Posted in Grammar Classes

Regrets, I’ve had a few…

Image result for spiderman

Image credit: marvel.com

This a lesson plan for B2+ students to teach language of regret. It uses a clip from The Amazing Spiderman and texts about historic regrettable decisions. Download the teacher’s notes and student handout below:

Regrets teachers notes

Regrets student handout

Lead-in

Show students a picture of Spiderman and ask them: Why did Peter Parker decide to become Spiderman? They will probably say “because he was bitten by a radioactive spider”, but that’s not why, that’s how. Show them the video clip: Uncle Ben’s Death until 2:25: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp5m4g7pZ9s

So he became Spiderman because it was his responsibility to stop innocent people like Uncle Ben from getting hurt. Ask students these questions:

  1. What happened?
  2. How does Peter Parker feel?
  3. What could have been different?

Check students’ answers, they will probably try to express Peter’s regret at not saving Uncle Ben. Give out the hand-out and draw their attention to the language of regret at the top.

Language of Regret

Look at the example sentences, what are the formulas for each structure?

  • Peter regrets not stopping the robber.
  • He should have done
  • Uncle Ben shouldn’t have tried to pick up the gun.
  • If Peter had stopped the guy, he wouldn’t have killed Uncle Ben.
  • If Uncle Ben hadn’t tried to pick up the gun, the guy wouldn’t have shot him.

Historical Regrets

Read the texts about regrettable events from the past and make sentences using the structures.

Image result for lance armstrong Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong took performance enhancing drugs before winning seven Tour de France titles. A whistle-blower revealed information about his doping to the press but he denied it for years. Eventually the evidence was too much and he confessed to his crimes live on Oprah Winfrey’s chat show.

Image result for the beatles Decca Records & The Beatles

In 1962, Dick Rowe, an executive at Decca Records, thought guitar groups were falling out of favour. On New Year’s Day that year, The Beatles auditioned to be signed to the record label. Rowe rejected their audition and decided not to sign them. The Beatles went on to become the biggest selling band in history.

Image result for napoleon Napoleon

In 1812 Napoleon invaded Russia with his grand army of 680,000 soldiers. Instead of fighting the French, the Russian army retreated further into Russia burning the farms and supplies as they went. After winning some minor victories the French were forced to retreat because of the freezing Russian winter. Only 27,000 soldiers from the original army survived.

Possible Answers:

  1. Lance Armstrong regrets taking banned substances. He shouldn’t have taken performance enhancing drugs. If he hadn’t taken the drugs, he wouldn’t have won 7 titles.
  2. Dick Rowe regrets not signing the Beatles. He should have signed them. If he had signed them, he would have been rich.
  3. Napoleon regretted invading Russia. He shouldn’t have invaded Russia in winter. If he hadn’t invaded Russia, he might have conquered the whole of Europe.

My Biggest Regret

Students might be reticent to discuss this topic, if so try to encourage them to talk about a friend or family member’s regrets, often a bit of distance can help students open up and express themselves. It could also help if you shared some of your regrets with the class first.

  • Do you have any regrets? What about your family and friends?
  • Have you ever had an accident that was your fault? What happened?
  • If you could relive any part of your life, what would you change?
  • How would your life be different?
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Posted in Grammar Classes

Narrative Tenses: Where were you when…?

Image result for michael jackson dancing

Image credit: www.biography.com

This is a lesson plan designed to help students practice past narrative tenses. The topic is remembering where you were when big events happened. Download the teacher’s notes and student handout below:

Where were you when student handout

Where were you when Teachers notes

Lead-in

Show image of MJ. Sts in pairs: Where were you when you heard that Michael Jackson had died? T makes note of language sts use: use of narrative tenses, errors etc.

Dictogloss

Procedure:

  1. Ask sts: How did Michael Jackson die? (aim: to preteach “take an overdose”)
  2. Tell sts you are going to tell them someone’s story of them finding out MJ had died. Tell them that after you’ve finished you want them to make a note of key words or phrases from the story. While you are reading they should just focus on listening and not write anything.
  3. Read the text at a normal speed pausing at punctuation in a natural way.
  4. Give sts 30 secs to write down key words, then compare and share with a partner.
  5. Tell sts that you’re going to read the text again and you want them to write down any more key words and phrases they hear.
  6. Now instruct sts to try to recreate the text in pairs, tell them not to worry if their version is different.

I was at a festival when I heard that Michael Jackson had died. It was about 3 in the morning and we were sitting in one of the big tents listening to music, drinking and chatting. Suddenly we overheard a guy sitting next to us saying that Michael Jackson had taken an overdose and had died. We thought it couldn’t possibly be true and carried on as before, but then the DJ played Beat it by Michael Jackson, then Billy Jean and then more and more of his songs, we all looked at each other, everyone in the tent realised that it must be true and we all stood up and danced.

Guided Questions:

  1. There are three different past tenses in the text, can you identify them?
  2. Which tense do we use to give a description of a scenario or scene at a specific time?
  3. Which tense do we use to say that an action happened before another action?
  4. Which tense do we use to describe short actions often in sequence?
  5. How do we form the past continuous? Subject + __________ + ___________
  6. How do we form the past perfect? Subject + __________ + ___________
  7. This is a contracted sentence: “Michael Jackson’d taken an overdose.” What is the complete version?

 

  1. Project/hand out the original text and ask sts to compare their version to it. They MUSTN’T CHANGE their version but just make a note of the differences.
  2. In open class go over some of the differences, do their versions still make sense? Are their versions grammatically correct?
  3. Have sts complete the guided questions. Clear up any doubts in open class.
  4. Give out the gapped text about 9/11 and have sts complete it in pairs.
  5. Check their answers using the complete text.

The Day the Towers Came Down.

I was at school when I ______(hear) that terrorists __________(attack) the World Trade Centre. I _________ (stand) outside the school gates ________ (wait) for the school bus and ________(chat) to my friends when suddenly one of the teachers __________(run) out of the school and ________(tell) us that something terrible ____________(happen) in New York. Two planes _________(crash) into the twin towers in New York, when I _________(get) home I __________(watch) the towers collapse on the news with my parents. I’ll never forget where I was that day.

I was at school when I heard that terrorists had attacked the World Trade Centre. I was standing outside the school gates waiting for the school bus and chatting to my friends when suddenly one of the teachers ran out of the school and told us that something terrible had happened/was happening in New York. Two planes had crashed into the twin towers in New York, when I got home I watched the towers collapse on the news with my parents. I’ll never forget where I was that day.

  1. Show sts the pictures of important world events, have them choose one and write a short text about what they were doing when they heard about the news.
  2. Have sts read out their texts and share their own experiences in open class.
Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Listening Classes

2Ts in a Pod: Episode 9 – Travel Tales

 

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Image credit: Mark Wilding

Follow us on twitter @RobbioDobbio + @2tspod

There’s still time to donate to Mental Health Friendly to help them set up classes for people suffering and recovering from mental health problems:

https://gogetfunding.com/shay-educational-consultant/

Episode 9 of the podcast is all about travelling, do you like to travel light? Have you got the travel bug? We spoke to two people who definitely have, Jon and Ania from hitchhikershandbook.com; they came on the show to tell us about their various adventures. We also spoke to people about their weird and wonderful travel experiences as well as our vocabulary section “5 Ways to Say.” Below you’ll find the timings of the episode in case you want to skip ahead or use specific parts in class:

Timings:

Tim and Katy travel stories – 0 -13.30
Main Interview – John and Ania – 13.30 – 30.00
5 Ways to say – travel vocab – 30.10 – 35.00
Vox pops – Shay – 35.20 – 40.30
Outro – 40.35 – End

Enjoy! We appreciate any comments or feedback, let us know in the comments here or on Twitter or Facebook.

Check out Jon and Ania’s blog below:

http://hitchhikershandbook.com/

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

2 Ts in a Pod: Episode 5 – Pet Hates

2ts banner with social media

The fifth episode of our new podcast for B2+ English students and teachers alike is now live! In this episode we’re talking about our pet hates or things that really annoy us. Go to our SoundCloud page and download the teacher’s notes below:

Teacher’s notes EP5 Pet Hates

2Ts in a Pod – Teacher’s Notes Episode 5: Pet Hates

Running Order

  1. Intro convo 00:00-7:40
  2. Vox pop – Nicole – 07:46-09:55
  3. Vox pops – Abbi – 10:00-12:30
  4. Be like you – Berenece – 12:45 – 16:38
  5. 5 Ways to say – 16:50 – 21:00
  6. Knock knock jokes 21:13 – 25:49

Additional Materials

5 Ways to Say

Pet hates/Annoying things

  • People get on my nerves when they walk down the street really slowly. (annoys me)
  • People who sit on the outside seat on the bus when the inside seat is free drive me insane/drive me up the wall! (annoys me)
  • Annoying people get on my tits. (annoys me *informal/rude*)
  • Inconsiderate people really piss me off. (annoys me *informal/rude*)
  • My pet hate/bugbear is inconsiderate people. (a thing that annoys me specifically)

Making polite requests

  • Would you mind turning the volume down? (remember to use …ing!)
  • I wish you wouldn’t leave your socks on the floor. (use wish + would to express annoyance)
  • I’d rather you didn’t smoke in here. (use past simple when changing subject)

Discussion Questions

  • What’s your pet hate/bugbear?
  • What things really get on your nerves when you’re on public transport?
  • What things really get on your nerves at work?
  • What things really get on your nerves at home?
  • What things really drive you up the wall in the street?
  • What things do you wish your parents/partner/kids/siblings wouldn’t do?
  • Role-play: one person is smoking on the metro, the other wants them to stop.
  • Role-play: Parent and teenager arguing about the things each one does that annoys the other.
Posted in Conversation Classes, Guest Posts, Vocabulary Classes

Guest Post: Long time, no see! – Adjacency Pairs

Image result for long time no see

Image credit: Language Boat – WordPress.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is the second in a series of guest posts by my friend and colleague Josh Widdows, an English teacher and teacher trainer at International House Barcelona.

This is a speaking lesson for strong intermediate/upper-intermediate students aimed at helping our learners to respond more appropriately to each other´s utterances. It highlights the importance of listening carefully and how to reply with better intonation and stress in a natural way. An enjoyable speaking lesson that gives students fun controlled and freer speaking opportunities in a ´mingling´ activity.

Download the PowerPoint, lesson procedure, audio and handout below. There are two different version, one for adults and one for teenagers:

Tapescript

 

Complete the gaps with 1 or 2 words:

 

Conversation 1

 

A:     Good evening.

B:      Hi.

A:     Is anyone sitting here?

B:      No.

A:     Would you _____­­­­__ if I joined you?

B:      Not _____­­­­__ . That would be lovely.

A:     Can I get you a drink?

B:      That’s very _____­­­­__ . I’d love one.

 

Conversation 2

 

A:     It was lovely to see you again, Sue. We really enjoyed ourselves.

Thank you so _____­­­­__  for having us to stay.

B:      Not at all. It’s _____­­­­__ .

A:     But it was really kind of you to put up with all of us, and the animals.

B:      It’s no problem at all. You must come again soon.

A:     Thanks for the offer. We’ll do that. See you again soon, then!

B:      Yes. Have a good trip.

 

Conversation 3

 

A:     I passed!

B:      Oh, well done…at last! Congratulations! We’ll have to celebrate.

A:     Yes. How _____­­­­__ opening a bottle of champagne?

B:      Brilliant _____­­­­__ .

 

Conversation 4

 

A:     Do you fancy _____­­­­__ with us to the

theatre to see Murder in the Garden?

B:      I _____­­­­__ , but you’ll never _____­­­­__ what. My sister saw it yesterday.

A:     Really?

B:      Yes, and I’m afraid she said it wasn’t very good.

 

 

Now listen and check.

 

 

 

Look at the 6 underlined pairs of phrases in the dialogues.

What is their function?

 

Conversation 1

 

A:       Good evening.

B:       Hi.

A:       Is anyone sitting here?

B:       No.

A:       Would you mind if I joined you?

A     B:       Not at all. That would be lovely.

A:       Can I get you a drink?

B     B:       That’s very kind. I’d love one.

 

Conversation 2

 

A:       It was lovely to see you again, Sue. We really enjoyed ourselves.

Thank you so much for having us to stay.

C     B:       Not at all. It’s a pleasure.

A:       But it was really kind of you to put up with all of us and the animals.

B:       It’s no problem at all. You must come again soon.

A:       Thanks for the offer. We’ll do that. See you again soon, then!

B:       Yes. Have a good trip.

 

Conversation 3

 

A:       I passed!

D     B:       Oh, well done…at last! Congratulations! We’ll have to celebrate.

A:       Yes. How about opening a bottle of champagne?

E     B:       Brilliant idea.

 

Conversation 4

 

A:       Do you fancy coming with us to the

theatre to see Murder in the Garden?

F     B:       I would, but you’ll never guess what. My sister saw it yesterday.

A:       Really?

B:       Yes, and I’m afraid she said it wasn’t very good.

 

Match the function to the sentences:

                                                                                Letter

  1. Saying thanks/responding to thanks ______
  2. Giving good news/responding to good news ______
  3. Asking permission/giving permission ______
  4. Inviting/declining an invitation ______
  5. Making a suggestion/responding to a suggestion ______
  6. Making an offer/accepting an offer ______

 

Now think about the sentence stress and connected speech:

 

 

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

2Ts in a Pod: Podcast Launch!

2Ts_banner_2460x936

Image Credit: Mark Wilding

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

The first two episodes of our brand-spanking new podcast are ready!

Listen from our Sound Cloud page:
https://soundcloud.com/user-333804100

And download the teacher’s notes:
Episode one: https://goo.gl/HxF1fS
Episode two: https://goo.gl/VAPG6Z

The show will be released every two weeks more or less. It is aimed at B2 level students and up, although we do have plans to make specific features for lower levels in the future.

For each episode we choose a different theme; the show is then divided into short features so that they can be listened to as one whole show or as more manageable chunks. We also believe this will make it a useful classroom resources for teachers.

The typical features you might find are:
• Interviews with special guests.
• Vox-pops: Short interviews with people out and about.
• Five ways to say: A feature designed to help boost listeners vocabulary related to the topic of the episode.
• Challenges or experiences: These will include Katy and Tim trying new foods, drinks and activities.
• Pronunciation focus: Here we’ll examine features of English pronunciation such as connected speech and intonation.
• Stop! Grammar time: An irreverent look at specific English grammar points.
• And many many more as we think of them!

This is our first podcast so we’re open to any and all constructive cricitism and feedback! We hope you enjoy the show!

Download our mission statement below:

https://docs.google.com/…/1pQIjE4RLNENGF2QV8EM6OknruZ…/edit…

Love from Katy, Tim and Ben

xxx

Credits

  • Producer & General Sound Wizard: Ben Ward
  • Presenters: Katy Wright & Tim Warre
  • Logos & Artwork: Mark Wilding
  • Jingles: Members of the Barcelona English Choir

Here’s the teacher’s notes for the first episode:

Running Order

  1. 00:00 – 04:25 – Intro.
  2. 04:25 – 08:46 – Guess the top 10 New Year’s resolutions & discussion.
  3. 08:46 – 10:46 – Vox pop: Vicky on New Year’s resolutions.
  4. 10:46 – 16:36 – Tim & Katy discuss their New Year’s resolutions.
  5. 16:36 – 20:58 – 5 Ways to Say: Language of quitting, reducing and addiction.
  6. 20:58 – 24:09 – I wanna be like you who who – Interview with Ania.
  7. 24:09 – 28:00 – Vox pop: Ania on New Year’s resolutions.
  8. 28:00 – END – Interview with Sergi the lifestyle coach.

Additional Materials

New Year’s Resolution Lesson Plan

The information and top 10 that Tim reads can be found in the lesson plan below:

Jugo de la Vida – Sergi’s website

Click the link below to check out Sergi the lifestyle coach’s website:

Five Ways to Say…

  • I want to give up/quit – Stop doing an activity.
  • I’m trying to cut down on – Reduce the quantity I consume.
  • I have cut out fruit juice completely. – To eliminate one thing from your diet.
  • I’m hooked on – To be addicted to something.
  • When my mum was pregnant, she got cravings for – to have a strong need or desire for something, usually related to addictions.

 

Discussion Questions

  • Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution?
  • How successful was it?
  • What do you think of the idea of New Year’s resolutions in general?
  • Have you ever tried to give up a bad habit?
  • How successful were you?
  • What tips or advice would you give to someone trying to do the same?
  • What things do you think you need to cut down on?
  • Are you hooked on anything at the moment?
  • Do you ever get cravings for anything? If so, what?
Posted in Guest Posts, Vocabulary Classes

Guest Post: Meet the Parents – Expressions with “Take”

Image result for meeting parents for the first time

Image credit: Neatorama

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is the first in a series of guest posts by my friend and colleague Josh Widdows, an English teacher and teacher trainer at International House Barcelona.

This is a vocabulary lesson plan for strong intermediate/upper-intermediate students based on the idea of meeting your partner’s parents for the first time. It highlights the importance of strong collocations that are rich in the English language, using ‘take’ expressions. A fun and discussion based lesson that allows students to create their own ‘guide’ for meeting the parents for the first time.

Download the PowerPoint, lesson procedure and handout below.

Meet The Parents Presentation

Meet The Parents Task Sheet

Meet The Parents Lesson Procedure

Meet The Parents Lesson Procedure

 

 

Stage Time Focus Procedure Aim
 

Reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0-5

 

 

O/C

 

 

 

 

Individ.

 

O/C

 

(Slide 1): Film poster of ‘Meet The Parents’. Ask:  Have you seen it?

        What’s it about?

        Why can this be a difficult situation?

 

Ss read the article and decide on best ‘tip’.

 

Ss compare and debate which ‘tip’ is the best. Facilitate and direct conversation.

Answer any questions about other lexis.

 

Topicalise lesson and activate schemata about the first meeting of your partner’s parents.

 

Reason to read and gather ideas.

Allow them to share ideas and debate the items.

 

Vocabulary

Focus 1

 

 

5-20

 

Pairs

 

 

 

 

Individ.

 

 

 

Pairs

 

 

Individ.

 

 

 

O/C

 

 

 

 

 

Highlight the first tip’s take expression and get them to underline the other 9. Encourage noticing of whole lexical chunk.

Monitor and mediate.

 

Project article (Slide 2) with underlined expressions. Ss check and notice full form of the expressions.

 

Ss discuss the meaning of each identified item. Model first in o/c.

 

(Slide 3); Ss match the ‘take’ expressions to their meaning. Do first one in o/c and then encourage autonomy.

 

Write up answers and check. Notice the ones they have difficulties with and clarify any misunderstandings.

 

 

 

Allows ss to notice the multiple expressions in the text.

 

 

Notice all particles of the expressions.

 

 

They work out meaning from context.

 

Notice their ‘meaning gap’ and leads them to understanding the true meaning.

Allow ss to check their understanding and question any uncertainties.

 

Vocabulary

Focus 2

 

 

 

20-30

 

Pairs

 

 

 

 

O/C

 

 

 

 

 

Pairs

 

 

Pairs

 

Focus ss on the form of the first ‘take’ expression and discuss form together, eg. take+prep+noun. They then highlight and discuss the forms of the others: NB Poss. Adjs

 

(Slide 4): Project form table, focusing on ‘singular nouns’ and other patterns.

Elicit the meta-language from ss. Talk about plurals and ask queries.

 

 

Notice which phoneme areas they struggle with and highlight weak forms.

 

Ss mumble practice the phrases. Notice any problem areas and then top-up in o/c.

 

 

Model: Give definition of one expression in o/c and elicit the take expression: ‘Which take expression means “to participate”?’

 

One student has the definition table and the other folds theirs in half. The one with open paper, gives the definition, the other gives the take expression. Monitor pronunciation.

 

 

Get them to identify and notice the different forms of the expressions.

 

Allows them to notice that some of the expressions are fixed that some particles cannot be changed.

 

Highlight the connected speech and word stress.

 

Lets ss practice the expressions and notice problem areas.

 

Reinforce form and recycle/practise meaning.

 

Testing encourages more clarity and cognitive depth.

 

Vocabulary Practice

 

30-40

 

Individ.

 

SS complete 10 sentences with the noun extracted.

 

(Slide 5) Project up the full sentences and ss check. Discuss any uncertainties or queries.

 

 

Draw attention to the lexical value and evaluate the form.

Clarify answers.

 

Personal-ised

Practice

 

 

 

40-55

 

3s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O/C

 

In small groups students discuss and share their own ideas and experiences about ‘How to Survive Meeting Your Partner’s Parents for The First Time and ss decide on best tips.

 

Monitor and ensure ss are using the target language appropriately. Feed in and shape any extra language.

 

 

Ss decide on best tip(s) and then feedback in open class. T reformulates language and ss debate their ideas.

 

 

Feedback to whole group and discuss best tips and personalised ideas that have come up.

 

Top-up on learning and answer any queries.

 

 

Ss gain cognitive depth through personalised answers and practice.

 

 

Allows T to check ss are using the items correctly and reinforce confidence in the ss.

 

Further cognitive depth by learning others’ use of the expressions.

 

 

Shared learning opportunities expands knowledge.