Conversation Class Lesson Summary 

Language and Section: Russian Advanced 13

Date: January 22, 2015

Class theme/topics discussed:

Interview with Boris Grebenshikov

Goal of the class:

Announce two cultural activities coming up – two films at the Laemmle, introduce students to “Aquarium”, a cult Russian indie-rock band, their music, their spirituality and their fearless leader, Boris Grebenshikov

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

Activity 1 Announcements – 10 min

I show the trailers for the movies I am taking students to see:

Hermitage Revealed


Activity 2 – “Aquarium” and Boris Grebenshikov – HANDOUT 1 – 15 min

We look at the lyrics of “Vyatka – San Francisco”, a cool song by Aquarium, and then watch two version of it: acoustic and full band

We discuss and try to figure out Boris Grebenshikov’s

Activity 3Interview with Boris Grebenshikov – HANDOUT 2 (questions) and HANDOUT 3 (answers) 35 min

The original is here:

It’s from January 21, so it’s really new! Each student gets Handout 2 with the question and a couple of answers (rescrambled). I give them 3 minutes to look at their answers. I ask them to read the questions out loud and whoever has the answer reads it. We discuss and clarify the vocabulary if needed. Some of the more sophisticated structures are great examples of a translation challenge, e.g. “не могло не отразиться”, “искусственно раздутый скандал”.

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

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

The more I do it, the more I see how great reading out loud is for students of any level! Some of my students are very fluent speaking, but seem to have hit a “glass ceiling” where they cannot really make their vocab and structures more varied – and reading really helps that, I find. Some of them have difficulty with it, but they all seem to be enjoying it. So I do want to keep integrating it, maybe in smaller doses.

The interview is great – great language and very representative of the political stance of Russian intelligentsia.

Finding answers in a great exercise – they have to look for thematic vocabulary, but most importantly, structures! Also, it’s great for listening comprehension, because the others don’t have those answers.

I wanted to give them time to work in pairs and answer the interview questions from a completely different perspective – say, that of a hardcore Putin supporter, or a communist, or a pop star, but we didn’t have enough time. I should have definitely cut down the number of questions. But they still enjoyed it!

How could this class be improved/ modified?

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

CC_RUSS13_Interview with Boris Grebenshikov_Jan22