Lesson Plan: What Does It Mean To Live Your Life To The Fullest?

As a voracious reader, I absolutely LOVE working with texts; maybe I can even say that I tend to prioritise texts in the classroom over audio and video materials. I guess the reason for this is that I grew up reading books and almost didn’t use to watch TV at all. Even now, I’d rather read an article than watch a video, and oh my, I absolutely can’t focus on podcasts for longer than several minutes and am always in need of transcripts. Obviously, if someone decides to look through my lesson library, they’ll find tons of text-based lessons – no wonder, right? In our latest ELT Lesson Jam, I decided to share one of them because I just can’t keep it to myself! 😀

This lesson is based on an authentic text (or rather four short authentic texts) and includes a vocabulary focus, a reflection part and a meaningful discussion. What’s more, it’s rather flexible, and the framework it uses can be adapted to any other lessons that use an authentic text.
Basically, when I teach a text-based lesson, I spend most of the time helping students analyse the text and understand the nuances. With each student it’s different; I let them take the lead and decide where this text exploration (that’s what I call it) brings us. This helps my students process the text better and kind of own it (if you know what I mean).

Lesson Details

Level: B2-C1 (you could give it a try with B1+ but you might need to make some adjustments)

Format: 121 (online) but can be adjusted to groups

Duration: two 1-hour lessons / three 45-minute lessons / one 1.5-hour lesson / one 2-hour lesson

Materials: lesson slides, reading, and vocabulary worksheet

Procedure:

0. WARM-UP/LEAD-IN

1) I usually start with a small talk and homework Q&A

2) *Slide 1* Student reads the quote and tries to explain what they think it means; in their understanding, what does it mean to leave your life to the fullest?

I. READING

1) Tell student that many people have asked this question and everyone has a different answer. Ask student if they have ever heard of Quora and show this question asked there: https://www.quora.com/What-does-living-your-life-to-the-fullest-mean-to-you.

Tell that you are now going to have a look at four answers.

1) *HO Reading* Student has some time to read the four answers (texts)

2) *Slide 2* Reading for gist – for lower levels! For higher levels (B2 and above), you can simply ask your student(s) to summarise each answer in one sentence. [Key: Bruno; Stefano & Kayla; Xhaye* & Kayla]

*I’m not sure but I pronounced it as [ʃeɪ]

II. TEXT EXPLORATION

1) *HO Vocabulary task* Student matches the yellow words in the text to the definitions – again, for lower levels! For higher levels, you can ask students to come up with definitions and only help if they struggle.

2) Drill the pronunciation of all words/expressions, ask CCQs, etc.

3) *Slide 3* Reading for detail [Key: 1-T, 2-F, 3-T, 4-T, 5-T, 6-F] – definitely recommended for lower levels; optional for higher levels

4) Further exploration of the texts. This is a super flexible part led by your student(s), i.e. they choose what to focus on. For example, my Japanese student was interested in anaphoric referencing because in Japanese language it’s not used in the same way due to the lack of certain pronouns. I helped her with the first two examples and then she had to find more examples and identify the words that were being referenced in them. She said it had been really useful. You can focus on other cohesive devices (e.g. linkers), verb forms, etc.

III. COMMUNICATION

1) *Slide 4* Reflection

2) *Slide 5* Discussion (the questions include the new vocabulary items so students have chance to use those in a real conversation)

HOMEWORK IDEAS:

– Students choose one of the questions on Slide 5 and prepare an oral or written answer;

– Students read more answers to the question on Quora and then share their findings in the next lesson (you can also ask them to choose 3 new interesting expressions);

– Students produce a written reflection on the topic, i.e. What does it mean to you to live your life to the fullest?, using some of the new expressions (good if you focussed on cohesion).

If you decide to teach this lesson, I hope your student(s) enjoy it! And please do let me know how it goes 🙂

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