Triantafyllos Koumpos Triantafyllos Koumpos

One Smart Octopus
Pre Intermediate level


This is a reading comprehension lesson in the context of scientific discoveries in the animal kingdom. The text uses mostly the simple past and simple present tense which is appropriate for the level of the students. The lesson starts with a lead-in to set the subject and engage the students. It follows up with a pre-reading activity to activate knowledge of the subject. After that, there are two different activities related to the text, focusing on gist, detail and vocabulary clarification. The lesson finishes with a free speaking activity to check comprehension while practicing productive (speech) skills.


Main Aims

  • To provide gist and detailed reading practice using a text about a smart octopus in the context of scientific discoveries

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide clarification, review and practice of academic terms, cross-disciplinary terms and Dolch Sight words in the context of scientific discoveries


Warmer/Lead-in (2-3 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Paste the picture of an octopus and a coconut on the board. Ask the students: What can you see on these two photographs? Students answer What can they have in common? (if common is a word they don't understand, restructure the question to: what can an octopus and a coconut do together?)

Pre-Reading Activity (5-7 minutes) • To prepare students for the text and make it accessible

Hand out the KWL chart to students. Ask: What do you know about octopuses? What would you like to know? Explain that the third column (What I Learned) will be completed after the student has read the Article. Finally, have students add two questions to the bottom of their chart: Why did the author write this Article? What does the author want me to know about octopuses? These questions will also be answered after the student has read the Article. Nominate a student for feedback. Ask: What do you have to do? You have 3 minutes. (While students working, monitor and help as needed).

While-Reading/Listening #1 (1-3 minutes) • To provide students with a gist task

Tell the students that they are going to read an article about an octopus. Write on board. What did the movie show? Hand out the article. "Read the first paragraph ONLY and look at the picture. What do you think the movie is about? Check for understanding: What do you have to do? Read the first paragraph, look at the photograph and guess what the movies is about.

While-Reading 2 (7-9 minutes) • To provide students with a more challenging gist and detailed reading tasks and to clarify unknown words

1. Ask the students to read the article and spot unknown words Read the article and underline words you don't know. You have 30 seconds. Nominate students that come up with words and elicit explanation from the classroom before proceeding to clarification. 2. Hand the activity sheets. Read the article and answer the questions. You have to choose one answer between A to D. Only one answer is correct. Check for understanding. What do you have to do? Read the article and answer the questions. You have 5 minutes Monitor and help accordingly during the activity. Ask the students to peer check their answers. Write the answers on the board and ask them to check again. Answer any questions they might have.

Post-Reading (8-9 minutes) • To provide with an opportunity to respond to the text and expand on what they've learned

Divide the class in groups of 3-4 students. Ask them to discuss what they learned about octopuses today and take notes on the L part of the KWL chart. What new did you learn today about octopuses? Discuss and take notes on the L part of the chart. 3 minutes Write on Board: Octopuses are very smart. Ask students if they agree or disagree with the statement, encouraging them to provide specific evidence from the texts or their own background knowledge to support their opinions. Ask students to explain if, and why, their opinions changed over the course of the lesson. Do you agree or disagree with the statement? Why (not)? Nominate 2-3 students for answers and ask follow up questions for details. Encourage more students to participate by asking their opinion. If there is still time show them the video of the octopus carrying the coconut shells. End of the lesson

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