Posted in Guest Posts, Pronunciation Classes, Reading Classes, Writing Classes

Guest Post: Hot Take English – Limericks

This is another guest post by Alice at https://www.hottakeenglish.com/ on the topic of limericks. Students learn the rhyme and syllable structure of a limerick, then write their own. Download the student handout and teacher’s notes below:

Check out Alice’s blog for more great lesson plans.

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Advanced C1, B2 First, Listening Classes, Proficiency, Reading Classes

2Ts in a Pod: Book Club – The Thursday Murder Club – Episode 5

This is part 5 in our book club series on Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club. In this episode we look at chapters 18-23, discuss the things that happen and dig into some of the vocabulary.

Why not encourage your high level students to read and listen along with us? You’ll find the other 4 episodes on our SoundCloud page.

Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C1/C2: Review – Gadget, App, Software

Los 21 gadgets que te vas a comprar en 2020, según Business Insider |  Business Insider España

This is a lesson plan for C1-C2 students designed to develop their understanding of vocabulary to describe gadgets, apps and pieces of software. Candidates are often required to describe such things in writing tasks in the main suite of Cambridge exams. This lesson plan may also be useful for business English classes. Download the handout and key below:

Students start by discussing the most useful gadgets, apps and pieces of software they own. Then they read a text describing the new Thermomix cooking robot. After focusing on the language, they put it into practice by writing their own short product pitches and presenting them to the class.

Pre-reading

  1. What’s the most useful gadget you have in your house?
  2. What’s the most useful app you have on your phone?
  3. What’s the most useful piece of software you have on your computer?
  4. How do these things make your life easier?
  5. Why do you think these gadgets/apps/pieces of software have become popular?

Reading

  1. Does your family have a Thermomix? If so, is it useful? If not, would you like one?
  2. What things can it do?
  3. How does it compare to its competitors?

Read the text, does it contain any of the ideas you mentioned?

Theromix have been making waves in the world of kitchen gadgets for some time now. Ever since the advent of their first appliance way back in 1985, they’ve been at the cutting edge of the market lending a hand to hard-pressed families the world over.

The latest model, the TM6, really made a splash when it hit the shelves last month. This latest iteration really is lightyears ahead of its competitors. With its state-of-the-art design it truly is a sight to behold. That being said, what really makes it stand out from the crowd is how easy it is to use. It really is a piece of cake, and you’ll be savouring that cake sooner than you think.

Simply scroll through the different preset menus, select the one that catches your eye, add the ingredients and let thermomix take care of the rest. It’s touch-screen menus and ergonomic controls are so user-friendly that you’ll master them in no time at all. It enables you to make quick, mouth-watering meals at the touch of a button. Though its competitors may come with all sorts of bells and whistles, there’s a reason Thermomix has cornered the kitchen robot market: elegance, ease of use, and efficiency. It’s not rocket science!

Language Focus

Look at the expressions in bold, make notes on their meaning with your partner.

Can you remember the missing words?

Theromix have been _________ waves in the world of kitchen gadgets for some time now. Ever since the a______ of their first a_______ way back in 1985, they’ve been at the cutting ______ of the market lending a _______ to ______-pressed families the world _______.

The latest model, the TM6, really made a s_______ when it ______ the shelves last month. This latest iteration really is lightyears ________ of its competitors. With its ______-of-the-_____ design it truly is a ______ to behold. That being said, what really makes it stand ______ ______ the crowd is how easy it is to use. It really is a piece of _______, and you’ll be savouring that cake sooner than you think.

Simply scroll through the different preset menus, select the one that ________ your eye, add the ingredients and let thermomix take _____ _____ the rest. It’s ______-screen menus and e________ controls are so user-_________ that you’ll master them in no time at all. It enables you to make quick, ________-watering meals at the _______ of a ________. Though its competitors may come with all sorts of _______ and whistles, there’s a reason Thermomix has _________ the kitchen robot market: elegance, ease of use, and efficiency. It’s not _________ science!

Sell, sell, sell!

Choose one of these gadgets, write a short pitch to sell it to your classmates.

Posted in Recommended Websites

Podcast Recommendation: What on Earth is a Noun Phrase?

Image

If you’re an English teacher or linguist, check out the great new podcast What on Earth is a Noun Phrase? by Oxford Language Performance. In each episode they speak to a different practitioner in the field of EFL or linguistics and interview them about their area/passion. The episodes are short, insightful, and full of great tips and tools for teachers. You can find them wherever you normally get your podcasts or sign up through their website below:

https://oxfordlp.org/podcast/

You can also follow them on Twitter @whatonearthisa

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Key Word Transformation Training #2

C2 Proficiency de Inglés (CPE) del Cambridge: Cómo Aprobarlo | TURBOLANGS

This is an exam preparation activity for students taking the C2 Proficiency exam. Students learn some fixed expressions that may come up in part 4 of the reading and use of English paper and also practice their paraphrasing skills. Download the handout below:

I recommend using my first key word transformation training exercise first.

Use the first 12 slides of this quizlet set to test students’ memories of the fixed expressions from the first training activity. You could then give them this doc of 15 of the key word transformations as homework or spaced repetition at a later date:

Then hand out the new worksheet. First students work in pairs to paraphrase the expressions in bold and come up with notes to help them remember the expressions; this could involve taking a note of a dependent preposition or a verb pattern (gerund/infinitive). Monitor and check students’ understanding of the expressions. Then students turn the paper over and attempt to recall the expressions with the help of the key words. Finally, students recall prepositions from the expressions as these can often trip students up. Also, the second point in a key word transformation question can often come down to a dependent preposition.

You could use this quizziz game to test their memory of the prepositions at a later date.

Student Handout

Version 1

Look at the expressions in bold. Discuss the meaning with your partner and make notes to help you remember them.

  1. The film fell short of my expectations I’m afraid.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Tickets are probably sold out but there’s no harm in calling to check.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. My son took absolutely no notice of my advice and spent all his birthday money on video games.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. It seems that there’s little prospect that they will be able to win the championship now.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. It was a really interesting lecture that gave us food for thought.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. His injury had a serious effect on his ability to earn a living.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Giles can be relied on to help out if you’re in a spot of bother.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. It never occurred to me to ask Jenny for help with the car, I didn’t know she was an engineer.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. He was given a life sentence for murder.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Sadly, her career has always taken priority over her family.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. The printer is apt to disconnect from the wifi network, it has a mind of its own.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. The specials menu is subject to change on a daily basis.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Julia’s command of German is extraordinary, she nailed the presentation.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. For the first month of membership you will be exempt from paying delivery fees.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. In the winter months it’s cold beyond belief so bring warm clothes.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Let’s go out! I’m in the mood for dancing tonight.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. The audience showed their disapproval of the comedian’s routine by booing loudly.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Martin has his hands full now that his wife has given birth to twins.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Thank you so much for the loan. I have every intention of paying you back ASAP.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. You’re putting your life in jeopardy every time you drink and drive.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. By the look of his facial expression, I’d say that he didn’t take your criticism well.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

Version 2

Now look at version 2. Work with a partner, try to recall the expressions using the key words to help you.

  1. The film wasn’t as good as I thought it would be (SHORT) I’m afraid.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. Tickets are probably sold out but we might as well call (HARM) to check.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. My son completely ignored (NOTICE) my advice and spent all his birthday money on video games.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. It seems that there’s not much chance that (PROSPECT) they will be able to win the championship now.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. It was a really interesting lecture that made us think (FOOD).

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. His injury seriously affected (EFFECT) his ability to earn a living.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. Giles will always (RELIED) help out if you’re in a spot of bother.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. I never thought of asking (OCCURRED) Jenny for help with the car, I didn’t know she was an engineer.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. He was sent to prison for the rest of his life for (SENTENCE) murder.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. Sadly, her career has always been more important to her than (PRIORITY) her family.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. The printer has a tendency to (APT) disconnect from the wifi network, it has a mind of its own.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. The specials menu can sometimes change (SUBJECT) on a daily basis.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. Julia speaks German extraordinarily well (COMMAND), she did the presentation very well. (N…)

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. For the first month of membership you won’t have to pay (EXEMPT) delivery fees.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. In the winter months it’s so cold you wouldn’t believe it (BEYOND) so bring warm clothes.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. Let’s go out! I feel like dancing (MOOD) tonight.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. The audience complained about (DISAPPROVAL) the comedian’s routine by booing loudly.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. Martin is very busy (HANDS) now that his wife had the (BIRTH) twins.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. Thank you so much for the loan. I will definitely pay (EVERY) you back ASAP.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. You’re endangering your life (JEOPARDY) every time you drink and drive.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

  1. If you look at (BY) his facial expression, I’d say that he didn’t take your criticism well.

……………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………….

Preposition Check

The second point in a key word transformation can often come down to the preposition. Can you remember the prepositions in these expressions?

  1. The film fell short ….. my expectations I’m afraid.
  2. Tickets are probably sold out but there’s no harm ….. calling to check.
  3. My son took absolutely no notice ….. my advice and spent all his birthday money on video games.
  4. It was a really interesting lecture that gave us food ….. thought.
  5. His injury had a serious effect ….. his ability to earn a living.
  6. Giles can be relied ….. to help out if you’re in a spot of bother.
  7. It never occurred ….. me to ask Jenny for help with the car, I didn’t know she was an engineer.
  8. He was given a life sentence ….. murder.
  9. Sadly, her career has always taken priority ….. her family.
  10. The printer is apt ….. disconnect from the wifi network, it has a mind of its own.
  11. The specials menu is subject ….. change on a daily basis.
  12. Julia’s command ….. German is extraordinary, she nailed the presentation.
  13. For the first month of membership you will be exempt ….. paying delivery fees.
  14. In the winter months it’s cold ……… belief so bring warm clothes.
  15. Let’s go out! I’m ….. the mood ….. dancing tonight.
  16. The audience showed their disapproval ….. the comedian’s routine by booing loudly.
  17. Martin has his hands full now that his wife has given birth ….. twins.
  18. Thank you so much for the loan. I have every intention ….. paying you back ASAP.
  19. You’re putting your life ….. jeopardy every time you drink and drive.
  20. ….. the look of his facial expression, I’d say that he didn’t take your criticism well.
Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Advanced C1, B2 First, Listening Classes

2Ts in a Pod: Episode 45 – Shopping

After a bit of an unexpected hiatus, we are back with a new episode of 2Ts in a Pod on the topic of shopping!

We understand how important it is to release podcast episodes on a regular basis and following a more regular timetable so we’re endeavouring to turn over a new leaf! You can expect more episodes soon! We’ve got 3 more in the can already!

Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

C1 Advanced: Key Word Transformation Training #3

2. Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Preparation

This is another training exercise for students taking the C1 Advanced exam. Students learn some typical fixed expressions that come up in part 4 of the reading and use of English paper. Download the handout below:

Students work together to paraphrase the fixed expressions, then flip the paper over and try to recall them using a key word as a prompt. You’ll find the 17 expressions in this set of 82 different key word transformation questions from quizlet.com

Student Handout

Version 1

Work with a partner, read the sentences, then paraphrase the expression in bold.

  1. Sorry I’m late, I completely lost track of time.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. Leaving this door open may result in the monkeys escaping.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. He stands every chance of winning the championship this year.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. She stands a slim chance of beating her rival to the trophy.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. This evening’s performance will be followed by a question and answer session with the director.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. No fewer than seventeen people were seen breaking into the building.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. Her main problem is that she is weak at spelling.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. The project failed due to a lack of funding from the local government.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. The project is going ahead according to plan.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. She is highly spoken of in the local area. We should hire her.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. I am in no doubt that the show will be a resounding success.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. I didn’t have any recollection of seeing Julia on Saturday night until I saw her at work on Monday morning.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. The teenagers took no notice of me and carried on smoking and playing loud music.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. I left my handbag on the train, I’ve given up hope of finding it again.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. He really made a name for himself when he moved to LA in 2006.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. It’s official, I handed in my notice to my boss yesterday and I’m starting my own business next week!

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

  1. She can’t even boil an egg, let alone cook a full meal for ten people.

Meaning …………………………………………………………………………

Version 2

Read the sentences, can you remember the expressions from version 1? Use the key word in brackets to help you.

  1. Sorry I’m late, I didn’t realise what time it was. (TRACK)

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. Leaving this door open may lead to (IN) the monkeys escaping. 

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. He is almost definitely going to win (CHANCE) the championship this year.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. There’s a low probability that she will beat (CHANCE) her rival to the trophy.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. After this evening’s performance there will be (FOLLOWED) a question and answer session with the director.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. As many as (THAN) seventeen people were seen breaking into the building.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. Her main problem is that her spelling is bad. (WEAK)

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. The project failed because there wasn’t enough (DUE) funding from the local government.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. The project is continuing as planned (AHEAD)

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. She has a great reputation (HIGHLY) in the local area. We should hire her.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. I am sure that (DOUBT) the show will be a resounding success.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. I didn’t remember seeing (RECOLLECTION) Julia on Saturday night until I saw her at work on Monday morning.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. The teenagers ignored (NOTICE) me and carried on smoking and playing loud music.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. I left my handbag on the train, I don’t think I will find (UP) it again.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. He really became famous (NAME) when he moved to LA in 2006.

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. It’s official, I officially told my boss I was leaving (NOTICE) yesterday and I’m starting my own business next week!

…………………………………………………………………………

  1. She can’t even boil an egg, so she definitely can’t (ALONE) cook a full meal for ten people.

…………………………………………………………………………

Posted in Advanced C1, Guest Posts, Vocabulary Classes

Guest Post: Information Gap C1

7 Fun Information Gap Activities for the ESL Classroom

This is a guest post by Katy Wright. Students take part in an information gap activity in pairs in order to develop their understanding of phrasal verbs and other fixed expressions. Download the handout below:

Teacher’s notes

  1. Split students into pairs
  2. Give them either Student A or Student B worksheet
  3. Ask them to look at the top exercises by themselves for a few minutes
  4. Tell students that the second paragraph contains their partners answers
  5. Each pair “teaches” the other by helping the find the answer (ideally not just giving the answer ie “it sounds like….” or “the first letter is…”
  6. Once both pairs have corrected their work they could turn over their worksheets and test each other’s memory

Follow up: You could encourage students to write a text or a story containing these expressions

Student Worksheet

Student A worksheet

  • She has _______ her books in order of colour =
  • I’ve completely _________ out dairy from my diet =
  • My love of jazz _________ back to my days as a school trumpet player =
  • Her imagination is amazing, she __________ up with the most bizarre ideas =
  • When I heard the noise from upstairs the hairs ___________ up on the back of my neck =
  • You are still so angry about what he said to you, you need to ______ over it =
  • The little boy always felt ______ out of games in the playground =

Student B’s Answers

  • Society needs to cut back on using single-use plastics (reduce)
  • ●       My mum hates it when I leave my things lying around and don’t put them away for days (don’t tidy up)
  • He puts up with a lot of trouble from his younger sister (tolerate)
  • I have really come to like electronic music though I thought it sounded like garbage a few years ago (enjoy now though you didn’t originally)
  • My alarm goes off at 7:30 everything morning (makes a noise/rings)
  • I love animals but the sound of my neighbours dog barking all night long gets to me (irritate)
  • Don’t let the bullies call you horrible names, you need to stand up for yourself (speak/act in support of)

Student B worksheet

  • Society needs to _______ back on using single-use plastics =
  • My mum hates it when I _______ my things lying around and don’t put them away for days =
  • He ________up with a lot of trouble from his younger sister =
  • I have really ________ to like electronic music though I thought it sounded like garbage a few years ago =
  • My alarm ________ off at 7:30 everything morning =
  • I love animals but the sound of my neighbours dog barking all night long ___________ to me =
  • Don’t let the bullies call you horrible names, you need to ___________ up for yourself =

Students A’s Answers

  • She has put her books in order of colour (alphabetise/organise)
  • I’ve completely cut out dairy from my diet (stopped/blocked)
  • My love of jazz goes back to my days as a school trumpet player (originate)
  • Her imagination is amazing, she comes up with the most bizarre ideas (imagines/thinks of)
  • When I heard the noise from upstairs the hairs stand up on the back of my neck (makes me scared/reaction to music)
  • You are still so angry about what he said to you, you need to get over it (accept something and move on)
  • The little boy always felt left out of games in the playground (excluded)
Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Advanced C1, B2 First

2Ts in a Pod Lesson Plan: Dream Menu

This is a lesson plan by Katy Wright based around a clip from episode 24 of our podcast 2Ts in a Pod. In the episode we pay homage to the excellent Off Menu podcast by talking about our dream meals.

There are two versions of the lesson plan, one for B2 students and one for C1 based on two different clips from the episode. Download the handouts below:

Students listen to the clips, focus on some of the language used and then record themselves describing their own dream meals. They can then upload their videos/audio to Flipgrid.

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Exam Preparation Class, Guest Posts, Reading Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Guest Post: B2 First – A Forgotten Dream

This is a guest post by my friend, colleague and co-host of the podcast 2Ts in a pod, Katy Wright. It’s designed to help students preparing for the B2 first exam get to grips with some of the phrasal verbs and fixed expressions they might encounter in the exam. Students read a text about Jim’s forgotten dream, then try to recreate the text using key words. Download the student handout below:

A FORGOTTEN DREAM

  1. Look at the pictures. What is the story about?
  • Read the story. Were your predictions correct?

Jim couldn’t stand his job. All he did all day was sit at his desk and pretended to work while watching the heavy rain outside his window. He was meant to be selling insurance on the phone, but he wasn’t very good at it. In fact, he had sold very few contracts. This was because all he had ever wanted to do was be an actor in Hollywood. He had loved acting when he was a teenager, but instead of going to America he studied Business and he put off looking for fame. “I’ll look into that when I have finished Uni” he said to himself. This was his biggest regret in life. On his way into work that day, his 15-year-old car broke down. Standing in the rain trying to change the tire he made up his mind. He wasn’t going to carry on like this. He was going to make a big change…

  • Answer the questions in groups.
  • What is Jim’s big dream?
  • Why do you think Jim didn’t decide to become an actor after Uni?
  • What do you think makes him change his mind?
  • What big change do you think he is going to make?
  • What will happen at the end of the story?
  • What do you the expressions in yellow mean?
  • Can you translate them to Catalan/Spanish?
  • Do you have similar expression in Catalan/Spanish?
  • Try to remember the original expression used in the story. The words in brackets are to help you.

Jim hated (STAND) his job. All he did all say was sit at his desk and pretended to work while watching as it rained heavily (HEAVY) outside his window. He should have been (MEANT) selling insurance on the phone, but he wasn’t very good at it. In fact, he didn’t sell many (FEW) contracts. This was because all he had ever wanted to do was be an actor in Hollywood. He had loved acting when he was a teenager, but rather than go (OF) to America he studied Business and he postponed looking (PUT) for fame. “I’ll investigate (INTO) that when I have finished Uni” he said to himself. This was his biggest regret in life. On his way into work that day his 15-year-old car stopped working (DOWN). Standing in the rain trying to change the tire he made a decision (UP). He wasn’t going to continue like this any longer (ON). He was going to make a big change…

  • Write the original expressions here:
  • STAND…………………………………………………………………………
  • HEAVY…………………………………………………………………………
  • MEANT …………………………………………………………………………
  • FEW …………………………………………………………………………
  • OF …………………………………………………………………………
  • PUT …………………………………………………………………………
  • INTO …………………………………………………………………………
  • DOWN …………………………………………………………………………
  • UP …………………………………………………………………………
  • ON …………………………………………………………………………
  • Write the rest of the story. Use the questions to help you.

Middle:

  • What does he decide to do next?
  • How will he change his life?
  • What does he do to help him realize his dreams?

End:

  • Does he finally reach his goals?
  • How does he feel about his situation?
  • Does he ever think about his old life?
  • Read all of the paragraphs and vote on the you think is the best