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Reading - The Sacred Balance
Upper-Intermediate, B2 level


In this lesson, students will be exposed to reading an extract from a book about the environment called The Sacred Balance. The extract itself is intended to make students think critically about how language is used to make an argument through reading for gist, specific and detailed information. In the post-reading activity, the students will be enabled to share their views in the form of an open class discussion which will help them to activate their top-down processing.


Abc Extract from a book 'The Sacred Balance'
Abc Extract from a book 'The Sacred Balance'
Abc Power Point Presentation
Abc Projector
Abc Sticky Tack
Abc Whiteboard, markers
Abc Mobile phones
Abc Internet
Abc Strips of words
Abc Oxford Online Learner's Dictionary
Abc Ex.3
Abc Ex. 3 - Answer key
Abc Ex. 4 - Extended Vocabulary Handouts
Abc Ex. 4
Abc Walls
Abc Strips of words

Main Aims

  • To provide gist, scan, detailed, deduction and inference reading practice using a text about the sacred balance in the context of environment

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide fluency speaking practice in a discussion in the context of environment
  • To provide review, clarification and practice of environment related words in the context of an extract from a book "The Sacred Balance"


Warmer/Lead-in (2-4 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

*T projects 'The Sacred Balance' phrase on the board; *T points to the word 'Sacred' and asks Sts: What does 'sacred' mean? Sts responses vary; *T clarifies the meaning if the students do not voice the correct/closest definition to the word; *T projects a definition taken from macmillan dictionary on the board; *T asks: Do you know any sacred places, things or maybe animals? Sts respond. *T projects a photo of David Suzuki and asks: Who do you think this man is? Sts respond. *T asks: What is his profession? Sts respond. *T says: "The Sacred Balance" is the title of the book written by David Suzuki, a Japanese-Canadian academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist in 1997. *T projects 3 arguments on the board and asks: Which of the arguments do you think the author is making based on the title of the book? *Sts think and discuss in pairs for 1-2 mins; *Sts report back. *T says: Keep your answer in mind, we will get back to it in a while.

Pre-Reading (5-6 minutes) • To prepare students for the text and make it accessible

*T projects Oxford Leaner's Dictionary on the board and asks Sts to access the website; *T says: I am going to give each of you a word/two and you should find and write its definition on the back of a strip; *T asks ICQs if the need be; *There will be about 12 unknown words taken from a reading extract 'The Sacred Balance'; *Sts use their phones to find definitions for words and write down on the back of a strip; *T models an example if the need be. *T gives 2 minutes for Sts to finish this activity; *T chooses 1 student to model the next activity; *T closes the word on his strip with hands and fingers and asks a student to do the same; *T reads a definition to a student, a student should guess a word and vice versa; *Then T says: Stand up everybody and read your definitions to your partner. You partner should guess a word. *T adds: Your aim is to get rid of your words; The one who gets rid of them, is a winner; *Sts stand up and work with their new partners; *Sts have 3-4 mins to complete an activity; *Sts change their partner if time allows.

While-Reading #1 (8-10 minutes) • To provide students with less challenging gist and specific information reading

*T projects 3 arguments again to help Sts recall the previous activity; *Sts respond. *T points to an extract from a book related worksheet and says: Read an extract from a book and check your answers; *T says: Also, you should find and underline three reasons the author uses to support his argument. *T asks ICQs if the need be. *Sts check their answers; *T says: Compare your answers in pairs; Sts do so. *T elicits answers from 2-3 Sts. *T projects answer keys on the board. *Sts check back their answers.

While-Reading #2 (9-10 minutes) • To provide students with more challenging detailed, deduction and inference reading task

*T projects 1 out of 6 statements made by the author: "We believe we can control our surroundings and that nature can't control us". *T points to the statement and says: Look at this statement and find its part in the text. *Sts read for specific information REVISE REVISE REVISE *T points to a handout and says: There are 6 statements made by the author. *T says: Find and underline the parts in the text where the author expresses the following ideas and discuss how he uses the language. Do you think this kind of language makes his argument more or less effective? *T says: You can work in pairs; *T disseminates the handouts for Ex.3 *T asks ICQs if the need be; *Sts work and discuss their answers in pairs; *T monitors evenly when Sts carry out the activity; *T assists Sts upon request; *T takes some notes for further error correction/feedback; *T asks a few students to report back on their answers; *T projects an answer key on the board; *T also disseminates an answer key among the Sts; *Sts check their answers. *T projects a few sentences on the board for further back chain drilling.

Post-Reading #1 (3-5 minutes) • To provide with an opportunity to respond to the text and expand on what they've learned

*T gives different smileys to re-group Sts; *Sts match their smileys to find their partners; *T projects two words on the board: COUNTRY and LAND and asks the Sts what the difference is, if they can; *Sts responses might vary; *T projects explanations and examples on the board; *Sts check their answers; *T applies a kinaesthetic activity; *T says; There are 4 sentences around a class. *T points to strips of words (land and country) and says: Match each word to a sentence and stick it. *Sts work in small groups of 3-4; *Sts mingle around a class and match the words to each sentence; *T monitors evenly and takes some notes for delayed error correction and feedback; *Sts finish the activity; *T says: The answers are on the back page of a worksheet; *Sts take it out to check their answers;

Post Reading # 2 (4-5 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to respond to the text and expand on what they've learned

*T projects 2 questions on the board and says: Take a look at these questions and discuss them with your partner; *Sts discuss two questions in pairs; *T monitors evenly and takes notes for delayed feedback; *T calls everyone to an open discussion; *Sts share their opinions with each other.

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