Saturday, March 31, 2012

A simple and versatile First Conditional lesson plan for teachers.

Need a quick lesson plan about the first conditional? You're in luck because that's what you get today.

I'm part of a teacher's group on Facebook and somebody linked to a blog post: Writing Your Own Materials - Plusses and Pitfalls.. Now, my school does not use textbooks for anything past our lowest level courses, so we have a lot of lesson material to go through and to come up with as well.

Since I know that other teachers out there may be in the same boat, here is the start of a lesson plan that you can take and run with in many different settings. It just requires knowledge of the first conditional from your students and needs very little planning time from the teacher.

The entire lesson is simple and I taught it several times with about four lines of plan. Here it is, somewhat expanded due to explanation:

Quickly remind students about basic first conditional construction (If + present simple, future with will). I then put up the concept of a promise conditional with a good result and a threat/warning conditional with a bad result.

Then you tell them that there is an empty piece of land somewhere in the local area. For Bratislava I used Petrzalka, the big district on the south side of the Danube. You are the mayor and they must persuade you that their building choice is the best by promising good things if you build their option, and threatening with the negatives of the other options. Give them a couple of examples and they will soon get the idea.

For buildings I chose: A library, a bar/nightclub, a football stadium, a park, a casino and a swimming pool.

I've taught this to low pre-intermediate students, a higher pre-int one to one and some advanced teenage students. At first the students come up with very simple things but it soon develops.

- If we build a library, children will get smarter but if we build a nightclub it will be noisy for people living nearby.
- If we build the stadium, we will make money from the games but if we build the casino the mafia will come into the city (their idea, not mine)

I introduced some vocabulary (littering, vandalism, create jobs etc.) and prompted them a little when they were struggling for ideas but otherwise it was all their creativity.

For the lower level students we talked a little bit about what they had come up with and left it there, but for the more advanced students I had them create reasons in teams and then debate/defend their position compared to the other side. They really enjoyed it and came up with some great concepts. It got a bit heated at times since they are teenagers but it was a good time for all.

So in conclusion if you want a four line first conditional lesson plan:
- Review threats and promises using first conditional.
- There is a new building site, give students the options of what to build.
- They must make their choice look better by promising good things that will result.
- They make the other choices look worse by threatening about bad things that will result.

*** - Higher level students should then debate/discuss the results.

I hope this lesson plan helps other teachers who need something to let students creatively use first conditional.

Best regards,


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