Education Linguistics

Thematic Unit, A Collaborative Paper

Written for an Applied Linguistics Master’s Course: Methods and Materials in Foreign Language Education
Thematic Unit: Social Media
Researchers/Writers: E. Bilbo, A. Williams


     This ready-to-use thematic unit was designed for international university-level students as part of a semester-long preparatory advanced English course. The unit consists of listening and grammar sequences and includes a detailed discussion of theoretical underpinnings. The central themes of the unit are social media and online communication. The objectives of the unit are twofold: to present phrasal verbs and to let international students explore the culture of their American counterparts. The principles of Communicative Language Teaching are the primary theoretical foundation of the unit, namely: meaningful and comprehensible input, cooperative and collaborative learning, communicative competence, and structured input and output. The grammar/listening activities in the grammar sequence are designed based on the PACE model (Presentation, Attention, Co-Construction, and Extension). The philosophy of sociocultural theory also influenced the approach of the instructors to language teaching. The unit presents engaging video materials and lessons that coherently combine linguistic features, cultural conventions, authentic materials, student-centered activities, as well as meaningful, purposeful, and genuine communication.

Keywords: communicative language teaching, structured output, grammar, listening



     This thematic unit is designed for use in the ESL classroom with college-age students who achieved Advanced Low to Advanced High levels of English proficiency based on ACTFL guidelines. The unit makes part of a hypothetical, semester-long preparatory program offered by the University of Massachusetts Boston. The goal of the larger program and this unit specifically is to provide international students and non-native English speakers with opportunities to acquire linguistic and cultural competence necessary for entering undergraduate programs taught in English. Upon successful completion of the program, students are expected to take and pass the university-based English proficiency test or another standardized English language tests, such as TOEFL. This being said, the unit can also be used with younger audiences (high school students), through other venues, and for other purposes, at the discretion of the teacher.

     Prior to entering the program, prospective students are required to take a placement test that assesses their English proficiency level. Students are placed in different classes based on their current level of proficiency. The university offers classes for three levels of English and the class in which this thematic unit is taught is the most advanced. As students in this class are expected to take an English language proficiency test at the end of the semester, the teaching materials are selected based on this objective. The instructors who teach the class choose the materials following the WIDA English Language Proficiency Standards, ACTFL Standards for Foreign Language Learning (Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities), and general University guidelines. The instructors make sure that the materials are appropriate for the English level and age of the students. Last but not least, the instructors strive to ensure that the teaching materials in this class are engaging, authentic, and relevant.

     There are sixteen students in this classroom. Claudia, Andrea, Samira, and Victor are Spanish speakers from Peru, Guatemala, Colombia, and Ecuador. Ming, Zhang Yan, and Li Yong are Mandarin speakers from mainland China. Saadiye and Idris are Arabic speakers from Jordan and Oman. Olesya and Svetlana are from Russia. Hien is a Vietnamese speaker. Ju Hyong is from South Korea. Anastas is from Greece. Dalia is a bilingual Lithuanian and Russian speaker from Lithuania. Ubaid is a trilingual speaker of Bulu, Arabic and French from Cameroon. The youngest student in the group is Dalia who is seventeen, and the oldest student is Samira who is twenty-two. Ubaid, Ming, Andrea, Victor, Li Yong, Saadiye, and Idris are STEM majors at the university. Dalia, Svetlana, and Anastas plan to pursue degrees in Arts and Humanities. Ju Hyong, Olesya, Zhang Yan, and Claudia want to study Business or Public Administration. Hien and Samira have been admitted into the Information Technology program, but they want to take general education classes during their first year to make a final decision about their major.

     Some students have part-time jobs on the campus and some are enrolled in classes such as pre-Algebra, prerequisites for Composition, or Visual Arts. They are an energetic group of people who spend a lot of time on their mobile devices, are obsessed with healthy and fancy eating, have healthy ambitions and global perspectives, and came to the course with diverse background knowledge and experiences. Some of the students received generous scholarships from the US government and this is their unique chance for quality education that they take very seriously. Their interests range from pop-music to philosophy and are mostly reflected in the majors they chose.

     Prior to starting the semester, the instructors sent a needs analysis survey (Appendix 1) to the students enrolled in the course which was developed based on the suggestions of Richards & Rodgers (2001). The students filled out the needs analysis and sent it back to the instructors in the week preceding the start of the semester. The students ranked optional thematic unit topics on a scale from 1 – least interested to 5 – most interested. Based on the feedback from the students, the instructors selected Immigration, Drugs, Social Media, Young People and Identity and Race Relations to use for thematic units during the semester. Of the nine topics, Social Media ranked the highest with this group of students. The instructors then developed this thematic unit based on the preferences of the students as well as on the standards and criteria listed above.

     The central theme of our unit will allow students to explore and understand how relationships are made and maintained through various social media venues in order for them to communicate online with more cultural competence and sensitivity in their daily lives. The concept of cultural conventions, as it relates to how to appropriately communicate online (what images, topics, etc. are appropriate to share in respect to various cultural norms), will be the nonlinguistic information explored in our unit. Students will focus mainly on discovering and understanding the differences between making and maintaining relationships in their real lives and through social media. Our advanced technology makes it possible for people to create connections solely through online mediums without ever having to connect with the person(s) using the same mediums face to face. Students will learn how social media and technology have transformed the ways in which people can connect to each other as well as the consequences for such transformations in building relationships. Objectives related to grammar will focus mainly on phrasal verbs and the preposition and adverb placements that occur within these structures.

     Our unit allows students to explore and understand the vocabulary and linguistic features of the target language. Helping them learn how to better socialize and integrate into American culture can often complement the standards of English preparatory courses in American universities as these students are often traveling to the U.S.A. for the first time and will need guidance on how to more easily adapt to social settings. Cultural aspects in this unit also include appropriateness of various communication styles, online information and opinion sharing as well as other pragmatic features of English. Implicit attention will be given to differentiating between varied online communication styles based on the audience.

     To be successful in this unit, students will need a firm understanding of complex syntactic structures in English because the videos used in this unit are authentic and contain intricate grammatical features. Without a firm grasp on vocabulary, morphology, syntax, and cultural conventions the goals of the course will be lost on students as they will not be able to participate adequately. Semantic competence is required to interpret the underlying meaning(s) of utterances in English. Finally, a student will need to be able to use the prosodic features of English (intonation, stress and rhythm), but it is important to note that performing with native-like accuracy is not needed. Rather, the general expectation is that the student can understand others and be understood by others. Students will need to have the speaking skills described to be able to participate in collaborative work and class discussions.

     The authentic documents used in this unit come primarily from social media sites and applications (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), online videos (i.e. YouTube, Vines, Snapchat, etc.) and online journals and blogs (i.e. Tumbler, WordPress, Blogger, etc.). Social media will be a useful resource to exemplify the types of language used and appropriate social norms. It would also be interesting to have students share examples from their personal accounts for classroom activities where they could analyze the similarities and differences between the way they communicate and the way native speakers communicate. The videos are used to help students understand what messages are typically shared and why. It will also be interesting to have students explore the comments sections connected to the videos and analyze how the relationships of online users are created and maintained in response to the videos posted. On a voluntary basis, we will ask students contribute examples of videos they’ve uploaded on their personal sites. Additionally, online journals and blogs can be used to generate discussion and deepen students’ understanding of cultural conventions.

     The principles of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) are the primary foundation upon which this unit is planned and implemented as they accommodate the contexts and purposes of this course. Smith’s (1999) framework for using the learning scenario to organize a thematic unit strongly influenced the organization and implementation of this unit as it advocates connecting the four skills of language (reading, writing, speaking and listening) in a more meaning-based and communicative format (Smith, 1999, p. 9). Basic outlines and ideas for communicative language activities used in our thematic unit are taken from the Richards and Rogers (2001) and Lee and VanPatten (2003) texts.

     Regarding theories of learning, Krashen’s (1995) i + 1 learning model and the Input Hypothesis were influential to our thematic unit as these relate to the types of authentic material we used in our classroom activities. Since our students are advanced L2 English speakers, it is important to provide input that will be challenging in more complex ways as they work towards near-native fluency and overall connection to English-speaking culture in American contexts. Krashen’s (1999) Affective Filter Hypothesis also played a role here as we constructed a unit which promotes motivation and self-confidence in students by choosing topics and designing activities that are relevant and of interest to them. Vygotsky’s (1962) social learning theory is another theory which heavily influenced our thematic unit as we advocate for learning through interaction; hence the choice of materials that assumes interacting with others via social media.

     Regarding theories of language, Hymes’ (1972) theory of communicative competence influenced our unit as it requires learners to be better equipped for communicating within a given speech community. Learners will work to understand how to be communicatively competent when engaging with their American counterparts via social media. However, they will also simultaneously be attending to the similarities and differences they may have in their communicative competence of their home communities. Canale and Swain’s (1980) and Canale’s (1983) four dimensions of communicative competence helped us differentiate more clearly between the sociolinguistic, grammatical, discourse and strategic elements involved in the overall ability the students will develop in learning how to more appropriately engage with people online. Our language teaching experiences have been modelled after CLT principles as well as general theories of learning that relate to information processing and usage-based learning. Emphasis on production and authentic input are also a part of our overlapping language teaching experience. Most language learners are familiar with these types of language learning contexts, both inside and outside the language classroom; so, attention to the constructs of this type of language approach may not need to be explicitly taught to students in this unit.

Thematic Unit Sequence: Listening and Grammar

     General Themes Connected to Listening and Grammar Sequence. The selection of these short listening excerpts will allow students to explore the ways in which online trolling can contribute to how people make and maintain relationships online. Internet trolling is an influential online practice and highly debated topic in American culture as it can incite a lot of negative online relationships while simultaneously creating positive bonds between people who work together in various contexts, both online and in real life, to combat internet trolling. It is an interesting concept to consider in this unit as internet trolls in America may differ from internet trolls that students engage with in their own cultures and languages in their home countries through online social media.

     The language used in these contexts is also significant to explore through authentic online texts as the messages written by internet trolls and in response to internet trolls may be interpreted in varied ways. These interpretations would be interesting to explore as the international students’ personal, cultural and linguistic knowledge and experiences in their home country may not always align with the personal, cultural and linguistic knowledge and experiences of American culture both online and in real life. (For example, something an American may take as an insult from an internet troll may not be considered as insulting by an international student from Asia: calling someone fat in America is disrespectful, but calling someone fat in China is not as emotionally damaging.)

     Phrasal verbs are a complex yet underappreciated feature of English. Their complexity is evident on semantic, lexical, and grammatical levels. Semantically, phrasal verbs can take on multiple meanings, sometimes idiomatic. For example, Cowie and Mackin (1975) list eleven meanings for the verb make up, two meanings for the verb make up for, two meanings for the verb make up from, four meanings for the verb make up to, and five additional expressions that contain the words make and up. Grammatically, it is not always easy to identify whether the part(s) that come after a verb is a preposition or an adverb due to a significant degree of overlap, and, for this reason, they are often called particles. Since the rules for identifying whether a phrasal verb can or cannot be separated (I figured it out versus the glue would not come off my hands) require identification of particles as prepositions or adverbs, it is not always possible to say whether a phrasal verb is separable or nonseparable. Adding to the grammatical complexity of phrasal verbs are the nouns (a handout) and adjectives (leftover food) derived from such verbs.

     Phrasal verbs are ubiquitous in native English speech and, although they are more common in conversational English, they have a strong presence in daily press, radio shows, TV broadcasts, and other media and social media. Routine conversations contain a great number of phrasal verbs as native English speakers are likely to say I turned down their offer and I ran into him at the mall than I rejected their offer and I met him at the mall accidentally. An English learner is likely to do the opposite because EFL and ESL textbooks do not do justice to the ubiquitous nature of phrasal verbs. When EFL learners come to the U.S. they are bombarded by phrasal verbs and, being unfamiliar with them, fail to understand the language they hear. The mastery of phrasal verbs will bring their English to a new level by improving their understanding of English and their ability to produce authentic output.

     As prevalent in native speech as phrasal verbs are, most EFL programs do not introduce them until high intermediate to advanced levels, and even at these levels only a small number of most common phrasal verbs are taught explicitly. When students graduate from EFL programs and come to the U.S. to work or study, they sometimes do not understand what is being said around them because of the high number of phrasal verbs in conversational English. As students in this class are upper intermediate to advanced, we think this is a perfect time for them to start building a solid inventory of phrasal verbs as well as a good understanding of their grammatical characteristics.

     Below are the examples of students in our class using one-word verbs in situations where a native speaker would most likely use a phrasal verb, as indicated in parentheses:

When I disembarked the plane… (got off)

I could not know why the website isn’t working. (figure out)

My roommate split with his girlfriend. (break up)

She shouldn’t bear his behavior. (put up with)

     Listening and Grammar Sequence Objectives. Content objectives for this sequence will focus on getting students to explore the types of relationships that are established on social media, particularly as it relates to the positive/negative experiences of internet trolling. We want them to explore how these types of interactions occur (where, when, why and how). We also want them to be able to differentiate between how internet trolling happens on social media in America versus the types of internet trolling that may happen in their online communities on social media sites for their home countries. For example, Weibo, a social media site particularly used in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong is similar to Twitter or Facebook in America and is used primarily in Mandarin. Though sites like Facebook and Twitter in America are strict with the types of language and messages one is allowed to display on their or on others pages, Weibo is even more strict, banning users and closing their accounts if anything is said that is against the Chinese government. These types of differences can be explored.

     Language objectives for this sequence will focus primarily on building student comprehension of contextual vocabulary and phrases used in the types of exchanges on the videos. We want them to comprehend more clearly the positive and negative vocabulary and phrases used by internet trolls and in response to them. Here, we may find that slang and/or vulgar language may be hard for students to comprehend based on differences in American culture and the culture of the international students represented in this class, so we believe it is important to address these differences and build this comprehension so that students in this course learn how to represent themselves online as well as to be culturally aware and sensitive online when making or maintaining online relationships.

     The challenge for students in using phrasal verbs is in both recognizing them when used (input) and recognizing when to use them in place of other linguistic features, such as single verbs (output). As previously mentioned, the use of phrasal verbs is quite subtle and ubiquitous in social media language which makes it important for students in this course to familiarize themselves more with the presence of phrasal verbs, to decode them for comprehension, and to be able to use them appropriately and more naturally/automatically in communication.

     The communicative value of this linguistic function can be illustrated through these principles of input processing that work best for our grammar sequence (Lee and VanPatten, 2003, p. 139) as it relates to communicative value when focusing on form:

  • P1 – The Primacy of Meaning Principle (Learners process input for meaning before they process it for form)
  • P1b – The Lexical Preference Principle (Learners will tend to rely on lexical items as opposed to grammatical form to get meaning when both encode the same semantic information)
  • P1d – The Meaning-before-Nonmeaning Principle (Learners are more likely to process meaningful grammatical forms before nonmeaningful grammatical forms irrespective of redundancy)
  • P2a – The Lexical Semantics Principle (Learners may rely on lexical semantics, where possible, instead of word order to interpret sentences)

     We scaffolded to help students meet the challenges of recognizing and using phrasal verbs by first drawing attention to what they do know. This is accomplished through the transition from listening to the videos and explaining their understanding of the messages contained within them to comparing their thinking/comprehension to the transcripts (Appendix 4) provided for each video. From there, students can address any language property that impeded or aided their comprehension. We can build on their understanding of the phrasal verbs used in the videos by drawing from what phrasal verbs they bring up on their own, knowingly or unknowingly, during the listening activities and from phrasal verbs they notice in the transcripts (Appendix 4). From there, we can build on their understanding of other commonly used phrasal verbs, how to decode/detect them and how to use them when communicating online via social media.

     The goal of the listening/grammar tasks is to get students to become familiar and used to using verb structures that are more colloquial and relevant to the preferred communicative styles in social media. Students in this class still have difficulty transitioning from one-verb sentence forms that sound too structured or formal when communicating online. For example, using an utterance like, “When I disembarked the plane…” may sound unnatural to someone s/he is trying to talk to whereas using phrasal verbs in place of the one-verb structure (“When I got off the plane…”) helps them to become more a part of the communicative culture of talking with friends via social media.

     Theoretical Connections to Listening and Grammar Sequence. Pre-listening activities are influenced by Chamot’s (1995), Mendelsohn’s (1995) and Lee and VanPatten’s (2003) views on the explicit instruction of strategies for listening comprehension and models for pre-listening tasks to promote better comprehension. Since the group we are working with in this course and in this particular unit have exhibited high levels of fluency and comprehension to be placed in this course, we thought it would be more efficient to review the strategies they already use prior to watching a series of videos in our listening sequence. Students in this course will not need to spend too much time on reviewing listening strategies or to be explicitly taught new ones as their general comprehension is advanced enough to watch a series of videos in English without much difficulty.

     Again, the Chamot (1995) and Lee and VanPatten (2003) texts will be influential in the organization and implementation of the listening activities and post-listening activities in this sequence as we will attend to creating opportunities where students are engaging with the videos by making inferences to interpret what is being said in multiple ways (based on learners’ personal, cultural and linguistic databases), using strategies (metacognitive, cognitive, and social/affective) to understand messages shared online and communicate in turn, and understanding how to listen collaboratively to better negotiate meaning with those they communicate online. Additionally, Carell and Eisterhold’s (1987) schemata theory will influence our listening activities in some ways. Though schemata theory more generally applies to reading, it can also apply to the listening strategies used by L2 learners in this unit. Students’ prior knowledge, experience and internalized schemata will definitely influence the ways in which they personally interpret the messages contained in the authentic videos. In response to this, we hope to help students target schemata they already have when interpreting the messages they hear as well as build additional schemata that will help them interpret the messages they hear in better ways, attending to the social and cultural aspects of the language used in social media.

     Additionally, Ciccone (1995) has an influence in our use of authentic video as he advocates its use to promote “realism and motivation” for students to engage in learning and listening comprehension more effectively (pp. 205-208). Swaffer and Vlatten’s (1997) views on scaffolding authentic listening activities to guide listeners in achieving better connection to and comprehension of the target language presented through video has also influenced our organization and implementation of the listening sequence in this thematic unit. Specifically, Swaffer and Vlatten (1997) influence our listening sequence activities as video viewing in this unit will aim to get students to attend to the linguistic meanings in videos wherever possible (pp. 180-181). Similar to the ideas portrayed in their work, we will get students to connect more meaningfully to linguistic features in the videos to help them better connect their ideas on how they make/maintain online relationships to how it can occur from an American perspective.

     Focus on form in this unit was informed by the formative works of several theorists. In different contexts L2 users draw on both analyzed and automatic language knowledge (Ellis, 1988), and we designed this unit to be an opportunity for students to facilitate the transition of some knowledge from being controlled to being automatic. Most importantly, though, the grammar sequence of this unit should make students aware of similarities and differences between their L1s and English, as it is said to be beneficial for language learning (Rutherford, 1988). Phrasal verbs are a very interesting language parameter in this respect because they are not common in other languages and their closest equivalent is probably Slavic and Germanic particles that are not necessarily used with verbs only (Nikolayeva, 1985). Keeping in mind that grammatical structures will be internalized only in a context where the learners have to use them (Shrum and Glisan, 2010), we placed students in situations where they need to use the phrasal verbs selected for this unit.

     When working on the grammar sequence, we consulted the rationale for guided participation provided by Shrum and Glisan (2010) which allows teachers and learners to work collaboratively in co-constructing grammar. We also took into account the distinction among mechanical, meaningful, and communicative drills (Lee and VanPatten, 2003). We focused the activities on the processing mechanisms that feed the space between input and intake (Lee and VanPatten, 2003). Sometimes explicitly (scaffolding, internalization) sometimes implicitly (tasks that may necessitate negotiation for meaning, collaborative work), we drew on the sociocultural theory laid out by Vygotsky (1962). Finally, the PACE model embedded in the following sessions influenced the activities in our grammar sequence (Shrum & Glisan, 2010).

     Additional Information. Though the thematic unit sequence does not explicitly focus on reading activities, it is important to note that students in this course will have the opportunity to engage with authentic reading materials during grammar activities in the unit. Reading practice and developing reading skills will be implicitly attended to in activities where students engage in communicative activities where they will read and/or respond to messages shared in online formats during the structured input/output and extension activities in Sessions 5 and 6 of this thematic unit.

UNIT FRAME for Advanced (Low to High) Group on “Social Media”

This unit will happen, approximately, over a two-week period (2 hours x 3 times per week), during the semester this course is offered in the university. The unit can be taught at any time during the semester but we suggest to use it several weeks after the semester starts to give the students time get to know each other. This will make them more comfortable to genuinely express opinions.

SESSION 1:  Authentic Listening Sequence Begins; Pre-Listening Activities
Learning Goals:

  • Review effective listening strategies prior to listening activities
  • Connect prior knowledge of social media to central themes in listening activities

A. Discussion about Listening Strategies.

  • Classroom Discussion: Are they aware of the strategies they use for listening?
    • Have students break into small groups (2 – 3 per group) to discuss the following
      • What listening strategies do you use and why do they work for you?
      • Do you agree that every strategy mentioned in your group works? Why or why not?
      • They can then try strategies suggested in their group that they are unfamiliar/unsure of by using short video/audio excerpts to practice the strategies. Afterwards they can discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each strategy with each other.
      • The teacher will circulate amongst the groups to help aid in any of the discussions where needed
  • Have students share whole class what they discussed in their small groups
  • Suggest additional strategies that students have not brought up if they are pertinent to the listening activities. Students can follow the same procedure with new short video/audio excerpts to practice the strategies they are interested in adding to what they think works best for their comprehension. The list of strategies for the listening sequence below can include:
    • metacognitive strategies (planning for a task, monitoring a task in progress, evaluating whether a task was successful or unsuccessful)
    • cognitive strategies (grouping items together, using prior knowledge, making inferences about words and sentences, activating grammar and vocabulary knowledge, anticipating information)
    • social strategies (asking questions for clarification, cooperating with peers, using private speech)
    • other strategies (taking notes, parsing sentences from sounds to words to sentences or vice versa, listening for specific information, guessing).
  • Discuss briefly with the class the types of videos they will watch and the learning objectives they will achieve as it relates to the unit on social media. Have them predict what strategies they think will be best to achieve the content and language learning objectives.

B. Discussion about Social Media.

  • Students will discuss the following questions whole class to activate their prior knowledge of the topic. The discussion should be as thorough as possible without focusing too heavily on any one topic or question. Additionally, students can pose their own questions to the classroom for discussion where they see fit and as it relates to the overall theme of social media. The teacher will work here as a facilitator to keep discussions focused and to make sure each student has ample opportunity to voice their thoughts, opinions and questions.
    • Do they use social media?
    • What type of social media they use? How often?
    • Is social media popular in their home countries?
    • Do they have a Facebook-like social networking service in their home countries?
    • What do they think positive aspects of social media are?
    • What they do not like about social media?
    • What do they know about internet trolling?
    • What types of messages would you consider trolling? Why?
    • Have you ever been guilty of trolling? Why did you think it was acceptable?
    • Have you ever been the victim of internet trolling? Why do you think it happened to you? Do you know someone who has been a victim or an instigator of internet trolling?
    • Is internet trolling the same in every country? How does it change in your home country? How is it the same?
  • To reduce potential student anxiety, explain that the videos represent authentic English speech that can be fast, highly informal and slangish, and at times incomprehensible even for native speakers. Ask students to use strategies they think will work best for them that they’ve discussed as a class in the previous activity

SESSION 2Listening Activities
Learning Goals:

  • Become aware of conscious and unconscious listening strategies used
  • Practice listening skills with fast-paced native speech
  • Connect the central themes of these videos to the larger theme of positive/negative aspects of social media and making/maintaining online relationships
  • Understanding key vocabulary and language used in the videos to expand comprehension
  • Reflect on listening strategies that were most effective in listening comprehension

A. Small Group Video Viewings – Jigsaw Activity

  • Students will break up into three groups of their choosing.
  • Each group will be responsible for watching one of the three videos for this lesson. Group 1 will watch the video on Amanda Oleander who broadcasts her artist life on Periscope; Group 2 will watch the video on the negative experience of some women on Periscope; Group 3 will watch the video on the ways to handle Internet trolling
  • Each group will watch the video at least three times for the following purposes:
    • First Listening, Understanding the Main Message (15 – 20 minute activity)
      • The students will watch/listen to their given video and work as a team to write down the messages they hear that they think are central to the purpose of the video.
      • Additionally, they will discuss, compare and contrast their findings. During these discussions, the teacher will circulate between the groups to facilitate with any questions/clarifications the students need or to suggest additional thinking to generate more discussion.
    • Second Listening, Answering Comprehension Questions (10 – 15 min):
      • Stop the students after 15-20 minutes of their first viewing discussions/activity and tell them they will view the video a second time to answer specific questions about it following the viewing. We will not provide worksheets to guide/focus their listening as this is an advanced group and we want them to practice listening to rapid, native-like speech in a context similar to listening to natives in real life conversations. Instead, they will be provided a worksheet with a list of questions to guide their group discussion after they have watched/listened to the video the second time. They will have to answer the questions to the best of their ability without referring back to the video.
        • Group 1 (Amanda Oleander who broadcasts her artist life on Periscope) Questions: Who is Amanda? What does she do? Why is Bita in the video about Amanda? Why did Amanda become a top Periscope user? Does she make money on Periscope? Why did she turn down offers for showing commercial products in her broadcasts? Why did she ask the artist and performer communities to share their videos with her? What does Amanda think major features of Periscope are? Why did Amanda become emotional about the female performer in the video? What did Amanda say is going to happen for this performer’s online presence? For the community of artists and performers on Periscope?
        • Group 2 (the negative experience of some women on Periscope) Questions: How many followers did the first speaking man get? How does he feel about it? What are the conventional ways in young American culture to introduce themselves on social media? Can you recall the insulting comments the women started getting after they introduced themselves? How did the comments make women feel? How did the women explain the abuse they fell victim to? What do they think about the people who make insulting comments on Periscope? What do you think seeing someone as a piece of meat means? Can you guess?
        • Group 3 (the ways to handle Internet trolling) Questions: Who are the three young people in the video? What can you tell about them? What statements does the troll make? Why do you think the troll says these things? Who are the Internet trolls? How does the first man try to handle the situation? Why do you think he fails? What is the troll saying about abortion? About gay people and 9/11? Why is the troll saying things about the Holocaust? About the kitchen? What does the woman say about a low-cut shirt and why? How would you describe the winning strategy to handle Internet trolls? Why is this strategy efficient?
        • The teacher will circulate amongst the students to aid in comprehension where needed and to check answers. When students have answered questions to the best of their ability, allow them to watch the video again in their small groups to check questions they could not answer and/or to check questions they were unsure about.
    • Third Listening, Listening Strategies Review (5 – 10 min)
      • Stop the students after 10-15 minutes of their second viewing discussions/activity and tell them they will spend the final 5 to 10 minutes in their small groups discussing listening comprehension strategies. The members in the group will review what strategies they predicted they would use for comprehension and check to see if their predictions were correct and why. Additionally, the can compare/contrast the listening strategies they used within their groups and discuss what strategies they thought were the best overall to use for comprehension and why. The teacher will circulate amongst the groups to listen to discussions only and to clarify any questions they have during their group discussion.
  • One person from each group will get together in groups of three to share with each other what video they watched, what the central themes/messages they found in it were, what additional questions they had about it, and what strategies they used for listening comprehension that they thought worked best for the listening activity. The teacher will circulate amongst the groups of three to listen to the discussions, generate further discussion by posing additional questions and clarify any questions the groups may have.
  • After each group reaches a final point in their sharing, the whole class will watch the videos and:
    • Discuss any additional information that was not shared in their small groups and/or groups of three
    • Discuss any questions posed in their small groups and/or groups of three with the class.
    • Compare/Contrast the messages the members of each of the small groups interpreted vs. what members from other small groups interpreted of the assigned videos
    • Compare/Contrast the listening strategies the members of each of the small groups felt worked best vs. what members from other small groups may also think work best for comprehension
    • Discuss any additional thoughts/ideas they had about each of the videos (i.e. how are the messages in the each of the videos similar or different? What overlapping messages/ideas do the videos have? Etc.)

SESSION 3Post-Listening Activities
Learning Goals:

  • Reflect on listening strategies that were most effective in listening comprehension
  • Use transcripts to discuss important details they missed and to discuss American cultural conventions (in terms of attitudes, language used, etc.) exemplified in the videos
  • Compare/contrast what internet trolling and other social media issues are like in America and in their home countries
  • Consider the various perspectives that exist regarding social media and how people make/maintain relationships online through classroom debate

A. Working with the transcripts.

  • We deliberately decided not to design test-like questions for this sequence to avoid the feeling of being tested on listening on the part of the students. We wanted the students to learn to enjoy listening and chose instead the discussion format.
    • The first post-viewing activity is work with transcripts (Appendix 4). Have students break into their original small groups and read the transcripts (Appendix 4) for their assigned video to discuss the details they missed during listening activity in the previous session. Be prepared to explain cultural aspects associated with the videos as well as vulgar language and slang. Teachers often refrain from discussing this part of language in the classroom but we believe that invective is a legitimate part of language and students are going to hear it anyway, so we should be able to discuss it without unnecessary embarrassment and modesty, explaining various cultural nuances of where and when it is appropriate to use swear words and where and when it is inappropriate.
    • Go over any vocabulary/phrasing questions students may have, prompt students to activate listening strategies, and have them view the videos again, this time following the transcripts (Appendix 4). Have a brief discussion about the effectiveness of some strategies and ineffectiveness of others that were discussed in the previous session. Encourage students to find strategies that work for them.

B. Discussion about social media in students’ home countries.

  • Using the vocabulary presented in the videos, have the students discuss social media and issues associated with them in students’ home countries.
    • What kind of abuse in social media is likely to occur there? What are the ways to handle abuse in those countries? Are women more likely to become victims than men?
    • Discuss cultural differences in different countries. How do young people introduce themselves in social media in countries where the students are from?
    • What platforms and application are popular in their countries? Why? What are the taboos associated with social media in those countries?
    • Ask the students if they can tell about a social media app popular in their countries but not in other countries. For example, one of the most popular traditions in Turkey is reading coffee cups for telling fortune and there is a very popular social media app there called Fortune Teller that reads your coffee cup from the picture users upload and shares the result with the user’s network (this feature is optional).

C. Classroom Debate: Internet Trolling and Varying Cultures

  • Student will break up into two opposing teams for different debate topics. They can choose as a class something they are most interested in debating. Topics up for debate:
    • The world would be better off without internet trolls
    • Women are more abused than men online
    • Being online means accepting that you will be abused at some point
    • You can be anyone you want online without any consequences
    • All countries experience the same things in the same ways in social media
    • Other: students come up with their own topic(s) to debate in the class

SESSION 4:  Authentic Grammar Sequence Begins; Pre-Listening/Grammar Activities
Learning Goals:

  • Focus on form by discussing their prior knowledge/understanding of phrasal verbs
  • Reflect on social media videos and discuss comprehension difficulties
  • Practice identifying/describing the meaning of phrasal verbs and how they are used

A.   Reflection on Social Media Videos

  • Have students reflect on the videos they watched in the previous sessions and work together as a class to describe the premise of each video, the main message(s) of them and the type of communicative language uses the speakers in the videos used to convey their message(s) – i.e. was it informal? formal? colloquial? academic? linear in reasoning? circular in reasoning? etc.

B.    Discussion about Comprehension Difficulties.

  • Students will then discuss any phrases or words they remember hearing that made comprehension difficult or unclear for them. Target words/phrases mentioned by the students that were phrasal verbs and have students discuss with you why these types of phrases were difficult to understand. What do they think most contributes to their misunderstanding of phrasal verbs or missing hearing/attending to phrasal verbs when listening/reading? How can they combat such things happening? Do they think phrasal verbs are key to understanding input or to generating comprehensible output? Why or why not or does it depend on the situation?
  • Have students share with you what their understanding of phrasal verbs are, what types of phrasal verbs they know and how they would like to or have used them in communicative contexts

C.   Re-Watch Trolling Video: TPR Activity to Identify Phrasal Verbs & Discussion

  • Have students watch the trolling video again. They will listen and engage in a TPR activity where they will perform some type of physical gesture when they hear a phrase they think is a phrasal verb (raised hand, standing up, etc.). When this happens, the video will be paused, the student(s) will share what they think is the phrasal verb they heard in the video and the class will justify their decision based on the structure of the phrase (use of adjectives, nouns, prepositions with the phrasal verb), the meaning of it (figurative vs. literal) note down any phrases they think are phrasal verbs.
  • After listening to the video, students will break up into small groups to share their findings, particularly, after identifying the phrasal verbs, they will work in small groups to discuss the meanings of them and how they think they should be used in context (formal, informal or both?). The teacher will circulate from group to group to clarify any questions the students have or to pose questions to help maintain group discussions.

SESSION 5Listening/Grammar Activities
Learning Goals:

  • Work with phrasal verbs from listening sequence videos to familiarize themselves more with how and when to use phrasal verbs appropriately
  • Share a story about an experience they had with someone (or a friend of theirs had) online and use phrasal verbs to practice communicative norms of people interacting online

A.   Structured Input Task 1: Choosing Phrasal Verbs in Sentence Samples

  • The students will be given a worksheet (Appendix 2) containing sample sentences from one of the videos from the listening sequence (Amanda Oleander). The sentences will be reworked to mirror the types of one-verb structures they more naturally use. Each sentence will have a few phrasal verbs to choose from to replace the one-verb structure. The students can work in pairs or on their own to choose what phrasal verbs they think best replaces the one-verb construction. They will listen to the video containing these sentences to check their answers.
  • Afterwards, the students will discuss whole class which sentences they got right/wrong, why they chose the phrasal verbs they did and why they think the phrasal verb used in the video is the best choice.

B.   Structured Input Task 2: Fill in the Phrasal Verb You Hear

  • The students will be given a worksheet (Appendix 3) with sample sentences from each of the videos from the listening sequence (Amanda Oleander, Negative Periscope Experiences and Trolling Video). The phrasal verbs will be omitted from the constructions. The students will have to listen to the video and fill in the phrasal verbs they hear.
  • They will then break into pairs or groups of three, and they will use the transcripts (Appendix 4) they got during the listening sequence for those videos to check their work. In their groups they will also read the text around the sentence to explain what the phrasal verb means, and how it enhanced the message shared in that particular part of the video. The teacher will circulate from group to group to clarify any questions or to pose any further questions to help maintain the discussions.

C.   Structured Output Task 1: Share a Story

  • Ask students to think of a story they can tell a partner in class about a negative encounter they had with someone online. If they haven’t experienced this, they can talk about a negative encounter they saw happening online (i.e. a friend being abused for something s/he shared online). This encounter can be with a friend or with a stranger. Ask them to tell their partner what happened and why. How did they or their friend respond to the negative comment? Did anyone else chime in on the exchange? Was there anything that could have turned that experience into a positive? Why or why not? Ask students to use as many phrasal verbs as they’d like to keep the story engaging, interesting and informal.
  • After each of them has shared a story, the students will compare/contrast the experiences and responses they had to the negative experiences with the whole class.

SESSION 6Post-Listening/Grammar Activities
Learning Goals:

  • Co-construct the distinctions made between separable and nonseparable phrasal verbs
  • Explore the social media apps they use to discuss how to deal with real examples of internet trolling as an extension activity
  • Practice using phrasal verbs in a social media app of their choosing to practice how to best model the communicative choices/language used in online formats

A.   Differentiating between Separable and Nonseparable Phrasal Verbs

  • From the list of phrasal verbs they identified in the pre-listening/grammar tasks, without telling the students why, break up the list of phrasal verbs into two columns (separable and nonseparable). Tell them there is a distinction in these phrasal verb forms and have students discuss what that distinction is (they can use their video transcripts (Appendix 4) to aid them in making this distinction) with a partner before sharing with whole class what their thinking is (i.e. some phrasal verbs are inseparable, meaning they cannot have other words/phrases put between the verb and preposition/adverb in the construction)
  • Have students discuss other phrasal verbs they came across in the reading activities with the video transcripts (Appendix 4). They will discuss what their group thinks they mean and justify why they think it is a separable or nonseparable structure.
  • Ask students why they think certain phrasal verbs are separable or nonseparable? Is there a clear rule they can see or understand? Or do they think the distinction is based more on feel? How will this affect their use of phrasal verbs in the long run? What do they think will be the best approach for them to automatize their comprehension/use of phrasal verbs?

B. Extension Activity 1: Sharing Real Online Experiences; Reading Activity

  • Students will work in pairs or in small groups of their choosing to explore the different social media apps they use where English is the main language for communication. They will search these apps to find examples of internet trolling and discuss with their partner or decide on their own how best to respond to trolling in those contexts. They do not have to actually address trolling on these apps if they are not comfortable with that (in fact, it may be best to encourage students not to at the moment). The main purpose is to help students become more aware of internet trolling happening in a real life context. Are there any types of phrasal verbs used to elicit or establish negative communication on the part of the troll? Or does the use of phrasal verbs not have an impact at all?

C. Extension Activity 2: Creating A Social Media Identity; Reading, Listening and Speaking Activity

  • The students will create a new social media identity in some form or fashion (a blog, a video blog, a periscope ID, etc.). They will use this social media platform to introduce themselves to the internet world and talk about something that interests them. For example, a student interested in fashion may choose to log-in to periscope to go shopping and talk to listeners about what fashion choices they are making.
    • If students choose to use Periscope, it will be important for them to record their session to share with the class at a later time as the videos done in real time will be deleted from their log-in after a specified amount of time.
    • Students wanting to write a blog or tape a video blog will have the opportunity to script what they want to talk about to get feedback from each other on the language they are using (informal vs. formal, one-verb structures where phrasal verbs would be more relatable, etc.) before posting their first blog or video blog entry online.
  • When students have uploaded their profiles online, they can invite whomever they are comfortable with in the class to go onto their sites and respond to the messages/personalities they are sharing.
    • In the case of the Periscope real time video, the students can either invite people from the class they are comfortable with to watch them in real time and respond to them online, or can share their videotaped session at a later time with people they are comfortable with in the class to watch and talk about the responses s/he got during the real-time video session.


     This is a ready-to-use unit which means that any English teacher can look at the materials presented here and teach a class using them without undergoing lengthy preparation. The listening and grammar sequences flow consistently and allow modification or alternative interpretation, if necessary. The sections where theoretical justification is provided may seem extensive, but we wrote them keeping in mind a curious teacher who may want to delve deeper into theoretical rationale for language teaching. The materials used in this unit are authentic, and the activities are built to create opportunities for meaningful and purposeful communication. We tried to balance the cultural and linguistic aspects of language learning while also bringing in the home cultures of our international students. Students are able to explore the new culture and reflect on their home culture, and this can create opportunities for meaningful and engaging discussion of the cultures represented in the class.

     The unit will prompt engaging discussions about the types of relationships established and maintained on social media, about the positive and negative interactions experienced daily by young people online, and about cultural awareness and sensitivity in online communication. The socio-cultural aspect is balanced by phrasal verbs – a complicated, ubiquitous and often under-represented linguistic feature in English language classes. The two aspects were glued together by the four steps in PACE: Primacy of Meaning, Lexical Preference, Lexical Semantics, and Meaning-Before-Nonmeaning principles. We provide scaffolding for listening activities to ensure better understanding of the target language presented in the videos. Thus, schemata are used to aid students’ comprehension of the authentic materials. To optimize student learning, listening strategies (metacognitive, cognitive, and social/affective) are reviewed and explicitly taught where needed.

     Focus on form was informed by the work of several theorists who argued that grammar has an important place in the classroom (Rutherford, 1988; Ellis, 1988; Shrum & Glisan, 2010). To this end, structural input and output models (Lee & VanPatten, 2003) were used in this unit. We present grammatical features while keeping meaning in focus, moving from sentences to connected discourse and back, using oral and written input, and employing learning strategies. Most importantly, the activities in this unit are designed to engage students in the practical application of phrasal verbs. Additionally, the unit materials require students to access and assess grammatical forms as well as provide opportunities for students to exchange authentic information, as suggested by (Lee and VanPatten, 2003). Last but not least, the unit allows students to participate in co-construction of grammar (Shrum and Glisan, 2010).

     We feel, however, that the sections with actual activities can be expanded and hope to improve these parts of the unit in the future. Particularly, the unit will benefit from additional phrasal verb exercises. The teacher can elicit examples of usage from students based on presented phrases and sentences, to be sure, and the unit is designed to ensure these opportunities. However, we think more input in the form of examples that cover more areas of usage could improve students’ understanding of the context and ways in which each phrasal verb is used. This can be addressed in our potential collaborative work in the future.


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Appendix 1: Needs Analysis

Dear Student,

This survey will help us learn about you and your interests. This semester you can choose three topics for themes and discussions. Please fill out the survey and return it to the instructors by email or simply drop it at our office located in Building 2, Room 212, University of Massachusetts Boston. Please rank the topics based on your level of interest from 1 – Least Interested to 5 – Most Interested:

Screenshot 2019-06-05 at 12.06.43.png

Appendix 2: Phrasal Verbs Replaced

The Amanda Oleander Video:
With a partner or on your own, read the following sentences. Each one-verb construction is in bold. You will choose the phrasal verb you think best replaces the one-verb construction from the options given for each sentence. After you’ve completed the activity, you will listen and watch the video to check your answers.  After checking your answers, we will discuss as a class what answers you got right or wrong, why you chose the phrasal verbs you did, and why the correct answers are the best choices for each sentence based on your understanding. We will also discuss the possibility for other phrasal verbs that will work based on the context of the sentences (from those listed below or from ones you know).

  1. My friend called me and said, “Amanda, there is this app, you should explore it.”
    a. check it out        b. look it up
    c. find it                  d. try it out
  2. Let’s see who enters first.
    a. shows up      b. turns out
    c. gets in            d. gets up
  3. I’ll give a shot to the first person who is on the chat.
    a. end up           b. get on
    c. turn out         d. set up
  4. Right now I am just paying attention to my artwork and welcoming people.                  a. taking on, meeting up         b. concentrating on, connection with
      c. listening to, warming up      d. hearing out, touching base 
  5. And somebody says, “Show boobs.” Dude, you are losing a chance to participate in some really fun stuff. You are about to be blocked forever.
    a. holding up                           b. blocking out
                      c. calling off                             d. missing out on 
  6. The community … it’s huge. This is the main thing actually. The same people join all the time, so they don’t only talk to me, they talk to each other.
    a. fill up, speak to             b. interact with, interact with
    b. come to, join with        d. fine in, talk over
  7. I can create work that I am inspired to do and I can actually delay commission work.
    a. hold off on           b. refrain from
    c. break down         d. drop out of
  8. I am going to share her channel … show her to all followers.
    a. give out to              b. pass out to
    c. drop off to              d. share with
*Phrasal verb answers highlighted here for the teacher’s use. Be sure to omit answers in student worksheets.


Appendix 3: Phrasal Verbs Omitted

The Three Social Media Videos:
Listen and watch each video we watched for our listening exercises to fill in the blanks and complete the sentences with the phrasal verbs you hear. After, you will break into pairs or groups of three and use the transcripts you got during the listening sequence for these videos to check your work. In your groups, you will also read the text around the sentence to explain what the phrasal verb means, and how it enhanced the message shared in that particular part of the video.

  1. I’ll give a shot to the first person I ___________ speaking on the chat. (end up*)
  2. I feel like the Internet is ___________ creepy men. (made of*)
  3. I’ve heard of these. They emerged from Usenet after the Great Flame War of 1999. They __________ negative reactions. (feed off*) 
  4. We invited a few more friends to __________ it ____. (try something out*)
  5. How hard it must be –  ____________ your middle class cave. (trapped in*)
  6. My friend called me and said, “Amanda, there is this app, you should _______ it ____.” (check something out*)
  7. Right now I am just ____________ my artwork and ___________ people. (concentrating on, connecting with*)
  8. They just want to take that and ___________ it … and be terrible … (run with*) 
  9. And if somebody says – show boobs… Dude, you are ___________ some really fun stuff. You are about to be blocked forever. (missing out on*)
  10. Let’s see who _________ first. (gets in*)
  11. Are you sure? We could just ___________ each other. (relate to*)
  12. The community … It’s huge. This is the main thing actually. The same people _________ all the time, so they don’t only ___________ me, they _________ with each other. (come in, interact with*)
  13. I can create work that I am inspired to do and I can actually ___________ commission work. (hold off on*)
  14. I am going to share her channel … ___________ all followers. (share with*)
  15. You _______. …You don’t know anything about my people. (shut up*)
*Phrasal verb answers provided here for the teacher’s use. Be sure to omit answers in student worksheets.


Appendix 4: Video Transcripts

Amanda Oleander Video:

Amanda Oleander: So I have “Fake Amanda Oleander” account. And she gets confused. And she’s not even following the real one. She’s following the fake one.

[Introduction Music/Visual Sequence Plays]

Amanda Oleander: My name is Amanda Oleander. I am a fine artist and a Periscoper. And this is my life.

[Video Transition to Amanda Oleander using Periscope]

Amanda Oleander: What’s up, everybody? Welcome. Hey everyone, so you guys are behind the scenes with BuzzFeed. This is Steven with BuzzFeed.

Steven: What’s up?

[Video Transition to Amanda Oleander Speaking, Interview Style]

Amanda Oleander: My friend called me and said, “Amanda, there’s this app, you should check it out. I went on Periscope. I started reading The Giving Tree live, and talking to people.

[Video Transition to Amanda Oleander using Periscope]

Amanda Oleander: Let’s see who gets in first.

[Video Transition to Amanda Oleander Speaking, Interview Style]

Amanda Oleander: I give a shout out to the first person who ends up speaking on the chat.

[Video Transition to Amanda Oleander using Periscope]

Amanda Oleander: And there’s 200 people one…201 people before someone was able to say something, and it was Martha Media. Wow! Hey, Martha. Is this the first time you’re in first on the chat? Welcome!

[Video Transition to Amanda Oleander Speaking, Interview Style]

Amanda Oleander: I became the top Periscoper, I think, within the first week? It happened so quickly. It was crazy. The reason that everything happened so quickly was one because I started it on the second day. There weren’t as many users. And two because I started giving content that was interesting for other people: “The day of the life of an artist.” So they got to see the process, and it was kind of like a show for them.

[Video Transition to Amanda Oleander using Periscope]

Amanda Oleander: [Reading a message out loud written to her on Periscope] “I was thinking if Bita isn’t married, I could make a date with my grandfather.” Bita. [Grandmother says something unintelligible.] She…my grandma says, “How old is your grandfather?”

[Video Transition to Amanda Oleander Speaking, Interview Style]

Amanda Oleander: My grandma’s name is Bita. That’s the nickname that I gave her, and everybody on Periscope, she just became really popular on Periscope. [Amanda Oleander and Bita talk to each other in Spanish, English translation is provided] That’s the one thing that you would say! How much do I make on Periscope? Zero. People ask me that all the time. I’ve had people ask to pay me to show their products and big companies, but I haven’t excepted any of that just because right now I’m just really concentrating on my artwork and connecting with people that’s what it’s about for me.

[Video Transition to Amanda Oleander using Periscope]

Amanda Oleander: Okay, at four o’clock, this is what we’re going to do. If you’re performers, if you sing, if you dance, if you breakdance, whatever you do, click @AmandaOleander on your topic, and I will find you on Twitter, and I will share it at four o’clock. And then somebody said, “Show boobs” and I…dude! You’re missing out on some really fun stuff. You’re about to be blocked forever. He’s blocked.

[Video Transition to Amanda Oleander Speaking, Interview Style]

Amanda Oleander: Well Periscope is very different than any other app. First of all there’s no filters, so…which I love. At Periscope, it’s so live, you always go, “Oh this is happening right now.” The community. Huge! This is like the main thing actually. The same people come in all the time, so they don’t only interact with me, they interact with each other. Now people get to see the artist behind the artwork. I can create work that I’m inspired to do, and I can actually hold off on commission work. Now it’s 3:59, and I am going to pick somebody to share. Let’s see. Who’s this person? Awesome jam sessions. Aww, she’s so cute! Now I’m going to share her channel. Share with all followers. This is my favorite part. She’s really good. I’m really excited. Almost 700 people. She had 35 people, and now she has almost 700 people with the touch of a button. I think also it…it’s…it’s inspiring for people because like she just learned the ukulele, and now she has all these followers who are gonna ask her, “When are you gonna play next? When are you gonna play next?” So now it’s inspired people to keep painting, and keep playing the piano and keep learning, so I don’t know, sometimes I get emotional.

[Video Transition to singing girl using Periscope]

Singing Girl: Joanna? Johanna? I love you! [Continues Singing]

[Video Transition to Amanda Oleander Speaking, Interview Style]

Amanda Oleander: It goes the first month, when this started happening to me, I guess I realized how much of a difference I can make with Periscope? I don’t know, it’s touching when you think about it now, that how technology with just a push of a button you can share somebody’s channel and make such a big difference at the comfort of like the park. There’s so many talented people out there, and all they need is a voice. So I don’t think of it as competition, really, I just love sharing other people’s channel, and yeah it makes me happy.


Negative Experience of Women on Periscope:

[Introductory Video Sequence with Text]

Male on Periscope: Oh, only three people! Oh, four people.

[Video Introduction Continues]

Female 1 on Periscope: Alright, shall I start? Hi.

Female Pair 1 on Periscope: Ah, there we go! Hello, world!

Female Pair 2 on Periscope: So, what’s up guys? What would you like to talk about?

Female 2 on Periscope: What’s my ethnicity? Umm…I’m from Bangladesh.

Female 3 on Periscope: [Exhales in frustration] Let’s not…

Female 1 on Periscope: Alright, well…

Female Pair 2 on Periscope: We don’t particularly like blow jobs, no…oh wow, that’s nice. We got a “Left beautiful,” we got a “Right beautiful.” People have different tastes.

Female 4 on Periscope: You have two dogs? That’s really cool. My nipples? I don’t know. I don’t think so.

Female Pair 1 on Periscope: Uncle Ben! Oh my god! They’re coming too fast for me to read. We’re not going to show you our feet! We just want to talk to everyone. [Reading message sent to them] “Show us your feet.” And we’re not going to kiss you. Or kiss each other. [Reading message sent to them] “Suck my…”

Female Pair 2 on Periscope: Try something else. Maybe something less sexual.
Female 5 on Periscope: [Reading message sent to her] “Can you shake your tits…that I’ll call twerk.” No, I don’t think so. Oh…thanks Joey, that’s nice of you.

Female Pair 1 on Periscope: [Reading message sent to them] “Respect the girls.” Oh, that’s nice, thank you. Everyone who’s trying to say something nice gets overshadowed by the people who’re saying shitty things. So I’m sorry to all the people who are trying to use this app to like be cool

[Transition to Interview Session with Female Participants]

Female 2 on Periscope: What do I think? Um, well most of them were like pretty sexual. I didn’t even read like half of the super sexual questions that I got.

Female Pair 1 on Periscope: I think it’s pretty standard that the guys wanted to see our tits. The feet is new. I never heard “the feet” but I guess it’s a fetish.

Female Pair 2 on Periscope: It’s like a virtual chatroom. You can say whatever the fuck you want, and you can make someone feel absolutely horrible, there’s no repercussion and maybe it gives your sick self some kind of high and makes you feel good.

Female 5 on Periscope: Two girls together. That’s like unfortunately a field day for like 14 year old boys. Like they just want to take that and run with it and be terrible and see…like and I wanna assume that they’re kids and like not grown men sitting at home, but I don’t know that.

Female 4 on Periscope: I feel like the internet is made for creepy men because I know that wouldn’t happen with a guy I like. Even if they did, they wouldn’t say stuff like, “Drop your pants.”

Female 2 on Periscope: Well like for instance when you get cat called and like guys are like whistling or like, “Yo, can I eat your pussy?” Like, they’re obviously not expecting you to respond. Uh, cuz no one responds, except to say like, “Fuck you.” No one’s going to respond in like an amicable manner. It’s just the fact that they see you like a piece of meat, and they see you as someone they can say anything to. Because you have a vagina. And they don’t see you as having any sort of like real worth.

Internet Trolling Video:

Guy 1: So that’s the difference between trail mix and GORP. Girl: What if there are M&Ms too?

Guy 1: No, uh, cuz that would be GORMP.

Guy 2: Guys, look at this bridge. It’s huge!

Troll: [Jumps down and scares people] Who dares approach my bridge?

Guy 1: Oh my god, it’s a troll.

Girl: A troll?

Guy 2: Don’t worry guys. I know how to handle this. I assume we’ll have to answer your questions three.

Troll: Faaaaaaaaaagot?

Guy 2: Oh, you’re an internet troll.

Girl: What’s an internet troll?

Guy 1: I’ve heard of these. They emerged from use net after the Great Flame War of ’99. They feed off of negative reactions.

Guy 2: We don’t want any trouble, good sir. We’re just on our way to the… Troll: Get an abortion! Abortion should be for free at Walmart.

Guy 2: Well, that’s an extreme stance on what’s a very nuanced issue. Troll: All teenage girls should be required to get abortions!

Guy 1: Aaron, be careful.

Girl: Yeah.

Guy 2: That’s ridiculous. How could anyone endorse something like that?

Troll: Gay people celebrate 9/11 like it’s their f****** birthday. 9/11 is like Christmas for gay people.

Guy 2: You shut up! You are ignorant! You don’t know anything about my struggle. [Troll shoves Guy 2 out of scene by unseen force]

Girl: Oh my god! Aaron! Oh, we have to get out of here!

Guy 1: No! We can do this, okay. He’s just baiting us.

Girl: What?

Guy 1: He wants us to snap. He’s feeding off of our anger. Alright? I got this.

Girl: Okay.

Guy 1: Hiiiiiii.

Troll: All Jews deserved to die in the Holocaust.

Guy 1: Hahaha…I know you’re just saying that to get me mad, and I know you don’t mean it.

Troll: Hahaha…I’m just kidding. Everyone knows the Holocaust didn’t happen.

Guy 1: Good one. Um, me and my friend were just wondering if…

Troll: Steve Jobs owns a PC.

Guy 1: What the f*** did you say? I will f****** kill you. You piece of sh…

[Troll shoves Guy 1 out of scene by unseen force]

Girl: Oh, no!

Troll: Where you going? There’s no kitchen that way.

Girl: Hi, Mr. Troll.

Troll: Rape victims are just big old whiners.

Girl: Yeah, I mean if you’re going to wear a low cut shirt, you’re basically asking for it, right?

Troll: I’m a Scientologist, so I think that Michelle Obama is just a b**** a** Fem-Nazi dyke! Hitler’s dick!

Girl: Yeah…hey, um, you’ve probably been under this bridge all day. Do you maybe wanna get a cup of coffee?

Troll: What? No! TGTGFO!

Girl: Are you sure? We could just relate to each other. I know how hard it must be. Trapped in your middle class cave. Your lawyer troll parents working all the time.

Troll: Yes…I could use…friend.

Girl: Do you mean that genuinely? With no hint of irony or snarkiness whatsoever?

Troll: Yes…I mean no!

[Troll gets shoved out of scene unseen force]


0 comments on “Thematic Unit, A Collaborative Paper

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