Level: Upper intermediate
Time: 90 minutes or more!
To give extensive & intensive reading practice
To give oral fluency practice
To review & expand vocab connected to the 'Internet'
To review some tenses
To give freer writing practice
That the stds will find the topic interesting
That, in general, the vocab will not be too difficult
That the grammar will pose no problems to comprehension
Some vocab items might not be known - depending on the
Materials & aids:
Article from Newsweek - see below
Comprehension task - see below
Profile cards for the writing task in stage 5 - see below
Stage 1: Lead in to raise interest in
the topic of diaries
tch > stds, 10 mins
1. Introduce 'diaries' & ask if any of
the stds write one, would like to write one, have ever read
any... Discuss the differences between a public & a private
diary. Introduce the phrase from the title of the article
'to bare your soul' & check meaning.
2. Put the title of the article on the board 'Bloggers Bare
Their Souls' & say it's the headline & ask for suggestions
on the content of the article. You could list these ideas
on the board.
Stage 2: Reading & response - extensive
tch > stds, std > std, 20 mins
1. Set the extensive task
a) to see which, if any, of their predictions were right -
b) stds compare in pairs
c) general class feedback
d) more detailed read - True/False sentences - (see below
for suggestions) - set task
e) read individually > stds compare in pairs > class
f) stds response to the text - ask stds if they would like
to write a blog, what they think ....
Stage 3: Language focus - vocab &
tch > stds, std > std, 20 mins
1. Vocab - stds underline all the
words they can find connected to the internet - individually
& then compare in pairs. They then brainstorm some more,
followed by class feedback. You could prepare a gap fill task
to consolidate the vocab & then lead in to a discussion
about the internet - how much they use it, for what, at what
times, which is the best server.
Titles: bloggers, internet users
para 1: weblogs, online journals
para 2: online, online diaries, personal sites, web content,
html, network server, web tools, free hosting sites
para 3: techies, web designer, the About page, weblog community,
para 4: sites, discussions, hosting the sites, attract users,
Silicon Valley entrepreneur
2. Tenses - there are clear examples of the
present simple, present perfect simple & continuous. Get
the stds to underline examples & then discuss why they
are being used in this particular context. Possibly follow-up
with a gap fill to consolidate the concepts looked at.
Stage 4: Follow up - Internet search for
You could actually go to Megan
O'Hara's diary page & find the mentions of the Newsweek
article the stds have just read. Predict how they think she
might feel about the article & then read to verify. Then
you could focus on the style or any interesting language.
Alternatively, look in the links of the current newsletter
for a diary that may be of interest to your group & use
extracts from that. Choose a few different diaries to compare
Stage 5: Diary writing
1. Prepare writer profiles - see
below - & hand one out to each std. Refer to the style
of any diaries you have looked at & get them to write
an excerpt for that person.
2. Go round & help out with any language the stds might
need - time for some individualised attention.
3. Stds swap their diary entries & they are corrected
by a fellow stds, who also guesses the original 'profile'.
4. You could then post the entries on the walls for all to
wander round & read & guess what the profile of the
5. If you really wanted to continue, you could then get the
original writers to meet, in their writer profile roles, &
they could give each other advice & comments.
If your students are particularly enthusiastic,
how about getting them to start their own weblog - blog -
using the links in the article they can easily get together
a web page each - in English, of course!
BLOGGERS BARE THEIR
Picture of Megan O'Hara
Internet users chronicle their inner
lives in public
By Deborah Branscum (Newsweek
If you want reality, forget "Survivor?
Check out Weblogs: public online journals that can be
racy, inventing and alarmingly blunt. The update - often
daily - let fans follow every twist and turn in an author's
life. In Tennessee, Meghan O'Hara has been working up
the courage to ask Alex out for a date-a mere eight
years after she first got a crush on him in high school.
Writing from the Netherlands, American Rachel James
shared an erotic Valentine's Day surprise engineered
by her Dutch boyfriend. And it wasn't a teddy.
Online diaries aren't new. Ryan Kawailani
Ozawa, who created Diarist.net,
traces the earliest Web journal to January 1995. Later
Weblogs, or blogs, were born. These are personal sites,
such as Tomalak's Realm (www.tomalak.org),
that organize links to other Web content on a particular
topic of interest. Early bloggers needed to know HTML
and have access to a network server. That began to change
in 1999 with easy Web tools and free hosting sites,
such as Blogger.com,
Some 100,000 people have tried Blogger.com, the most
popular site. "Anyone who can fill out a form can
have an online journal," says O'Hara.
These snapshots of life - and, perhaps,
fantasy - can be strangely addictive. Unsurprisingly,
some of the longest running journals belong to techies.
O'Hara, for example, is a Web designer. She describes
her breasts, piercing, smoking habit and height in her
online diary, Squirrel Bait (www
.treehaus.addr.com/blog), and that's just on the
About page. O'Hara has been chronicling her life online
since 1995, when she was a first-year college student.
She claims to be shy in real life - a fact that comes
as a surprise to anyone who reads Squirrel Bait, which
has given her a somewhat limited measure of fame within
the Weblog community. But don't get the wrong idea -
Weblogs are "not all Jerry Springer," says
O'Hara. "It's not all people writing, 'My boyfriend
dumped me, he's a bastard?' Still, regular readers want
to know: will she ask Alex out or not?
An aspiring Samuel Pepys can turn to
many sites on the Web for launching a personal journal,
Joint journals, or discussions, can be conducted at
sites such as Metafilter.com.
So far there's not much commercial interest in Weblogs;
companies hosting these sites attract users but not
cash. But according to one practitioner, Weblogs aren't
about making money; they're about revolutionizing communication.
Dave Winer, a veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur and
founder of tiny Userland Software, has been maintaining
Weblog since 1997. For him, Weblogs are a crusade. "I'm
interested in creating a new form of journalism,"
he says. "I don't trust the media sources, the
TV networks and magazines."
Will Weblogs change journalism? They'll
do more than that, if you believe Winer. "We need
to gain consciousness as a society he says, "and
one of the best ways to do that is to start talking
and also to listen. There are 6 billion people on the
planet, and if everyone on the planet had a Weblog,
we'd be better off." Six billion people sharing
their secrets and fears? Now, there's an idea for a
Comprehension task - true/false
1. Meghan O'Hara is famous for her
web design work.
2. Rachel James didn't give her boyfriend
a teddy bear as a Valentine's day present.
3. Weblogs are a fairly new phenomena
on the internet.
4. It's easy to set up a blog on the
5. In order to write a weblog you've
got to have something interesting to say.
6. People are making money out of weblogs.
7. Weblogs will change journalism.
8. There are six billion people writing
profiles for stage 5
|You are a 16 year old teenage girl.
You are fed up at the moment as your boyfriend has left
you & you've got a lot of exams. Your parents aren't
letting you go to any parties at the moment because of
|You are in your mid-twenties & working
twelve hours a day in a computer company designing web
pages. You're getting a bit fed up - you sometimes don't
even have time to write your online diary! Today has been
one of those days.
|You are a voluntary worker in your town.
At the moment you are helping in a shelter for homeless
people. You are very enthusiastic about your work.
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