Robert Spoden Robert Spoden

TP7: Modals
Intermediate level


In this lesson, we will cover the use of modals, specifically those used to convey obligation, compulsion, or advice: must, have to, ought to, and should. The contextual backdrop of this lesson is living a healthy lifestyle, and we start with the main character, Freddy, who is unhappy with his life and wants to make changes that cultivate healthy habits such as good diet and exercise.


Abc Freddy in distress
Abc Modal free exercise
Abc Modals 2
Abc Modal gap fill

Main Aims

  • To provide clarification and practice of modal verbs in the context of healthy lifestyles.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide gist and deduction reading practice using a text about Healthy habits in the context of Lifestyle changes
  • To provide accuracy speaking practice in a Conversation in the context of Giving advice and communicating rules
  • To provide detailed and gist listening practice using a text about Asking for help in the context of Making healthy lifestyle changes


Warmer/Lead-in (3-5 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Put picture of Freddy in distress up. Elicit descriptions of Freddy. Ask if he looks happy. Ask whether or not Freddy could change his situation

Exposure (8-10 minutes) • To provide context for the target language through a text or situation

Tell Ss that Freddy wants help. He wrote a Dear Abby letter. Ask the Ss if they know what a Dear Abby letter or Agony Aunt letter is. Explain that in some newspapers in America and Great Britain, there is a column called Dear Abby or Agony Aunt. People write letters asking for advice, and they get answered. The letter and the answer are printed in the paper. Read the Ss Freddy's letter. Pass out the modal WS (it is folded with only Freddy's letter showing) Ss work alone to fill in the gaps. We assume thee Ss are familiar with this vocabulary. Monitor to check if Ss are having trouble with the vocabulary, and offer support as needed. Provide an opportunity for Ss to peer check their answers. Read the letter back to the Ss to give them a listening check. Put the Ss into small groups Ask the Ss what kind of advice they would give Freddy and provide them an opportunity to discuss.

Highlighting (2-4 minutes) • To draw students' attention to the target language

Ask Ss to share what they discussed in their groups Write relevant advice up on the WB. For example, "He should exercise" "He should quit smoking" Ss might say "needs to" or "has to"; put these up on the bord as well if they are solicited. If the Ss do not use the modal verb, try to elicit it by rewriting what one of them says in the correct form: "Freddy _____________ go for walks" Cross out 'Freddy' and put 'you' and ask, What would you tell your friend if they were overweight and wanted to change that? Write the first letter, then the second letter. Say the first part of the word, /shou/ to provide additional clues as necessary

Clarification (8-10 minutes) • To clarify the meaning, form and pronunciation of the target language

With some TL on he board from the last stage, ask some CCQs. @@@Freddy has to go to the doctor. Can he go to the doctor? (yes) Can he avoid going to the doctor? (no) What will happen if he doesn’t go to the doctor? (he will get sick) Does Freddy have a choice about going to the doctor? (no) @@@He should go swimming everyday. Is it important for him to go swimming everyday? (yes) Does he have a choice whether to swim everyday or not? (yes) Is it a good idea for him to do it? (yes) @@@He ought to loose weight. Same as should He must quit drinking. Same as has to @@@Freddy doesn’t have to smoke cigarettes. Is it essential that he smokes cigarettes? (no) Can he quit smoking them if he wants to? (yes) Is there a serious problem if he quits? (no, it’s up to Freddy) ################################## Draw a substitution table: subject + modal + verb phrase Draw a cline on the WB, one side has a stick figure with a speech bubble, the other a stop sign in the road. Place the modals in the appropriate spots on the cline. Grades of obligation: STRONG: must, have (got) to Used to convey rules, laws, regulation, or advice that is extremely urgent and important. WEAK OBLIGATION / ADVICE: should, ought Used to give standard advice, opinions, suggestions and recommendations $$$$$$ On the WB, erase all but the verbal phrases, i.e. "... Go to the gym", "...go to the doctor" Role play mini-scenarios with the Ss: I am Freddy and you are my friend. Point to one of the verbal phrases.. Elicit advice. (Should). Change the role - I am Freddy and I am very very sick. Elicit stronger advice (must, have to). Provide a couple minutes for the Ss to practice giving advice to one another.

Controlled Practice (8-10 minutes) • To concept check and prepare students for more meaningful practice

Tell Ss that Abby responded to Freddy. She wrote him back a letter with some advice. Distribute the gap fill, Ss work alone on the gap fill. Put the Ss into small groups for peer check. Monitor and provide support as needed. Read back the letter so Ss can do a listening check.

Semi-Controlled Practice (8-10 minutes) • To concept check further and prepare students for free practice

Tell Ss that Freddy goes to the Doctor. The Doctor examines Freddy and when he hears about his drinking problem, recommends going to a rehab clinic. Explain that a rehab clinic is a place where people who drink too much can go and try to break the habit. It is a controlled environment, like a hospital, where people stay for a month or more. There are certain rules that must be followed. Explain to the Ss that they work at this rehab clinic where Freddy is going. Try to elicit some rules - "If Freddy were coming to your clinic, what would you tell him?" Shuffle the room "You must get up and move to a different seat" Pass out the modals 2 WS. Students work in pairs, rewriting each statement as a modal. Monitor and provide support as needed. Elicit answers to the WS, provide corrective FB as necessary.

Free Practice (8-10 minutes) • To provide students with free practice of the target language

Tell Ss Freddy has been at the rehab clinic for two weeks. He has picked up some annoying behaviors. Write them on the board: He watches TV with the volume up loud. He ate all of the cake. He leaves messes in the bathroom. He stays up late. He left his dishes in the sink. Explain to Ss that they are Freddy's roommate at the rehab. They are annoyed with Freddy's behavior. How can you let Freddy know that you are annoyed? Point out and must and have to can be asked as questions to convey annoyance - Must you watch TV at such a loud volume? Drill the pronunciation. ## Pass out modal free exercise. The Ss get up. They look at their piece of paper and make the four statements into modals with a partner. They take turns. After that, the partners swap papers, then look for another partner. Repeat. Monitor and provide support at needed. Provide a delayed correction flexistage if possible.

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