Here’s another of our vocab videos from our TikTok channel, this time we’re looking at 5 ways to agree with somebody. If you enjoy this video, come join us on TikTok!
This is a lesson plan for students preparing for the Cambridge main suite exams. I specifically created it with C1 or C2 students in mind but it could easily be adapted to B2. Students practice word formation while playing a game of noughts and crosses. Download the handout below:
Students play in pairs, they must choose a square on the board where they want to place their token, but they must first correctly complete the corresponding word formation question in order to do so. All of the words are based on the same root word.
If a student answers incorrectly, you could either have the opponent steal the square by answering correctly, or say that the square is now dead and nobody can place a token there.
As a follow-up you could set your students the task of coming up with their own lists of nine sentences to use in future games. You could give them each a root word (use, communicate, etc.) and send them to the Longman Online Dictionary to look up all the derivatives in order to make their 9 questions: https://www.ldoceonline.com/
This is a lesson plan designed to help Spanish speaking students sound more natural in lots of common, everyday interactions. Download the handout and PowerPoint below:
Students do some contrastive analysis of some high frequency expressions in English and Spanish in order to identify some common errors and put the more natural English expressions into practice.
Work with a partner.
Complete the second column with direct translations or common mistakes that Spanish speakers make with these expressions.
|Spanish||Direct Translation/Common Mistake||English Equivalent|
|¡Hasta ahora! ¡Igualmente! ¿Cuánto tiempo? ¿Qué tal? ¡Que vaya bien! ¡Que te lo pases bien! ¡Aquí lo tienes! No te escucho. ¿Qué pasa? No pasa nada ¿Puedes repetir? ¿Cuánto falta para…? Estoy de acuerdo Una cosa/una pregunta||Until now! …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… ……………………………||…………………………… …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… …………………………… ……………………………|
Now complete the third column with the more natural English equivalent.
Cut out the situation cards below. Put the cards face down in a pile. Turn over one card, the first person to say the appropriate expression for that card takes the card and scores one point. Keep playing until all the cards have been used.
|Your housemate is going to the shop, they will be back in 5 minutes. What do you say to them?||Your co-worker says “have a good weekend!” as they leave the office. What do you say to them?|
|Your partner is leaving to go to an important job interview. What do you say to them?||You work in a coffee shop. You hand a customer their cup of coffee. What do you say to them?|
|You put your hand up in English class, you want to ask the teacher a question. What do you say to them?||You see an old friend from school you haven’t seen for a long time. What do you say to them?|
|You’re speaking on the phone but there is loud music playing. You don’t understand what they’re saying because of the noise. What do you say to them?||You get home and see that one of your children is crying. What do you say to them?|
|Your friend tells you that they’re going to Disneyland this weekend. What do you say to them?||Your friend says sorry for arriving late to meet you for lunch. You don’t mind that they’re late. What do you say to them?|
|Your teacher says something very quickly and you don’t understand. What do you say to them?||You’re having a debate at work and you have the same opinion as your co-worker. What do you say to them?|
|You see your friend in the morning and you want to know how they are. What do you say to them?||You’re bored at school and you want to know when you will be allowed to go to the playground. What do you say to the teacher?|
|Spanish||Direct Translation/Common Mistake||English Equivalent|
|¡Hasta ahora! ¡Igualmente! |
¿Cuánto tiempo? ¿Qué tal?
¡Que vaya bien! ¡Que te lo pases bien!
¡Aquí lo tienes! No te escucho. ¿Qué pasa?
No pasa nada ¿Puedes repetir? ¿Cuánto falta para…?
Estoy de acuerdo
Una cosa/una pregunta
|Until now!/See you now! |
How much time?
That it go well.
That you pass it well.
Here you have.
I don’t listen you.
Can you repeat?
How much is left for…?
I am agree
One thing/one question
|See you in a bit/sec |
Same to you!
Long time, no see!
How’s it going?
Hope it goes well.
Here you go/Here’s….
I can’t hear you.
What’s up? What’s wrong?
Sorry, I didn’t catch that.
How much longer until…?
I have a question/doubt
|Your housemate is going to the shop, they will be back in 5 minutes. What do you say to them? See you in a bit/sec||Your co-worker says “have a good weekend!” as they leave the office. What do you say to them? You too!|
|Your partner is leaving to go to an important job interview. What do you say to them? Hope it goes well||You work in a coffee shop. You hand a customer their cup of coffee. What do you say to them? Here you go/Here’s your coffee|
|You put your hand up in English class, you want to ask the teacher a question. What do you say to them? I have a question/doubt||You see an old friend from school you haven’t seen for a long time. What do you say to them? Long time, no see!|
|You’re speaking on the phone but there is loud music playing. You don’t understand what they’re saying because of the noise. What do you say to them? I can’t hear you||You get home and see that one of your children is crying. What do you say to them? What’s wrong?|
|Your friend tells you that they’re going to Disneyland this weekend. What do you say to them? Have fun!||Your friend says sorry for arriving late to meet you for lunch. You don’t mind that they’re late. What do you say to them? No worries/problem|
|Your teacher says something very quickly and you don’t understand. What do you say to them? Sorry, I didn’t catch that||You’re having a debate at work and you have the same opinion as your co-worker. What do you say to them? I agree|
|You see your friend in the morning and you want to know how they are. What do you say to them? How’s it going?||You’re bored at school and you want to know when you will be allowed to go to the playground. What do you say to the teacher? How long / How much longer until play time?|
This is a guest post by Soleil García Brito just in time for Halloween! Students learn about the concert of spoopy vs spooky things and the history of the jack-o-lantern. Download the handouts below:
- Describe the images and discuss:
- What are the similarities and differences between these two images?
- Which of these images do you find the spookiest?
- Reading and Use of English (Part 2)
Adapted from Merriam Webster – Words We’re Watching
The Inside Poop On ‘Spoopy’
Spoopy might startle people, especially around Halloween season. Perhaps it’s the resemblance (1) ______ spooky, which could lead you to believe the formation is nothing more (2) ______ a jaw-dropping typo. Or it could also be that it has poopy in it, which makes the spelling amusing to people (3) ______ enjoy bodily humour. This Internet sensation’s origin was a comical misspelling of the adjective spooky spotted on a department store’s Halloween sign written in a “skeletal” font and photographed. The image was (4) ______ uploaded to the Internet; in short order, spoopy (5) ______ viral. Essentially, the word is used to describe something that typically would be spooky, (6) ______ an image of a skeleton or ghost, but is actually rather comical. The word has other connotations (7) ______ well: it is sometimes used for things that are intended to be spooky but simply fail to scare, or it could describe something that blends cuteness (8) ______ spookiness in a grotesque way.
- Listening (Part 1) – VIDEO – The Messed Up Origins™ of Jack-o’-Lanterns
Watch the video (x2) until 5:17 and answer the following questions:
- According to the Youtuber’s previous views, why did people carve pumpkins?
- Because they wanted to scare others
- Because they didn’t like the taste of pumpkins
- Because there were too many pumpkins
- Why did the devil go to see Stingy Jack?
- To take him to hell
- So that he could have some drinks with him
- Because he admired him
- How did Stingy Jack avoid going to hell the first time?
- He trapped the devil in a silver cross
- He trapped the devil in his pocket
- He left the bar while the devil was paying
- Why did the devil climb up a tree?
- Because Jack was hungry
- Because he was hungry
- Because Jack threatened him with crosses
- The reason Jack wasn’t allowed in hell was…
- He wasn’t evil
- He made a deal with the devil
- God prohibited him from entering
- What does the legend say?
- That Jack is happy because he escaped hell
- Jack wanders through purgatory with a pumpkin
- Jack’s spirit appears in marshes on October 31st
- Language focus
Watch the video again, complete the sentences below and match the words to their meanings:
- Well, it ___________ I was wrong about two things.
- A voice comes out ___________ to be Satan himself.
- Just ________ yourself ________ a silver coin.
- Jack’s soul was sent down to hell where the devil was _________ waiting.
- Was cursed to spend eternity __________ through the darkness or purgatory.
- Wandering aimlessly through the forests and ____________
|Turns out||Walking around slowly with no clear purpose or direction|
|Claiming||In a way that shows a strong desire to do or have something|
|Turn (sth/sb) into||Saying that something is true or a fact|
|Eagerly||To be known or discovered finally and surprisingly|
|Wandering||Ground near a lake, a river, or the sea that is always wet|
|Marshes||To change, transform or develop from one thing to another|
|USEFUL IDIOMS||To be taken off guard The lesser of two evils|
A new worksheet for B2+ students to help them add more cohesion to their writing through the use of formal linkers and connectors. Download the handout and key below:
Lead students through the worksheet. Encourage creativity in the final activity. Set students an FCE or CAE part 1 essay for homework.
Label the groups of linkers (A, B, C, D) with the titles in the box based on their function.
|REASON ADDITION CONTRAST/CONCESSION CONDITIONALS|
- One of the main benefits of research into green energy is the impact it can have on the environment. Furthermore, by switching to renewable energy sources, we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels such as oil.
- The project failed to live up to the expectations of the management team. What is more, it was €100,000 over budget.
- Construction of the solar farm was finished on time. Moreover, workers were able to increase power output by 15% in the first month.
- Many parts of the world are being ravaged by extreme weather conditions due to/owing to the impact of climate change.
- Emissions of harmful greenhouse gases have increased owing to/due to the fact that the world’s population keeps growing.
- Further research is needed in order to push the boundaries of our scientific knowledge.
- Governments should provide more funding for green energy projects so as to increase their efficiency.
- More charging stations for electric cars should be installed so that there are enough to meet demand.
- Space exploration is undoubtedly an exciting area of research. Even so, is it really the most pressing issue humankind is facing right now?
- In spite of/Despite recent technological advancements we have seen, we still know very little about the universe.
- In spite of/Despite the fact that time is running out, we must not give up and accept our fate.
- Much progress has been made in this field. Nevertheless, there is still a lot to be done.
- Unless we take steps to combat climate change now, we may be too late.
- Even if we manage to reduce emissions considerably, there is no guarantee that it will be enough.
- We are still not sure whether or not we are alone in the universe.
- What do you notice about the way all 4 linkers are used?
Look at the sentences and choose the correct alternative:
- Due to/owing to + a noun // a clause (subject + verb + object)
- Due to/owing to the fact that + a noun // a clause (subject + verb + object)
- In order to + a verb // a clause
- So as to + a verb // a clause
- So that + a verb // a clause
- What do “even so” and “nevertheless” have in common?
Look at the sentences and choose the correct alternative:
- In spite of/Despite + a noun // a clause (subject + verb + object)
- In spite of/Despite the fact that + a noun // a clause (subject + verb + object)
Look at the linkers in group D and match them to their meaning
- “it doesn’t matter if”
- “If we don’t”
- “If or not”
Complete the sentences with a linker from the previous exercise, more than one answer might be possible.
- They brought in extra seats …………. everyone could sit down.
- ………… you were the only man in the world, I still wouldn’t go out with you.
- They planted trees in the garden …………… attract more wildlife.
- His CV is impressive. ………….., I’m still not sure if he’s the right candidate.
- …………. all their hard work, they weren’t able to complete the project on time.
- I was unable to attend the meeting ……………. the heavy snowfall.
- Many people have chosen to move out of the city ……………….. house prices have fallen in the countryside.
- One benefit of city life is the superior health facilities. ……………….., there are many more job opportunities.
- It seems like a very tempting offer. ……………….., I feel I must reject it.
- ……………….. we run, we’re going to miss the last train.
- I’m still not sure ……………….. we made the right decision.
- He cancelled all his morning appointments ……………….. spend time with his family.
Use linkers to upgrade these sentences for use in a C1 essay. You can also upgrade the language in the sentences.
- Shopping in shops is good, but shopping online is better.
- We should build more parks because they’re good for people.
- People got sad because the pandemic was bad.
- It doesn’t matter if you recycle, big companies are bad for the planet.
- There are too many cars, that’s why there’s lots of pollution.
- We should make drivers pay more to make them take the bus.
- Veganism is good but I don’t think I could do it.
- Books are good because they help you learn words and you imagine things.
This is a lesson plan for B2+ students. It is based on a text from https://www.iflscience.com/ on the subject of wild animals. It will serve as good exam practice for students preparing to take Cambridge exams and should also be an engaging topic of conversation for teenagers and adults. Download the handouts and slides below:
- Show students the second slide of the PowerPoint, encourage them to guess which animal would win.
- Show them the second and have them speculate about how a goat would beat a bear.
- Give out handout and have students read to confirm their speculations, check in open class.
- Have students complete the open cloze, they could work in pairs or individually and then check with their partner. Good practice for Cambridge exams use of English.
- Lead students through the vocabulary exercises.
- Discussion: Which animal could you beat in a fight? Show students the fourth slide and explain the statistics to them. Put students in groups and have them discuss which animals they think they could beat and how they would do it.
- Lead a discussion on the best way to tackle certain large, dangerous animals. Have students speculate on the best thing to do in each encounter, then check on the internet to see whether or not they would have survived. Board any emergent language and exploit it for recall later.
Open Cloze Key
Apex predators make (1) IT to the top (2) BY being the most efficient hunters in their domain, but every now and (3) THEN an underdog crops up to disrupt the food chain. (4) SUCH an example played out on the mountains of Burgess Pass in Yoho National Park, where Parks Canada retrieved the body of a female grizzly bear. Such a creature would usually (5) BE the slayer rather than the slain, and most surprisingly of all the assailant turned (6) OUT to be a goat.
The battle (7) TOOK place sometime before September 4 after which Parks Canada was made aware (8) OF the presence of a carcass. Bodies such (9) AS these need to be removed as they can otherwise lure in wildlife that could put visitors to the pass (10) AT risk.
The discovery of a slain bear merits a forensic investigation to determine the (11) CAUSE of death, and so a necropsy (12) WAS conducted on the animal. During the examination, staff noticed that the fatal wounds were at the base of the bear’s neck and in (13) ITS armpits. The attack sites might sound random to the uninitiated, but to experienced park rangers, this was the work (14) OF one extremely lucky mountain goat.
“When grizzly bears attack, they tend (15) TO focus (16) ON the head, neck, and shoulders of the prey, usually (17) FROM above,” Alison Biles, Public Relations and Communications Officer for Parks Canada, told IFLScience. “In turn, the defensive response of mountain goats would (18) BE to protect themselves using (19) THEIR sharp horns.”
“Grizzly bear predation of mountain goats is relatively common and significant goat activity was observed (20) IN the immediate area. (21) IN this case, it appears that the mountain goat was (22) TRYING/ABLE to defend itself. While rare, other cases of mountain goats defensively killing bears have (23) BEEN reported in the past, (24) WHICH is not completely surprising since mountain goats are strong animals that are well-equipped to defend (25) THEMSELVES”
Find words or phrases in the text to match these definitions:
- Animals at the top of the local food chain. – APEX PREDATORS
- Someone in a game or fight who has little chance of winning. – AN UNDERDOG
- A killer. – SLAYER – assailant – an attacker
- The dead body of an animal. – CARCASS
- Attract. – LURE IN
- Where your arm meets your chest. – ARMPITS
- People without experience. – THE UNINITIATED
- A person who patrols and maintains a national park. – PARK RANGER
- To have the tools to do something. – BE WELL-EQUIPPED
Complete the collocations from the text:
- MAKE it to the top
- Every NOW and then
- Such AN example
- The assailant TURNED out to be a goat
- The battle took PLACE sometime before September 4
- Parks Canada was MADE aware of the presence of a carcass.
- Put visitors at RISK
- An investigation to determine the cause of DEATH
Complete the sentences with one of the collocations:
- The police still aren’t sure of the CAUSE OF DEATH
- I don’t go out often but EVERY NOW AND THEN I like to meet up with friends and let my hair down.
- His carelessness PUT everyone on board the ship AT RISK, it can’t happen again.
- I have been MADE AWARE OF some complaints that customers have made and I would like to address them.
- The match will TAKE PLACE tonight at the usual address.
- To MAKE IT TO THE TOP in this industry you have to work very hard and get lucky.
- We thought it was a shark under the boat but TURNED OUT TO BE a piece of rubbish.
Don’t you just love a 2 episode week? We’re back with episode 51 continuing our book club series on Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club.
In this episode we talk about chapters 32-40; we discuss the things that happen, our favourite parts and examine some interesting vocabulary that comes up.
Why not read and listen along? Or, if you’re a teacher, encourage your students to do so.
Listen on SoundCloud:
Or, alternatively, listen on Spotify:
This is a special summer edition of my “Where do you stand?” conversation series. Students decide to what extent they agree with different statements on the topic of summer activities and holidays and then share their views with their classmates. Download the PowerPoint and student handout below:
The PowerPoint has some quite advanced language for discussion on it. You may want to use this phrase sheet, designed with B2 students in mind, for lower levels.
We’ve made it to 50 episodes! Thanks to all our listeners for your continued support, we ❤️ you all!
In episode 50 we’re pressing on with Richard Osman’s wonderful debut novel The Thursday Murder Club, chapters 24-31.
Why not get your students to listen and read along?
This is another edition of my “Where do you Stand?” conversation series. Students debate different topics related to education but must rate their opinion on a scale from 1-6 before they begin the discussion. Download the PowerPoint and student handout below:
If you want to use it with B2 students you could use this phrase sheet.
Credit to Owlcation for some of the debate topics: