Posted in Recommended Websites

IELTS Practice Tests from Magoosh

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Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

Check out this great set of IELTS practice tests and tips from Magoosh blog:

 

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Posted in Conversation Classes, Uncategorized, Young Learners

After Christmas: Find Someone Who…

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Image credit: Odyssey

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is an activity designed with young, low-level teens in mind to get them talking about their Christmas holidays using the classic “Find Someone Who…” format. Download the worksheet below.

after-xmas-find-someone-who

After Christmas: Find someone who…

You may need to model some question structures on the board before students start mingling. Remind them to ask follow-up questions to get details of their classmates’ holidays.

  • Speak to everyone in the class.
  • Ask questions to find a person who did each activity, if they say yes, write their name and ask for details.
  • First write the questions.
Activity Person Details
Went on holiday

Did you go on holiday?

Details: Where did you go?

   
Tried some new food

___________________________

___________________________

   
Had a party

___________________________

___________________________

   
Ate McDonald’s

___________________________

___________________________

   
Got some new clothes as a present

___________________________

___________________________

   
Got an electronic present (tablet, console…)

___________________________

___________________________

   
Visited family in a different town/city

___________________________

___________________________

   
Went to the cinema

___________________________

___________________________

   
Went skiing

___________________________

___________________________

   
Played a board game

___________________________

___________________________

 
Posted in News

Podcast Brainstorming

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Image credit: MobileDay

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

Hi followers, a friend, fellow teacher and sound engineer contacted me recently about starting a podcast! Being a massive fan of the genre I jumped at the offer and we’re aiming to start in the new year. The aim is to make it something accessible for students rather than a TEFL podcast for teachers. We’d like to release a 30-minute show every two weeks. The idea would be to have short recurring segments but also longer features on specific topics and activities; some of the ideas we’ve got so far include:

  • Jokes
  • Expression of the day
  • Exposure to different accents and dialects
  • Interviews with near-peer role models
  • Current affairs pieces
  • Debates
  • Film/music/book reviews
  • Investigative journalism

So I thought I’d throw it open to you guys, we welcome your help and suggestions. The main points we want suggestions for are:

  • Content, features, recurring segements
  • A name for the podcast! Can’t think of any! (We’ve already thought of Poddy McPodcastface)

All suggestions welcome!!

Love from Tim, Ben and Katy!

Posted in Conversation Classes, Proficiency

Debating at Higher Levels

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Image credit: The Merkle

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for higher levels (C1+) designed to help students develop their discourse management and debating skills. Download the handouts below:

Discourse Analysis: Guardian 5-minute Debates

In this section of the lesson students will watch a video from the Guardian 5-minute debate series in order to analyse the ways in which the speakers structure their arguments and the language they use. The topic of the debate is:

  • Should slang words be banned in the classroom?

In the debate the two speakers (Michael Rosen and Lindsay Johns) are specifically talking about London street slang. A school in South London took the decision to ban street slang from the classroom, the banned words are in the picture below:

slang

If you want to look up any of these words you can use the urban dictionary.

Language to pre-teach:

  • code switching – changing from one language, dialect, or way of speaking to another depending on who you’re speaking to.
  • cultural relativism – the theory that beliefs, customs, and morality exist in relation to the particular culture from which they originate and are not absolute. (What’s considered acceptable in one culture might not be in another)
  • Live in an ivory tower – to be out of touch or to not understand the true reality of a situation. To live in a privileged position and therefore not understand the real world.

Have students watch the debate, while they are watching they should answer these questions:

  • Who wins the debate and why?
  • Useful phrase for debating.
  • Ways of structuring an argument.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2013/dec/09/should-schools-ban-slang-video-debate

 

Discuss their thoughts in open class.

Give out the transcript and show students the powerpoint. The powerpoint will take them through some of the structural techniques that Michael Rosen uses such as:

  • Conceding/partially agreeing
  • Hedging/being more indirect
  • Asking and answering your own questions
  • Presenting evidence
  • Being emphatic

A Less Formal Debate – Debate-O-Rama Cats vs. Dogs

Now tell students they’re going to watch a less formal debate, the topic is dogs vs. cats. Split the class into two groups: the dog group and the cat group. Each group has to watch the video and and write down the arguments that the two people give to support their animal, i.e dogs are smelly, cats are selfish.

Students watch the video and takes notes. (Video from 1:15)

Give out the debate language handout. Tell students that they are going to recreate the dogs vs. cats debate but using the language on the handout and some of the structural techniques we saw earlier. Give them 8-10 minutes to structure their arguments. The debate will follow the following structure:

Debate Structure

  1. Opening statement (90 secs)
  2. Cross examination (30 secs)
  3. (repeat)
  4. Rebuttal #1 (30 secs each)
  5. Rebuttal #2 (30 secs each)
  6. Closing Statements (30 secs each)

Award a winner based on the strength of their arguments and how well structured they are. The debate handout has further debate topics for future classes.

Debate Handout:

Language

Opinion

The way I see it,

In my view,

In my opinion, I think that

My view on the matter is…

As far as I understand it,

As far as I’m concerned,

I’d say that…

I personally am (not) a big fan of…

Evidence/Popular Opinion

All the evidence points to/suggests…

I think you’ll find that…

If you ask anyone,…

The vast majority of people would say…

We have no evidence that…

9 out of 10 people would say that…

There’s no evidence to support that whatsoever.

 

Main arguments

I support/oppose the notion that… for the following reason: Firstly,…

The key issue here is…

The real question/dilemma is… (question form)

The critical/crucial factor here is…

It’s vital to remember that…

By far and away the most important point is…

Adding points

What’s more,

On top of that,

Besides that,

Apart from that,

Another thing to consider is…

We shouldn’t forget that…

It’s also worth bearing in mind that…

Rebutting/Cross-Examining

So what you’re saying is…

So let me get this straight…

Correct me if I’m wrong but…

You’re not seriously suggesting that…, are you?

You can’t possibly be saying that…

I feel I must also disagree with you about…

Conceding/Partially Agreeing

I admit that your point about… may be true, however,

I take/see your point about…

Let’s say I agree with the idea of…

I hear what you’re saying, but…

Conclusion

In a nutshell,

So to sum up,

So in summary,

So to wrap up,

So as I was saying,

All in all,

Debate Structure

1.       Opening statement (90 secs)

2.       Cross examination (30 secs)

3.       (repeat)

4.       Rebuttal #1 (30 secs each)

5.       Rebuttal #2 (30 secs each)

6.       Closing Statements (30 secs each)

Low-stakes Debate Topics

(Credit to debatable youtube page)

Dogs vs. Cats Superpowers:

Flight vs. Invisibility

Pancakes vs. Waffles Hot dogs vs. Hamburgers French fries vs. Patatas bravas
Beer vs. Wine Whisky vs. Rum Are ghost real? Does the internet do more good or bad? Camping, good or bad?
Taylor Swift vs. Ariana Grande Soup vs. salad Pasta vs. pizza Is it ok to pee in the shower? Tea vs. Coffee
Coke vs. Pepsi Burger King vs. MacDonald’s Chinese food vs. Japanese food City vs. Country Morning Showers vs. Night Showers
Posted in Conversation Classes

Micro Presentations/Elevator Pitches

Image result for elevator pitch

This is a lesson plan designed for higher levels (B2+) to help students develop their presentation skills. Download the phrase sheet and topic cards below:

Micro Presentations

Preparation

Prepare a 2-minute example presentation on a topic close to your heart using as much of the language from the handout as you can.

Procedure

Tell students that you’re going to give a presentation, tell them that they need to make notes on: the main idea, supporting ideas and impressive language.

Give your presentation and then give students a minute to compare their notes and share in open class.

Give out the handout and have students look for the expressions that they heard, clear up any doubts students may have about the language.

Students then choose presentation topics for each other. Give them 2-3 minutes to prepare their presentations. Pairs then join together to make groups of 4. Each member gives their presentation, teacher monitors and takes notes for feedback. Other members of the group note how many expressions their classmates use in their presentations and give them constructive feedback.

Homework: Students prep another micro-presentation for the next class. Topics could include: a hobby, a product sales pitch, a persuasive argument.

Handout

Language

Starting

The thing about… is…

What I find most interesting about… is…

Abbreviating

In a nutshell,

To cut a long story short…

Sequencers

First of all,

To begin with,

First and foremost,

Secondly,

Finally,

Last but not least,

And to top it all off,

Addition

What’s more,

On top of that,

Besides that,

Apart from that,

Another thing to consider is…

We shouldn’t forget that…

It’s also worth bearing in mind that…

Adding Emphasis

(I don’t agree with him) at all.

Without a shadow of a doubt.

By far the best/worst/biggest etc. is…

The park near my house is especially/particularly beautiful

Fillers

You know?

So,

I mean,

In other words

How can I put this?

Contrast/Comparison

On the one hand, on the other hand,

But actually…

But in actual fact…

However

Whereas/while

Conclusion

So to sum up,

So in summary,

So to wrap up,

So as I was saying,

All in all,

Topics

Choose a topic for your partner from the list below, you have two minutes to make notes before giving a two minute micro-presentation.

Tourism in your city How we can save the planet Modern cinema The worst thing about being a teenager The best thing about being a teenager
The most important invention ever Ways to live a healthier life Consumerism The effect the internet is having on society The world in 20 years’ time
The importance of fashion nowadays Sexism in the media Differences between your life and your parents The ideal holiday The most useful subjects at school
Modern music Different pressures that girls and boys face Dating nowadays The most useful thing you own The best way to study for exams
The best place to go on a first date The perfect weekend Smartphone addiction Zoos and pets The best thing to study at uni

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Lessons you can watch online

Amazing collection of class videos covering lots of different ages, levels, needs and skills.

Sandy Millin

For a lot of teachers, it can be hard to find the time or the opportunity to observe and learn from other teachers’ lessons. If that’s you, hopefully you’ll find these videos useful.

I’ve divided them into loose categories, with a sentence or two to help you decide which are the most relevant to you. Within the categories, they’re just in the order I found them! I’d like to thank the many people who’ve sent me links to these videos over the years (though unfortunately I can’t remember exactly who sent me what!)

Please feel free to tell me about other videos I may have missed in the comments, as well as any broken links. I’d particularly appreciate any VYL, YL or teen videos that may be out there, though I know they may be hard to find.

P.S. I’ll admit that I haven’t watched all of these from start…

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