Your class has recently taken part in a debate on ways individual citizens can reduce their carbon footprints in order to combat climate change. Below are three of the methods discussed and some quotes from people who took part in the debate.
Changing our diets
Changing travel habits
Changing our shopping habits
“Going vegetarian or vegan would be so hard for me, I couldn’t live without meat or cheese!”
“Airplanes and cars pollute so much, I cycle to work and try not to fly too often.”
“Fast fashion is terrible for the planet, people buy cheap clothes and sometimes don’t even wear them!”
Write an essay discussing two of the methods in your notes. You should explain which method you think is most realistic for most people and give reasons to support your argument. You may, if you wish, make use of the opinions expressed in the debate but you should use your own words as far as possible. Write your essay in 220-260 words in an appropriate style.
This is another guest post by Alice at https://www.hottakeenglish.com/ on the topic of limericks. Students learn the rhyme and syllable structure of a limerick, then write their own. Download the student handout and teacher’s notes below:
This is yet another designed to help students prepare for part one of the C1 Cambridge Advanced (CAE) writing exam. Some of the content has been rehashed from old posts but the approach is slightly different. Download the student handout below:
Give out the handout and draw students’ attention to the task on page one and the first version at the bottom of the page. Have them read the task, then the model answer, then answer questions 1-3 with their partner:
Which of the three areas (convenience, cost & enjoyment) does the writer focus on?cost and convenience
Which one do they decide has the biggest impact on where people choose to shop? cost
Give the essay a score out of 5 for:
Content (have they answered the question?)4.5 – 5 – yes, question is fully answered
Range of language2.5 – reads more like a B2 First essay
Appropriate style (formal/informal) 1.5 – too informal, not the right style: contractions, words like “stuff”, too personal (too much “I” and “we”), “first let’s look at”
Now have students look at question 4. If you’re pressed for time, you could skip this part. Have students brainstorm more formal and advanced ways of expressing the parts in bold in pairs or groups. Perhaps you could assign one paragraph to each group and have them report back in open class. Board their ideas.
Now have students flip the paper over. Version 2 essential expresses the same ideas but with more advanced language and a more appropriate register. Direct students to find the “fancy” equivalents of the underlined phrases from version 1 in version 2.
Set students the homework task by first encouraging them to discuss the topic:
Factors when deciding where to go on holiday:
Encourage them to use the language from version 2 and the language on pages 2 and 3 in their compositions.
Read version 1 and answer the questions:
Which of the three areas (convenience, cost & enjoyment) does the writer focus on?
Which one do they decide has the biggest impact on where people choose to shop?
Give the essay a score out of 5 for:
Content (have they answered the question?)
Range of language
Appropriate style (formal/informal)
Look at the sections in bold, how could you express the same ideas in a more impressive/formal way?
We’re always hearing in the news about how more and more people are buying things on the internet. It’s a big problem that fewer people are going shopping in physical shops nowadays. But, what makes people decide where to shop?
First, let’s look at convenience.It’s true that shopping online is much easier than shopping in physical shops. You can buy stuff on your computer and you can sit on your sofa, you don’t need to leave your house. Also, the stuff gets sent to your house. When you go to the physical shop you have to take it home yourself.
Now I’ll talk about cost.Some people think that cost is the most important thing people think about when they decide where to shop. For example, when the sales are on people buy things in shops they don’t normally go to.But some people don’t care about the price. It doesn’t matter if it’s expensive or not.
In conclusion,looking at the facts,I think that cost is the most important thing for most people because if you don’t have enough money, you can’t buy it.
Find and underline the ways that the same ideas are expressed in this version.
Hardly a week goes by without another news report about the recent dramatic increase in online shopping. The decline of the high street shop is undoubtedly a major issue in this day and age. However, which aspect of shopping has the biggest influence on where people shop?
The first area to take into account is convenience. It is undoubtedly the case that shopping online is much more convenient than shopping on the high street. Not only can you make a purchase with the click of a button, but also you can do it from the comfort of your sofa without setting foot outside your door. In addition, the goods are delivered directly to your door whereas when you shop in physical shops you have to carry it home yourself.
Another aspect to consider is cost. There are those who argue that cost has the biggest impact on where people decide to shop. This is illustrated by the fact that during the sales many people buy things in shops they would not normally enter. Nevertheless, for some people the cost is not an issue, they buy what they want to buy no matter the price.
In light of the above, weighing up all the evidence, it is probably true to say that cost does indeed have the biggest influence on where people decide to shop due to the fact that most of the time, if you cannot afford something then you will not be able to buy it.
Your class has had a class debate on the most important factors when it comes to deciding on a holiday destination.
Factors when deciding where to go on holiday:
Some opinions expressed in the debate:
“If it’s not a sunny place, then I’m not going. Why would I visit a cold, rainy city?”
“I want my money to go further. For the price of a weekend in Paris, I could spend 2 weeks in Morocco.”
“I can’t stand just lying on a beach, I need to get out and learn something about the places I’m visiting.”
Write an essay for your tutor, discussing two of the factors in your notes. You should explain which factor is the most important for most people, giving reasons to support your argument.
You may, if you wish, make use of the opinions expressed in the debate but you should use your own words as far as possible. Write your essay in 220-260 words in an appropriate style.
Language for introductions
In this day and age…
… is a hotly-debated topic that often divides opinion.
… is a growing issue in today’s society
We live in an age when many of us are…
More and more families are choosing to have only one child.
The trend nowadays is towards having smaller families.
Over the past ten years or so the media have frequently carried reports of ……………
Recent research indicates that the number of teenagers who smoke is increasing.
Hardly a week goes by without another report of …………….. appearing in the media.
Although most people would generally agree that …………… few would deny that ……..
Language for topic sentences
…. clearly/undoubtedly has an impact on…
It is common knowledge that… plays a crucial role in…
It is undoubtedly the case that…
There is little doubt that…
… is widely believed to contribute to…
It is generally considered that…
Recent research suggests that…
Studies have shown that… has an impact/influence on…
Few people would contest/dispute the fact that…
Another factor to consider is…
On the other hand/In contrast…
It is often claimed that…
All the evidence suggests that…
Language for supporting ideas
Language for introducing supporting ideas:
An obvious example of this is…
A clear example of this is…
This is illustrated by…
As a case in point…
It goes without saying that …………………………………………………………………… A clear example of this is ………………………………………………………. In addition, ……………………………………………………………………. Nevertheless, …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Overall/in summary ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
Language for conclusions:
In light of the above, / Taking all this into consideration/account,…
As far as I am concerned, / in my opinion, / as I see it, etc.
… is the most effective way to… due to the fact that…
In light of the above, / Taking all this into consideration/account,…
Despite the fact that… undoubtedly plays a role in… I firmly believe that… is more effective due to the fact that…
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:
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.
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.
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 inat 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 reviewsacross 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 _______ inat 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__________ reviewsacross the ________ and tickets are selling like ______ _______ so get yours while you can!
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:
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.
I’ve decided to put all the phrase sheets I have made for CAE writing part 2 together in one pack that I can print out and give to my students in preparation for them sitting the exam in June. Download the pack below:
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 😉 https://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast/
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:
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.