This is a cheat sheet/reference grid explaining the different task types that students will be required to complete in part 2 of the Cambridge C1 Advanced writing paper. Download the handout below:
This is a writing task for students preparing for the C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency exam. Students are required to write a report on the effects that the initial coronavirus lockdown had on young people in their country and also give recommendations to improve the situation in the event of a second lockdown. Download the handout below:
Formal advanced language key:
- MINORITY, DISSATISFACTION
- MOTIVATION, PROCRASTINATION
- TEETHING, ADEQUATE
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.
Here’s a quizlet set of the vocabulary to use for recall.
- 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!
- 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
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?
Image credit: Daily Mail
Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio
This is the third in a series of guest posts by my friend and colleague Josh Widdows, an English teacher and teacher trainer at International House Barcelona.
Getting FCE students to write an informative and descriptive article can be challenging. This entertaining 2.5/3-hour writing lesson encourages learners to source expressions from authentic texts, be inspired by video input and to annotate a model in order to effectively plan and draft their own article based around the idea of festivals.
Download the Lesson Procedure, PowerPoint and Handouts below:
- Useful Language and Top Tips Handout
- Lesson Procedure- Chasing The Cheese
- FCE Article Task and Plan Handout
- Chasing the cheese- Handout
- PowerPoint for Chasing the cheese
And check out this video of crazy cheese chasers!
Lesson Procedure: FCE – Writing an article (2.5/3-hour class)
Go straight to No. 6 if you have less time and/or do not have authentic material.
1. (Optional Warmer)- source some authentic magazines, [Metropolitan is a great one for Barcelona], and board ‘Grab a mag’ and have students flick through and find an article that appeals to them. Tell them they will have to summarise the article to their partners.
2. Give Ss a minute to flick and find an article they find appealing. Make sure Ss don’t choose a review or an advert.
3. Ss have a further 2 minutes to scan read the text. Board prompts for them to think about.
a. What attracted you to this article?
b. Why does it have that title?
c. What did you like/ not like about the article?
d. Circle 5 new expressions.
e. Were you entertained? How?
4. Have Ss summarise articles in their own words. In 2s or 3s they ‘present and explain’ their article, using the prompts above.
5. Board up the article titles and have Ss think about why they have these ‘catchy’ titles. These examples are from Metropolitan Barcelona October 2017.
‘ACTUAL’ TITLES ‘BORING TITLES’
eg; – The writing on the wall – Graffiti again
– Clowning around – Theatre group in town
– The Brink of Extinction – The end of the world
Then get Ss to think up the ‘boring’ title for each one and think why that is less appealing. Obviously, these will depend on what material you bring to class.
6. (Warmer) – Show slide 1- ‘Chasing the cheese’ and ask Ss to guess what they think the article is about.
7. Gather ideas and then show slide 2: steep hill/ record crowds/ superhero costumes/ injured racers/ perilous event and predict article’s content.
8. Watch YouTube clip: Gloucester Cheese Rolling 2012 Official;
to see if predictions were correct. Simultaneously think about these questions?
a. What’s the aim of the event?
b. How do the participants achieve this objective?
c. Would you like to get involved in this event? Why/ why not?
9. Compare notes.
10. Read the article handout, (not filling the gaps yet!), and tell each other what else they found out about the event.
11. Ask students whether they’d like to go.
12. Ask Ss what the purpose of the text is- (to entertain and inform).
13. Individually complete open-cloze activity and check in pairs and then with original text.
14. Discuss gaps and reasons for some language items, (ie, fixed expression- you’ll never forget! /linker of contrast- although, etc.)
15. Invite Ss to underline all the synonyms used to mean participant. (4 – Why? As to not repeat and show a range of vocabulary). See handout for answers.
16. Ss underline useful expressions-(What do you get if….?) and strong adverbial phrases- (perilous event).
17. Dictate all the ‘normal adjectives’ (tired through to interested) from the Useful Language and Strong Expressions handout.
18. Ss compare spelling and then board to double check spelling.
19. Get Ss to think of the strong adjective for each, (ie. tired – exhausted/ knackered).
20. Give handout and replace the words in italics.
ANSWERS: 1. Exhausted, 2. Furious, 3. Freezing, 4. Fantastic, 5. Terrified, 6. Enormous, 7. Filthy, 8. Awful, 9. Essential, 10. Fascinated.
21. Show the penultimate slide and have Ss think about the purpose of each paragraph and top tips they would give a fellow student writing an Article for the first time.
22. Check ideas with slide.
23. Ss now complete Writing Articles: Top Tips! handout.
ANSWERS: informative, attractive, title, topic, reader, question, clearly, clearly, consistent, rhetorical, descriptive, consistent.
24. Brainstorm local and/or national events, ie. in Spain: La Merce, La Tomatina, San Fermin, Sant Joan.
25. Get ss to think of ‘catchy’ titles for each one. Examples could be: Run for your life, Las Ketchupped, Burnt to a cinder, Going crackers.
26. Give Ss Article Task and Plan Sheet handout and have Ss plan and draft their articles.
27. Ss complete their articles at home.
28. FOLLOW-UP TASK- having marked their texts, at the start of next class, board their titles and have Ss guess what the events are from the titles. Then Ss read each other’s texts and decide whose is the best. Then they read and edit according to the teacher’s comments.
Saw this on twitter shared by Andy Tharby @atharby could be useful for CPE students for Proficiency writing part 1.
Image credit: Durham Constabulary
Before you use these materials… We’ve created a new podcast aimed at B2+ level English students and teachers alike. You can listen for free at our SoundCloud page below. You can download teacher’s notes to accompany them from our Facebook page or from this blog. All comments and feedback welcome! Give us a like and a share 😉
This is a phrase sheet and writing task for CAE/CPE students designed to help them tackle formal letter of complaint tasks. Download the handout below:
CAE/CPE – Letter of Complaint
Task – CPE Testbuilder pg 91
You recently stayed at one of a chain of large hotels and encountered a number of problems during your stay. Write a letter to the company’s head office detailing the problems you had, describing what happened when you complained to the hotel staff and suggesting ways the company could improve its service. (CAE 220-260 words – CPE 280-320 words)
- Dear Sir or Madam, / To whom it may concern,
- I am writing to express my disappointment with/dissatisfaction with the service I received in…
- I would like to lodge a formal complaint against your company for the reasons outlined below:
- I feel compelled to write to you in order to describe the
- First of all,
- Not only was there a hair in my wife’s soup, but the main course also arrived cold.
- On top of that…
- As if that was not enough…
- To top it all off…
- The straw that broke the camel’s back was…
- The standard of the… was not up to scratch.
- The… was not up to the expected standard.
- The… left a lot to be desired.
- The… failed to live up to our expectations.
- We were left bitterly disappointed by…
- The quality of the customer service we received was woefully inadequate.
- The… was an absolute disgrace. (v.strong)
- Overall, our visit to your (restaurant) was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish.
- It seems only fair that you should… (offer a full refund)
- I would appreciate it if you…
- I would be grateful if you…
- Should these demands not be met, you will be hearing from my lawyers.
- I expect to receive compensation to the tune of (€2000) for the…
- I strongly recommend that your organisation…
- It would be advisable to…
- I suggest re-evaluating your procedures regarding…
- I look forward to receiving your reply.
- I expect to receive a prompt reply to this letter.
- Yours faithfully,
Image credit: qvictorias.com
Follow me on twitter @
I’ve recently started teaching CPE again so I decided to make a phrase sheet for my students to help them tackle part 1 of the writing paper, the formal essay. Download it below:
- The first text/passage/extract outlines the benefits/drawbacks of…
- The second text argues/claims that…
- The first text advocates… +…ing (supports)
- The second text puts forward the idea that…
- It then goes on to espouse the viewpoint that… (say)
- The text sheds light on the issue/topic of…
- The text brings the topic of… to light.
- The writer of the first text is a firm believer in…
- The writer/author of the second text is highly critical of…
- Both writers seem to agree that…, where their ideas deviate however is on the topic of…
- The second text makes bold statements in support of…
- Not only does the first text state that…, but it also claims that…
- In addition to the aforementioned point, it also claims that…
- One thing the writer fails to mention is…
- A glaring omission from the first text is…
- While the writer makes some valid arguments in favour of…, she ignores the fact that…
- One area which the writer seems to have overlooked is…
- While I am generally in agreement with the majority of the first writer’s points the obvious hole in their argument is…
- Were I to pick holes in the writer’s arguments, I would start by pointing out that…
- I feel it must also be pointed out that…
- When it comes to the topic of…, the text seems to be lacking somewhat
- One major weakness in the writer’s argument is that…
- The text neglects to mention that fact that…
- The writer seems to have gone overboard in their praise/criticism of…
- I am of the opinion that…
- In my humble opinion…
- My thoughts on the matter are that…
- As far as I am concerned,
- As far as my opinions on the matter are concerned,…
- My initial reaction to the opinions outlined in the text was…
- I am a firm believer in…
- On the whole, I tend to agree with… due to the fact that…
I saw this great cheatsheet from the Global Digital Citizen Foundation on Facebook, could be useful for getting students thinking about issues, especially when planning essays and reports.