Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Grammar Classes

First Certificate (FCE) Grammar/Language Checklist

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This is a lesson plan designed for students on preparation courses for the Cambridge B2 First (FCE) exam. In particular I think it would be good for students who are close to taking the exam. It works as a diagnostic test of a range of the grammar points that are tested, particularly in part 4 of the reading and use of English exam. Download the handout below:

First Certificate Grammar Checklist

Quizlet set

Procedure:

Self-Assessment

Give out copies of the handout, have students individually assess their grasp of each of the structures. They should fill in the box on the end with either a tick (I know this very well) a cross (I’ve got no idea about this) or a wiggly line (I more or less get this).

Have students compare with their partner. Ask them to look for differences, there should be opportunities for peer teaching here, have one student attempt to explain a grammar point to another.

Practice

Project the quizlet set of key word transformations. Put students in pairs. First students need to identify the structure that is being tested. This is a very important step, getting them to put themselves in the examiner’s shoes and not just jump straight in and answer. Check that they’ve identified the structure, then have them work together to try to complete the sentence. Encourage reflection and comparison between their initial self-assessment and then their scores and performance in the exam task.

The checklist is not exhaustive, have I missed any common structures that come up in part 4?

Grammar Structure Examples Self-assessment
Past simple/Present perfect I haven’t seen John for 5 years.

The last time I saw John was 5 years ago.

 
2nd conditional If I won the lottery, I would buy a mansion.

If I didn’t work in construction, I would be an actor.

 
3rd conditional If I hadn’t slipped on that banana, I wouldn’t have broken my arm.

If I had known you were coming, I would have baked a cake.

 
The passive voice Active: The police arrested the man.

Passive: The man was arrested by the police.

Other example: It is said that cigarettes give you cancer.

Cigarettes are said to give you cancer

 
Wish/If only I regret eating so much -> I wish I hadn’t eaten so much.

It was a bad idea to drink that wine -> If only I hadn’t drunk that wine.

 
Linkers: Despite/in spite of -> Although/even though Despite the rain, the party was great -> The party was great even though it was raining.

Although he felt ill, he still went to school. -> He still went to school in spite of his illness.

 
Reported speech “I went there last year.” -> He said that he had gone there last year.

“I will call him tomorrow.” -> She said that she would call him the following day.

 
Reported questions Have you been to Paris?” -> He asked me if I had been to Paris.

Where is the train station?” -> He asked me where the train station was.

 
Phrasal verbs He wants to cancel the meeting -> he wants to call off the meeting.

He won’t tolerate bad behaviour -> he won’t put up with bad behaviour.

 
Causative have/get: have/get something done I need to get my hair cut.

I need to have my computer repaired.

 
Comparatives/superlatives This restaurant is better than that one -> That restaurant isn’t as good as this one.

He’s not nearly as tall as me.

My brother is slightly younger than me.

No one is as good at football as Messi -> Messi is the best football player.

 
Past modal verbs:

Must have

Could/might/may have

Should have etc.

The butler must have murdered him, there’s blood on his shirt.

It can’t have been Sarah you saw at the mall, she’s on holiday in Dubai.

I shouldn’t have drunk so much last night.

 
So/such It was so hot that we couldn’t leave the hotel -> It was such a hot day that we had to stay in the hotel.

It rained so much that the house flooded. ->It was such a rainy day that the house flooded.

 
Gerund/infinitive I’m a big fan of playing water sports.

I’m interested in studying history.

I have decided to study biology.

He spent 10 minutes knocking on my door.

 
Posted in Vocabulary Classes

Gossip Girls: Phrasal Verbs

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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 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Exam Preparation Class, Listening Classes, Teacher Training

2Ts in a Pod: Cambridge First (FCE) Mini-Series

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I haven’t even had time to keep up with the posts about each episode of our podcast. Terribly neglectful of me. Towards the end of last year we did a little mini series on the Cambridge B2 First or whatever it’s called these days (Cambridge keep changing the name). We looked at most parts of the exam; have a listen by following the links below:

FCE General Tips

FCE Speaking

FCE Reading

FCE Use of English

 

Posted in Listening Classes

Listening: This American Life – Embarrassing Moments

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Image credit: Disney Wiki – Fandom

This is another guest post by Katy Wright, the co-host of our podcast 2Ts in a Pod. This is a listening activity for B2+ students based around a clip from an episode of the popular podcast This American Life. The episode is called 20 Acts in 60 MinutesThe clip in question is an interview with the actor Tate Donovan in which he recounts a particularly embarrassing moment in his life. Download all the materials below:

Teacher’s Notes

Warm-up

  1. Show a picture of Tate Donovan. Ask students if they recognise him (he was famously Joshua on Friends)
  2. Tell students that they are going to listen to an him talking about an embarrassing moment.
  3. Ask you students: What would an actor find embarrassing?
  4. Play the audio file (This American Life: 20 acts in 60 minutes)
  5. Were their predictions correct?

Decoding

  1. Give students the transcript
  2. Ask them to listen again to the section and fill in the gaps. Tell them that there is one word per gap
  3. The students may need you to play it several times to get the right answer. Give them the first letter of the word to help them if they are struggling.
  4. Tell students that these are elements of connected speech. Ask students to drill (repeat after the teacher) the connect speech. If students are too embarrassed to do this tell them that it is ok to do this quietly (mumble drill)
  5. Ask students to listen to the section again and this time underline the stressed words. You do the first word as an example
  6. Check their answers
  7. Now ask students to drill the section, sentence by sentence. Using both the connected speech and the stress.
  8. Now tell them that they are going to say the words at the same time as the audio. Do this sentence by sentence, pausing in between to help students to catch up.
  9. Ask students if they feel this has improved their understanding of connected speech and intonation in English.

Speaking

  1. Ask students to think about an embarrassing moment that they had or someone they know has had, but not to discuss is yet!
  2. Tell them to think for 2 minutes and write down 5 – 10 words about their story.
  3. When time is up, turn to their partner and tell their story
  4. Monitor the class and note down example of errors or interesting language that emerges
  5. In open class look at the emergent language and discuss improvements or other ways of expressing the same thing
  6. Ask students to turn to another partner and repeat their story. This time trying to use the improvements discussed in open class

Additional Idea

  • Ask students to write out their story for homework and record it on their phones. They can send the audio file to you for homework

Decoding Key – Stress Underlined

So all of a sudden, the 10 minutes we’re sitting there waiting for it to start, three or four people come up to me and recognize me. I mean, they know exactly who I am. And they are quoting lines from a television show I was on. And like, hey, you were Joshua on Friends.

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

2Ts in a Pod: Lesson Plan – Pet Hates

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This is a guest post by Katy Wright, the co-host of 2Ts in a Pod. It’s a listening activity based around a clip from episode 5: Pet Hates. Download all the materials below:

Teacher’s Notes

Warm-up

  1. Tell students they are going to listen to two people, Tim and Katy, talking about their pet hates. Check their understanding of pet hate [a common, everyday thing that can be really annoying]
  2. Ask student to predict in groups about what could annoy Tim?
  3. Listen to the extract and check their predictions
  4. Ask students if they also find these things annoying.
  5. Ask students to make a list of 3 of their biggest pet hates and share them with their partner

Listening in detail

  1. Tell students they are going to listen to the extract again. This time they write down expressions they hear related to being annoyed or irritated
  2. You may want to play the extract again is students are struggling
  3. Students compare the expressions they have written.
  4. Give the students the transcript of the extract. Ask them to underline the pragmatic language related to annoyance. Did they find them all?
  5. Check understanding of the expressions in open class. Point out the stressed words of these expressions
  6. Ask students to repeat the expressions with their partner to practice pronunciation and stress

Speaking

  1. Go back to the list of 3 pet hates they discussed earlier in the lesson. Ask students to talk about them again but this time using the expressions from the extract
  2. Monitor and give feedback on emergent language

Additional Idea

  • Students can practice the conversation a few times with a partner and then record their conversation “podcast” style. This could then be shared among the other members of the group on WhatsApp or a wiki if they feel comfortable to do so.

Transcript

1:43 – 3:00 minutes

Katy: [00:00:00] But first Tim, what really annoys you? What really drives you up the wall?

Tim: [00:00:05] What drives me up the wall. I would say, in general, inconsiderate people really get on my nerves. So, especially in public places like on public transport, for example. Here in Barcelona, it’s really common. So, say you’re on the Metro, okay, and you’re coming up to a stop and it pulls, the Metro pulls into the station and stops the doors open and people try to get on the Metro before you’ve got off. Yeah it really, really drives me insane.

Katy: [00:00:42] So annoying.

Tim: [00:00:43] If you just let us off everything would be so much easier. Yeah. It really really really really gets on my nerves. Also another thing on the metro I think it’s quite common, um, that really annoys me is people listening to music without headphones on their mobiles.

Katy: [00:01:02] That annoys me if people are walking down the street. I don’t know. Just turn it down, put headphones in. Or turn it down.

Tim: [00:01:11] Yeah. No one wants to listen to that.

Katy: [00:01:12] No one cares.

Tim: [00:01:14] So that, that’s what really really really annoys me. Yeah, It drives me up the wall.

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

2Ts in a Pod: Lesson Plan – Coincidences

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This is a listening activity for B1+ students based around an extract from episode 11 of our podcast on the topic of Small World Stories and Coincidences. Download all the materials below:

Lead-in

Use the first slide on the PowerPoint to introduce the topic and have students predict what kind of coincidences two identical twins separated at birth could have experienced.

1st Listen

Students listen and try to write down all the coincidences they hear then compare in partners and listen again if necessary. Task check using PowerPoint slide:

  • Both called James
  • Both grew up to be police officers
  • Both marry a Linda
  • Both had sons called James Alan/Allan
  • Both had a dog called Toy
  • Both remarried women called Betty

2nd Listen

Students listen again and write down expressions for expressing surprise:

  • What???
  • Seriously??
  • No way!
  • You’re shitting me!
  • That’s mental!
  • How bizarre!

3rd Listen: Decoding

Students listen to the first section again and fill in the gaps with elements of connected speech:

Key:

I’ve got some coincidence stories that have happened in the world. This one’s a good one. Right. So, as I mentioned I studied psychology at University so I’d, I’d heard about these guys. This is an article that I found on boredpanda.com. And it’s called “10+ crazy coincidences that are hard to believe actually happened”. So here’s the thing. There’s two twins who were separated at birth.

Speaking

Students think of a surprising story or event from their own lives and write down 6 key words needed to tell the story. They then tell the story to their partner who reacts using the expressions. Teacher gives feedback/error correction, then they swap partners and repeat the exercise having taken the feedback on board.

Posted in Listening Classes, Video Classes

Video Listening Activity: Joe Lycett – Scamming a Scammer

 

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Image credit: Chambers Management

Just a quick note…

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 listening activity for B2+ students based around a Youtube clip of a Joe Lycett stand-up comedy routine on the subject of scammers. Download the handout, teacher’s notes, full transcript and powerpoint below:

The video:

Teacher’s Notes

Lead-in

Use the first slide of the PowerPoint to pre-teach the UK cultural references students will need for the video:

  1. Class and social status are very important in the UK, this manifests itself in snobbery about supermarkets: Waitrose is a posh expensive supermarket, Aldi is a cheap, lower quality one.
  2. Dorothy Perkins is a relatively cheap high street clothes shop.
  3. Gumtree is a popular website where people list many things: properties for rent, things for sale etc.
  4. A scam is when someone tries to trick someone else out of their money. Common scams include: email scams, social media scams, rental scams, holiday apartment scams (timeshare), fake goods scams (watches, shoes, handbags etc.)
  5. In pairs students compare their own country with the UK, do these scams exist?

Pre-Listening

Students discuss in pairs.

  • You’re going to watch a video of the British comedian Joe Lycett telling a story about how he scammed a scammer via email.
  • What do you think he’s going to do?

Listening 1

Watch the first part of the video (until 01:26) and answer the question:

  1. What is the scam? A property scam, to get a viewing of a flat, potential tenants must transfer money using a site called moneytoindia.eu

Now watch again and answer these questions:

  1. Why does Joe start emailing Gemma? His friend discovers it and realises it is a scam.
  2. What does Gemma say about the flat? That it is in a beautiful area with parking facilities.
  3. What does Gemma ask Joe to do? Send $220 and his home address.

Prediction: What is Joe going to do next?

Listening 2

Watch the next part (until 2:06): Were your predictions correct?

Watch again:

  1. Where did Joe say he was? In Stockholm
  2. Where was he really? In his garden in Birmingham drinking prosecco.
  3. What was Gemma’s excuse for not meeting him? That she was in Berlin on a business trip.

Predict: What do you think Joe will do next?

Listening 3

Watch the next part (until 3:28): Were your predictions correct?

Watch again:

  1. What does the German phrase Joe uses mean? I know this is a scam.
  2. How did Joe make his story more convincing? By including a photo of himself in Berlin from a previous holiday.
  3. How did Joe finish the latest email? By saying he was going to contact the FBI to check Gemma out.

Predict: What do you think will happen next?

Listening 4

Watch the rest of the video: Were your predictions correct?

  1. How did Gemma react to Joe’s email about the FBI? She panicked and sent lots of emails.
  2. How did Joe give Gemma a taste of her own medicine? By asking her to send him $300 to cancel the FBI check.
  3. What did Gemma say in her last email? That she was sorry and would try to live a better life.

Reaction

  1. What did you think of the video?

Decoding – Transcript Work – KEY

Watch the first part of the video again and fill in the gaps in the transcript with what you hear:

Part 1

So this is my favorite thing that’s come as a result of me being a bit weird with somebody online. A friend of mine was looking for somewhere to live in London, which as I’m sure you’re aware is quite expensive, quite difficult increasingly.

 

He found somewhere on gumtree that looked kind of promising did a bit of emailing back and forth and realized pretty quickly this is probably a scam and so he sent all the emails that he’d done already over to me and just did the subject heading: “do your absolute worst”. A girl called Gemma, who was supposedly advertising this property, I sent her a fresh email, I said: “Hello Gemma I’m contacting you regarding the apartment listed on Gumtree, I’m interested in a viewing and wanted to arrange, regards Joe Lycett.” I used my own name on this one.

 

Discussion

  1. Is this a good way to deal with scammers?
  2. Do similar scams exist in your country?
  3. Have you ever been a victim of a scam?
  4. What do you think of this type of comedy? Do you find it funny?
  5. Which other stand-up comedians do you like? Have you ever been to a live show?
  6. Did you enjoy this activity?

Extra Support

If students are struggling to understand the text, try slowing the speed down on youtube, or give them the full transcript as a last resort.