This Sunday (November 5th), the skies all over England will be lit up by exploding fireworks and the bright glow of burning bonfires. If you would like to learn more about this celebration, why not read the same text that some of our C1 level students worked on during this week’s language and methodology classes? It’s quite a complex text, so you might have to think hard about some of the lexis, especially the phrasal verbs and unusual expressions.
When you finish, you could also have a go at the same vocabulary extension exercise that our students completed in groups. We have used the website www.goConqr.com to turn this exercise into a self-correcting quiz. If you do all of this, then you should be able to retell the story of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder plot to your own pupils and show them how English children celebrate this event by playing with sparklers and building a Guy to burn on their bonfires.
This ad contains some of this vocabulary related to Bonfire night:
You can also listen to this clip from a BBC Radio 4 show, where the speaker recalls how they used to celebrate Bonfire Night in his village in Wales when he was a child. There’s a self-grading google form you can use to check your listening comprehension. You can also read the transcript here.
As a final activity, you could try to learn the famous folk verse, ‘The Fifth of November’ and work on using the correct word stress and intonation. Listen to the verse being recited in the film ‘V for Vendetta’ and take a look at the slide from the class to make sure you stress the correct words.
We will be continuing with this theme next week and we will look at ways of using this historical story to create real communication situations in class, encourage critical thinking skills, and help our pupils understand present-day events that affect the world around them. We will explore the details of the conspiracy and look at different perspectives using a hot seat activity.
If you would like to introduce this topic in your classes, here are some ideas and resources:
So relevant is Bonfire Night that it features in popular culture products, both on film, as shown before, and on TV. One of the episodes in Sherlock (BBC), for example, has the Gunpowder plot and Bonfire Night as a running theme all along the episode:
Last but not least, in the last few weeks, the BBC has also been showing the three-part drama Gunpowder, based on the Gunpowder plot and the conspirators. It stars Kit Harington (Game of Thrones), Liv Tyler (Armageddon, Lord of the Rings) and Mark Gatiss (Sherlock):