Posted in Advanced C1, B2 First, Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class

B2+ Goat vs Bear – Exam Practice & Discussion

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:

Link to original article: https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/badass-goat-killed-grizzly-bear-by-skewering-it-on-its-horns-necropsy-reveals/

Procedure

  1. Show students the second slide of the PowerPoint, encourage them to guess which animal would win.
  2. Show them the second and have them speculate about how a goat would beat a bear.
  3. Give out handout and have students read to confirm their speculations, check in open class.
  4. 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.
  5. Lead students through the vocabulary exercises.
  6. 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. 
  7. 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” 

Adapted from: https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/badass-goat-killed-grizzly-bear-by-skewering-it-on-its-horns-necropsy-reveals/ 

Find words or phrases in the text to match these definitions:

  1. Animals at the top of the local food chain. – APEX PREDATORS
  2. Someone in a game or fight who has little chance of winning. – AN UNDERDOG
  3. A killer. – SLAYER – assailant – an attacker
  4. The dead body of an animal. – CARCASS
  5. Attract. – LURE IN
  6. Where your arm meets your chest. – ARMPITS
  7. People without experience. – THE UNINITIATED 
  8. A person who patrols and maintains a national park. – PARK RANGER
  9. To have the tools to do something. – BE WELL-EQUIPPED

Complete the collocations from the text:

  1. MAKE it to the top
  2. Every NOW and then
  3. Such AN example
  4. The assailant TURNED out to be a goat
  5. The battle took PLACE sometime before September 4
  6. Parks Canada was MADE aware of the presence of a carcass.
  7. Put visitors at RISK
  8. An investigation to determine the cause of DEATH

Complete the sentences with one of the collocations:

  1. The police still aren’t sure of the CAUSE OF DEATH
  2. I don’t go out often but EVERY NOW AND THEN I like to meet up with friends and let my hair down.
  3. His carelessness PUT everyone on board the ship AT RISK, it can’t happen again.
  4. I have been MADE AWARE OF some complaints that customers have made and I would like to address them.
  5. The match will TAKE PLACE tonight at the usual address.
  6. To MAKE IT TO THE TOP in this industry you have to work very hard and get lucky.
  7. We thought it was a shark under the boat but TURNED OUT TO BE a piece of rubbish.
Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C1/C2: A Priceless Family Heirloom

Turning Heirloom Jewelry Into a New Design | Jewelry Wise

This is a short text I wrote for C2 students who had to to a proficiency writing on a possession with sentimental value. I haven’t designed a full lesson plan around it yet but it might be useful for other teachers of high levels:

Do you have any possessions that you have inherited from other family members?

Do they have sentimental value to you?

If your house caught fire and you had enough time to save one thing, what would you choose?
My great grandpa’s old stamp collection is a priceless family heirloom that has been handed down from generation to generation. It was his prized possession and he held onto it through thick and thin, travelling the world to collect over 2000 different stamps. Leafing through the pages gives a fascinating insight intoa bygone era. Smelling the pages evokes memories of a seemingly simpler time before all the noise and stress of life in the 21st century. Some would call it a dusty old knick knack but the collection has huge sentimental value to me and has been a source of endless hours of pleasure. It seems that my dad really was a chip off the old block because he has his own collection. This geeky fascination with stamps really seems to run in the family because now my son is crazy about stamps too, I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Apparently a rival collector once offered my dad €200,000 for the collection but he turned it down out of hand. You can’t put a price on that slice of history. Blood really is thicker than water.

Posted in Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C1/C2: Killer Expressions Grouped by Topic

PsBattle: An Impressed Footballer's face : photoshopbattles

Thanks to my colleague Natascha Wallace for this idea. Basically it’s a list of advanced expressions, grouped by topic, for C1/C2 students and sets of conversation questions on those same topics. The idea being that they can drop them into their writings or use them in the speaking exam in order to score more points. Alternatively, beyond the world of exams, they will undoubtedly be useful IRL! Download the handouts below:

Procedure:

Have students read the expressions in the first category and try to guess the meaning in pairs. Clear up any doubts in open class.

Ping-pong

Tell students they have 1 minute to try to memorise as many of the expressions in the category as they can. After 1 minute tell them to turn their papers over. Students then play “ping-pong” in pairs one person says one expression and the other must say another back and forth until one can’t remember any more expressions. After they’ve played a couple of rounds tell them to look at the expressions again and refresh their memories of the ones they struggled to remember.

Then hand out the conversation questions and have students discuss them in groups of 3. One member of the group should act as the examiner, asking the questions and also counting the number of killer expressions each person uses. Encourage students to have fun with it and use as many as they can.

Then move onto the next category, rinse and repeat.

There are a lot of categories so you may want to split it over several classes.

You can then use this quizziz quiz for space repetition.

Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Grammar Classes, Vocabulary Classes

CAE/C1 Advanced: Use of English Part 2 Revision Worksheet

cae | British Formazione Inglese Livorno

This is a worksheet for students preparing to take the C1 Advanced exam. It will act as a refresher for a lot of the language, including linkers, prounouns, fixed expressions and phrasal verbs, that often come up in part 2 of the reading and use of English paper. Download the handout and key below:

You could follow up by playing this quizziz game that covers 25 of the sentences:

Posted in Advanced C1, B2 First, Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency

Where do you stand? Education

aswar akka consultancy | How Important is Educational Management and  Organization?

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:

https://owlcation.com/academia/100-Debate-Topics

Posted in Advanced C1, B2 First, Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency

Where do you stand? Science & Technology

Technology and Science | Study Abroad Life

This is another edition of my “Where do you Stand?” conversation series. Students debate different topics related to science and technology 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:

https://owlcation.com/academia/80-Science-Debate-Topics-for-Students

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Use of English Revision Worksheet

C2 Proficiency de Inglés (CPE) del Cambridge: Cómo Aprobarlo | TURBOLANGS

This is a worksheet for students preparing for the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam. It’s designed as a revision activity for a lot of the expressions, collocations and phrasal verbs that come up in the use of English paper. Download the handout and answer key below:

Verb Phrases & Collocations

Complete the sentences with the correct form of the verbs in the box, you will need to use some verbs more than once:

bring    give    take    buy    make    do    place    get    have    put
  1. Could you please ……… me up-to-date with the latest news about the project?
  2. We’ve …….. our plan into action, now we just have to wait for the results.
  3. When is the wedding ……… place?
  4. She ……. exception to his comments about her lateness and got quite offended.
  5. The release of the chemicals ……… a detrimental effect on wildlife in the surrounding area.
  6. He ……… the impression that he doesn’t care but really, underneath he’s completely committed to the relationship.
  7. A few days off would ……… wonders for my mental health.
  8. Some people in this business ………. no scruples about stabbing their rivals in the back to get what they want.
  9. The council has ……….. steps to bring the situation under control.
  10. Where can I ……… hold of a good bottle of French red wine?
  11. How long do you think they’re going to ………. to finish the refurbishment?
  12. This school ………. a lot of importance on punctuality and respect.
  13. They failed to ………. into consideration just how expensive organising the festival would be.
  14. After ………. your suggestions a lot of thought, I’ve decided to make the changes you recommended.
  15. Most bars ……….. all their food and drink in bulk in order to save money.
  16. I’ve ………… an order for a new TV on the website, it should arrive next week.
  17. Don’t worry if your cat ate one of the leaves of the plant, it won’t …….. it any harm.
  18. The company ………. a pre-tax profit of €10,000 last year.
  19. Calm down, I’ve managed to ………. us some more time to get the presentation finished, I told the boss I had food poisoning.
  20. The sight of my brother and his fiancé finally tying the knot ………. tears to my eyes.

Missing Prepositions

  1. ……… all likelihood, the new store will be opening at the end of next month.
  2. ………. and large, the school play was well received by the audience.
  3. ………. the whole, the product launch was a success despite a few hitches.
  4. He broke his mum’s favourite salad bowl …….. accident.
  5. The instructor gave the group a safety demonstration to put them …….. ease before their first dive.
  6. Sadly bees seem to be ……. decline across Europe.
  7. They gave her the job ……. the strength of the excellent answers she gave to the interview questions.
  8. You can’t expect me to work the Saturday shift ……. such short notice, I can’t do it I’m afraid.
  9. He handed …….. his final project at 12:00 ……. the dot, just in time.
  10. I’m sorry but I’m ……. the end of my tether, I can’t handle this group anymore, they’re driving me ……. the wall!

Phrasal Verbs & Fixed Expressions

  1. More …….. than not, we go out for dinner on Friday night. (usually)
  2. For ……. we know, there might be aliens living underground on Mars.
  3. I had to put ……. with a screaming baby right next to me for the whole return flight.
  4. I didn’t know what to say so I just blurted out the first thing that …….. into my head.
  5. We can’t give up, there’s ………. he would love more than to see us fail!
  6. I’ve put a lot of effort …….. organising this evening so I hope everything goes …….. plan.
  7. Darkness ……. while we were still on the mountain so we had to walk the last part in the pitch black.
  8. His work didn’t see the …….. of day until years after his death.
  9. The last bus had already gone so we were …….. with no choice but to walk back.
  10. We’ve ……. into the habit of eating dinner in front of the TV, it’s so bad.
  11. The fog and rain made …….. difficult to make …… what was written on the signpost.
  12. The fire brigade arrived and managed to …….. out the fire in 20 minutes.
  13. We need to come ……. with a way to raise enough money for the trip to Paris.
  14. The renovations to the old church have given it a new lease of …….. as a community centre.
  15. The financial crash in 2008 gave …….. to a huge jump in the number of families in poverty.
  16. We need your help to organise the ad campaign, we’re giving you ……. rein, you can do whatever you want.
  17. My friends always ……… up for me in tricky situations.
  18. What were you doing on the night …….. question?
  19. I ……. in touch with my family via Skype or Whatsapp.
  20. Don’t worry sir, your order is …….. hand and will be ready soon.

Word Formation

  1. Watching the video about immigrants crossing the Mediterrean made me realise that my problems pale into …………………… compared to what they have to go through. SIGNIFY
  2. We need to see a drastic cut in carbon …………………………… if we’re going to meet our green targets. EMIT
  3. The economic effect of the pandemic could be ………………………….. for some families. DISASTER
  4. One of the …………………………….. of living in a city is the relentless noise pollution. SIDE
  5. I spent many …………………………… nights listening to my neighbours’ parties. SLEEP
  6. Life ……………………………. in the western world has increased considerably in the last century. EXPECT
  7. Scientists’ theories on what will be found beneath the surface of Mars remain ………………………. SPECULATE
  8. Green ………………………….. such as carpooling or cycling schemes can only do so much to mitigate climate change. INITIATE
  9. The city centre has ………………………… a marked change in the last few years. GO
  10. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the public have been ………………………….. about the true state of our planet. LEAD
  11. I think it’s fair to say that the current ecological crisis in the arctic is an ……………………………. complex issue that presents many problems. CREDIBLE
  12. One of the problems is that people make …………………………… about the situation without knowing all the details. ASSUME
  13. The school has opened a special unit for students with …………………………… hearing. PAIR
  14. I have complained to the council …………………………… but nothing has been done about the problem. REPEAT
  15. We need to protect the area by …………………………… tourists from taking rocks and plants home as souvenirs. COURAGE
Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency

C2 Proficiency: DIY Speaking Long Turn Topics

C2 Proficiency de Inglés (CPE) del Cambridge: Cómo Aprobarlo | TURBOLANGS

This is a lesson plan for students preparing to take the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam. Students create their own topic cards for part 3 of the speaking exam; the dreaded long turn! Download the handout and examples below:

Procedure

You could use this lesson plan to introduce the long turn, give students a chance to practice and go over some useful language before they make their own topic cards.

Print and cut out the example cards, these examples were created by my C2 group. As you can see they came up with some thought provoking topics that are definitely more engaging than some of the run-of-the-mill topics from most text books.

Put students in pairs and have them complete a timed long turn each to get them warmed up to the task.

Then give them a set of blank cards each (candidate A & B) and have them work together to create two topic cards with a main question and three bullet points. Tell them that their classmates are going to use their topic cards so they should choose engaging, open topics. Give them 3-5 minutes to do this. In the exam, after candidate A has finished their long turn, candidate B is asked a shorter question in response to what candidate A has just said, so you could have your students write a question for candidate B on the back of A’s card and vice versa for candidate B.

Have them pass their newly created cards to another pair so that everyone has a set created by another group. Instruct them to keep practicing two-minute long turns using the new cards. Then encourage students to give feedback to the group who wrote the topic card; was it easy to talk about for two minutes? Did the bullet points help? Could anything be clarified?

Students then pass the cards to another group, rinse and repeat. Students will get lots of practice for this part of the exam on topics chosen by their peers.

I was really impressed by the questions my group came up with, there weren’t too many softballs in there. Comment below with some of the topics and bullet points your students come up with and I’ll add them to the example doc, that we can create a big list of topic cards for future use.

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Games, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Mega Revision Pub Quiz

4,881 Joker Card Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock

This is a fun revision activity I have designed for my C2 students to revise some of the vocabulary we have studied this year. It’s based on a series of lesson plans and activities I have used throughout the course, all of which you can find on the blog. Download the student handout, answer key and PowerPoint below:

Show students the PowerPoint that will explain the rules. They should work in pairs or groups of 3 and come up with a team name. The second slide will explain the concept of a joker round. Each team can play their joker round once to get double points in one round, but they must decide when they want to play their card before they see the questions. So each team must decide when to use their joker round before the quiz starts based on the titles of the different categories. Make a note of the round each group has chosen for their joker before starting the quiz.

Give out the student handout and give them 5 minutes to complete round 1, if covid restrictions allow you could then have them pass their papers to the next team in order to correct them, if not, they can correct their own.

The winning team is the one with the most points at the end of the 8 rounds!

Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C1/C2: Review – Gadget, App, Software

Los 21 gadgets que te vas a comprar en 2020, según Business Insider |  Business Insider España

This is a lesson plan for C1-C2 students designed to develop their understanding of vocabulary to describe gadgets, apps and pieces of software. Candidates are often required to describe such things in writing tasks in the main suite of Cambridge exams. This lesson plan may also be useful for business English classes. Download the handout and key below:

Students start by discussing the most useful gadgets, apps and pieces of software they own. Then they read a text describing the new Thermomix cooking robot. After focusing on the language, they put it into practice by writing their own short product pitches and presenting them to the class.

Pre-reading

  1. What’s the most useful gadget you have in your house?
  2. What’s the most useful app you have on your phone?
  3. What’s the most useful piece of software you have on your computer?
  4. How do these things make your life easier?
  5. Why do you think these gadgets/apps/pieces of software have become popular?

Reading

  1. Does your family have a Thermomix? If so, is it useful? If not, would you like one?
  2. What things can it do?
  3. How does it compare to its competitors?

Read the text, does it contain any of the ideas you mentioned?

Theromix have been making waves in the world of kitchen gadgets for some time now. Ever since the advent of their first appliance way back in 1985, they’ve been at the cutting edge of the market lending a hand to hard-pressed families the world over.

The latest model, the TM6, really made a splash when it hit the shelves last month. This latest iteration really is lightyears ahead of its competitors. With its state-of-the-art design it truly is a sight to behold. That being said, what really makes it stand out from the crowd is how easy it is to use. It really is a piece of cake, and you’ll be savouring that cake sooner than you think.

Simply scroll through the different preset menus, select the one that catches your eye, add the ingredients and let thermomix take care of the rest. It’s touch-screen menus and ergonomic controls are so user-friendly that you’ll master them in no time at all. It enables you to make quick, mouth-watering meals at the touch of a button. Though its competitors may come with all sorts of bells and whistles, there’s a reason Thermomix has cornered the kitchen robot market: elegance, ease of use, and efficiency. It’s not rocket science!

Language Focus

Look at the expressions in bold, make notes on their meaning with your partner.

Can you remember the missing words?

Theromix have been _________ waves in the world of kitchen gadgets for some time now. Ever since the a______ of their first a_______ way back in 1985, they’ve been at the cutting ______ of the market lending a _______ to ______-pressed families the world _______.

The latest model, the TM6, really made a s_______ when it ______ the shelves last month. This latest iteration really is lightyears ________ of its competitors. With its ______-of-the-_____ design it truly is a ______ to behold. That being said, what really makes it stand ______ ______ the crowd is how easy it is to use. It really is a piece of _______, and you’ll be savouring that cake sooner than you think.

Simply scroll through the different preset menus, select the one that ________ your eye, add the ingredients and let thermomix take _____ _____ the rest. It’s ______-screen menus and e________ controls are so user-_________ that you’ll master them in no time at all. It enables you to make quick, ________-watering meals at the _______ of a ________. Though its competitors may come with all sorts of _______ and whistles, there’s a reason Thermomix has _________ the kitchen robot market: elegance, ease of use, and efficiency. It’s not _________ science!

Sell, sell, sell!

Choose one of these gadgets, write a short pitch to sell it to your classmates.