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Set it up

Ask the students if they have ever heard a sound and not been sure what exactly made it. If you can think of an example when you yourself have been in a situation like this, tell your students about it. For example, this might be when you have heard an unusual animal sound or a strange siren or alarm.

Image via morguefile

Image via morguefile

Running order

1. Tell the students that you are going to play a sound effect and then ask them to try and determine what it is. Make it clear that there are no wrong answers and that they should not worry if they find the task difficult. Invite them to close their eyes if this helps.

2. Play the sound effect.

3. Invite the students to share their ideas, making notes of any useful language to describe the sound. Write those you think are the most useful or interesting to look at on the board. You might want to include language points that your students may have had difficulty using, or things you would like to bring their attention to.

Example boardwork:

I think it could be an wild animal, like a lion.

Maybe it’s a police car.

It sounds like people talking at the supermarket.

4. Play the sound effect again.

5. Invite students to share their ideas again, including asking those students who were not sure after the first playing whether they can make a guess about the sound.

6. Highlight language you want to bring to the students’ attention on the board. Show examples of good language use and areas where you think the students can develop their language, explaining any changes you have made or language you have introduced.

7. Ask the students to write a sentence explaining their guess.

8. Reveal the origin of the sound effect and compare it with the students’ guesses.


If your students have audio recording devices, ask them to record their own sounds to play at the beginning of the next lesson.

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