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Half a Million Views!!!

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Image credit: www.gainsborough.hackney.sch.uk

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

freeenglishlessonplans.com has just reached half a million all time views! Thanks to all my followers and everyone who’s ever viewed anything!

 

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Posted in Conversation Classes

Conversation topic: The best way to…

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Image credit: www.cleverprocrastination.com

This is a straightforward conversation topic lesson plan which can be used with both teens and adults and many levels (high A2+). Students discuss the best thing to do in different situations.

You will need the “best way to…” powerpoint:

The best way to

Language

Put the following structures on the board:

Opinion:

  • In my opinion
  • From my point of view
  • As far as I’m concerned
  • I reckon

The best/worst thing to do is…

Agreeing and disagreeing:

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.

Project the powerpoint onto the board and go through the slides. Play devil’s advocate and ensure that students debate each topic thoroughly.

Debates

You could split the class into teams and debate one of the topics. Give each team an opinion, for example “the best way to break up with someone is by text”, and they have to defend that opinion even if they don’t agree with it.

Homework

Have students choose one of the topics raised and write an essay on it; exploring the different ways suggested and reaching a conclusion as to which is the best.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Games

Game: Articulate

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Image credit: www.drumondpark.com

This is a great end of year game to play with all ages and levels. It’s based around the popular board game “Articulate” which is a staple in my household at Christmas.

You will need a die and the handouts listed below printed and cut up.

articulate objects

articulate nature

articulate places

articulate famous ppl

For action cards you need to print out the MES flashcards below and write the verb next to the picture:

http://www.mes-english.com/flashcards/files/can_cards.pdf

http://www.mes-english.com/flashcards/files/verbs2_cards.pdf

http://www.mes-english.com/flashcards/files/verbs1_cards.pdf

The Game

Split your class into groups of 3. Have each group come up with a team name and write them on the board. Decide which team goes first. The first player comes to the front of the class and rolls the dice; the numbers correspond to the different categories:

  1. Objects
  2. Nature
  3. People
  4. Places
  5. Actions
  6. You choose

If students roll a 6 they can choose whichever category they like. The player than has 1 minute to describe as many of the words on the cards to their team-mates  as they can. Teams score 1 point for each word correctly guessed. If the describer doesn’t know the word or their team are struggling to identify it, they can pass but they can only pass 3 times. Play then passes to the next team. Play at least 3 rounds so that each member of each team has a go at describing.

The rules to describing are:

  1. You can only pass 3 times.
  2. No miming.
  3. Strictly English only.
  4. No spelling words out.
  5. Silence from other teams while one team is playing.

The game is a perfect opportunity to practice different structures such as relative clauses, adjective order and many more. Below are photos of the prompts I put on the board for my pre-intermediate teenagers class:

Make sure you drill the frames with the students beforehand and do a few yourself to demonstrate. I always carry the (rather battered) card packs in my folder in case I’m ever stuck for an activity for the last 10 minutes of class. Alternatively, play it as an end of term treat and bring sweets for the winning team. Let me know how it goes.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

30 topic cards for IELTS / CPE Speaking

Great resource for CPE/IELTS speaking practice.

teflgeek

I don’t think this needs much in the way of explanation!  If you click the pdf link below, I’ve put together 30 different topic cards for IELTS speaking part 2 / CPE speaking part 3.

I wrote most of these over seven years ago when I was teaching IELTS on a more regular basis (though it looks like I might be again soon – looking forward to it!).  So I’m not sure how up to date the topic cards are and they might also be a little “low” for CPE learners – though if that turns out to be the case, think how much fun your CPE learners can have “upgrading” the vocabulary, question types and topic areas!

Also, they were written with a view to not only giving learners a chance to practice a two-minute-talk, but also to develop topic awareness and general knowledge a little bit.  Some of…

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Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes

Used to/would – Past habit and states

Photo credit: pinterest.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for intermediate students to practice “used to” and “would” to talk about past habits and states using videos and conversation.

Download the lesson plan and student’s worksheet here:

Used to would lesson plan

Used to would students sheet

Used to

Warmer: 2 truths and a lie, write three sentences about yourself using “used to”, 2 true and 1 lie. Try to write 2 with state verbs and 1 with an action verb like this:

  1. I used to have shoulder length hair.
  2. I used to dance ballet when I was a child.
  3. I used to be a builder before I was a teacher.

What does used to mean here?

A past state or habit which is not true now.

What are the negative and interrogative forms?

I used to dance ballet.

I didn’t use to dance ballet.

Did you use to dance ballet?

Drill pronunciation: weak “to” in “used to” and the “ed” in “used” is not pronounced.

Remember: Used to only exists in the past, to talk about present habit we use the present simple with adverbs of frequency.

I usually/normally/tend to go to the gym twice a week.

Would

“Would” can replace “used to” in one of the three sentences at the top of the page with exactly the same meaning. In which sentence is would possible?

  1. I would/used to dance ballet when I was a child.

We can use “would” with the same meaning as “used to” only when we’re talking about past actions or habits not when we’re talking about states.

When I was at uni I would/used to get up at 11am. (get up = action/habit)

When I was a child I would/used to have blonde hair. (have = state)

Look at the following sentences, decide if we can only use “used to” or if “would” is also possible.

  1. When I lived in Japan I would/used to eat sushi every day.
  2. When I was at school we used to/would play hopscotch in the playground.
  3. When I was a kid I didn’t use to/wouldn’t like olives.
  4. My dad used to/would have a big green land rover.
  5. He used to/would drive it through the forest on bumpy tracks.
  6. When I was a teenager I used to/would love heavy metal music, now it’s too loud for me.

Videos

Watch the video and make sentences about it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEZUQxQ51Ak

Arnold used to be a bodybuilder. He would lift weights all day. He used to be the governor of California.

Discussion

  1. What games did you use to play when you were a child?
  2. Where did you use to go on holiday?
  3. Are there any foods or drinks that you used to hate when you were young that you like now?
  4. What did you use to look like when you were a teenager?
  5. What hairstyle did you use to have?
  6. What clothes did you use to have?
  7. Were you badly behaved at school? What bad things did you use to do?
  8. What did you use to do at the weekends?
  9. What did you use to do at Christmas?
  10. How has the place where you grew up changed in your lifetime?

There used to be a (park/playground etc.)

Follow up:

Students write a composition detailing all of the things that they used to do when they were younger and explaining why they don’t do them anymore.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes

Quantifiers Worksheet

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This is a worksheet for intermediate students to practice quantifiers. It’s written with Catalan students from Barcelona in mind so you might want to edit some of the discussion questions.

Download the handout here:

Quantifiers Worksheet

All of

Most of

Some of

A few of         + A determiner + noun

None of        (my/your/his/the/etc.)

Neither of

Both of

All

Most

Some

A few       + a noun

Neither

Both

All (of) my siblings are married.*

Both (of) my siblings are married.*

Most of his family have left the country.

A few of the people I went to school with are coming to visit.

None of her friends live in the village now.

Neither of her parents can drive.

 

*With all and both the “of” is optional.

All vegetables are good for you.

Most people prefer summer to winter.

Some people don’t like cheese.

A few places still let you smoke inside.

Neither hat was big enough for her.

Both men were extremely drunk.

Which of these sentences is incorrect?

  1. I love the rock music.
  2. I loved the music that they were playing last night.
  3. Most of the English people drink too much.
  4. Most of the people I know drink too much.

REMEMBER: When we’re speaking in general we don’t use “the”:

Most English people drink too much.

I like rock music.

Choose the correct option to complete the sentences:

  1. A few of/A few the people who came to the party didn’t bring presents.
  2. Neither/Neither of my pens worked so I couldn’t take notes.
  3. Most of/Most Spanish people support either Barça or Madrid.
  4. All of/all children should play outside 3 times a week.
  5. All of/all the children in my school come from the same area.
  6. Most/Most of restaurants close at midnight.
  7. Most/Most of the restaurants on my street are Turkish.

Discussion

  1. How many of your friends did you meet at school?
  2. How many of your friends speak English?
  3. How many of your friends speak Mandarin Chinese?
  4. Do your classmates do sports?
  5. Do any of your siblings smoke?
  6. How many people take a siesta in Catalonia?
  7. How many people take a siesta in the rest of Spain?
  8. How many people like bullfighting in Catalonia?
  9. How many people like bullfighting in the rest of Spain?
  10. Did your parents let you play in the street when you were little?
  11. Did your parents let you smoke when you were at school?
  12. Where did your parents grow up?
  13. Where did your siblings go to school?
  14. How many people support Barça in Barcelona?
  15. How many people support Espanyol?
Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes

3rd Conditional: Balloon Debate

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This is a conversation lesson plan to practise past (3rd) conditional structures whilst debating the value of specific professions to society. Credit to the university of Kent for the inspiration for the activity. I have changed the wording of the task slightly so that students must imagine a world without the achievements and inventions of some famous names from history.

You will need the handout, I have made 4 versions:

Intermediate teens:

Balloon Debate intermediate teenagers

Intermediate adults:

Balloon Debate Intermediate adults

Advanced teens:

Balloon Debate Adv teenagers

Advanced adults:

Balloon Debate Adv adults

I planned this as an activity to practise uses of advanced 3rd conditional structures such as:

But for + noun phrase, would/could/might have….

But for Thomas Edison, the lightbulb would have been invented much later.

Or inverted past conditionals:

Had it not been for Shakespeare, we wouldn’t have such a rich vocabulary.

You may want to preteach these structures using my other materials which you can find here and here.

Below you will find they advanced adults version of the activity.

Balloon Debate

You are in a hot air balloon which is losing height rapidly and will soon crash because it is overweight. You are travelling with a group of school children who will grow up to be very famous. You have to decide which 7 to throw over the side; if the balloon crashes you will all die. The passengers are:

  • Mother Teresa
  • Mao Tse-tung
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • Florence Nightingale
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Mikael Gorbachev
  • Charles Darwin
  • William Shakespeare
  • Diego Maradona
  • Albert Einstein
  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Beethoven
  • Vincent Van Gogh
  • Jane Austen
  • Steve Jobs

 

Language

Conditionals Making Decisions
If_____ hadn’t invented_____, _____ wouldn’t have happened. There’s no way we’re throwing ______ overboard because______
But for ________ we wouldn’t have________. Throwing _______ is out of the question because________
If it hadn’t been for ______, we wouldn’t have _______ now I think ________ is expendable.
Had it not been for _______, we wouldn’t have________. What did _______ really do for us?

Examples:

If Charles Darwin hadn’t discovered evolution, society wouldn’t have developed like it has.

If it hadn’t been for Gandhi, India would still be a British colony.

But for Shakespeare, we wouldn’t have such a rich language.

Had it not been for Abraham Lincoln, the slaves wouldn’t have been freed.

Homework Activity:

Students write an essay examining two of the people from the balloon and deciding which one has contributed most to society. They must compare and contrast the achievements of the two and reach a conclusion as to which should be crowned as the most inspiring person in history.