Just found this great collocations tool. I’m posting it here so I don’t forget the link.
This is a reading and speaking activity based around an article from the New York Times about possible changes to the Spanish working say timetable. The original article is quite long so I have edited it down a bit, it should be suitable for B2/FCE upwards. Here is a link to the edited version and the discussion questions:
Start by asking students to tell the class about their average day with specific focus on the times at which they get up, eat, go to work, go to bed etc. Ask them if they follow the typical Spanish timetable outlined in the introduction to the article. Do they eat late? Do they have a siesta?
Once they have shared their different schedules set the class a time limit depending on their level to quickly read the article and underline any unfamiliar vocabulary. This could include:
To hunker down – to meet up/get together
a boon – a bonus
a lag – a delay
Go over the new vocabulary on the board, then either split the class into small groups and give out the discussion questions or hold a whole-class discussion. Below are the discussion questions from the hand out:
What’s your initial reaction to the article?
Do you agree with any of the opinions stated? Which ones?
Describe your daily routine; does it follow the “Spanish” timetable?
What are the advantages/disadvantages of both the Spanish and the “European” timetable?
How difficult would you find it to adjust to a new timetable?
Do you think changing the timetable would affect the country’s culture?
Do you think most people would find it easy of difficult to adjust to a new timetable?
Do you think the current system helps people be efficient?
When you have finished the questions you could organise a class debate for/against the idea of changing the Spanish timetable to be more in line with the rest of Europe. Sometimes when organising debate teams it’s a good idea to force your students to argue for a point that they don’t actually agree with. Debate structure should be as follows:
- Each team presents their argument (3 uninterrupted minutes per team) - the other team must remain silent but can take notes for the rebuttals later
- Rebuttals (10 minutes) – Teams can attack the opposition’s arguments based on statements made in the presentation of their argument.
- Result – Teacher can decide which team has the most coherent argument.
You may find my activity on language of agreement/disagreement useful for the debate.
This is a fun conversation class to help students with language for making, accepting and rejecting polite requests in work or home situations. Here is the link to the handout.
Start by asking students the following:
Have you ever asked for a pay rise?
Have you ever asked for time off?
When was the last time you asked for permission for something? What was it? How did you ask?
First have students brainstorm language of polite requests, then go over the language in the handout.
I was wondering if it would be possible to…….
Is there any chance that I could…….
Would it be alright if I……..
I believe I’m entitled to/I deserve…… (a pay rise/a day off)
You see the thing is……………
The problem is that………….
Ok, I don’t see why not.
No problem at all
As long as/provided that/on condition that you……..
I’m afraid that’s just not possible at the moment.
That’s out of the question.
I’m afraid I have to turn your request down.
Once you have gone through the language, put students in pairs and give out the role play cards. Tell students that it is important that they keep their role cards secret as some characters are required to keep certain information secret.
Run the same role play simultaneously and after 4-5 minutes have students report back what happened to the rest of class (a good opportunity to practice reported speech).
You are an employee in a company. Next weekend your best friend is having his/her stag/hen party (despedida de soltero). You have to ask your boss for the Monday and Tuesday after off work. Your boss will probably reject the request if he/she knows you are going to a stag/hen party.
You are the boss of the company. An employee comes to ask you something. This particular employee has seemed distracted recently and keeps forgetting important things.
You are and sales person in a company. You are very stressed and you need a rest, you have decided that you want to take a sabbatical to go and volunteer in an elephant sanctuary in Africa for a year. You need to speak to the boss. You are very hard-working and the company is doing very well because of your hard work.
You are the boss of a company. One of your employees comes to ask you something. You have heard a rumour that this employee wants to take a sabbatical. He/she is your best sales person and the company really needs him/her. You can offer him/her a pay rise, a promotion and a 1 month holiday.
You are a strict parent. Your son/daughter comes to you with a request about the weekend.
You are a teenager. Your best friend is having a massive party at his/her house this weekend because his/her parents are away, the boy/girl of your dreams is also going to be there. You need to get your parent’s permission to go but they are very strict and will not give you permission if they know it’s going to be a crazy party.
You are a teacher. Your best student comes to you with a request.
You are a student. You are very intelligent and you work very hard. You want to be a journalist. You have been offered a part time job in a national newspaper. If you take the job you will have to work from 9am-12am on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays but you have classes on these days. Speak to your teacher and see if you can find a solution.
A great idea for a warmer.
Originally posted on A Hive of Activities:
This warmer is appropriate for a class that already knows each other quite well. In essence, the students to greet each other, and pay each other a compliment. Getting so many compliments in such a short space of time feels good, even when the compliments are contrived. It also feels a bit silly, which allows the students to laugh and relax together – perfect for communicating in their L2. The activity comes from a great book I recently acquired by Jill Hadfield, called Classroom Dynamics (where it’s called Crazy Compliments.)
Materials required: students and post-it notes (the same number as there are students).
This is a conversation activity based around Amy Chua the controversial author of the book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, her guide to parenting using stricter Chinese methods. Below are the links to the prezi and two hand outs.
First show the first slide of the prezi with the three quotes and have students discuss them as a class or in small groups.
Then tell show them the second slide and tell them that the three quotes are all from Amy Chua. Ask students if they have heard of her and encourage them to share their knowledge if they have.
Then give out the first handout (example of technique). Have the students read the story, go over any vocabulary issues and then have students discuss it using the questions on the 2nd slide.
Then have students discuss the quotes in the 3rd slide of the prezi or alternatively print out the second hand out (quotes) and use that for discussion.
Students preparing for exams could write an article or essay based around Amy Chua and her techniques. A compare and contrast piece based around students opinions of her techniques compared to traditional western parenting.
This is a fun lesson plan in which students work in pairs describing and drawing pictures. It will be useful for students preparing for Cambridge exam speaking activities.
You will need this handout: Pics for describing
Put the following picture on the board and hand out other copies to the class:
Ask students what they can see in the picture.
What’s in the background?
What’s in the foreground?
Go through the following vocabulary on the board:
In the background/foreground we can see…………..
On the left/right
At the top/bottom
He’s facing left/right/the camera
He looks happy/sad/ etc.
Prepositions: Next to/beside, above, below, in front of, behind.
Now tell students that you are going to describe a picture and they have to draw it. Tell them to draw quickly, also remind them about perspective (things in the foreground appear bigger than in the background)
Describe the following picture to them:
Try to give as much detail as possible. Collect in the pictures and stick them to the board and then show the real photo. Invite students to comment on the differences and vote for the one they think is most accurate.
Now put students in pairs, tell them that one person is going to describe and the other is going to draw. Have them position themselves so that the describer is facing the board so that he/she can see the vocabulary and the other should be facing them. Be careful that the different pairs are spaced out so that they cannot see each other’s pictures. Give them 5 minutes to describe and draw. Once the 5 minutes are up collect in the pictures and invite comments and votes again. Have students swap roles and repeat as many times as you like. There are several pictures in the handout with different degrees of difficulty.
Follow up activity:
For FCE or CAE students use the pictures for a practice run of the speaking part 2, in which students must compare and contrast two pictures for 1 minute.