Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Grammar Classes

A Therapy Session – Wish/If Only

therapy

This is a grammar lesson for B2 students. Students will be introduced to the language for expressing wishes through a short dialogue from a therapy session. The subject of therapy and mental health may be a sensitive subject with some students so gauge your group carefully. Download all the materials below:

A Therapy Session – Wish If Only – PowerPoint

A Therapy Session – Student Handout

Procedure

Warmer

Show the first slide of the presentation, you could either have students come up with their own warmer questions about the topic or use the questions on slide 2.

Language in Context

Give out the handout, have students read the text and then answer the question “how much do you have in common with Natalia?” in pairs. Feedback in open class.

Have students answer the detail questions. These questions are designed to guide students to the examples of the target structures on the text.

Language Focus

Lead students through the next slides. Encourage students to work in pairs to examine the patterns that follow the the target structures. Try to get students to tell you how the structures work rather than vice versa.

Controlled Practice

Have students complete the practice activity individually and then have them compare their answers with a partner. Encourage them to explain the reasoning behind their choices.

Key:

  1. I wish I were/was rich.*
  2. If only I had green eyes.
  3. I wish I had studied more for the exam yesterday.
  4. If only my brother wouldn’t annoy me so much.
  5. I wish I looked like Ariana Grande.
  6. If only my teacher wouldn’t give me so much homework. (hadn’t given me also possible)
  7. I wish I hadn’t eaten so much last night.
  8. I wish I could turn invisible.

*purists would say that “were” is the only correct answer but “I wish I WAS rich” is now perfectly acceptable.

Freer Production

Put students in pairs or threes and have them write a therapy dialogue using the target language as often as possible. Encourage them to be imaginative and be as overly dramatic as possible.

Exam Preparation Classes 

These structures often come up in the B2 First Certificate exam in part 4 of the use of English. Here’s a link to a quizlet set for extra practice/revision.

You should also encourage students to use them in their writings, particularly informal emails/letters: “Your holiday sounds amazing I wish I had gone with you!”

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Grammar Classes

First Certificate (FCE) Grammar/Language Checklist

research-checklist-blue-640x437

This is a lesson plan designed for students on preparation courses for the Cambridge B2 First (FCE) exam. In particular I think it would be good for students who are close to taking the exam. It works as a diagnostic test of a range of the grammar points that are tested, particularly in part 4 of the reading and use of English exam. Download the handout below:

First Certificate Grammar Checklist

Quizlet set

Procedure:

Self-Assessment

Give out copies of the handout, have students individually assess their grasp of each of the structures. They should fill in the box on the end with either a tick (I know this very well) a cross (I’ve got no idea about this) or a wiggly line (I more or less get this).

Have students compare with their partner. Ask them to look for differences, there should be opportunities for peer teaching here, have one student attempt to explain a grammar point to another.

Practice

Project the quizlet set of key word transformations. Put students in pairs. First students need to identify the structure that is being tested. This is a very important step, getting them to put themselves in the examiner’s shoes and not just jump straight in and answer. Check that they’ve identified the structure, then have them work together to try to complete the sentence. Encourage reflection and comparison between their initial self-assessment and then their scores and performance in the exam task.

The checklist is not exhaustive, have I missed any common structures that come up in part 4?

Grammar Structure Examples Self-assessment
Past simple/Present perfect I haven’t seen John for 5 years.

The last time I saw John was 5 years ago.

 
2nd conditional If I won the lottery, I would buy a mansion.

If I didn’t work in construction, I would be an actor.

 
3rd conditional If I hadn’t slipped on that banana, I wouldn’t have broken my arm.

If I had known you were coming, I would have baked a cake.

 
The passive voice Active: The police arrested the man.

Passive: The man was arrested by the police.

Other example: It is said that cigarettes give you cancer.

Cigarettes are said to give you cancer

 
Wish/If only I regret eating so much -> I wish I hadn’t eaten so much.

It was a bad idea to drink that wine -> If only I hadn’t drunk that wine.

 
Linkers: Despite/in spite of -> Although/even though Despite the rain, the party was great -> The party was great even though it was raining.

Although he felt ill, he still went to school. -> He still went to school in spite of his illness.

 
Reported speech “I went there last year.” -> He said that he had gone there last year.

“I will call him tomorrow.” -> She said that she would call him the following day.

 
Reported questions Have you been to Paris?” -> He asked me if I had been to Paris.

Where is the train station?” -> He asked me where the train station was.

 
Phrasal verbs He wants to cancel the meeting -> he wants to call off the meeting.

He won’t tolerate bad behaviour -> he won’t put up with bad behaviour.

 
Causative have/get: have/get something done I need to get my hair cut.

I need to have my computer repaired.

 
Comparatives/superlatives This restaurant is better than that one -> That restaurant isn’t as good as this one.

He’s not nearly as tall as me.

My brother is slightly younger than me.

No one is as good at football as Messi -> Messi is the best football player.

 
Past modal verbs:

Must have

Could/might/may have

Should have etc.

The butler must have murdered him, there’s blood on his shirt.

It can’t have been Sarah you saw at the mall, she’s on holiday in Dubai.

I shouldn’t have drunk so much last night.

 
So/such It was so hot that we couldn’t leave the hotel -> It was such a hot day that we had to stay in the hotel.

It rained so much that the house flooded. ->It was such a rainy day that the house flooded.

 
Gerund/infinitive I’m a big fan of playing water sports.

I’m interested in studying history.

I have decided to study biology.

He spent 10 minutes knocking on my door.

 
Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Exam Preparation Class, Listening Classes, Teacher Training

2Ts in a Pod: Cambridge First (FCE) Mini-Series

2ts_banner_2460x936

I haven’t even had time to keep up with the posts about each episode of our podcast. Terribly neglectful of me. Towards the end of last year we did a little mini series on the Cambridge B2 First or whatever it’s called these days (Cambridge keep changing the name). We looked at most parts of the exam; have a listen by following the links below:

FCE General Tips

FCE Speaking

FCE Reading

FCE Use of English

 

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Guest Posts, Writing Classes

Guest Post – Chasing the Cheese: Writing an FCE Article

Image result for cheese chasing uk

Image credit: Daily Mail

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is the third in a series of guest posts by my friend and colleague Josh Widdows, an English teacher and teacher trainer at International House Barcelona.

Getting FCE students to write an informative and descriptive article can be challenging. This entertaining 2.5/3-hour writing lesson encourages learners to source expressions from authentic texts, be inspired by video input and to annotate a model in order to effectively plan and draft their own article based around the idea of festivals.

Download the Lesson Procedure, PowerPoint and Handouts below:

And check out this video of crazy cheese chasers!

Lesson Procedure: FCE – Writing an article (2.5/3-hour class)

Go straight to No. 6 if you have less time and/or do not have authentic material.
1. (Optional Warmer)- source some authentic magazines, [Metropolitan is a great one for Barcelona], and board ‘Grab a mag’ and have students flick through and find an article that appeals to them. Tell them they will have to summarise the article to their partners.
2. Give Ss a minute to flick and find an article they find appealing. Make sure Ss don’t choose a review or an advert.
3. Ss have a further 2 minutes to scan read the text. Board prompts for them to think about.
a. What attracted you to this article?
b. Why does it have that title?
c. What did you like/ not like about the article?
d. Circle 5 new expressions.
e. Were you entertained? How?
4. Have Ss summarise articles in their own words. In 2s or 3s they ‘present and explain’ their article, using the prompts above.
5. Board up the article titles and have Ss think about why they have these ‘catchy’ titles. These examples are from Metropolitan Barcelona October 2017.
‘ACTUAL’ TITLES ‘BORING TITLES’
eg; – The writing on the wall – Graffiti again
– Clowning around – Theatre group in town
– The Brink of Extinction – The end of the world
Then get Ss to think up the ‘boring’ title for each one and think why that is less appealing. Obviously, these will depend on what material you bring to class.
6. (Warmer) – Show slide 1- ‘Chasing the cheese’ and ask Ss to guess what they think the article is about.
7. Gather ideas and then show slide 2: steep hill/ record crowds/ superhero costumes/ injured racers/ perilous event and predict article’s content.
8. Watch YouTube clip: Gloucester Cheese Rolling 2012 Official;
to see if predictions were correct. Simultaneously think about these questions?

a. What’s the aim of the event?
b. How do the participants achieve this objective?
c. Would you like to get involved in this event? Why/ why not?
9. Compare notes.
10. Read the article handout, (not filling the gaps yet!), and tell each other what else they found out about the event.
11. Ask students whether they’d like to go.
12. Ask Ss what the purpose of the text is- (to entertain and inform).
13. Individually complete open-cloze activity and check in pairs and then with original text.
14. Discuss gaps and reasons for some language items, (ie, fixed expression- you’ll never forget! /linker of contrast- although, etc.)
15. Invite Ss to underline all the synonyms used to mean participant. (4 – Why? As to not repeat and show a range of vocabulary). See handout for answers.
16. Ss underline useful expressions-(What do you get if….?) and strong adverbial phrases- (perilous event).
17. Dictate all the ‘normal adjectives’ (tired through to interested) from the Useful Language and Strong Expressions handout.
18. Ss compare spelling and then board to double check spelling.
19. Get Ss to think of the strong adjective for each, (ie. tired – exhausted/ knackered).
20. Give handout and replace the words in italics.
ANSWERS: 1. Exhausted, 2. Furious, 3. Freezing, 4. Fantastic, 5. Terrified, 6. Enormous, 7. Filthy, 8. Awful, 9. Essential, 10. Fascinated.
21. Show the penultimate slide and have Ss think about the purpose of each paragraph and top tips they would give a fellow student writing an Article for the first time.
22. Check ideas with slide.
23. Ss now complete Writing Articles: Top Tips! handout.
ANSWERS: informative, attractive, title, topic, reader, question, clearly, clearly, consistent, rhetorical, descriptive, consistent.
24. Brainstorm local and/or national events, ie. in Spain: La Merce, La Tomatina, San Fermin, Sant Joan.
25. Get ss to think of ‘catchy’ titles for each one. Examples could be: Run for your life, Las Ketchupped, Burnt to a cinder, Going crackers.
26. Give Ss Article Task and Plan Sheet handout and have Ss plan and draft their articles.

27. Ss complete their articles at home.

28. FOLLOW-UP TASK- having marked their texts, at the start of next class, board their titles and have Ss guess what the events are from the titles. Then Ss read each other’s texts and decide whose is the best. Then they read and edit according to the teacher’s comments.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class

CAE Speaking Part 3: Lesson Plan

Image result for CAE exam

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

Before you use these materials… We’ve created a new podcast aimed at B2+ level English students and teachers alike. You can listen for free at our SoundCloud page below. You can download teacher’s notes to accompany them from our Facebook page or from this blog. All comments and feedback welcome! Give us a like and a share 😉
https://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast/

Here’s a lesson plan I designed with the help of my friend and (ex-) colleague (sniff) Raquel Gomez. It’s based around our attempt to complete a CAE part 3 task. Download the lesson plan pack and audio below:

Lesson Plan and Audio

Students’ Handout

The task

You are going to hear two people completing the part 3 task below:

task part 3

They must first discuss the question in the middle for two minutes. Then they have one more minute to decide which job should receive the highest salary.

First Listen

Cover the transcript below, listen to the audio and answer the following questions:

  1. Which jobs do they talk about?
  2. What different reasons do they give for why the jobs appeal to people?
  3. Which job do they decide deserves the highest salary?

Second Listen

Listen again, this time listen for different phrases and expressions for giving opinion and agreeing and disagreeing.

Third Listen

Now listen again with the transcript and try to fill the blanks.

  • Tim: Errr so _____________?
  • Raquel: Sure
  • Tim: Let’s start with surgeon. Ummm, well __________, I think being a surgeon appeals to people probably because, __________, you’re helping people, you might be saving peoples’ lives and you’re making a big contribution to society
  • Raquel: _________, yeah, ______________ but, _______________? I think that at least in our society teachers should be given more.. they should be empowered maybe more than surgeons because they really can make a change in peoples’ lives.
  • Tim: Yeah I think _____________. They’re definitely very important and I could see why people would want to be a teacher, because of the way they can, you know, help people and educate people.
  • Raquel: Yeah, __________________ both professions here, I think that they are very vocational, like being a surgeon or being a teacher.
  • Tim: _________, yeah, yeah, ______________. Ummm what about the other ones over here? Let’s ___________ a football player, what’s ____________ that?
  • Raquel: Buff I’m not really sure, I don’t think that they have to… How can I put this? Umm, I don’t really like football and I think they just, they’re earning far too much and I don’t buy the idea of like their career is too short.
  • Tim: _____________, surely it’s good to do a job that’s something you love, surely if you’re a big fan of football then if you’re spending all day every day doing, you know, your favourite activity that must be good no?
  • Raquel: Yeah, _______________ and that was my idea when I was talking about vocational jobs before. But still, I think it’s a bit too much, the gap between the payment is just crazy.
  • Tim: Yeah __________. Well so we’ve got to… the ___________ is…
  • Raquel: The ____________ is we have to choose one so…
  • Tim: Yeah, which one should receive the most… the highest salary? Well I’m _________ maybe a surgeon and a teacher, _________________?
  • Raquel: Well it’s true that _____________ the surgeon might save the actual physical life whereas the teacher might just contribute to our long life _______ ummm enrichment or, you know, making people grow so maybe it’s more like long-lasting.
  • Tim: Well ______________ what you were saying about, yeah the contribution to society I think they’re both very important.
  • Raquel: Yes, it’s really difficult to choose between these too.
  • Tim: But maybe you know without the teachers, you wouldn’t have the surgeons…
  • Raquel: ___________
  • Tim: Who’s going to teach the surgeons? So, _____________ teacher?
  • Raquel: Ok, alright.
  • Tim: Ok, perfect.

The Expressions

Check your answers and then put the different expressions below into the boxes based on their meaning.

1.       As I see it,

2.       Shall I start?

3.       What’s your take on that?

4.       You know

5.       How can I put this?

6.       What do you reckon?

7.       Yeah I’d go along with that.

8.       Coming back to what you were saying about…

9.       I’m torn between… and…

10.    At the end of the day…

11.    Sort of/kind of

12.    I take your point but…

13.    Shall we go with…?

14.    Exactly/definitely

15.    It’s also worth bearing in mind that…

16.    You’ve got a point there

 

Starting Giving Opinion Agreeing Disagreeing
 

 

 

 

 

 

     
Asking opinion Adding + Referring Fillers/time-buyers Reaching a conclusion
 

 

 

 

 

 

     

Work with a partner; try to add at least one more expression to each box.

Pronunciation

Look at the expressions below, listen to the expressions and try to take notes about how they’re pronounced. Then try to reproduce them with a partner.

  1. Shall I start?
  2. What do you reckon?
  3. How can I put this?
  4. As I see it,
  5. Yeah, I’d go along with that.
  6. It’s sort of, like a pizza but different.
  7. Shall we go with teacher?
  8. Coming back to what you were saying about teachers…

Scripted Role-play

Decide who is going to be Tim and who is going to be Raquel. Use the transcript on the previous page to recreate the conversation, play close attention to the pronunciation of the expressions.

Your Turn

Find an example of a part 3 task in your textbook and complete it with your partner. See who can use the most expressions, keep count while your completing the task, the winner is the one who uses the most.

 

 

Teacher’s Notes

First Listen

Cover the transcript below, listen to the audio and answer the following questions:

  1. Which jobs do they talk about? Teacher, surgeon and football player
  2. What different reasons do they give for why the jobs appeal to people? Help people, contribute to society, a vocation, doing something you love
  3. Which job do they decide deserves the highest salary? A teacher

Complete Transcript

  • Tim: Errr so shall I start?
  • Raquel: Sure
  • Tim: Let’s start with surgeon. Ummm, well as I see it, I think being a surgeon appeals to people probably because, you know, you’re helping people, you might be saving peoples’ lives and you’re making a big contribution to society
  • Raquel: Absolutely, yeah, you’ve got a point there but, how can I put this? I think that at least in our society teachers should be given more.. they should be empowered maybe more than surgeons because they really can make a change in people’s lives.
  • Tim: Yeah I think I’d go along with that. They’re definitely very important and I could see why people would want to be a teacher, because of the way they can, you know, help people and educate people.
  • Raquel: Yeah, it’s also worth bearing in mind that both professions here I think that they are very vocational, like being a surgeon or being a teacher.
  • Tim: Exactly, yeah, yeah, I couldn’t agree more. Ummm what about the other ones over here? Let’s move on to a football player, what’s your take on that?
  • Raquel: Buff I’m not really sure, I don’t think that they have to… How can I put this? Umm, I don’t really like football and I think they just, they’re earning far too much and I don’t buy the idea of like their career is too short.
  • Tim: I take your point but, surely it’s good to do a job that’s something you love, surely if you’re a big fan of football then if you’re spending all day every day doing, you know, your favourite activity that must be good no?
  • Raquel: Yeah, you’ve got a point there and that was my idea when I was talking about vocational jobs before. But still, I think it’s a bit too much, the gap between the payment is just crazy.
  • Tim: Yeah definitely. Well so we’ve got to… the bottom line is…
  • Raquel: The bottom line is we have to choose one so…
  • Tim: Yeah, which one should receive the most… the highest salary? Well I’m torn between maybe a surgeon and a teacher, what do you reckon?
  • Raquel: Well it’s true that at the end of the day the surgeon might save the actual physical life whereas the teacher might just contribute to our long life sort of ummm enrichment or, you know, making people grow so maybe it’s more like long-lasting.
  • Tim: Well coming back to what you were saying about, yeah the contribution to society I think they’re both very important.
  • Raquel: Yes, it’s really difficult to choose between these too.
  • Tim: But maybe you know without the teachers, you wouldn’t have the surgeons
  • Raquel:
  • Tim: Who’s going to teach the surgeons? So, shall we go with teacher?
  • Raquel: Ok, alright.
  • Tim: Ok, perfect.

The Expressions

Starting Giving Opinion Agreeing Disagreeing
Shall I start?

 

 

 

As I see it, Yeah I’d go along with that.

Exactly/definitely

You’ve got a point there

I take your point but…
Asking opinion Adding + Referring Fillers/time-buyers Reaching a conclusion
What’s your take on that?

What do you reckon?

 

Coming back to what you were saying about…

It’s also worth bearing in mind that…

You know

How can I put this?

Sort of/kind of

I’m torn between… and…

At the end of the day…

Shall we go with…?

 

Pronunciation Notes

  1. Shall I start? – Focus on very weak “Shall” | ʃəl ˈaɪ stɑːt |
  2. What do you reckon? – Waddaya recken | ˈwɒdə jə ˈrekən |
  3. How can I put this? – weak “can” focus on intonation
  4. As I see it – intonation, stress “I”
  5. Yeah, I’d go along with that. – Elision/disappearance of “d” in I’d go, very weak “with” connecting with “that” | wɪðæt |
  6. It’s sort of, like a pizza but different. – “sorta-likea” | sɔːtə ˈlaɪkə|
  7. Shall we go with teacher? – weak “shall” connected with “we” | ʃəwi ɡəʊ |
  8. Coming back to what you were saying about teachers… – weak “were” in “what you were saying” all connected – | ˈwɒtjuwə ˈseɪɪŋ |
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Writing Classes

CAE/CPE Writing: Formal Letter of Complaint – Task + Phrase Sheet

Resultat d'imatges de complaint

Image credit: Durham Constabulary

Before you use these materials… We’ve created a new podcast aimed at B2+ level English students and teachers alike. You can listen for free at our SoundCloud page below. You can download teacher’s notes to accompany them from our Facebook page or from this blog. All comments and feedback welcome! Give us a like and a share 😉
https://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast/

This is a phrase sheet and writing task for CAE/CPE students designed to help them tackle formal letter of complaint tasks. Download the handout below:

Letter of complaint phrase sheet

CAE/CPE – Letter of Complaint

Task – CPE Testbuilder pg 91

You recently stayed at one of a chain of large hotels and encountered a number of problems during your stay. Write a letter to the company’s head office detailing the problems you had, describing what happened when you complained to the hotel staff and suggesting ways the company could improve its service. (CAE 220-260 words – CPE 280-320 words)

Opening

  • Dear Sir or Madam, / To whom it may concern,
  • I am writing to express my disappointment with/dissatisfaction with the service I received in…
  • I would like to lodge a formal complaint against your company for the reasons outlined below:
  • I feel compelled to write to you in order to describe the

Listing Problems

  • First of all,
  • Not only was there a hair in my wife’s soup, but the main course also arrived cold.
  • On top of that…
  • As if that was not enough…
  • To top it all off…
  • The straw that broke the camel’s back was…

Complaining Expressions

  • The standard of the… was not up to scratch.
  • The… was not up to the expected standard.
  • The… left a lot to be desired.
  • The… failed to live up to our expectations.
  • We were left bitterly disappointed by…
  • The quality of the customer service we received was woefully inadequate.
  • The… was an absolute disgrace. (v.strong)
  • Overall, our visit to your (restaurant) was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish.

Requesting Action

  • It seems only fair that you should… (offer a full refund)
  • I would appreciate it if you…
  • I would be grateful if you…
  • Should these demands not be met, you will be hearing from my lawyers.
  • I expect to receive compensation to the tune of (€2000) for the…

Making Recommendations

  • I strongly recommend that your organisation…
  • It would be advisable to…
  • I suggest re-evaluating your procedures regarding…

Sign off

  • I look forward to receiving your reply.
  • I expect to receive a prompt reply to this letter.
  • Yours faithfully,