In this activity, students lend their voices to a pair of ‘talking’ cats that became famous on YouTube. In drama, this technique is known as ‘doubling’ – that is, providing the voice on another person or actor’s behalf.
- Language level: Elementary (A2) +
- Learner type: Young learners; Teens; Adults
- Time: 20 minutes + 20 minutes (to extend over 2 days)
- Activity: Writing and performing a dialogue
- Topic: Animals & pets
- Language: Open-ended
- Materials: Video
Lesson plan outline (day 1)
- Write the following on the board: If cats could talk, what would they talk about?
- Brainstorm your students and make a list of possible cat conversations on the board. For example:
- Their owners
- Other cats in the neighbourhood
- What they did the night before
- Their kittens
- Their favourite brand of cat food / tuna fish
- Cat hygiene
- Famous cats (Garfield, the Pink Panther, Shrödinger’s cat, etc)
- Show students the clip
- Put students into pairs and ask them to give the cats names, decide what they are talking about and write out a dialogue which should last approximately 30 seconds.
- Offer students linguistic support (suggestions and corrections) as they write
- Take in all dialogues for marking.
Lesson plan outline (day 2)
- Give back marked dialogues and give students the opportunity to look at the corrections and suggestions that you have made.
- Tell your students that they are going to recite their dialogues. Give everyone a few minutes to practice and prepare for this.
- Ask for a volunteer student pair to sit beside the computer screen. Play the video clip with the sound turned down, and ask them to provide the cats’ voices. Do not ask students to synchronise their lines with the cats’ silent meows. This is very difficult – almost impossible.
- Let each pair take it in turn to act out their dialogues.
Choose a theme – something that your students have already been studying (global warming, the lottery, the Internet, etc). Ask students to create a dialogue based around the theme. Ask them to include as much target language as possible.