people’s imaginations!

Stage One – Describing images

Keep your students in pairs. Tell them that they are going to be given a set of  pictures. Explain that the pictures were drawn by a man named Villemard in the year 1910. Furthermore, explain that the pictures represent his predictions for the year 2000. Tell them they have 10 (+) minutes to:

  • Describe what is happening in each picture
  • Write that description down
  • Decide together whether the prediction; came true completely, came true partially, or did not come true at all

Distribute the pictures and let them begin the activity.

As they do this monitor and give guidance, note down any key vocabulary difficulties,  and write them on the board for reference.

After their time is up, have each pair feedback to the whole class – they should describe their favourite picture and say whether they think the prediction came true or not.

Spend some time going over the new vocabulary, and helping students get to grips with any emergent language.

Here you can see the images I refer to. You can right-click and choose Save image as, or use the PDF file (as listed in materials above) to print out and distribute the images.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Stage Two – Reported Rules

Distribute a copy of this table below. (Also included in the PDF with the pictures).

Give students a moment to read through the examples. Ask them which tense they think is the most appropriate for making predictions. With luck, they’ll tell you Future simple. They may tell you that we use  be going to for more immediate predictions. Ask for some examples and write them on the board:

Immediate future/near certainty: “I think it‘s going to rain.”

Simple Future prediction: “I imagine that we will have robotic cats in the future”.

Ask the students to look at the table and have one of them put the sentences you have written on the board into reported speech. If they struggle, guide them and make some more examples.

She said it was going to rain.

He imagined that we would have robotic cats in the future.

Highlight the fact that will becomes would. Have them note down how modals change in reported speech.

Reported speech table for student reference

Tense Direct Speech Reported tense Reported Speech
Present simple “I am very happy” Past simple James said he was very happy.
Past simple “I ate pancakes for breakfast” Past perfect James said he had eaten pancakes for breakfast.
Present perfect “She has played football before.” Past perfect James said that  she had played football before.
Past perfect I hadn’t met Caroline before . Past perfect James said he hadn’t met Caroline before.
Future simple “I will send her an email” Would He said he would send her an email.
Future Perfect I will have been in Madrid for 4  hours by  this time tomorrow Would He said he would have been in Madrid for 4 hours by that time tomorrow.
Present continuous “I’m going to watch T.V” Past continuous James said he was going to watch T.V.
Past continuous “I was doing my shopping.” Past perfectcontinuous James said he had been doing his shopping.
Present perfect continuous “She has been wearing that t-shirt all week” Past perfectcontinuous James said that  she had been wearing the same t-shirt all week.
Past perfect continuous I had been working for an hour when my boss arrived Past perfectcontinuous James said he had been working for an hour when his boss arrived.

  • May becomes might
  • Could, might, should, would, must, ought to –  do not change
  • Have to becomes had to

Stage Three – Reported speech and peer dictation practice

Tell the students to go back to their pictures. They must now write a Villemard’s prediction in direct speech – Using his introduction “In the year 2000…”

For example:  “In the year 2000, I predict that there will be 3D-projected television.”

Give them five minutes or so, depending on the number of cards they have, to complete his predictions in direct speech. They should do this individually. Monitor to make sure that they’re writing decent sentences!

Once they’ve finished writing their predictions, they are going to do some peer dictation practice.

Have the students swap partners (or else they will know what to expect). They should read out their direct speech predictions to their new partner – and their partner should write the predictions in reported speech. Allow about ten minutes for this. Once they’ve  finished, they should compare their answers and correct.

Monitor as they do so, note down any errors. Bring the whole class together to correct.

Stage Three – News report

Ask the students to form new groups of three or four. Choose three or four images to write a 3 minute news report  – reporting the speech of Villemard and comparing the fantasy with reality.

Ask them to use their original descriptions of the pictures to help with this, answering the original questions:

  • Describe what is happening in the pictures
  • Say how accurate the prediction was

They should include four or five examples of reported speech.

Monitor and guide students as they do so.

Have them present the reports at the end of class, if time allows.

Image descriptions 

  1. Image one: 3D projected television
  2. Image two: Airships for transportation
  3. Image three: Audio books – or computerized teaching
  4. Image four: Radio (wireless) news
  5. Image five: The automatic barber!
  6. Image six: Automatic Tailor
  7. Image seven: Flying firemen / flight suits
  8. Image eight: Intercontinental rail
  9. Image nine: Automatic make-up application
  10. Image ten: Armoured, armed motorbikes
  11. Image eleven: Electric roller skates
  12. Image twelve: Personal aeroplanes
  13. Image thirteen: Radium heating * Difficult image
  14. Image fourteen: Horse shows * Difficult image
  15. Image fifteen: Rescue planes
  16. Image sixteen: Spy drones / helicopters
  17. Image seventeen: Takeaway planes
  18. Image eighteen: Tanks
  19. Image nineteen: Wireless mail
  20. Image twenty: Robotic building sites

Creative Commons Licence
Designer Lessons by George Chilton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.