Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency

C2 Proficiency: DIY Speaking Long Turn Topics

C2 Proficiency de Inglés (CPE) del Cambridge: Cómo Aprobarlo | TURBOLANGS

This is a lesson plan for students preparing to take the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam. Students create their own topic cards for part 3 of the speaking exam; the dreaded long turn! Download the handout and examples below:

Procedure

You could use this lesson plan to introduce the long turn, give students a chance to practice and go over some useful language before they make their own topic cards.

Print and cut out the example cards, these examples were created by my C2 group. As you can see they came up with some thought provoking topics that are definitely more engaging than some of the run-of-the-mill topics from most text books.

Put students in pairs and have them complete a timed long turn each to get them warmed up to the task.

Then give them a set of blank cards each (candidate A & B) and have them work together to create two topic cards with a main question and three bullet points. Tell them that their classmates are going to use their topic cards so they should choose engaging, open topics. Give them 3-5 minutes to do this. In the exam, after candidate A has finished their long turn, candidate B is asked a shorter question in response to what candidate A has just said, so you could have your students write a question for candidate B on the back of A’s card and vice versa for candidate B.

Have them pass their newly created cards to another pair so that everyone has a set created by another group. Instruct them to keep practicing two-minute long turns using the new cards. Then encourage students to give feedback to the group who wrote the topic card; was it easy to talk about for two minutes? Did the bullet points help? Could anything be clarified?

Students then pass the cards to another group, rinse and repeat. Students will get lots of practice for this part of the exam on topics chosen by their peers.

I was really impressed by the questions my group came up with, there weren’t too many softballs in there. Comment below with some of the topics and bullet points your students come up with and I’ll add them to the example doc, that we can create a big list of topic cards for future use.

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.

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Key Word Transformation Training #2

C2 Proficiency de Inglés (CPE) del Cambridge: Cómo Aprobarlo | TURBOLANGS

This is an exam preparation activity for students taking the C2 Proficiency exam. Students learn some fixed expressions that may come up in part 4 of the reading and use of English paper and also practice their paraphrasing skills. Download the handout below:

I recommend using my first key word transformation training exercise first.

Use the first 12 slides of this quizlet set to test students’ memories of the fixed expressions from the first training activity. You could then give them this doc of 15 of the key word transformations as homework or spaced repetition at a later date:

Then hand out the new worksheet. First students work in pairs to paraphrase the expressions in bold and come up with notes to help them remember the expressions; this could involve taking a note of a dependent preposition or a verb pattern (gerund/infinitive). Monitor and check students’ understanding of the expressions. Then students turn the paper over and attempt to recall the expressions with the help of the key words. Finally, students recall prepositions from the expressions as these can often trip students up. Also, the second point in a key word transformation question can often come down to a dependent preposition.

You could use this quizziz game to test their memory of the prepositions at a later date.

Student Handout

Version 1

Look at the expressions in bold. Discuss the meaning with your partner and make notes to help you remember them.

  1. The film fell short of my expectations I’m afraid.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Tickets are probably sold out but there’s no harm in calling to check.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. My son took absolutely no notice of my advice and spent all his birthday money on video games.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. It seems that there’s little prospect that they will be able to win the championship now.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. It was a really interesting lecture that gave us food for thought.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. His injury had a serious effect on his ability to earn a living.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Giles can be relied on to help out if you’re in a spot of bother.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. It never occurred to me to ask Jenny for help with the car, I didn’t know she was an engineer.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. He was given a life sentence for murder.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Sadly, her career has always taken priority over her family.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. The printer is apt to disconnect from the wifi network, it has a mind of its own.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. The specials menu is subject to change on a daily basis.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Julia’s command of German is extraordinary, she nailed the presentation.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. For the first month of membership you will be exempt from paying delivery fees.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. In the winter months it’s cold beyond belief so bring warm clothes.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Let’s go out! I’m in the mood for dancing tonight.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. The audience showed their disapproval of the comedian’s routine by booing loudly.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Martin has his hands full now that his wife has given birth to twins.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. Thank you so much for the loan. I have every intention of paying you back ASAP.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. You’re putting your life in jeopardy every time you drink and drive.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

  1. By the look of his facial expression, I’d say that he didn’t take your criticism well.

Meaning………………………………………………………………………………. Notes ………………………….

Version 2

Now look at version 2. Work with a partner, try to recall the expressions using the key words to help you.

  1. The film wasn’t as good as I thought it would be (SHORT) I’m afraid.

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

  1. Tickets are probably sold out but we might as well call (HARM) to check.

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

  1. My son completely ignored (NOTICE) my advice and spent all his birthday money on video games.

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

  1. It seems that there’s not much chance that (PROSPECT) they will be able to win the championship now.

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

  1. It was a really interesting lecture that made us think (FOOD).

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

  1. His injury seriously affected (EFFECT) his ability to earn a living.

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

  1. Giles will always (RELIED) help out if you’re in a spot of bother.

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

  1. I never thought of asking (OCCURRED) Jenny for help with the car, I didn’t know she was an engineer.

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

  1. He was sent to prison for the rest of his life for (SENTENCE) murder.

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

  1. Sadly, her career has always been more important to her than (PRIORITY) her family.

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

  1. The printer has a tendency to (APT) disconnect from the wifi network, it has a mind of its own.

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

  1. The specials menu can sometimes change (SUBJECT) on a daily basis.

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

  1. Julia speaks German extraordinarily well (COMMAND), she did the presentation very well. (N…)

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

  1. For the first month of membership you won’t have to pay (EXEMPT) delivery fees.

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

  1. In the winter months it’s so cold you wouldn’t believe it (BEYOND) so bring warm clothes.

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

  1. Let’s go out! I feel like dancing (MOOD) tonight.

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

  1. The audience complained about (DISAPPROVAL) the comedian’s routine by booing loudly.

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

  1. Martin is very busy (HANDS) now that his wife had the (BIRTH) twins.

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

  1. Thank you so much for the loan. I will definitely pay (EVERY) you back ASAP.

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

  1. You’re endangering your life (JEOPARDY) every time you drink and drive.

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

  1. If you look at (BY) his facial expression, I’d say that he didn’t take your criticism well.

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

Preposition Check

The second point in a key word transformation can often come down to the preposition. Can you remember the prepositions in these expressions?

  1. The film fell short ….. my expectations I’m afraid.
  2. Tickets are probably sold out but there’s no harm ….. calling to check.
  3. My son took absolutely no notice ….. my advice and spent all his birthday money on video games.
  4. It was a really interesting lecture that gave us food ….. thought.
  5. His injury had a serious effect ….. his ability to earn a living.
  6. Giles can be relied ….. to help out if you’re in a spot of bother.
  7. It never occurred ….. me to ask Jenny for help with the car, I didn’t know she was an engineer.
  8. He was given a life sentence ….. murder.
  9. Sadly, her career has always taken priority ….. her family.
  10. The printer is apt ….. disconnect from the wifi network, it has a mind of its own.
  11. The specials menu is subject ….. change on a daily basis.
  12. Julia’s command ….. German is extraordinary, she nailed the presentation.
  13. For the first month of membership you will be exempt ….. paying delivery fees.
  14. In the winter months it’s cold ……… belief so bring warm clothes.
  15. Let’s go out! I’m ….. the mood ….. dancing tonight.
  16. The audience showed their disapproval ….. the comedian’s routine by booing loudly.
  17. Martin has his hands full now that his wife has given birth ….. twins.
  18. Thank you so much for the loan. I have every intention ….. paying you back ASAP.
  19. You’re putting your life ….. jeopardy every time you drink and drive.
  20. ….. the look of his facial expression, I’d say that he didn’t take your criticism well.
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Key Word Transformation Training

In this lesson plan students preparing for the C2 Proficiency exam develop their understanding of some key fixed expressions that often come up in part 4 of the use of English. Download the handout and homework exercise below:

You may want to use this quizlet set for spaced repetition of the expressions.

Procedure

Students read the expressions in bold and discuss the meaning with their partner. Encourage them to paraphrase the expression and make any notes on the grammar that might be relevant: specific prepositions, verb patterns that may follow it (gerund/infinitive etc.)

Students then flip the paper over and attempt to remember the expressions using the key words as prompts. They can check their answers by looking back at page 1. Ask students which expressions they struggled the most to recall.

Have students ask and answer the discussion questions in small groups.

Set the key word transformation worksheet for homework. You’ll find the answers in the quizlet set.

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

C1/C2: Complaining & Criticising

Criticising vs Critiquing – Thesislink

This is a lesson plan in which high level students get to grips with functional language and expressions used for complaining and criticising. Download the handout below:

Procedure

I recommend having your students complete the excellent lesson plan from the Macmillan Pragmatics page before using this lesson plan as it gives a great insight into language used for introducing and couching criticism.

Once you’ve done that, give out the handout and have students start to tackle the dialogue between Bob and his boss. Students should try to paraphrase the expressions and discuss their use.

Further idiomatic expressions and structures are then listed, have students discuss them in pairs and field any questions and doubts they may have.

Students then complete a controlled practice activity:

Complete the sentences with one word:

  1. You could at least call to let us know you’re running late.
  2. If you will keep leaving the heating on, you can’t complain about the gas bill.
  3. Your work has not been up to scratch for some time now and you really need to pull your finger out.
  4. I resent having to listen to your complaints every morning.
  5. The onus is on you to apologise to her, you were way out of line.
  6. You could/might/should have told me you were sick this morning, now there’s no time to organise a substitution.
  7. You had better knuckle down and start making an effort in this relationship, otherwise I’m gone.
  8. I don’t mean to throw Dave under the bus but it was his responsibility to lock up after the show.

Now have students roleplay the scenarios and write up a dialogue for their favourite.

Set the writing task for homework, point out that the tone should be firm but friendly and informal. Encourage the use of as many expressions as possible.

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

C2: Proficiency Training – The Heist

Cartoon Safe Heist ⬇ Vector Image by © ronleishman | Vector Stock 13979890

In this lesson C2 students will develop their understanding of idiomatic expressions that often come up in the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam. They will encounter the expressions in a text about a bank heist gone wrong. Download the student handout below:

Credit to: http://www.waze.net/oea/activities/24 for the planning a bank robbery activity.

You may also wish to use this quizizz game for spaced repetition of the target language.

Procedure

Students start by discussing common tropes of heist movies. They then skim the text to find out what went wrong in this case. (they were set up, someone ratted them out the police)

Students then answer the detail questions:

  1. How had they planned for the robbery? In great detail, taking note of intricacies while the narrator was working in the bank
  2. What was the first problem they encountered? The getaway driver was late
  3. How did the staff in the bank react? Only the bank manager put up any resistance
  4. What are the pros and cons of the way Tony behaves? he’s unpredictable but intimidating
  5. What happens to Tony and Barry? they are killed in the gunfight
  6. Where is the narrator at the end of the story? in prison

Language Focus

Students now focus on the expressions in bold. They discuss their meaning with their partner and try to paraphrase them, they then make a note of how familiar the expressions are to them.

Students now flip the paper over and look at version 2 of the same text. Now the expressions have been replaced with simpler language. Using the key words, they must recall the expressions. They then flip over their paper to check their answers.

Set the key word transformations testing the expressions for homework.

Plan a heist

Put students in small groups and have them plan a bank heist using the prompts on pages 2 and 3, which are adapted from http://www.waze.net/oea/activities/24

Students then present their different plans to the class.

Text Version 1

The Heist

  1. What heist/bank robbery films have you seen?
  2. Do you enjoy this type of movie? Why? Why not?
  3. How do people typically rob banks in films? What strategies do they use?
  4. How can heists go wrong?

Read the text about a bank heist, what went wrong?

The plan had been simple. I had been instrumental in drawing it up, I’d worked in that branch for over 5 years and had taken note of all the little intricacies and predicted all the problems we might have to contend with down to the last detail; I was nothing if not meticulous. I had done everything in my power to make sure everything went like clockwork. In the lead-up to the big day some doubts had been preying on my mind to such an extent that I hadn’t got a wink of sleep, but it was nothing out of the ordinary. 

We’d stuck to the plan to the letter. Aside from a rocky start, when the getaway driver had kept us waiting for the best part of an hour, everything had gone smoothly, almost too smoothly. The bank clerk had offered no resistance, the security guard had admitted defeat pretty quickly, clearly realising that facing off against armed robbers was above his pay grade. The manager made a bit of a fuss about handing over the combination to the vault but Tony soon made him see sense. A gun barrel pressed to your forehead can be very persuasive. I’m not 100% on board with how Tony conducts himself but you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs. He had risen to fame as useful muscle for a tight spot but he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box.

Barry got to work on the vault without interference and before long we were stuffing the duffle bags with wads of cold, hard cash, it was a beautiful sight, which did wonders for everyone’s confidence. Maybe that was it, we got too cocky, little did we know what lay in store for us outside. Tony was the first to catch sight of the blue lights, I was loath to start shooting but, as always, there was no stopping Tony, they didn’t call him the loose cannon for nothing. All of a sudden it was like a warzone, Tony didn’t stand a chance, neither did Barry. It’s nothing short of a miracle that I got out alive. It was obvious that the game was up, it must have been a set-up but who had ratted us out? I guess that’s something I’ll be pondering for the next 25 years. It ain’t so bad, running water, 3 square meals a day and a roof over my head. I guess I should spare a thought for those who were not so lucky.

  1. How had they planned for the robbery?
  2. What was the first problem they encountered?
  3. How did the staff in the bank react?
  4. What are the pros and cons of the way Tony behaves?
  5. What happens to Tony and Barry?
  6. Where is the narrator at the end of the story?
Posted in Advanced C1, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

Save the Planet: C1/C2 Phrasal Verbs

This is a lesson plan for C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency students on the topic of non-profit organisations like the WWF. Students read a short text about the organisation then work on phrasal verbs associated with the topic. Download the handout and key below:

The procedure is pretty straightforward. First students answer the introductory questions designed to activate their schemata and encourage them to predict the content of the text. They then read the text briefly to see if their predictions were correct. They then focus on the meaning of the phrasal verbs, then recall the prepositions/particles and finally put them into practice in a speaking activity.

Save the Planet – Phrasal Verbs

Introduction

Ask and answer the questions with a partner:

  1. Think of some national or international organisations dedicated to protecting the environment.
  2. What do these organisations do?
  3. How effective are they?
  4. What problems/difficulties do they encounter?
  5. What can people do to support these organisations more?

The WWF

  1. Read the text quickly. Does it mention any of the things you discussed in the introduction?
  2. Look at the phrasal verbs and expressions in bold and match them with the definitions below.

The World Wide Fund for Nature

Every day more and more trees are being cut down in the rainforests of the world wiping out hundreds of species. The current deforestation rate amounts to 3 football pitches per minute. Precious water supplies are being used up meaning that still more animals and plants are dying out. If we step back and look at the bigger picture, it’s not just animals and plants that are affected. The rainforests are the Earth’s lungs and further damage will only lead to misery for all life on the planet.

Our organisation aims to put pressure on governments all over the world to make them step up and take responsibility for the environment. Governments need to crack down on bad practices such as illegal logging and mining in rainforests. Sadly, we’re coming up against a lot of resistance from big business but that won’t stop us standing up for the animal kingdom. We’re looking for volunteers to chip in in any way they can; handing out leaflets in the street or drumming up support online are just two ways we can get our message across. Join us today by clicking the link below!

1. Help/contribute money
2. Kill or cause to die on a large scale
3. Be faced with
4. Make people hear/understand information
5. Cause
6. Mentally withdraw from a situation
7. Try to increase/encourage support for something
8. Become extinct
9. Introduce strong restrictions
10. Give something to people
11. Cause to fall
12. Defend verbally or physically
13. Consume all of something
14. Total/add up to
15. Take action when it’s needed

Practice

Try to remember the missing prepositions in the questions below without looking at the text. Then ask and answer the questions.

  1. How effective do you think practices like handing _____ leaflets actually are?
  2. Have you ever done anything to drum ______ support for a charity or other organisation?
  3. What do you think governments should crack ____ ____ in your country?
  4. Think of some endangered animals. Which one would you be saddest about if it died _____ completely?
  5. What do you think is the most effective way for an organisation like the WWF to get its message _______? Online? In person?
  6. What do you think are the most difficult issues that charities like the WWF come ____ ______ when trying to help the environment?
  7. If you use ____ all the toilet paper, do you always replace it?
  8. Think of a time when a friend or family member stood ____ _____ you in a difficult situation.
  9. Now think of a time when nobody stood ____ _____ you. Or when you failed to stand _____ _____ a friend.
  10. Who has the biggest responsibility to step ____ and take responsibility for the environment? Governments? Businesses? The general public? Why?
  11. When it’s a friend’s birthday, is it better if they receive lots of little presents or if everyone chips ____ and gets them one big present. Which would you prefer on your birthday?
  12. If you added up all your screen time in one day, how much would it amount ____? Do you want to cut _____? Why? Why not?