Posted in Conversation Classes, Vocabulary Classes

You can’t choose your family: Family Expressions

Image credit: blogs.elon.edu

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for higher levels (C1+) designed with CAE students in mind. Students will teach each other some expressions related to family and use them to describe themselves. Credit to my colleague Julie Banks for some of the expressions. Download the handout and key below:

You cant choose your family handout

You can’t choose your fam teacher notes

Teacher’s notes

Lead-in

Write the expression “you can’t choose your family” on the board. What does it mean? Does it exist in your language?

Peer Teaching

Put students in pairs and assign them As and Bs. Cut up the hand out and give them out. Tell students that they are going to teach each other some expressions related to family. Have two strong students do an example at the front of the class. A reads the first question of the first set to B:

“Are you named after another member of your family?”

If B doesn’t understand they say “Sorry I don’t understand” and A reads them the second question, which contains the definition of the expression in bold:

“Were you given your name because an older member of the family has/had the same name?”

So named after means your name was inspired by the name of another member of the family or by another person whose name your parents liked.

In pairs students ask and answer the questions, taking it in turns to ask and teach each other an expression. When they have finished they must test each other, first by asking for a definition of an expression, for example “what does like two peas in a pod mean?” and then by eliciting the expression “what’s the expression that means that two people are very similar?”

Then test them in open class, As should know all of B’s expressions.

Definition match

Students match the expressions with the definitions.

  1. k
  2. e
  3. f
  4. i
  5. b
  6. l
  7. g
  8. j
  9. h
  10. c
  11. d
  12. a

Personalise

Students complete the sentences about themselves and then compare with their partners.

Student handout

Student A

Here you have six sets of two questions. Ask the first question of each set to your partner. If they don’t understand the expression in bold, ask them the second question, which contains the definition.

  1. Are you named after another member of your family? Were you given your name because an older member of the family has/had the same name? Do any specific names run in your family?
  2. Are you the spitting image of another member of your family? Do you look almost exactly the same as another member of your family? If so, who?
  3. Are you the black sheep of your family? Are you the one member of your family who is different to all the others? If not, who is?
  4. Do you often fall out with members of your family? Do you argue of fight with members of your family? If so, who?
  5. Do you want to follow in your parents’ footsteps? Do you want to do the same job as your parents? Why? Why not?
  6. They say that blood is thicker than water. Do you agree? Do you think that family is the most important thing?

Student B

Here you have six sets of two questions. Ask the first question of each set to your partner. If they don’t understand the expression in bold, ask them the second question, which contains the definition.

  1. Do any specific names/characteristics run in your family? Are there any specific names/characteristics that are passed down from generation to generation?
  2. Are you and any member of your family like chalk and cheese? Are you and any member of your family completely different?
  3. Are you and any member of your family like two peas in a pod? Are you and any member of your family exactly the same in looks and personality?
  4. Who is the main breadwinner in your house? Who brings home the bacon? Who supports the family financially?
  5. Who do you get on like a house on fire with in your family? Who do you have a fantastic relationship with?
  6. Who do you take after in your family? Which parent have you inherited the most characteristics from?

 

 

 

 

Worksheet

Definition Match

Match the expressions on the left with the definitions on the right

1.       Take after sb

2.       Get on like a house on fire

3.       The breadwinner/bring home the bacon

4.       Like two peas in a pod

5.       Like chalk and cheese

6.       Run in the family

7.       Blood is thicker than water

8.       Follow in your parents’ footsteps

9.       Fall out with sb

10.   The black sheep of the family

11.   The spitting image of sb

12.   Be named after sb

a.       Your name was inspired by an older member of the family

b.      Completely different to sb

c.       Completely different to everyone else in the family

d.      To look exactly the same as sb

e.      To have a great relationship with sb

f.        The one who supports the family financially

g.       Family is the most important thing

h.      To argue/fight with sb

i.         Extremely similar in personality

j.        Do the same job as your parents

k.       To inherit personality/appearance from a parent.

l.         When a characteristic is passed down through many generations.

 

Personalise

Complete these sentences so that they’re true for you.

  1. My ____________ is the breadwinner in my house because________________________.
  2. Me and my ______________ are like two peas in a pod because_______________________.
  3. I often fall out with my ___________________ over ______________________.
  4. I’m named after ____________________________.
  5. I think I take after my ___________________ in my personality and my _________________ when it comes to my looks.
  6. __________________ am/is the black sheep of my family because ____________________.
  7. Me and my ___________________are like chalk and cheese because __________________.
  8. I get on with ____________ like a house on fire because __________________________.
  9. ____________________ runs in my family.
  10. I would/wouldn’t like to follow in my Mum/Dad/parents’ footsteps because _________________________________.
  11. People tell me that I’m the spitting image of ___________________________________.
  12. I agree/disagree that blood is thicker than water because___________________________.
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Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

CAE Phrasal Verb Worksheet #2

Image credit: www.cutoutpeople.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is another worksheet for CAE students to learn 12 phrasal verbs and us them in a discussion. Download the worksheet and key below, you can also use the quizlet set I have made that also contains the phrasal verbs from the first worksheet.

CAE Phrasal Verbs 2 key – Key

CAE phrasal verbs 2 – Worksheet

https://quizlet.com/123807629/cae-essential-phrasal-verbs-flash-cards/ – quizlet set

Worksheet

Definition Match

Match the phrasal verbs in bold with their definitions.

  1. The dinosaurs are thought to have died out millions of years ago.
  2. If someone doesn’t deal with the problem soon, it’s going to get much worse.
  3. I dropped off in the middle of the film and missed the end.
  4. He started a law degree but dropped out after 1 term because it was too hard.
  5. He fell asleep on the train and ended up in Glasgow!
  6. When she’s nervous she fiddles with her hair a lot.
  7. Being the only foreign girl in the school, at first it was difficult for her to fit in.
  8. Do you want to go for a coffee after class?
  9. Hhhmmm, I think I’ll go for the steak tartar please.
  10. The fire alarm went off and everybody had to evacuate.
  11. Are you sure it’s this way? Let’s just head for the city centre and hopefully we’ll find someone who speaks English.
  12. My brother walks so fast, it’s difficult to keep up with This course is really hard; I’m struggling to keep up with all the homework.
a.       Feel accepted + comfortable

b.      Choose

c.       Withdraw from/stop doing something

d.      Become extinct

e.      Go towards

f.        Finally be somewhere/do something

g.       Take action to solve/talk or work with

h.      Touch/move with no purpose

i.         Go somewhere to have something (break/drink etc.)

j.        Make a noise/start working

k.       Maintain the same speed as something/someone.

l.         Fall asleep without wanting to.

Collocation match

Some of the phrasal verbs above collocate with the words below. Put them together:

A bomb

An alarm clock _________

__________ a break/a cigarette/ a meal ____________ a competition/ a race/ school/ university
___________ jewellery/ a pen/ keys __________ a complaint/ people  

Question Completion

Complete the questions with the phrasal verbs:

  1. Have you ever _________ __________ in the cinema? Or in an embarrassing situation?
  2. What foods do you normally _______ ________ when you eat out?
  3. If you could bring one animal that has ________ ________ back to life as a pet, which would you choose and why?
  4. How often do you _______ _______ a break when you’re studying?
  5. Have you ever had to _______ ________ of a competition or course? If so why?
  6. Do you normally ______ _______ a problem straight away or put off for later?
  7. Have you ever got lost and _______ ______ in the wrong place?
  8. What’s the first thing you do after your alarm ________ _________ in the morning? Has the fire alarm ever _______ _________ at your school/workplace? Was it a false alarm?
  9. If you get lost in strange place, what’s the best place to __________ ___________?
  10. How important is it for you to ______ ________ in a new situation? Have you ever felt like you didn’t ______ _______? What did you do?
  11. What do you ________ _________ when you’re nervous?
  12. Do you find it hard to ________ _________  _________ the work you have to do? Do any of your friends speak so fast that it’s difficult to ________ _________?

Key

Definition match

  1. d
  2. g
  3. l
  4. c
  5. f
  6. h
  7. a
  8. i
  9. b
  10. j
  11. e
  12. k

Collocations

Some of the phrasal verbs above collocate with the words below. Put them together:

A bomb

An alarm clock goes off

Go for a break/a cigarette/ a meal Drop out of a competition/ a race/ school/ university
Fiddle with jewellery/ a pen/ keys Deal with a complaint/ people  

 

Question Completion

Complete the questions with the phrasal verbs:

  1. Have you ever dropped off in the cinema? Or in an embarrassing situation?
  2. What foods do you normally go for when you eat out?
  3. If you could bring one animal that has died out back to life as a pet, which would you choose and why?
  4. How often do you go for a break when you’re studying?
  5. Have you ever had to drop out of a competition or course? If so why?
  6. Do you normally deal with a problem straight away or put off for later?
  7. Have you ever got lost and ended up in the wrong place?
  8. What’s the first thing you do after your alarm goes off in the morning? Has the fire alarm ever gone off at your school/workplace? Was it a false alarm?
  9. If you get lost in strange place, what’s the best place to head for?
  10. How important is it for you to fit in in a new situation? Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in? What did you do?
  11. What do you fiddle with when you’re nervous?
  12. Do you find it hard to keep up with the work you have to do? Do any of your friends speak so fast that it’s difficult to keep up?
Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class

Get Organised! Collaborative Speaking Tasks

Image credit: www.organisemyhouse.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a speaking lesson plan designed for teenagers that focuses on various exponents of suggesting, offering, agreeing and disagreeing. The main aim of the lesson is for students to improve their collaborative speaking skills, it will work well as preparation for FCE/CAE speaking exams. You will need the powerpoint and teacher’s notes below:

Get Organised!! – Powerpoint

Get organised Teachers notes

Teacher’s notes

The class is loosely based on Willis’s Task Based Learning in that students are given the opportunity to repeatedly practice a similar task and hopefully internalise some useful exponents for collaborative speaking.

Put students into groups of 3, it would also work with pairs but 3s are ideal. The idea is that groups perform the tasks separately and afterwards compare their decisions in a mini-presentation.

Show the 2nd slide of the power point. Clear up any doubts about the different exponents on the left.Then have students perform the task in their groups, encourage them to use a range of expressions and to be imaginative. Monitor and board any vocabulary they need, or any issues they have with the form or pronunciation of the exponents. Groups then feed back in open class.

Note: This is a good opportunity to teach the difference between “will” for decisions in the moment of speaking and “be going to” for a future intention. Students will discuss the different options using will:

“We’ll have the party on Friday so we can stay up late.”

“Yeah, that’s a good idea.”

Then when the time comes to present their decisions to class they will change to “be going to.”

“We’re going to have the party on Friday so we can stay up late.”

Then students go back to their groups and repeat with the next task but trying to bear any corrections you boarded during the first task in mind. Again groups feed back in open class and compare and contrast their ideas.

For the remainder of the tasks on the powerpoint the exponents are hidden initially but can be shown with a click of the mouse or the right arrow key. They idea is that you gradually phase out having the exponents on the board in the hope that they continue to use them from memory.

Follow up

Students could write an FCE/CAE style report on one of the events they have organised. It could either be a report after the fact stating the strengths and weaknesses of the event or a proposal for a future event putting forward different ideas and making recommendations.

Posted in Vocabulary Classes

10 CAE Phrasal Verbs

Image credit: forevertwentysomethings.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a worksheet for C1 students in which they learn 10 phrasal verbs and put them into practice in conversation. Download the worksheet and key below:

CAE Phrasal Verbs

CAE Phrasal Verbs key

Definition Match

Match the phrasal verbs in bold with the definitions below.

  1. I told him to stop texting his ex-girlfriend but he didn’t act on my advice and now his new girlfriend has found out!
  2. Remember to back all your important files up on a pendrive so you don’t lose them.
  3. What are you up to this weekend? The children are very quiet upstairs, they must be up to
  4. He broke the cake up into 4 pieces and shared them out. The teacher ran down to the playground and broke up the fight.
  5. There are 100 protestors outside calling for the president’s resignation.
  6. The match has been called off due to the torrential rain.
  7. I need to throw so much stuff away, I have tonnes of books cluttering up my room.
  8. While I was cleaning out the attic I came across my old secondary school photo album, it’s so funny.
  9. I’ll come round after school and drop the books off.
  10. I’m finding it hard to cope with the amount of homework they teacher keeps giving me.
a.       Pay a quick visit

b.      divide into parts/end/separate

c.       demand

d.      fill untidily

e.      save a copy

f.        follow a recommendation

g.       cancel

h.      deliver

i.         find unexpectedly

j.        do something  (sometimes something you shouldn’t do)

k.       manage/deal with

Picture Match

Match the phrasal verbs above to the pictures.  -pictures only show up on word doc :(-

Gap-fill Questions

Complete the questions with one of the phrasal verbs and then ask them to your partner.

  1. Do you usually ______ _______ your parents’ advice? Why? Why not? Have you ever not _______ ______ some advice and regretted it later?
  2. Is your room _________ ______ like the one in the picture above? If so what is it ___________ _____ with? Books? Clothes?
  3. Do people ever ___________ __________to your house unannounced?
  4. What’s the best way to ________ ________ a fight? Have you ever done it?
  5. How do you get to class? Do you travel alone or does someone _______ you ________ in a car?
  6. Do you always ________ ________ important files? If so where do you keep them? Have you ever lost an important document or file?
  7. When was the last time you ________ _________ something from your childhood that you hadn’t seen for ages?
  8. What does the political situation in your country at the moment _______ _______?
  9. What _______ you _______ ________ this weekend? What bad things did you used to get ______ ______ when you were younger?
  10. Can you ________ __________ the amount of work you have to do at the moment? What do you do to relieve stress?

Key

Definition Match

  1. F
  2. E
  3. J (be up to can simply mean “do something” but can also mean “do something naughty”)
  4. B
  5. C
  6. G
  7. D
  8. I
  9. A+H
  10. K

Picture Match

Come round Drop off Come across Back up
Break up Call off Call for Clutter up

 

Gap-fill questions

  1. Act on
  2. Cluttered up (x2)
  3. Come round
  4. Break up
  5. Drop off
  6. Back up
  7. Came across
  8. Call for
  9. Are you up to + up to
  10. Cope with
Posted in Writing Classes

CAE Informal Letter Task: An Exotic Holiday

Image credit: www.afripotsafari.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a writing task for CAE students in which they write an informal narrative letter describing an exotic holiday. It is a follow up lesson to my Travelling: Expressions and Discussions lesson as it gives students the opportunity to use the expressions in context. It was designed with students in the latter stages of their studies for the exam in mind as it contains revision of advanced grammar structures such as inversions, participle clauses and cleft sentences. Download the students’ handout, worksheet and teacher’s notes below you will also need the two quizlet sets to revise the vocab:

Informal narrative letter update – students’ handout

Informal Letter Worksheet – students’ worksheet

Narrative Informal Letter Teachers notes

Quizlet sets: Travelling expressions + Travelling collocations

Narrative Informal Letter – Exotic Holiday Teacher’s Notes

Lead in

Write on the board:

  1. What’s the most exotic place you’ve ever been to?
  2. What did you do there?
  3. Would you recommend it? Why? Why not?
  4. What advice would you give to someone who was going there for the first time?

Students discuss in pairs. Go to open class, students share exotic destinations, activities and advice.

Task Analysis

Give out student handout. Students read task and underline the 4 things they must include in their letter

Task

You have recently been travelling in an exotic country. Your friend has written to you because they are thinking about visiting the same place. Write them a letter describing the highlights of your trip, you should also mention any problems you encountered, say whether or not you would recommend the place and give your friend advice for their trip.

Students complete paragraph plan

Paragraph Plan

  1. Standard informal email opening
  2. Describe highlights
  3. Mention problems
  4. Recommend or not + give advice
  5. Sign off

Brainstorm – Informal letter opening + sign off

As a class brainstorm standard opening and closing expressions for informal letters:

Opening Closing
It’s wonderful to hear from you again.

It’s been ages since we last saw each other.

How have you been?

What have you been up to?

Sorry for not writing back sooner, I’ve been snowed under with schoolwork/exams/work.

So you wanted to know about…. Well…

Anyway, I’d better get going as I have an early start in the morning.

Well, it’s getting late and I’ve gotta get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow.

Hugs and kisses

Lots of love

Send my love to ….

Briefly run through the language on the handout for sequencing etc. Students read and field any questions or doubts they might have. We will look at the advanced grammar next.

Worksheet – Collocations and Advanced Grammar

Collocations

Give out the worksheet. Students match the collocations. Use the quizlet set to drill/reinforce with games.

Key: 1-h, 2-b, 3-d, 4-a, 5-e, 6-f, 7-g, 8-c

Advanced Grammar

This section is revision of several advanced grammar structures that can be used in compositions with a narrative element.

Key:

Just as we had got on the helicopter it took off.

No sooner had we got on the helicopter than it took off.

As soon as we had left the jeep we were surrounded by different types of monkeys!

Hardly had we left the jeep when we were surrounded by different types of monkeys.

We went scuba diving and spear fishing.

Not only did we go scuba diving but also spear fishing.

We had no idea that there were man-eating sharks in the water.

Little did we know that there were man-eating sharks in the water.

I enjoyed the safari the most.

What I enjoyed most was the safari.

It was the safari that I enjoyed most.

I had never seen such a spectacular sunset before.

Never before had I seen such a spectacular sunset.

The road was so wet that we had to turn back and go a different way.

So wet was the road that we had to turn back and go a different way.

The gorilla was so strong that he broke the window of the jeep!

So strong was the gorilla that he broke the window of the jeep!

Revision – Travelling expressions

Use the quizlet sets to recap the travelling expressions using the scatter game.

https://quizlet.com/122267420/travel-collocations-flash-cards/

https://quizlet.com/122237779/travelling-expressions-flash-cards/

 

Students’ Handout

Task

You have recently been travelling in an exotic country. Your friend has written to you because they are thinking about visiting the same place. Write them a letter describing the highlights of your trip, you should also mention any problems you encountered, say whether or not you would recommend the place and give your friend advice for their trip.

Paragraph Plan

  1. Standard informal email opening
  2. __________________________
  3. __________________________
  4. __________________________
  5. Sign off

Past narrative tenses

Past simple – finished actions in the past, actions in sequence.

I breathed in deeply and stepped out of the plane into the air.

Past continuous – descriptions/actions in progress interrupted by past simple actions.

The pale winter sun was shining through the leaves of the trees, the birds were singing happily and the wind was whistling past.

As the balloon was rising into the sky I looked down at the people below me.

Past perfect – actions that happened before a specific moment in the past.

I looked out over the landscape, I had never seen such a beautiful sight before.

I took the map out and checked our location. I had marked all the most important places on it the night before.

Past perfect cont. – duration of time for an action that happened before a specific moment in the past.

When we finally reached the summit of the mountain we had been walking for over 6 hours.

I had been dreaming about taking to the skies in a hot air balloon since I was a child.

Sequencing

At first/To start with/In the beginning…………..

Then/next/after that/…………………

The next thing that happened was…………….

The next thing I knew was………………

Seconds/Minutes later………………

Later on/Some time later……………..

It wasn’t until much later that…………..

After some time/what seemed like years…………

Finally/In the end……………..

At last,…………..

I was just about to (infinitive) when……….

I was on the point of (gerund) when………..

 

Sudden/unexpected events.

Out of the blue……………

Like a bolt from the blue………

Completely unexpectedly……………

Just as I was least expecting it…………..

Looking back

In retrospect……………

When I think back to that day………..

Looking back on that day………….

 

Rapid events

In the blink of an eye………….

As quick as a flash…………..

Simultaneous events

Meanwhile, In the meantime……….

While all this was going on…………

Ways to say exciting/excited:

exhilarating/exhilarated

adrenalin rush

thrilling/thrilled

Scary/scared

petrifying/petrified

terrifying/terrified

frightening/frightened

Nervous

on edge

I had butterflies in my stomach

nerve-racking/nail-biting (to describe the activity)

Difficult

Tough

Hard

Challenging

Phrasal verbs:

take up a challenge (accept)

set off on a journey/adventure (start)

freak out (get very scared and nervous)

Describing the weather:

A scorching summer day

A freezing winter day

A crisp winter day

A howling wind was blowing

A light breeze was blowing

The sun was beating down on us

It was pouring with rain

The heavens opened (it started to rain very hard)

 

Grammatical Range – SHOW WHAT YOU KNOW!

Inversions:

No sooner had I got on the board, than I fell off.

Hardly had the plane left the ground when I started to feel sick.

Only when/Not until two days later did I appreciate how much danger I had been in.

On no account must you leave the car during the safari.

Little did I know that there were man-eating sharks in the water.

At no time did I stop screaming with fear and delight.

Never before had I seen such breath-taking views.

Never before had I felt so alive.

 

So + adjective/adverb + verb + subject

So clear was the water that you could see right to the bottom.

So delicious was the dessert that we went back for seconds.

Participle clauses:

Being a strong swimmer, I had no problem in the strong currents.

Having studied French at school, I was able to get by speaking to the locals.

Seeing the Lion running towards me, I panicked and got back in the jeep.

 

Cleft Sentences

I liked the rollercoasters the most.

What I liked most was the rollercoasters.

It was the rollercoasters that I liked the most.

 

Inverted conditionals

Were I to go again, I’d pack more warm clothes.

Had I known it was going to be so cold, I would have packed warmer clothes.

Had I not seen the warning sign, I would have jumped into the crocodile lake.

Had it not been for + noun

Had it not been for the guide, we would have got completely lost!

 

Students’ Worksheet

Impressive Vocabulary

Match to make impressive collocations

1.       Breath-taking /Jaw-dropping/mind-blowing

2.       Mouth-watering

3.       Mile upon mile of

4.       Death-defying

5.       Baffling/bewildering

6.       Crystal clear/ice-cold

7.       Densely-populated/Bustling

8.       World-famous/internationally-renowned

a.       Activities/sports

b.      Local delicacies

c.       Monuments/attractions

d.      Golden sands/rolling hills

e.      Local traditions/customs

f.        Water

g.       City/metropolis

h.      Views/landscape

Impressive Grammar

Transform the sentences to use impressive grammar structures

Just as we had got on the helicopter it took off.

No sooner _________________________________________________________

As soon as we had left the jeep we were surrounded by different types of monkeys!

Hardly__________________________________________________________

We went scuba diving and spear fishing.

Not only _____________________________________________________________

We had no idea that there were man-eating sharks in the water.

Little___________________________________________________________

I enjoyed the safari the most.

What________________________________________________.

It____________________________________________________.

I had never seen such a spectacular sunset before.

Never before _______________________________________________________.

The road was so wet that we had to turn back and go a different way.

So____________________________________________________________

The gorilla was so strong that he broke the window of the jeep!

So______________________________________________________________

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

Kicking the Habit: TED Talk, Reading and Discussion

 

Image credit: ted.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for C1+ students on the topic of bad habits based around a TED talk by Judson Brewer and an article from Yahoo Health. You can find the TED talk, students’ handout, reading text and teacher’s notes below:

TED Bad habits sts copy – Students handout

TED bad habits teachers notes

Common Bad Habits – Reading Text

TED  – Breaking Bad Habits – Teacher’s Notes

Step 1: Expressions with habit

What do you think these expressions mean? Do they exist in your language?

He’s been smoking since he was 15 years old and he just can’t kick the habit.

When my grandad retired he didn’t stop getting up at 6am and putting a suit on. Old habits die hard.

I could never go backpacking I’m too much of a creature of habit, I can’t stand changes to my routine.

I’ve always written my essays at the last minute and I normally get good marks. Why break the habit of a lifetime?

Kick the habit = give up/quit a bad habit

Old habits die hard = it’s difficult to stop a habit you’ve been doing for a long time

A creature of habit = someone who likes the security of a routine

Why break the habit of a lifetime? = something you say to a person you know isn’t going to change their habits.

Step 2: Brainstorm bad habits on the board

Step 3: Reading

Give out the reading handout, put students in groups of 3. Students read each section then discuss the meaning of the vocabulary in bold. Then they answer the discusssion questions. Then they move onto the next bad habit.

Step 4: TED Talk

Students watch the TED talk and answer the following questions:

What bad habits does he mention? Being unable to concentrate, phone/internet addiction, stress eating, smoking, distracting yourself from work.

What solution to these bad habits does he suggest? Using mindfulness to focus on the cravings we feel and see them as physical moments that pass.

After watching students discuss:

  1. What do you think of the talk?
  2. Do you have any of the bad habits he mentioned?
  3. Do you think mindfulness would work for you?
  4. Have you ever meditated? Would you consider it?

Step 5: Vocab Focus – Meaning from Context

Students try to guess the meaning of the expressions in bold from the context.

  1. When I was first learning to meditate, the instruction was to simply pay attention to my breath, and when my mind wandered, to bring it back.
  2. Why is it so hard to pay attention? Well, studies show that even when we’re really trying to pay attention to something — like maybe this talk — at some point, about half of us will drift off into a daydream, or have this urge to check our Twitter feed.
  3. Instead of this hunger signal coming from our stomach, this emotional signal — feeling sad — triggers that urge to eat.
  4. Maybe in our teenage years, we were a nerd at school, and we see those rebel kids outside smoking and we think, “Hey, I want to be cool.” So we start smoking. The Marlboro Man wasn’t a dork, and that was no accident.
  5. What if instead of fighting our brains, or trying to force ourselves to pay attention,we instead tapped into this natural, reward-based learning process?
  6. She moved from knowing in her head that smoking was bad for her to knowing it in her bones, and the spell of smoking was broken. She started to become disenchanted with her behavior.
  7. When the prefrontal cortex goes offline, we fall back into our old habits, which is why this disenchantment is so important.
  8. And this is what mindfulness is all about: Seeing really clearly what we get when we get caught up in our behaviors.
  9. We start to notice that cravings are simply made up of body sensations — oh, there’s tightness, there’s tension, there’s restlessness.
  10. These are bite-size pieces of experiences that we can manage from moment to moment rather than getting clobbered by this huge, scary craving that we choke on.

Mind wanders/drift off into a daydream = get distracted

Have/get an urge to do something = a strong desire/impulse

Trigger (v) = activate/set off/cause to function

Nerd = unpopular, studious person

Dork = unpopular, studious person, more pejorative than nerd

Tap into = manage to use something in a way that gives good results. Get access to a resource. Collocations: tap into an energy source, tap into creativity, tap into the water supply.

Know in your bones = feel something using intuition, synonyms: know in my guts, a gut-feeling.

Break a spell = end magic/enchantment

Disenchanted = two meanings. 1. Free from illusion/magic 2. Disappointed, demotivated, disillusioned.

Fall back into old habits = return to old habits after having changed

Get caught up in st = to become completely involved in something, normally bad connotation.

Craving = a consuming desire, normally physical related to addiction.

Restlessness = a state of discomfort, can’t stay still/relax. A restless night.

Bite-size pieces = small easy to manage pieces

Get clobbered = to be beaten/hit severly

Choke on st = not able to breath because of something in your throat

Step 6: Sentence Completion

Students put the expressions from the vocab focus into the following sentences:

  1. He was always so restless at school, he couldn’t sit still for a second.
  2. I’m a bit weird, whenever I go near the edge of a cliff or a tall building I get the sudden urge to jump off!
  3. Don’t worry, everything is going to be alright, I don’t know how but I feel/know it in my bones.
  4. I managed to stop biting my fingernails for 6 months but recently, because of all the stress at work, I have fallen back into old habits.
  5. Most voters are completely disenchanted with politics in general and extremist politicians like Donald Trump are simply tapping into the anger and resentment.
  6. When my Mum was pregnant she had strong cravings for avocado even though she normally hates them.
  7. The earthquake triggered a huge tsunami that hit the coast at 10am.
  8. When I was at school I always used to get into trouble for drifting off into a daydream during class.
  9. 3 hours into the film I got a bit bored and my mind wandered to what I was going to have for dinner.
  10. A man suddenly started to choke on a prawn and a fellow diner had to give him the heimlich maneuver.
  11. I was definitely a bit of a nerd at school but I certainly wasn’t a dork.
  12. I got so caught up in the excitement of the party that I didn’t realise I had missed the last train home.
  13. He caught the rugby ball, turned around and was immediately clobbered by a huge opposition player.
  14. I broke the carrots up into bite-size pieces so that the children wouldn’t choke on

Step 7: Discussion

Students answer questions in pairs.

  1. Were you restless at school? Did you use to drift off into a daydream?
  2. Do you know the heimlich maneuver? Have you ever choked on anything?
  3. Were you a nerd when you were at school?
  4. Do you ever get so caught up in something that you lose all sense of time?
  5. Do you ever get the urge to do something silly or outrageous in social situations?
  6. Do you agree with sentence 5 above? What can we do to change the situation?

Students’ Handout

Expressions with habit

What do you think these expressions mean? Do they exist in your language?

He’s been smoking since he was 15 years old and he just can’t kick the habit.

When my grandad retired he didn’t stop getting up at 6am and putting a suit on. Old habits die hard.

I could never go backpacking I’m too much of a creature of habit, I can’t stand changes to my routine.

I’ve always written my essays at the last minute and I normally get good marks. Why break the habit of a lifetime?

TED Talk

  1. What bad habits does he mention?
  2. What solution to these bad habits does he suggest?

Discussion

  1. What do you think of the talk?
  2. Do you have any of the bad habits he mentioned?
  3. Do you think mindfulness would work for you?
  4. Have you ever meditated? Would you consider it?

Vocabulary Focus

Read the sentences from the transcript and discuss the words/expressions in bold with your partner.

  1. When I was first learning to meditate, the instruction was to simply pay attention to my breath, and when my mind wandered, to bring it back.
  2. Why is it so hard to pay attention? Well, studies show that even when we’re really trying to pay attention to something — like maybe this talk — at some point, about half of us will drift off into a daydream, or have this urge to check our Twitter feed.
  3. Instead of this hunger signal coming from our stomach, this emotional signal — feeling sad — triggers that urge to eat.
  4. Maybe in our teenage years, we were a nerd at school, and we see those rebel kids outside smoking and we think, “Hey, I want to be cool.” So we start smoking. The Marlboro Man wasn’t a dork, and that was no accident.
  5. What if instead of fighting our brains, or trying to force ourselves to pay attention,we instead tapped into this natural, reward-based learning process?
  6. She moved from knowing in her head that smoking was bad for her to knowing it in her bones, and the spell of smoking was broken. She started to become disenchanted with her behavior.
  7. When the prefrontal cortex goes offline, we fall back into our old habits, which is why this disenchantment is so important.
  8. And this is what mindfulness is all about: Seeing really clearly what we get when we get caught up in our behaviors.
  9. We start to notice that cravings are simply made up of body sensations — oh, there’s tightness, there’s tension, there’s restlessness.
  10. These are bite-size pieces of experiences that we can manage from moment to moment rather than getting clobbered by this huge, scary craving that we choke on.

 

Sentence Completion

Complete the sentences with the expressions above.

  1. He was always so ______________ at school, he couldn’t sit still for a second.
  2. I’m a bit weird, whenever I go near the edge of a cliff or a tall building I get the sudden __________ jump off!
  3. Don’t worry, everything is going to be alright, I don’t know how but I ______________________.
  4. I managed to stop biting my fingernails for 6 months but recently, because of all the stress at work, I have __________________________________.
  5. Most voters are completely __________________________ politics in general and extremist politicians like Donald Trump are simply ____________________________ the anger and resentment.
  6. When my Mum was pregnant she had strong _____________ for avocado even though she normally hates them.
  7. The earthquake _______________ a huge tsunami that hit the coast at 10am.
  8. When I was at school I always used to get into trouble for _______________________________ during class.
  9. 3 hours into the film I got a bit bored and my ____________________________ to what I was going to have for dinner.
  10. A man suddenly started to ________________ a prawn and a fellow diner had to give him the heimlich maneuver.
  11. I was definitely a bit of a _____________ at school but I certainly wasn’t a ____________.
  12. I _________________________________ in the excitement of the party that I didn’t realise I had missed the last train home.
  13. He caught the rugby ball, turned around and was immediately ___________________ by a huge opposition player.
  14. I broke the carrots up into __________________ so that the children wouldn’t ___________ them.

Discussion

  1. Were you restless at school? Did you use to drift off into a daydream?
  2. Do you know the heimlich maneuver? Have you ever choked on anything?
  3. Were you a nerd when you were at school?
  4. Do you ever get so caught up in something that you lose all sense of time?
  5. Do you ever get the urge to do something silly or outrageous in social situations?
  6. Do you agree with sentence 5 above? What can we do to change the situation?

Reading Text

Common Bad Habits

Everyone has habits that they would probably be better off without. You may not have any major vices but minor ones add up and deserve attention too. “The small stuff really matters in our lives,” says Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion. “Life is full of the little things.”

In reality, you’re probably not eating poorly or shirking on sleep just once a month, but, more likely, multiple times a week. If you need some help identifying changes you might aim to make, here are some of the most common bad habits and two universal fixes from Goldstein about how we can change for the better.

Stress-Eating

We’re a country of high-stress and high-calorie foods, so it should be no surprise that emotional eating is a common issue. There are many reasons people turn to food when they experience negative emotions, like stress, sadness, and boredom. First of all, food can serve as a distraction from unpleasant goings-on. Research has also suggested that foods that are high in fat and sugar may actually (temporarily) quiet parts of the brain that create and process negative emotions.

  1. Do you stress eat? If so what?
  2. How do you relieve stress?

Sitting Around

Surveys have found that people, on average, spend more than six hours a day sitting. Many people sit while commuting, at work, and while unwinding at the end of the day. It may feel like your body is happier taking a seat, but spending so much time off your feet has serious health effects including increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cognitive decline (like dementia), cancer, bone loss, and even a weakened immune system.

  1. How much of the day do you spend sitting down?
  2. What do you think of the idea of a standing office? Or a standing school?

Not Getting Enough Sleep

Days can feel far too short, especially when you want to catch up with friends at a late dinner or binge-watch your favorite show. Late nights in moderation are okay but getting too little sleep — less than seven hours — on a regular basis can make you more prone to long-term diseases, like hypertension and diabetes, and even short-term illness. Being tired can also affect how you function during the daytime, making you less productive and more prone to errors and accidents.

  1. How much sleep do you need to function well?
  2. How much do you usually get?
  3. Are you more productive in the mornings or the evenings?

Over-Grooming

Picking at your nose and mouth and biting your nails are already social faux pas. They can also be bad for your health. As you should already know, our hands are usually teeming with nasty germs. Putting your fingers in your nose or mouth — even to fish unwanted spinach out of your teeth — is a good way to give those germs easy access to your body. Nail biting, in particular, can also raise your risk of getting skin infections on your fingers and spreading warts to other parts of your hand. In some cases, excessive grooming behaviors are considered a mental disorder related to obsessive-compulsive disorders.

  1. Do you bite your fingernails?
  2. Can you think of any other social faux pas’s? What topics are faux pas when your first meet someone?

Smoking

This may feel like beating a dead horse but more than 42 million people in the U.S. still smoke cigarettes. Although this number continues to drop, it’s good for people to remember why this habit is such a serious one. Smoking is known to cause several types of cancer — including cancers of the lung, mouth, stomach, and pancreas — and increases a person’s risk of heart disease. It’s also harmful to people who are inhaling second-hand smoke. Plus, smoking is expensive. Even a “cheap” $5 pack every day adds up to $1,825.00 each year.

  1. Do you smoke?
  2. Have you ever smoked? If so how did you quit?
  3. What’s the best way to quit smoking? Hypnosis? Acupuncture? Patches? Gum?

Skipping Breakfast

There are mixed findings about whether or not skipping breakfast can help people lose weight. Generally, experts support eating a healthy morning meal because it fuels your body and mind for the beginning of the day. Research has shown that people who eat breakfast perform better in school and at work. If that’s not enough incentive, a recent study from Harvard found that men who regularly skipped breakfast were 27 percent more likely to experience a heart attack or death from coronary heart disease.

  1. Do you have breakfast?
  2. Find out who has the healthiest breakfast in your group.
  3. What’s your favourite meal of the day?

Overspending

Another common bad habit is overspending, usually in the form of compulsive shopping. Credit is partially to blame because it is easy to obtain and use, helping people forgo responsibility and knowledge about their finances. Overspending is also an easy trap to fall into because buying things makes people feel good in many different ways. It can give us a sense of control and add some excitement to a dull day. Being able to spend money can also make us feel better about ourselves.

  1. Do you often overspend?
  2. Are you a compulsive shopper? If so what do you normally buy?

Listening to Loud Music

Hearing is something that often goes with age but there are still steps people can take to give theirs its best possible chance. Very loud, short-term sounds and sounds that may not seem so loud (but occur over a long period of time) can both contribute to noise-induced hearing loss. This affects about 15 percent of Americans, ages 20 to 69 according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Some loud sounds may be unavoidable but exposure anything above 85 decibels (equal to the sound of heavy city traffic) should be minimized. If you have to raise your voice to speak with someone two to three feet away, the sound level is likely over 85 decibels.

  1. Do you listen to loud music? If so how often?
  2. Have you got god hearing?

Phone Addiction

No, your phone isn’t exactly the most threatening addiction. That doesn’t mean it’s something to ignore. Thanks to the advent of push notifications, many of us are now trained to grab our phone the second it flashes — or when we only think it has. This behavior takes our attention away from other things that we should probably value more, like the work in front of us or talking with friends and family.

  1. Are you addicted to your phone?
  2. How often do you check it?
  3. How soon after waking up do you check it?

Link to original article:

https://www.yahoo.com/health/10-common-bad-habits-and-how-to-break-them-107994730858.html

 

Posted in Conversation Classes

My Emoji Weekend

Image credit: guesstheemoji-answers.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

I can’t remember where I got this idea from, I think it was Lindsay Clandfield at the Barcelona IH Conference two weeks ago. This is a quick lesson plan designed for use with teenagers of almost any level. Download the lesson plan below:

My Emoji Weekend

Preparation

Write what you did at the weekend, but, write it in emojis. Like this:

20160216_222915

Take a photo of the emojis and either print them out or project them in some way.

Class Procedure

Show students the emojis and tell them that they represent your weekend. In pairs students have to recreate your weekend as a text, this is a good opportunity for them to practice past simple and also language of sequencing: After that/afterwards, later, in the afternoon, firstly, secondly, finally etc.

Give students about 5 mins to prepare their text, monitoring and boarding any vocabulary. Students then read out their version of your weekend. The pair whose version is closest to the real version is the winner. You can also award points for imagination. Below is the text version of my weekend.

My Weekend

On Saturday morning I had a lie-in because I was very tired. I woke up at around 11 and had a cooked breakfast. Then I watched a football match on TV. After that I went to the city centre to go clothes shopping, I bought a new shirt and some trousers. Then I stopped in a kebab shop for lunch. When I got home I watched an action film on my laptop and went to bed early.

On Sunday I had to get up early, I got up at 7am. I ate two bananas for breakfast and then I ran the Barcelona half-marathon. I finished the race and won a medal. Afterwards I went to a bar with some friends to celebrate. I drank some beers and ate a hamburger. When I got home I had a shower, played some videogames and went to bed, I was exhausted!

Pair-work

Now give students 2 minutes to draw their weekend  in emojis. If you want you could have students send their emoji weekend to each other via a messenger app, this may not be advisable with some groups. They should know most of the emojis but if they don’t use the pictures below:

Students then have to guess what their partner did by looking at their emojis. They then tell each other if they were wrong or right and explain the real version.