glennmay glennmay

Advanced level


This lesson aims to help students learn the terms for an understand different forms of comedy: improvisation, satire, black humour, etc.We will consider the reasons some people are funny and why some funny people are sad - "sad clowns."


Main Aims

  • To teach lexis related to comedy. Forms of comedy such as satire, dark humor, improvisation, etc.

Subsidiary Aims

  • Grammar: Using present and past participles to modify sentences.


Warm-ups • To let sts get to know me a little and to help me put names with faces and get to know them.

Star-pattern game with facts about me, including something funny. PW = students talk about what each one may mean. End with terrible French. Then have students complete their own star patterns and put them on the board three at a time.

Comedy - Improvisation • To help students visualize what improvization means

Tell students they will see a man use two pencils to be funny. He will make the two pencils be other things. Pre-teach: coffin. Tell students actions are more important than words here! Task: Remember as many things he uses the pens as. Write notes if you wish. PW: There were 12 things he used the pencils as. How many can you remember. Re-play video if necessary. Group check.

Matching - types of film comedy • To get students to think of names for comedy genres themselves

Begin with pairwork. Have sts list their favorite comedy movies - Turkish or in English. Lead them through discussion of what some movies are about, attempting to elicit cartoon, satire, etc. etc. Next, show clips from presidential impersonations (satire) and Dr. Strangelove (black humour) to illustrate these two concepts. Now have them open books and complete Ex. 7 a on P. 44 individually. Pair check, then group check.

Reading - Jonathan Winters, the sad clown • To give students examples of participles being used to modify sentences

Begin with PW discussion about funny people. Tell each other about a funny person you know. Why are they funny? Are any of them sad in their own lives - the sad clown. Read the text. Task: Was being sad good or bad for winters? Individ: Discussion answers to question.

Grammar - Present and Past participles • To help students understand how participles can be used to modify sentences

Review: Participles are verb forms used in passive sentences and to form the perfect and progressive (continuous) aspects. There are two participles: present (-ing form) and past (usually -ed form). Ex. Going to English class in the snow is a drag. Having won the lottery, Glenn quit his job as a teacher. Cooked properly, grilled fish is delicious. Finished with his lessons for the day, Glenn went looking for ice cream. Working in pairs, have students spot the participles in the Winters text. Elicit their function. If they have problems, let them open to P. 43: A. Simple past participle: background information: Saddened by the bad relationship . . . B. Having + past participle: first is cause of second action: Not having the money . . . . C. Conjunction + past participle: time sequence: After promising Eileen . . . . D. As subject (gerund phrase): Being so creative . . . .

Pronunciation • To learn the art of the pause in telling stories or jokes.

Books closed! What is the best way to tell a story or a joke? Just tell the facts, or try to act it out? Act it out. What are some things you can do to act out a joke? Change voices, etc. Do you tell it all at once, or break it up? Pauses. Listen. Try to hear when I pause. Why do you think I paused when I did? Now open books to P. 44 Read second time, now ask them to mark down where I pause using the slash marks. Solicit some answers. Why the pause before the last sentence? This is called the punchline.

Speaking • To give students practice with adding pauses to help tell jokes

Group work. Ex. 9a, P. 44 In groups of three, students read jokes on pages 149, 151 and 153. Each individually tries to think where pauses should go. Then, have the students tell their jokes to other group members. Who told the funniest joke? Or - have volunteers tell joke to whole class. Who was funniest?

Irony Team Game (120-145 minutes) • To help students understand the concept of irony

Refresh their memory on irony. Give an example from the book. Split into two teams. Each side gets sentences (one at a time, jigsaw-style) plus the possible answers from the Teaching With Jokes book (P. 22.) When a side finishes a sentence, they raise their hands and rush to the board to write it. A point for each correct answer.

Tell an extended story (145-170 minutes) • Fluency writing practice

Divide into new groups. Read the openings on the right side of P. 46 and answer questions 1-3 n ex. 1. Now as a class, conduct written version of "telephone" game as explained in Ex. 2. Have students fold over paper after writing a sentence so next student only sees on at a time. Brownie points for anyone who uses a participle as seen earlier in today's lesson. After the number of turns equals the number of students, have students read stories aloud. Are they literature or comedy?

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