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C2 Expressions: Brain, Face, Head, Wits, Mind

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This is a vocab lesson plan based on an exercise from the Expert Proficiency Course book. It expands a short exercise from the book out into a full activity with exam practice and a speaking task. Students learn expressions with the words brain, face, head and wits and put them into practice in a key word transformation exercise and a discussion activity. Download the handout with key below:

Expert Proficiency Coursebook page 74

Sentence Completion

Complete the expressions in the sentences with brain, face, head, or mind.

  1. I couldn’t tell you the exact figure off the top of my …… but I think we sold about 10,000 units last year.
  2. The neighbour just called to say they’ve found our cat, that’s a load off my ……
  3. She was at her …… end trying to figure out how to control her 14 year-old son.
  4. He presented the new model to the shareholders but she’s the real …… behind it.
  5. We were lucky enough to come …… to …… with a Bengal tiger.
  6. I have to admit, it never crossed my …… to ask Brian for help with the artwork, but it turns out he’s brilliant!
  7. If they don’t turn that music down, I’m going to go over there and give them a piece of my ……
  8. He’s insufferable these days, all the money and praise has clearly gone to his ……
  9. My laptop has a …… of its own, it shuts down whenever it wants.
  10. The students struggled to keep a straight …… while the teacher was having difficulty playing the video.
  11. That part of town is a bit dodgy, you need to keep your …… about you if you go there.
  12. Trying to get the boys to tidy their bedrooms I always feel like I’m banging my …… against a brick wall.
  13. The boss had to think of a way to break his promise without losing ……
  14. In order to save …… the company recalled all the faulty products and gave their customers full refunds.
  15. I’ve been racking my …… all night trying to remember my PIN number but I just can’t.
Become arrogant after success
From memory
A relief
Thinking really hard
Very stressed, not know what to do
Be within touching distance
Suffer damage to one’s reputation/social standing
Tell sb off/reprimand
Wasting my time, actions have no effect
Maintain one’s reputation
Occurred to me
The person who thought of an idea
Seem capable of thought and independent action
Not laugh/show signs of amusement
Be alert/keep an eye out

Practice

Complete the sentences with one of the expressions.

  1. I’ve been trying really hard to remember where I left my keys.

BRAIN

I’ve …………………..………….. to remember where I left my keys.

  1. Being embarrassed in front of other teenagers of the same age can be devastating for teenagers.

FACE

It can be devastating for teenagers ……………………..……………..….. Group.

  1. It’s vital that you be careful, don’t reveal any unnecessary information in the meeting.

WITS

It’s vital that you ……………………..……………..….. any information slip in the meeting.

  1. I can’t think of any examples right now from memory but I’m sure there are loads.

TOP

I can’t recall any examples off ……………………..……………..….. in no doubt that there are loads.

  1. Steve Jobs was the one who came up with the idea of the Ipod. 

BRAINS

Steve Jobs ……………………..……………..….. the Ipod.

  1. “Don’t let money change you!” said the old rapper to the newbies.

HEADS

The old rapper advised the newbies …………………………………………………..

  1. My car stereo does whatever it likes, there’s no controlling it.

MIND

My car stereo ……………………………………………….., there’s no controlling it.

Conversation

Complete the questions with one of the expressions, then answer the questions with a partner.

  1. What sort of things do politicians and celebrities tend to do to …… face after a scandal? Does it usually work?
  2. If your neighbours are keeping you up, do you tend to ……. them a piece of your mind? Or grin and bear it?
  3. Think of a time when you struggled to ……. a straight face in a serious situation. Did you manage it?
  4. Can you think of a time when you lost ……. in front of your peers when you were a teenager? Can you laugh about it now?
  5. Are you good at remembering names, figures and dates ……. the top of your head? Or do you often need to look them up? 
  6. Do you need to ……. your brain to put names to faces? Are there any things you struggle to remember?
  7. Do the brains ……. the biggest inventions always get the credit? Can you think of any examples of people who didn’t get the credit they deserved?
  8. What are you most stressed about at the moment? If you could wave a magic wand and make one of your problems disappear, what would be the biggest ……. off your mind?
  9. Are you someone who tends to have your wits ……. you when you’re walking down the street? Or do you have your head in the clouds?
  10. Do any of your electronic devices/appliances have minds of their …….? What sort of things do they do?
  11. Do people tend to do what you ask them to? Or is it sometimes like ……. your head against a brick wall? Give some examples?
  12. Have your parents ever been ….. their wits end with your, or one of your sibling’s behaviour? Why? What did they do?
  13. What’s the best way to stop praise or money ……. to a person’s head? Do you think it’s inevitable?
  14. Have you ever received help or advice from an unexpected source? Had it ever ……. your mind to turn to that particular person?

KEY – SENTENCE COMPLETION +  DEFINITION MATCH

  1. HEAD – B
  2. MIND – C
  3. WITS – E
  4. BRAINS – L
  5. FACE TO FACE – F
  6. MIND – K
  7. MIND – H
  8. HEAD – A
  9. MIND – M
  10. FACE – N
  11. WITS – O
  12. HEAD – I
  13. FACE – G
  14. FACE – J
  15. BRAIN – D

KEY – KEY WORD TRANSFORMATIONS

  1. BEEN RACKING MY BRAIN // TRYING
  2. TO LOSE FACE IN FRONT OF THEIR // PEER
  3. HAVE YOUR WITS ABOUT YOU, // DO NOT LET
  4. THE TOP OF MY HEAD // BUT I AM
  5. WAS THE BRAINS // BEHIND
  6. NOT TO LET MONEY // GO TO THEIR HEADS
  7. HAS A MIND // OF ITS OWN

KEY – CONVERSATION QUESTIONS

  1. SAVE
  2. GIVE
  3. KEEP
  4. FACE
  5. OFF
  6. RACK
  7. BEHIND
  8. LOAD
  9. ABOUT
  10. OWN
  11. BANGING
  12. AT
  13. GOING
  14. CROSSED

Author:

Barcelona based English Teacher, blogger and sometime actor and director.

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