Posted in Conversation Classes, Current Affairs Classes, Reading Classes

Reading: Steak Causes Cancer – Argentina Reacts

Image credit: www.groupon.co.in

Credit to Jonathan Watts at the Guardian for the article.

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a reading and speaking lesson plan based around an article about the WHO’s recent revelation linking consumption of red meat to cancer for B2+. Download the student’s and teacher’s copy of the article below:

Argentines meat cancer article TEACHERS COPY

Argentines meat cancer article STUDENT’S COPY

Influenced by my wonderful DELTA tutors I’ve split the text up into sections. Before reading each section students make a prediction about what they’re about to read and then read to confirm their predictions. They then read again and complete comprehension questions that go into more detail.

Lesson structure:

  • Predict/speculate about section 1
  • Read to confirm
  • Read section 1 again and answer comprehension questions
  • Predict/speculate about section 2
  • Read to confirm
  • Read again, answer comprehension questions
  • Repeat

Give students ample time between sections and after finishing the article to respond and interact with the text.

  • Who do they agree with?
  • What’s their reaction to the text?
  • How important is meat in their culture?

The article:

Argentinians react to report linking meat to cancer.

  1. How do you think Argentinians reacted to the news?

As he prepared to order lunch in one of Buenos Aires’ many steak restaurants, Jorge Bacaloni declared himself unlikely to change his beef-centred diet despite the World Health Organisation’s conclusion that red meats are more carcinogenic than previously thought.

In a report published on Monday, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that red meat is “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

But in Argentina, which has one of the highest levels of meat consumption in the world, the study was met with scepticism.

“I’m aware of the health risks, but it’s part of our culture,” said Bacaloni, who estimates that he eats between a kilogram and 1.5kgs of meat each week.

  1. Do you think Jorge will change his ways because of the news?

Most of that is from cattle, putting Bacaloni around the average in Argentina, where consumption per capita was 59.4kg of beef in 2014.

As well as the pure pleasure of home grills and estraña dishes in beef houses, the lawyer said that it was a custom. “This is part of our history. Part of our life,” he says. “And at least cows in Argentina are raised on pastures rather than in sheds. It’s more natural.”

But he was more concerned for his family that the World Health Organisation had classified processed meat in the same cancer-risk category as cigarettes, alcohol and asbestos.

“I have a three-year-old son. We’ve been giving him sausage, but I’ll stop that,” he said. He too is adjusting his diet, though for different reasons. “I’ll have chicken today, but only because I’m on a diet.”

  1. What changes will he make?
  2. What reasons does he give for his scepticism?
  3. Why does he think Argentine beef is better than in other countries?

 

  1. Why do you think Argentines eat so much meat?

Fashion designer Marcela Duhalde laughs when she explains how often she eats steak. “l hate cooking so when I have to make food I always choose a T-bone steak and tomatoes because it’s easy and delicious. I have it maybe four or five times a week,” she says. “I ought to be huge.”

Raised on a farm, she says eating meat is a custom. “My family was very carnivorous. If we didn’t have meat, we didn’t consider it a meal.”

This is a common refrain. The first cattle were introduced by the Spanish conquistadores in the 16th century and they soon became a feature on the pampas – the vast grasslands that stretch across much of the country – while their meat was an integral part of the gaucho “cowboy” culture.

  1. Why does Marcela eat meat so often?
  2. How often does she eat steak?
  3. Is this too often?

 

  1. Why do some people say that they could never be vegetarian?
  2. What effect do you think the WHO’s decision will have on people’s habits?

Duhalde says she is concerned about the agrochemicals, antibiotics, tainted cattle feed and the generally poor conditions that many cattle are kept in, but vegetarianism is not option. Nor it seems is cutting back.

“Everything I like is unhealthy – steak, alcohol, drugs and other things. I’d rather die than give it all up. I don’t have the energy to be happy without them.”

She didn’t expect the WHO decision to make much of an impact on Argentina’s love of steaks in the short term, but she thought it could make a difference in the distant future if the evidence mounted up and led to the same sort of health campaigns that are now common with tobacco.

“This makes us start thinking about the risks, but there is a big distance between thinking about things and actually changing our habits.”

  1. What things worry Marcela about meat production?
  2. Why could she never be a vegetarian?
  3. What’s her conclusion?
  4. What’s your opinion?

Follow up

Students write an essay examining the importance of meat in their culture and the effect they think the announcement will have.

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Posted in Reading Classes, Young Learners

Mini Halloween Plays for Young Learners

Image credit: cartoon-clipart.disneyimage.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a Halloween themed lesson for young learners. There are two spooky short stories for students to act out in small groups. Download the stories here:

Halloween Stories

Depending on the time and the student’s level there are two procedures for this lesson.

  1. For lower levels: Read and act out both stories for the class and then split students into groups to recreate them with the text.
  2. For higher levels: Split the class into groups, give out texts and have students read them in their groups and then rehearse and perform them.

Students should work in groups of 3-4, designate 1-2 strong students to act as narrators. Help ss with vocabulary and pronunciation problems.

Give ss 10 minutes to practice and then have them perform their stories to the rest of the class.

The Stories

The Werewolf

Once upon a time there was a farmer. One day he went walking in the forest. He was very tired so he decided to go to sleep under a tree. When he woke up it was dark and he was very cold. He looked in the sky and he saw a full moon. Suddenly, he heard a wolf howl very close.

There was a huge wolf behind him! He was very scared and he screamed. The wolf attacked him and bit him on the arm. He felt very strange, he ran to the river and looked in the water, his face was transforming into a wolf’s! Hair covered all his body and his teeth grew very long. He tried to shout but a long howl came out of his mouth.

Now if you go into that forest on the night of a full moon, maybe you will meet him…..

The hunter and the witches

Once upon a time there was a brave hunter. One day he was chasing a rabbit in the mountains with his dogs. They ran to the top of the mountain where they found 2 witches making a magic potion. The rabbit ran past the witches and the dog chased it. The dog crashed into the magic potion and it fell onto the floor. The witches were extremely angry and shouted at the hunter as he ran away after the rabbit.

The witches were very angry so they made a plan. One of the witches transformed herself into a rabbit. The other witch made a very powerful potion and put it in a little bottle. The rabbit witch ran to the hunter’s house, knocked on the door and ran away. The hunter and the dogs ran out of the house and chased the rabbit witch up the mountain. But at the top the other witch was waiting. When the hunter arrived she threw the potion at him and his dogs and they all turned to stone!!!

If you go to the top of the mountain you can still see the stone hunter and his dogs.

Follow up

Do you know any traditional scary stories from your country?

Halloween Quizlet set:

Here’s a good quizlet set to practice Halloween vocabulary.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Reading Classes

No-tech school: Reading + Discussion

Image credit: thelondonacornschool.co.uk

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a reading and conversation lesson plan for high B2+ students, based around an article in the guardian newspaper about the acorn school in London which has a no technology policy for students, both at school and at home.

Download the abbreviated version of the article and the lesson plan here:

Tech free school article

No tech school LP

Warmer

Describe the classroom in our first school. Did it have a blackboard? Decorations? Computers? What were the desks like? How were they arranged?

How did the teachers present information to you? On the board? With a projector? Flipchart? Powerpoint?

How have new technologies changed education?

Do you think they have changed it for the better?

Article

What technology do schools use nowadays?

In what ways does technology help/hinder learning?

At what ages do you think children should start using the following things?

  • the internet
  • smartphones
  • tablets
  • computers
  • tv
  • watching films
  • games consoles

Give out the article and have students read it and underline any vocabulary they have problems with. They should then ask their partner for help with the vocab.

What do you think of this idea?

What are the advantages/disadvantages of this approach?

How do you think children would react to this approach?

Would you consider sending your children to this school?

Debate

Motion for debate:

“Children should not use any technology until the age of 12”

Put the class into 2 teams, try to choose the teams so that students have to argue against their own beliefs.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Reading Classes

Ageism and Retirement: CAE/CPE Lesson Plan

Student Onno Selbach does activities with two of our inhabitants. Photo courtesy of Humanitas.

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

Photo credit: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/dutch-retirement-home-offers-rent-free-housing-students-one-condition/

This is a conversation activity for adults (B2+) based around an article about a Dutch retirement home where university students can live rent free in exchange for spending time with the senior residents. It also includes  Cambridge exam style open cloze and word formation exercises.

Lesson Plan:Dutch nursing home lesson plan

Article:Dutch nursing home offers rent

Open Cloze: Dutch nursing home open cloze

Word Formation: Dutch nursing home word formation

Key:

You can either split the class into groups to discuss the questions or conduct the discussion as a class. Warmer questions:

  • What is ageism?
  • Have you ever experienced it or seen an example of it?
  • In what ways/situations are people discriminated against because of their age?
  • Do you think older people are treated well in your society?
  • What type of problems do elderly people face in modern society?
  • How could this be improved?
  • Do you think the way in which older people are treated has got better or worse in your lifetime?
  • Are young and elderly people well integrated in modern society? If not how can we improve this?

Give out article and have students read it, clear up any vocabulary issues. Then give out the open cloze and word formation exercises.

Discussion questions:

  • What do you think of the program?
  • What are the potential advantages and disadvantages?
  • Why would this program appeal to the students?
  • Why would this program appeal to the elderly people?
  • What would the students get out of the program?
  • What would the elderly people get out of the program?
  • Would you have liked/like to spend your university years living in a retirement home?
  • Would you like to live in a home like this when you retire?

Follow up activity: Students write a CAE style essay, report or proposal on the topic of ageism and the retirement home program outlining pros and cons or highlighting advantages and disadvantages for the students and the elderly people.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Current Affairs Classes, Reading Classes

The Spanish Timetable: Reading and Speaking Activity

siesta

 

This is a reading and speaking activity based around an article from the New York Times about possible changes to the Spanish working say timetable. The original article is quite long so I have edited it down a bit, it should be suitable for B2/FCE upwards. Here is a link to the edited version and the discussion questions:

Spain time article

Start by asking students to tell the class about their average day with specific focus on the times at which they get up, eat, go to work, go to bed etc. Ask them if they follow the typical Spanish timetable outlined in the introduction to the article. Do they eat late? Do they have a siesta?

Once they have shared their different schedules set the class a time limit depending on their level to quickly read the article and underline any unfamiliar vocabulary. This could include:

To hunker down – to meet up/get together

a boon – a bonus

a lag – a delay

Go over the new vocabulary on the board, then either split the class into small groups and give out the discussion questions or hold a whole-class discussion. Below are the discussion questions from the hand out:

What’s your initial reaction to the article?

Do you agree with any of the opinions stated? Which ones?

Describe your daily routine; does it follow the “Spanish” timetable?

What are the advantages/disadvantages of both the Spanish and the “European” timetable?

How difficult would you find it to adjust to a new timetable?

Do you think changing the timetable would affect the country’s culture?

Do you think most people would find it easy of difficult to adjust to a new timetable?

Do you think the current system helps people be efficient?

 

When you have finished the questions you could organise a class debate for/against the idea of changing the Spanish timetable to be more in line with the rest of Europe. Sometimes when organising debate teams it’s a good idea to force your students to argue for a point that they don’t actually agree with. Debate structure should be as follows:

  • Each team presents their argument (3 uninterrupted minutes per team)  – the other team must remain silent but can take notes for the rebuttals later
  • Rebuttals (10 minutes) – Teams can attack the opposition’s arguments based on statements made in the presentation of their argument.
  • Result – Teacher can decide which team has the most coherent argument.

You may find my activity on language of agreement/disagreement useful for the debate.

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Reading Classes

CAE Reading Part 7: Exam Technique (Update)

exam student

This is a lesson plan designed to help students complete the CAE reading paper part 7 gapped text task. Many students struggle with this part so I have designed this power point to try to help them find the “anchors” that will help them rebuild the text.

Below is the reading task, print out 1 copy for each student: readingcae0001

Here is the power point:

cae-reading-part-7-1

Key:

7-g

8-f

9-b

10-e

11-c

12-a

Posted in Conversation Classes, Reading Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Proficiency Book Club: The Waterfall by H E Bates

short stories

This is a series of lesson plans for proficiency level students based around stories from “The Oxford Book of English Short Stories” edited by A. S. Byatt. Set the story as homework the week before, encourage students to bring any vocabulary questions to class.

The Waterfall tells the story of a repressed reverend’s daughter trying to cope with the emotions and sentiments of life and love. These feelings are symbolised by the waterfall in her garden which is being renovated. The breaking of the damn and the water surging down the waterfall could symbolise the release of all her bottled up affections and feelings towards her husband and the jovial Mr. Phillips who has been staying with the family.

Download this lesson plan here:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!383&authkey=!AJRdYjvoRf1OhyM

Vocabulary

First copy to the board or project the vocabulary table in the attachment above, students must try to match the new vocab to the definition.

Key: 1 – g, 2 – d, 3 – a, 4 – b, 5 – j, 6 – e, 7 – f, 8 – I, 9 – h, 10 – c.

Once they have matched the vocab give them 5 minutes to find the vocabulary in the text, make it a race, the first team to find all 10 wins.

Then discuss the following discussion questions:

Discussion Questions:

  • What happens in the story?
  • How would you describe the characters? Straight-laced. Prim and proper, repressed, damaged,
  • What does the waterfall represent?
  • How do you feel about Rose? Do you sympathise with her?
  • How do you think she feels about her new husband?
  • How do you think she feels about Phillips?
  • Do you think people are more or less emotionally repressed these days?
  • Do you think this is a good or bad thing?