Posted in Advanced C1, B2 First, Grammar Classes, Writing Classes

B2+ Formal Linkers

Fine 3d Image Of Metal Ring Chain Cartoon Style Stock Photo, Picture And  Royalty Free Image. Image 9852810.

A new worksheet for B2+ students to help them add more cohesion to their writing through the use of formal linkers and connectors. Download the handout and key below:

Lead students through the worksheet. Encourage creativity in the final activity. Set students an FCE or CAE part 1 essay for homework.

Label the groups of linkers (A, B, C, D) with the titles in the box based on their function.

REASON       ADDITION      CONTRAST/CONCESSION      CONDITIONALS
  1. ____________________
  2. One of the main benefits of research into green energy is the impact it can have on the environment. Furthermore, by switching to renewable energy sources, we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels such as oil.
  3. The project failed to live up to the expectations of the management team. What is more, it was €100,000 over budget.
  4. Construction of the solar farm was finished on time. Moreover, workers were able to increase power output by 15% in the first month.
  5. ____________________
  6. Many parts of the world are being ravaged by extreme weather conditions due to/owing to the impact of climate change.
  7. Emissions of harmful greenhouse gases have increased owing to/due to the fact that the world’s population keeps growing.
  8. Further research is needed in order to push the boundaries of our scientific knowledge.
  9. Governments should provide more funding for green energy projects so as to increase their efficiency.
  10. More charging stations for electric cars should be installed so that there are enough to meet demand.
  11. ____________________
  12. Space exploration is undoubtedly an exciting area of research. Even so, is it really the most pressing issue humankind is facing right now?
  13. In spite of/Despite recent technological advancements we have seen, we still know very little about the universe.
  14. In spite of/Despite the fact that time is running out, we must not give up and accept our fate.
  15. Much progress has been made in this field. Nevertheless, there is still a lot to be done.
  16. ____________________
  17. Unless we take steps to combat climate change now, we may be too late.
  18. Even if we manage to reduce emissions considerably, there is no guarantee that it will be enough.
  19. We are still not sure whether or not we are alone in the universe.

Sentence Structure Rules

Group A:

  • What do you notice about the way all 4 linkers are used?

Group B:

Look at the sentences and choose the correct alternative:

  1. Due to/owing to + a noun // a clause (subject + verb + object)
  2. Due to/owing to the fact that + a noun // a clause (subject + verb + object)
  3. In order to + a verb // a clause
  4. So as to + a verb // a clause
  5. So that + a verb // a clause

Group C

  • What do “even so” and “nevertheless” have in common?

Look at the sentences and choose the correct alternative:

  1. In spite of/Despite + a noun // a clause (subject + verb + object)
  2. In spite of/Despite the fact that + a noun // a clause (subject + verb + object)

Group D

Look at the linkers in group D and match them to their meaning

  1. “it doesn’t matter if”
  2. “If we don’t”
  3. “If or not”

Practice

Complete the sentences with a linker from the previous exercise, more than one answer might be possible.

  1. They brought in extra seats …………. everyone could sit down.
  2. ………… you were the only man in the world, I still wouldn’t go out with you.
  3. They planted trees in the garden …………… attract more wildlife.
  4. His CV is impressive. ………….., I’m still not sure if he’s the right candidate.
  5. …………. all their hard work, they weren’t able to complete the project on time.
  6. I was unable to attend the meeting ……………. the heavy snowfall.
  7. Many people have chosen to move out of the city ……………….. house prices have fallen in the countryside.
  8. One benefit of city life is the superior health facilities. ……………….., there are many more job opportunities.
  9. It seems like a very tempting offer. ……………….., I feel I must reject it.
  10. ……………….. we run, we’re going to miss the last train.
  11. I’m still not sure ……………….. we made the right decision.
  12. He cancelled all his morning appointments ……………….. spend time with his family.

Creative Practice

Use linkers to upgrade these sentences for use in a C1 essay. You can also upgrade the language in the sentences.

  1. Shopping in shops is good, but shopping online is better.
  2. We should build more parks because they’re good for people.
  3. People got sad because the pandemic was bad.
  4. It doesn’t matter if you recycle, big companies are bad for the planet.
  5. There are too many cars, that’s why there’s lots of pollution.
  6. We should make drivers pay more to make them take the bus.
  7. Veganism is good but I don’t think I could do it.
  8. Books are good because they help you learn words and you imagine things.
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 Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C1/C2: A Priceless Family Heirloom

Turning Heirloom Jewelry Into a New Design | Jewelry Wise

This is a short text I wrote for C2 students who had to to a proficiency writing on a possession with sentimental value. I haven’t designed a full lesson plan around it yet but it might be useful for other teachers of high levels:

Do you have any possessions that you have inherited from other family members?

Do they have sentimental value to you?

If your house caught fire and you had enough time to save one thing, what would you choose?
My great grandpa’s old stamp collection is a priceless family heirloom that has been handed down from generation to generation. It was his prized possession and he held onto it through thick and thin, travelling the world to collect over 2000 different stamps. Leafing through the pages gives a fascinating insight intoa bygone era. Smelling the pages evokes memories of a seemingly simpler time before all the noise and stress of life in the 21st century. Some would call it a dusty old knick knack but the collection has huge sentimental value to me and has been a source of endless hours of pleasure. It seems that my dad really was a chip off the old block because he has his own collection. This geeky fascination with stamps really seems to run in the family because now my son is crazy about stamps too, I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Apparently a rival collector once offered my dad €200,000 for the collection but he turned it down out of hand. You can’t put a price on that slice of history. Blood really is thicker than water.

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? Education

aswar akka consultancy | How Important is Educational Management and  Organization?

This is another edition of my “Where do you Stand?” conversation series. Students debate different topics related to education 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/100-Debate-Topics

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 Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C1/C2: Review – Gadget, App, Software

Los 21 gadgets que te vas a comprar en 2020, según Business Insider |  Business Insider España

This is a lesson plan for C1-C2 students designed to develop their understanding of vocabulary to describe gadgets, apps and pieces of software. Candidates are often required to describe such things in writing tasks in the main suite of Cambridge exams. This lesson plan may also be useful for business English classes. Download the handout and key below:

Students start by discussing the most useful gadgets, apps and pieces of software they own. Then they read a text describing the new Thermomix cooking robot. After focusing on the language, they put it into practice by writing their own short product pitches and presenting them to the class.

Pre-reading

  1. What’s the most useful gadget you have in your house?
  2. What’s the most useful app you have on your phone?
  3. What’s the most useful piece of software you have on your computer?
  4. How do these things make your life easier?
  5. Why do you think these gadgets/apps/pieces of software have become popular?

Reading

  1. Does your family have a Thermomix? If so, is it useful? If not, would you like one?
  2. What things can it do?
  3. How does it compare to its competitors?

Read the text, does it contain any of the ideas you mentioned?

Theromix have been making waves in the world of kitchen gadgets for some time now. Ever since the advent of their first appliance way back in 1985, they’ve been at the cutting edge of the market lending a hand to hard-pressed families the world over.

The latest model, the TM6, really made a splash when it hit the shelves last month. This latest iteration really is lightyears ahead of its competitors. With its state-of-the-art design it truly is a sight to behold. That being said, what really makes it stand out from the crowd is how easy it is to use. It really is a piece of cake, and you’ll be savouring that cake sooner than you think.

Simply scroll through the different preset menus, select the one that catches your eye, add the ingredients and let thermomix take care of the rest. It’s touch-screen menus and ergonomic controls are so user-friendly that you’ll master them in no time at all. It enables you to make quick, mouth-watering meals at the touch of a button. Though its competitors may come with all sorts of bells and whistles, there’s a reason Thermomix has cornered the kitchen robot market: elegance, ease of use, and efficiency. It’s not rocket science!

Language Focus

Look at the expressions in bold, make notes on their meaning with your partner.

Can you remember the missing words?

Theromix have been _________ waves in the world of kitchen gadgets for some time now. Ever since the a______ of their first a_______ way back in 1985, they’ve been at the cutting ______ of the market lending a _______ to ______-pressed families the world _______.

The latest model, the TM6, really made a s_______ when it ______ the shelves last month. This latest iteration really is lightyears ________ of its competitors. With its ______-of-the-_____ design it truly is a ______ to behold. That being said, what really makes it stand ______ ______ the crowd is how easy it is to use. It really is a piece of _______, and you’ll be savouring that cake sooner than you think.

Simply scroll through the different preset menus, select the one that ________ your eye, add the ingredients and let thermomix take _____ _____ the rest. It’s ______-screen menus and e________ controls are so user-_________ that you’ll master them in no time at all. It enables you to make quick, ________-watering meals at the _______ of a ________. Though its competitors may come with all sorts of _______ and whistles, there’s a reason Thermomix has _________ the kitchen robot market: elegance, ease of use, and efficiency. It’s not _________ science!

Sell, sell, sell!

Choose one of these gadgets, write a short pitch to sell it to your classmates.