Posted in Conversation Classes, Guest Posts, Reading Classes, Vocabulary Classes

B1/B2: First Class 2021



*unsplash.com

This is a guest post by online language tutor and ELT writer Ned Widdows. Ideal for the first class back after Christmas, it is a B1-B2 lesson with reading, vocabulary and speaking, asking learners to reflect on their experiences of 2020 and to look forward to the year ahead.

Download the teacher’s notes and student handout below:

Warmer

Write New Year’s Eve on the board / in the chat and ask students to share:

  1. 5 words connected with New Year (in general)
  2. 5 words connected with New Year 2021

Optional: share this image and ask students to describe what they see.

Briefly discuss how Christmas and New Year this year have been affected by the pandemic.

Procedure:

A – D on Student’s Handout is self-explanatory.

Optional ideas:

  1. Dictate the questions in A.
  2. Check the pronunciation of some of the trickier vocabulary in B, e.g. /ˌpɪktʃəˈresk/ /pəˈreɪd/
  3. Get learners to write new sentences with the verb patterns in C, e.g. I’m trying to learn how to play chess at the moment; She misses spending time with her cousins; etc.
  4. Share a link for a padlet and ask learners to post their texts on it. They can read each other’s and see what they have in common.
Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

B2+ Conversation Topic: Pet Peeves & Bugbears

Pet Peeves - RunEatSnap

This is a conversation topic for B2+ students in which they discuss things that annoy them. First they study some expressions related to annoyance and anger, then put them to use in a discussion about different annoying habits. Download the student handout, key and Powerpoint below:

Warmer

Start by writing “Pet hates/peeves & Bugbears” on the board and give examples of some of your personal pet peeves using some of the expressions from the student handout.

Vocabulary Focus

Give out the handout and have students complete the expressions. Check answers in open class.

Instruct students to cover the handout, then show the first slide from the Powerpoint, students now need to remember the expressions using the words from the exercises on the handout:

STAND – I can’t stand it when…

The sentences are animated on the Powerpoint so you can reveal them one at a time.

Repeat for the expressions about anger.

Discussion

Put students in pairs or groups of three.

Go through the slides on the Powerpoint showing different annoying habits and behaviours.

For each slide encourage students to discuss their feelings about the topic and also think of a specific time in their lives when they’ve witnessed such behaviour, and how they reacted. If they can’t think of a specific time, encourage them to speculate about how they would react: “If I saw someone throwing litter out of a car window, I would lose my rag!”

Encourage students to share their opinions and experiences in open class.

Wrap up the activity by having students write a definitive list of 3 pet peeves/bugbears that they have.

For adult students or groups that you know well, you may want to teach slightly more explicit versions of the expressions:

Lose one’s shit

It fucks me off

Homework

Have students listen to our episode of 2Ts in a Pod on the topic of Pet Hates:

Posted in Advanced C1, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

Save the Planet: C1/C2 Phrasal Verbs

This is a lesson plan for C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency students on the topic of non-profit organisations like the WWF. Students read a short text about the organisation then work on phrasal verbs associated with the topic. Download the handout and key below:

The procedure is pretty straightforward. First students answer the introductory questions designed to activate their schemata and encourage them to predict the content of the text. They then read the text briefly to see if their predictions were correct. They then focus on the meaning of the phrasal verbs, then recall the prepositions/particles and finally put them into practice in a speaking activity.

Save the Planet – Phrasal Verbs

Introduction

Ask and answer the questions with a partner:

  1. Think of some national or international organisations dedicated to protecting the environment.
  2. What do these organisations do?
  3. How effective are they?
  4. What problems/difficulties do they encounter?
  5. What can people do to support these organisations more?

The WWF

  1. Read the text quickly. Does it mention any of the things you discussed in the introduction?
  2. Look at the phrasal verbs and expressions in bold and match them with the definitions below.

The World Wide Fund for Nature

Every day more and more trees are being cut down in the rainforests of the world wiping out hundreds of species. The current deforestation rate amounts to 3 football pitches per minute. Precious water supplies are being used up meaning that still more animals and plants are dying out. If we step back and look at the bigger picture, it’s not just animals and plants that are affected. The rainforests are the Earth’s lungs and further damage will only lead to misery for all life on the planet.

Our organisation aims to put pressure on governments all over the world to make them step up and take responsibility for the environment. Governments need to crack down on bad practices such as illegal logging and mining in rainforests. Sadly, we’re coming up against a lot of resistance from big business but that won’t stop us standing up for the animal kingdom. We’re looking for volunteers to chip in in any way they can; handing out leaflets in the street or drumming up support online are just two ways we can get our message across. Join us today by clicking the link below!

1. Help/contribute money
2. Kill or cause to die on a large scale
3. Be faced with
4. Make people hear/understand information
5. Cause
6. Mentally withdraw from a situation
7. Try to increase/encourage support for something
8. Become extinct
9. Introduce strong restrictions
10. Give something to people
11. Cause to fall
12. Defend verbally or physically
13. Consume all of something
14. Total/add up to
15. Take action when it’s needed

Practice

Try to remember the missing prepositions in the questions below without looking at the text. Then ask and answer the questions.

  1. How effective do you think practices like handing _____ leaflets actually are?
  2. Have you ever done anything to drum ______ support for a charity or other organisation?
  3. What do you think governments should crack ____ ____ in your country?
  4. Think of some endangered animals. Which one would you be saddest about if it died _____ completely?
  5. What do you think is the most effective way for an organisation like the WWF to get its message _______? Online? In person?
  6. What do you think are the most difficult issues that charities like the WWF come ____ ______ when trying to help the environment?
  7. If you use ____ all the toilet paper, do you always replace it?
  8. Think of a time when a friend or family member stood ____ _____ you in a difficult situation.
  9. Now think of a time when nobody stood ____ _____ you. Or when you failed to stand _____ _____ a friend.
  10. Who has the biggest responsibility to step ____ and take responsibility for the environment? Governments? Businesses? The general public? Why?
  11. When it’s a friend’s birthday, is it better if they receive lots of little presents or if everyone chips ____ and gets them one big present. Which would you prefer on your birthday?
  12. If you added up all your screen time in one day, how much would it amount ____? Do you want to cut _____? Why? Why not?
Posted in Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Dependent Preps & Music Idioms

Plusnet corrects 'Blowing our own trumpet' ad after trumpet turns out to be  cornet

This is a quick, communicative activity for C2 students in which they practice some expressions with dependent prepositions and some idioms related to music. I’m currently working with a coursebook which is packed with great C2 language but a little lacking in communicative production activities so I thought I’d share some I’ve been using. Download the handout and key below:

When creating your own gap-fill exercises, why not make them questions? That way you’ve got a speaking activity ready to go immediately.

Have students work in pairs to fill in the missing words in the expressions, then have them underline the dependent preposition in the first set of sentences and the complete idiom in the second. Then have them ask and answer the questions.

Dependent Prepositions

  • Are you someone who t________ on pressure or do you tend to go to pieces?
  • If you’re h_____-p_______ to come up with new ideas in your job/studies where do you turn for inspiration?
  • Think of a time when you worked towards a c_______ g_______ with a group of people. What was the experience like? Did everybody pull their weight?
  • Do your parents or grandparents tend to h_______ back to the good old days? What sort of comments or comparisons do they make?
  • Think of a time when you t_______ to a new activity/hobby like a d______ to water. Did you expect it to be that easy? Why do you think you adapted so quickly?

Music Idioms

  • Are you someone who tends to blow their own t_________? Do you think it’s an attractive quality? Where is the line between confidence and arrogance?
  • Have you ever bought or sold something for a s_______ (very cheaply) on ebay/wallapop etc.?
  • Are you good at playing it by e_______? Or do you struggle to adapt to developing situations?
  • Have you or any of your friends or family ever changed your/their t_______ about a key issue/topic? What made you rethink your position?
  • When was the last time you had to pull out all the s________ to finish a big project?

Key

Dependent Prepositions

  • Are you someone who THRIVES on pressure or do you tend to go to pieces?
  • If you’re HARD-PRESSED to come up with new ideas in your job/studies where do you turn for inspiration?
  • Think of a time when you worked towards a COMMON GOAL with a group of people. What was the experience like? Did everybody pull their weight?
  • Do your parents or grandparents tend to HARK back to the good old days? What sort of comments or comparisons do they make?
  • Think of a time when you TOOK to a new activity/hobby like a DUCK to water. Did you expect it to be that easy? Why do you think you adapted so quickly?

Music Idioms

  • Are you someone who tends to blow their own TRUMPET? Do you think it’s an attractive quality? Where is the line between confidence and arrogance?
  • Have you ever bought or sold something for a SONG (very cheaply) on ebay/wallapop etc.?
  • Are you good at playing it by EAR? Or do you struggle to adapt to developing situations?
  • Have you or any of your friends or family ever changed your/their TUNE about a key issue/topic? What made you rethink your position?
  • When was the last time you had to pull out all the STOPS to finish a big project?
Posted in Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes, Writing Classes

C2 Proficiency: Review of a West End Musical

This is a lesson plan for C2 students based around a review of a West End Musical. Students will learn vocabulary related to the theatre and performing arts that can then be recycled in their own reviews of live performances as practice for writing part 2 in the Proficiency exam.

Download the handout below:

Here is a possible part 2 task you could set as follow up to the lesson plan:

Review of a live performance

An online entertainment website is asking for reviews of live performances. They want reviews of any type of performing arts including plays, dance, musicals or concerts. You should explain why you decided to go to the performance, describe the highlights and point out any weak points that you think it had. You should also recommend the show to a specific audience or demographic.

280-320 Words

Quizlet Set

Here’s a quizlet set of the vocabulary to use for recall.

Pre-reading

  • Are you a fan of musical theatre? Why/why not?
  • Read the title to this review and predict:
    • Will it be a positive review?
    • What was the audience’s reaction?
    • What is the rehearsal process like for a big west end musical?
    • What is the experience like for the actors?
  • Read the review. Were your predictions correct?

Mamma Mia! Opens to Rave Reviews

A new adaptation of the jukebox musical Mamma Mia! opened to a packed house in London’s Theatre Royal last Friday night. The popular show, co-written by playwright Catherine Johnson and lyricists Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, will run for the next 6 months after a series of successful preview showings over the last week.

The audience gave the cast a unanimous thumbs-up by giving them a 10-minute standing ovation at the curtain call. The classic Abba songs such as Dancing Queen and the title-track Mamma Mia really brought the house down with hoards of backing dancers filling the stage right on cue for the final chorus.

In spite of leading lady Betty Harris’s dazzling performance, she admitted backstage after the show that it hadn’t all been plain sailing during rehearsals. “The dress rehearsal last week was an absolute disaster, one stagehand was nearly hit when a light fell from the rig and the leading man came down with a migraine half-way through the show. His understudy had to stand in at very short notice.” Harris, who has admitted to suffering from crippling stage fright in the past, explained how she had used the emotional recall of her own troubled relationship with her late mother to conjure up the necessary feelings for the nail-biting finale. Despite the emotional rollercoaster of the last few weeks, she said that seeing the beaming smiles of audience at the end had made it all worthwhile! She really is an accomplished actor and I have to admit that the poignant final scenes really brought a tear to my eye.

The show has received glowing reviews across the board and tickets are selling like hot cakes so get yours while you can!

Post Reading

  • Would you like to see this show? Why/why not?
  • Have you ever acted in a play/show/film? Or performed in front of an audience?
  • Look at the expressions in bold, use the context to guess the meaning.
  • Test your partner on the language and expressions

Recall

Can you remember the expressions?

Mamma Mia! Opens to _______ Reviews

A new adaptation of the ________ musical Mamma Mia! opened to a _______ house in London’s Theatre Royal last Friday night. The popular show, co-written by _______ Catherine Johnson and _______ Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, will run for the next 6 months after a series of successful _______ showings over the last week.

The audience gave the cast a u__________ thumbs-up by giving them a 10-minute standing ______ at the c_________ call. The classic Abba songs such as Dancing Queen and the title-track Mamma Mia really brought the _________ down with hoards of _________ dancers filling the stage right on ______ for the final chorus.

In spite of ________ lady Betty Harris’s d________ performance, she admitted b________ after the show that it hadn’t all been ________ sailing during rehearsals. “The ________ rehearsal last week was an absolute disaster, one stage_______ was nearly hit when a light fell from the rig and the leading man c______ d_______ with a migraine half-way through the show. His under________ had to _______ in at very short ________.” Harris, who has admitted to suffering from c________ stage _______ in the past, explained how she had used the emotional ________ of her own troubled relationship with her late mother to _________ up the necessary feelings for the n_____-b_______ finale. Despite the e_________ r___________ of the last few weeks, she said that seeing the ___________ smiles of audience at the end had ________ it all worthwhile! She really is an a___________ actor and I have to admit that the p__________ final scenes really brought a ______ to my ________.

The show has received g__________ reviews across the ________ and tickets are selling like ______ _______ so get yours while you can!

  • Which ones were easy to remember?
  • Which ones were difficult to remember?
  • Which are your favourite expressions?
Posted in Advanced C1, Vocabulary Classes

C1 Advanced: Jigsaw Text

This is an activity inspired by this great post on tefltastic.wordpress.com:

https://tefltastic.wordpress.com/worksheets/inside-out/io-upper-u2/dependant-preps-jigsaw/

Students must piece together the story of a trip to Japan using dependent prepositions and other fixed expressions to guide them. Download the handout below:

Procedure

Put students in pairs and give out the handout. Challenge students to put the story back in the correct order. Encourage them to use the prepositions and other collocations to help them.

Show the completed version of the text to check their answers. Deal with the meaning of the different key expressions.

Have students test each other on the different dependent prepositions; one says the verb, the other must recall the preposition.

Give students 5 minutes to write their own travel story using as many of the combinations as they can. Award one point for each correctly used expression and two points for any other impressive expressions and collocations.

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Listening Classes, Vocabulary Classes

2Ts in a Pod Video: Friendship Expressions

2ts_banner_2460x936

We’ve recently launched a Youtube channel for our podcast 2Ts in a Pod. There’s not much up there yet but more content is in the pipeline. Check out this video we’ve made looking at 5 expressions related to the topic of friendship. Why not show it to your students or set it as homework?

If you like the video, please consider subscribing to the channel, it’s a new project for us and we really want to get it off the ground so a like, a share and a subscription can go a long way!

You can also check out full episodes of our podcast on our Soundcloud page below. Any comments or feedback welcome.

Posted in Vocabulary Classes

Gossip Girls: Phrasal Verbs

gossip

This is a fun lexis lesson for B1+ teens and adults based around the topic of gossip. Students read a dialogue of two people gossiping full of phrasal verbs. Then they try to guess the meaning of the expressions from the context, practice them in gap-fill exercises then write and perform their own soap opera/gossip scenes. Download the handout below:

Gossip Girls

Lesson Plan

Introduce the topic of gossip, check students understanding of the word, ask CCQs: what do people gossip about? relationships, secrets, arguments etc.

Gist Reading

Give out the handout, have students read it in pairs and then think of a title for the scene. If students have issues with any lexis, tell them that you will look at it in detail later.

Meaning Match

Have sts work together to match the phrasal verbs underlined in the text with the meanings in box.

Testing/Memorising

After checking sts answers on the board, have sts test each other on the phrasal verbs: one says the definition, the other has to recall the phrasal verb or vice versa.

Gap-fill: Recall prepositions

Students turn the handout over and have to quickly remember all the prepositions.

Controlled practice: New contexts

Sts have to try to use the phrasal verbs in new contexts by completing a gap fill, remind them to be careful of the tense and form of the phrasal verbs. Key:

  1. fell out
  2. pick up
  3. cheating on
  4. ask out
  5. put up with
  6. hang out
  7. get on
  8. looking back
  9. looking forward to
  10. turned up
  11. broke up

Freer Practice

Students work in pairs to write their own, new dialogues, you could show them clips from classic UK soap operas like Eastenders or Coronation Street to give them some inspiration. Have students read their dialogues out in front of the class and vote on the funniest/most scandalous.

Dialogue

Read the dialogue below with a partner, then think of a title for it:

Title: ___________________________

A: Have you heard about Kate and Steve?

B: No, what happened?

A: They’ve broken up.

B: No way! When did this happen??

A: Yesterday. Apparently she’d been cheating on him for months with a guy from her gym.

B: Seriously?? That’s horrible, tell me more.

A: Well apparently she met this guy in her yoga class and they got on really well and started hanging out after class. Then the guy asked her out for a drink and she said yes, but then Sarah saw them in the bar where they went for the date and confronted her about it.

B: Woah! Is that why Kate and Sarah fell out?

A: Yeah, looking back it seems obvious now. So then, last week Steve and Kate were supposed to be going to a concert together, Steve had been looking forward to it for ages. Then on the night of the concert she just didn’t turn up! He was calling her and calling her and she didn’t pick up, because she was out on another date with the guy from the gym!

B: What a bitch! Steve is such a nice guy.

A: I know he shouldn’t have to put up with being treated like that. So anyway, he went straight to her house because he was really worried and he caught her coming out of her flat with the guy!

B: Oh my god! It’s like something out of a soap opera!

A: I know…

Meaning

Replace the underlined phrasal verbs in the text with the words/phrases in the box below:

1.      Tolerate

2.      Stopped being friends

3.      Ended their relationship

4.      Spend time together

5.      Have a good relationship

6.      Be excited about a future event/thing

7.      Answer the phone

8.      To be unfaithful

9.      Request a date

10.   Appear/arrive

11.   Remembering/thinking about

 

 

 

 

Memory Test

Can you remember the missing prepositions?

A: Have you heard about Kate and Steve?

B: No, what happened?

A: They’ve broken _____.

B: No way! When did this happen??

A: Yesterday. Apparently she’d been cheating _____him for months with a guy from her gym.

B: Seriously?? That’s horrible, tell me more.

A: Well apparently she met this guy in her yoga class and they got ______really well and started hanging _______ after class. Then the guy asked her _______ for a drink and she said yes, but then Sarah saw them in the bar where they went for the date and confronted her about it.

B: Woah! Is that why Kate and Sarah fell ________?

A: Yeah, looking _______it seems obvious now. So then, last week Steve and Kate were supposed to be going to a concert together, Steve had been looking _________ to it for ages. Then on the night of the concert she just didn’t turn up! He was calling her and calling her and she didn’t pick ________, because she was out on another date with the guy from the gym!

B: What a bitch! Steve is such a nice guy.

A: I know he shouldn’t have to put _______with being treated like that. So anyway, he went straight to her house because he was really worried and he caught her coming out of her flat with the guy!

B: Oh my god! It’s like something out of a soap opera!

A: I know…

Practice

Complete the sentences with the correct phrasal verb:

  1. I ____________ with my sister 2 years ago and we’re still not speaking now.
  2. I tried calling my parents but they didn’t ____________.
  3. I think my boyfriend might be ________________ me, he keeps texting some other girl.
  4. I really fancy this girl in my class, I want to _______ her ________, where should I suggest?
  5. There was a crying baby in the seat behind me on the train, I had to _____________ the noise for the whole journey.
  6. I just want to _____________ with my friends this weekend.
  7. I ______________ really well with my Dad’s new girlfriend, she’s really nice.
  8. ________________ on my childhood, I think I had an easy life.
  9. I’m really _________________ my holiday in Greece, I can’t wait!
  10. I was waiting for the bus for 2 hours but it never ________________.
  11. I’m so depressed, my girlfriend _____________ with me last night, she says she doesn’t love me anymore.
Posted in Low Level Classes, Vocabulary Classes

A1: Daily Routines

I’ve recently been teaching some A1 adults as part of the Cert TESOL at TEFL Iberia in Barcelona. It’s been a while since I’ve taught really low levels and it’s been a great experience. I’ve made quite a few of my own materials for the class and I’ll try to upload them over the coming days and weeks. Let me know what you think.

This particular lesson plan was designed to help students practice using the present simple to talk about their daily routines using a loose TTT structure and then teaching from a short text. It was designed as a demo class for trainees during the first week of the course. I may have underestimated some of the timings of the tasks but students seemed to get a lot out of it.

Download the materials below:

My Morning routine LP – Teacher’s Lesson Plan

Our Daily Routines – Student Handout