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Sitcom activity: listening and guessing
Students will listen to a clip from a sitcom and try to guess where the action is talking place and what the characters are doing etc.
You will need access to a few sitcom clips. These can be clips from the same sitcom (especially if you are using a DVD or video) or they can be from different sitcoms if you are using www.youtube.com. For a comprehensive list of UK sitcoms go to http://www.sitcom.co.uk/list_top.shtml
- Introduce the topic of sitcoms by eliciting different types of programmes that are shown on television. Alternatively you could get students to look at the UK television guide (go to http://tveasy.co.uk/) and ask students to make a list of the different types of programmes being shown. If students do not mention the word "sitcom" you can ask them what kind of programme "Friends" (e.g.) is or give some examples of sitcoms that they watch.
- Divide the class into small groups of four or five. The numbers are not important but students should be able to hold a discussion comfortably with everyone contributing. For mixed ability classes it is a good idea to group weak and strong students together.
- Explain to the students that they are going to listen to a clip of a sitcom. Tell them that they are going to listen but not watch. They will be sitting with their backs to the screen or the screen will be hidden from view.
- Explain that they will have to try to guess what is happening from the audio recording. Tell students to think about where the action is taking place and what the characters look like. Students should work together trying to use the clues in the text to help them guess what is on the screen.
- Play the clip (about 3 minutes). Students should sit in groups and while they are listening they can takes notes but they should not talk.
- After they have listened, in their groups students should talk about the clip they have listened to, sharing their ideas and trying to reach agreement.
- Encourage them to guess as much detail as possible. Set a time limit for this (5-10 minutes). When the time is up ask each group for a few ideas and then play the clip again so that students can watch and check to see how many of their guesses were right.