Ideas, Solutions, and Suggestions: A pronunciation activity to practice intonation in a series

Level: intermediate to advanced

Language focus: intonation in series of items

 

STEP 1 – Model and practice intonation patterns for a series of items.

Pattern 1: rising intonation is used for each item except the last, which is spoken with falling intonation. Pattern 2: level intonation is used for each item except the last, which is spoken with falling intonation.  Pattern 3: rising intonation is used for each item, including the last, which indicates the list could go on.

STEP 2 – Explain that the class must organize a celebration for the entire school (you can decide the occasion), and there are many things to do. Write the first four tasks on the board and invite students to suggest others:

  1. We need to buy food.
  2. We need to plan entertainment.
  3. We need to decide where to have the event.
  4. We need to buy a gift for the guest(s) of honor.

STEP 3 – Working with a partner, students must take turns making suggestions. The suggestions must be in the form of a list (minimum of 3 items). Prompts can be provided if necessary:

  1. We need to buy food. / We can buy… (or make)
  2. We need to plan entertainment. / We can hire… (or ask)
  3. We need to decide where to have the event. / We can have the celebration…
  4. We need to buy a gift for the guest(s) of honor. / We can buy… (or make)

Appropriate intonation should be used to make the series of suggestions. Model the exchange with a volunteer:

Speaker A (student volunteer): We need to buy food.

Speaker B (teacher): No problem. We can buy fruit, crackers, cheese, and juice.

 

VARIATION: Don’t want to plan a party? Use a list of common problems:

  1. I often lose my keys. / Why don’t you try…? – or – Maybe you can…
  2. I sometimes miss my bus.
  3. I don’t have time to eat breakfast.
  4. I don’t like cleaning my apartment.

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