Conversation topic: The best way to…

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

Image credit: www.cleverprocrastination.com

This is a straightforward conversation topic lesson plan which can be used with both teens and adults and many levels (high A2+). Students discuss the best thing to do in different situations.

You will need the “best way to…” powerpoint:

The best way to

Language

Put the following structures on the board:

Opinion:

  • In my opinion
  • From my point of view
  • As far as I’m concerned
  • I reckon

The best/worst thing to do is…

Agreeing and disagreeing:

Agreeing Disagreeing Ending an argument:
  • We see eye to eye
  • I couldn’t agree with you more.
  • That’s exactly how I feel.
  • You have a point there.
  • I was just going to say that.
  • Absolutely.
  • We don’t see eye to eye
  • I take your point but
  • I tend to disagree with you there
  • I’m afraid I have to disagree with you there
  • I beg to differ
  • That’s not always the case.
  • Let’s just move on shall we?
  • I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree.

Project the powerpoint onto the board and go through the slides. Play devil’s advocate and ensure that students debate each topic thoroughly.

Debates

You could split the class into teams and debate one of the topics. Give each team an opinion, for example “the best way to break up with someone is by text”, and they have to defend that opinion even if they don’t agree with it.

Homework

Have students choose one of the topics raised and write an essay on it; exploring the different ways suggested and reaching a conclusion as to which is the best.

3rd Conditional: Balloon Debate

Photo credit:en.wikipedia.org

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a conversation lesson plan to practise past (3rd) conditional structures whilst debating the value of specific professions to society. Credit to the university of Kent for the inspiration for the activity. I have changed the wording of the task slightly so that students must imagine a world without the achievements and inventions of some famous names from history.

You will need the handout, I have made 4 versions:

Intermediate teens:

Balloon Debate intermediate teenagers

Intermediate adults:

Balloon Debate Intermediate adults

Advanced teens:

Balloon Debate Adv teenagers

Advanced adults:

Balloon Debate Adv adults

I planned this as an activity to practise uses of advanced 3rd conditional structures such as:

But for + noun phrase, would/could/might have….

But for Thomas Edison, the lightbulb would have been invented much later.

Or inverted past conditionals:

Had it not been for Shakespeare, we wouldn’t have such a rich vocabulary.

You may want to preteach these structures using my other materials which you can find here and here.

Below you will find they advanced adults version of the activity.

Balloon Debate

You are in a hot air balloon which is losing height rapidly and will soon crash because it is overweight. You are travelling with a group of school children who will grow up to be very famous. You have to decide which 7 to throw over the side; if the balloon crashes you will all die. The passengers are:

  • Mother Teresa
  • Mao Tse-tung
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • Florence Nightingale
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Mikael Gorbachev
  • Charles Darwin
  • William Shakespeare
  • Diego Maradona
  • Albert Einstein
  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Beethoven
  • Vincent Van Gogh
  • Jane Austen
  • Steve Jobs

 

Language

Conditionals Making Decisions
If_____ hadn’t invented_____, _____ wouldn’t have happened. There’s no way we’re throwing ______ overboard because______
But for ________ we wouldn’t have________. Throwing _______ is out of the question because________
If it hadn’t been for ______, we wouldn’t have _______ now I think ________ is expendable.
Had it not been for _______, we wouldn’t have________. What did _______ really do for us?

Examples:

If Charles Darwin hadn’t discovered evolution, society wouldn’t have developed like it has.

If it hadn’t been for Gandhi, India would still be a British colony.

But for Shakespeare, we wouldn’t have such a rich language.

Had it not been for Abraham Lincoln, the slaves wouldn’t have been freed.

Homework Activity:

Students write an essay examining two of the people from the balloon and deciding which one has contributed most to society. They must compare and contrast the achievements of the two and reach a conclusion as to which should be crowned as the most inspiring person in history.

Infinitives

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for intermediate students to practice different uses of the infinitive through games and conversation.

You will need the lesson plan, students worksheet and articulate cards.

Infinitives Lesson Plan

Infinitives students sheet

Articulate Object Cards

Warmer

Play the classic memory game: “I went to the shops to buy…”

Teacher starts: “I went to the shops to buy a loaf of bread” (encourage use of partitives – loaf of bread, bar of soap, carton of milk etc.)

Next student must repeat the sentence and add another item, continue until you have a huge shopping list of items.

Infinitives of purpose

Have students repeat back the sentences “I went to the shops to buy…”

Ask them what the infinitive expresses? Purpose/reason, introduce the title: infinitives of purpose. Students complete the matching exercise.

Match the sentences halves 1-6 a-f to make sentences using the infinitive of purpose.

1.       I go to the gym 3 times a week a.       To give to her mother.
2.       I went to the supermarket b.      To see the new Woody Allen film.
3.       We went to the cinema c.       To do the weekly shop.
4.       I drove all night just d.      To clean underneath it.
5.       He lifted up the sofa e.      To keep fit.
6.       She bought chocolates f.        To see you.

Key: 1-e, 2-c, 3-b, 4-f, 5-d, 6-a.

In these sentences we can also use “in order to” to be more formal.

We often use “so as” with a negative infinitive to express purpose.

She’s leaving now so as not to arrive late.

1.       She entered the house quietly a.       So as not to hurt his feelings.
2.       He turned the volume down b.      So as not to wake the children.
3.       She stopped eating chocolate c.       So as not to burn the onions.
4.       They told him the terrible picture was lovely d.      So as not to miss the start of the film.
5.       He turned the heat down e.      So as not to annoy the neighbours.
6.       They hurried f.        So as not to put on weight.

Key: 1-b, 2-e, 3-f, 4-a, 5-c, 6-d.

Game – Articulate

Cut up the object cards on the hand out. Split class into teams. Each team has 1 minute to describe the objects on the cards using an infinitive of purpose:

It’s an object we use to eat soup. Spoon!

For each card they get 1 point.

Verbs with infinitives

The following verbs are all followed by the infinitive. Use them to answer the questions below.

Decide Want Need Would like/love Learn Pretend Promise Forget + an obligation
  1. What did you want to be when you were a child?
  2. Do you always keep your promises?
  3. Have you ever broken a promise?
  4. When did you learn to ride a bike?
  5. Have you ever forgotten to lock your door?
  6. Have you ever forgotten to pick up your keys?
  7. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever forgotten to do?
  8. Who did you pretend to be when you were playing as a child?
  9. Have you made any big decisions recently? What have you decided to do?
  10. What would you like/love to do this year?
  11. What do you want to have for dinner tonight? What do you think you will have?
  12. Is there anything important you need to do this week? Do you think you will do it?

Ageism and Retirement: CAE/CPE Lesson Plan

Student Onno Selbach does activities with two of our inhabitants. Photo courtesy of Humanitas.

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

Photo credit: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/dutch-retirement-home-offers-rent-free-housing-students-one-condition/

This is a conversation activity for adults (B2+) based around an article about a Dutch retirement home where university students can live rent free in exchange for spending time with the senior residents. It also includes  Cambridge exam style open cloze and word formation exercises.

Lesson Plan:Dutch nursing home lesson plan

Article:Dutch nursing home offers rent

Open Cloze: Dutch nursing home open cloze

Word Formation: Dutch nursing home word formation

Key:

You can either split the class into groups to discuss the questions or conduct the discussion as a class. Warmer questions:

  • What is ageism?
  • Have you ever experienced it or seen an example of it?
  • In what ways/situations are people discriminated against because of their age?
  • Do you think older people are treated well in your society?
  • What type of problems do elderly people face in modern society?
  • How could this be improved?
  • Do you think the way in which older people are treated has got better or worse in your lifetime?
  • Are young and elderly people well integrated in modern society? If not how can we improve this?

Give out article and have students read it, clear up any vocabulary issues. Then give out the open cloze and word formation exercises.

Discussion questions:

  • What do you think of the program?
  • What are the potential advantages and disadvantages?
  • Why would this program appeal to the students?
  • Why would this program appeal to the elderly people?
  • What would the students get out of the program?
  • What would the elderly people get out of the program?
  • Would you have liked/like to spend your university years living in a retirement home?
  • Would you like to live in a home like this when you retire?

Follow up activity: Students write a CAE style essay, report or proposal on the topic of ageism and the retirement home program outlining pros and cons or highlighting advantages and disadvantages for the students and the elderly people.

A little bit of drama: Reported speech – reporting verb patterns

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for higher levels (B2+) to teach verb patterns with reporting verbs using video and scripted roleplays. It will be especially useful for CAE students as these structures tend to come up in key word transformations quite often.

You will need:

Explanation of the 4 groups of reporting verbs:

Reporting verbs

Credit to http://www.eltbase.com/notes.php?id=59 for their great explanation.

The scripted scenarios (print out at least 3 copies):

Reported speech script

The key to the scenarios:

Reported Speech Script Key

Introduction:

Write the verbs “accuse” and “deny” on the board. Then play the first minute of the following video:

Elicit the following sentences from students:

The Dad asked the boys who had got the paint out.

The older brother accused the younger brother of gettting/having got the paint out.

The younger brother denied getting/having got the paint out.

The older brother accused the younger brother of building stairs out of blocks.

Analyse the sentences and come up with the formula for the verbs accuse and deny:

accuse somebody of doing/having done something

deny doing/having done something

Ask students if they have ever been in a similar situation with a sibling or friend.

Have you ever been wrongfully accused of doing something?

Stage 2: 4 groups of reporting verbs

For this part you can either give out the handout on the 4 groups of reporting verb patterns. Or model the sentences on the board and have students dedicate a page in their vocab books for each group of verbs.

You’re going to need a lot of space on the board for this part. Divide the board into 4 quarters.

Write the following sentence, one at the top of each quarter:

  1. I’ll come to the party. (say)
  2. I’ll come to the party. (tell)
  3. I will definitely help with the cleaning. (promise)
  4. I didn’t steal the money. (deny)

Tell students to change the sentences to reported speech using the verb in brackets:

  1. He said that he would come to the party.
  2. He told me that he would come to the party.
  3. He promised to help with the cleaning.
  4. He denied stealing the money.

Tell students that these are the 4 groups of reporting verbs.

Group 1: Say pattern: Same as “say”

 He said that he would come to the party.

Subject + reporting verb + (that) + clause

Common verbs of this type:

admit
advise*
agree
announce
claim
complainconfess*
confirm
declare
explain
insist*
mention
promise*
propose*
say
suggest
warn*demand

* also used with other patterns – see below

Group 2: Tell pattern: Same as “tell”

He told me that he would come to the party.

Subject + reporting verb + direct object + (that) + clause.

Common verbs of this type:

advise
assure
convince
inform
notify
promise
reassure
remind
tell
warn

Group 3: Reporting actions: Promises requests etc.

 He promised to help with the cleaning.

Subject + reporting verb + infinitive with to

Common verbs of this type:

agree
ask
claim
demand
offer
promise
propose
refuse
threatentell (imperative)

He encouraged me to take maths instead of history.

Subject  + reporting verb + DO + infinitive with to

Common verbs of this type

advise
ask
beg
convince
encourage
forbid
instruct
invite
order
persuade
remind
tell
urge
warn (not to)

Group 4: Reporting verbs with gerund.

He denied stealing the money.

Subject + reporting verb + gerund

 Common verbs of this type:

admit
deny
mention
propose
report
suggest

 

Verbs with prepositions and gerund:

 

Accuse sb of doing st

Confess to doing something

Apologise to sb about/for doing st

Blame sb for st

Complain to sb about st

Insist on doing st

Object to st/doing st

Advise ab against doing st

Stage 3: Scripted role-play

Split the class into groups of 2-3 and give out the role-play scenarios, give them a couple of minutes to read and rehearse and then have students come to the front of the class and act out the scenarios. Then the other groups have to write sentences using as many reporting verb patterns as they can based on what happened in the scenarios. Guide students and model sentences, encourage them to place them in the correct group.

Reported speech – Scripts

Scenario 1

A: Hi son, How’s it going?

B: Hi Dad. I’m going out.

A: Wait a minute, wait a minute. Have you done your homework?

B: Ahhh come on Dad, it’s Friday night.

A: I don’t care, have you done it or not?

B: No. But I promise I’ll do it tomorrow.

A: Ok, but if you don’t you’ll be grounded for a week.

B: Ok it’s a deal.

They shake hands.

Scenario 2

Sarah: Hi Fiona, how’s it going? Are you coming to the party tonight?

Fiona: No I don’t think so; I’m not in the mood and I have to work tomorrow.

Sarah: No you don’t! Tomorrow is a holiday, the shop is closed.

Fiona: Oh yeah! I’d completely forgotten. I’m still not sure.

Sarah: Oh come on, you’ve got to come! Tommy’s going to be there.

Fiona: Really? Hhhhmmmm well, ok go on then, I’ll come.

Scenario 3

Teacher: (to John) You stole €5 from the charity collection box!

John: Me??? It wasn’t me! How dare you accuse me! It was Sandra who stole the money. I saw her do it!

Sarah: Me? No way! He’s lying!

Teacher: I want to see what’s in your pockets right now!

They turn out their pockets. John’s pockets are full of money.

Teacher: Aha! What’s all this?

John: Ok, it was me. I admit it.

Sarah: I think it’s unfair that I was accused of this crime. I’m going to tell my parents.

Teacher: I’m terribly sorry Sarah, it was a misunderstanding.

Scenario 4

Anna and Natalie are having a party. The music is very loud. There is a knock at the door.

Anna: (opening the door) Yes? Who is it? What do you want?

Little old lady: It’s 3am, I can’t sleep please turn the music down.

Natalie: Turn it down? No way! We just graduated!

Little old lady:  Oh please please please turn it down, I’m so tired.

Anna: Nope sorry, we’re not going to turn it down.

Little old lady: (angry) Well, if you don’t turn it down I’m going to call the police.

Natalie: Go ahead! You can come in and use my phone if you want.

Little old lady: oooo the cheek of it! That’s it! I’m going to call the police!

Reported Speech Script Key

Scenario 1

The Dad asked the son if he had done his homework.

The son admitted that he hadn’t done his homework.

The son admitted to not doing/having done his homework.

The son promised to do his homework the day after.

The Dad warned the son that if he didn’t do his homework he would be grounded for a week.

Scenario 2

Sarah asked Fiona if she was going to the party tonight.

Fiona replied that she didn’t think so. She said that she wasn’t in the mood and that she had to work the day after.

Sarah reminded Fiona that the day after was a holiday.

Sarah persuaded/convinced Fiona to come to the party by telling her Tommy would be there.

Scenario 3

The teacher accused John of stealing/having stolen the money.

John denied stealing the money and accused Sarah of stealing the money.

The teacher ordered them to turn out their pockets/demanded that they turned out their pockets.

John admitted to/confessed to stealing the money.

Sarah objected to being accused of stealing the money.

The teacher apologised for accusing Sarah of stealing the money.

Scenario 4

Anna asked who it was and what they wanted.

The old lady asked/urged them to turn the music down.

Natalie refused to turn the music down.

The old lady begged them to turn the music down.

Anna refused to turn the music down.

The little old lady threatened to call the police if they didn’t turn the music down.

Anna invited the old lady to use her phone.

The old lady announced that she was going to call the police.

Stage 4: Follow up activity, students write their own scripts.

Students come up with their own scenarios trying to use as many of the different verb patterns as possible. Other groups have to correctly guess the verb they were trying to express.

Too/Enough

This is an activity to practice “too and enough” through a gap fill and then a discussion based on pictures.

You will need the following handouts:

Story, grammar explanation and gap-fill:

Too Enough

Pictures for discussion:

Too enough pics

Part 1: Warmer Discussion

Write on the board:

“Footballers earn too much money.”

“Teachers don’t earn enough money.”

Have students discuss the two sentences.

Part 2: Listening to a story

Read the following story to students,tell them to write down any uses of too and enough that they hear.

Beach story:

The other day I went to the beach with my family. It was a scorching day, I asked my friend to come but he said it was too hot to go to the beach. We got in the car and drove to the beach. The beach was very crowded.

“Oh no! There are too many people here!” said my Mum.

“Don’t worry, there’s enough space for everyone.” said my Dad.

We unpacked the car and walked down to the beach. We put our towels down and my sister and I decided to go for a swim. We ran to the water and jumped in.

“Brrrrr!” said my sister. “It’s too cold for me!” and she ran back to my Mum and Dad. I continued swimming for a few minutes when suddenly I saw people windsurfing and there was a shop renting windsurfing boards, it looked so much fun. I ran back to my parents and asked them if I could try it.

“I’m not sure.” said my Mum. “Do you think he’s old enough?” she asked my Dad.

“I think he’s old enough, but is he strong enough? I think the sail will be too heavy for you son.”

“Please please please Dad!” I begged.

“Ok, let’s go and see how much it costs.” So we walked down to shop. It cost €20 to rent the board for the whole day.

“Buff!” said my Dad. “I think that’s too expensive, I don’t have enough money to pay that much.” So Dad negotiated and in the end we paid €15 for the day. We took the board out into the water and I tried to lift the sail but it was too heavy.

“Come on son! You’re not trying hard enough!” said my Dad. So I took the sail with both hands and made a big effort. I didn’t want my dad to think I wasn’t strong enough to lift it. The sail came out of the water and the board started moving across the water it was the most amazing feeling! We spent the whole day windsurfing, it was one of the best days of my life.

Part 3: Guided Discovery

Tell students to dictate all of the examples back to you, but them on the board and use them to do a guided discovery of the rules outlined in the handout.

Too and enough indicate degree. They are used with adjectives.

  • Too means more than what is needed.
  • Enough means sufficient.

Examples

He is too old to play football with the kids.
Dave is intelligent enough to do the right thing.
You’re not working fast enough
I don’t have enough time.
He has too many friends.
Footballers earn too much money.

Use of too and enough

1.Enough precedes adjectives and adverbs:

He isn’t old enough to watch this program.
We’re not walking quickly  enough.

2.Enough may also precede  nouns:

We have enough money 
I haven’t got enough money to buy this computer.

3.Too comes before adjectives and adverbs:

It’s too hot to wear that coat.
I was driving too fast.

  1. Too may also come before nouns when it is used with the expressions too much and too many.
  2. Too much is used before uncountable nouns.

There is too much salt in this food.

  1. Too many is used before countable nouns

There are too many students in this classroom.

Part 4: Gap fill

Have students complete the gap-fill at the bottom of the handout.

Fill in the correct word (too or enough).

  1. I left the coffee for a minute to cool because it was                                  hot to drink.
  2. He wasn’t strong                                   to lift that heavy box.
  3. There aren’t                                   policemen in our town.
  4. Do you have                                   information to help me with this problem?
  5. It is                                   difficult  for a little child to do.
  6. I do not have                                   time to prepare dinner.
  7. I didn’t buy the car because it was                                   expensive.
  8. He didn’t work hard                                   to pass the exam.
  9. My mum can’t sleep because she drinks                                   much coffee.
  10. She isn’t old                                   to start driving.

Key: 1-too, 2-enough, 3-enough, 4-enough, 5-too, 6-enough, 7-too, 8-enough, 9-too, 10-enough.

Part 5: Picture Discussion (Free production) 

Show the pictures in the hand out and have students make as many sentences as possible using the structures. Ask some questions to prompt. Do you think there are too many tourists in the city?

Gap fill credit:

http://www.myenglishpages.com/site_php_files/grammar-exercise-too-enough.php#.VPWZHfnF8k0

Grammar explanation credit:

http://www.eslbase.com/grammar/too-enough

Phrasal Verb Test FCE

This is a worksheet based on this quizlet set of essential phrasal verbs for FCE:

http://quizlet.com/59899439/flashcards

Download the worksheet here:

Phrasal verb test FCE

Phrasal verb test

Replace the words in brackets or complete the sentence with a phrasal verb:

  1. John and Sarah have (separated) after 20 years of marriage.
  2. I ______ up with a great idea for the summer party.
  3. We arrived at the hotel ______ ___ and had a shower.
  4. He has decided to ______ _____ ____ (smoke less) cigarettes.
  5. I brought her some flowers to _______ her____ . (make her happier)
  6. My dog went to the vet’s and they ____ ____ out some tests on him. (did)
  7. The teacher was so angry that she threw a pen at me, but after a few minutes she _____ ______. (became less angry)
  8. After his parents died his grandparents had to _____ him _____. (educate, feed, protect)
  1. We were talking on the phone when suddenly it _____ _____. (disconnected)
  2. Scientists think that the woolly mammoth ______ ______ 100,000 years ago. (became extinct)
  3. My mum _____ me _____ at school in her BMW every morning. (leaves me)
  4. John and Danny _____ _____ last week and haven’t spoken to each other since. (had a big argument)
  5. The builders are ______ ____ our house at the moment. (renovating/redecorating)
  6. I passed all my exams! I ______ ______ yesterday. (discovered)
  7. If you want to get a visa to go to the USA you have to _____ _____ lots of forms. (complete)
  8. The man who stole my bicycle ____ _____ from the police. (escaped)

Key:

  1. broken up
  2. came
  3. checked in
  4. cut down on
  5. cheer up
  6. carried out
  7. calmed down
  8. brought up
  1. cut off
  2. died out
  3. drops off
  4. fell out
  5. doing up
  6. found out
  7. fill in/out
  8. got away