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 Grammar Classes

Regrets, I’ve had a few…

Image result for spiderman

Image credit: marvel.com

This a lesson plan for B2+ students to teach language of regret. It uses a clip from The Amazing Spiderman and texts about historic regrettable decisions. Download the teacher’s notes and student handout below:

Regrets teachers notes

Regrets student handout

Lead-in

Show students a picture of Spiderman and ask them: Why did Peter Parker decide to become Spiderman? They will probably say “because he was bitten by a radioactive spider”, but that’s not why, that’s how. Show them the video clip: Uncle Ben’s Death until 2:25: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp5m4g7pZ9s

So he became Spiderman because it was his responsibility to stop innocent people like Uncle Ben from getting hurt. Ask students these questions:

  1. What happened?
  2. How does Peter Parker feel?
  3. What could have been different?

Check students’ answers, they will probably try to express Peter’s regret at not saving Uncle Ben. Give out the hand-out and draw their attention to the language of regret at the top.

Language of Regret

Look at the example sentences, what are the formulas for each structure?

  • Peter regrets not stopping the robber.
  • He should have done
  • Uncle Ben shouldn’t have tried to pick up the gun.
  • If Peter had stopped the guy, he wouldn’t have killed Uncle Ben.
  • If Uncle Ben hadn’t tried to pick up the gun, the guy wouldn’t have shot him.

Historical Regrets

Read the texts about regrettable events from the past and make sentences using the structures.

Image result for lance armstrong Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong took performance enhancing drugs before winning seven Tour de France titles. A whistle-blower revealed information about his doping to the press but he denied it for years. Eventually the evidence was too much and he confessed to his crimes live on Oprah Winfrey’s chat show.

Image result for the beatles Decca Records & The Beatles

In 1962, Dick Rowe, an executive at Decca Records, thought guitar groups were falling out of favour. On New Year’s Day that year, The Beatles auditioned to be signed to the record label. Rowe rejected their audition and decided not to sign them. The Beatles went on to become the biggest selling band in history.

Image result for napoleon Napoleon

In 1812 Napoleon invaded Russia with his grand army of 680,000 soldiers. Instead of fighting the French, the Russian army retreated further into Russia burning the farms and supplies as they went. After winning some minor victories the French were forced to retreat because of the freezing Russian winter. Only 27,000 soldiers from the original army survived.

Possible Answers:

  1. Lance Armstrong regrets taking banned substances. He shouldn’t have taken performance enhancing drugs. If he hadn’t taken the drugs, he wouldn’t have won 7 titles.
  2. Dick Rowe regrets not signing the Beatles. He should have signed them. If he had signed them, he would have been rich.
  3. Napoleon regretted invading Russia. He shouldn’t have invaded Russia in winter. If he hadn’t invaded Russia, he might have conquered the whole of Europe.

My Biggest Regret

Students might be reticent to discuss this topic, if so try to encourage them to talk about a friend or family member’s regrets, often a bit of distance can help students open up and express themselves. It could also help if you shared some of your regrets with the class first.

  • Do you have any regrets? What about your family and friends?
  • Have you ever had an accident that was your fault? What happened?
  • If you could relive any part of your life, what would you change?
  • How would your life be different?
Posted in Grammar Classes

Narrative Tenses: Where were you when…?

Image result for michael jackson dancing

Image credit: www.biography.com

This is a lesson plan designed to help students practice past narrative tenses. The topic is remembering where you were when big events happened. Download the teacher’s notes and student handout below:

Where were you when student handout

Where were you when Teachers notes

Lead-in

Show image of MJ. Sts in pairs: Where were you when you heard that Michael Jackson had died? T makes note of language sts use: use of narrative tenses, errors etc.

Dictogloss

Procedure:

  1. Ask sts: How did Michael Jackson die? (aim: to preteach “take an overdose”)
  2. Tell sts you are going to tell them someone’s story of them finding out MJ had died. Tell them that after you’ve finished you want them to make a note of key words or phrases from the story. While you are reading they should just focus on listening and not write anything.
  3. Read the text at a normal speed pausing at punctuation in a natural way.
  4. Give sts 30 secs to write down key words, then compare and share with a partner.
  5. Tell sts that you’re going to read the text again and you want them to write down any more key words and phrases they hear.
  6. Now instruct sts to try to recreate the text in pairs, tell them not to worry if their version is different.

I was at a festival when I heard that Michael Jackson had died. It was about 3 in the morning and we were sitting in one of the big tents listening to music, drinking and chatting. Suddenly we overheard a guy sitting next to us saying that Michael Jackson had taken an overdose and had died. We thought it couldn’t possibly be true and carried on as before, but then the DJ played Beat it by Michael Jackson, then Billy Jean and then more and more of his songs, we all looked at each other, everyone in the tent realised that it must be true and we all stood up and danced.

Guided Questions:

  1. There are three different past tenses in the text, can you identify them?
  2. Which tense do we use to give a description of a scenario or scene at a specific time?
  3. Which tense do we use to say that an action happened before another action?
  4. Which tense do we use to describe short actions often in sequence?
  5. How do we form the past continuous? Subject + __________ + ___________
  6. How do we form the past perfect? Subject + __________ + ___________
  7. This is a contracted sentence: “Michael Jackson’d taken an overdose.” What is the complete version?

 

  1. Project/hand out the original text and ask sts to compare their version to it. They MUSTN’T CHANGE their version but just make a note of the differences.
  2. In open class go over some of the differences, do their versions still make sense? Are their versions grammatically correct?
  3. Have sts complete the guided questions. Clear up any doubts in open class.
  4. Give out the gapped text about 9/11 and have sts complete it in pairs.
  5. Check their answers using the complete text.

The Day the Towers Came Down.

I was at school when I ______(hear) that terrorists __________(attack) the World Trade Centre. I _________ (stand) outside the school gates ________ (wait) for the school bus and ________(chat) to my friends when suddenly one of the teachers __________(run) out of the school and ________(tell) us that something terrible ____________(happen) in New York. Two planes _________(crash) into the twin towers in New York, when I _________(get) home I __________(watch) the towers collapse on the news with my parents. I’ll never forget where I was that day.

I was at school when I heard that terrorists had attacked the World Trade Centre. I was standing outside the school gates waiting for the school bus and chatting to my friends when suddenly one of the teachers ran out of the school and told us that something terrible had happened/was happening in New York. Two planes had crashed into the twin towers in New York, when I got home I watched the towers collapse on the news with my parents. I’ll never forget where I was that day.

  1. Show sts the pictures of important world events, have them choose one and write a short text about what they were doing when they heard about the news.
  2. Have sts read out their texts and share their own experiences in open class.
Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes

Reported Whatsapps

Image result for whatsapp

Image credit: www.whatsapp.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a new lesson plan for B2+ learners in which students practice reported speech by interpreting emojis and text messages from the popular messaging app Whatsapp. Everything you need is in the powerpoint below:

reported-whatsapps

Students start by reporting the meaning behind various emojis then build up to reporting a section of a text message conversation and then move on to translating and reporting their own text conversations from their phone. It provides great practice of the grammar point as well as opportunities for the emergence of real, useful language in an everyday setting.

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Grammar Classes

Would Rather/Would Sooner

Image credit: www.foodnavigator-usa.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a grammar activity designed for C1 students. Students learn how to express preference using “would rather” and “would sooner” then put them to use in a roleplay. Download the powerpoint, handout and key below:

Would rather – powerpoint

Would Rather worksheet – handout and key

Procedure

Use the powerpoint to present the rules, it is designed in a test, teach, test structure. Make sure that students copy down the rules and several examples then have them complete the worksheet and finally put the structures to use in a fun role-play. Students will role play being a married couple having a very civilised argument. Once they have finished have them feedback in open class: “Can the marriage be saved? Or is it on the rocks?” My teenage CAE students found it absolutely hilarious and used the structures in very creative ways.

Handout

Complete the sentences with the correct form of the verb in brackets:

  1. I would rather ____________ a light salad than a steak for dinner. (have)
  2. I would rather he ________________his dirty cups all over the house. (not leave)
  3. Venice was nice but I’d sooner __________________ to Paris. (go)
  4. He’s quite antisocial he’d just as soon ____________ video games all weekend than go to a bar. (play)
  5. I wanted to give the present to granny! I’d rather you _______________ for me to arrive before you gave it to her. (wait)
  6. We had dinner outside but it was too cold. I’d much rather ______________ inside the restaurant. (eat)

Complete the key word transformations using 3-6 words.

  1. My brother is always stealing my chocolate out of the fridge.

RATHER

I’d _______________________________________ my chocolate out of the fridge.

  1. Why did you tell the boss I was leaving?

RATHER

I ____________________________________ the boss I was leaving.

  1. I prefer visiting museums to lying around on the beach all day.

JUST

I ____________________________ than lie around on the beach all day.

  1. The chocolates he gave me were ok but I wanted roses.

RATHER

I _____________________________  me roses instead of chocolates.

  1. The art gallery was sooo boring; I wanted to go to the casino.

RATHER

I _______________________________ to the casino instead of that boring art gallery.

  1. He would prefer to do anything instead of watching a football match.

SOONER

He ___________________________________ anything instead of watching a football match.

Role-play

Role-play the following scenario with your partner:

You are a married couple; you have been married for 23 years. You have just got back from a party at a friend’s house. At the party you both got drunk and did a lot of things to annoy your husband/wife. You are both also annoyed about some things that the other does or doesn’t do around the house. Have a civilised argument using as many “would rathers” and “would sooners” as you can.

Key

Sentence Completion

  1. Have
  2. Didn’t leave
  3. Have gone
  4. Play
  5. Had waited
  6. Have eaten

Key Word Transformations

  1. Rather my brother didn’t steal
  2. Would rather you hadn’t told
  3. Would just as soon visit museums
  4. Would rather he had given
  5. Would rather have gone
  6. Would soon do
Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes

Used to/Would: My First Job

Image credit: www.express.co.uk

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for intermediate adult students in which they learn how to use “used to” and “would” to talk about past habits then use them to talk about their first jobs. Download the handout and key below:

My First Job would used to

Handout

Reading

I got my first job when I was 12 years old. I worked as a paperboy delivering newspapers to people in my village every morning. I used to get up very early and deliver the papers to half of the village while my friend Ben would deliver to the other half. I used to love seeing the empty streets of the village before anyone got up but I used to hate the job on rainy days. I would sometimes ride my bike to get the job done faster. Ben was luckier than me, sometimes if he couldn’t be bothered to do his paper round, his Dad would drive him around his route in his car!

  1. What was his first job?
  2. He had to deliver papers to the whole village T/F
  3. What did he enjoy about his job?
  4. What didn’t he like about his job?
  5. He always did the job on foot T/F
  6. Sometimes someone helped him do his job T/F

Language Focus

Underline all the uses of “used to” and “would” in the text. Both can be used to describe habits in the past.

Complete the rules below with “would” or “used to”:

__________________ can be used to describe past habitual actions, likes/dislikes, states and opinions that are not true now.

__________________ can only be used to describe past habitual actions NOT states and opinions.

Look at the text again, in which cases can we use either “used to” or “would” and which ones can we only use “used to”?

Complete the sentences below with “used to” or “used to + would”

  1. I _____________ be really fat but I’ve lost a lot of weight.
  2. When I was a child I ___________________ play football in the park for hours.
  3. I _____________ hate olives but I love them now.
  4. When I worked in the city centre I ___________________take the metro to work every day.
  5. I ____________________ think that living alone was boring but I’ve changed my mind now.
  6. When I was at primary school we __________________ go swimming every Monday afternoon and on the way home we __________________ stop to buy sweets and Coca-Cola I ________________ love Monday afternoons!

Note: We normally start a story about a past habit with “used to” and then use “would” to describe actions:

I used to work in advertising; I would travel all over the world meeting different clients. On Fridays we would take the day off and go to a casino or a bar.

Practice

Step 1: Write a short text (2-3 lines) about your first job. Include your responsibilities and some things you liked and disliked about it.

 

 

 

Step 2: Read your text to your partner. Then let them ask you some questions about your job:

For example: What did you use to wear? Were you a good employee? Etc.

Step 3: Change partner and tell them about your old job but this time try to do it from memory DON’T READ FROM THE PAPER.

Reflect

  1. Who used to have the most different job to the one they do now?
  2. Whose first job sounds the best/worst?
  3. What are the most common first jobs in your country?
  4. What age do you think people should get their first job?
  5. How can we prepare young people for the stresses of the working world?

Key

Reading

  1. He was a paperboy
  2. False, his friend delivered to half the village
  3. Seeing the empty streets in the morning
  4. Doing the job on rainy days
  5. False, he sometimes rode his bike
  6. False, his friend Ben sometimes got his Dad to help him

 

Complete the rules below with “would” or “used to”:

Used to can be used to describe past habitual actions, likes/dislikes, states and opinions that are not true now.

Would can only be used to describe past habitual actions NOT states and opinions.

Sentences

  1. Used to
  2. Both
  3. Used to
  4. Both
  5. Used to
  6. Both, both, used to