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Unit 9: My community

Day four: Environmental responsibility


  1. Students will create a story that focuses on introducing vocabulary for responsible behavior towards the environment.
  2. Students will create a Venn diagram that compares and contrasts positive and negative behaviors towards the environment.

Setting the Stage (5 minutes)

Teacher has a variety of photographs cut out of magazines and newspapers or downloaded from online and printed out. Teacher passes these photographs around the classroom. Teacher asks students to choose four of these photographs (2 of adults and 2 of young people) to be the main characters in the class story. Teacher posts these photographs on the front board of the classroom.

Input (25-30 minutes)

Teacher prompts students to give a personal name to each of the four characters in the story. Teacher prompts students to assign a particular age and family role to the four. Teacher reinforces this information by asking yes/no, either/or, and who/what questions. Some examples:

Is this Mary? Is this Robert? Is Mary 4 years old? Is Robert 10 years old? Is this Mary or Robert? Is Mary 4 or 10 years old? Is Robert 4 or 10 years old? Is Mary Robert's sister? Is Mary Robert's brother? Who is Mary?

Teacher and students proceed to create a story about a typical day in the life of these four characters and particular things each one does to either protect or to hurt the environment. Teacher encourages students to volunteer facts that will provide more information or flesh out each sentence of the story. Teacher reviews each new fact and encourages participation from everyone in the class by asking yes/no, either/or, who/what/when/where questions and "recycling" all the information in the story that the class creates. The new vocabulary related to the story focuses on both positive and negative behavior on the part of the characters towards the environment. Teacher writes this vocabulary on the board in both the target language (TL) and the native language of the students. Teacher speaks only the TL to convey meanings, and points to the word or phrase written on the board to ensure student comprehension. Teacher can also post illustrations on the board in the front of the room to reinforce meaning.

The story revolves around:

  • Getting up in the morning-listening to the radio at maximum volume
  • Brushing teeth-using too much water
  • Eating breakfast-drinking out of plastic bottles
  • Going to school/work-using public transportation
  • Eating lunch-throwing trash on the ground
  • Doing the laundry-using soap with phosphates
  • Throwing out the trash-recycling newspapers, glass and plastic
  • Driving a car-driving at the speed limit and saving gasoline
  • Riding a bike-saving gasoline
  • Going to the park-throwing trash into the trash cans
  • Going to a movie with friends-a documentary about saving the environment
  • Making a commitment to behave in a positive way towards the environment
  • Planting a tree in their garden or somewhere in their community

Guided Practice (10 minutes)

Students participate in the Treasure Hunt with their classmates.

Closure (10 minutes)

Teacher draws a huge Venn diagram on the board. One circle is labeled "negative" and the other "positive." Teacher and students look at pictures of types of activities, decide which ones are positive behaviors towards the environment and which are negative, and post each picture in the appropriate circle.

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