Posted in Uncategorized

Teacher Training Workshops in Collaboration with Useful Languages

useful-languages-logo

Image credit: http://www.uflbarcelona.com/#

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

Calling Barcelona-based English teachers! Eleanor Walker, DoS of Useful Languages, and I are going to be setting up weekly teacher training workshops to help teachers tackle exam classes for the main suite of Cambridge exams (FCE, CAE, CPE) starting on Friday February 24th.

  • Venue: Useful Languages – Carrer de Pelai, 44, Primera, 08001 Barcelona
  • Date of first session: February 24th 2017
  • Time: TBA: please complete the survey below
  • Price: €10 per person per 90 minute session, special offer: 6 sessions for €50
  • Contact: If you are interested in attending please contact Useful Languages: sylvie@uflbarcelona.com

We want to base the sessions on your needs so if you’re interested in attending it would be great if you could complete the surveymonkey below so we can get an idea of what to focus on and also the time-slot that suits you best.

Click here to complete the survey

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Uncategorized

Formal Writing: CAE Essay

Image result for essay

Image credit: LitReactor

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan designed to help students tackle the CAE writing part 1 formal essay task. It walks students through structuring their essays correctly. Download the handout and Powerpoint below:

formal-writing

formal-writing-handout

Student Handout

Introduction

In this day and age a worrying percentage of children are showing signs of obesity. The past few years have seen a steep decline in the number of school-aged children taking part in team sports or getting regular exercise. What is the most effective way to tackle this problem and encourage children to be more active?

In this essay I am going to talk about the problem of children not getting enough exercise. I will start by talking about parental influence and then I will discuss the role schools can play.

Hardly a week goes by without another article on the topic of childhood obesity appearing in the media. This is clearly a growing issue which must be addressed urgently. There are a number of ways in which this problem could be tackled.

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

First Paragraph

  • …. 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…

Second Paragraph

  • 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:

  • For example,
  • For instance,
  • An obvious example of this is…
  • A clear example of this is…
  • This is illustrated by…
  • As a case in point…

Paragraph Skeleton

It goes without saying that ______________________________________ A clear example of this is ___________________________________________ In addition,________________________________________ Nevertheless,_____________________________________________________________

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…

OR

  • 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…

Credit to Cork English Teacher for some of the language from the handout.

Posted in Uncategorized

CAE Ice-Breaker UPDATE

Image result for ice-breaker

Image credit: englishrussia.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is an updated version of my CAE/C1 ice-breaking activity for the first class of a course. Click this link to the prezi (you’ll only need the first 5 slides).

Obviously it’s tailored to my interests but you’ll get the idea and be able to adapt to your own.

First I flash up the sentences with the adjective/verb + preposition combination (petrified of) etc. and tell them that some are true and some are false. They have to decide which are true and which are false in pairs. Award points to the pairs who guess correctly.
Then test them on the prepositions by flashing up the slide with them omitted. Then they have to write 4 sentences using the same combinations, some true some false and read them to their partner, who has to guess which are T/F.
Then the next bit is 6 sentences with some nice phrases about personal interests etc. “I’m into….” etc. I show them my examples (they’re all true) and let them ask me some questions. Then they have to complete the sentences so they’re true for them.
Then they have to mingle around the class reading their sentences to each other, flash up the expressions for showing interest: Uh-huh, mm-hmmm etc. and encourage them to use them. Tell them that they should try to remember as much information as they can about their classmates. While they do this, monitor and board any emergent language to look at later.
After 10 mins or so have them sit down and split them into two teams. Select one member from the first team, the other team then has to remember as much as they can about that person:
“He’s into football and rugby.”
“He has a burning ambition to meet Messi.” etc.
Award 1 point for each correct bit of info. The idea is that they’re recycling the 6 expressions over and over and getting to know each other at the same time.
Posted in Conversation Classes, Listening Classes, TED Talk Lesson Plans

TED Talk, Paul Root Wolpe: Bio-engineering

Image credit: www.ted.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a new TED talk lesson plan for higher levels (C1+) on the subject of bio-engineering and cloning. Thanks to my colleague Cliff Grossman for recommending this fascinating talk. You can download the materials below:

TED Bio-engineering – Student handout

TED Bio-engineering TEACHER NOTES

Procedure

You can either give students the handout and have them watch the talk and answer the comprehension questions for homework, or do it in class.

Then depending on class size students can ask and answer the discussion questions in small groups or in open class. The topic also lends itself well to debates on GM food, cloning and bioengineering.

Student Handout

Comprehension Questions

  1. What have been the three great stages of evolution?
  2. What are some of the animal hybrids he presents?
  3. What have scientists done with bioluminescent cells from jellyfish?
  4. What does he say about the differences in regulations on genetic modifications between the US and Europe?
  5. Name a few of the animals that have been successfully cloned.
  6. What have scientists managed to do with cockroaches and goliath beetles?
  7. What was so special about the monkey with the prosthetic arm?
  8. What was grown on a mouse’s back?
  9. What is Paul’s view on bio-engineering?
  10. What changes does he predict in the future?

Discussion Questions

  1. What did you think of the talk?
  2. Did you like his presenting style?
  3. What’s your opinion in the different experiments?
  4. Which ones do you find interesting?
  5. Which ones do you think go too far?
  6. What uses can you see for the different bio-engineered animals?
  7. How far do you think we should go?
  8. Should we clone humans?
  9. What problems do you foresee if we were to start cloning humans?
  10. Who should decide the limits of where science can go?
  11. Should people be able to design their own pets/children/bodies?

Language

Look at the language in bold. What do you think it means?

  1. By changing our environment, we put new pressures on our bodies to evolve. Whether it was through settling down in agricultural communities…
  2. So I want to take you through a kind of whirlwind tour of that
  3. Someday, perhaps pretty soon, you will have beefalo patties in your local supermarket.
  4. Dogs are the result of selectively breeding traits that we like.
  5. The scientists that made this cute little creature ended up slaughtering it and eating it afterwards.
  6. We had to do it the hard way in the old days by choosing offspring that looked a particular way and then breeding them.
  7. What are the ethical guidelines that we will use then?

Key

Comprehension Questions

    1. What have been the three great stages of evolution? 1st: Darwinian evolution 2nd: humans changing their environment by forming civilisation 3rd: Evolution by design (bio-engineering)
    2. What are some of the animal hybrids he presents? Liger, geep, zorse, beefalo, cama,
  • What have scientists done with bioluminescent cells from jellyfish? Made animals that glow in the dark

 

  1. What does he say about the differences in regulations on genetic modifications between the US and Europe? Regulations are much stricter in Europe
  2. Name a few of the animals that have been successfully cloned. Sheep, pigs, rats, cats, dogs, horses, wolves, cows.
  3. What have scientists managed to do with cockroaches and goliath beetles? Made them remoted-controlled
  4. What was so special about the monkey with the prosthetic arm? It learned to move its new prosthetic arm using just its brain signals meaning that it effectively has three independent arms.
  5. What was grown on a mouse’s back? A human ear
  6. What is Paul’s view on bio-engineering? He is worried about its implications and thinks we have to be very careful.
  7. What changes does he predict in the future? Human cloning and designer pets or even babies.

Discussion Questions

  1. What did you think of the talk?
  2. Did you like his presenting style?
  3. What’s your opinion in the different experiments?
  4. Which ones do you find interesting?
  5. Which ones do you think go too far?
  6. What uses can you see for the different bio-engineered animals?
  7. How far do you think we should go?
  8. Should we clone humans?
  9. What problems do you foresee if we were to start cloning humans?
  10. Who should decide the limits of where science can go?
  11. Should people be able to design their own pets/children/bodies?

Language

Look at the language in bold. What do you think it means?

  1. By changing our environment, we put new pressures on our bodies to evolve. Whether it was through settling down in agricultural communities… (to stop travelling and stay in one place to live)
  2. So I want to take you through a kind of whirlwind tour of that (a very quick tour seeing the most important places)
  3. Someday, perhaps pretty soon, you will have beefalo patties in your local supermarket. (hamburgers)
  4. Dogs are the result of selectively breeding traits that we like. (characteristics)
  5. The scientists that made this cute little creature ended up slaughtering it and eating it afterwards. (kill an animal for food)
  6. We had to do it the hard way in the old days by choosing offspring that looked a particular way and then breeding them. (biological term for children)
  7. What are the ethical guidelines that we will use then? (moral rules)
Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

CAE Expressions Sheet

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a phrase sheet for my CAE students to help them with some nice informal expressions for the speaking assessment. The expressions are collected from various other worksheets but they idea was to have them all in one place for ease of studying. Download the sheet below.

cae-expression-sheet

 

Family

1.       I definitely take after my Mum.

2.       My sister and I get on like a house on fire.

3.       My Dad is the breadwinner in our family.

4.       My brother and I are like two peas in a pod.

5.       My cousin and I are like chalk and cheese.

6.       Curly hair runs in my family

7.       They say that blood is thicker than water.

8.       I want to follow in my parents’ footsteps and become a doctor.

9.       I’m always falling out with my sister, she’s so annoying.

10.   My uncle is the black sheep of the family.

11.   My little brother is the spitting image of my Dad.

12.   I’m named after my great-grandfather.

 

Friendship

1.      My best friend and I have been through thick and thin together.

2.       My best friend is such a good laugh.

3.       My best friend and I are like brothers/sisters from another mother.

4.       I can always turn to my friend for advice or help.

5.       My best friend always stands up for me in an argument or fight.

6.       I know that my best friend has got my back if there’s any trouble.

7.       If I tell my friend a secret, I know that their lips are sealed. They would never spill the beans.

8.       My best friend is definitely not a fair-weather friend.

9.       My best friend and I are lifelong friends.

10.  We were best friends at primary school but now we have drifted apart.

11.   My best friend and I are joined at the hip.

12.   I often crash at my friend’s house at the weekend.

 

 

 

Travelling

1.       Get itchy feet

2.       Get the travel bug

3.       Culture vulture

4.       Catch some rays

5.       Sit and watch the world go by

6.       Pack a lot in/Have a full plate

7.       See how the mood takes me

8.       Travel on a shoe string

9.       Live it up

10.   A culture shock

11.   Feel right at home

12.   Watch your back

13.   Travel light

14.   At the crack of dawn

 

The Future

With any luck, I will probably…

I have a burning ambition to…

I’ve always dreamed of… so I expect I will…

I haven’t made up my mind yet but I’m leaning towards studying…

I’m torn between studying… and ….

In all likelihood I’ll study…/work in…

I see myself working in the field of…

If everything goes to plan in 5 years, I’ll be…

I’ve got it all mapped out first I’m going to… then…

I have absolutely no clue what I’m going to do tomorrow let alone in 5 years.

I have always had aspirations to go into the field of…

I expect I’ll follow in my Mum/Dad’s footsteps.

 

Likes/Dislikes

·         I’m keen on / fond of……………

·         I’m a keen / avid + noun

·         I’m a keen swimmer.

·         I’m an avid guitarist.

·         I’m an avid traveller.

·         I’m a (bit of a) bookworm.

·         I’m an avid reader

·         I’m a (bit of a) film / music / history / art buff.

·         I’m a (bit of a) computer geek.

·         I’m a (bit of a) shopaholic.

·         I’m a (bit of a) workaholic.

·         I’m a bit of a risk taker / adrenalin junky / daredevil.

·         I like to recharge my batteries at the weekend.

·         I like to get away from the hustle and bustle of my job / school / the city.

·         The word is on the tip of my tongue

·         The word escapes me at the moment but….

·         I’m hooked on (Game of Thrones)

·         I’m a (bit of a) girly girl.

·         (Boys) I like sport, beer, and women.

·         I’m a (bit of a) man’s man.

·         I’m in tip top condition.

English/Education

·         I am / was a teacher’s pet / top of my class at school.

·         English is a requirement of my course / job.

·         If you want to get ahead in life you need English.

·         I’ve been studying English for ages.

·         I’ve been studying English for as long as I can remember.

·         English is an essential / key part of my everyday life.

 

 

Typical Speaking Part 1 Questions

  • What are you particular likes and dislikes?
  • What do you look for in a friend?
  • Describe your best friend.
  • What type of holidays do you enjoy?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
  • How important will English be in your future?
  • Tell me about your family.
  • What type of family do you have?
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

CAE Word Formation Practice

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

Here’s a worksheet for CAE students to help them prepare for part 3 of the use of English paper. Download the worksheet and key below, I found the exercises on quizlet so full credit to evatrn for making the set. Use the quizlet set below to revise.

Word Formation Practice

Word Formation Key

Quizlet Word Formation set

Worksheet

  1. Remember to _______ patients twice daily at 8.00am and 8.00pm. WEIGHT
  2. Why do you always want to go with those ignorant ___ people? WORTH
  3. This is the most interesting ___ I’ve ever seen. PERFORM
  4. Are you ___ of sailing in the prevailing conditions? ABLE
  5. Such an act would have been deceitful and ___ . RESPONSIBILITY
  6. There is already enough ___ without that, you know. PRESS
  7. You’d ___ too many people off with that speech. FRIGHT
  8. We must experience ___, pain, and death because we are alive. ANXIOUS
  9. I feel ___ about including the last sentence. HESITATE
  10. Now surely our ___ government must go. CREDIT
  11. The handshake is a basic gesture of ___ .FRIEND
  12. They fell into a ___ sleep which lasted until they were rediscovered in 1878. MIRACLE
  13. I’ve had a very sheltered ___, so this has really been an eye-opener. BRING
  14. The music was ___ loud, you couldn’t hear yourself think. BELIEVE
  15. Silk is always wonderful too, even if it’s totally ___ . PRACTICE
  16. People are being ________ into parting with their money. LEAD
  17. The government stopped funding ______ industries. PROFIT
  18. It’s normal for there to be _______ between brothers and sisters. COMPETE
  19. Walking the dog is ideal exercise for anyone and the fresh air will be ___ too. BENEFIT
  20. Her face was blotched and ___ with crying. SWELL
  21. There is a growing ______ that she will resign. BELIEVE
  22. It should come as no surprise that cycling builds leg ___ . STRONG
  23. He helped his underage son _______ his birth date to illegally obtain a driver’s license. FALSE
  24. All ___ must be over 18. APPLY
  25. It’s an ___ and dangerous policy. LOGIC
  26. As he was watching them, his eyes began to ___ in astonishment. WIDE
  27. Doctors have developed a new, modern ___ technique involving ultra-sound. PAIN
  28. There is a feeling of isolation and professional ___ in schools. SECURE
  29. Many candidates showed little ___ of the problems from the headhunter’s point of view. APPRECIATE
  30. Do these goods comply with our safety _________? REQUIRE
  31. We were unable to establish_______ of her innocence. PROVE
  32. An attempt is also being made to ___ textures and symbols where possible. STANDARD
  33. He took to it like the ___ fish to water. PROVERB
  34. In all ___________ the vase was made in the seventeenth century.LIKELY
  35. He’s definitely someone very nervy, very jumpy and basically___ . SECURITY
  36. ‘I regret, I cannot offer any ___, Madame’ he said with a smile. REFRESH
  37. He’s like a politician who wants to convince you of his _____. SINCERE
  38. There’s no damage done, there’s no ___ . THIEF
  39. But the level of social welfare was so high that poverty was ___ . THINK
  40. The first thing he discovered was that Newley had not died ___ . ACCIDENT
  41. The whole method is a form of ___ . SIMPLE
  42. But are we allowing ourselves to be carried away by false ___? VAIN
  43. Moments before there was a ___ with a car. COLLIDE
  44. It was not, he admits, the wisest ___ for a beginner. CHOOSE
  45. You can hold the snake: it’s _____. HARM
  46. The government is noted for its ___________ drugs policy. COMPROMISE
  47. He admired the ___ of relationships he saw around him. WARM
  48. We have caused enough harm by our ___, irresponsible, selfish behaviour. THINK
  49. But not all ___ are valid in reference to pedagogy. IMPLY
  50. And he accepts that he set out on the lonely road to ___ too early in life. STAR
  51. Critics say he has been weak and _______ . DECIDE
  52. He tried to look ___, but it didn’t work. APOLOGY
  53. The country will _______ currency controls to encourage spending abroad. LOOSE
  54. For some _______ reason, she chose that moment to break the news. EXPLAIN
  55. We spend $5 million a year on _________. ADVERTISEMENT
  56. Which women do you ___ about? FANTASY
  57. Every time the pictorial elements were similar, if not almost ___ . IDENTITY
  58. All this she heard, even understood, but still she was ___ . SPEAK
  59. The jury found the doctor criminally _______. NEGLECT
  60. She’s made an official ___ .COMPLAIN
  61. The economies of Western Europe and Japan experienced ___ growth. PRECEDE
  62. The system is liable to suffer from ___ of the type discussed above. ACCURATE
  63. It was a ___ room with a deep bay window overlooking the river. SPACE
  64. In that case, young lady, you would have my undying ___ . GRATEFUL
  65. It was very __________ of you. Thank you. CONSIDER
  66. It would be much more ___ for you to marry a woman with money. SENSE
  67. The tension in the room seemed ___ . ENDURE
  68. Winners will be _______as soon as possible. NOTE
  69. The evidence from ___ times can seldom be interpreted with any certainty. HISTORY
  70. ‘Play’ and ‘game’ are used ____- it does not matter which. CHANGE

Key

  1. weigh Remember to _______ patients twice daily at 8.00am and 8.00pm. WEIGHT
  2. worthless Why do you always want to go with those ignorant ___ people? WORTH
  3. performance This is the most interesting ___ I’ve ever seen. PERFORM
  4. capable Are you ___ of sailing in the prevailing conditions? ABLE
  5. irresponsible Such an act would have been deceitful and ___ . RESPONSIBILITY
  6. pressure There is already enough ___ without that, you know. PRESS
  7. frighten You’d ___ too many people off with that speech. FRIGHT
  8. anxiety We must experience ___, pain, and death because we are alive. ANXIOUS
  9. hesitant I feel ___ about including the last sentence. HESITATE
  10. discredited Now surely our ___ government must go. CREDIT
  11. friendship The handshake is a basic gesture of ___ .FRIEND
  12. miraculous They fell into a ___ sleep which lasted until they were rediscovered in 1878. MIRACLE
  13. upbringing I’ve had a very sheltered ___, so this has really been an eye-opener. BRING
  14. unbelievably The music was ___ loud, you couldn’t hear yourself think. BELIEVE
  15. impractical Silk is always wonderful too, even if it’s totally ___ . PRACTICE
  16. misled People are being ________ into parting with their money. LEAD
  17. unprofitable The government stopped funding ______ industries. PROFIT
  18. competition It’s normal for there to be _______ between brothers and sisters. COMPETE
  19. beneficial Walking the dog is ideal exercise for anyone and the fresh air will be ___ too. BENEFIT
  20. swollen Her face was blotched and ___ with crying. SWELL
  21. belief There is a growing ______ that she will resign. BELIEVE
  22. strength It should come as no surprise that cycling builds leg ___ . STRONG
  23. falsify He helped his underage son _______ his birth date to illegally obtain a driver’s license.FALSE
  24. applicants All ___ must be over 18. APPLY
  25. illogical It’s an ___ and dangerous policy. LOGIC
  26. widen As he was watching them, his eyes began to ___ in astonishment. WIDE
  27. painless Doctors have developed a new, modern ___ technique involving ultra-sound. PAIN
  28. insecurity There is a feeling of isolation and professional ___ in schools. SECURE
  29. appreciation Many candidates showed little ___ of the problems from the headhunter’s point of view. APPRECIATE
  30. requirement Do these goods comply with our safety _________? REQUIRE
  31. proof We were unable to establish_______ of her innocence. PROVE
  32. standardise An attempt is also being made to ___ textures and symbols where possible. STANDARD
  33. proverbial He took to it like the ___ fish to water. PROVERB
  34. likelihood In all ___________ the vase was made in the seventeenth century.LIKELY
  35. insecure He’s definitely someone very nervy, very jumpy and basically___ . SECURITY
  36. refreshment ‘I regret, I cannot offer any ___, Madame’ he said with a smile. REFRESH
  37. sincerity He’s like a politician who wants to convince you of his _____. SINCERE
  38. theft There’s no damage done, there’s no ___ . THIEF
  39. unthinkable But the level of social welfare was so high that poverty was ___ . THINK
  40. accidentally The first thing he discovered was that Newley had not died ___ . ACCIDENT
  41. simplification The whole method is a form of ___ . SIMPLE
  42. vanity But are we allowing ourselves to be carried away by false ___? VAIN
  43. collision Moments before there was a ___ with a car. COLLIDE
  44. CHOICE It was not, he admits, the wisest ___ for a beginner. CHOOSE
  45. harmless You can hold the snake: it’s harmless. HARM
  46. uncompromising The government is noted for its ___________ drugs policy.. COMPROMISE
  47. warmth He admired the ___ of relationships he saw around him. WARM
  48. thoughtless We have caused enough harm by our ___, irresponsible, selfish behaviour. THINK
  49. implications But not all ___ are valid in reference to pedagogy. IMPLY
  50. stardom And he accepts that he set out on the lonely road to ___ too early in life. STAR
  51. indecisive Critics say he has been weak and _______ . DECIDE
  52. apologetic He tried to look ___, but it didn’t work. APOLOGY
  53. loosen The country will _______ currency controls to encourage spending abroad.  LOOSE
  54. inexplicable For some _______ reason, she chose that moment to break the news. EXPLAIN
  55. advertising We spend $5 million a year on _________. ADVERTISEMENT
  56. fantasize Which women do you ___ about?FANTASY
  57. identical Every time the pictorial elements were similar, if not almost ___ . IDENTITY
  58. speechless All this she heard, even understood, but still she was ___ . SPEAK
  59. negligent The jury found the doctor criminally _______. NEGLECT
  60. complaint She’s made an official ___ .COMPLAIN
  61. unprecedented The economies of Western Europe and Japan experienced ___ growth. PRECEDE
  62. inaccuracies The system is liable to suffer from ___ of the type discussed above. ACCURATE
  63. spacious It was a ___ room with a deep bay window overlooking the river. SPACE
  64. gratitude In that case, young lady, you would have my undying ___ . GRATEFUL
  65. considerate It was very __________ of you. Thank you. CONSIDER
  66. sensible It would be much more ___ for you to marry a woman with money. SENSE
  67. unendurable The tension in the room seemed ___ . ENDURE
  68. notified Winners will be _______as soon as possible. NOTE
  69. prehistoric The evidence from ___ times can seldom be interpreted with any certainty. HISTORY
  70. interchangeably ‘Play’ and ‘game’ are used ____- it does not matter which. CHANGE
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Grammar Classes

Would Rather/Would Sooner

Image credit: www.foodnavigator-usa.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a grammar activity designed for C1 students. Students learn how to express preference using “would rather” and “would sooner” then put them to use in a roleplay. Download the powerpoint, handout and key below:

Would rather – powerpoint

Would Rather worksheet – handout and key

Procedure

Use the powerpoint to present the rules, it is designed in a test, teach, test structure. Make sure that students copy down the rules and several examples then have them complete the worksheet and finally put the structures to use in a fun role-play. Students will role play being a married couple having a very civilised argument. Once they have finished have them feedback in open class: “Can the marriage be saved? Or is it on the rocks?” My teenage CAE students found it absolutely hilarious and used the structures in very creative ways.

Handout

Complete the sentences with the correct form of the verb in brackets:

  1. I would rather ____________ a light salad than a steak for dinner. (have)
  2. I would rather he ________________his dirty cups all over the house. (not leave)
  3. Venice was nice but I’d sooner __________________ to Paris. (go)
  4. He’s quite antisocial he’d just as soon ____________ video games all weekend than go to a bar. (play)
  5. I wanted to give the present to granny! I’d rather you _______________ for me to arrive before you gave it to her. (wait)
  6. We had dinner outside but it was too cold. I’d much rather ______________ inside the restaurant. (eat)

Complete the key word transformations using 3-6 words.

  1. My brother is always stealing my chocolate out of the fridge.

RATHER

I’d _______________________________________ my chocolate out of the fridge.

  1. Why did you tell the boss I was leaving?

RATHER

I ____________________________________ the boss I was leaving.

  1. I prefer visiting museums to lying around on the beach all day.

JUST

I ____________________________ than lie around on the beach all day.

  1. The chocolates he gave me were ok but I wanted roses.

RATHER

I _____________________________  me roses instead of chocolates.

  1. The art gallery was sooo boring; I wanted to go to the casino.

RATHER

I _______________________________ to the casino instead of that boring art gallery.

  1. He would prefer to do anything instead of watching a football match.

SOONER

He ___________________________________ anything instead of watching a football match.

Role-play

Role-play the following scenario with your partner:

You are a married couple; you have been married for 23 years. You have just got back from a party at a friend’s house. At the party you both got drunk and did a lot of things to annoy your husband/wife. You are both also annoyed about some things that the other does or doesn’t do around the house. Have a civilised argument using as many “would rathers” and “would sooners” as you can.

Key

Sentence Completion

  1. Have
  2. Didn’t leave
  3. Have gone
  4. Play
  5. Had waited
  6. Have eaten

Key Word Transformations

  1. Rather my brother didn’t steal
  2. Would rather you hadn’t told
  3. Would just as soon visit museums
  4. Would rather he had given
  5. Would rather have gone
  6. Would soon do
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Writing Classes

CAE Informal Letter of Recommendation

Image credit:theodysseyonline.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is phrase sheet for CAE students to help them tackle informal letters of recommendation, which sometimes come up in part 2 of the writing paper. Download the handout below:

Informal Recommendation Letter

Handout

A possible letter task in the CAE is an informal letter to a friend recommending (or not) a course/activity/holiday you have been on. Below is an example:

You have recently been on a two week adventure holiday in a foreign country. A good friend writes to you because they are thinking about booking a holiday with the same company. You should describe the highlights of the holiday and any problems you encountered and state if you would recommend the experience to your friend.

Informal greetings

Hello mate! How’s it going?
What’re you up to nowadays? Lovely to hear from you.
It’s been ages since we last saw each other. I hope all’s well.

Mixing good with bad

In the task you have to tell your friend about both the positive and negative sides of the activity. What I don’t want you to do is write one paragraph of good points and one of bad because who writes a letter like that? I want you to mix the good with the bad.

Despite/In spite of + noun Despite/In spite of + the fact that + clause
In spite of the dreadful weather (bad), we had a wonderful time. (good) Despite the fact that it poured with rain all week (bad), we had a wonderful time. (good)
Although/Even though + clause Apart from + noun + relative clause
Even though the instructor didn’t speak English (bad), we still managed to pick up the basics. (good) Apart from the first day when it poured, we had clear blue skies every day.

 

Apart from the taxi driver who tried to rip us off, all the people were lovely.

2nd Conditionals

If you did decide to go, I could lend you…../I might come with you. If I were you, I’d………..
If I were in your shoes, I’d………………  

3rd Conditionals

It would have been better if there had been………… I would have been better if I had/hadn’t………………
If I had/hadn’t……………., we could have………….  

Not only

Not only did we ….(do 1 activity), but also …….(another activity) Not only did we learn how to ……….., but also ……………
Not only did we see lions and elephants, but also giraffes and monkeys.  

 

Phrasal verbs

To take up a hobby – to start doing a hobby

I have just taken up snowboarding.

To make up for – to compensate

The excellent food more than made up for the awful weather.

To pick up new skills – to acquire

I picked up some useful skills, such as……..

To get a lot out of something – to take benefit from something. (enjoyment, knowledge, etc.)

I got a lot out of the training sessions.

To catch up with someone – to share the latest news about your life with someone.

We should meet for a coffee and catch up.

To come across – to find unexpectedly (not people)

We were walking through the jungle when we came across some old ruined buildings.

To get on/along with someone – to like and be friendly with someone.

We got along with everyone in our group.

To keep/carry on doing something – to continue

We kept on walking all night.

Look/watch out for – be vigilant for

Look out for pickpockets on the metro system.

Sort out a problem – resolve a problem

The manager came and sorted out the problem.

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

We’re BFFs! Friendship Expressions

Image credit: www.zazzle.com.au

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a worksheet on expressions related to friendship for higher level learners. I designed it with CAE students in mind. Download the worksheet and key below:

bffs-4-eva update

Have students complete the worksheet in pairs and then personalise the expressions so that they are true for them.

BFFs!

Match the expressions on the left with the simple definition on the right.

1.       My best friend and I have been through thick and thin together.

2.       My best friend is such a good laugh.

3.       My best friend and I are like brothers/sisters from another mother.

4.       I can always turn to my friend for advice or help.

5.       My best friend always stands up for me in an argument or fight.

6.       I know that my best friend has got my back if there’s any trouble.

7.       If I tell my friend a secret, I know that their lips are sealed. They would never spill the beans.

8.       My best friend is definitely not a fair-weather friend.

9.       My best friend and I are lifelong friends.

10.   My best friend from primary school and I have drifted apart.

11.   My best friend and I are joined at the hip.

12.   I often crash at my friend’s house at the weekend.

a.       My best friend isn’t a person who is only around for the good times.

b.      My best friend from primary and I have slowly lost contact.

c.       My best friend is very trustworthy and good at keeping secrets.

d.      My best friend and I spend almost all our time together.

e.       My best friend is very funny.

f.        I often sleep over at my friend’s house.

g.       My best friend and I have experienced both good and bad times together.

h.      I know my best friend will defend me if anything bad happens.

i.         My best friend always defends me in a fight or argument.

j.        My best friend and I are very similar.

k.       If I have a problem, I can always talk about it with my friend.

l.         My best friend and I have been friends for a very long time.

 

Complete the sentences

Try to complete the sentences from memory

  1. I won’t tell anyone, my lips ________ _________.
  2. You’re such a ________________, as soon as there are any problems you disappear!
  3. I always see those two together, they’re practically joined _____ ______ _______.
  4. Jenifer spilt ______ ________ to everyone at the party about Sarah and Johnny.
  5. Don’t worry, if they start a fight I’ve _____ ______ ______. I’ll definitely stand _____ _____ ______.
  6. Freddy was there for me when my dog died but also when I got my dream job, we’ve been __________ ______________ ____________ _______________ _____________.
  7. I don’t know what happened, we were best friends at uni but I guess we just _________ __________.
  8. It’s getting late and I can’t be bothered to walk home can I ___________ _________ yours tonight?
  9. I always have so much fun with Tony, he’s such a __________ __________.
  10. We’re so similar it’s ridiculous we’re like _________ ____________ ___________ _______________.

Describe a close friend to your partner using as many expressions as you can.

Key

  1. G
  2. E
  3. J
  4. K
  5. I
  6. H
  7. C
  8. A
  9. L
  10. B
  11. D
  12. F

Sentence completion

  1. Are sealed
  2. Fair-weather friend
  3. At the hip
  4. The beans
  5. Got your back, up for you
  6. Through thick and thin together
  7. Drifted apart
  8. Crash at
  9. Good laugh
  10. Brothers/sisters from another mother