Posted in Conversation Classes

Rebuild civilisation conversation lesson

mushroom cloud

My take on a conversation class classic. There have been many different versions, I did this one in my Spanish class and then translated it into English to use with my students. I am afraid I don’t know the Spanish textbook title so can’t give a credit.

Click here to download the handout:

Rebuild Civilisation

Rebuild Civilisation

Below or in the handout above you will find the conversation task. Before you start the activity you might want to pre-teach some vocabulary. For example some verbs and nouns:

cultivate – cultivation

procreate – procreation

populate – population

Or for lower levels you can give the students more of a framework. For example:

I think we should / shouldn’t / ought to /ought not to take ………………… because……………….

This handout on language of agreement and disagreement might also be useful:!247&authkey=!ANBIbEVteXyYHnY

Encourage students to justify all their decisions, don’t let them get away with simply crossing the banker off the list because they’re angry at bankers. Try to play devils advocate too; stand up for the banker, the computer programmer or the economist to encourage the students to think critically and find justifications.

Class instructions:

  1. Give out the handout and explain the situation to the students.
  2. Put the students into groups of 3-4, or if you have less students pairs is fine. Try to have at least two groups, the more groups there are the more opinions there are and the more discussion there will be.
  3. First have the students individually read the list and select a provisional list of 7 people. Tell them not to worry if they have trouble choosing only 7.
  4. Then in their groups they must share their thoughts and try to convince their classmates which people to choose.
  5. Give them plenty of time to do this and make sure they justify everything.
  6. Then have a feedback session; each group reads out their list of 7 and explains their reasons for choosing them.
  7. Then try to come up with a universal list of 7 for the whole class. So each team must defend their choices and try to talk the other teams round to their way of thinking.

There has been a nuclear catastrophe. Everyone on the planet has died except the 20 people listed below. There is a small aeroplane with only 7 spaces. The aeroplane will take the 7 people to a desert island in the Indian ocean where they will rebuild civilisation.

In your groups you have to decide which 7 people will travel on the aeroplane.

  • A 50-year-old male judge.
  • A 25-year-old female economist.
  • The 52-year-old Chief of an African tribe.
  • The Chief´s pregnant wife.
  • A 30-year-old male professional ballerina.
  • A young, male soldier from an island close to the one they are going to.
  • A 35-year-old female agricultural engineer.
  • A 35-year-old male priest.
  • A 28-year-old female opera singer.
  • A 24-year-old handsome, well-built man.
  • A 25-year-old hot, buxom blonde woman.
  • A 26-year-old nun.
  • A 37-year-old male witch doctor from the African tribe.
  • A 52-year-old male psychiatrist.
  • A 14-year-old male child-genius.
  • A 27-year-old female history teacher.
  • A 32-year-old male computer programmer.
  • A 37-year-old male biologist who specialises in the evolution of species.
  • A 31-year-old female painter.
  • A 41-year-old male banker.

Wrap up:

If you were in this situation what do you think you could offer the new civilisation?

Posted in Conversation Classes

Fun role-play and discussion class.


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Just a quick note…

Before you use these materials… We’ve created a new podcast aimed at B2+ level English students and teachers alike. You can listen for free at our SoundCloud page below. You can download teacher’s notes to accompany them from our Facebook page or from this blog. All comments and feedback welcome! Give us a like and a share 😉

Role-play and Discussion Class

This is a fun conversation class for teens or adults.

Here are the handouts:

Role cards and situations:!261&authkey=!ALtvuUfRiWhHcbQ

Discussion questions handout:!215&authkey=!AM0F1hFf5Tlvv3o

Sometimes some students have have trouble or feel embarrassed expressing their own opinions in class. Role-plays are an excellent solution to this situation. They can also be used to introduce different issues or topics.

I stole the role-play scenarios from another site (thank you, sorry) but I added another element; between the different role-plays there are some simple discussion questions based on the situation explored in the role-play. You can either have the students do the role-plays and then discuss the issues that come up or vice versa.


First ensure that the students understand what a role-play is.

These role-plays all work best in pairs. However, if you have some 3’s extra characters can be added.

Put the students in pairs and distribute the roles for the first scenario; one person is the daughter the other is the mother.

Explain that they are going to play out the situations on the cards but that at some point (after 2-3 mins) you are going to shout “swap”. They will then have to change roles, mother becomes daughter and vice versa, BUT they do not start the scenario again, they must continue from the same place. This makes it more fun and forces the students to think on their feet.

Have the students do the same role-play simultaneously. This leads to interesting discussion in the feedback session after the role-plays.

Give the students as long as they need to try and reach a resolution to the problem, swapping the roles as many times as you like.

Once they have finished have a feedback session:

What happened here?

What was the resolution?

What do you think will happen?

Then ask the students to draw comparisons between what happened and the differences between the characters that were created in each role-play.

Then give out the discussion question sheet handout. Students then discuss the questions related to the roleplay in small groups.

There are 3 different role-plays, each with it’s own discussion questions so you could split them up and do them as an end of class treat over several classes or have one long marathon drama class!

Discussion questions:

Moving out / moving in together

When did you move out of your parent’s house?

Why did you move out of your parent’s house?

What problems did you encounter immediately after moving out?

Did you get homesick?

What advantages did you discover when you moved out?

What do you think is the average age at which people move out of their parent’s house?

How long do you think a couple should be together before they move in together?

How does a relationship change after you move in together? How does it change for the better? How does it change for the worse?

If you live with your partner how long have you lived together?

What problems did you encounter when you first moved in together? How did you solve these problems? What compromises did you have to make?

Partying husband role-play

What would you do in this situation?

If you have a partner (husband /wife) do you have very different hobbies and interests to them?

How important is it to have similar interests in a relationship?

How important is it to have different hobbies or activities in a relationship?

Have you ever tried to persuade a partner to take up one of your hobbies? What happened?

Has a partner ever tried to persuade you to take up one of their hobbies? What happened?

Hospital role-play

What would you do in this situation?

Have you ever had to give a very important speech / presentation?

Who did you have to give it to? What was it about? How did it go? How did you feel before and after?

Have you ever had to work when you were very ill? What happened?

How many sick days do you take in the average year?

Posted in Vocabulary Classes, Writing Classes

Spelling Practice Powerpoints


2 powerpoint presentations to practice spelling some tricky words.!258&authkey=!AIL_LU1IDGcXPhs!257&authkey=!AKE4k6YQGB4Fz2A

First you dictate the words to the students, maybe put them in pairs to make it a competition, then show the powerpoints for them to check their answers.


Posted in Writing Classes

FCE Formal Letter Template

formal letter

This is a formal letter homework composition task for FCE students.

Here is the handout to download:!255&authkey=!ACDsTegJ0jAHuF4

Paragraph plan:

  1. Why are you writing? I am writing……………………………..
  2. Personal details and relevant experience.
  3. Reason for applying and why you would be good for the job.
  4. Availability for interview.

If you know the person’s name finish with Yours sincerely, if you don’t finish with Yours faithfully,

Read the following sample letter first and base yours on it.

Dear Mrs Sykes,

I am writing in connection with your advertisement displayed in the local youth centre and I would like to apply for the post of Activities Co-ordinator.

I am 18 years of age and I am used to working with children because I babysit my neighbour’s sons regularly. I train in the gym twice a week and I often go hiking to the countryside with my friends. In addition to this, I have a lifesaving certificate and have enjoyed swimming since I was a child.

My reason for applying for this position is that I am keen on combining my experience in swimming with my wide knowledge of the countryside which I think it will be interesting for the children.

I would be available to attend an interview on any day at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,


Task: You see this advertisement in an English language magazine.

Global Music shops

Rock Classical Pop Jazz

We are looking for people to work in our international music shops for three months in the summer.

  • Are you interested in music?
  • Do you have any useful experience?
  • Is your level of English good?

Apply to our manager, Mr. Boston, saying that you think you are suitable for the job in one of our music shops.

Write your letter of application (120-180 words). Do not write any postal addresses.

Posted in Writing Classes

FCE film review composition task

This is a homework task for FCE students based around film reviews.

Here is the handout to download:!253&authkey=!AFM9pLBigh4FSh0

Here you have a template:

Paragraph 1: Describe genre, actors and a personal opinion

“The Matrix is one of the most entertaining science fiction films I have seen.”

“It has great special effects and action sequences”

“It stars Keanu Reeves as Neo.”

Paragraph 2: Talk about setting, brief plot description and opinion on acting.

“the film is set in the future, in a world controlled by machines”

“the plot is a little complicated and confusing”

“Keanu Reeves is surprisingly good as Neo.”

Paragraph 3: Talk about Special effects or action sequences.

“the special effects are stunning”

“the action scenes are very well choreographed”

Paragraph 4: Would you recommend this film? Who to?

“I would recommend this film to anyone who likes science fiction because…….”

Posted in Writing Classes

CAE Writing Text Types

Here is a breakdown of the different types of writing task you are required to do in the CAE.

Download the handout here:!251&authkey=!AALCTFvPUmWw6vE

Text Type Structural Features Language features
Article / Contribution Title (article + contribution)

Paragraph headings (contribution)

  • Has to catch and hold readers’ attention – so needs interesting opening and effective ending.
  • Use direct questions.
  • Try to personalise it.
  • Register depends on target reader but usually informal – neutral.
Competition Entry Title
  • Has to stand out from other pieces on the specified topic – so needs a striking opening and memorable ending.
  • Register depends on target reader but usually informal – neutral.
Report Title

Paragraph headings

  • Clear introduction explaining the reason for the report
  • Very clear language describing something precisely
  • Objective / impersonal style.
  • Neutral to formal register depending on target reader.
  • Clear conclusion, usually a recommendation.
Proposal Title

Paragraph headings

  • Clear introduction explaining reason for writing.
  • Very clear language, persuasive language, recommendations / suggestions.
  • Objective / impersonal style.
  • Neutral to formal register depending on target reader.
  • Argument backed up by crystal clear reasons.


Essay Title usually provided.
  • Neutral – formal register
  • Academic piece of writing
  • Examine both sides of an argument in a clearly organised structure.
  • Likely to come to a definite conclusion.
Information Sheet Title

Paragraph headings

  • Neutral – formal register
  • Clear language explaining rules and regulations for example.
  • Distinct paragraphs about different subjects, no links between paragraphs.
Review Title
  • Early statement of the subject of the review (film, book, website etc.)
  • Some factual information about the subject.
  • More of the content should be devoted to the writer’s opinions on the subject.
  • Writer’s opinion supported by examples related to subject.
Formal Letter Opening and closing conventions:

Dear sir / madam – yours faithfully

Dear Mr. Smith – yours sincerely

  • Clear opening paragraph giving reason for writing.
  • Language that persuades by giving reasons supported by examples.
Posted in Conversation Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Vocabulary upgrade for impressing examiners

speaking exam

Here are some different ways to talk about your hobbies and interests to slip into conversation in speaking exams to earn extra points.

Here is a link to download the handout:!249&authkey=!AIM8OXlG3ratQOc



I like ………………………….. I’m keen on / fond of……………………….
I like / enjoy + action

I like swimming.

I enjoy playing the guitar.

I like travelling.

I’m a keen / avid + noun

I’m a keen swimmer.

I’m an avid guitarist.

I’m an avid traveller.

I like reading. I’m a (bit of a) bookworm.

I’m an avid reader

I like / am interested in  cinema / music / history / art / etc. I’m a (bit of a) film / music / history / art buff.
I like computers. I’m a (bit of a) computer geek.
I like shopping. I’m a (bit of a) shopaholic.
I work a lot. I’m a (bit of a) workaholic.
I like dangerous sports I’m a bit of a risk taker / adrenalin junky / daredevil.
I like relaxing at the weekend. I like to recharge my batteries at the weekend.

I like to get away from the hustle and bustle of my job / school / the city.

I can’t remember the word for….. The word is on the tip of my tongue

The word escapes me at the moment but….

I’m addicted to (chocolate, a television series) I’m hooked on
(Girls) I like shopping, make-up, fashion and romantic comedies. I’m a (bit of a) girly girl.
(Boys) I like sport, beer, and women. I’m a (bit of a) man’s man.
I’m very fit. I’m in tip top condition.
I don’t drink alcohol I’m teetotal.
I am / was very good at school. I am / was a teacher’s pet / top of my class at school.
I need English for my course / job. English is a requirement of my course / job.
I need English for my career If you want to get ahead in life you need English.
I’ve been studying English for a long time. I’ve been studying English for ages.

I’ve been studying English for as long as I can remember.

I speak English every day at Uni / work. English is an essential / key part of my everyday life.
Posted in Conversation Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Language of agreement and disagreement


Here students practice different phrases to express agreement and disagreement. Useful for developing speaking for FCE, CAE, CPE.

Here you have a downloadable copy of the handout:!247&authkey=!ANBIbEVteXyYHnY

Pre-teach the different vocabulary. The students then complete the exercise underneath in pairs. Taking it in turns to make one of the statements. In the first section the other student HAS TO disagree with their partner, even though some of the statements are difficult to disagree with. They must also justify their disagreement. In the second section they HAVE TO agree.

For higher levels ban the use of “I agree” or “I disagree” force them to use the new expressions.

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.

Listen to you partner and then disagree with everything he / she says, give reasons.

  • I think everybody should have access to free healthcare.
  • War should never be used to resolve international disputes.
  • The best way to study is on your own first thing in the morning.
  • Footballers earn too much money.
  • Celebrities shouldn’t complain about being in the public eye all the time.
  • The best place for animals to live is in their natural habitat.

Listen to you partner and then agree with everything he / she says, give reasons.

  • Making mistakes in English is ok as long as other people understand you.
  • The government should pay for everybody’s education.
  • Smoking should be completely illegal.
  • All drugs should be legal.
  • Catalonia should be independent.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo is the best football player in the world.
Posted in Grammar Classes

Grammar Activity Future Perfect / Future Continuous


This is an activity for teenagers to practice:

The future perfect, to talk about completed actions in the future:

By 12 o’clock I will have finished my homework.

The future continuous, to talk about actions that will be on going at a specific time in the future:

At 12:30 I will be walking the dog.

The activity is based around football manager Jose Mourinho’s plans for the day.

Here is the handout:!245&authkey=!AAMJUCn1Yk4RqsA