Monday 21 November 2011

Could you live without it?

  1. Reading - Living without electricity
  2. Writing - Argument essay / advantages and disadvantages of mobile phones
You are going to
  • read a text about a man who lives without electricity
  • discuss what electrical items you could live without
  • watch a clip about mobile phones and answer some questions
  • write an argument essay about the advantages and disadvantages of mobile phones
Note; this post can be viewed as powerpoint presentation. Skip to the bottom of the post

1) Introduction
  • What are the essential things in your life? What couldn't you live without?
  • Could you live in a world without computers, cars, TV, mobile phones, electricity...?
  • What would you miss the most?

2) Reading
You are going to read an article about someone who has lived for 29 years without electricity. How do you think he manages to live without electricity?
How does he cook, heat the house and see in the dark?
Read the text and find out.

Not seeing the light at Downhill

John McCarter lights a candle  
John faces his 29th Christmas without electricity. Two years ago, he successfully campaigned to have electricity installed along his road. But while his neighbours are enjoying their kettles, lights, washing machines and fridges, 77-year-old John McCarter is still waiting to be hooked up.The home that he's lived in since 1983 on the Seacoast Road at Downhill, close to Coleraine, is still being heated by two open coal fires, with candles providing his only light.

John lives in an idyllic setting, with his home nestled under the cliffs looking out to sea, but his living conditions are far from perfect: "During the summer, brilliant. Except for the fact you haven't got a thing like a fridge, which I can live with." "However, when the winter comes and the temperature drops down to minus four degrees and you get out of bed in the morning, and even before you get out, you can see your breath hanging on the air - it's far from pleasant," he said.

"The cooking isn't a problem, because I've got a gas cooker and that satisfies that end, but lighting is one candle and one tealight. "The candle provides the general lighting, the tealight lights up the face of the clock to let me see as the minutes tick away. "I have two open fires, one in the sitting room and one in the living room. "They're adequate provided they are burning, but the problem is you can't stay up all night to keep them alight so I usually stoke them up about 11.30pm before I go to bed, but by 3am, in the morning they're out and then the temperature just plummets. "By the time you are thinking of getting out of bed at 8am, the temperature inside is the same as outside."

Drag and drop to match the words from the text to the right definition

Printable version here

3) Discuss
    1. Could you live like John?
    2. Could you live without your mobile phone, smartphone, blackberry or computer? Why / Why not?
    3. Are you addicted to them? / Do you know anyone who is addicted?
    4. What do you use your mobile phone for? Make a list of all the things you can do with it.
    5. Do you know how mobile phones can affect your health?
    6. Do you think that mobile phones are sometimes anti-social? Why / why not?
    7. Look at the words below. Which describe how you feel about your phone? Can you think of any more?

    4a) Now watch this clip.

    • What answers to questions 2, 4, 5 and 6 do people in the video give?
    • What is the video maker's opinion of mobile phones?

    4b) Advantages and disadvantages of mobile phones or smartphones
    Add some ideas of your own and make a list of good things and bad things / advantages and disadvantages of mobile phones or smartphones.

    5) Writing
    You are going to write an answer to this question
    "Mobile phones; Friend or Foe?"

    When writing it's very important to have a plan
    1. How many paragraphs are you going to write? 3 or 4 = introduction + main text = a) advantages b) disadvantages + conclusion
    2. What are you going to say in the introduction? Introduce and describe the thing you are going to talk about - describe it as if you are talking to an idiot or someone from another planet; eg Mobile phones are very popular. They can be used to communicate, text, take photos…
    3. What are you going to say in the main text? Give examples of ideas, compare and contrast them = a) advantages b) disadvantages
    4. What are you going to say in the conclusion? Sum up your ideas in 1 or 2 sentences. Give an opinion. Don’t introduce any new ideas.

    Linking Words
    1) What words or expressions can you use to introduce ideas?
    Highlight = Firstly,  for example, for instance, (+ writing the idea as a question )

    2) What words or expressions can you use to continue, explain or contrast your ideas?

    Highlight = Secondly, thirdly, also, moreover, furthermore,
    Because, so, therefore, as a result,
    However, on the other hand, nevertheless, although

    3) What words or expressions can you use to finish or conclude your ideas?

    Highlight = In conclusion, to summarise, on balance, it can be seen that... , it remains to be seen..., in the opinion of this writer...

    Look at writing intoductions and planning here
    and here

    Write the essay - check!
    If you have not...
    1. written an introduction
    2. used paragraphs
    3. used appropriate language (see above)
    4. written a conclusion
    5. followed the instructions
    then you have not finished or answered the question properly!

    Examples - use these practice examples to help you

    6) More writing practice
    Write argument essays (advantages / disadvantages) about other topics eg computers, the internet, air transport, fast food, exams, learning a second  language...

    7) More reading
    Daily Mail
    How mobile addiction led us to lose our manners...

    Pros and Cons

    BBC News
    Third of adults use smartphone says Ofcom report

    Are mobile phones safe for our children to use?



    Powerpoint Presentation version of this post

    All answers - highlight below
    2) Reading
    Answer = He has a gas cooker, two open fires and candles

    Find words or expressions which mean
     - connected = hooked up
     - a beautiful place= idyllic setting
     - be situated in a sheltered place = nestled (in)
     - suitable / enough = adequate
     - make hotter = stoke up
     - fall quickly = plummet

    4) Answers
     - What do you use your mobile phone for? - phoning, texting, facebook, games, communication, apps, internet, social network
     - How many say they can't live without a mobile? 3 out 4 cant live without mobile
     - Do you know how mobile phones affect your health? - texting can damage your eyes, rumours, not really "clued up", not quite sure, more dangerous than smoking but no evidence to back this up.
     - Do you agree that mobile phones are anti-social? - can be anti-social at times, but good for keeping in contact, allow you organise going out, stay in touch, access social network sites, antisocial on buses and trains, in the supermarkets, there is a clear divide between young and old on this but this may change
     - Opinion = Conclusion - growing technology,  to see the impact on health and society we have to wait for the  future

    Suggested ideas
    Advs = good for keeping in contact,  be organised,  social network sites, + internet access, cheap, convenient, fun
    Disadvs = anti-social, health issues(?), + addictive, distracting

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