Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Grammar Classes

CAE Inversions


This is a lesson plan to introduce inverted structures to CAE students. It consists of a prezi explaining the formula for constructing inversions and a writing and speaking activity based on business presentations. You can access the prezi here:

Enjoy! Let me know how it goes in the comments.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Current Affairs Classes

Conversation Topic: Mars One


This is a conversation activity in which students discuss human achievements and the Mars One colonisation project. Either split the class into small groups (3-4) or for smaller groups have a class discussion. You can download the handout here.


  • How many amazing physical achievements (climbing Everest, walking to the South Pole etc.) can you think of?
  • Which achievement was the most impressive?
  • What’s the most physically difficult thing you’ve ever done? (climb a mountain, run a marathon etc.)
  • Are there any you would like to try in the future?
  • Are there any you wish you had tried in the past?
  • Are the world’s best athletes present at the Olympic Games?
  • What type of athletes or sportsmen/women do you think deserve the most respect?
  • What do you think of ‘extreme’ sports (bungee jumping, tightrope walking…)?
  • What do you think is the most impressive human achievement? (not necessarily physical, could be scientific/technological/medical for example the moon landings)

Mars One

  • How much do you know about Mars? Share your knowledge with your group.
  • Are you interested in astronomy and the science of space travel?
  • Do you have any memories of important achievements in space travel?
  • Have you heard of the Mars One project? Share your knowledge with your group BEFORE READING THE DESCRIPTION BELOW.

Mars One is a privately funded project which intends to establish a human colony on Mars by 2025. They plan to send an unmanned spacecraft to the planet in 2018 followed by equipment and supplies over the following 6 years. They are currently accepting applications to be part of the first 4-man crew that will take off in 2024 on a one-way 7 month trip to the red planet. Once the colony is established 4 people will be sent every 2 years.

  • What do you think of the project? Is it realistic?
  • The project is currently accepting applicants to be part of the 4 man crew that will leave in 2024. What kind of people do you think they are looking for?
  • Would you be interested in participating? Why? Why not?
  • What kind of people do you think would apply for the project?
  • If you were running the project what tests would you do on the applicants to check if they are suitable?
  • What are the biggest problems the people could encounter on the 7 month journey to Mars? And when they land?
  • How would you feel if a member of your family wanted to apply for the project?
  • Do you know anyone who you think would like to apply?
  • Why do you think people would apply to be part of the project?
  • Imagine you have been selected to be part of the first crew. You are allowed to take 1 item of hand luggage (standard budget airline size) of personal belongings. What would you take and why?
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Grammar Classes

CAE Conditionals


This is a lesson plan designed to introduce some of the various conditional forms that can be tested in the CAE.

Here is the link to my prezi explaining the form and use of the different structures. I taught the structures over two hour and a half classes; in the first we did the zero, first and second conditionals and in the second the 3rd and the additional structures. For homework after the first class I set this sheet. The prezi contains sections to practice forming the structures but you will also want to do some other closed and open use activities. For example:

These great slideshows I found on the 2nd and 3rd conditional:

2nd conditional powerpoint

3rd conditional powerpoint

Fail videos for 3rd conditional practice:

This old lesson plan for 3rd conditional conversation practice.

This quizlet set on conditional key word transformations.

Interactive youtube videos:

They are great for natural use of conditional structures.

Hell Pizza zombie apocalypse adventure:

Follow up:

When setting the next writing task for your class encourage students to use at least one inverted conditional. For example:

In articles/reviews:

Try to use an inverted conditional in an anecdote or narrative: “Had it not been for Batman’s swift actions, the Joker would have conquered the city.”

In proposals:

Try to use an inverted condtional in the recommendations section you normally put in a conclusion to a proposal: “Should these recommendations be carried out, the event will be a resounding success.”

In reports:

In reports your recommendations are less likely to be followed so encourage students to use an inverted 2nd conditional: “Were the above changes to be made, the future of education in this country would be much brighter.”

What other compositons can you fit an inverted condtional into?

Posted in Warmers

Warmer: Team Picture Description

us parisbowie suits


This is a fun warmer to get students working in teams and having a laugh.

Divide the class into 2 teams. Tell each team to nominate the member with the most artistic ability. The two nominees then come to the board which will be divided into two halves. Then give each team a comedy picture of you (make sure the person at the board doesn’t see it). Alternatively, you could use my pictures from here (I gave out the two above) or some downloaded from the internet but its more fun if it’s a picture of you. Give them 5 minutes to describe and draw the picture, you may need to quickly go over some language for picture descriptions, which you will find in this lesson plan.

Then put the original pictures on the board next to the drawings and do a spot the difference comparison, what did they get right/wrong? Be sure to take a photo of their drawings and upload it to your class blog, if you have one.

Posted in Warmers

Warmer: Knock knock jokes


This is a warmer to start the class to introduce knock knock jokes and get students talking, interacting and hopefully laughing.

Here is the handout:knock-knock-jokes

First use the 2 examples to teach students the structure of the jokes. Be sure to teach students the phrases:

“I get it.”/”I don’t get it.” – I understood the joke.

Then give out the jokes (some are duplicated so give them out to students on different sides of the class) have students circulate and tell each other their jokes. Students discuss which one is their favourite.