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Lesson 40: The Woods Are Alive


Summary

Anna's New Year’s Resolution is to try something new. She auditions for a play. Will she get the part?

Speaking

In this video, learn how to say the new words. Then learn about asking for and giving feedback.

Pronunciation

Use this video to learn about projecting when public speaking. Learn one way to make your voice sound more confident when you speak to a group.

Conversation

Anna: Happy New Year! Some people, at the start of a new year, make a resolution -- a promise to yourself to be better. I thought about my resolution carefully. I want to be an actor on the stage! Today I will audition for a show called "The Woods Are Alive!" Wish me luck!
Director: Next! What is your name?
Anna: My name is Anna Matteo.
Director: Are you ready to audition?
Anna: (warms up voice) Yes.
Director: Great. Let's begin on page 1. Here is the story. You are lost in the woods. You are searching desperately for a way out. Suddenly, you hear something.
Director: Now, say your line.
Anna: 'What was that? Hello. Is someone there?'
Director: Anna, you are speaking too softly. Can you speak more loudly and a little more, um, seriously?
Anna: Yes, of course I can. 'What was that? Hello. Is someone there?' Is that loud enough?
Director: Yes, that is loud enough. Let's turn to page 25. In this scene, you are moving slowly and quietly through the woods.
Director: Anna. Anna! You are walking quickly and loudly. Walk slowly and quietly.
Anna: I'm walking slowly and quietly. I am walking…
Director: Anna. Anna. You don't need to say "slowly" and "quietly." Alright, let's try the last scene. Turn to page 48. I say my line first, then you say your line.
Director: 'You will never get out of these woods alive! Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!'
Anna: 'Yes, I will.'
Director: Okay, Anna, you said that line -- you said that line really late. You need to say it earlier.
Anna: Sorry. Sorry. Let me try again.
Director: 'You will never …'
Anna: 'Yes, I will.'
Director: '… get out of the woods alive.'
Anna: I was too early, wasn't I?
Director: Yes. Yes, you were.
Anna: Director, how am I doing?
Director: You know, Anna. I think that I have the perfect part for you.
Director: The costume is in the back. Please go try it on.
Anna: Awesome! (Anna returns as a tree.)
Director: Oh, Anna, that fits you perfectly!
Anna: I'm a tree. I'm a tree in … "The Woods Are Alive!" Yes!
Anna: My new year is starting awesomely! Excuse me, Director! I have a great idea for my tree. Oh, wait! Until next time!

Writing

In this lesson, Anna tries something new. What new activity do you want to try in 2017? Why do you want to do it? Write to us by email or in the Comments section.

Click on the image below to download the Activity Sheet and practice using adverbs as well as acting out and guessing everyday activities.

Activity Sheet Lesson 40
Activity Sheet Lesson 40

Learning Strategy

Learning Strategies are the thoughts and actions that help make learning easier or more effective.

The learning strategy for this lesson is self-evaluate. When we speak English or try to do something new, it helps to self-evaluate, or check how well we are doing it.

In this lesson, when Anna asks the director of the play, "How am I doing?" she wants to learn how well she is acting. The director tells her that she said her line too late. Later, Anna notices a problem: "I was too early, wasn’t I?' She is self-evaluating. This strategy can help to make her a better actor.

Do you ever self-evaluate when you speak English? Write to us about it in the Comments section or send us an email. Teachers, see the Lesson Plan for more details on teaching this strategy.

Quiz

Listen to short videos and test your listening skills with this quiz.

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New Words

actor - n. a person who acts in a play or a movie
audition - n. a short performance to show the talents of someone (such as an actor or a musician) who is being considered for a role in a play or a position in an orchestra
desperately - adv. in a way that is very sad and or upset manner because of having little or no hope
director - n. a person who directs a play or a movie
enough - adj. equal to what is needed
line - n. the words that an actor speaks in a play, movie or TV show
loudly - adv. in a manner that makes or causes a lot of noise
page - n. one side of a sheet of paper
quickly - adv. at a fast speed; rapidly
quietly - adv. in a manner that makes little noise
resolution - n. a promise to yourself that you will make a serious effort to do something that you should do
scene - n. a division of an act in a play during which the action takes place in a single place without a break in time
script - n. the written form of a play, movie, or television show
softly - adv. in a quiet voice or manner
stage - n. a raised platform in a theater or auditorium where the performers stand
suddenly - adv. very quickly in usually an unexpected way

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Free Materials

Word Book
Word Book

Download the VOA Learning English Word Book for a dictionary of the words we use on this website.

Each Let's Learn English lesson has an Activity Sheet for extra practice on your own or in the classroom. In this lesson, you can use it to practice acting out and guessing everyday activities.

For Teachers​

Lesson Plan - Lesson 40: How Am I Doing?
Lesson Plan - Lesson 40: How Am I Doing?

See the Lesson Plan for this lesson for ideas and more teaching resources. Send us an email if you have comments on this course or questions.

Grammar focus: Adverbs (loudly, quietly, slowly); Comparatives of adverbs (more seriously); Review agent nouns (actor, director)

Topics: New Year resolutions; Describing people’s actions

Learning Strategy: Self-Evaluate

Speaking & Pronunciation Focus: Asking for & giving feedback​; Projecting when public speaking​

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Let's Learn English is a new course for English learners. Certified American English teachers designed the course for beginners. The course continues for 52 weeks.

Each week, there will be a new lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. The lesson includes instruction in speaking, vocabulary and writing.

There are also printable worksheets, assessments and lesson plans for individual learners and English teachers. We encourage you to follow the weekly lessons and share your progress with us through comments and email.

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