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8 Call my bluff and an online dictionary

Péter Sík

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Level: Pre-intermediate and above
Grade: 9
Length: 45 min.

The aim of the lesson is:

  • To be able to register for and use an online monolingual dictionary
  • To get acquainted with new words and understand their explanations
  • To be able to use circumscriptions for words not known
  • To build up a vocabulary with responsibility
  • To spot and identify correct explanations
  • To practice and use words in a context


Questions / instructions

What students do

How students work


What you need

Checking homework

3 min

I hope you all managed to sign up for the Macmillan online dictionary. (MED) Today, at the end of the lesson, I hope we are going to have enough time to make use of MED. Please open it in one browser window. (Mozilla or Explorer)

Students have already registered for the dictionary as their homework assignment.

Students signed up for the Macmillan online dictionary by filling in the relevant information on the site.

They went to MED online, and clicked on the yellow MED then continued.

You needed the dictionary to type in the ISBN number. Then answered some questions to get full access.


At home or in the school computer lab.


Task setting

12 min.

Please open another browser window

Look for :
Word of the Day Archive. Each student will get a different year, where one of the month’s a word can be picked from.

Please prepare a multiple choice item providing one correct and two false explanations. A, B and C.

Please give the correct answer on the back. (A, B or C)

Students need to write down the word and its phonetic transcript next to it.

Then copy the correct explanation to A, B, or C. Provide false explanations as destructors for the other two.

On the back ss give the correct answer. When it is ready ss put them up on the whiteboard.


conflagration \kon-fluh-GRAY-shuhn\,

A. The flag movement at the end of F1 car races

B. A large and destructive fire

C. A parade with historical flags during a ceremony


Any color Post-it

Color felt pens

Clean surface for putting up the numbered Post-it slips of paper

Concept checking

3 min.

Ss put their Post-its on the whiteboard.

One student reads out the word and its explanation

Ss return to their computer to make more slips

Student use teacher’s monitoring and help to do the activity

Individually with teacher’s assistance

See above.

Numbered Post-its, felt pens.

12 min.

After the second round

Now try to make your guesses.
and use your answer strip to indicate the letter of the explanation you think is correct. Also check immediately, whether you guessed it right or not, and take down the word as well.

Student use their answer slips and try to guess, which is the correct explanation for the word. They also check and tick if they guessed it right and indicate the correct answer if they were wrong.

1. A

2. C

3. B C

4. C B

5. A


Enough space in front of the surface where the Post-it slips are put up.


10 min.

Now take a look at the new words and use the Macmillan dictionary to compare and check the meaning of some words. The rest you might want to do at home.

Students compare and can work together to get down the meaning of the words correctly. They are using the two sites

The two phonetic transcripts are not identical in the two sites, they make sure that the MED transcript is used, while they are trying to pronounce the word.

Homework assignment

5 min

Make five more of these call my bluff items in the already learnt way, making use of the two sites


General introduction

This class is focusing on using home sites where there are words with their explanation.

Using the Internet saves time when someone is looking up a word and gives a chance to speed up any kind of vocabulary checking. There is also a possibility to evaluate what seems to be an obvious explanation, thus students might be able to give a correct circumscription of a word they do not know.

By seeing the correct explanation and providing also false ones students will get used to observing words in a context.

The activity step by step

1. It is an advantage if students are already familiar with the “Call my bluff” concept from earlier language classes.

2. During the previous class they received the instructions, how they can sign up for an access if they are to use the Macmillan English Dictionary (MED). The same information was also sent out for them in an e-mail msg.

3. Success with the sign-up was checked by the e-mail sent by the students to T’s e-mail account.

4. Students will use a site to come up with words rather unfamiliar:

5. They get a year each in the “Archives” section of the site, maybe also the month where they have to choose a word with its correct explanation. The word has to be one they fully understand.

6. Students write down the word and its phonetic transcript and add the correct explanation as A, B, or C. For this they are using a numbered Post-it label.

7. Now they come up with two false explanations and write it down too.

8. On the other side of the slip they write down the correct answer in ink.

9. Concept checking is essential, for this reason the first round is checked thoroughly through monitoring, helping and reading out some slips aloud.

10. After the second round students get a slip of paper with numbers to go through the slips and guess the correct answer, while they also write down the word, practice their pronunciation.

11. In the final phase, they gat a feedback on how they did.

12. Then they get a chance to compare the explanations of the two dictionaries.

13. Finally the homework is set: They have to come up with five more “Call my bluff” items at home and write them on slips of paper.

General advice

Try to make sure that they DID sign up to MED and keep contact with your students to provide assistance.

Make sure they understand the task and use legible handwriting

It is perhaps enough to let them think it over and write 2-3write items, that would be quite enough as a starter.

As the two different home sites use totally different phonetic transcript, make sure students understand the difference.

Technical tips

Yo need enough spae on a clean surface, so that students can move about freely.

Do not use felt pens that are too thick.

The correct answers on the other side of the slip should be written by a ball point pen, otherwise it might be read from the other side as well

Preparation for class

The following checklist might be useful.

1. Check computers before the session

2. Prepae the numbered Post-it tags

3. Prepare the right felt pens

4. Make sure you will have enough space on the a clean surface

5. You can have a Macmillan dictionary to show them at the beginning of the class


Instead of reading out one example made by a student, the teacher can give an example too.

MED can also be used efficiently, later on, with an earphone to practice pronunciation of the new words.