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
Posted in Uncategorized

APAC Spring Workshops Webinar

poster amb ponents Spring Workshops 2021.png

This Saturday 17th April, Katy Wright and I will be giving a webinar as part of the APAC Spring Workshop series.

The theme of the series is Teaching Outside the Box and the title of our webinar is: What 2020 Taught us and How to Keep it Going. We’ll look at lessons we’ve learned from teaching during the pandemic and share practical ideas and lesson plans.

Follow the link below to sign up!

https://www.apac365.org/campaign-2

Posted in Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Proficiency

Where do you Stand? Entertainment & Culture

Entertainment And Culture Icon Set High-Res Vector Graphic - Getty Images

This is another edition of my “Where do you Stand?” conversation series. Students debate different topics related to entertainment and culture but must rate the opinion on a scale from 1-6 before they begin the discussion.

The PowerPoint contains examples of language of opinion, agreement and disagreement designed with C1 students in mind. If you are teaching lower level students, you could just use the student handout. You can download a B2 phrase sheet here.

Here are the topics students discuss:

The book is always better than the film.

There are too many sequels and spin-off films these days. There aren’t many original stories.

The original version of a song is always the best.

Celebrities shouldn’t complain about being in the public eye. It’s part of the jobNetflix will kill the cinema.

You shouldn’t watch films on your phone. It ruins the experience.

Watching a film at the cinema is always better than at home.

Violent films and videogames should be banned.

Music, art and drama should be compulsory subjects at school.

Social media companies should be responsible for the content that users post on their platforms.

Children shouldn’t play with “violent” toys like guns and weapons.

Something is always lost when a text is translated.

Physical books will disappear one day.

Governments should be allowed to censor some elements of the media including books and films.

The benefits of social media platforms outweigh the negative aspects.

Sports involving animals (hunting, horse riding, bullfighting, etc.) are an important part of my culture and must be protected.

Watching too much television makes you stupid.

Posted in Conversation Classes

Conversation Topic: Kids & Parenthood

Preparing your finances for parenthood | Vanguard

A simple conversation activity I designed as a follow-up to my previous post entitled “A Weekend Off”. It can be used with B1+ students. Students discuss various topics related to parenthood, kids and growing up. Download the handout below:

Put students in pairs or small groups and have them discuss the questions. Pause regularly to feedback in open class. The activity should generate a lot of emergent language.

Student Handout

  • How does life change when you have kids?
  • How can other family members help with childcare?
  • What things do you think new parents miss about their old life?

What do you think are the biggest challenges for new parents?

  • Feeling unprepared for parenthood
  • Suffering from sleep deprivation
  • A loss/lack of intimacy
  • Changing dirty nappies/diapers
  • Picking kids up from kindergarten/nursery
  • Financial struggles

How is growing up different for:

  • The first child?
  • The middle child?
  • The baby?

What position were you in your family?

What are some stereotypes associated with the different positions among siblings?

What are the pros and cons of being an only child?

What do children learn from having siblings?

What do you think is the perfect number of children to have?

  • 1?
  • 2?
  • 3?
  • 4?
  • More?

What are the pros and cons of these stages of children’s lives?

  • Babies (0-1)
  • Toddlers (1-3)
  • Kids (3-10)
  • Pre-teens (10-12)
  • Teenagers (13-18)
  • Young adults (18-22)

What’s the most rewarding and most challenging aspect of each stage?

Posted in Advanced C1, Grammar Classes, Proficiency

C1/C2: Inversions – A Weekend Off!

Stressed and tired new parents with screaming newborn baby por Rob and  Julia Campbell - Stocksy United

This is a grammar lesson focusing on inversions based around the topic of the stresses of parenthood. Students read a text about new parents who get a weekend off, then transform the text using inversions. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below.

Teacher’s Notes

This lesson plan is designed to be used in several ways depending on your students’ level. The grammar focus is inversions, a structure that typically comes up at C1.

Lead-in

Write these questions on the board and have students discuss them in groups:

  • How does life change when you have kids?
  • How can other family members help with childcare?
  • What things do you think new parents miss about their old life?

Feedback in open class and top up language. Somethings that came up with my students were:

  • Suffer from sleep deprivation
  • loss/lack of intimacy
  • Changing dirty nappies/diapers
  • Pick kids up from kindergarten/nursery
  • Grandparents help out, lend/give you a hand
  • Financial struggles
  • Look after/take care of kids
  • Babysit – babysitter/nanny

Reading

Give out the text, fold the page so that they can’t see the grammar focus part yet, or just share the text if you’re teaching online.

Instruct students to read the text and find the answers to the lead in questions for the couple the text describes:

  • How has their life changed?
  • How do their family members help with childcare?
  • What things do they miss about their old lives?

Feedback in open class.

Language Focus + Controlled Practice

Here is where you can choose a different path depending on how familiar your students are with inversions.

C1 – Introduction to inversions

  • Lead them through the different types of inversions listed below the text.
  • Compare and contrast inverted sentences with uninverted ones:
    • This phone can take photos and videos.
    • Not only can this phone take photos, but also videos.
    • Add emphasis, more formal.
  • Highlight what we mean by “inversion”
    • Position of subject and auxiliary verb is inverted/switched
    • This phone (subject) can (auxiliary verb) take photos….
    • Not only can (aux verb) this phone (subject) take photos….
  • Tell students that the first paragraph contains 10 sentences that can be changed to use inversions and challenge them to change them.
  • There are 6 more in the second paragraph.

C1 – Inversion Revision

  • Challenge them to change the 10 sentences in the first paragraph (or all 16 in the whole text) using the language focus boxes as reference. Monitor and help out as needed.
  • The sentence stems at the bottom will help them identify which sentences they need to change.

C2 – Inversion Revision Super Challenge

  • Just give them the text, don’t give them language focus boxes for reference or the sentence stems! Tell them there are 16 sentences that can be changed to inversions and see how they get on.
  • Give out the language focus boxes if needed, monitor specific groups, maybe not everyone needs it.

Task Check

Show them the second version of the text with all the inversions.

Rarely do we have much time to ourselves. So busy is our schedule that we just can’t find the time to get out of the house. Not only do my husband and I both work full time, but we also have two small kids to look after. Little did I know that my parents were planning a special surprise for me this weekend. Only when I walked in the front door on Friday night did I discover what they had planned. No sooner had I opened the door than they appeared with a bottle of wine and the news that they were taking the kids to the local theme park for the weekend. Obviously the kids were ecstatic, not since they were four years old have they been to the theme park and that was just for 1 day, now they were going for a whole weekend! So grateful were we that we gave my mum and dad a massive hug. However, there had to be some ground rules for the kids. We told them that under no circumstances should they annoy grandma and grandad and on no account must they eat too many sweets before going on the roller coasters.

Hardly had my parents left the house when we opened the bottle of wine and sat on the sofa enjoying the sudden peace and quiet. Not until we sat down did we realise how tired we were. Hardly ever do we get a chance to watch a movie together over a glass of wine. However, barely had we chosen a movie and started watching it when we both fell asleep. Not until the next morning when we woke up did we appreciate how quiet the house was. Not since our second daughter was born had we had the house to ourselves. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves!

Freer Production

Challenge students to work in groups to continue the story. How did the couple spend the rest of their weekend off? Set them a time limit of ten minutes and encourage them to use as many inversions as they can.

Posted in Grammar Classes, Guest Posts, Reading Classes

Guest Post: 3rd Conditional – What Bad Luck!

$14.6 Million Winning Lottery Ticket Goes Unclaimed | PEOPLE.com

This is a guest post by Alice from Hot Take English on the topic of superstitions and bad luck. Students discuss common superstitions in English speaking cultures and their own, then read an article about some seriously bad luck. The main grammar focus of the lesson is the 3rd conditional to talk about hypothetical past events. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below:

Visit https://www.hottakeenglish.com/ to check out more of Alice’s work. She has some great, free materials on a range of engaging topics.

What Bad Luck – Student Worksheet

1) Warmer: superstitions

Below is a list of good and bad superstitions that are particularly popular in the UK and Ireland. Discuss them with a partner. From where do you think they originate? Do you believe they bring bad/good luck?

Things that bring bad luck:

  • Walking under a ladder
  • Seeing one magpie
  • Putting new shoes on a table
  • Opening an umbrella inside

Things that bring good luck:

  • Getting pooed on by a bird
  • Coming across a black cat
  • Finding a four-leafed clover

What superstitions are there in your culture or country?

2) Vocabulary

Match the words on the left with their meanings on the right.

1. jackpota) extremely shocked
2. invalidatedb) the sale was not successful/the money was not taken out of the person’s bank account
3. stunnedc) not enough
4. drawd) the most valuable prize in a game or contest
5. the payment didn’t go throughe) very very happy
6. insufficientf) stopped a ticket from being legally or officially acceptable
7. on top of the worldg) the act of selecting numbers or names randomly to decide the winners of a competition

3) Comprehension check

Read the article. Are these statements true or false?

  1. Rachel Kenny lost the winning ticket.
  • The 19-year old student was aghast at what had happened.
  • Rachel and Liam chose different numbers each time they played the lottery.
  • The money for the lottery tickets was usually taken directly from Rachel’s bank account.
  • The problem was that Rachel didn’t have enough money in her bank account to pay for the ticket.
  • Rachel and Liam refuse to play the lottery any more.

4) Grammar practice

With a partner, write down as many third conditional sentences about the article as you can.

E.g. “If the payment had gone through, they would have won the lottery”.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

Writing: My Biggest Regret

Write 100-500 words about your “biggest regret”. Include some third conditional sentences.

EuroMillions Player ‘Heartbroken’ After Finding Error Cost Her £182m Lottery Jackpot

The 19-year-old was in shock when her numbers came up – until she noticed a critical problem

Originally published 2 March 2021

A 19-year-old student who thought she had won a £182m lottery jackpot has been left “absolutely heartbroken” after realising an error invalidated the ticket.

Rachel Kennedy, 19, and her boyfriend Liam McCrohan, 21, were stunned when their regular numbers of 6, 12, 22, 29, 33, 6 and 11 came up in the EuroMillions mega jackpot.

Kennedy had played the same numbers for five weeks in a row and had a direct debit set up to automatically play the numbers each week.

The teen was greeted with a message saying she had a ‘winning match’ after last Friday’s draw, according to The Sun.

However, the business student’s hopes of being one of the richest women in Britain were crushed when she found the ticket sale had not gone through due to insufficient funds in her account.

Rachel, of Brighton University, said: “I called my boyfriend Liam and my mum into the room and they couldn’t believe it either so I was like, ‘Oh! My God! I need to call them’.

“I called the number thinking that I had won £182m and they said ‘yeah you’ve got the right numbers but you didn’t have the funds in your account for the payment of the ticket so it didn’t actually go through’.

 “I was on top of the world when I thought I had won, but when I found out I hadn’t, Liam was actually more upset than me.”

Rachel said they were “absolutely heartbroken” – and now thinks of her usual weekly numbers as “unlucky” and has decided to change them.

Source: iNews, https://inews.co.uk/news/euromillions-jackpot-player-heartbroken-finding-error-cost-182m-ticket-895016

Posted in Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Guest Posts, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

Guest Post: Personality Traits – B2+

Big Five personality traits - Wikipedia

This is a guest post by Darren Wynne-Jones on the topic of personality traits. It was designed with one-to-one adult classes in mind but could also be used for group classes. Download the handout below:

This is a flipped 1 hour(ish) lesson for strong upper-int / advanced students focussing on adjectives to describe personality traits. This lesson uses an online personality quiz, a worksheet from Onestopenglish, and a heavy focus on emergent language. I have created a Quizlet set including all the terms on the worksheet for students to use for self-study after the lesson. I created this lesson for one-to-one classes but it is easily adaptable for groups.

Procedure

  1. Before the class, ask the student to complete the personality quiz at 16personalities.com and Complete the quiz yourself
  2. Tell students to only read the introduction page for the personality type assigned to them at the end of the quiz (although it doesn’t really matter if they read more as they will be doing this for homework anyway)
  • Begin by discussing the introductions and how they relate to your own perceptions of your personalities. Focus on emergent language by extending vocabulary and grammatical structures as they arise in the conversation. This is also a good time to note errors to look at later. (During online classes, I use a Word document to note errors, emergent language, and homework, which I then email to the student. I’ll include the template at the end of this document should you wish to use / adapt it for your own classes. It is based on another teacher’s template but I CAN’T REMEMBER WHO IT WAS TO CREDIT THEM!)
  • Open the personality traits worksheet and share your screen
  • Ask the student to select two adjectives from each of the 6 categories that they would use to describe themselves. You will need to help students with the meaning of unfamiliar adjectives so make sure you check the meanings yourself before the class (do you know the difference between diligent, conscientious, and industrious?? I certainly didn’t!)
  • Discuss similarities and differences between the adjectives selected and the information from the quiz with further focus on emergent language.
  • Error correction

Homework:

  • Students read the rest of ‘their’ personality description from the website, find more similarities / differences to their own self-perceptions, and write a short text summarising these.
  • Use the Quizlet to review and revise the adjectives (there are a lot of these so perhaps just focus on a few at a time)

Possible follow-up ideas:

  • Look at some of the figurative language from the personality descriptions, e.g. using others as a sounding board; their minds buzz; appear to drift about; a bedrock of emotional support
  • Read another introduction section and describe a friend or family member that would fit the description
  • Read two other introductions and decide if the people with these traits would be compatible as friends, lovers, business partners, etc.
Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

C1: Collocation Jigsaw Story

Thanks to https://tefltastic.wordpress.com/ for the inspiration for this activity.

In this lesson plan students reform a jumbled story using dependent prepositions and other collocations as clues. Download the handout below:

Procedure

  1. Print enough copies for each group of students. 
  2. Cut the text up and give a set to each group.
  3. If you’re working online, show the jumbled version below instead.
  4. Students work together to reform the story with the help of the dependent prepositions and collocations.
My wife and I had been planning our trip to Japan for ages. Endless nights fantasising 
about spending our honeymoon in one of the most spectacular countries on earth. We opted
for a small apartment in downtown Tokyo to get the authentic experience. When you’re weighing
up the different options, it’s worth bearing
in mind just how small the apartments in Japan are and the proximity to the other people around you can really catch you
off guard. We spent the first 5 days seeing the sights and experiencing everything the city had 
to offer. However, we soon realised that we were running low
on funds and that we couldn’t afford
to spend any more time in such a pricey place. So we decided to head
for the hills and experience rural Japan. This turned out to be the by far the best decision we
made. We went on one hike to a hidden temple, it was so tranquil and was an unforgettable experience.

Jumbled Version

My wife and I had been planning our trip to Japan for ages. Endless nights fantasising 
on funds and that we couldn’t afford
about spending our honeymoon in one of the most spectacular countries on earth. We opted
for the hills and experience rural Japan. This turned out to be the by far the best decision we
to offer. However, we soon realised that we were running low
off guard. We spent the first 5 days seeing the sights and experiencing everything the city had 
for a small apartment in downtown Tokyo to get the authentic experience. When you’re weighing
in mind just how small the apartments in Japan are and the proximity to the other people around you can really catch you
to spend any more time in such a pricey place. So we decided to head
made. We went on one hike to a hidden temple, it was so tranquil and was an unforgettable experience.
up the different options, it’s worth bearing

Recall Exercises

Use version 1 as immediate follow-up practice, then use version 2 in the next class or a week later to see how much they have retained.

Version 1

My wife and I had been planning our trip to Japan ….. ages. Endless nights fantasising ……. spending our honeymoon in one of the most spectacular countries on earth. We opted ….. a small apartment in downtown Tokyo to get the authentic experience. When you’re weighing ….. the different options, it’s worth bearing ….. mind just how small the apartments in Japan are and the proximity ……. the other people around you can really catch you …… guard. We spent the first 5 days seeing the sights and experiencing everything the city had …… offer. However, we soon realised that we were running low …… funds and that we couldn’t afford ….. spend any more time in such a pricey place. So we decided to head …… the hills and experience rural Japan. This turned …… to be the by far the best decision we …….. We went on one hike to a hidden temple, it was so tranquil and was an unforgettable experience.

Version 2

My wife and I had been planning our trip to Japan for …… Endless nights ………… about spending our honeymoon in one of the most spectacular countries on earth. We …… for a small apartment in downtown Tokyo to get the authentic experience. When you’re ……… up the different options, it’s worth ……… in mind just how small the apartments in Japan are and the ………. to the other people around you can really catch you off …….. We spent the first 5 days seeing the sights and experiencing everything the city …… to offer. However, we soon realised that we were running …… on funds and that we couldn’t ……. to spend any more time in such a pricey place. So we decided to ……. for the hills and experience rural Japan. This ……. out to be the by far the best ……… we made. We went on one hike to a hidden temple, it was so tranquil and was an unforgettable experience.