Conversation Class Lesson Summary

Language and Section: Russian Advanced 13

Date: January 29, 2015 

Class theme/topics discussed:

Apologizing, making amends, Open House

Goal of the class:

Review different ways of saying you are sorry across formal and informal registers

Structure of the class (unless you attach your lesson plan below):

Activity 1 Video – President’s Yeltsin Resignation/New Year 1999 address – 15 minutes We watch all 11 minutes of Boris Yeltsin’s famous “I’m leaving” address on New Year’s Eve 1999 where he resigns, asks the Russian people for forgiveness, asserts the “bright future” agenda and appoint a successor, Vladimir Putin, who is part of new “energetic, smart generation”. We discuss Yelstin’s ways of asking forgiveness

Activity 2 – American politicians apologizing – HANDOUT 1 – 15 minutes

I show a small article on the screen – why do politicians apologize so rarely? And then we discuss what American politicians sometimes apologize for (Handout 1, adapted from here Each student gets one politician, they read out their “story” and I write expressions of apology/sorry on the board.

Activity 3How could you! – HANDOUT 2 – 15 min

Each gets one “mistake” and they say it to their neighbor – how could you not visit Grandma at the hospital? And the neighbor has to apologize.

Activity 4Open house – 15 min

We discuss ideas for the Oldenborg Open house and look at funny word play sentences (HANDOUT 3)

What technology, media or props did you use? (satellite tv, internet resources, playmobiles, etc.)

What worked well in this class? What did not work?

This class went very well! I am glad we did some hardcore political analysis watching Yeltsin’s speech, which is incidentally also very easy to understand. Watching it 15 years later is quite extraordinary, and it explains so much of what’s going on in Russian politics right now. In other activities we progressively lightened it up. Again, there was a great balance of listening (video in Activity 1), speaking (all the discussions), and reading (Activity 2).

How could this class be improved/ modified? 

Please attach your lesson plan and handouts for this class below – if you used any.