Posted in Conversation Classes

Tis the Season to be Jolly: Christmas Expressions

Image result for christmas

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a Christmas lesson plan for higher levels (C1+) in which students learn some Christmassy expressions then practice them in a crossword and discussion.

tis-the-season-to-be-jolly-teachers-notes

tis-the-season-to-be-jolly – Student handout

christmas-expressions-crossword-key

christmas-expressions-crossword

Teacher’s notes

Matching

Match the expressions in bold with their definitions.

  1. I really overindulged last Christmas, I felt awful on Boxing Day. (C)
  2. So this year I’ve decided to pace myself, no booze till lunchtime! (P)
  3. Oooo, I’m feeling a bit tipsy after all that champagne. (B)
  4. I’ll put some Christmas carols on to get in the festive spirit. (D)
  5. Christmas is a time to get together with your nearest and dearest. (O)
  6. I don’t get on with my uncle but we always manage to bury the hatchet at Christmas. (E)
  7. Christmas just isn’t Christmas without turkey with all the trimmings. (J)
  8. (opening a present) Another horrible jumper from Auntie Janet, oh well, it’s the thought that counts. (M)
  9. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. (H)
  10. Son: “Come on Granddad! It’s Christmas, don’t be such a scrooge!” (I)

Granddad: “Bah Humbug! I hate Christmas.” (K)

  1. My mum always spends hours slaving over a hot stove on Christmas day. (F)
  2. We’re doing a secret Santa in the office and I’ve drawn the boss! I don’t know what to get her. (G)
  3. (opening a present) Oh wow, it’s lovely, you shouldn’t have! (L)
  4. Christmas is really important in my family, we always pull out all the stops, decorations, presents, tonnes of food, you name it! (N)
  5. Children always get showered with gifts at Christmas. (A)
a.       Receive a lot of presents

b.      A little drunk

c.       Eat and drink too much

d.      To start feeling Christmassy

e.      To forget old arguments and be friendly

f.        To spend a long time cooking

g.       “amigo invisible” each person buys a present for another person in the group.

h.      A snowy Christmas

i.         A mean person who doesn’t like Christmas

j.        The traditional things that go with something

k.       People who don’t like Christmas say this.

l.         What you say when you receive a present

m.    What you say when you receive a bad present

n.      Make a big effort to achieve something

o.      Your family

p.      To eat and drink slowly and carefully.

Reflection

This section is designed to help students process the vocabulary and aid acquisition.

Look again at the expressions.

  1. Which ones do you like?
  2. Which ones do you think you will remember?
  3. Which ones do you think you will forget?
  4. Can you think of an equivalent expression in your language?
  5. Think of a way to remember each expression with your partner, you could relate it to a sound, a word in your language or maybe an image.

Crossword

Give out the crossword handout and have them complete it in pairs without looking at the original handout. The first group to finish is the winner.

Conversation

Students ask and answer the questions in pairs. Then feedback in open class.

Ask and answer the questions with your partner:

  1. Have you ever experienced a white Christmas? Where were you? What was it like?
  2. Do you try to pace yourself over the festive season? Or do you tend to overindulge?
  3. Who slaves over a hot stove in your family?
  4. Have you ever done a secret Santa? Who with? Who did you draw? Did you like the experience?
  5. Does your family pull out all the stops at Christmas?
  6. Do you get on with everyone in your family? Do you have to bury the hatchet with any family members at Christmas?
  7. Does anyone in your family give bad presents? What do you say when you receive a bad present? Have you ever taken a present back to the shop?
  8. What do you do to get into the Christmas spirit? Do you ever find it difficult?
  9. Are there any scrooges in your family?
  10. What’s the traditional Christmas dish in your culture? What are all the trimmings that go with it?
  11. Who gets showered with gifts in your household?
  12. Do you normally get tipsy at Christmas?
  13. How important is it to get together with your nearest and dearest at Christmas? Who do you normally spend Christmas with?
  14. How important is giving and receiving presents in your family? Is it really just the thought that counts?

 

Posted in Conversation Classes, Young Learners

Christmas Communicative Crossword

Image result for christmas

Image credit: Pexels

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is yet another Christmas based activity, this one is for low-levels and young learners. Students work together to complete a Christmas themed crossword. Download the lesson plan and handout below:

christmas-crossword

Warmer – Hangman

Play hangman with “Merry Christmas” to go over the alphabet. Then, once they have guessed the word test and teach students ordinal numbers (first, second, third etc.) like so:

  • What is the first letter in “merry”? M
  • What is the sixth letter in “Christmas”? T
  • etc.

Write up the different ordinal numbers and drill pronunciation if necessary.

Christmas Crossword

In the handout above there are two versions of the crossword: The first version is just a standard worksheet that students could complete in pairs. The second version is a more communicative version.

Communicative Crossword

If you choose to try the communicative version, follow these steps:

  1. Put students in pairs, and label them A and B
  2. Give out the A handout to the As and B to the Bs.
  3. Tell students that they MUST NOT  look at each other’s worksheet.
  4. They have to work together to complete the crossword in English.
  5. Student A has all the “across” clues and student B has all the “down” clues.
  6. Student A reads a clue to student B and they try to figure out what the word could be, they then use the letters to get ideas about what the connecting words could be. This is where the ordinal numbers (the 6th letter is an “r” etc.)

Note: This activity works best as revision as it might be too difficult for young learners if they haven’t encountered these words before.

The winning team is the team that completes the crossword correctly first.

Key:

  1. Chimney
  2. Decorations
  3. Wrapping paper
  4. Reindeer
  5. Christmas
  6. Presents
  7. Turkey
  8. Santa Claus
  9. Angel
  10. Star
Posted in Conversation Classes, Video Classes, Writing Classes, Young Learners

Christmas Video: Buster the Boxer

Image result for buster the boxer john lewis

Image credit: ITV.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is another Christmas themed lesson based around the latest John Lewis Christmas advert about Buster the boxer. Download the lesson plan and powerpoint below:

buster-the-boxer – Powerpoint

buster-the-boxer – Lesson Plan

Procedure

Put students in pairs, depending on their level show them either the first slide with 4 photos or the second slide with the word cloud. Give them 10 minutes to invent a Christmas story using all of the words or pictures, monitor while they work and feed in any language that is needed.

Students then read out their stories to the class, discuss any language issues that come up. Students can then vote on which story they liked best.

Then show students the John Lewis advert:

Ask students the following questions:

  • Whose story was the most similar to the advert?
  • How different was your story?
  • Did you like the video? If so, what did you like about it?

Show the word cloud again, have students write out the story of the advert again from memory using the words as prompts. Students then read out their different versions.

Follow up

For homework, students write the next part of the story, what did the girl do next? How did the foxes and the badger spend Christmas day?

Posted in Conversation Classes

Plan a Magical Christmas

Image result for christmas markets berlin

Image credit: Party Earth

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is another Christmas themed lesson plan for intermediate (B1+) teenagers and adults. Students will be required to use smartphones, tablets or laptops as part of the activity. Download the lesson plan below:

plan-a-magical-christmas

Warmer

Tell your partner about your most memorable Christmas ever.

Report back in open class.

Planning the perfect Christmas

Put students in pairs or groups of 3. Write a range of amounts of money on small pieces of paper, for example: €100, €1000, €10,000, €100,000. Put the pieces of paper in a hat, each team picks a piece of paper.

The amount of money that they have picked is their budget for the magical Christmas they are going to plan. They should plan a week of activities, from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve. Students can use the internet to research what they are going to do with their money: book flights to or a hotel in an exotic destination, book tables in fancy restaurants, organise interesting activities etc. The only rule is that they can’t go over budget AND they must speak in English the whole time, project the language for making and responding to suggestions below onto the board.

To be nice to the group that drew the €100 you could let them come up with a money making scheme such as baking and selling cookies in order to get more money. Encourage them to use their imagination, be creative and also, decide what the most important thing about Christmas is to them. Students have 20-30 minutes to plan.

Language

Making suggestions Accepting suggestions Rejecting suggestions
How/what about …ing…?

Why don’t we…?

We could….

Shall we…?

I reckon/think we should/ought to….

What do you think about …ing?

Let’s…

That’s a great idea!

Good idea!

I was thinking the same thing.

You took the words right out my mouth.

That’s a terrible idea.

Are you joking?

Don’t be silly.

I’m not sure about that.

It’ll be too cold/expensive etc.

Presentations

After 20-30 minutes students present their plans to the rest of the class and explain their reasons:

“We’ve decided to spend Christmas in Germany because we want to visit the famous Christmas markets”

After all the presentations, students vote on the plan that they like best.

Posted in Young Learners

Drawing Dictation: A Christmas Card

Image result for christmas cards

Image credit: Dots and Spots

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a Christmas themed lesson plan for young learners. Students will learn some Christmas vocabulary then put it to use in a drawing dictation exercise. You will need and A4 piece of white card for each student and this quizlet set. Download the lesson plan below:

drawing-dictation-xmas

Warmer

Put students in pairs and give them 1 minute to come up with as many English words related to Christmas as they can. Check in open class, award 1 point for each correctly spelt word and two points for any unique words (no other group wrote it down).

Introduce Vocabulary

Use a projector and the quizlet set to introduce the Christmas target language. There are 23 words in the set which is probably too many for most groups, use the star function to select the ones you want to study. When introducing each word, associate it with a different action i.e for “bells” you could mime ringing hand bells. For slightly higher levels, introduce the word as part of a sentence: “I ring the bells”

Games

You can then play the “match” game on quizlet on the projector. Put students in pairs and have them take turns to play “match” trying to complete the game faster than the other teams. If you don’t have access to a projector, you could print out two copies of each flashcard and play a giant game of “memory” or “pairs” on the board or on the floor at the students’ feet.

Prepositions

Quickly revise the most common prepositions of place (next to, behind, under, above, on, at the top, in front of etc.) you could do this a number of ways:

  • Use a chair – you stand next to/behind/in front of etc. the chair and say “Where am I?”
  • Use a pen and paper – put the pen under/in front of/behind etc. the paper and say “Where’s the pen?”
  • Use a picture – show the picture of the Christmas tree below and elicit where the things are: “the presents are under the tree”

Image result for christmas tree santa

Drawing Dictation

Give each student an A4 piece of white card folded in half like a Christmas card. Tell students that they are going to make a Christmas card for their parents, but they have to listen carefully to your instructions. You then start describing a festive scene: “In the middle there is a big Christmas tree.” “Next to the tree I can see Father Christmas.” “Under the tree there are lots of presents!!” Monitor and check that students are following your instructions correctly.

You can then dictate a message for them to write inside the card and let them colour and decorate the card however they like. While they’re colouring play some Christmas music to get them in the festive spirit!

Posted in Teacher Training

Free Christmas Workshop in Barcelona

Resultat d'imatges de christmas

Image credit: History (history.com)

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

Are you an English teacher based in Barcelona or the surrounding area? Are you stuck for ideas for Christmas based activities for your classes in the run-up to the festive season? Then why not come along to our free Christmas teaching workshop on Friday 9th December.

  • Where? Useful Languages Barcelona – Carrer de Pelai, 44, First floor, 08001
  • When? Friday 9th December 11:30-13:00
  • Who? The session will be lead by myself and Eleanor Walker, director of Useful Languages, Cambridge examiner and teacher trainer.

If you can, please bring an idea for an activity to share with the group. We will try to cover activities for all ages, from young learners to adults.

Please confirm your attendance by emailing Eleanor at: eleanor@uflbarcelona.com

Hope to see you there!

 

Posted in Conversation Classes

First class back after Christmas

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Image credit: willingness.com.mt

First class back, Christmas is over, back to the grindstone. Here’s a conversation activity to ease you and your students back into class and hopefully keep a spark of Christmas cheer alive.

Warmer – Xmas present 20 questions

Think of your best Xmas present, tell students they can ask 20 yes/no questions to guess what it is. If they struggle to come up with questions, model a few on the board:

Can you use it to…?

Is it bigger than a…?

Does it have…?

Does it cost more than a…?

The student who guesses correctly takes the teacher’s place and the game is repeated.

If students struggle to think of a present, print and cut up the handout below and use them as game cards.

Christmas Present 20 Questions

 

Who had the best Christmas?

Write on the board:

Objectives

Who got the best present?

Who had the best Christmas?

Who had the most fun on New Year’s Eve?

Who had the strangest Christmas?

Tell students that they need to speak to as many people as they can to find out the answer to the four questions.

Put students in pairs and have them brainstorm the questions they will need to ask:

Who got the best present? – What did you get for Christmas?

Who had the best Christmas? – What did you do at Christmas? Where did you spend Christmas? What was the best thing about Christmas?

Who had the most fun on New Year’s Eve? – What did you do on New Year’s Eve? Where did you spend New Year’s Eve?

Let them ask you the questions first as an example.

Then give students 10 minutes to speak to as many of their classmates as they can. While they circulate, correct their mistakes and board the correct forms. After 1o minutes stop the activity and draw students attention to all the boarded language they have generated.

Then in open class nominate a student to answer one of the original questions:

Teacher: “Xavi, who do you think had the best Christmas?”

Xavi: “Gerrard had the best Christmas, he went to the Bahamas with his family.”

Then ask the rest of the class if they agree and see if the class can reach a consensus.

Follow up

Students write a composition on their Christmas holidays. This could take the form of an informal email to a friend.