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Thanks, Luke Meddings for sharing this pic of a Calvin & Hobbes on Facebook recently.

And, thank you Bill Watterson, for creating these characters!

Here is a quick activity you could do in class, on the general theme of  resolutions, but also getting learners to use their imaginations and do a different kind of gap fill =)

Show the class this close up of the first frame

Tell the learners the names of the two characters (the little boy is Calvin, and the tiger is Hobbes, his stuffed toy come to life in Calvin’s imagination). Or not –  up to you. Ask learners to speculate as to what they are doing and where they are. They might suggest that they are walking in snow and there are many possible answers they may give about what they are doing.

You might like to teach a little bit of comic book technique and appreciation by drawing attention to the lines coming out near Hobbes’ mouth – the bottom of a speech bubble. Comic book and graphic novel artists use these to show us what the characters are saying. What is Hobbes saying to Calvin??? Set learners off on this task, again, no wrong answers. Review everyone’s suggestions for likelihood of matching the one in the strip, and for language.

Dictation, ooo we loves a bit of dictation, we do. Short and sweet. Read out the following line, ideally once only.

Are you making any resolutions for the new year?

Learners compare what they wrote, ask them to come to the board or dictate it back to you. Review, perhaps including use of Present Progressive to express futurity. Check learners’ knowledge of resolution, new year, etc. Do they have this tradition in their countries???

Then, show this to your learners and ask them to fill in the blanks:

This could be on paper, or on the board with or without the image. You could beam the image onto the board with a data projector and learners then write on the white board their ideas. If you have an interactive whiteboard, they could even write on the image file in Notebook or something like that. Then you could save each learner’s ideas for the dialogue and put them on a blog or something. =) Tidy up any language and dialogue as you wish.

Lastly, learner resolutions and more discussion. Did they have a nice holiday? Did they make any resolutions? Could they make any to do with language learning? You’re bound to have some ideas for this one ;o)


~ Mike