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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on Wallace and Grommit

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Fire destroys Wallace & Grommit history


Date: Oct 11, 2005
Level: Harder (Try the easier lesson.)
Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening
Audio: (1:54 - 223.2 KB - 16kbps)
 
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THE ARTICLE

Fire has destroyed the warehouse containing the sets and props of Wallace and Grommit animators Aardman Animations. The blaze gutted the three-storey building in spite of the efforts of ten firefighting teams. The entire history of Aardman, from the 1976 character Morph, through to the “Chicken Run” and “Creature Comforts” movies and the “Wallace and Grommit” series, has gone up in smoke. Much of the priceless archive of sets and clay models is irreplaceable. A stunned studio spokesman said the whole company is “mourning the loss of thirty years of history”. Nick Park, creator of many of Aardman’s popular characters was philosophical, saying:  “Even though it is a precious and nostalgic collection and valuable to the company, in light of more recent tragedies, today isn't a big deal.”

The fire broke out at a time when the company is enjoying box office success in the U.S. The first ever Wallace and Grommit film, “The Curse of the Were-Rabbit”, opened as the number one movie and grossed more than $16 million in its opening weekend. The claymation story of an eccentric, absent-minded inventor and his long-suffering sidekick dog is taking America by storm and is keeping the likes of Cameron Diaz and Jodie Foster from claiming the top spot. Nick Park is no stranger to success in America. He won two Academy Awards for his short movies “The Wrong Trousers” (1993) and “A Close Shave” (1995). The recent fire did not get any of the sets or props from his latest Wallace and Grommit movie as they were stored elsewhere.

WARM-UPS

1. WALLACE & GROMMIT: In pairs / groups, talk about the animated characters Wallace and Grommit. When did you first see them? What do you like about them? Do you think they are very British?

2. CHARACTERS: What do you think of animation and animated characters? Talk with your partner(s) about the strong and weak points of the following characters. How do they compare to the animated characters from your country?

  • Wallace and Grommit
  • Nemo (“Finding Nemo”)
  • Mickey Mouse
  • The “Toy Story” characters
  • Thunderbirds
  • The Pink Panther
  • Snoopy and Charlie Brown
  • Your country ________________

3. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words are most interesting and which are most boring.

Fire / Wallace and Grommit / firefighters / smoke / priceless things / clay / recent tragedies / movies / claymation / eccentricity / Cameron Diaz / Academy Awards

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

4. ANIMATION: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word “animation”. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

5. FIRE: Talk with your partner(s) about fires. What would you do if your house or apartment was gutted in a fire? Where would you live? What would you be saddest about? What possessions would you miss most? What would you do to start again? Do you have fire insurance? What happens if the fire insurance policy is lost in the fire?

6. BIG DEALS: Wallace and Grommit’s creator Nick Park said the fire which destroyed his company was no big deal, “in light of more recent tragedies”. Which of the following recent tragedies have you followed in the news? How much do you know about them?

  1. The South Asia earthquake
  2. The devastation left in Guatemala by Hurricane Stan
  3. The 200th US soldier killed in action in Afghanistan
  4. The African immigrants killed by Spanish police
  5. The twin Bali bombings
  6. The 17 mysterious deaths in Canada
  7. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
  8. Other

 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

In a new movie, the characters Wallace and Grommit die in a fire.

T / F

b.

A blaze gutted a three-story building.

T / F

c.

Many animation sets and models have gone up in smoke.

T / F

d.

Wallace and Grommit’s creator focused on more important tragedies.

T / F

e.

A Wallace and Grommit movie is number one at the US box office.

T / F

f.

“Wallace and Grommit” is created using a technique called claymation.

T / F

g.

The Wallace and Grommit creator is a stranger to success in the U.S.

T / F

h.

The creator had a close shave in the recent fire.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

a.

gutted

started

b.

stunned

forgetful

c.

mourning

decimated

d.

in light of

dazed

e.

big deal

earned

f.

broke out

in another place

g.

grossed

partner

h.

absent-minded

considering

i.

sidekick

problem

j.

elsewhere

grieving

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

a.

sets and

in smoke

b.

The blaze

to success in America

c.

gone up

collection

d.

a precious and nostalgic

box office success in the U.S.

e.

in light of

props

f.

the company is enjoying

more recent tragedies

g.

grossed

by storm

h.

eccentric,

gutted the three-storey building

i.

taking America

more than $16 million

j.

Nick Park is no stranger

absent-minded inventor


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words in the column on the right into the gaps in the text.

Fire destroys Wallace & Grommit history

BNE: Fire has destroyed the warehouse containing the sets and ________ of Wallace and Grommit animators Aardman Animations. The blaze ________ the three-storey building in spite of the efforts of ten firefighting teams. The ________ history of Aardman, from the 1976 character Morph, through to the “Chicken Run” and “Creature Comforts” movies and the “Wallace and Grommit” series, has gone up in ________. Much of the ________ archive of sets and clay models is irreplaceable. A stunned studio spokesman said the whole company is “________ the loss of thirty years of history”. Nick Park, creator of many of Aardman’s popular characters was philosophical, saying:  “Even though it is a precious and ________ collection and valuable to the company, in ________ of more recent tragedies, today isn't a big deal.”

 

 

smoke
mourning
gutted
light
props
priceless
nostalgic
entire

The fire ________ out at a time when the company is enjoying box office success in the U.S. The first ever Wallace and Grommit film, “The Curse of the Were-Rabbit”, ________ as the number one movie and grossed more than $16 million in its opening weekend. The claymation story of an ________, absent-minded inventor and his long-________ sidekick dog is taking America by storm and is keeping the ________ of Cameron Diaz and Jodie Foster from ________ the top spot. Nick Park is no ________ to success in America. He won two Academy Awards for his short movies “The Wrong Trousers” (1993) and “A Close Shave” (1995). The recent fire did not get any of the sets or props from his latest Wallace and Grommit movie as they were stored ________.

 

 

stranger
suffering
opened
claiming
broke
likes
elsewhere
eccentric

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘set’ and ‘prop’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the gap fill. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. STUDENT “ANIMATION” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about Wallace and Grommit and other animated characters.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • sets
  • spite
  • smoke
  • mourning
  • philosophical
  • big deal
  • enjoying
  • grossed
  • suffering
  • storm
  • likes
  • stranger

DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. What were your initial thoughts on this headline?
  2. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  3. What do you know about Wallace and Grommit?
  4. Do you like animated movies?
  5. How would you feel if your life’s work went up in smoke?
  6. Have you ever felt gutted about anything?
  7. What are the things you own that are irreplaceable?
  8. Do you think Wallace and Grommit are for children or adults?
  9. Why do you think Wallace and Grommit are taking America by storm?
  10. What do you think of Nick Park saying recent tragedies are more important than the loss of his set and props?

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What do you think about what you read?
  3. Do you think it is sad that the history of the animation company has been lost in a fire?
  4. Which kind of animated movies do you like, traditional cartoons, puppets, claymation or computer graphics?
  5. Do you have a favorite animated character?
  6. Do you know any eccentric or absent-minded people?
  7. Do you know anyone who is long-suffering?
  8. Are you a stranger to success?
  9. When was the last time you had a close shave?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What question would you like to ask about this topic?
  2. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  3. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  4. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  5. What did you like talking about?
  6. Do you want to know how anyone else answered the questions?
  7. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

LONG-LASTING CHARACTERS: Some animated characters have stood the test of time and have enjoyed continued success for decades. What makes them so endurable? Look at the characters below. In pairs / groups, decide why the characters are so successful. Some reasons might be brilliant design, fun, clever marketing, educational value, cuteness, social message… You must make a mini-presentation on your ideas.

CHARACTER

REASONS FOR SUCCESS

Wallace and Grommit

 

Mickey Mouse

 

Snoopy

 

Popeye

 

Superman

 

Other (from your country) _____________

 

Vote on the best presentations.

In pairs / groups, decide which of the characters is the best and why.

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Fire destroys Wallace & Grommit history

Fire has destroyed the warehouse containing the _____ and ______ of Wallace and Grommit animators Aardman Animations. The blaze ________ the three-storey building in spite of the efforts of ten firefighting teams. The ________ history of Aardman, from the 1976 character Morph, through to the “Chicken Run” and “Creature Comforts” movies and the “Wallace and Grommit” series, has gone up ___ _______. Much of the priceless __________ of sets and clay models is irreplaceable. A stunned studio spokesman said the whole company is “__________ the loss of thirty years of history”. Nick Park, creator of many of Aardman’s popular characters was philosophical, saying:  “Even though it is a precious and __________ collection and valuable to the company, ___ ________ ___ more recent tragedies, today isn't a big deal.”

The fire _______ _____ at a time when the company is enjoying box office success in the U.S. The first ever Wallace and Grommit film, “The _______ of the Were-Rabbit”, opened as the number one movie and __________ more than $16 million in its opening weekend. The claymation story of an ___________, absent-minded inventor and his long-suffering ___________ dog is taking America by storm and is keeping ____ _______ ____ Cameron Diaz and Jodie Foster from claiming the top spot. Nick Park is no __________ to success in America. He won two Academy Awards for his short movies “The Wrong Trousers” (1993) and “A ________ ________” (1995). The recent fire did not get any of the sets or props from his latest Wallace and Grommit movie as they were stored ______________.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on Wallace and Grommit. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson.

3. CHARACTER COMPARISON: Make a poster comparing and contrasting two animated characters. Show your posters to your classmates in your next lesson. Did you all show similar comparisons?

4. NEW: Write the profile of a new animated character (you must invent one). Describes the character’s personality and the kind of adventures it is likely to have. Show what you created to your classmates in your next lesson.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. T

d. T

e. T

f. T

g. F

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

gutted

decimated

b.

stunned

dazed

c.

mourning

grieving

d.

in light of

considering

e.

big deal

problem

f.

broke out

started

g.

grossed

earned

h.

absent-minded

forgetful

i.

sidekick

partner

j.

elsewhere

in another place

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

sets and

props

b.

The blaze

gutted the three-storey building

c.

gone up

in smoke

d.

a precious and nostalgic

collection

e.

in light of

more recent tragedies

f.

the company is enjoying

box office success in the U.S.

g.

grossed

more than $16 million

h.

eccentric,

absent-minded inventor

i.

taking America

by storm

j.

Nick Park is no stranger

to success in America

GAP FILL:

Fire destroys Wallace & Grommit history

Fire has destroyed the warehouse containing the sets and props of Wallace and Grommit animators Aardman Animations. The blaze gutted the three-storey building in spite of the efforts of ten firefighting teams. The entire history of Aardman, from the 1976 character Morph, through to the “Chicken Run” and “Creature Comforts” movies and the “Wallace and Grommit” series, has gone up in smoke. Much of the priceless archive of sets and clay models is irreplaceable. A stunned studio spokesman said the whole company is “mourning the loss of thirty years of history”. Nick Park, creator of many of Aardman’s popular characters was philosophical, saying:  “Even though it is a precious and nostalgic collection and valuable to the company, in light of more recent tragedies, today isn't a big deal.”

The fire broke out at a time when the company is enjoying box office success in the U.S. The first ever Wallace and Grommit film, “The Curse of the Were-Rabbit”, opened as the number one movie and grossed more than $16 million in its opening weekend. The claymation story of an eccentric, absent-minded inventor and his long-suffering sidekick dog is taking America by storm and is keeping the likes of Cameron Diaz and Jodie Foster from claiming the top spot. Nick Park is no stranger to success in America. He won two Academy Awards for his short movies “The Wrong Trousers” (1993) and “A Close Shave” (1995). The recent fire did not get any of the sets or props from his latest Wallace and Grommit movie as they were stored elsewhere.

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Copyright © 2005 by Sean Banville