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Famous People Lessons: Barack Obama

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Website Example:

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Computer (s), Internet access, speakers

Activity Description

This site offers lessons/activities using biographies and profiles of famous people. Each offers a transcript with an MP3 audio file for listening practice, and the following activities:

  • a synonym match
  • a phrase match
  • a listening gap fill
  • a correct word choice
  • spelling
  • organizing the text
  • scrambled sentences
  • discussion
  • writing

Reading level varies from Beg. High - Adv. ESL. There are also online activities to go with the lessons.


  1. Preview the Web site and select a famous person.
  2. Download the Word doc or PDF and print the lesson activities for your students.
  3. Make sure you can play the MP3 files on the teacher computer and that the speakers are loud enough.


  1. Before introducing the famous person, list some words that describe him/her on the board. Have students try to guess who it is.
  2. To activate background knowledge, have students discuss what they know about this person in small groups. Lead a brief whole-class discussion.
  3. Ask the students to listen for something interesting about the famous person. Play the MP3 and have students share the interesting fact they heard.
  4. Distribute the lesson activities and review the Synonym Match activity. Have the students listen again to the MP3 and see if they can identify the words from the reading to the correct synonyms. Have students compare their answers in small groups.
  5. Review the Phrase Match activity, have students listen again to the MP3 and match the phrases from the reading. Have them compare their answers in small groups.
  6. Play the MP3 again and have students complete the Listening Gap Fill activity. Review the answers as a class.
  7. Play the MP3 again and have students complete the Choose the Correct Word activity. Review the answers as a class.
  8. Have students complete the Spelling, Put the Text Back Together, and Scrambled Sentences activities, referring to the the written text if needed.
  9. Have students find a partner and decide who is Student A and who is Student B. Have them discuss the questions provided for each student.
  10. Have students come up with 5 questions about the famous person with their partner (or in small groups) and write these on their Survey. Have each student interview three classmates, write their classmates' responses, and then discuss these responses with their partner (or small group members).
  11. Have students write about the famous person, show their partner their paper, and correct each other's work.
  12. Assign one of the suggested homework assignments.

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After listening to several profiles, reading the information, and completing exercises, students can select a "Famous Person" of their own and create a profile as an individual project or as group project.


  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced


Basic Communication

  • (0.2) Communicate regarding personal information

Basic Communication

  • (2.7) Understand aspects of society and culture
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.