This is a grammar lesson focusing on inversions based around the topic of the stresses of parenthood. Students read a text about new parents who get a weekend off, then transform the text using inversions. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below.
As a follow-up to this lesson plan, you might want to revise inverted conditionals with your C1 students. To do so, you could use this great worksheet created by Andrew Farmer @andrewfarmer80:
A Weekend Off: Teacher’s Notes
This lesson plan is designed to be used in several ways depending on your students’ level. The grammar focus is inversions, a structure that typically comes up at C1.
Write these questions on the board and have students discuss them in groups:
- How does life change when you have kids?
- How can other family members help with childcare?
- What things do you think new parents miss about their old life?
Feedback in open class and top up language. Somethings that came up with my students were:
- Suffer from sleep deprivation
- loss/lack of intimacy
- Changing dirty nappies/diapers
- Pick kids up from kindergarten/nursery
- Grandparents help out, lend/give you a hand
- Financial struggles
- Look after/take care of kids
- Babysit – babysitter/nanny
Give out the text, fold the page so that they can’t see the grammar focus part yet, or just share the text if you’re teaching online.
Instruct students to read the text and find the answers to the lead in questions for the couple the text describes:
- How has their life changed?
- How do their family members help with childcare?
- What things do they miss about their old lives?
Feedback in open class.
Language Focus + Controlled Practice
Here is where you can choose a different path depending on how familiar your students are with inversions.
C1 – Introduction to inversions
- Lead them through the different types of inversions listed below the text.
- Compare and contrast inverted sentences with uninverted ones:
- This phone can take photos and videos.
- Not only can this phone take photos, but also videos.
- Add emphasis, more formal.
- Highlight what we mean by “inversion”
- Position of subject and auxiliary verb is inverted/switched
- This phone (subject) can (auxiliary verb) take photos….
- Not only can (aux verb) this phone (subject) take photos….
- Tell students that the first paragraph contains 10 sentences that can be changed to use inversions and challenge them to change them.
- There are 6 more in the second paragraph.
C1 – Inversion Revision
- Challenge them to change the 10 sentences in the first paragraph (or all 16 in the whole text) using the language focus boxes as reference. Monitor and help out as needed.
- The sentence stems at the bottom will help them identify which sentences they need to change.
C2 – Inversion Revision Super Challenge
- Just give them the text, don’t give them language focus boxes for reference or the sentence stems! Tell them there are 16 sentences that can be changed to inversions and see how they get on.
- Give out the language focus boxes if needed, monitor specific groups, maybe not everyone needs it.
Show them the second version of the text with all the inversions.
Rarely do we have much time to ourselves. So busy is our schedule that we just can’t find the time to get out of the house. Not only do my husband and I both work full time, but we also have two small kids to look after. Little did I know that my parents were planning a special surprise for me this weekend. Only when I walked in the front door on Friday night did I discover what they had planned. No sooner had I opened the door than they appeared with a bottle of wine and the news that they were taking the kids to the local theme park for the weekend. Obviously the kids were ecstatic, not since they were four years old have they been to the theme park and that was just for 1 day, now they were going for a whole weekend! So grateful were we that we gave my mum and dad a massive hug. However, there had to be some ground rules for the kids. We told them that under no circumstances should they annoy grandma and grandad and on no account must they eat too many sweets before going on the roller coasters.
Hardly had my parents left the house when we opened the bottle of wine and sat on the sofa enjoying the sudden peace and quiet. Not until we sat down did we realise how tired we were. Hardly ever do we get a chance to watch a movie together over a glass of wine. However, barely had we chosen a movie and started watching it when we both fell asleep. Not until the next morning when we woke up did we appreciate how quiet the house was. Not since our second daughter was born had we had the house to ourselves. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves!
Challenge students to work in groups to continue the story. How did the couple spend the rest of their weekend off? Set them a time limit of ten minutes and encourage them to use as many inversions as they can.