In an attempt to try to help all of the English teachers out there dealing with the current situation of schools being closed to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus – here are some suggestions of lesson plans/learning resources that are very suitable for online learning:

Person skriver i notatblokk. Foto.
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1.   The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Time needed: about 5 English lessons

Topics: The impact of war, history/WWII, friendship, communication and the power of the written word, identity.

Quick overview of lesson plan: a) Pre-viewing questions to help students better understand the context of the film (London/the island of Guernsey during WWII). b) Students choose one of the suggested assignments before they start watching the film (1h 58min.). The assignments range from a detailed characterisation of one of the main characters, or a more analytic focus on contrasts/symbols, to a more open creative writing assignment based on a direct quotation from the film.

2.   Will a Robot Steal My Job?

Time needed:  2-4 English lessons

Topics: Technology, artificial intelligence, future vocations in a digital world.

Quick overview: A British documentary (53 min.) that investigates how the development of artificial intelligence (AI) will affect the job market of the future. After watching the documentary, students can make their own response (perhaps as a recorded audio file?) reflecting on their reaction to the key question: Will a robot steal my job? 

3.   How to become POTUS.

Time needed:  1 English lesson

Topics: Presidential elections in the United States

Quick overview: Students first watch a short video (about 2 min.) jam-packed with information about the process of electing a new US President. The following interactive task asks them to structure or rearrange the key steps in the elections and to then add further details from the video. The finished document can be saved and then uploaded to i.e. a learning platform.

4.   Canadian short story: “The Metaphor” by Budge Wilson

Time needed:  2-3 lessons

Topics: Growing up & adolescence, life at school, peer pressure, family and identity.

Quick overview: This very long (45 min. in the recorded audio file) short story is both entertaining and thought-provoking. Students can both listen to and/or read the text. Here are a set of questions for them to answer (literary analysis and discussion questions):

5.   Chef Flynn – Living the American Dream.

Time needed:  3-4 lessons

Topics: The American Dream, Identity & Adolescence, Family

Quick overview: A great documentary (1h 18min.) that follows Flynn McGarry, who was only 12 years old when he transformed his living room into an exclusive L.A. supper club. He soon became known as “The Teen Chef” and at 16 he tries to open up a stylish pop-up restaurant in New York.

Written assignment:

Express your opinion: Choose one of the following questions and write a response where you express your personal opinion about the matter.

·       In an interview when he is opening his first New York restaurant, someone asks Flynn: “By doing all this, have you robbed yourself of your childhood”? Flynn replies: “I had ten years of childhood. I think that that’s enough”. What do you think?

·       Do you think that Flynn McGarry could still have become “the Justin Bieber of food” if he had stayed in high-school, instead of choosing home-schooling?

·       Flynn’s fame also made him a target of online criticism and at one point in the film he says “I had to get over people hating me on the internet”. What do you think about this?

Creative assignment:

What would Flynn serve?

At 19, Flynn McGarry opened up the restaurant “Gem” in New York. A gem is something that is special or beautiful in some way i.e. a beautiful stone that is used to make jewellery. On the restaurant’s website they explain that “a typical meal at Gem will consist of 12-15 courses over the span of about two hours”. This set menu costs $155, making it one of New York’s more expensive restaurants.

The challenge is for you to find a dish that you believe could be served at Flynn’s restaurant. Present a picture or recipe of the dish to the rest of class where you briefly explain why you think this is something Flynn would serve.

Perhaps your class might even be able to make a set menu out of all of the different suggestions!