vocabulary range for describing people by Gerard Eley
For a Word version
Time: 1 hour
To develop stds vocabulary range for describing people.
To present and give controlled practice of questions using
To give listening practice for general and specific information.
To give practice in using a bilingual dictionary.
To start to introduce how words work together and possible
connotations so help develop stds ability to expand their
To give freer practice in asking yes/no questions
The stds have been doing a lot of work with different tenses
and are progressing well. The stds need to develop their vocabulary
range. We have worked on various different areas of vocab
but the stds are lacking in sophistication when describing
people. Similarly the stds tend to translate when asking for
descriptions and so produce 'How is he?' when they want to
express 'What is he like?' or 'What does he look like?'
Some of the vocabulary on the cards will not be new and others
will be easy to work out, as the Spanish counterpart is very
similar. However, some of the affixation will be new to the
stds, such as 'ish' in 'shortish'. With the questions using
'like' the students know the use of 'like' as a verb with
the idea of enjoy. However most will not have seen or will
have forgotten the use of 'like' as a preposition that asks
for a description.
Anticipated Problems and Solutions
For the weaker stds the vocabulary input may be quite high
but as the stds will be working in groups then I will arrange
the groups so there are weaker stds with stronger stds working
The meanings of the questions may present problems, if so
ask if any of the stds can translate the questions into Spanish
hence clearing up any ambiguity.
Whiteboard, vocabulary cards, pictures of people, homemade
tape - script at end, and worksheet for exercises.
Stage 1 - Lead in - To get stds thinking
about the subject matter, present new vocabulary and to practice
using a bilingual dictionary.
i) Group as a whole look at different pictures of people and
brainstorm words to describe them.
ii) Students divide into groups of 3 or 4. Using dictionaries
where necessary to check meaning they stick different words
onto the pictures. All possibilities may not be possible in
each group. T monitors and helps with any problems
iii) Stds look at the other groups' work
iv) Individually stds divide the words into two categories;
appearance and personality.
v) Compare in pairs.
vi) Feedback. (if short for time refer stds to two lists in
vii) On board 'overweight, elderly, well-built, in his/her
As a group discuss uses of the words. i.e. Overweight and
elderly as more polite terms for fat and old. Well-built is
usually for men and the impreciseness of with mid-thirties
and the use of '-ish'.
Stage 2 - To give extensive listening
practice. To give listening practice for specific information
and to elicit questions
i) Stds listen to tape and decide which picture, from the
pics used in the previous stage, looks the most like the person
ii) Stds compare
iv) Stds listen again and write down the words that are used
to describe the person
v) stds compare in pairs
vii) Stds listen for the questions that are used in the listening
viii) stds compare.
Stage 3 - To present and give controlled
practice of questions using 'like'.
i) Stds offer 1st question from listening - replay section
ii) Model and drill (from tape) Choral and individual
iii) Stds offer 2nd question from listening
iv) Model and drill
v) Stds offer 3rd question from tape
vi) Model and drill
vii) Write up Qs on board mark stress
viii) Stds copy
ix) On worksheet stds match Q to definition
xi) Feedback. If problems translate
xii) Stds complete exercise in book pg.48
Stage 4 - To give less controlled
speaking practice of questions with yes/no answers.
i) T thinks of a famous person and invites stds to ask 20
Qs to find out who it is explaining that I will only give
the answer yes or no
ii) Stds ask Qs
iii) Stds do the same in small groups
iv) T monitors making note of errors for feedback
Stage 5 - (if time activity or alternative
to Stage 4 if short for time) Lead in to a process writing
i) Set the scene. Tell the stds they are 16 years old and
have just started going out with a new girl/boy friend and
they are going to write a letter to a friend describing the
ii) Stds imagine the person and brainstorm ideas under the
3 questions presented earlier
iii) If time stds write the first draft, finish for homework
||a sense of humour
||in his/her mid-thirties
|What's he like?
||what he enjoys
|What does he look like?
|What does he like?
Mike: Hi John. Can I ask you a favour?
M: Could you pick my brother up from the airport tomorrow
at 11am. I have to work
J: Sure. What does he look like?
M: Well he's shortish with dark brown hair. He's got
a thick moustache and he's usually quite suntanned and
he's in his mid-thirties.
J: And what's he like?
M: Well he's pretty easy-going, good sense of humour
but he's a bit shy with people at first. Oh yeah one
other thing. What are the best places to take him?
J: Well what does he like?
M: Well he's a bit boring like that. He really doesn't
J: Look. You're in Madrid you can do loads of things.
Take him to see Real Madrid if they're playing at home,
or take him to Casa Patas to see some flamenco, or just
go out in the city centre.
M: Yeah of course. Anyway Thanks I owe you one.