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Have You Noticed...?

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To Carmen Román.
To Conchita Riocabo, In Memoriam.


This teaching idea is about reading and writing notices. Make sure that your students know what notices are (Spanish-speaking students may not, as the words "notices" and "news" are false friends in those languages.)

Warming up:

Tell the class that notices are put in public places often for a good reason. They are concise and clear for everybody to see and do as they are told. Add that most notices are often written in big colourful letters and many include pictures besides the text.

Can your students remember any notices they have seen? If so, which? Then write the following list on b/b and see if your students can think of the places where they could be found.


BEWARE OF THE DOG
NO SMOKING - PLEASE DON´T SMOKE
DANGER! HIGH VOLTAGE
POISON
(PLEASE) DO NOT DISTURB
PUSH / PULL
DON´ T BOTHER TO KNOCK
EXIT
FIRE EXIT
TOILETS
FOR SALE
TO ESCALATORS
FRAGILE - HANDLE WITH CARE
KEEP OFF THE GRASS
TO TRAINS
TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED
NO PARKING
WAY OUT


Draw the students´ attention to the fact that many notices use the imperative, the imperative negative or the gerund. Note that the word please is used in some of them.

Stage 1: Putting pen to paper - Writing notices.

Now... How about giving your pupils a chance to write a few notices themselves? School life and the students´ attitudes and behaviour are excellent topics. Your students may be perfect angels (I very much doubt it) or real devils (more probable!) Perhaps they miss too many lessons, or are often late, or forget their stationery more often than not, or they have got into the habit of writing on their desks, or drop too many papers on the floor. Or they just do not behave themselves or... who knows? If that is the case, tactfully pinpoint the problem/s and ask them to write notices to remind themselves that things should change for the better. Alternatively, you may wish to hint your class so they detect the trouble areas themselves and write the appropriate messages. The following list is merely a suggestion to that end:

Classroom management (attendance, behaviour...)
Graffiti (on walls or desks...)
Homework (private study, extra reading, research...)
Notebook (coherence, tidiness...)

Your students may produce something like this:

WERE YOU ON TIME TODAY?
REMEMBER TO BRING TO CLASS EVERYTHING YOU NEED!
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR TEACHER
WORK HARD: SCHOOL IS GOOD FOR YOU!
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, ASK THEM!
DON´ T EAT CHEWING GUM DURING THE LESSONS
THANK YOU FOR LOOKING AFTER THIS CLASSROOM
DON´ T WRITE ON THE DESKS
PLEASE USE THE PAPERBASKETS
KEEP THE WALLS CLEAN
BE CAREFUL WITH THE BLINDS
SEE YOU TOMORROW!


Stage 2: Displaying the final products.

Display the notices where appropriate when you are done. Your students will be proud to show their work, for their classmates and other classes to admire. And in this case the effort is worthwhile. With luck, your students will get the hints and they will behave somewhat differently in the future. After all, they wrote the notices themselves. No more 'I didn´t know!' from now on.


Post-activity: Streetseen - Watching out for funny notices.

Now and again you come across notices that really catch your eye...for the wrong reason (ie the spelling, the words or the grammar are not correct.) How do you like the following? Seen at a shop in a holiday resort: We reveal your pictures in 24 hours ("reveal" instead of "develop") Seen at a garden: Don´t keep the grass ("don´t keep" instead of "keep off") See how many such notices your students can find!


Joan M. Díez Clivillé
IESI Ramon Berenguer IV
Amposta, Tarragona (SPAIN)
jdiez123@pie.xtec.es
joandiez@hotmail.com

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