Posted in Conversation Classes, TED Talk Lesson Plans, Video Classes

TED Talk: Daniel Kish, How I use sonar to navigate the world

Photo credit: http://www.ted.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a conversation lesson plan for higher levels (B2+) based on Daniel Kish’s TED talk “How I use sonar to navigate the world”.

You can either watch the video in class or set it as homework. I have included a copy of the transcript which some students may find useful. You can download the lesson plan below:

TED Talk Daniel Kish Lesson Plan

Daniel Kish TED (transcript)

Introduction Questions

What do you call a person who can’t see?

What would it be like to be blind?

How do you feel when you see a blind person in the street?

Are there any advantages to be being blind?

Think of some things that blind people can and can’t do.

How do blind people navigate the world?

What do you think would be the most difficult thing for a blind person to do?

Show the video.

Discussion Questions

What was your initial reaction to the video?

What did you think when you first saw Daniel?

What did he say about the way in which people treat and react to blind people in society?

What’s his message?

Describe how he navigates the world.

What does he call this system?

Do you think you could use flash sonar?

Do you think you have good eyesight/a good sense of smell etc.?

  • sight/vision
  • smell
  • taste
  • touch
  • hearing

With a partner try to put your senses in order of importance. (This should spark off a lively debate)

Try and come up with a definitive order as a class.

If you had to lose one of your senses, which would you choose and why?

Debate

Divide the class into 5 groups and write the 5 senses on small pieces of paper. Each group picks a piece of paper, they then have to explain why the sense they have picked is the most important. Give them a few minutes to think of some arguments and every day situations to back them up.

Follow up activity

Students write a CAE/CPE report/proposal detailing ways in which a school or public space could be adapted for blind people. Alternatively, you could set an essay based on the TED talk evaluating Daniel Kish’s upbringing compared to more conventional parenting styles for blind/disabled children.

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Posted in Conversation Classes

Bucket List: Conversation Topic

Photo Credit: imdb.com

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Before you use these materials, why not check out our new podcast for learners and teachers alike? It’s called 2Ts in a Pod, have a listen here:

 

This is a conversation topic, based around the idea of a bucket list, written with higher levels in mind (C1+). However, I have included a version for lower levels.

Download the lesson plan and student’s handout here:

Bucket List Conversation Class

Bucket List Student’s handout Advanced

Bucket List handout intermediate

Bucket List Conversation Class

Write on the board: My grandfather kicked the bucket last week.

Show the first part of the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8k79w-nJD4#t=13

to kick the bucket – to die How else can we say this?

  1. Pass ________
  2. Bite the _______
  3. Give up the ________
  4. ________ one’s last.

To pass away, bite the dust, perish (usually in an accident), give up the ghost, breathe one’s last.

  1. What is a bucket list?

A list of activities that people want to do before they die.

  1. What do you think of this idea?
  2. Have you seen the film?
  3. Who do you think invented this idea?
  4. Why has it become so widely-know?
  5. What is FOMO?

Fear of missing out – a modern phenomenon linked to social media. People tend to think theat they are missing an amazing experience.

Daily Mail Survey Guessing Game.

 

The Daily Mail newspaper conducted a survey to see what the British public most commonly put on their bucket lists.

Can you guess some activities people chose?

Give students a few minutes to jot down some ideas in pairs. Make it into a game, pairs read out their suggestions one at a time and you award them points depending on where it is in the top 40: 4 points for the top 10, 3 for top 20, 2 for top 30, 1 for top 40.

Language for talking about plans/hopes/dreams

Go over the language in the boxes below:

Positive Negative
I’ve always fancied…

I’m dying/itching to try…

… is a burning ambition of mine.

… would be right up my street.

… is one for the bucket list.

A pipe dream (an unrealistic/improbable dream)

I would jump at the chance to…

If you offered me the chance to…, I would bite your hand off.

I’d give it a go.

I have no desire to…

… doesn’t appeal to me (at all)

Whatever floats your boat.

To each their own

The idea of … doesn’t do anything for me.

You wouldn’t catch me …ing

… is not my thing.

… is not for me.

Daily Mail Top 10

  1. Have a holiday home abroad
  2. Learn a new language
  3. Go on holiday to the Maldives .
  4. Buy a house
  5. Swim with dolphins
  6. Drive Route 66
  7. Ride a hot air balloon
  8. See the Egyptian Pyramids
  9. Go to a casino in Las Vegas
  10. Visit Venice

Have students discuss the top ten and decide if they would be on their bucket list. You can then either show them the rest of the top 40 or go to http://bucketlist.org/featured/ for more ideas for students to create their own bucket lists. Daily Mail Top 40:

  1. Have a holiday home abroad
  2. Learn a new language
  3. Go on holiday to the Maldives
  4. Buy a house
  5. Swim with dolphins
  6. Drive Route 66
  7. Ride a hot air balloon
  8. See the Egyptian Pyramids
  9. Go to a casino in Las Vegas
  10. Visit Venice
  11. Go up the Empire State Building
  12. Go on a cruise
  13. Go whale watching
  14. Climb a mountain
  15. Go up the Eiffel tower
  16. Learn an instrument
  17. Work in a different country
  18. Float in the Dead Sea
  19. Write a novel
  20. Drive a racing car
  21. Change career
  22. Trek the Inca Trail
  23. Be a volunteer for a good cause
  24. Be an extra in a film
  25. Go scuba diving
  26. Try out surfing
  27. Hold a Koala
  28. Feed a penguin
  29. Get a tattoo
  30. Backpack Europe
  31. Own a designer watch
  32. Ride a gondola
  33. Run a big race
  34. Bungee jump
  35. Reach the top of my career ladder
  36. Own a Mulberry handbag
  37. Ride a camel
  38. Ride on a horse and cart
  39. Write a film
  40. Change hair colour

Daily Mail article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-2695728/Buying-holiday-home-driving-Route-66-trip-Maldives-British-bucket-list-40-things-die.html

Posted in Writing Classes

CAE Writing Part 1: A Formal Essay

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Photo Credit: http://ozgekaraoglu.edublogs.org/2015/04/01/how-to-get-a-good-essay-written-by-writers/

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. We have released 5 episodes so far and 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 😉

https://soundcloud.com/2tspod


https://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast/

This is a lesson plan to help students approach and complete the new formal essay task in the CAE writing paper.

You will need the handout and teacher’s key:

CAE Writing Part 1 handout

CAE Writing key

Task Type

The new CAE writing part 1 is a formal essay based on a talk/lecture that the student has recently attended. There are always 3 bullet points that the lecture discussed, of which the candidate must only address two. There are also some quotes from other attendees/surveyed people that can be used. The final part of the task will include a question that the essay MUST answer.

essay shopping

Credit: Spotlight on Advanced – Cengage Learning and National Geographic.

Planning

Make enough copies of the 2nd page of the hand out for one between two. Cut the hand out up, give the slips of paper with the different planning steps to the students and have them put them in order. My suggested order is as follows:

  1. Read task carefully. Underline most important parts; focus on the question that your essay MUST
  2. Brainstorm ideas based on the 3 bullet points.
  3. Choose the 2 bullet point you have the most ideas about.
  4. Brainstorm ways to express your ideas and the quotes in the task using advanced grammar:
  • Inversions: Not only is/do…..but also… Rarely/seldom do people….
  • Double comparatives: The cheaper the…., the more popular…
  • Participle clauses: Being a keen shopper myself,… Having bought many products online,….
  • Advanced linkers: Despite the fact that…., ….. due to the fact that = because
  1. Plan your introduction:
  • An interesting way to introduce the topic.
  • Formal questions that the essay will answer.
  1. Plan your conclusion: Focus on answering the question you underlined in step 1.
  2. Write
  3. Reread carefully checking for:
  • Repetition of words/structures.
  • Contractions
  • Boring/informal vocabulary.
  • Also Furthermore/moreover. Because due/owing to the fact that. Although In spite of the fact that. However nonetheless/nevertheless.
  • Have you answered the question completely?

Have students complete step 1 in pairs:

essay shopping underlined

Have students complete step 2 as a CAE speaking part 3 task. Draw a spider diagram on the board. In the middle write: What influences where/how people shop? On the 3 spokes write the three bullet points: Convenience, cost and enjoyment. Briefly recap some language for speaking tasks and have students discuss the topic for 3 minutes.

Hold a plenary session and board all the students ideas in note form. Then put them in pairs to complete the next step: Brainstorming impressive grammar structures to use.

When shopping online not only do you avoid paying parking fees, but also crowds of people.

Having shopped both online and in stores, I would say that….

Linkers activity

Give out 1 copy of the third page of the handout to each student and have them complete it in pairs.

Pimp my paragraph

Either hand out the paragraph upgrade sheet out or project it on to the board. Students must upgrade the language in the paragraph to make it more impressive and more formal.

Introduction Phrases:

I got these great phrases from another handout I found on the internet:

More and more families are choosing to have only one child.

The trend nowadays is towards having smaller families.

Over the past ten years or so the media have frequently carried reports of ……………

Recent research indicates that the number of teenagers who smoke is increasing.

Hardly a week goes by without another report of …………….. appearing in the media.

This raises the issue of whether ……………..

Although most people would generally agree that …………… few would deny that …………….

I hope you find these activities useful in developing your students’ writing abilities, I appreciate any feedback or constructive criticism in the comments section.

Posted in Conversation Classes

School: Conversation Topic

Image credit: old-fashioned-school-room.jpg By Robert Weissberg

http://www.mindingthecampus.org/tag/charles-murray/

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a conversation exercise for adult students (A2+) in which they talk about and compare their experiences at school. I have prepared this activity as a follow up to studying comparatives and superlatives so encourage students to compare their schools and personal experiences: Your school was stricter than mine.

Download the handout here:

School Conversation

Useful language:

We had to…

We weren’t allowed to…

We couldn’t…

We didn’t have to… (it wasn’t necessary)

(noun/gerund)… was compulsory

(noun/gerund)… was prohibited

Discussion questions

Put students into groups of 2-4 and have them discuss the questions and then feedback/report what they’ve learnt from their classmates to the rest of the class. For small groups conduct the discussion as a class.

  1. Where did you go to school?
  2. Can you describe your school?
  3. Did you have to wear a uniform? If so, what did it consist of?
  4. What time did you have to start school?
  5. What were the rules at your school?
  • We had to…
  • We weren’t allowed to…
  • We couldn’t…
  • (noun/gerund)… was compulsory
  • (noun/gerund)… was prohibited/against the rules.
  1. Did you eat lunch at school?
  2. Who was the best teacher you had at school? Why?
  3. Who was the strictest teacher you had at school?
  4. What was your favourite subject?
  5. What was your least favourite subject?
  6. Describe a typical day at your school.
  7. What facilities did your school have? (gymnasium, swimming pool etc.)
  8. Have you been to your school recently? How much has it changed?
  9. Would you send your children to the same school?
  10. What things have changed for the better?
  11. What things have changed for the worse?
  12. Who was your best friend at school?
  13. Are you still friends with them now?
  14. Do you think school is easier or more difficult nowadays? Why?

Homework: Write an essay comparing and contrasting modern schools to schools in the past. Or a “day in the life” description of your school experience.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Reading Classes

Ageism and Retirement: CAE/CPE Lesson Plan

Student Onno Selbach does activities with two of our inhabitants. Photo courtesy of Humanitas.

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Photo credit: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/dutch-retirement-home-offers-rent-free-housing-students-one-condition/

This is a conversation activity for adults (B2+) based around an article about a Dutch retirement home where university students can live rent free in exchange for spending time with the senior residents. It also includes  Cambridge exam style open cloze and word formation exercises.

Lesson Plan:Dutch nursing home lesson plan

Article:Dutch nursing home offers rent

Open Cloze: Dutch nursing home open cloze

Word Formation: Dutch nursing home word formation

Key:

You can either split the class into groups to discuss the questions or conduct the discussion as a class. Warmer questions:

  • What is ageism?
  • Have you ever experienced it or seen an example of it?
  • In what ways/situations are people discriminated against because of their age?
  • Do you think older people are treated well in your society?
  • What type of problems do elderly people face in modern society?
  • How could this be improved?
  • Do you think the way in which older people are treated has got better or worse in your lifetime?
  • Are young and elderly people well integrated in modern society? If not how can we improve this?

Give out article and have students read it, clear up any vocabulary issues. Then give out the open cloze and word formation exercises.

Discussion questions:

  • What do you think of the program?
  • What are the potential advantages and disadvantages?
  • Why would this program appeal to the students?
  • Why would this program appeal to the elderly people?
  • What would the students get out of the program?
  • What would the elderly people get out of the program?
  • Would you have liked/like to spend your university years living in a retirement home?
  • Would you like to live in a home like this when you retire?

Follow up activity: Students write a CAE style essay, report or proposal on the topic of ageism and the retirement home program outlining pros and cons or highlighting advantages and disadvantages for the students and the elderly people.