Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

B2+ Conversation Topic: Pet Peeves & Bugbears

Pet Peeves - RunEatSnap

This is a conversation topic for B2+ students in which they discuss things that annoy them. First they study some expressions related to annoyance and anger, then put them to use in a discussion about different annoying habits. Download the student handout, key and Powerpoint below:

Warmer

Start by writing “Pet hates/peeves & Bugbears” on the board and give examples of some of your personal pet peeves using some of the expressions from the student handout.

Vocabulary Focus

Give out the handout and have students complete the expressions. Check answers in open class.

Instruct students to cover the handout, then show the first slide from the Powerpoint, students now need to remember the expressions using the words from the exercises on the handout:

STAND – I can’t stand it when…

The sentences are animated on the Powerpoint so you can reveal them one at a time.

Repeat for the expressions about anger.

Discussion

Put students in pairs or groups of three.

Go through the slides on the Powerpoint showing different annoying habits and behaviours.

For each slide encourage students to discuss their feelings about the topic and also think of a specific time in their lives when they’ve witnessed such behaviour, and how they reacted. If they can’t think of a specific time, encourage them to speculate about how they would react: “If I saw someone throwing litter out of a car window, I would lose my rag!”

Encourage students to share their opinions and experiences in open class.

Wrap up the activity by having students write a definitive list of 3 pet peeves/bugbears that they have.

For adult students or groups that you know well, you may want to teach slightly more explicit versions of the expressions:

Lose one’s shit

It fucks me off

Homework

Have students listen to our episode of 2Ts in a Pod on the topic of Pet Hates:

Posted in Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Current Affairs Classes, Guest Posts, Listening Classes, Proficiency, Reading Classes, Video Classes

C1/C2: Face Recognition

Elijah Cummings & John Lewis

This is a lesson plan for C1/C2 students by Soleil García Brito on the topic of face recognition based around a video and a gapped text exercise. The warmer could also be used with lower levels (B1/B2). At the end of the lesson students can take an online test to see if they are “super recognisers”; you’ll find the link below.

Download the student’s handout and teacher’s notes below.

Here is the video:

Face Recognition Test from Greenwich University.

Posted in Conversation Classes

“I could eat a horse!” – Food Conversation Topic

Super simple conversation activity based around the topic of food. Suitable for a range of levels from A2 upwards. It was written for students based in Barcelona so a couple of questions won’t make sense outside Catalonia, but you can skip/adapt those ones. Credit to my DELTA tutor Neil Forrest for the dressing a salad question and nationalfoods.org for the weird national dishes questions.

Introduce the topic of food debates using the first slide about the Devon vs Cornwall cream tea debate. Cream teas are scones topped with jam and clotted cream but there is a heated debate regarding which should be put on the scone first. Cornish heathens think that the jam should go first, followed by the cream, which is just preposterous. Righteous Devonians know that the correct order is cream first, then jam. (can you guess where I’m from?) Then ask students to discuss any food debates that exist in their country.

Download the powerpoint below:

Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Video Classes

Gender Roles & the Colour Pink: C1/C2

54" Vinyl Hot Pink Fabric from $4.66/yd | Fabric.com - Fabric.com

This is another guest post by Soleil García Brito on the topic of gender roles and the colour pink but this time for higher level students (C1/C2). The lesson plan is made up of two video exercises, a gapped text reading exercise and a discussion on the topic. Download the student handout and teacher’s notes below:

Here are the links to the videos:

The colour pink:

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/01/12/health/colorscope-pink-boy-girl-gender/index.html

Ross’s Shirt:

Posted in Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Proficiency

Discussion Topics: Where do you stand?

Life Begins at 40: Imágenes, fotos de stock y vectores | Shutterstock

This is a conversation lesson plan designed with higher level adults in mind (C1/C2). It could also be adapted for lower levels. Download the handouts below:

The advanced discussion phrases handout is a truncated version of my C2 speaking phrase sheet, other phrase sheets could be used for lower levels.

Give out the phrase sheet. Have students peruse it and ask questions about unfamiliar expressions. You may also want to model pronunciation of some of the exponents, although this could also be done reactively. You could also ask students to choose their favourite expressions from the list to encourage ownership of the exponents.

Give out the discussion topics. Explain the system: students must read the topic and first individually circle one of the numbers between one and six to determine how much they agree with the statement. Students are then free to discuss the topic in groups or as a class. They must decide their level of agreement before discussing the topic to avoid following the crowd. This system should lead to more in-depth discussion and hopefully more disagreements!

Encourage the use of the expressions on the phrases sheet; you could award points for the number of expressions used. Some of the discussion topics are common proverbs or phrases so be ready to give definitions and examples to illustrate meaning.

Posted in Advanced C1, Proficiency, Writing Classes

C1/C2 Writing Task: Lockdown Report

New Covid lockdown rules for England: what you can and can't do from  Thursday

This is a writing task for students preparing for the C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency exam. Students are required to write a report on the effects that the initial coronavirus lockdown had on young people in their country and also give recommendations to improve the situation in the event of a second lockdown. Download the handout below:

Formal advanced language key:

  1. LONELINESS
  2. ISOLATION
  3. ANXIETY
  4. DESIRED
  5. COMPLAINT
  6. MINORITY, DISSATISFACTION
  7. STRONGLY
  8. MOTIVATION, PROCRASTINATION
  9. UNPRECEDENTED
  10. TEETHING, ADEQUATE

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

Collaborative Speaking Tasks – Halloween

This is a Halloween-themed speaking lesson plan. It was designed with C2 proficiency students in mind as preparation for speaking part 2. However, it can be used with a wide range of levels. Download the powerpoint below:

I recommend giving out one of my phrase sheets before doing the task. Find them using the search function.

If you’re teaching C1 or C2 students you could also use my “Scared Stiff” lesson plan to look at language to describe feeling scared or to talk about horror films.

Put students in pairs and go through the powerpoint. Students will have to discuss and make decisions about different elements of horror films and other topics related to fears and phobias.

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

2Ts in a Pod: Halloween Special 2020

Image credit: Mark Wilding

2Ts in a Pod is back with our first episode of season 4! It’s the 2020 Halloween special!

Some great creepy stories to use as listening activities in your classes this week! Try the spine-tingling one from 40:09-43:05 by friend of the pod Wilf Merttens.

If you like what you hear, check out Wilf’s podcast The Wilfiad: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-wilfiad/id1198607038

Posted in Advanced C1, Grammar Classes, Proficiency

Halloween Horror Story: C1/C2 Inversions

This is a spooky grammar lesson for Halloween. Students listen to the first part of a horror story in the form of a dictogloss, then continue the story using inversions. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below:

Horror Story Dictogloss – Teacher’s Notes

Pre-Listening

Tell students you’re going to read them the introduction to a horror story. It features a haunted mansion and the first line is “It was a dark and stormy night…” Tell them to make predictions about what will happen.

Dictogloss

Explain the dictogloss to your students:

You will read the story to them several times. A note on delivery, read the text in a natural way, don’t pause mid-sentence, follow the punctuation. You may want to exaggerate the pauses after full stops and commas to give students a bit of extra processing time.

  1. The first time all they have to do is listen.
  2. Second time they can take notes of words and phrases, stress that it’s not a dictation and that they shouldn’t worry if their version is different.
  3. Students compare notes with a partner or in a three.
  4. Students listen for a third time, taking notes and then compare with their group again. You may want to read the text for a fourth time, gauge it with your own group.
  5. Students work to recreate the text. You could do this on a Google doc so you can see the versions taking shape. Assign each group a page of the doc so that they’re not tempted to copy each other.
  6. Show them the original text and copy/paste all their versions below. Have them compare their versions and looks for differences.

It was a dark and stormy night, the wind was whistling through the trees and the rain was pouring down. Not only was I completely soaking wet, but also my teeth were chattering because of the icy wind. I knocked on the door of the ancient run-down mansion as hard as I could; little did I know the horror that awaited me on the other side of the door. No sooner had I ceased my knocking than the door swung slowly open. The darkness on the other side was pitch-black but so desperate was I to get out of the storm that I jumped inside without a second thought. Hardly had I set foot inside the house when the door slammed shut behind me…

Language Focus

Ask students to complete the following language analysis task in pairs:

  • Meaning – substitute the phrases in bold for other, simpler words so that the meaning is the same.
  • Usage – why do you think the writer decided to use the phrases in bold instead of simpler language? What effect do these expressions have on the reader? More emphatic, more exciting, draws the reader in.
  • Form – Look at the word order after the inversion phrases:
    • Not only…
    • Little…
    • No sooner
    • So desperate…
    • Hardly…
  • Complete the formula: Inversion phrase + _______ + _______ + _______

(Inversion phrase + auxiliary verb + subject + verb)

Show students further examples of each inversion:

Not only: used with a wide range of tenses and auxiliary verbs:

  • Not only are vampires afraid of crosses, but also garlic.
  • Not only did the werewolf have sharp teeth, but also long claws.
  • Not only would I recommend calling the police, but also I would run away as fast as I could.

Little: most commonly used with “know” and “realise”:

  • Little did I realise how much danger I was in.
  • Little did she know what had just happened in the other room.

No sooner…. than: Or Hardly…. when Most commonly used with past perfect to express that one action happened immediately after another:

  • No sooner had I closed the door than I heard a strange scratching sound.
  • No sooner had I fallen asleep than a strange light came in through the window.
  • Hardly had the sound stopped when the door burst open.
  • Hardly had I turned around when the beast appeared at the end of the corridor.

So + adjective + that…: Used with a range of adjectives to add emphasis and express consequences:

  • So cold was it that my hands were shaking.
  • So frightening was the beast that even the brave soldier screamed in fear.

Practice – Key

  1. I had just opened the door when the monster appeared.

HAD

Hardly had I opened the door when the monster appeared.

  • They had no idea that the beast was watching their every move.

REALISE

Little did they realise (that) the beast was watching their every move.

  • The enormous size of the beast’s tentacles stopped them from reaching the exit.

WERE

So enormous were the beast’s tentacles that they couldn’t reach the exit.

  • As soon as they were outside the house, she called the police.

HAD

No sooner had they got out of the house than she called the police.

  • The car wouldn’t start and the gun was jammed.

WOULD

Not only would the car not start but also the gun was jammed.

  • They didn’t know that the call was coming from inside the house until it was too late.

THAT

Little did they know/realise that the call was coming from inside the house until it was too late.

Production

Have students write another paragraph of the story either in class or for homework. Encourage them to use as many inversions as possible and other descriptive language.