Owen Carow Owen Carow

TP4 Expressing Surprise (Functional Language)
Upper Intermediate level


This lesson will introduce students to using passive voice in present and past tense situations.


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Main Aims

  • To provide clarification and practice of using passive voice in present and past tense

Subsidiary Aims

  • Students will practice turning active voice into passive, and passive into active.


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

The teacher will show students the lead in question, "What is wrong with this text?" The teacher asks students to look for errors, but they should not find any. After students have time to look, the teacher will read the text out loud, demonstrating the boring and flatly paced writing. The teacher will explain that today's lesson will give the class practice with another structure we can use to make sentences in English. Slides: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1uowv-tXMZRG_E542T4c77s_MSG0VRJT5Gn5HQTL5DiI/edit?usp=sharing

Exposure (Text) (6 minutes) • To provide context for the target language through a text or situation

The teacher will show the class 6 sentences, which are all written in passive voice. The teacher can check for students' understanding of the sentences by asking CCQs like "Who ate the zebra?" If students struggle to understand these sentences, the teacher can show the example "The lion ate the Zebra," CCQ for the fact that the meaning of the sentence has not changed, and give the students the link to the initial text practice. Students will convert the sentences into the more familiar active form. The teacher will inform students that it's ok if they don't understand yet, but they should keep trying. Students should have 3 minutes in BORs to change the 6 sentences, at which point the teacher will go through the answers. Students are not expected to resolve the last two sentences, which have deleted the agent of the sentence. This will lead into discussion in the Analysis stage. Form: https://forms.gle/xR4ctmFpnJ63JvCZ9

Clarification (15 minutes) • To clarify the meaning, form and pronunciation of the target language

To clarify the last activity, the analysis will start with form. The teacher will demonstrate with another simple sentence (The rat was eaten by the cat) and will ask students what changes have been made. If students don't understand, the teacher will elicit for subject, verb, and object, and point out the switch that happens in the passive sentence. The teacher will lay out the form for an active sentence, and give another example. In converting this sentence, the teacher will ask whether the direct object clause is necessary, and then remove the object (agent) from the sentence as well. The teacher should reiterate that in sentences like "Rome was not built in a day," this agent has been deleted. The teacher should then direct students attention to the verb after "is" in the passive sentence. Students may note that it seems to be a past tense verb, but the teacher should explain that this is actually the past participle, which is irregular for many verbs. The teacher should ask students for any rules or patterns they notice so far, and attempt to elicit for the following: 1. Change subject and object (subject becomes “agent”) 2. “Is” in correct tense and number 3. Past participle The meaning of passive voice should be emergingly clear, but the teacher should clarify why it is used. Each main reason for its use is included with an example, and explanations of the examples can be elicited from the students. Pronunciation is included to clarify which past participles have voiced or syllabified suffixes, and the use of the schwa in American pronunciation of words like written (/rɪtən/). Appropriacy is also discussed briefly, calling back to the form and meaning rules.

Controlled Practice (7 minutes) • To concept check and prepare students for more meaningful practice

Students will be given the second form, which asks them to correct errors in 8 sentences. Students will take 4 minutes to complete the form, and the teacher will elicit the answers for 3 minutes. This is an opportunity for the teacher to record feedback notes. Form: https://forms.gle/1npnxFonXMfMi8Sd9

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

Students will be given 5 minutes to write several sentences in response to the prompt: "Using passive and active voice, write some sentences about something that happened in the past. You can write about a story from history, a movie, a book, or your life. Use passive voice to change the structure of your sentences." The teacher will highlight the passive and active structures used in an example text, edited from the lead in text. After 5 minutes, the students will be placed in pair or small group BORs to share and check their sentences. The teacher can monitor these groups and record feedback. Students will be given a link to the slides, where they can write their sentences and receive PM suggestions from the teacher. The teacher will also provide a list of irregular past participles: https://www.englisch-hilfen.de/en/grammar/unreg_verben.htm

Feedback (5 minutes)

Using notes from each instance of student participation, the teacher will answer remaining questions, and point out any pitfalls the students have been struggling with.

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