Video Lesson: Mr. Bean

This is a video lesson based around the video “Mr. Bean packs his suitcase” thanks to British Council for bringing it to my attention in their lesson plan on making predictions but I’ve adapted it for use in different ways with different levels.

Kids and lower levels

The aim of this lesson plan is to practice holiday vocabulary (clothes and items that go in a suitcase) and some basic grammar structure.

Project a picture of a suitcase on to the board (or draw one) and ask “What do you put in your suitcase when you go on holiday?”  Brainstorm things that you pack on the board. Make sure students know:

  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • swimming shorts/trunks
  • towel
  • underpants
  • can of baked beans
  • cloth/flannel
  • soap
  • book
  • suitcase
  • trouser
  • short
  • shoes
  • teddy bears
  • scissors

You could also use this quizlet set to go over clothes vocabulary.

If children are old enough to write, put them in pairs and handout post notes and a pencil to each pair. Tell them they are going to watch a video of a silly man packing his suitcase, they have to write 5 things on the post it that they think he will put in his suitcase. Have them copy the following:

Mr. Bean will put

  1. _________
  2. _________
  3. _________
  4. _________
  5. _________

in his suitcase.

Then stick all the post-its on the board and show the video. The team that guesses the most object correctly wins. Have them read out their original post-it using past simple affirmative and negative forms: “Mr.Bean put a shirt in his suitcase. He didn’t put a mobile phone in his suitcase.”

Higher levels – video dictations

Ask students: What do you have to do before you go on holiday?

Buy your ticket, pack your suitcase, find your passport etc.

Preteach the following vocabulary:

Objects:

  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • swimming shorts/trunks
  • towel
  • underpants
  • can of baked beans
  • cloth/flannel
  • soap
  • book
  • suitcase
  • trouser
  • short
  • shoes
  • teddy bears
  • scissors

Verbs:

  • to fit (the chair doesn’t in my bag)
  • to take out (I took a pen out of my bag)
  • to pack a suitcase
  • to swap (I swapped the shirt for a t-shirt)
  • pick up (I picked up the pen)
  • throw away (I threw away the coke can)
  • to choose (I chose the red shirt)
  • to do eeny-meany-miney-mo
  • to realise (I realised I had forgotten my passport)
  • to squeeze (I squeezed the toothpaste)
  • to snap in half (He snapped the pencil in half)

Put students in pairs and arrange them so that 1 is facing the screen and one has their back to the screen. Tell them that the one facing the screen is going to watch 20 seconds of the video then describe it to their partner, their partner will then repeat back what they’ve heard to make sure they have understood. Students then change positions and repeat until minute 3:14. Then let all students watch the end together. Alternatively students could come up with predictions for how the video will end.

I recommend pausing the video quite frequently so that students can concentrate on describing 2 or three actions accurately rather than trying to describe a big chunk of the video.

Then replay the whole video from the start so that everyone can watch it together, ask students if they think their partner described the action well.

Hack-schooling discussion

This is a discussion class for higher levels (high B2 – C2) based around the Logan Laplante’s TED talk video on “hack-schooling” a form of home schooling based round applicable skills and hands-on experience.

The video is 11 minutes long so I set it for homework the lesson before so that students could watch and rewatch as many times as they needed to fully understand it. Alternatively, you could watch it in class if you have time.

Vocabulary

Logan uses some skier/skater American slang, for example:

To be stoked – to be excited about/interested in something

to be bummed out – to be annoyed/disappointed

Other vocab that might need highlighting:

To log out of reality – to escape from reality

mashup – a mixture/fusion of different elements

hacker mindset – a mindset is a set of attitudes a person has

Discussion questions

  1. What was your first impression of Logan?
  2. How old is he?
  3. Is he a typical 13 year old?
  4. What are the 8 keys to happiness? (Exercise/diet and nutrition/time in nature/contribution and service to others/relationships/recreation/religious and spiritual)
  5. What do you think of this idea?
  6. How does he define a “hacker”? (A person who changes and improves established systems)
  7. What is “hack-schooling”? (opportunistic learning that doesn’t follow a curriculum with no fixed structure)
  8. What do you think of this idea?
  9. How and what does Logan learn?
  10. Is it for everyone?
  11. Is it only for people from a privileged background?
  12. “Schools are orientated towards making a living rather than making a life” What do you think of this statement? Do you agree?
  13. Do students today learn applicable skills?
  14. What do you think Logan is going to be when he grows up?
  15. What would your friends say if you pulled your children out of school?

Role-play

Put students in pairs of groups of 3 and have them role play the last question, student A has decided to pull their kids out of school to teach them at home, student B thinks they are crazy!

Debate

“The education system does not prepare students for life.”

Split group in to two groups, 1 in support and 1 against the motion. Follow standard debate structure, 2 minute opening arguments, rebuttals etc.

IELTS Writing: Checklists for Task 1 (2nd half)

Robbio Dobbio:

Great check list for IELTS Writings.

Originally posted on teflreflections:

Hello everyone,

Here is the second section of the post that I did recently on checklists for IELTS Writing Task 1. I hope you find this usefRobert Williamul. We will do checklists for task 2 at another time. Thanks for listening. Please leave your comments below.

For more tips on what you should and shouldn’t write in the Task 1 follow this link.

Read more about our IELTS preparation courses here, and don’t forget to Follow the blog to receive the latest posts by email.

Checklists

View original

CPE Review

This is a handout with as much language and advice possible for approaching the CPE writing part 2 review tasks. I made it for my December candidates, fingers crossed they actually read it! I only had time to add language for film, book and restaurant reviews, in return for using my lesson plan please be so kind as to answer me the following question:

What other types or review have you come across in CPE exams? Let me know and I’ll endeavour to add language for them to this phrase list.

You can download the handout here: CPE Review (formatting looks better in word than on wordpress!)

CPE Review

Register: Informal/neutral

Use: all your colourful vocabulary:

Phrasal verbs/idioms/impressive collocations.

Forms and conventions:

Title: for films/books/restaurants use the name/title or if think up an imaginative title using an idiom/expression.

Planning, 6 step system:

1.        Read task, underline content points.

2.        Divide content points into paragraphs: Intro, décor, ambiance, service, food, recommendation.

3.        WHAT do you want to say? Add your notes to each paragraph in simple form.

4.        HOW are you going to say that? Brainstorm advanced grammar and vocabulary for each note.

5.        Forms and conventions: Title paragraph titles, fixed introduction.

6.        Write! Remember word limit is: 280-320

Introduction:

Personal anecdote to grab attention. Introduce name of book/film, restaurant + location, course, TV show etc.

Seldom do I find the time to…, however when I do take time out of my hectic schedule, I like nothing more than…

Being a bit of a film buff/book worm/foody, the news that … had opened a new restaurant/released a new film/book had me itching to try/see/read it. So last week I popped down with a friend to check it out.

Having never seen/read/tried… before I approached … with a sense of trepidation, not knowing what to expect. Soon however, all my fears were allayed.

Book reviews:

Vocab to describe the book in general:

a page-turner / a white-knuckle ride / a tearjerker / a laugh a minute / I couldn’t put it down.

Vocab to describe specific parts:

a slow start / a gentle introduction /gripping climax / nail-biting conclusion / cliff-hanger ending/ a shocking twist in the tail

Setting:

The book is set in _______(place/time)

The action takes place in ______ (place/time)

the present day (now)

an alternate reality where vampires / wizards walk the earth

a sleepy village in the USA

the bustling city of New York

Plot:

The plot centres around / focuses on (the adventures / lives of _________)

The plot follows the adventures of _________(character name)

Characters:

Villain / hero / heroine / anti-hero / main character / protagonist

The characters are believable / well-crafted / a bit 2 dimensional.

Film/TV reviews:

General:

An all-star cast

heavily influenced by the films of..

glowing reviews

startling originality

suspense builds up

a polished performance

a bold experiment

an accomplished actor

an unmitigated disaster (bad film)

a dazzling display of his/her talents

made a lasting impression on me.

Brought a tear to my eye

Like watching paint dry (boring)

I was on the edge of my seat (exciting)

A blockbuster (big commercial film eg Superman)

… sets off an amazing chain of events

Gripping film (exciting)

The director/author evoked a magical atmosphere

… awakened my interest in…

Hold my attention

Capture the audience’s imagination.

Spectacular set-pieces (main action scenes)

… is cast in the role of…

… is miscast in the role of…

…gives a(n) (un)convincing performance as…

The film is let down by a clichéd script.

Restaurant review:

Hearty meal

Wholesome food

Piping-hot

Succulent/juicy (meat)

Creamy

With a kick (spicy)

Crunchy/crispy

Well-seasoned

Packed with flavour

A steaming plate of..

Hungry/starving/ravenous/famished

Bustling eatery(restaurant)

Lively atmosphere

Service with a smile

A plate piled high with..

Mouth-watering

To die for

Heavenly

To lick your lips in anticipation

Roast

Pan-fried

Grilled

Steamed

Freshly-baked

Restaurants cont.

Make a pig of one’s self

To feast/gorge on (eat a lot of)

To eat/drink to your heart’s content

Devour/gobble up

Savour

Nibble

Bite

Lick

Aromas wafting from the kitchen

Cheap – economical/reasonably-priced

Expensive – pricey/costs an arm and a leg

€20 a head (per person)

Killer Lines:

Were I to sum up … in one word, it would be…

… left a lot to be desired (wasn’t good enough)

…more than lives up to the hype (is as good as everyone says it is)

… is by far and away the best … you’re likely to … this year

… really raises the bar (sets a higher standard)

… sets the benchmark for other (others will be judges against how good it is)

… ticks all the right boxes

… holds up well in comparison with …

…comes off badly in comparison with …

Grammar check list

Have you included?

·         An inversion (not only/no sooner/seldom)

·         An inverted conditional (Were we to…)

·         A participle clause (Being…/Having gone…)

·         A double comparative (The more we… the more)

·         A cleft sentence (What is most crucial is…)

·         Idioms

·         Phrasal verbs

CPE Report

This is a handout with as much language and advice possible for approaching the CPE writing part 2 report tasks. I made it for my December candidates, fingers crossed they actually read it!

You can download the handout here: CPE Report

CPE Report

Register:

Formal, impersonal, cold and factual.

DO NOT USE:

·         Contractions

·         Colourful language (gorgeous/stunning/awesome etc.)

·         Informal phrasal verbs (meet up/break down/check out etc.)

·         “I/we think….” (too personal)

Forms and Conventions:

Title: Report into …….

Paragraph Titles: Introduction, Strengths, Weaknesses, Conclusion. (for example)

 

Fixed introduction: The aim of this report is to evaluate/put forward ideas for/examine etc.

Planning, 6 step system:

1.        Read task, underline content points.

2.        Decide paragraph titles. Are they obvious from the task? Or do you have to be creative. Maximum of 5 paragraphs.

3.        WHAT do you want to say? Add your notes to each paragraph in simple form.

4.        HOW are you going to say that? Brainstorm advanced grammar and vocabulary for each note.

5.        Forms and conventions: Title paragraph titles, fixed introduction.

6.        Write! Remember word limit is: 280-320

Introduction:

The purpose/aim of this report is to….

This report sets out to…

The report will comment on…

Below is an explanation of…

The focus of this report is…

This report will offer an in depth critique of…

Fake survey/questionnaire:

It can be a good idea to base the report on a survey/questionnaire.

This report will present the findings of/This report is based on the findings/results of an extensive survey carried out by…

Ending Introduction:

It will go on to give recommendations regarding…

Expressing general opinions/info:

….is considered/thought/said to be

…is highly regarded in (place)…(good reputation)

There is widespread agreement that…

Opinions are divided regarding…

It is common knowledge that…

Recent research indicates that…

Interviewees who had first-hand knowledge of the situation stated…

There is considerable disagreement regarding

Comparing and Contrasting

There is a world of difference between… and…

… and… are fundamentally similar

… and… bear little resemblance to each other

There is a clear distinction between… and…

compares favourably with…

… and… are polar opposites

There is a yawning gap between… and…

There is a subtle difference between… and…

There is a growing disparity between rich and poor.

… is strikingly different to…

Advantages/disadvantages:

…’s advantages clearly outweigh its disadvantages.

advantages

benefits/pros/strengths

disadvantages

downsides/weaknesses/drawbacks

Giving Recommendations:

-In light of the above, we believe the following

measures should be adopted…

-In the short/long term, we suggest you should

consider…

-My recommendations are as follows:…

-In my view, in future, we should…

-To improve the situation, we recommend…

-It is recommended that…

Concluding:

-To sum up,…To conclude,…

-I hope that the plan outlined/presented in this

report meets with your approval…

-I hope that the recommendations outlined/

presented in this report will receive your serious

consideration.

Should the recommendations outlined in this report be carried out, I have no doubt that …. Will be a resounding success.

 

Grammar check list

Have you included?

·         An inversion (not only/no sooner/seldom)

·         An inverted conditional (Were we to…)

·         A participle clause (Being…/Having gone…)

·         A double comparative (The more we… the more)

·         A cleft sentence (What is most crucial is…)

·         Linkers (Nevertheless/despite/due to/consequently)

·         Impressive verbs (bring about change/undergo development)

CAE/CPE Writing: Planning and Completion

This is a lesson plan to based around a 6 point plan for CAE/CPE writing tasks. It is designed to help students plan their compositions better and complete the tasks fully. The example is a CPE task but the system is applicable to FCE and CAE as well.

You will need the prezi, and the handout.

The prezi will walk students through the 6 step system. Included in the prezi are several scanned documents of each planning stage. Below I have included my example review and the various scanned documents in case you want to print them or project them individually.

My BBC review - This is the example from the end of the prezi, you may want to print it and give it out to students to evaluate in pairs.

cpe writing tasks part 2 - These are the writing tasks

Writing tasks, content underlined - These are the writing tasks with the content points underlined: Step 1

writing plan paragraphs - This is the planning page with paragraph titles: Step 2

writing plan stage 3 - This is the planning page with ideas: Step 3

writing plan after HOW - This is the planning stage with grammar and vocab: Step 4

CPE Writing Part 1: Formal Essay

This is a lesson plan to help prepare students for part 1 of the CPE writing exam, in which students are required to write a formal essay which summarises and evaluates two other texts.

Here is my step-by-step guide to approaching the task:

Download the class handout here:

CPE writing essay 2nd plan

Step 1 – Text analysis

  • Read both texts and decide if they are complimentary or contrasting.
  • Underline the two key content points in each text.

Step 2 – Paraphrasing and summarising

  • Brainstorm different ways to paraphrase and summarise the key points.
  • What impressive structures can you use? Inversions, passives, collocations, expressions.

Step 3 – Evaluate and react

  • Decide which points you agree and disagree with.
  • Brainstorm your own thoughts and experiences on the subject.

Summarise, evaluate, react.

Introduction

Present the topic of discussion and ask questions the essay will answer.

Hardly a week goes by without another report of …………….. appearing in the media.

Over the past ten years or so the media have frequently carried reports of ……………

The trend nowadays is towards (gerund)

How has the public’s opinion on this issue shifted over the last few years?

Although most people would generally agree that …………… few would deny that …………….

This raises the issue of whether or not……………..

This issue strikes a chord with the vast majority of the general public.

What impact, if any, have these shifts/changes/developments had on the general public’s psyche?

How are we to gauge the effect of such shifts/changes/developments?

Finish your introduction with the following sentence:

Both (1) extracts (2) discuss the nature of these (3) notions, but from different (4) viewpoints.

synonyms for text – extract passage

discuss/evaluate/explore

notions/concepts/ideas

viewpoints/perspectives/points of view

Paragraph 1 – Text 1

The first (1)text (2)argues that………

(1)extract/passage

(2)suggests/puts forward the idea that/asserts

Try and sum up the first point neatly with an inversion:

Seldom does the airplane make the top 5, let alone the top spot when the lists of the so-called most influential inventions are drawn up.

Not since…. Only when….. Not until…. Not only…. But also, No sooner… than
Seldom/rarely…….. Barely/scarcely/hardly……… when

Paragraph structure:

Option 1
  • Introduce content point 1 (paraphrased)
  • Evaluate and react. (your opinion)
  • Introduce content point 2
  • Evaluate and react. (your opinion)

Option 2

  • Summarise both content points
  • Own evaluations and reaction.

Stating opinion

Stating your opinion

As I see it,

It seems to me that ………… I would also say that ….

I am convinced that ……………

I am inclined to believe that ………………

There is no doubt in my mind that ………………

One of the drawbacks of ……. is ……….

However, one of the benefits is that …………

EMPHASIZING

-I would like to stress that the research is still at an early stage.

-It should be noted that there are a number of alternative methods available.

-It is worth bearing in mind that 90% of the scientists researching herbicides in the US are employed by chemical companies.

CAUSE

-lead to: The research could lead to a cure for many serious illnesses.

-result in: The fire resulted in damage to their property.

-be responsible for: He was responsible for the accident.

-bring about: The war brought about enormous social change.

-give rise to: Poor performance in exams can give rise to depression and even thoughts of suicide.

-trigger: to make something suddenly start to happen, especially a bad situation such as a crisis or a war, or a medical condition: Certain foods can trigger allergies.

-contribute to: Passive smoking could contribute to the development of respiratory diseases among nonsmokers.

-factor: Cost is often the deciding factor when choosing any product.

Describing causes

One factor which has led to ………… is …………..

One of the factors which has brought this about is ………

The problem often stems from ………………..

The situation has been exacerbated by …………….

………….. has only made the situation worse.

One consequence of ……………. is …………….

Concluding

All in all it seems to me that ………..

The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that …………………..

All things considered, ………….

On balance, I tend to believe that …………

The world would surely be a better place to live in if …………..

If people stopped ….ing, we would have/ we could look forward to a ……………

The prospects for the future will be bleak/grim unless ……………….