Posted in Grammar Classes

Reporting with Passives: Worksheet

Image credit: www.forbes.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a worksheet designed with C1 students in mind. It will help them construct passive sentences with reporting verbs, which are appropriate for many of the formal writing tasks in the CAE exam. Download the worksheet, key and powerpoint below:

reporting-with-passives

gossip-column-pics

Worksheet

We can use passive structures with infinitives in formal writing to report opinions and beliefs.

Present and Future – use an infinitive (to be, to affect)

Many people think Messi is the best player ever.

Messi is thought to be the best player ever.

Scientists know that pollen allergy affects a lot of people.

Pollen allergies are known to affect a lot of people.

Journalists expect that the president will give a speech at 2pm.

The president is expected to give a speech at 2pm.

Past – use a perfect infinitive (to have been, to have made, to have done)

Experts think that Van Gogh painted the painting in 1888.

Van Gogh is thought to have painted the painting in 1888.

The police think he killed his wife.

He is thought to have killed his wife.

Verbs used in this way included: believe, consider, estimate, expect, know, report, say, think, understand and “to be rumoured”.

Practice:

Change the second sentence using the passive structure.

  1. Experts say that 8 hours sleep is the perfect amount.

8 hours sleep ________________________________________________________________

  1. They expect that 2000 people will attend the festival.

2000 people _________________________________________________________________

  1. Police think that the stolen money is buried in the garden.

The stolen money _____________________________________________________________

  1. There are rumours that Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are dating again.

Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez __________________________________________________

  1. Experts estimate that 20 people died in the fire.

20 people_______________________________________________________________.

  1. Journalists report that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian have broken up.

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian_________________________________________________.

  1. Scientists believe that the big bang happened 13.7 billion years ago.

The big bang____________________________________________________________.

 

Key

  1. 8 hours sleep is said to be the perfect amount.
  2. 2000 people are expected to attend the festival.
  3. The stolen money is thought to be buried in the garden.
  4. Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are rumoured to be dating again.
  5. 20 people are estimated to have died in the fire.
  6. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are reported to have broken up.
  7. The big bang is believed to have happened 13.7 billion years ago.

Creative Practice Exercise

Show the powerpoint with pictures of celebrities, students make up gossip stories about them.

After completing the worksheet have students write two sentences, 1 in the present and 1 in the past, about their partner in the style of a gossip magazine article:

“Jordi is rumoured to be dating Sandra.”

“Jordi is thought to have written Sara a poem.”

Have students read their sentences out to the class, then they vote on which is the juiciest piece of gossip.

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Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

CAE Speaking: Future Plans

Image credit: www.bravadowaffle.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a phrase sheet to teach CAE students a range of impressive structures to talk about their future plans. Download the sheet below:

CAE Speaking Part 1 Future plans

In part 1 of the speaking paper it’s typical for candidates to be asked about their goals and aspirations. Give out the sheet and have students ask and answer the typical questions, then have them test each other on the expressions. They could go on to make gap-fill sentences for another pair to complete to consolidate the expressions.

Typical Part 1 Questions:

  1. What are your plans for the future?
  2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  3. What are your ambitions?

Expressions

With any luck, I will probably…

I have a burning ambition to…

I’ve always dreamed of… so I expect I will…

I haven’t made up my mind yet but I’m leaning towards studying…

I’m torn between studying… and ….

In all likelihood I’ll study…/work in…

I see myself working in the field of…

If everything goes to plan in 5 years, I’ll be…

I’ve got it all mapped out first I’m going to… then…

I have absolutely no clue what I’m going to do tomorrow let alone in 5 years.

I have always had aspirations to go into the field of…

I expect I’ll follow in my Mum/Dad’s footsteps.

Posted in Recommended Websites

Playphrase.me Amazing Video Resource

Credit to my colleague Katy Wright for this great online resource.

Check out this amazing site. It allows you to search for specific phrases in a database of video clips from popular films and TV shows, like an online corpus of authentic spoken English. I can see tonnes of uses for this, primarily for presenting new vocab; can’t think of an example sentence for some vocab? Stick it in to playphrase.me and Doctor House, Ross from friends or even a Game of Thrones character will come out with one for you! Below is a search for the phrasal verb “put off”:

http://playphrase.me/en/search?q=put%20off&p=544841c309bd000ab757c725

Posted in Games, Writing Classes

Circle Stories

Image credit: www.thekettle.ca

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan designed for lower-level (A2-B1) teenagers. It is designed to help students write short stories using different narrative tenses, sequences and discourse markers.

Preparation

All you need is plenty of paper and a pen for each student.

Procedure

Sit students in a circle and give them each a pen and piece of paper. Tell them that they are going to write stories together; if you have 8 student, at the end of the class they will have written 8 stories.

Write on the board:

Once, there was a man/woman called ……. who….

Tell students to copy the sentence onto their piece of paper, decide if the character is a man or a woman and give them a name.

Students then pass the piece of paper to the left; they must then complete the first sentence, for example:

Once, there was a man called Jimmy who lived under a bridge.

Students then pass the paper again, and copy down and complete the following:

One day ….. was …..ing….

For example:

One day Jimmy was walking down the street

Students pass again and complete the following:

when…+ past simple

One day Jimmy was walking down the street when he saw a police car driving towards him.

Continue the process but now start to introduce different words to begin the sentences, the whole writing process will look like this:

 

  1. Once there was a man/woman called …who…
  2. Complete sentence 1.
  3. One day …. was….ing
  4. Complete sentence 3: when…..
  5. Suddenly….
  6. Fortunately….
  7. Unfortunately….
  8. And in the end….
  9. And the moral of the story is….

While students are writing try to monitor and help them with vocab and narrative tenses. When they have all finished have them read out their stories one by one and then vote on their favourite one.

Follow up

Students write another story using the same basic structure for homework.

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

TED – Daniel Levitin: How to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed

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

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a new TED talk lesson plan for C1+ students. You can either set the TED talk with the comprehension questions as homework or watch the talk in class as it’s only 12 minutes long. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below:

TED Daniel Levitin Stress sts handout

TED Daniel Levitin Stress Teacher notes

Student Handout

Language Focus

Discuss the meaning of the phrases in bold with your partner.

  1. I had just driven home,it was around midnight in the dead of Montreal winter.
  2. As I stood on the front porch fumbling in my pockets,I found I didn’t have my keys.
  3. It releases cortisol that raises your heart rate,it modulates adrenaline levels and it clouds your thinking.
  4. Now you might be thinkingI’ve pulled this number out of the air for shock value.
  5. So the idea of the pre-mortem is to think ahead of timeto the questions that you might be able to ask that will push the conversation forward. You don’t want to have to manufacture all of this on the spot.
  6. You might change your mind in the heat of the moment,but at least you’re practiced with this kind of thinking.
  7. So I’m not completely organized,but I see organization as a gradual process, and I’m getting there.

Comprehension Questions

  1. What happens in the anecdote Daniel tells at the start of the talk?
  2. What were the consequences of Daniels clouded thinking?
  3. What is the solution he comes up with?
  4. What are the two practical tips he gives for common problems?
  5. What are the two questions he recommends asking to a doctor before they prescribe you a drug?
  6. What was the historical advantage to the brain releasing cortisol in stressful situations?

Discussion Questions

  1. What did you think of the talk?
  2. Have you ever been in a similar situation to the one Daniel describes in his anecdote? What did you do?
  3. Have you ever forgotten a passport or boarding card when flying somewhere? What did you do?
  4. Are you an absent-minded person? What things do you lose/misplace? Where do you keep your keys/mobile/wallet at home?
  5. In what situations is it good idea to predict the possible problems that could occur?
  6. Are you good at making decisions under pressure?
  7. What do you think of what he says about the medical industry?
  8. Would you trade quality of life for a longer life?

Pre-mortem

What things could possibly go wrong in these situations, and how could you prepare for the problems?

A job interview Travelling by plane An important exam A first date
A wedding The first day at a new job A surprise party Climbing a mountain

Teacher’s notes

Language Focus

  1. In the dead of winter/night = in the middle of
  2. Fumble = to feel/do something clumsily/inefficiently
  3. Clouds your thinking = confuses/affects your thinking in a bad way
  4. Pull a number out of the air = invent a number in the moment of speaking
  5. For shock value = in order to cause shock
  6. On the spot = in the moment of speaking, also “to put someone on the spot” = force someone to answer a difficult question without preparation.
  7. In the heat of the moment = do something while stressed/angry/excited
  8. I’m getting there = I’m making progress

Comprehension questions

  1. He forgets his keys so has to smash the basement window to get into his house.
  2. He forgets his passport the next morning when he goes to the airport.
  3. To perform a “pre-mortem” evaluation of possible problems that could occur.
  4. Designate a place for commonly lost things: keys, wallet etc. Take a photo of things you might lose while travelling: credit card, passport, keys and save it to the cloud to make it easier to get them back.
  5. What is the number needed to treat? What are the side-effects?
  6. When faced with a predator it helped us to escape.
Posted in Uncategorized

An Open Letter to all TEFL/ESL Teachers

The New Me - Life After Uni

image

Dear Fellow TEFL/ESL Teachers,

I am writing this in the hope of support and help from fellow ESL teachers around the world. I am sorry if this becomes longer than hoped.

Recently I have been researching TEFL courses for a friend as she can’t afford the CELTA that I did. I realised how little there is of realiable information. A lot of it is true but many seem to be written written for the benefit for the company, rather than for the person reading it. Thus causing lots of contradictions from post to post and making it very confusing.
So I have started to try and help answer questions and give personal and impartial advice to those who ask for it. A Facebook group seemed a good idea and was a popular idea. Thus I have just set one up.

I hope that in the future this group can be…

View original post 142 more words

Posted in Conversation Classes, Games, Writing Classes

Tall Tales

Image credit: breweryarts.org

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is an activity that can be used with all levels in which students have to invent tall tales and try to convince their classmates that they’re true. It is similar to two truths and a lie but the stories have to be at least 5 sentences long and must contain a range of narrative tenses as well as language of cohesion appropriate to the level. Credit to my colleague Peter Rassa for the idea. Download my stories below:

Tall Tales

Preparation

Write three short stories (5 sentences long) about your life or the lives of your family members, one of the stories must be true, the others should be made up but believable. For example:

  1. My Dad used to work as a doctor in the emergency department of a hospital. One day he was working the night shift when suddenly the police came into the hospital and told the staff that someone very important was about to come in. The police secured the hospital and then Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband, arrived. He had broken his arm when he fell off his horse playing polo. My Dad did an x-ray on his arm and helped to cure him. Two weeks later he received a thank you card and an autographed photo from the prince.
  2. My Granddad was a war hero. In the second world war he was a paratrooper, this meant that he had to jump out of a plane and parachute into enemy territory. In 1944 when the allies landed on the beach in northern France my Granddad parachuted in behind enemy lines and sabotaged Nazi fortifications. He was almost captured several times. He was shot in a big battle in the winter of 1944 and got sent home to recover. He was given a medal of honour after the war.
  3.  When I was at university I used to work as a waiter at the weekends and in the evening to earn extra money. One weekend I was sent to work on a big battleship. We didn’t know what the event was but we had to wear special white suits. We were given silver trays with glasses of champagne. We had to stand on the deck of the ship and serve drinks to the guests. Suddenly everyone stood up and Princess Anne, the queen’s sister walked in. She stopped to speak to some of the workers, I spoke to her and offered her a glass of champagne, when she took it I almost dropped the tray! It was almost a complete disaster!

Procedure

Split the class into groups of 3, it works best if you have 3 or more groups. Project or print out your three stories, tell students that one of them is true and two are false. Give them a few minutes to read the stories and decide which one is true. Students then guess, award points for correct guesses.

Then tell students that they must write 3 short stories, 1 true and 2 false. Give them 10 minutes to do so. Monitor and help them while they do this, make sure the groups are well separated so that they don’t overhear each other, maybe play some music to mask the sound or consider sending one group to another room.

Students then read their stories out, the other students must guess which story is true. Award points for correct guesses and points to any team whose story convinces another team that it is true. The winning team is the one with the most points at the end.