Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency Key Word Transformation Training #6

Here’s another training worksheet for C2 students preparing to take the C2 Proficiency exam. Students guess the meaning of some common idioms and expressions, attempt to recall them, then put them into practice in conversation. Download the handout below:

Here’s a quizizz game for spaced repetition.

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Key Word Transformation Training #5

This is another training worksheet to introduce some of the expressions that typically come up in part 4 of the proficiency use of English paper. Students work together to guess the meaning of the expressions from the context, then attempt to recall them to complete version 2. Download the handout below:

Then put students in pairs and have them first complete then ask and answer the discussion questions to put the language into more creative practice.

You could then use this quizizz game for future spaced recall/repetition of the expressions.

Version 1

  1. He bears a close resemblance to his uncle.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The little boy was green with envy to see his cousin riding his new bike.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. She’s been a bit down in the mouth for the last few days.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Look on the bright side, at least it isn’t raining.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The film is a far cry from the book.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. In his autobiography, he finally set the record straight about the infamous argument with his manager.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Listen, I’ll get straight to the point, we love the house and we want to make an offer.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Keep me posted on the progress with the order, you can call or text anytime.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The England supporters put their team’s failure to qualify down to bad luck.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The waiters at the restaurant couldn’t have been more attentive.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Listen, I think we got off on the wrong foot yesterday, can we start over?

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The police think Julia had something to do with the robbery but I think they’re barking up the wrong tree.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. We can go and have a look but there’s no guarantee that there will be space to park.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He prides himself on his ability to remember names and dates.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. She’s definitely at home, I caught a glimpse of her when she walked past the window.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. There were no rooms left in the hotel whatsoever.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. At the height of his success, he could get a table at any restaurant he wanted.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. There’s no telling how she’s going to react when you tell her.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. We need to face up to the fact that the money’s gone and we can’t get it back.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I’m not averse to going to the cinema by myself.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. You’ll have to work your socks off if you want to impress the boss, she’s very demanding.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I was really nervous when I met my girlfriend’s parents for the first time but they soon put me at ease.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Listen, I’ve said my piece, this matter is no longer open to discussion. Goodbye.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Version 2

  1. He looks very similar to his uncle. (BEARS)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The little boy was very jealous to see his cousin riding his new bike. (GREEN)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. She’s been a bit sad for the last few days. (MOUTH)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Be optimistic, at least it isn’t raining. (BRIGHT)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The film is very different from the book. (CRY)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. In his autobiography, he finally told the truth about the infamous argument with his manager. (RECORD)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Listen, I’ll talk about the most important thing first, we love the house and we want to make an offer. (POINT)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Give me updates about the progress with the order, you can call or text anytime. (POSTED)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The England supporters said that bad luck was the reason for their team’s failure to qualify. (PUT)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The waiters at the restaurant were extremely attentive. (COULD)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Listen, I think we didn’t start our relationship well yesterday, can we begin again? (FOOT/START)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The police think Julia had something to do with the robbery but I think they’re choosing the wrong course of action. (TREE)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. We can go and have a look but we can’t be sure that there will be space to park. (GUARANTEE)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He takes great satisfaction in his ability to remember names and dates. (PRIDES)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. She’s definitely at home, I saw her briefly when she walked past the window. (CAUGHT)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. There wasn’t a single room left at the hotel. (WHATSOEVER)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. When he was most successful, he could get a table at any restaurant he wanted. (HEIGHT)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Who knows how she’s going to react when you tell her? (TELLING)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. We need to accept the fact that the money’s gone and we can’t get it back. (FACE)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I don’t mind going to the cinema by myself. (AVERSE)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. You’ll have to work very hard if you want to impress the boss, she’s very demanding. (SOCKS)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I was really nervous when I met my girlfriend’s parents for the first time but they soon made me feel comfortable. (EASE)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Listen, I’ve said what I want to say, I don’t want to discuss this matter anymore. Goodbye. (PIECE/OPEN)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Conversation

Complete the questions, then ask and answer them with a partner.

  1. Which member(s) of your family do you …….. the closest resemblance to?
  2. Are you the kind of person that often feels green with …….. about your friends’ achievements or possessions? Do you think it’s normal to have these feelings? What can we do about them?
  3. If you’re feeling …….. in the mouth, how do you cheer yourself up? Are you someone who tends to look on the bright ……..? Or do you have a more gloomy outlook on life?
  4. Think of a place you’ve visited that was a far …….. from the place where you grew up. How was it different? Was it a good different or a bad different?
  5. If you have to talk to someone about a difficult subject, do you tend to get ……… to the point, beat around the bush or avoid confrontation altogether? What are the pros and cons of each approach?
  6. Think of a celebrity who has recently ……… the record straight about something they did or said in the past. What happened? Do you think they were right to speak out?
  7. When a person becomes extremely successful or famous, how much of their success do you think can be ……… down to luck and how much is about real talent?
  8. What’s the best customer service you’ve ever received? A place where the staff couldn’t ……… been more attentive. How did it make you feel? Does your country generally have good customer service?
  9. Have you ever ……… off on the wrong foot with someone and had to start ………? Did you then go on to become good friends with that person?
  10. Which of your skills/abilities do you pride yourself ………? Why do you think people tend to be overly modest or hide their best talents and abilities?
  11. Have you ever ……… a glimpse of a really famous celebrity? Where were you? What was the celebrity doing? If you could live that moment again, would you do anything differently?
  12. Think of an example of a famous person who is no longer at the height ……… their success. What are they doing now? Do you feel sorry for them?
  13. Are you someone who tends to ……… up to facts when they’re staring you in the face? Or are you sometimes in denial?
  14. “I’m not averse ……… going to the cinema by myself.” – Is this true for you? What are the pros and cons of going to see a film alone?
  15. Did/do you work your ……… off at school or uni? Or just coast along doing the bare minimum?
  16. How can the parents of a new girl/boyfriend ……… you at ease the first time you meet them? Have you ever been in this situation? How did it feel?
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Key Word Transformation Training #3

This is another training worksheet to introduce some of the expressions that typically come up in part 4 of the proficiency use of English paper. Students work together to guess the meaning of the expressions from the context, then attempt to recall them to complete version 2. Download the handout below:

Then put students in pairs and have them ask and answer the discussion questions to put the language into more creative practice.

You could then use this quizziz game for spaced recall of the expressions.

Look at the expressions in bold and try to guess their meaning with a partner.

  1. Young women are often discouraged from pursuing careers in engineering due to sexist preconceptions.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. People who earn under €10,000 a year are exempt from paying income tax.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I am behind with my rent payments, I owe my landlord €1000.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Whether he’s hot or not is beside the point, he’s my ex-boyfriend so you can’t date him.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. There is no question of him staying the night with us, he can get a hotel.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. New restrictions will come into force on Friday night.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Going camping in the mountains does not appeal to me at all.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The police ruled out the obvious suspect because he had an alibi for the night in question.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. They made the decision to get married on the spur of the moment.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He has set his heart on going to LA to be an actor.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. When what really happened comes to light, you’re going to be in big trouble.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I’m not nearly as good-looking as him, it’s not fair!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. It is a foregone conclusion that Man City will win the league now.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I just took it as read that anyone who applied for the course would have the necessary qualifications.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Sadly, he’s just not cut out to be a professional basketball player.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I have no idea whatsoever who’s going to win this match.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He came in for a lot of criticism after his comments to the press.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. My horse couldn’t keep pace with the rest of the riders and we soon fell behind.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Version 2

Try to recall the expressions using the key words.

  1. Young women are often put off pursuing careers in engineering due to sexist preconceptions. (DISCOURAGED)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. People who earn under €10,000 a year don’t have to pay income tax. (EXEMPT)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I have missed a few of my rent payments, I owe my landlord €1000. (BEHIND)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Whether he’s hot or not doesn’t matter, he’s my ex-boyfriend so you can’t date him. (BESIDE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. There’s no way he is staying the night with us, he can get a hotel. (QUESTION)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. New restrictions will become law on Friday night. (FORCE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Going camping in the mountains does not interest me at all. (APPEAL)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The police eliminated the obvious suspect because he had an alibi for the night in question. (RULED)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. They made the decision to get married on a whim. (SPUR)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He is determined to go to LA to be an actor. (HEART)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. When what really happened is revealed, you’re going to be in big trouble. (LIGHT)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He’s much better looking than me, it’s not fair! (NEARLY)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Man City will definitely win the league now. (FOREGONE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I just assumed that anyone who applied for the course would have the necessary qualifications. (READ)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Sadly, he just doesn’t have what it takes to be a professional basketball player. (CUT)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I haven’t the foggiest idea who’s going to win this match. (WHATSOEVER)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He received a lot of criticism after his comments to the press. (CAME)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. My horse couldn’t go at the same speed as the rest of the riders and we soon fell behind. (PACE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Discussion

Young women are often discouraged from pursuing careers in engineering due to sexist preconceptions.

  1. Is this true? If so, what can be done to change the situation?

People who earn under €10,000 a year are exempt from paying income tax.

  1. Should anyone else be exempt from paying tax? What can we do to cut down on tax avoidance?

Whether he’s hot or not is beside the point, he’s my ex-boyfriend so you can’t date him.

  1. Is it ever ok to date a friend’s ex? Why? Why not?

New restrictions will come into force on Friday night.

  1. What will you do if new coronavirus restrictions do come into force?

Going camping in the mountains does not appeal to me at all.

  1. Does it appeal to you? Why? Why not?

They made the decision to get married on the spur of the moment.

  1. Have you ever made a big decision on the spur of the moment?

He has set his heart on going to LA to be an actor.

  1. What do you have your heart set on? What will you do to achieve it?

Sadly, he’s just not cut out to be a professional basketball player.

  1. Do you think you’re cut out to be a professional sportsperson? Why? Why not? What skills/traits do you think you’re lacking?

He came in for a lot of criticism after his comments to the press.

  1. Think of a celebrity who has come in for a lot of criticism recently. What did they do? Do you think the criticism was deserved? What’s your opinion of cancel culture?
Posted in Advanced C1, B2 First, Exam Preparation Class, Games, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

Word Formation Noughts & Crosses

This is a lesson plan for students preparing for the Cambridge main suite exams. I specifically created it with C1 or C2 students in mind but it could easily be adapted to B2. Students practice word formation while playing a game of noughts and crosses. Download the handout below:

Students play in pairs, they must choose a square on the board where they want to place their token, but they must first correctly complete the corresponding word formation question in order to do so. All of the words are based on the same root word.

If a student answers incorrectly, you could either have the opponent steal the square by answering correctly, or say that the square is now dead and nobody can place a token there.

An alternative game to play with the same 9 questions is this great, and very versatile, football game by https://tekhnologic.wordpress.com/

As a follow-up you could set your students the task of coming up with their own lists of nine sentences to use in future games. You could give them each a root word (use, communicate, etc.) and send them to the Longman Online Dictionary to look up all the derivatives in order to make their 9 questions: https://www.ldoceonline.com/

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Inverted Open Cloze

C2 Proficiency: Exam Technique – Reading Part 7 – Tim's Free English Lesson  Plans

This is a lesson plan for C2 proficiency students designed to more fully exploit a use of English part 2 open cloze text. Download the handout below:

The part 2 exercise is taken from the Expert Proficiency Coursebook published by Pearson.

Students first complete the exercise from their books, compare answers with a partner and correct the task in open class. The teacher then instructs them to close their books/fold the handout over and try to complete the second “inverted” version. In this version, different words have been removed from the fixed expressions tested in the original text. Other changes have been made in order to fully exploit the text for more high level lexis such as phrasal verbs and fixed expressions. Students can then refer back to the original in order to check their answers.

You can create your own inverted cloze exercises from any text in your course book. Happy inverting!

Inverted Version

Cover the original exercise.

Complete this version.

The relationship between the modern consumer and their rubbish is a complex one. Getting (1) ……. of rubbish has come to mean a great (2) ……. more than simply consigning breakfast leftovers (3) ……. a plastic bag. With the advent (4)……. recycling, rubbish has now invaded many people’s personal lives to an unprecedented (5) ……. There was a time, (6) ……. living memory, when rubbish collection was a simple matter – but today’s household rubbish, before being (7) ……., has to be filed and sorted (8) ……. colour-coded containers (9) ……. to its recycling category.

What is (10) ……., we are brought (11) ……. in a rash of irritation by the suggestion that, if rubbish collections were to become more infrequent, people would then make the effort to (12) ……. down on shopping and recycle more. We might be excused for wondering (13) ……. this would be possible. Can people realistically buy fewer eggs or (14) ……. of toothpaste than their lives require?

Recycling is supposed to be good for us. But for some, it’s just a (15) ……. of rubbish.

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

C2 Expressions: Brain, Face, Head, Wits, Mind

Free Businessman banging his head against the wall Image - Stock by Pixlr

This is a vocab lesson plan based on an exercise from the Expert Proficiency Course book. It expands a short exercise from the book out into a full activity with exam practice and a speaking task. Students learn expressions with the words brain, face, head and wits and put them into practice in a key word transformation exercise and a discussion activity. Download the handout with key below:

Expert Proficiency Coursebook page 74

Sentence Completion

Complete the expressions in the sentences with brain, face, head, or mind.

  1. I couldn’t tell you the exact figure off the top of my …… but I think we sold about 10,000 units last year.
  2. The neighbour just called to say they’ve found our cat, that’s a load off my ……
  3. She was at her …… end trying to figure out how to control her 14 year-old son.
  4. He presented the new model to the shareholders but she’s the real …… behind it.
  5. We were lucky enough to come …… to …… with a Bengal tiger.
  6. I have to admit, it never crossed my …… to ask Brian for help with the artwork, but it turns out he’s brilliant!
  7. If they don’t turn that music down, I’m going to go over there and give them a piece of my ……
  8. He’s insufferable these days, all the money and praise has clearly gone to his ……
  9. My laptop has a …… of its own, it shuts down whenever it wants.
  10. The students struggled to keep a straight …… while the teacher was having difficulty playing the video.
  11. That part of town is a bit dodgy, you need to keep your …… about you if you go there.
  12. Trying to get the boys to tidy their bedrooms I always feel like I’m banging my …… against a brick wall.
  13. The boss had to think of a way to break his promise without losing ……
  14. In order to save …… the company recalled all the faulty products and gave their customers full refunds.
  15. I’ve been racking my …… all night trying to remember my PIN number but I just can’t.
Become arrogant after success
From memory
A relief
Thinking really hard
Very stressed, not know what to do
Be within touching distance
Suffer damage to one’s reputation/social standing
Tell sb off/reprimand
Wasting my time, actions have no effect
Maintain one’s reputation
Occurred to me
The person who thought of an idea
Seem capable of thought and independent action
Not laugh/show signs of amusement
Be alert/keep an eye out

Practice

Complete the sentences with one of the expressions.

  1. I’ve been trying really hard to remember where I left my keys.

BRAIN

I’ve …………………..………….. to remember where I left my keys.

  1. Being embarrassed in front of other teenagers of the same age can be devastating for teenagers.

FACE

It can be devastating for teenagers ……………………..……………..….. Group.

  1. It’s vital that you be careful, don’t reveal any unnecessary information in the meeting.

WITS

It’s vital that you ……………………..……………..….. any information slip in the meeting.

  1. I can’t think of any examples right now from memory but I’m sure there are loads.

TOP

I can’t recall any examples off ……………………..……………..….. in no doubt that there are loads.

  1. Steve Jobs was the one who came up with the idea of the Ipod. 

BRAINS

Steve Jobs ……………………..……………..….. the Ipod.

  1. “Don’t let money change you!” said the old rapper to the newbies.

HEADS

The old rapper advised the newbies …………………………………………………..

  1. My car stereo does whatever it likes, there’s no controlling it.

MIND

My car stereo ……………………………………………….., there’s no controlling it.

Conversation

Complete the questions with one of the expressions, then answer the questions with a partner.

  1. What sort of things do politicians and celebrities tend to do to …… face after a scandal? Does it usually work?
  2. If your neighbours are keeping you up, do you tend to ……. them a piece of your mind? Or grin and bear it?
  3. Think of a time when you struggled to ……. a straight face in a serious situation. Did you manage it?
  4. Can you think of a time when you lost ……. in front of your peers when you were a teenager? Can you laugh about it now?
  5. Are you good at remembering names, figures and dates ……. the top of your head? Or do you often need to look them up? 
  6. Do you need to ……. your brain to put names to faces? Are there any things you struggle to remember?
  7. Do the brains ……. the biggest inventions always get the credit? Can you think of any examples of people who didn’t get the credit they deserved?
  8. What are you most stressed about at the moment? If you could wave a magic wand and make one of your problems disappear, what would be the biggest ……. off your mind?
  9. Are you someone who tends to have your wits ……. you when you’re walking down the street? Or do you have your head in the clouds?
  10. Do any of your electronic devices/appliances have minds of their …….? What sort of things do they do?
  11. Do people tend to do what you ask them to? Or is it sometimes like ……. your head against a brick wall? Give some examples?
  12. Have your parents ever been ….. their wits end with your, or one of your sibling’s behaviour? Why? What did they do?
  13. What’s the best way to stop praise or money ……. to a person’s head? Do you think it’s inevitable?
  14. Have you ever received help or advice from an unexpected source? Had it ever ……. your mind to turn to that particular person?

KEY – SENTENCE COMPLETION +  DEFINITION MATCH

  1. HEAD – B
  2. MIND – C
  3. WITS – E
  4. BRAINS – L
  5. FACE TO FACE – F
  6. MIND – K
  7. MIND – H
  8. HEAD – A
  9. MIND – M
  10. FACE – N
  11. WITS – O
  12. HEAD – I
  13. FACE – G
  14. FACE – J
  15. BRAIN – D

KEY – KEY WORD TRANSFORMATIONS

  1. BEEN RACKING MY BRAIN // TRYING
  2. TO LOSE FACE IN FRONT OF THEIR // PEER
  3. HAVE YOUR WITS ABOUT YOU, // DO NOT LET
  4. THE TOP OF MY HEAD // BUT I AM
  5. WAS THE BRAINS // BEHIND
  6. NOT TO LET MONEY // GO TO THEIR HEADS
  7. HAS A MIND // OF ITS OWN

KEY – CONVERSATION QUESTIONS

  1. SAVE
  2. GIVE
  3. KEEP
  4. FACE
  5. OFF
  6. RACK
  7. BEHIND
  8. LOAD
  9. ABOUT
  10. OWN
  11. BANGING
  12. AT
  13. GOING
  14. CROSSED
Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C1/C2: The Life of a Celeb – Fame Vocabulary

Where are the next Tom Cruises?': how the internet changed celebrity |  Culture | The Guardian

This is a vocabulary lesson plan for C1/C2 students on the topic of fame and celebrities. Students read a text on the pros and cons of fame, examine some advanced expressions on the topic, then put them into practice in a Cambridge-style exercise, a discussion and a debate. Download the handout below, you’ll find the key for the key word transformations on page 3:

Part 1: Pre-reading

  1. What type of people do you think want to be famous?
  2. What do you think are some of the most common pros and cons of fame?
  3. What is the stereotypical story of the life of a child star?
  4. What advice would you give to someone who still wants to be famous despite the cons?

Part 2: Reading

Read the text.

Does it mention anything you discussed in part 1?

The life of a celeb isn’t all a bed of roses, you know. It really is a double-edged sword and it’s difficult to know if the pros outweigh the cons. Being in the limelight 24/7 can’t be good for your mental health. Being under constant scrutiny, having every aspect of your life dissected by the tabloids, it’s enough to drive you round the bend. It’s no wonder so many child stars go off the rails in such a spectacular fashion. They get their big breaks and rise to fame at such a young age then burn out in a blaze of glory for all to see. Keeping your feet on the ground is no mean feat when you’re surrounded by so many hangers-on blowing smoke up your backside. It must be so easy to let the fame go to your head and start thinking you’re the best thing since sliced bread. Then, if things take a turn for the worse, the fall from grace can be precipitous. 

It’s not all doom and gloom however, being in the public eye does have its perks. For one thing you get to lead a glamorous lifestyle; on the guestlist for every event, endorsed by all the biggest brands, it’s ironic that some of the richest people in the world hardly have to pay for anything. Designers and companies bend over backwards to get those publicity shots of you decked out in their latest products. But brands and products aren’t the only ones that can benefit by association with a megastar; some A-listers choose to use their platforms to raise awareness of various issues and campaigns, drawing their followers’ attention to the plights of various disenfranchised groups around the world.

So, have you still got your heart set on making a name for yourself in the world of show business? If so, be warned, you’ve got to learn to take the rough with the smooth. And should you happen to make it to the top, against all odds, enjoy your time in the sun, make the most of your 15 minutes of fame, because they might be over in the blink of an eye. 

Read the text again.

Answer the questions. 

  1. What drawbacks of fame does it mention?
  2. What effect can becoming famous have on your psyche/character?
  3. What are some of the perks of fame?
  4. What advice does the writer give to wannabe celebs?

Part 3 – Language Focus

Look at the underlined expressions. 

Discuss the meaning with your partner. 

  1. How familiar are the expressions to you? Mark them with:
    1. A tick if you’ve heard them before.
    2. A wavy line if they ring a bell.
    3. A cross if they’re completely new to you.

Memory test:

The life of a celeb isn’t all a …… of roses, you know. It really is a double-…….. sword and it’s difficult to know if the pros ……… the cons. Being in the l……… 24/7 can’t be good for your mental health. Being …….. constant scrutiny, having every aspect of your life dissected by the t………, it’s enough to drive you r…….. the b…….. It’s no …….. so many child stars go off the …….. in such a spectacular fashion. They get their big …….. and r……. to fame at such a young age then burn ……. in a blaze of glory for all to see. Keeping your feet on the …….. is no m……. feat when you’re surrounded by so many h……..-on blowing s……… up your b……… It must be so easy to let the fame go to your ……. and start thinking you’re the best thing since s…….. b…….. Then, if things take a ……. for the worse, the fall from ……… can be p……….. 

It’s not all d…… and g……. however, being in the …….. eye does have its perks. For one thing you get to ……. a glamorous lifestyle; …… the guestlist for every event, endorsed by all the biggest brands, it’s ironic that some of the richest people in the world hardly have to pay for anything. Designers and companies bend over b……… to get those publicity shots of you d……. out in their latest products. But brands and products aren’t the only ones that can benefit by association with a m……..; some A-l……… choose to use their p…….. to …….. awareness of various issues and campaigns, ……… their followers’ attention to the p…….. of various dis………….. groups around the world.

So, have you still got your …….. set on making a ……. for yourself in the world of ……..business? If so, be w…….., you’ve got to learn to take the r…….. with the s………. And should you happen to make it to the ……, against all o……., enjoy your time in the sun, make the most of your ……. minutes of fame, because they might be over in the …….. of an eye. 

Key Word Transformations

  1. My agent showed me some of the articles that had appeared in the papers.

ATTENTION

My agent…………………………………………. some of the articles that had appeared in the papers.

  1. It’s hard for newly famous celebrities to continue to act in a sensible and practical way.

FEET 

Newly famous celebrities struggle ……………………………………………………………..

  1. The life of a famous dancer isn’t always good.

BED

The life of a famous dancer………………………………………………………………….

  1. He moved to New York to become famous in the art world.

NAME

He moved to New York with the intention ………………………………………………… the art world.

  1. She wants to be an actress more than anything else in the world.

HEART

She …………………………………………………………………………… an actress.

  1. He aims to make more people aware of the difficulties the indigenous population are facing.

RAISE

His objective is ………………………………………………………….. of the indigenous population.

Part 4 – Discussion

  1. Would you like to be famous?
  2. How well do you think you would cope with being famous?
  3. Do you think that the pros of fame outweigh the cons?
  4. Overall, do you think celebrities have a positive or a negative impact on society?
  5. Why do you think so many celebrities tend to suffer from addiction problems or poor mental health?
  6. If you had to choose images of celebrities to illustrate the pros and cons of fame, whose image would you choose and why?
  7. How do you think fame and show business have changed in your lifetime? How do you think it will change in the future?

Debate topic: Celebrities have a positive effect on society

KEY

Key Word Transformations

  1. My agent showed me some of the articles that had appeared in the papers.

ATTENTION

My agent DREW MY ATTENTION // TO some of the articles that had appeared in the papers.

  1. It’s hard for newly famous celebrities to continue to act in a sensible and practical way.

FEET 

Newly famous celebrities struggle TO KEEP THEIR FEET // ON THE GROUND.

  1. The life of a famous dancer isn’t always good.

BED

The life of a famous dancer ISN’T ALL A BED // OF ROSES.

  1. He moved to New York to become famous in the art world.

NAME

He moved to New York with the intention OF MAKING A NAME FOR HIMSELF IN the art world.

  1. She wants to be an actress more than anything else in the world.

HEART

She HAS (GOT) HER HEART SET // ON BECOMING an actress.

  1. He aims to make more people aware of the difficulties the indigenous population are facing.

RAISE

His objective is TO RAISE AWARENESS // OF THE PLIGHT of the indigenous population.

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Use of English Worksheet & Conversation

C2 Proficiency: Exam Technique – Reading Part 7 – Tim's Free English Lesson  Plans

This is a lesson plan for students preparing to take the C2 Proficiency exam. Students look at some typical phrasal verbs, collocations and dependent prepositions that often come up in the exam and put them into practice in conversation. Download the handout, key and accompanying slides below:

Procedure

First of all students have to choose from two prepositions to complete the phrasal verbs so that it fits the context of the sentence. Then have them match the phrasal verbs to the definitions in the box below. You could then have students test each other, one says a definition, the other has to recall the phrasal verb.

Show students slide 2 of the presentation and instruct them to turn their handouts over and attempt to recall the missing words in the questions from memory. In this exercise they are required to recall the verb, rather than the preposition. Once they have completed the exercise, have them ask and answer the questions in pairs or small groups and then share any funny/interesting discoveries in open class.

Students then repeat the process for the dependent prepositions. However, in this case, rather than matching definitions, they match synonyms of the collocations to transform the sentence. I most cases they are direct synonyms that fit the same grammatical pattern but in a couple of cases they will need to make changes to the sentence, instruct them to check carefully if the synonym fits.

Slide 4-5 have a similar gapped questions task to the first one for students to complete in pairs. The final exercise contains more expressions and phrasal verbs with prepositions. Have students complete the exercise in pairs, then after checking in open class, have students come up with gapped questions for their classmates to complete. Tell them that their questions must be open-ended and designed to spark conversation, for example:

Are there any things that you’ve done so many times that you can now do ….. auto-pilot?

Feel free to post any of your students’ questions in the comments! Let me know how it goes!

Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

117 C1 Phrasal Verbs: Study Sheet

This is a self-study resource for C1 students. Full credit to breakoutenglish.com for the list of phrasal verbs:

https://breakoutenglish.com/advanced-cae/phrasal-verbs/

All I’ve done is put each one in context with a sentence or two, then made a quizlet set with the prepositions removed. Download the handout below:

At the end of the handout I’ve added a QR code to the quizlet set so that students can access it easily.

117 C1 Phrasal Verbs

https://breakoutenglish.com/advanced-cae/phrasal-verbs/

  1. They’ve made their demands and they’re not going to back down. – stop demanding something
  2. My car always breaks down when I don’t have enough money to get it repaired. – stop working
  3. They broke/split up last year but then they got back together. – to end; to separate (a marriage / a relationship / etc.)
  4. My parents died when I was very young so my grandma brought me up. – raise/educate/care for (a child)
  5. I bumped/ran into an old friend from uni in the street. – to meet someone unexpectedly
  6. The situation calls for  calm negotiations and cool heads from everyone involved. – demand / request
  7. They’ve had to call off  the match due to bad weather. – cancel (an event)
  8. I’m just going to carry on working on my presentation, but let me know if you need anything.  – continue
  9. The new hairstyle has really caught on with teenagers in my town. catch on – to become popular (an idea or a style); 
  10. I kept dropping hints about what I wanted for my birthday but my wife didn’t catch on. – to understand/realise after a long time
  11. I bought him a pint to try to cheer him up – make happier
  12. I came across my old school books while I was clearing out the attic. – find by chance
  13. He came into quite a lot of money when his grandparents passed away. come into (money) – inherit
  14. Come round after school and we’ll work on the science project together. – come to your house
  15. I’ve come up with a great idea for our Halloween costumes. – think of and suggest an idea
  16. The topic of a pay rise came up in my meeting with the boss. – be mentioned, arise or appear (in class / an exam / a meeting)
  17. Don’t be late! Everyone is counting on you. – to rely on
  18. My New Year’s resolution is to cut down on fast food.– reduce the amount you consume
  19. Sorry, the call got cut off when we went through a tunnel. – separate / isolate / interrupt
  20. My doctor has told me I need to cut out all processed meats from my diet. – stop doing / eating something
  21. The child was struggling to do up his shoelaces. We’re doing up our house this summer. – fasten, button up clothes; repair, redecorate or modernize a building or room
  22. We all dressed up as monsters for Halloween.– put on different clothes in order to disguise yourself
  23. My Dad dropped by on his way home to work to say hello. – to visit informally or unexpectedly
  24. He also came to drop off my Christmas presents. The taxi dropped us off outside the airport. – to take something (or someone) to a place and leave it there
  25. He didn’t enjoy the economics degree course and dropped out after 6 months. – stop taking part in (a competition, a university, etc.)
  26. We got lost and ended up in a completely different town. We were supposed to go out clubbing but we ended up staying in. – an end result of something planned or unplanned
  27. She fell for him the moment she met him. – fall in love with
  28. She fell out with her younger sister over who was going to look after grandma at Christmas. – argue and stop being friendly with someone
  29. Yesterday she found out that she passed her law degree. – discover
  30. I wrote them an email to follow up my complaint from the previous day. – find out more about something; take further action
  31. I get along/on really well with all my teachers. – have a good relationship with
  32. We just want to get away for the weekend and have some peace and quiet. – go on a short holiday/break 
  33. He stole €10 from his mum’s purse and got away with it, she blamed his brother. – not be punished for doing something
  34. I don’t earn much but it’s enough to get by. – manage to survive / live
  35. Stop chatting and get on with your work! – start or continue doing something (especially work)
  36. It took him a long time to get over her, I think he still loves her. – recover after the end of a relationship with someone
  37. I’m still getting over a nasty cold but I should be fine in a couple of days. – recover from
  38. I get together with my old uni friends every 6 months or so. – meet (usually for social reasons)
  39. I’m cleaning out my garage this weekend, I’m going to get rid of so much old stuff. – eliminate/discard
  40. He accidently gave away the surprise birthday party to the birthday girl, what an idiot! – reveal
  41. Hey! That’s my bag! Give it back – return
  42. Don’t forget to give/hand in your essays at the end of the class.  – submit (homework, etc.)
  43. The kids wouldn’t stop asking for an ice cream so I finally gave in and let them have one. – agree to something you do not want to
  44. The rotting fruit was giving off a nasty smell. (a smell) – produce and send into the air
  45. The receptionist gave out all the most important information to the guests. – announce or broadcast information
  46. They’re giving/handing out free samples of delicious cheese at the supermarket. – distribute to a group of people
  47. The sudoku puzzle was too difficult so I gave up and read a book instead. – to stop trying to do something (often because it is too difficult)
  48. A: We should decorate the kitchen. B: Yeah, I’d go along with that. – support an idea or agree with someone’s opinion
  49. The milk has gone off, we’ll have to buy some more. A bomb went off outside the airport, luckily nobody was hurt. – explode; become bad (food)
  50. The poker game went on for hours and hours. – to continue
  51. Have you heard? Charlie is going out with Kathy.  – have a romantic relationship with someone
  52. My Dad’s threatening to take away my car keys if I don’t tidy my room but I don’t think he will go through with it. – complete a promise or plan
  53. My best friend from primary school and I grew apart over the years and now we hardly speak. – get distant from someone, like a friend
  54. When I grow up, I want to be a firefighter.  – slowly become an adult
  55. We hung around outside the concert hall for 2 hours after the show trying to get an autograph. – to wait or spend time somewhere, doing nothing
  56. I’m just going to hang out with my friends tonight. – spend time relaxing (informal)
  57. Don’t leave your shirts on the floor, you need to hang them up. She finished the call and then hung up. – to hang clothes or an object on a hook or line; to end a phone call
  58. Go down this street and then head for the big church, your hotel is right next door to it. – go towards
  59. My shyness always holds me back in social situations. – prevent someone from making progress
  60. We need to hurry up! Our train leaves in five minutes.  – do something more quickly
  61. Just keep on walking this way and you’ll get to the station in no time. – to continue
  62. Where were you on Saturday? I really needed your help and you let me down. – disappoint
  63. The police decided to let the kids off with a warning because it was their first offence. – give someone a lighter punishment than they expected (or not punish at all)
  64. I can’t come out, I need to look after my baby brother. – take care of
  65. I hate it when people look down on those who are less fortunate than them. – feel superior to
  66. I’ve been looking for a flat for 2 months but haven’t found one I like yet. – try to find
  67. I’m really looking forward to Christmas this year. – feel happy about something that is going to happen
  68. The police are looking into the case of the missing dog. – investigate
  69. I had never heard of my Dad’s favorite footballer, I had to look him up on wikipedia.  – find information about (e.g. a word in a dictionary)
  70. I’ve always looked up to my mum, she’s very resilient. – admire and respect
  71. They gave us free tickets to a different show to make up for the cancellation. – compensate for
  72. They fell out over something stupid but now they’ve made up. – become friends again
  73. He’s always making up ridiculous stories and excuses for why he’s late. (something) – invent (stories, excuses)
  74. Ok, thanks for that report Jon, now let’s move on to Sarah’s presentation. – change to a different job, activity or place
  75. I moved out of my parents house when I was 18. – stop living in a house or flat
  76. He was so dehydrated that he passed out and woke up in the back of an ambulance. – lose consciousness
  77. When are you going to pay back the money you owe me? – return money
  78. Don’t worry, my parents are going to pay for dinner. – purchase
  79. They’ve finally managed to pay off the mortgage on the house. She got into Oxford University, all of her hard work has paid off! – finish paying for something; have a positive result from hard work
  80. Mum, it’s raining really hard, can you come and pick me up from the train station? – meet / collect someone (e.g. at the station / from school)
  81. At the end of the presentation our boss pointed out several obvious mistakes we had made. – to draw attention to something or someone
  82. Vicky! Come and put away your toys before you have dinner. – put something back in the correct place
  83. I’m going to the dentist tomorrow, I’ve been putting it off for months. – postpone
  84. They put on a big show to raise money for charity. (an event/a show) – organize an event
  85. Put your coat on, it’s cold outside. (clothes /make up) – place something on your body
  86. I put on quite a lot of weight during lockdown. (weight) – increase (weight)
  87. The firefighters were finally able to put the fire out. – extinguish (e.g. fire)
  88. My uncle can put us up for a couple of nights while we’re in London. (for the night) – accommodate
  89. Put your hand up if you have any questions. (your hand) – lift into the air
  90. I’m not going to put up with anymore lateness from those kids. – tolerate
  91. The car rental company tried to rip us off but I was having none of it. – charge someone too much for something
  92. We ran out of petrol in the middle of nowhere, it was terrifying. – use up (e.g. money, petrol, time)
  93. We had to set off at 4am, it was horrible. – start a journey
  94. We set up the company in 1995 and it’s still going strong to this day. – establish / start (e.g. a company)
  95. Dan! Stop showing off and pass us the ball, we’re losing 4-0. – try to impress people by telling or showing them what you are capable of
  96. They’ve had to shut down 5 stores in the area because sales have dropped. – to close
  97. We need to sort out accommodation for our trip to Paris. – arrange or order by classes or categories; find a solution
  98. BBC stands for the British Broadcasting Corporation. – to represent
  99. His ginger hair really makes him stand out from the rest of the boys in his class. – be easy to see because of being different
  100. I’d say I take after my Dad in my looks and my Mum in my personality. (someone) – resemble a member of your family in appearance, behaviour or character
  101. Please take your feet off the seat, your shoes are very dirty. – to remove from a surface or your body (clothes)
  102. Our plane takes off at 9pm. – leave the ground (e.g. a plane)
  103. She’s taken on a lot of extra responsibilities in her new job. – attempt something new; employ
  104. A new manager has taken over the department.  – take control of
  105. I took to ice-skating really quickly and now I’ve signed up for weekly classes.– start to like, especially after only a short time
  106. I first took up volleyball when I was in secondary school. – start doing (a hobby)
  107. The teacher told us off for being late. – speak angrily to someone who has done something wrong
  108. I’ve decided to throw away my old sofa, unless you want it. – get rid of something you do not need any more
  109. The weather on the mountain got really bad so we had to turn back. – return towards the place you started from
  110. They’ve turned down our offer for the house, they want more money. – reject or refuse
  111. On a full moon he turns into a werewolf! They’ve turned my favourite restaurant into a Burger King! – to transform
  112. Don’t forget to turn/switch off the lights when you leave. – to disconnect (e.g. a computer)
  113. He switched/turned on the TV and sat down to watch the match. – to connect (e.g. the TV)
  114. Our bus didn’t turn up for 2 hours. – arrive, usually unexpectedly, early or late
  115. He always uses up all the toilet roll and doesn’t replace it. – finish a supply of something
  116. I’ve completely worn out my old football boots, I need to get some new ones. – to use something until it becomes unusable
  117. I work out 3 times a week at the gym. The students struggled to work out the complicated equations. The police couldn’t work out how the burglars got into the house. – think about and find a solution; do exercise

– Quizlet set

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

C1/C2: Animal Idioms

How the Cat Gets Its Stripes: It's Genetics, Not a Folk Tale - The New York  Times

This is a vocabulary and conversation lesson for C1/C2 students. Students look at 18 animal idioms and put them into practice in conversation and an optional writing exercise. Download the handouts below:

Students first recall the names of some animals, then have a chance to share animal idioms they already know.

Then they must use the 16 animals from exercise 1 to complete the different animal expressions.

Keep the conversation questions hidden from students until after they’ve completed the first gap-fill.

Then have them recall the expressions by filling in the gaps in the questions. They can then ask and answer the questions in pairs or small groups.

I designed this task for use with a C2 Proficiency preparation group so I added on a writing task, an article, for them to do as homework.