Posted in Conversation Classes

Tis the Season to be Jolly: Christmas Expressions

Image result for christmas

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a Christmas lesson plan for higher levels (C1+) in which students learn some Christmassy expressions then practice them in a crossword and discussion.

tis-the-season-to-be-jolly-teachers-notes

tis-the-season-to-be-jolly – Student handout

christmas-expressions-crossword-key

christmas-expressions-crossword

Teacher’s notes

Matching

Match the expressions in bold with their definitions.

  1. I really overindulged last Christmas, I felt awful on Boxing Day. (C)
  2. So this year I’ve decided to pace myself, no booze till lunchtime! (P)
  3. Oooo, I’m feeling a bit tipsy after all that champagne. (B)
  4. I’ll put some Christmas carols on to get in the festive spirit. (D)
  5. Christmas is a time to get together with your nearest and dearest. (O)
  6. I don’t get on with my uncle but we always manage to bury the hatchet at Christmas. (E)
  7. Christmas just isn’t Christmas without turkey with all the trimmings. (J)
  8. (opening a present) Another horrible jumper from Auntie Janet, oh well, it’s the thought that counts. (M)
  9. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. (H)
  10. Son: “Come on Granddad! It’s Christmas, don’t be such a scrooge!” (I)

Granddad: “Bah Humbug! I hate Christmas.” (K)

  1. My mum always spends hours slaving over a hot stove on Christmas day. (F)
  2. We’re doing a secret Santa in the office and I’ve drawn the boss! I don’t know what to get her. (G)
  3. (opening a present) Oh wow, it’s lovely, you shouldn’t have! (L)
  4. Christmas is really important in my family, we always pull out all the stops, decorations, presents, tonnes of food, you name it! (N)
  5. Children always get showered with gifts at Christmas. (A)
a.       Receive a lot of presents

b.      A little drunk

c.       Eat and drink too much

d.      To start feeling Christmassy

e.      To forget old arguments and be friendly

f.        To spend a long time cooking

g.       “amigo invisible” each person buys a present for another person in the group.

h.      A snowy Christmas

i.         A mean person who doesn’t like Christmas

j.        The traditional things that go with something

k.       People who don’t like Christmas say this.

l.         What you say when you receive a present

m.    What you say when you receive a bad present

n.      Make a big effort to achieve something

o.      Your family

p.      To eat and drink slowly and carefully.

Reflection

This section is designed to help students process the vocabulary and aid acquisition.

Look again at the expressions.

  1. Which ones do you like?
  2. Which ones do you think you will remember?
  3. Which ones do you think you will forget?
  4. Can you think of an equivalent expression in your language?
  5. Think of a way to remember each expression with your partner, you could relate it to a sound, a word in your language or maybe an image.

Crossword

Give out the crossword handout and have them complete it in pairs without looking at the original handout. The first group to finish is the winner.

Conversation

Students ask and answer the questions in pairs. Then feedback in open class.

Ask and answer the questions with your partner:

  1. Have you ever experienced a white Christmas? Where were you? What was it like?
  2. Do you try to pace yourself over the festive season? Or do you tend to overindulge?
  3. Who slaves over a hot stove in your family?
  4. Have you ever done a secret Santa? Who with? Who did you draw? Did you like the experience?
  5. Does your family pull out all the stops at Christmas?
  6. Do you get on with everyone in your family? Do you have to bury the hatchet with any family members at Christmas?
  7. Does anyone in your family give bad presents? What do you say when you receive a bad present? Have you ever taken a present back to the shop?
  8. What do you do to get into the Christmas spirit? Do you ever find it difficult?
  9. Are there any scrooges in your family?
  10. What’s the traditional Christmas dish in your culture? What are all the trimmings that go with it?
  11. Who gets showered with gifts in your household?
  12. Do you normally get tipsy at Christmas?
  13. How important is it to get together with your nearest and dearest at Christmas? Who do you normally spend Christmas with?
  14. How important is giving and receiving presents in your family? Is it really just the thought that counts?

 

Posted in Conversation Classes, Young Learners

Christmas Communicative Crossword

Image result for christmas

Image credit: Pexels

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is yet another Christmas based activity, this one is for low-levels and young learners. Students work together to complete a Christmas themed crossword. Download the lesson plan and handout below:

christmas-crossword

Warmer – Hangman

Play hangman with “Merry Christmas” to go over the alphabet. Then, once they have guessed the word test and teach students ordinal numbers (first, second, third etc.) like so:

  • What is the first letter in “merry”? M
  • What is the sixth letter in “Christmas”? T
  • etc.

Write up the different ordinal numbers and drill pronunciation if necessary.

Christmas Crossword

In the handout above there are two versions of the crossword: The first version is just a standard worksheet that students could complete in pairs. The second version is a more communicative version.

Communicative Crossword

If you choose to try the communicative version, follow these steps:

  1. Put students in pairs, and label them A and B
  2. Give out the A handout to the As and B to the Bs.
  3. Tell students that they MUST NOT  look at each other’s worksheet.
  4. They have to work together to complete the crossword in English.
  5. Student A has all the “across” clues and student B has all the “down” clues.
  6. Student A reads a clue to student B and they try to figure out what the word could be, they then use the letters to get ideas about what the connecting words could be. This is where the ordinal numbers (the 6th letter is an “r” etc.)

Note: This activity works best as revision as it might be too difficult for young learners if they haven’t encountered these words before.

The winning team is the team that completes the crossword correctly first.

Key:

  1. Chimney
  2. Decorations
  3. Wrapping paper
  4. Reindeer
  5. Christmas
  6. Presents
  7. Turkey
  8. Santa Claus
  9. Angel
  10. Star
Posted in Conversation Classes, Video Classes, Writing Classes, Young Learners

Christmas Video: Buster the Boxer

Image result for buster the boxer john lewis

Image credit: ITV.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is another Christmas themed lesson based around the latest John Lewis Christmas advert about Buster the boxer. Download the lesson plan and powerpoint below:

buster-the-boxer – Powerpoint

buster-the-boxer – Lesson Plan

Procedure

Put students in pairs, depending on their level show them either the first slide with 4 photos or the second slide with the word cloud. Give them 10 minutes to invent a Christmas story using all of the words or pictures, monitor while they work and feed in any language that is needed.

Students then read out their stories to the class, discuss any language issues that come up. Students can then vote on which story they liked best.

Then show students the John Lewis advert:

Ask students the following questions:

  • Whose story was the most similar to the advert?
  • How different was your story?
  • Did you like the video? If so, what did you like about it?

Show the word cloud again, have students write out the story of the advert again from memory using the words as prompts. Students then read out their different versions.

Follow up

For homework, students write the next part of the story, what did the girl do next? How did the foxes and the badger spend Christmas day?

Posted in Conversation Classes

Plan a Magical Christmas

Image result for christmas markets berlin

Image credit: Party Earth

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is another Christmas themed lesson plan for intermediate (B1+) teenagers and adults. Students will be required to use smartphones, tablets or laptops as part of the activity. Download the lesson plan below:

plan-a-magical-christmas

Warmer

Tell your partner about your most memorable Christmas ever.

Report back in open class.

Planning the perfect Christmas

Put students in pairs or groups of 3. Write a range of amounts of money on small pieces of paper, for example: €100, €1000, €10,000, €100,000. Put the pieces of paper in a hat, each team picks a piece of paper.

The amount of money that they have picked is their budget for the magical Christmas they are going to plan. They should plan a week of activities, from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve. Students can use the internet to research what they are going to do with their money: book flights to or a hotel in an exotic destination, book tables in fancy restaurants, organise interesting activities etc. The only rule is that they can’t go over budget AND they must speak in English the whole time, project the language for making and responding to suggestions below onto the board.

To be nice to the group that drew the €100 you could let them come up with a money making scheme such as baking and selling cookies in order to get more money. Encourage them to use their imagination, be creative and also, decide what the most important thing about Christmas is to them. Students have 20-30 minutes to plan.

Language

Making suggestions Accepting suggestions Rejecting suggestions
How/what about …ing…?

Why don’t we…?

We could….

Shall we…?

I reckon/think we should/ought to….

What do you think about …ing?

Let’s…

That’s a great idea!

Good idea!

I was thinking the same thing.

You took the words right out my mouth.

That’s a terrible idea.

Are you joking?

Don’t be silly.

I’m not sure about that.

It’ll be too cold/expensive etc.

Presentations

After 20-30 minutes students present their plans to the rest of the class and explain their reasons:

“We’ve decided to spend Christmas in Germany because we want to visit the famous Christmas markets”

After all the presentations, students vote on the plan that they like best.

Posted in Conversation Classes, songs

Song: Bob Dylan – It’s All Over Now Baby Blue

Resultat d'imatges de bob dylan

Image credit: http://thebluesmobile.com/c-c-rider-venerates-bob-dylan/

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bob-dylan-baby-blue – Handout

I’ve been quiet for a few weeks due to my exciting and terrifying new job in teacher training! However, I’ve made a resolution to work on more posts for the blog over the coming weeks.

Some of my C2 adults expressed an interest in listening to some Bob Dylan songs after reading about his recent Nobel Prize win. So I’ve prepared this short lesson plan with that in mind. Students start by reading and analysing the lyrics to the song as if it were a poem and not knowing the author or that it is in fact a folk song.

Procedure

Students read the lyrics as if it were a poem and answer the 3 questions with their partner:

  1. What do you think the poem is about?
  2. Who do you think the poet is talking to?
  3. What might have happened to the person?

Encourage use of language of speculation (could/might/may have etc.)

My DELTA tutor told me that removing words from song lyrics was a horrible crime, “butchering the text” is how he described it, so I’ve decided to keep the text whole. However, feel free to remove some words and have students complete them while listening. One idea would be to remove a part of each rhyming couplet and have students guess at words that would fit, before listening to confirm.

Have students discuss and share their interpretation of the song and then show them the three comments which contain different ways in which the song could be interpreted. Have them compare their own thoughts with those from the comments.

Song

Handout

Read the poem and answer the questions with your partner:

  1. What do you think the poem is about?
  2. Who do you think the poet is talking to?
  3. What might have happened to the person?

You must leave now
Take what you need you think will last
But whatever you wish to keep
You’d better grab it fast

Yonder stands your orphan with his gun
Crying like a fire in the sun
Look out, the saints are coming through
And it’s all over now, baby blue

The highway is for gamblers
Better use your sense
Take what you have gathered
From coincidence

The empty handed painter from your streets
Is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets
The sky, too, is folding over you
And it’s all over now, baby blue

All your seasick sailors
They’re all rowing home
All your reindeer armies
They’re all going home

The lover, who just walked out your door
Has taken all his blankets from the floor
The carpet too, is moving under you
And it’s all over now, baby blue

Leave your stepping stones behind
Now, something calls for you
Forget the dead you’ve left
They will not follow you

The vagabond who’s rapping at your door
Is standing in the clothes that you once wore
Strike another match, go start anew
And it’s all over now, baby blue

 

Comment 1

“I think there is one line here that is misunderstood, and it is pretty nifty.

When Dylan is wrapping up the song, and he’s telling the woman to leave the dead and to start over, he says the line “strike another match girl, start anew” I really think it’s “girl” and not “go”– if you listen to the song it could go either way, but just here me out.

I think this line reference to Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl,” in which a vagabond child selling matches sees visions of warm, safe places she will never be a part of, and each time she lights a match she sees a new scene, a new life. At the end of the fairy-tale, she lights her final match and dies… but in Dylan’s case, when he says to “light another match, girl” he’s not talking about a REAL death, he’s talking about a change. Like the girl in the story, the subject of this song is down-and-out, she thought she was in a safe place, but she’s not– the carpet’s being pulled right out from under her. She needs to figuratively “light a match” and see the possibilities for a new life, and she needs to accept, even embrace this change and join the vagabond outside to start a new journey.”

Comment 2

“I think this song is about accepting changes in life. this was the last song Dylan played at the infamous Newport concert (where he was booed for going electric) and the last song on Bringing It All Back Home (his last album that was mostly acoustic) I think he is just saying it is time for him to move on creatively”

Comment 3

“Could it be that Dylan is Baby Blue? He has to stop listening to everyone’s expectations as to where he should go. He must leave those stepping stones and go his own way even though there may be a price to pay.”

Posted in Conversation Classes, Ice-breakers, Warmers

Back to School: My Summer Holidays (A1-B1)

Image result for summer holidays

Image credit: coar56ar.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a warmer/short conversation activity for use with lower-level students (A1-B1) to refresh past simple question formation. Download the handout below:

back-to-school-handout

Scrambled Questions

Unscramble the questions, and then ask them to your teacher:

  1. summer your how holidays were?
  2. did where go you?
  3. there you did do what?
  4. it did like you?

Ask and answer the questions in pairs.

Questions Words

Complete the questions with a question word:

Where    What (x2)    How (x2)    Who

 

  1. ___________ was the weather like?
  2. ___________ did you stay?
  3. ___________ did you get there?
  4. ___________ did you go on holiday with?
  5. ___________ long did you go for?
  6. ___________ was the best thing you did there?

Answer Match

Match the questions (1-6) with the answers (a-f)

  1. We went surfing, it was so much fun!
  2. In a nice little hotel next to the beach.
  3. We took a plane to the island and then we rented a car.
  4. We went for 6 days.
  5. It was lovely, it only rained once.
  6. I went with my Mum, Dad and little brother.

Speaking

Ask the questions to your teacher, then to your partner.

Then write 2 new questions for your partner:

Where

Who

When

What

Why

How

 

 

Did

 

 

You

Verb in base form

Do

Eat

Buy

See

Etc.

 

 

There?

What Was The best thing You Verb in past simple

Ate?

Saw?

Bought?

Etc.

Key

Scrambled questions

  1. How were your summer holidays?
  2. Where did you go?
  3. What did you do there?
  4. Did you like it?

Question Words

  1. What
  2. Where
  3. How
  4. Who
  5. How
  6. What

Answer Match

  1. E
  2. B
  3. C
  4. F
  5. D
  6. A

Teacher’s Notes

Pronunciation

While students are performing the speaking task, be sure to help them with pronunciation of the questions, focusing specifically on weak forms and sentence stress:

Where did you go?

| weə dɪdjə ɡəʊ | – Connected speech and weak form “you”

What was the weather like?

| ˈwɒt wəz ðə ˈweðə ˈlaɪk | – weak forms of “was” and “the”. Sentence stress on “what” “weather” and “like”

Smartphones, photos

If students have photos of their holiday readily available (on a smartphone or tablet) let them show their partner while they describe their holiday.

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

TED Talk, Paul Root Wolpe: Bio-engineering

Image credit: www.ted.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a new TED talk lesson plan for higher levels (C1+) on the subject of bio-engineering and cloning. Thanks to my colleague Cliff Grossman for recommending this fascinating talk. You can download the materials below:

TED Bio-engineering – Student handout

TED Bio-engineering TEACHER NOTES

Procedure

You can either give students the handout and have them watch the talk and answer the comprehension questions for homework, or do it in class.

Then depending on class size students can ask and answer the discussion questions in small groups or in open class. The topic also lends itself well to debates on GM food, cloning and bioengineering.

Student Handout

Comprehension Questions

  1. What have been the three great stages of evolution?
  2. What are some of the animal hybrids he presents?
  3. What have scientists done with bioluminescent cells from jellyfish?
  4. What does he say about the differences in regulations on genetic modifications between the US and Europe?
  5. Name a few of the animals that have been successfully cloned.
  6. What have scientists managed to do with cockroaches and goliath beetles?
  7. What was so special about the monkey with the prosthetic arm?
  8. What was grown on a mouse’s back?
  9. What is Paul’s view on bio-engineering?
  10. What changes does he predict in the future?

Discussion Questions

  1. What did you think of the talk?
  2. Did you like his presenting style?
  3. What’s your opinion in the different experiments?
  4. Which ones do you find interesting?
  5. Which ones do you think go too far?
  6. What uses can you see for the different bio-engineered animals?
  7. How far do you think we should go?
  8. Should we clone humans?
  9. What problems do you foresee if we were to start cloning humans?
  10. Who should decide the limits of where science can go?
  11. Should people be able to design their own pets/children/bodies?

Language

Look at the language in bold. What do you think it means?

  1. By changing our environment, we put new pressures on our bodies to evolve. Whether it was through settling down in agricultural communities…
  2. So I want to take you through a kind of whirlwind tour of that
  3. Someday, perhaps pretty soon, you will have beefalo patties in your local supermarket.
  4. Dogs are the result of selectively breeding traits that we like.
  5. The scientists that made this cute little creature ended up slaughtering it and eating it afterwards.
  6. We had to do it the hard way in the old days by choosing offspring that looked a particular way and then breeding them.
  7. What are the ethical guidelines that we will use then?

Key

Comprehension Questions

    1. What have been the three great stages of evolution? 1st: Darwinian evolution 2nd: humans changing their environment by forming civilisation 3rd: Evolution by design (bio-engineering)
    2. What are some of the animal hybrids he presents? Liger, geep, zorse, beefalo, cama,
  • What have scientists done with bioluminescent cells from jellyfish? Made animals that glow in the dark

 

  1. What does he say about the differences in regulations on genetic modifications between the US and Europe? Regulations are much stricter in Europe
  2. Name a few of the animals that have been successfully cloned. Sheep, pigs, rats, cats, dogs, horses, wolves, cows.
  3. What have scientists managed to do with cockroaches and goliath beetles? Made them remoted-controlled
  4. What was so special about the monkey with the prosthetic arm? It learned to move its new prosthetic arm using just its brain signals meaning that it effectively has three independent arms.
  5. What was grown on a mouse’s back? A human ear
  6. What is Paul’s view on bio-engineering? He is worried about its implications and thinks we have to be very careful.
  7. What changes does he predict in the future? Human cloning and designer pets or even babies.

Discussion Questions

  1. What did you think of the talk?
  2. Did you like his presenting style?
  3. What’s your opinion in the different experiments?
  4. Which ones do you find interesting?
  5. Which ones do you think go too far?
  6. What uses can you see for the different bio-engineered animals?
  7. How far do you think we should go?
  8. Should we clone humans?
  9. What problems do you foresee if we were to start cloning humans?
  10. Who should decide the limits of where science can go?
  11. Should people be able to design their own pets/children/bodies?

Language

Look at the language in bold. What do you think it means?

  1. By changing our environment, we put new pressures on our bodies to evolve. Whether it was through settling down in agricultural communities… (to stop travelling and stay in one place to live)
  2. So I want to take you through a kind of whirlwind tour of that (a very quick tour seeing the most important places)
  3. Someday, perhaps pretty soon, you will have beefalo patties in your local supermarket. (hamburgers)
  4. Dogs are the result of selectively breeding traits that we like. (characteristics)
  5. The scientists that made this cute little creature ended up slaughtering it and eating it afterwards. (kill an animal for food)
  6. We had to do it the hard way in the old days by choosing offspring that looked a particular way and then breeding them. (biological term for children)
  7. What are the ethical guidelines that we will use then? (moral rules)