Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Guest Posts, Listening Classes, Reading Classes

C1: Halloween Special – Spoopy Season

This is a guest post by Soleil García Brito just in time for Halloween. This lesson plan is for C1 students. They will discover the spooky origins of the jack-o-lantern and then learn about the new phenomenon of “spoopy” by doing a gapped text reading exercise. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below:

  1. What are the similarities and differences between these two images?
  • Which of these images do you find the spookiest?
  1. Listening (Part 2) VIDEO – The Messed Up Origins™ of Jack-o’-Lanterns

Watch the video (x2) until 5:17 and fill the gaps (1 to 3 words):

  1. Once you think about the name “Jack-o’-lantern”, it becomes evident that this tradition comes from ____________.
  2. Stingy Jack’s personal qualities made the devil ____________.
  3. On his way home Jack saw _______________ on the ground.
  4. The mutilated corpse’s voice was _____________ Satan himself.
  5. The devil was surprised by Jack’s ______________.
  6. Jack prevented the devil from climbing down the tree by surrounding it with ___________.
  7. The devil gave Jack a glowing ember as a _____________.
  8. According to the legend, Jack walks around _____________________ on October 31st.
  • Reading and Use of English (Part 7)

Read the text and choose the correct paragraph from [A]-[G] to fill in the gaps [1]-[6]. There is one extra paragraph, which you do not need to use.

ADAPTED FROM CULTURE DESK – San Francisco Chronicle

What is spoopy? Your guide to the Internet’s favorite Halloween aesthetic

For the past few years, October has not only heralded the return of Halloween and pumpkin spice lattes, it has also marked the dawning of spoopy season. For a small group of people who belong in the center of a Venn diagram of mellowed-out goths and the “extremely online,” the spoopy aesthetic has become a source of joy and comfort in turbulent times.

[1]

“Spookiness is campy, but spoopiness is campy in a very specific way,” says John Paul Brammer, a New York City writer and advice columnist whose popular memes about the demonic goat from the movie “The Witch” are more of the former. “Spoopy’s whole thing is that it is not frightening. It’s not threatening, not arcane, but uses the trappings of the threatening and the arcane to make the joke: OoOoOooOo!!! SpoooOOoooOOooky!!”

[2]

Its origin is much more straightforward than its meaning. In 2009, the word was spotted on a skeleton-theme sign displayed at a Ross Dress For Less store. Though its ascent took some time, the term gained popularity on niche social media communities like Tumblr until it finally reached escape velocity to spread even further.

[3]

Though it might seem random, the delight of this sort of banal creepiness stems from the desire to look an object of fear in the eye — and laugh.

[4]

In political discourse, Prevas points to anti-transgender activists using the image of Frankenstein’s monster to demonize transgender people. Historically, monsters have often stood in for types of people who were undesirable: racial minorities, immigrants, queer people, anyone outside the “normal.” “I love the unsettling part of (spoopiness),” Prevas says, “that disconnect between seeing the creatures which we expect to see in a horror scenario in a perfectly quotidian scene.”

[5]

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it resonates so well right now, at a time when marginalized people’s status feels extremely fraught and political rhetoric insists on estranging us from polite society. This aesthetic defies the imperative to be afraid: Instead, we embrace the monsters as part of ourselves, as neighbours. To let the monster out is, in a sense, letting oneself out. 

[6]

When we look at the skeleton riding a bike, it almost feels aspirational: This is what life could look like if our cloistered selves were set free. As it turns out, spoopiness might be just what we need right now.

[A] Because I’m a restaurant critic, my gauge of whether or not something has hit the mainstream is “The Great British Bake-Off.” In the 10th season, currently airing on the British Channel 4 and Netflix, Spanish contestant Helena Garcia has emerged as a fan favourite thanks to her memorably macabre but cute creations like a chocolate orange tarantula flanked by macadamia nut spider eggs, eldritch horror pies and bloody green “witch finger” biscuits.

[B] What is “spoopy”? It’s the coupling of wildly absurdist humour with terror — an aesthetic unto itself that, like camp, can be hard to articulate.

[C] Spoopy is a reclamation and reframing of these monsters, a mind-set that boasts, “You say I should be scared of this? Hilarious!”

[D] In fables and literary fiction, monsters are the embodiments of everything that society represses: a “warning system” of sorts, says Christine Prevas, a Columbia University Ph.D. candidate whose research focuses on applying queer theory to contemporary horror. The monster is a taboo made flesh: A prepubescent girl turned foul-mouthed, vomiting demon in “The Exorcist”; a bad sexual encounter run amok in “It Follows.”

[E] When I look at this stuff, it reminds me of how I like to “watch” horror movies by reading their plot summaries on Wikipedia: a digital version of peeking at Medusa’s face by holding up a mirror.

[F] This disruption of the narrative of otherness mirrors the way people actually want to be seen. For instance, queer people can be queer outside of designated contexts like gay bars and the privacy of one’s bedroom, Prevas says. “We’re also queer in the grocery store. We’re also queer on a bicycle.”

[G] Much easier than defining it is sorting through what is and isn’t spoopy. As a start, think of it as friendly and somewhat sarcastic horror: A skeleton isn’t, but a skeleton riding a bike? Definitely spoopy. The Babadook isn’t, but the memes that claim that the monster is a proud gay man? Super spoopy.

  • Language focus (15 min)
  1. Vocabulary

Look at the words in bold in the text and discuss the meaning with a partner:

Former 
Somewhat 
Spotted 
Gauge 
Embodiments 
Unsettling 
Mirrors 

Next, fill in the gaps with the vocabulary words in the correct form to fit the context:

  • Jack saw a mutilated corpse with a(n) _____________  look on its face.
  • His mood ___________ the gloomy weather on that Halloween night.
  • Between risking being tricked and facing Jack’s grumbling stomach for the rest of the trip, the devil chose the _________.
  • Some consider him the very _____________ of evil.
  • The devil was ____________ confused by Jack’s request to pay the bill at the bar.
  • Jack ___________ a mutilated corpse on the ground on his way home from the bar.
USEFUL CHUNKSUse the trappings of (sth) Stem from Run amok In a sense
  • After Jack __________ the level of danger he was in, he decided to trap the devil by using crosses.
Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class

C1 Advanced: Key Word Transformation Training #4

2. Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Preparation

This is another worksheet designed to help introduce students to typical expressions that are tested in part 4 of the reading and use of English paper. Download the handout below:

Use this Quizizz game for space repetition of the expressions: https://quizizz.com/admin/quiz/616ed396bccf36001d65cf8e

Version 1

Read the sentences and guess the meaning of the underlined expression with your partner:

  1. As far as we can tell, the accident was caused by human error.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Could you keep an eye on my bag while I go to the toilet?

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. The teacher turned a blind eye to the students who were whispering at the back of the class.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. I need to brush up on my German before my trip to Berlin next month.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. I’m on holiday next week but please keep me in the picture about how the project is going.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. She can’t have been pleased to see her ex-boyfriend sitting at the bar when she came in.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Steve hardly ever gets to work on time.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. I didn’t recognise the number that was calling me but it turned out to be my brother on his new phone.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. In accordance with his last will and testament, the majority of his fortune was donated to charity.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Never before have I seen such a beautiful display of dance.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. It took her a while to come to terms with the death of her parents.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. If it hadn’t been for Charlie, I would still be working in that dead-end job.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Investigators are trying to piece together what happened after they lost contact with the pilot of the plane.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. The match has been called off due to unforeseen circumstances.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Contrary to popular opinion, not all Mexican food is spicy.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Since getting promoted, I’ve struggled to get to grips with my new responsibilities.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Can you give me a lift to the airport in the morning?

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. His love of jazz music dates back to his visit to New Orleans 20 years ago.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. We could meet at 9am Thursday morning, I hope that this suggestion meets with your approval.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. His son’s failure to get into a good college was a source of great disappointment to him.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. The president is widely expected to lose the upcoming election.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. In all likelihood, there will be job losses at the company due to a drop in sales.

Version 2

Try to recall the expressions using the key word in brackets to help you.

  1. Based on the evidence we have we think the accident was caused by human error. (TELL)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Could you watch my bag while I go to the toilet? (EYE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. The teacher pretended not to see the students who were whispering at the back of the class. (EYE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. I need to refresh and revise my German before my trip to Berlin next month. (BRUSH)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. I’m on holiday next week but please give me regular updates on how the project is going. (PICTURE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. She definitely wasn’t pleased to see her ex-boyfriend sitting at the bar when she came in. (HAVE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Steve is almost always late for work. (HARDLY)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. I didn’t recognise the number that was calling me but in the end it was my brother on his new phone. (TURNED)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Based on his last will and testament, the majority of his fortune was donated to charity. (ACCORDANCE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. It was the first time I had seen such a beautiful display of dance. (NEVER)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. It took her a while to understand and accept the death of her parents. (TERMS)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Without Charlie, I would still be working in that dead-end job. (BEEN)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Investigators are trying to deduce what happened after they lost contact with the pilot of the plane. (PIECE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. The match has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. (CALLED)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Despite what most people think, not all Mexican food is spicy. (CONTRARY)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Since getting promoted, I’ve struggled to deal with/understand my new responsibilities. (GRIPS)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Can you drive me to the airport in the morning? (LIFT)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. His love of jazz music started when he visited New Orleans 20 years ago. (DATES)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. We could meet at 9am Thursday morning, I hope that this suggestion is acceptable to you. (MEETS)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. His son’s failure to get into a good college was disappointing for him. (SOURCE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Most people expect the president to lose the upcoming election. (WIDELY)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. There will probably be job losses at the company due to a drop in sales. (LIKELIHOOD)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Posted in Advanced C1, B2 First, Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class

B2+ Goat vs Bear – Exam Practice & Discussion

This is a lesson plan for B2+ students. It is based on a text from https://www.iflscience.com/ on the subject of wild animals. It will serve as good exam practice for students preparing to take Cambridge exams and should also be an engaging topic of conversation for teenagers and adults. Download the handouts and slides below:

Link to original article: https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/badass-goat-killed-grizzly-bear-by-skewering-it-on-its-horns-necropsy-reveals/

Procedure

  1. Show students the second slide of the PowerPoint, encourage them to guess which animal would win.
  2. Show them the second and have them speculate about how a goat would beat a bear.
  3. Give out handout and have students read to confirm their speculations, check in open class.
  4. Have students complete the open cloze, they could work in pairs or individually and then check with their partner. Good practice for Cambridge exams use of English.
  5. Lead students through the vocabulary exercises.
  6. Discussion: Which animal could you beat in a fight? Show students the fourth slide and explain the statistics to them. Put students in groups and have them discuss which animals they think they could beat and how they would do it. 
  7. Lead a discussion on the best way to tackle certain large, dangerous animals. Have students speculate on the best thing to do in each encounter, then check on the internet to see whether or not they would have survived. Board any emergent language and exploit it for recall later.

Open Cloze Key

Apex predators make (1) IT to the top (2) BY being the most efficient hunters in their domain, but every now and (3) THEN an underdog crops up to disrupt the food chain. (4) SUCH an example played out on the mountains of Burgess Pass in Yoho National Park, where Parks Canada retrieved the body of a female grizzly bear. Such a creature would usually (5) BE  the slayer rather than the slain, and most surprisingly of all the assailant turned (6) OUT to be a goat.

The battle (7) TOOK place sometime before September 4 after which Parks Canada was made aware (8) OF the presence of a carcass. Bodies such (9) AS these need to be removed as they can otherwise lure in wildlife that could put visitors to the pass (10) AT risk.

The discovery of a slain bear merits a forensic investigation to determine the (11) CAUSE of death, and so a necropsy (12) WAS conducted on the animal. During the examination, staff noticed that the fatal wounds were at the base of the bear’s neck and in (13) ITS armpits. The attack sites might sound random to the uninitiated, but to experienced park rangers, this was the work (14) OF one extremely lucky mountain goat.

“When grizzly bears attack, they tend (15) TO focus (16) ON the head, neck, and shoulders of the prey, usually (17) FROM above,” Alison Biles, Public Relations and Communications Officer for Parks Canada, told IFLScience. “In turn, the defensive response of mountain goats would (18) BE  to protect themselves using (19) THEIR sharp horns.”

“Grizzly bear predation of mountain goats is relatively common and significant goat activity was observed (20) IN the immediate area. (21) IN this case, it appears that the mountain goat was (22) TRYING/ABLE to defend itself. While rare, other cases of mountain goats defensively killing bears have (23) BEEN reported in the past, (24) WHICH is not completely surprising since mountain goats are strong animals that are well-equipped to defend (25) THEMSELVES” 

Adapted from: https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/badass-goat-killed-grizzly-bear-by-skewering-it-on-its-horns-necropsy-reveals/ 

Find words or phrases in the text to match these definitions:

  1. Animals at the top of the local food chain. – APEX PREDATORS
  2. Someone in a game or fight who has little chance of winning. – AN UNDERDOG
  3. A killer. – SLAYER – assailant – an attacker
  4. The dead body of an animal. – CARCASS
  5. Attract. – LURE IN
  6. Where your arm meets your chest. – ARMPITS
  7. People without experience. – THE UNINITIATED 
  8. A person who patrols and maintains a national park. – PARK RANGER
  9. To have the tools to do something. – BE WELL-EQUIPPED

Complete the collocations from the text:

  1. MAKE it to the top
  2. Every NOW and then
  3. Such AN example
  4. The assailant TURNED out to be a goat
  5. The battle took PLACE sometime before September 4
  6. Parks Canada was MADE aware of the presence of a carcass.
  7. Put visitors at RISK
  8. An investigation to determine the cause of DEATH

Complete the sentences with one of the collocations:

  1. The police still aren’t sure of the CAUSE OF DEATH
  2. I don’t go out often but EVERY NOW AND THEN I like to meet up with friends and let my hair down.
  3. His carelessness PUT everyone on board the ship AT RISK, it can’t happen again.
  4. I have been MADE AWARE OF some complaints that customers have made and I would like to address them.
  5. The match will TAKE PLACE tonight at the usual address.
  6. To MAKE IT TO THE TOP in this industry you have to work very hard and get lucky.
  7. We thought it was a shark under the boat but TURNED OUT TO BE a piece of rubbish.
Posted in Advanced C1, Writing Classes

C1 Advanced Essay Task: Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

How To Reduce The Carbon Footprint? | World Culture Network

This is a writing task for C1 students preparing for the Cambridge Advanced exam. Download the handout below:

Task

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

Comments:

“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.

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

2Ts in a Pod Episode 52: Pride Month Special – The Wonderful World of Drag

Image credit: Mark Wilding

For episode 52 we spoke to Oscar/Lana Vuli a drag performer based in Barcelona. We spoke about his/her route into drag performance and experiences performing live and on the Youtube Channel “Science Queers”. You’ll find a link to the channel below.

It was a great episode and a really enjoyable interview, we hope you like it!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWR22076Osunb7hiTHfhr1Q

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Advanced C1, B2 First, Listening Classes, Reading Classes

2Ts in a Pod: Episode 50!!! Book Club – Thursday Murder Club Part 6

Image credit: Mark Wilding

We’ve made it to 50 episodes! Thanks to all our listeners for your continued support, we ❤️ you all!


In episode 50 we’re pressing on with Richard Osman’s wonderful debut novel The Thursday Murder Club, chapters 24-31.

Why not get your students to listen and read along?

Posted in Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C1/C2: Killer Expressions Grouped by Topic

PsBattle: An Impressed Footballer's face : photoshopbattles

Thanks to my colleague Natascha Wallace for this idea. Basically it’s a list of advanced expressions, grouped by topic, for C1/C2 students and sets of conversation questions on those same topics. The idea being that they can drop them into their writings or use them in the speaking exam in order to score more points. Alternatively, beyond the world of exams, they will undoubtedly be useful IRL! Download the handouts below:

Procedure:

Have students read the expressions in the first category and try to guess the meaning in pairs. Clear up any doubts in open class.

Ping-pong

Tell students they have 1 minute to try to memorise as many of the expressions in the category as they can. After 1 minute tell them to turn their papers over. Students then play “ping-pong” in pairs one person says one expression and the other must say another back and forth until one can’t remember any more expressions. After they’ve played a couple of rounds tell them to look at the expressions again and refresh their memories of the ones they struggled to remember.

Then hand out the conversation questions and have students discuss them in groups of 3. One member of the group should act as the examiner, asking the questions and also counting the number of killer expressions each person uses. Encourage students to have fun with it and use as many as they can.

Then move onto the next category, rinse and repeat.

There are a lot of categories so you may want to split it over several classes.

You can then use this quizziz quiz for space repetition.

Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Grammar Classes, Vocabulary Classes

CAE/C1 Advanced: Use of English Part 2 Revision Worksheet

cae | British Formazione Inglese Livorno

This is a worksheet for students preparing to take the C1 Advanced exam. It will act as a refresher for a lot of the language, including linkers, prounouns, fixed expressions and phrasal verbs, that often come up in part 2 of the reading and use of English paper. Download the handout and key below:

You could follow up by playing this quizziz game that covers 25 of the sentences:

Posted in Advanced C1, B2 First, Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency

Where do you stand? Science & Technology

Technology and Science | Study Abroad Life

This is another edition of my “Where do you Stand?” conversation series. Students debate different topics related to science and technology but must rate their opinion on a scale from 1-6 before they begin the discussion. Download the PowerPoint and student handout below:

If you want to use it with B2 students you could use this phrase sheet.

Credit to Owlcation for some of the debate topics:

https://owlcation.com/academia/80-Science-Debate-Topics-for-Students

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Advanced C1, B2 First, Listening Classes, Proficiency

2Ts in a Pod: Episode 47 – The Unluckiest People in the World

NEW EPISODE! In Episode 47 Tim & Katy tell stories of some of the unluckiest people to have ever lived! Which one do you think is the unluckiest?

This great lesson plan by Alice at Hot Take English is based around one of the hard luck stories from this episode; why not set the podcast for homework and then use the lesson plan in the following class?