Choosing a topic of personal interest to students certainly makes a language lesson more engaging. Often a syllabus for a conversation class includes discussion of family and friends. Let’s not forget that animal lovers consider pets as close companions and even part of the family. With the interests of cat lovers in mind, I recently added a video to my Everyday Vocbulary series. How could you make use of it in a group setting?
- Compare and Contrast. As a speaking or writing activity, ask students to compare caring for a cat to other common pets, such as dogs, birds, or hamsters. Provide a Venn Diagram to assist students.
- Role play. In pairs, students will create a conversation between two friends. Let them imagine that one person is thinking about getting a cat, and the other is an experienced cat owner. The latter must assume the role of an advisor. Prompt use of the vocabulary from the video by providing a list on the board: long-haired, short-haired, sheds, litter box, breed, etc.
- Q & A. Write vocabulary words and phrases on index cards. Distribute them among the students. They must create a question that elicits the vocabulary item on their card(s). Exampel: “clip”. Q: When cats’ claws get long, what do pet owners need to do? The question is written on the opposite side of the card. The teacher collects all the cards and makes sure that only the questions face up. Place students in small groups. Divide the cards among the groups and let members within each group take turns reading and answering a question. Group members will help one another form complete and correct sentences.