Integrating the Skills Using Tales of the Unexpected. Stephen Hargreaves, Belgium

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Integrating the Skills Using Tales of the Unexpected.
Stephen Hargreaves, Belgium
Stephen Hargreaves is an educational researcher and lecturer at the Artesis University College of Antwerp. He co-wrote the ‘Stairway to English coursebooks’, De Boeck, 1999-2009 and published articles related to education and innovation. He was awarded the Flemish ICT-prize 2005 for sharing his work and inspiring fellow teachers and trainers.

E-mail: Stephen.Hargreaves@Artesis.be


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Introduction

Lesson plan

Theda O. Henle, A Harmless Vanity, PART A: The Opening Scene

Theda O. Henle, A Harmless Vanity, PART B: Fond Memories

Theda O. Henle, A Harmless Vanity, PART C: The Beach Scene

Vocabulary list part A

Vocabulary list part B

Vocabulary list part C

A Harmless Vanity: Questions

References
Introduction
Mary is tipped off by a friend that her husband is having an affair. She is reluctant to believe it but sets up a meeting with this woman at a beach party. This will all lead to the husband losing his mistress, though not in the way everybody involved had expected.

This lesson plan focuses on integrating the skills using video and is based on the short story collection Tales of the Unexpected. The stories were adapted to a successful TV series of the same name and when the stock of Dahl's own original stories was exhausted, the series continued by adapting stories by authors that were written in Dahl's style. A Harmless Vanity by Theda O. Henle is one of the better examples.

Lesson plan
Step 1
Learners (L) close their eyes; teacher (T) reads the opening paragraph of a story (description of a relationship)

L try to imagine what is read (separate instruction ‘imagine vs drawing)

L draw a picture based on read input and compare their drawings
Step 2
T asks questions about the text:


  1. What is the opening scene about?

  2. Who is involved?

  3. What kind of person do you think Mary (Hitchman) is?

  4. Any idea about her job? What do you think? Why?

L try to guess the answers


Step 3
T hands out cut up parts of the story (use envelopes or copies)

T forms A-groups, B-groups and C-groups


All groups read allocated parts & execute A-, B-, or C-tasks.

Groups rearrange their jig-saw stories [check: e.g. project correct order of clippings in ppt /clippings in order]

Groups answer questions about their part of the story in their own group.
Step 4
Group members are re-organised in new teams: 1 member of A-group teams up with 1 B and 1 C to get ABC jig-saw instead of AAA... ; BBB... ;

Tell their part of the story to the other new group members.

Try to make an overall view of A-, B- and C- parts as a team.

Step 5
Watch the video (Beach scene) in separate parts [11:32 till 20:15] + answer questions about it:

T asks detailed questions:


  1. What was the weather like?

  2. What colour bikini was Mary wearing?

  3. Who does Carol work for?

  4. What are the girls drinking?

  5. Give another phrase for ‘cheers’?


  6. What type of car does the frogman drive?

  7. What kind of job did Mary use to do?

  8. Why are Carol’s words ‘I know someone in the boat business’ painful for Mary?

  9. What does Mary want from Carol?

  10. What does Liz recommend?

Extra: What would you do if you were Mary?


True or false?


  1. It’s the very first time Liz and Mary visit this beach.

  2. Liz put a dot on a rock to commemorate her first real kiss.

  3. Carol is wearing a red bikini.

  4. Dave Ferguson is Liz’s husband; they work in the same school.

  5. Carol doesn’t want any children.

  6. The frogman observes the beach using binoculars.

  7. Liz is wearing a blue hat.

  8. Carol is a lousy swimmer.

  9. She comes from Birmingham.

  10. Mary’s husband is in the boat business.

L watch that section again and look for the correct answers.

Were you right in your original prediction?

L guess the end of the story and watch outcome [start from 20:15]


Step 6
Possible writing tasks:

newspaper article, headlines, police report, secret diary (George’s, Carol’s or Mary’s),



two people gossiping, murder?

Theda O. Henle, A Harmless Vanity, PART A: The Opening Scene
The Opening Scene: rearrange the text blocks; the first sentence has already been done.

frame1 It was –until it ended- an ordinary domestic triangle: a husband, a wife, and another, younger woman. For the three participants, of course, it was not, by any stretch of their imaginations, ordinary, and for the wife it was shattering.


“I owe it to myself – and the prestige of the firm. My home should look like two hundred and fifty thousand – God knows it cost enough! And my wife should, too! You’re not a grubby student anymore. You’re an established artist!” He hadn’t liked it when she laughed at him. “A man is judged as much by appearance as by his superior qualifications,” he said.

A kind, meddlesome friend told her that George had a mistress in La Mesa, and she wondered why she hadn’t guessed without being told. He’d been careless enough, heaven knows, counting on her to be credulous and blind – or not giving a damn?

She led a very full, happy life – even without children- and had never been one to anticipate trouble. Her love for him was unchanged, and she never questioned his for her, never looked for grief. But the danger signs were there – if she’d ever looked.

Imagine George talking like that even a year ago! Mary had been sure he was going through a temporary phase, that his common sense and humor would surface and he’d settle down and be himself again. Not for a moment had she suspected that the changes she saw in him could be permanent – or that his love for her was changing, too.

His lovemaking had become perfunctory and infrequent. She’d thought this was because he was adjusting to a new job, a substantial advance which involved a much more demanding schedule. He’d taken to coming home late several evenings a week. That, too, was accounted for by his new responsibilities.


In fact, all the alterations in his behavior – his inattention, his growing irritation with her unprepossessing looks, haphazard housekeeping, and sloppy work habits, his withdrawal when she made amorous advances – everything had been attributed to the new job and the absurd air of importance that apparently came with it. His ‘position’ called for a grander background, he told her.
Theda O. Henle, A Harmless Vanity, PART B: Fond Memories
Fond memories: rearrange the text blocks; the first sentence has already been done.

frame2Long before she was Mary Hitchman, Mary Burns was taught to swim in the cove by one of the lifeguards – to ride the waves, and to dive far down into the clear water around the reef, where goldfish darted in the seaweed and the world was silent.

She’d learned to be afraid there, when the tides ran strong and she’d overestimated her own strength, and she’d learned to love George there, lying close to him on the sand, wrestling in the water (now, of course, his ‘work’ took even his weekends).

She would float for hours out beyond the rocks, letting the waves rock her gently or tumble her over into the salty spray. She had played there as a child and daydreamed as a young girl.

She became an instant blonde. She’d always envied blondes, and it made her look years younger. Her mirror, and the neighbors and friends she ran into, told her so. She had been pretty, but suddenly she was much more than that. The new hairdo and the clothes gave her a sparkle. She’d been too ‘sweet’ before,


Waiting for Saturday, Mary fought against memory and fear at the beauty parlor and the small expensive shops in Del Mar and La Jolla. She’d never spent much money on herself – now she did so lavishly, enjoying the new experience in spite of her unhappiness. Thank heaven she still had a good figure!

but pain and a staunch determination to resolve her problems privately and decently gave her something happiness couldn’t give – it gave her style. The boys in front of Safeway whistled at her, and she walked past them with a new spring in her walk, and a new poise.

They had made love there one August night when the sand was still warm and the beach completely deserted except for a scattering of stars in the sky and the sensuous rhythm of the waves. On Saturday, Liz would bring Carol James to this place of hers for a swim.
Theda O. Henle, A Harmless Vanity, PART C: The Beach Scene
The Beach Scene: rearrange the text blocks; the first sentence has already been done.

frame3 Shortly after noon, Liz, burdened down with bathing paraphernalia and an air of importance, and Carol James, looking like all the other girls Mary knew, came across the sand to the

The girl looked like a teenager. Mary hadn’t realized she’d look this young – like all the girls on all the campuses across the land. She was boyishly slim, light and graceful in a modest blue suit which she’d obviously chosen for swimming, not for show. Her hair was a well brushed light brown – again like all the girls on the beach – long and straight and shining, framing an intelligent, happy face.


It was a hot day. After almost an hour of desultory conversation – mostly about the charms of Southern California – Carol wanted to swim. It was high tide and the waves were strong, but she assured the other two that she was a good swimmer.

Mary could find nothing there that wasn’t lovely and honest – and she had an artist’s eye. If there was anything ugly or cheap there, she’d have seen it. She understood, helplessly, how

torn her life into jagged pieces, appropriating George without knowing he was second-hand goods. She hadn’t known how much the thought of George making love to this – this child would hurt, but she managed to look relaxed and pleasant.

end of the beach where Mary sat waiting. Their meeting was casual, and Liz’s introduction used first names only. The three of them lounged in the sun, digging their toes into the sand, watching unusually heavy waves batter the rocks out near the reef, and talking idly while Mary studied this stranger who had

George could love this radiant girl, how he could want her soft, untouched youth – but she didn’t understand how he could lie to her, or seduce her with empty promises, as he must have done. His love for Carol was imperfect, too, and Mary found an unexpected new pain in this knowledge.
Vocabulary list part A

credulous adjective /ˈkred.jʊ.ləs/ adj slightly formal


Definition

too willing to believe what you are told; easily deceived



grubby adjective /ˈgrʌb.i/ adj

Definition

informal dirty



He was wearing some old shorts and a grubby T-shirt.

Don't wipe your grubby hands on my clean towel!



haphazard adjective /ˌhæpˈhæz.əd//-ɚd/ adj disapproving

Definition

not having an obvious order or plan

He tackled the problem in a typically haphazard manner.

perfunctory adjective /pəˈfʌŋk .tər.i//pɚˈfʌŋk .tɚ.i/ adj

Definition

done quickly, without taking care or interest

His smile was perfunctory.
prepossessing adjective /ˌpriː.pəˈzes.ɪŋ/ adj

Definition

interesting, noticeable or attractive

He wasn't a very prepossessing sort of person.

The box didn't look very prepossessing, but the necklace inside was beautiful.


Vocabulary list part B

dartverb/dɑːt//dɑːrt/v [I+ adverb or preposition]

Definition


to move quickly or suddenly: I darted behind the sofa and hid.

dart a glance/look at sb

to look quickly at someone: She darted an angry look at me.

envyverb/ˈen.vi/v [T]

Definition


to wish that you had something that another person has

I envy her ability to talk to people she's never met before.

[+ two objects]I don't envy you the job of cooking for all those people.

lavishadjective/ˈlæv.ɪʃ/adj

Definition


more than enough, especially if expensive; very generous

lavish gifts/promises/praise; lavish spending; lavish banquets; …

The evening was a lavish affair with glorious food and an endless supply of champagne.

The lavish production makes this musical truly memorable.


lavishlyadverb/ˈlæv.ɪʃ.li/adv


The dining room was lavishly decorated.

lavishnessnoun/ˈlæv.ɪʃ.nəs/n [U]

poisenoun/pɔɪz/n [U] approving

Definition

calm confidence in a person's way of behaving, or a quality of grace(= moving in an attractive way) and balance in the way a person holds or moves their body

He looked embarrassed for a moment, then quickly regained his poise.

Her confidence and poise show that she is a top model.

tidenoun ( SEA ) /taɪd/n

Definition


[C]the rise and fall of the sea that happens twice every day

high/low tide; The tide is out/in.


scatteringnoun/ˈskæt.ər.ɪŋ//ˈskæt ̬.ɚ-/n [Cusually singular]

Definition


a small number or amount of things in a particular area

a scattering of houses


sensuousadjective/ˈsent .sjʊəs/adj

Definition


• giving or expressing pleasure through the physical senses, rather than pleasing the mind or the intelligence

She luxuriated in the sensuous feel of the silk sheets.

sensual: He had a very sensuous mouth.

staunchadjective/stɔːntʃ//stɑːntʃ/adj

Definition

always loyal in supporting a person, organization or set of beliefs or opinions

a staunch friend and ally

He gained a reputation as being a staunch defender/supporter of civil rights.

staunchnessnoun


/ˈstɔːntʃ.nəs//ˈstɑːntʃ-/n [U]

Vocabulary list part C

appropriateverb ( TAKE ) /əˈprəʊ.pri.eɪt//-ˈproʊ-/v [T] formal

Definition


to take something for your own use, usually without permission

He lost his job when he was found to have appropriated some of the company's money.


desultoryadjective/ˈdes.əl.tər.i//-tɔːr-/adjformal

Definition


without a clear plan or purpose and showing little effort or interest

She made a desultory attempt at conversation. He wandered around, clearing up in a desultory way.

desultorilyadverb/ˈdes.əl.tər.əl.i//-tɔːr-/

idlyadverb/ˈaɪd.li/adv

Definition

• without any particular purpose: I was just glancing idly through a magazine.

• doing nothing : She lay idly on the grass. We cannot stand idly by while these people suffer.


jaggedadjective/ˈdʒæg.ɪd/adj

Definition


rough and with sharp points : a jagged cut/tear; jagged rocks; a jagged line/edge

jaggedlyadverb


/ˈdʒæg.ɪd.li/

paraphernalianoun/ˌpær.ə.fəˈneɪ.li.ə//ˌper.ə.fɚˈneɪl.jə/n [U]

Definition


all the objects needed for or connected with a particular activity

We sell pots, gloves, seeds and other gardening paraphernalia.

Bags of cocaine and all sorts of drug paraphernalia were seized at the airport.

radiantadjective ( HAPPY/BEAUTIFUL ) /ˈreɪ.di.ənt/adj

Definition


obviously very happy, or very beautiful: He gave a radiant smile when he heard her news.

reefnoun/riːf/n [C]

Definition

a line of rocks or sand just above or just below the surface of the sea, often dangerous to ships

a dangerous offshore reef; a coral reef



A Harmless Vanity: Questions

PART A ‘Opening scene’


What kind of person do you think Mary Hitchman is?

Do you think she is happily married? Why/Why not?

What kind of person do you imagine her husband to be?

What do you think his job is?

PART B ‘Memories’
Which sweet memories arise in Mary’s mind when thinking of the cove?

What’s Mary’s plan?

How does Mary prepare herself for the meeting with Carol, George’s latest trophy wife?

What is the result of this ‘transformation’?


PART C ‘Meeting on the beach’
Are the following True or False?
Mary felt shocked when meeting Carol.

She is full of hate for her husband’s new treasure.

At this point she decided to murder her young rival.

There’s a calm sea of green.

DETAILED QUESTIONS BEACH SCENE [11:32 till 20:15]


  • Watch the ‘beach scene’ first, then answer the following questions:

  • T asks detailed questions:




    1. What was the weather like?

    2. What colour bikini was Mary wearing?

    3. Who does Carol work for?

    4. What are the girls drinking?

    5. Give another phrase for ‘cheers’?

    6. What type of car does the frogman drive?

    7. What kind of job did Mary use to do?

    8. Why are Carol’s words ‘I know someone in the boat business’ painful for Mary?

    9. What does Mary want from Carol?

    10. What does Liz recommend?

Extra: What would you do if you were Mary?

True or false?

  1. It’s the very first time Liz and Mary visit this beach. T/F


  2. Liz put a dot on a rock to commemorate her first real kiss. T/F

  3. Carol is wearing a red bikini. T/F

  4. Dave Ferguson is Liz’s husband; they work in the same school. T/F

  5. Carol doesn’t want any children. T/F

  6. The frogman observes the beach using binoculars. T/F

  7. Liz is wearing a blue hat. T/F

  8. Carol is a lousy swimmer. T/F

  9. She comes from Birmingham. T/F

  10. Mary’s husband is in the boat business. T/F

A HARMLESS VANITY - KEY


DETAILED QUESTIONS BEACH SCENE [11:32 till 20:15]


  • Watch beach scene first, then answer the following questions:

  • T asks detailed questions:




    1. What was the weather like? [sunny]

    2. What colour bikini was Mary wearing? [green]

    3. Who does Carol work for? [Dave, Liz’s husband]

    4. What are the girls drinking? [wine]

    5. Give another phrase for ‘cheers’? [Bottoms up]

    6. What type of car does the frogman drive? [4x4]

    7. What kind of job did Mary use to do? [Lawyer]

    8. Why are Carol’s words ‘I know someone in the boat business’ painful for Mary? [Carol’s meeting Mary’s husband George]

    9. What does Mary want from Carol? [George]

    10. What does Liz recommend? [tell Carol that you’re George’s wife]

Extra: What would you do if you were Mary? []

True or false?


  1. It’s the very first time Liz and Mary visit this beach. F [youngsters]

  2. Liz put a dot on a rock to commemorate her first real kiss. F [cross]

  3. Carol is wearing a red bikini. F [swimsuit]

  4. Dave Ferguson is Liz’s husband; they work in the same school. T

  5. Carol doesn’t want any children. F [4, 3 boys and 1 girl]


  6. The frogman observes the beach using binoculars. T

  7. Liz is wearing a blue hat. T

  8. Carol is a lousy swimmer. F [very good swimmer]

  9. She comes from Birmingham. F [London]

  10. Mary’s husband is in the boat business. T

References
Henle, Theda, O. (1988). A Harmless Vanity. In Ellery Queen's More Murder on Cue. Anthology. Edited by Eleanor Sullivan. Walker & Company: New York.

ISBN 9780802757319


DVD Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected, Granada Television Ltd.

Season 5 (DVD 3) #501132


All lesson materials (video clippings, story text, etc.) are downloadable @ Greenoven> ICT-taaldag> Tales of the Unexpected

http://vps20775.xlshosting.net/greenovencopy/course/view.php?id=77



Please check the Creative Methodology for the Classroom course at Pilgrims website.




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