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Notes:

1. The lesson helps students to learn a lot of useful structures and vocab and includes a nice, easy song to sing.
2. In American English it is usual to use the structure "I have (a cold)" when talking about sickness, however in British English the most common structure is "I've got (a cold)". In this lesson plan we provide American English structures first, followed by the British English version, shown as (GB: ...). The worksheets and song accompanying this lesson plan come in both American and British English versions.

Lesson Procedure:

Warm Up and Maintenance:

See our "Warm Up & Wrap Up" page.

 

New Learning and Practice:

1. Play the "What gesture?" game
For this you can either give out a set of the health flashcards to each student (using the vocab from the song) or give out a copy of the "What's Wrong? What's the Matter?" song poster to each student and get them to cut out the images.

Start by standing in front of the class and doing the actions for one of the sickness vocab (e.g. hold your head and groan for "headache"). Students have to identify the picture you are acting out by holding up the flashcard or picture from their song poster. As you do each action say the vocab (e.g. "Oh no ... I have a headache!" GB: "I've got a headache"). When you have finished put the students in pairs to act out and identify each vocab item. Don't worry at this stage if they are not saying the words in English - this will come next.

Play the "What gesture?" game

2. Teach and practice the sickness vocab
Get everyone to put their pictures down and focus their attention towards the board. Prepare your sickness flashcards by putting some Blu-Tack, or something to make the card stick, on the top of each card on BOTH sides. Stick all the flashcards randomly (picture-side up) on the board and point to one (e.g. sore throat). Chorus the word 3 times. Then move on to the next card, chorusing 3 times. Go through all the cards.

Teach and practice the sickness vocabNext, point to a card and elicit the vocab (T: "What's this?"; Ss: "Sore throat") and then turn the card over and stick it back on the board, blank side showing. Point to the card again and say "What's this?" and elicit the word for the hidden image ("Sore throat"). Now move onto the next card and do the same. Slowly you will turn all the cards over so you only have blank cards on the board.

Finally, do one more round, pointing at all of the blank cards and eliciting the vocab - you'll be surprised how easily everyone will remember which each blank card is!

3. Teach the structures
Teach the structuresNext you are going to teach "What's wrong?", "What's the matter with you?" and "I have a/an ..." (GB: "I've got a/an ..."). Take a card off the board and give it to a student. Say to the student "What's wrong?" or "What's the matter (with you)?". Help the student to reply, e.g. "I have an earache" (GB: "I've got an earache"). Next, take the next card from the board and give it to another student and ask the same question, eliciting the correct response. Do this for all of the cards.
Now, tell your class you are going to close your eyes for 5 seconds. In that time they will all swap cards. Close your eyes while everyone swaps cards. Open your eyes and say to one student "What's wrong?" and s/he should reply according to the card s/he has. Again, ask all the students with cards. You can do this swapping activity a few times if everyone enjoys it.

Pairs play "What's Wrong" cards4. Pairs play "What's Wrong" cards
Put everyone in pairs and get them to pile their cards or pictures, face down, on the table. Student A picks up a card but doesn't show Student B. Student B asks "What's wrong?" or "What's the matter with you?" and Student A has to answer (e.g. "I have a stomachache" GB: "I've got a stomachache"). Then Student B has to do the gesture (e.g. for "stomachache", rub their tummy). If Student B gets the gesture correct s/he can keep the card for 1 point. The player with the most points is the winner.

5. Read classroom reader "Mr. Stretch Feels Sick"
Now we'll reinforce the vocabulary with a fun story. Before class, download and print off the reader "Mr. Stretch Feels Sick". As you go through each page, point to the pictures, elicit each key body part and sickness, and have your students copy the gesture that Mr. Stretch is doing, for example:

Teacher: (page 3) Oh dear, look at poor Mr. Stretch! What is he holding? (pointing at his head)
Students: His head!
Teacher: Yes, Look how big it is! What's wrong with Mr. Stretch?
Students: He has a headache!
Teacher: Yes, that's right! (reading) "I have a headache". Everyone copy Mr. Stretch!
(Student all hold their heads pretending to have a headache)
Teacher: (reading on page 4) "What else is wrong, Mr. Stretch?". What is Mr. Stretch touching?
Students: His ear!
Teacher: Yes, Look how big it is! What's the matter with Mr. Stretch?
Students: He has an earache!
Teacher: Let's see ... (reading) "I have an earache". Oh poor Mr. Stretch! He has a headache and an earache! Everyone copy Mr. Stretch.
(Student all hold their ears pretending to have an earache)
etc.

Get the students really involved in the story by asking lots of questions and getting them to touch and say the parts of the body and sickness in the story.

6. Sing the "What's Wrong? What's the Matter?" song
Now that all of the structures, vocab and gestures have been practiced it's is time for the song. Get everyone to stand up and play the song through the first time, getting everyone to follow you as you sing and do the gestures. You can use the song poster to help (or put the flashcards on the board in the correct order of the song). Then play the song a couple more times until everyone has got the hang of it.

Sing the "What's Wrong? What's the Matter?" songLyrics for "What's Wrong? What's the Matter?" (US Version)

Chorus:
Hello, hello,
What's wrong? What's wrong?
Hello, hello,
What's the matter with you?

Verse 1:
I don't feel well, I don't feel well,
I have a headache, I have a headache.
I don't feel well, I don't feel well,
I have a cough, I have a cough.
I don't feel well, I don't feel well,
I have a stomachache, I have a stomachache.
I don't feel well, I don't feel well,
I don't feel well today.

Chorus

Verse 2:
I don't feel well, I don't feel well,
I have a sore throat, I have a sore throat.
I don't feel well, I don't feel well,
I have a runny nose, I have a runny nose.
I don't feel well, I don't feel well,
I have an earache, I have an earache.
I don't feel well, I don't feel well,
I don't feel well today.

Hmmm. It sounds like you have a cold!


Lyrics for "What's Wrong? What's the Matter?" (GB Version)

Chorus:
Hello, hello,
What's wrong? What's wrong?
Hello, hello,
What's the matter with you?

Verse 1:
I don’t feel well, I don’t feel well,
I've got a headache, I've got a headache.
I don’t feel well, I don’t feel well,
I've got a cough, I've got a cough.
I don’t feel well, I don’t feel well,
I've got a stomachache, I've got a stomachache.
I don’t feel well, I don’t feel well,
I don’t feel well today.

Chorus

Verse 2:
I don’t feel well, I don’t feel well,
I've got a sore throat, I've got a sore throat.
I don’t feel well, I don’t feel well,
I've got a runny nose, I've got a runny nose.
I don’t feel well, I don’t feel well,
I've got an earache, I've got an earache.
I don’t feel well, I don’t feel well,
I don’t feel well today.

Hmmm. It sounds like you've got a cold!

(download MP3 here)

Gestures for "What's Wrong? What's the Matter?" song

The actions of the song really help to reinforce the vocab as your students will act out their illnesses as they sing.

  1. For the "Hello, Hello" part, wave as you sing.
  2. For the "What's wrong?" and "What's the matter with you?" parts put on a concerned expression and do the question gesture of palms facing up. Also, point forward on "you".
  3. For the "I don't feel well" parts, look really sad and clutch your head and stomach.
  4. For the sickness words act out the problem:
    - headache: hold head in pain
    - cough: hold hand over mouth and cough
    - stomachache: rub stomach
    - sore throat: hold throat and stick out tongue
    - runny nose: wipe nose and sniff
    - earache: hold ear in pain

We also have a video that you can stream in class to sing along with (Internet connection required):

What's Wrong? What's the Matter?

Do the "What's Wrong Song 1" worksheet

7. Do the "What's Wrong Song 1" worksheet
Give out a worksheet to everyone and get them to fill in the answers. Walk around and ask questions as everyone is working.

8. Doctor / Patient role-plays
Now for a bit of fun. Ask for a volunteer student. Explain that you are the doctor and the student is the patient (who is very sick!). If you have a long, white coat and a toy stethoscope this will make the role-play even more realistic (and fun!).
First, create the scene - two chairs facing each other for the doctor's office. Have the "patient" knock to enter the room and tell the patient to sit down. Ask "What's wrong?" and get the patient to say something (e.g. "I have a stomachache" GB: "I've got a stomachache"). Then do an examination - e.g. take his pulse. Then say, "Ok, anything else?" and elicit another problem (e.g. "I have an earache" GB: "I've got an earache"). Again do a medical examination - e.g. look down his throat. Each time elicit more problems and do other examinations (e.g. listen to his back with the stethoscope, check knee reflexes, look in ears, etc.).

Doctor / Patient role-plays

At the end say "Hmmm. It sounds like you have a cold!" (GB: " Hmmm. It sounds like you've got a cold!"). Then prescribe something (e.g. "Go to bed and sleep all day").

Now put the class into pairs and let them role-play. Let them have as much fun as they want, but keep circulating and helping with the target language. Finally, have the best pairs do their role-plays in front of the class.

Wrap Up:

1. Assign Homework: "What's Wrong Song 2" worksheet.
2. Wrap up the lesson with some ideas from our "Warm Up & Wrap Up" page.

Print Outs / Worksheets:

Flashcards:

  • headache

    headache

    print
  • cough

    cough

    print
  • stomach ache

    stomach ache

    print
  • sore throat

    sore throat

    print
  • runny nose

    runny nose

    print
  • earache

    earache

    print
  • catch a cold 1

    catch a cold 1

    print

Songs & Readers:

Warning Found a mistake?
Please let us know

Notes:
  1. To view and print a flashcard or worksheet click on the thumbnail image.
  2. For detailed printing instructions, click here.
  3. print= British English version - click the flag to open and print. Click the thumbnail image to see the US English version.
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