Posted in Conversation Classes

Conversation topic: The best way to…

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Image credit: www.cleverprocrastination.com

This is a straightforward conversation topic lesson plan which can be used with both teens and adults and many levels (high A2+). Students discuss the best thing to do in different situations.

You will need the “best way to…” powerpoint:

The best way to

Language

Put the following structures on the board:

Opinion:

  • In my opinion
  • From my point of view
  • As far as I’m concerned
  • I reckon

The best/worst thing to do is…

Agreeing and disagreeing:

Agreeing Disagreeing Ending an argument:
  • We see eye to eye
  • I couldn’t agree with you more.
  • That’s exactly how I feel.
  • You have a point there.
  • I was just going to say that.
  • Absolutely.
  • We don’t see eye to eye
  • I take your point but
  • I tend to disagree with you there
  • I’m afraid I have to disagree with you there
  • I beg to differ
  • That’s not always the case.
  • Let’s just move on shall we?
  • I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree.

Project the powerpoint onto the board and go through the slides. Play devil’s advocate and ensure that students debate each topic thoroughly.

Debates

You could split the class into teams and debate one of the topics. Give each team an opinion, for example “the best way to break up with someone is by text”, and they have to defend that opinion even if they don’t agree with it.

Homework

Have students choose one of the topics raised and write an essay on it; exploring the different ways suggested and reaching a conclusion as to which is the best.

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Posted in Conversation Classes, Recommended Websites

Great Link for Debate Tasks

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

I’ve just come  across this link from the university of Kent that features some great conversation activities including a balloon debate.

http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/interviews/balloonDebate.htm#air

Here’s the sinking ship one in a word document to download:

Sinking Ship

Posted in Conversation Classes

Bucket List: Conversation Topic

Photo Credit: imdb.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

Before you use these materials, why not check out our new podcast for learners and teachers alike? It’s called 2Ts in a Pod, have a listen here:

 

This is a conversation topic, based around the idea of a bucket list, written with higher levels in mind (C1+). However, I have included a version for lower levels.

Download the lesson plan and student’s handout here:

Bucket List Conversation Class

Bucket List Student’s handout Advanced

Bucket List handout intermediate

Bucket List Conversation Class

Write on the board: My grandfather kicked the bucket last week.

Show the first part of the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8k79w-nJD4#t=13

to kick the bucket – to die How else can we say this?

  1. Pass ________
  2. Bite the _______
  3. Give up the ________
  4. ________ one’s last.

To pass away, bite the dust, perish (usually in an accident), give up the ghost, breathe one’s last.

  1. What is a bucket list?

A list of activities that people want to do before they die.

  1. What do you think of this idea?
  2. Have you seen the film?
  3. Who do you think invented this idea?
  4. Why has it become so widely-know?
  5. What is FOMO?

Fear of missing out – a modern phenomenon linked to social media. People tend to think theat they are missing an amazing experience.

Daily Mail Survey Guessing Game.

 

The Daily Mail newspaper conducted a survey to see what the British public most commonly put on their bucket lists.

Can you guess some activities people chose?

Give students a few minutes to jot down some ideas in pairs. Make it into a game, pairs read out their suggestions one at a time and you award them points depending on where it is in the top 40: 4 points for the top 10, 3 for top 20, 2 for top 30, 1 for top 40.

Language for talking about plans/hopes/dreams

Go over the language in the boxes below:

Positive Negative
I’ve always fancied…

I’m dying/itching to try…

… is a burning ambition of mine.

… would be right up my street.

… is one for the bucket list.

A pipe dream (an unrealistic/improbable dream)

I would jump at the chance to…

If you offered me the chance to…, I would bite your hand off.

I’d give it a go.

I have no desire to…

… doesn’t appeal to me (at all)

Whatever floats your boat.

To each their own

The idea of … doesn’t do anything for me.

You wouldn’t catch me …ing

… is not my thing.

… is not for me.

Daily Mail Top 10

  1. Have a holiday home abroad
  2. Learn a new language
  3. Go on holiday to the Maldives .
  4. Buy a house
  5. Swim with dolphins
  6. Drive Route 66
  7. Ride a hot air balloon
  8. See the Egyptian Pyramids
  9. Go to a casino in Las Vegas
  10. Visit Venice

Have students discuss the top ten and decide if they would be on their bucket list. You can then either show them the rest of the top 40 or go to http://bucketlist.org/featured/ for more ideas for students to create their own bucket lists. Daily Mail Top 40:

  1. Have a holiday home abroad
  2. Learn a new language
  3. Go on holiday to the Maldives
  4. Buy a house
  5. Swim with dolphins
  6. Drive Route 66
  7. Ride a hot air balloon
  8. See the Egyptian Pyramids
  9. Go to a casino in Las Vegas
  10. Visit Venice
  11. Go up the Empire State Building
  12. Go on a cruise
  13. Go whale watching
  14. Climb a mountain
  15. Go up the Eiffel tower
  16. Learn an instrument
  17. Work in a different country
  18. Float in the Dead Sea
  19. Write a novel
  20. Drive a racing car
  21. Change career
  22. Trek the Inca Trail
  23. Be a volunteer for a good cause
  24. Be an extra in a film
  25. Go scuba diving
  26. Try out surfing
  27. Hold a Koala
  28. Feed a penguin
  29. Get a tattoo
  30. Backpack Europe
  31. Own a designer watch
  32. Ride a gondola
  33. Run a big race
  34. Bungee jump
  35. Reach the top of my career ladder
  36. Own a Mulberry handbag
  37. Ride a camel
  38. Ride on a horse and cart
  39. Write a film
  40. Change hair colour

Daily Mail article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-2695728/Buying-holiday-home-driving-Route-66-trip-Maldives-British-bucket-list-40-things-die.html

Posted in Conversation Classes

School: Conversation Topic

Image credit: old-fashioned-school-room.jpg By Robert Weissberg

http://www.mindingthecampus.org/tag/charles-murray/

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a conversation exercise for adult students (A2+) in which they talk about and compare their experiences at school. I have prepared this activity as a follow up to studying comparatives and superlatives so encourage students to compare their schools and personal experiences: Your school was stricter than mine.

Download the handout here:

School Conversation

Useful language:

We had to…

We weren’t allowed to…

We couldn’t…

We didn’t have to… (it wasn’t necessary)

(noun/gerund)… was compulsory

(noun/gerund)… was prohibited

Discussion questions

Put students into groups of 2-4 and have them discuss the questions and then feedback/report what they’ve learnt from their classmates to the rest of the class. For small groups conduct the discussion as a class.

  1. Where did you go to school?
  2. Can you describe your school?
  3. Did you have to wear a uniform? If so, what did it consist of?
  4. What time did you have to start school?
  5. What were the rules at your school?
  • We had to…
  • We weren’t allowed to…
  • We couldn’t…
  • (noun/gerund)… was compulsory
  • (noun/gerund)… was prohibited/against the rules.
  1. Did you eat lunch at school?
  2. Who was the best teacher you had at school? Why?
  3. Who was the strictest teacher you had at school?
  4. What was your favourite subject?
  5. What was your least favourite subject?
  6. Describe a typical day at your school.
  7. What facilities did your school have? (gymnasium, swimming pool etc.)
  8. Have you been to your school recently? How much has it changed?
  9. Would you send your children to the same school?
  10. What things have changed for the better?
  11. What things have changed for the worse?
  12. Who was your best friend at school?
  13. Are you still friends with them now?
  14. Do you think school is easier or more difficult nowadays? Why?

Homework: Write an essay comparing and contrasting modern schools to schools in the past. Or a “day in the life” description of your school experience.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Reading Classes

Ageism and Retirement: CAE/CPE Lesson Plan

Student Onno Selbach does activities with two of our inhabitants. Photo courtesy of Humanitas.

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Photo credit: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/dutch-retirement-home-offers-rent-free-housing-students-one-condition/

This is a conversation activity for adults (B2+) based around an article about a Dutch retirement home where university students can live rent free in exchange for spending time with the senior residents. It also includes  Cambridge exam style open cloze and word formation exercises.

Lesson Plan:Dutch nursing home lesson plan

Article:Dutch nursing home offers rent

Open Cloze: Dutch nursing home open cloze

Word Formation: Dutch nursing home word formation

Key:

You can either split the class into groups to discuss the questions or conduct the discussion as a class. Warmer questions:

  • What is ageism?
  • Have you ever experienced it or seen an example of it?
  • In what ways/situations are people discriminated against because of their age?
  • Do you think older people are treated well in your society?
  • What type of problems do elderly people face in modern society?
  • How could this be improved?
  • Do you think the way in which older people are treated has got better or worse in your lifetime?
  • Are young and elderly people well integrated in modern society? If not how can we improve this?

Give out article and have students read it, clear up any vocabulary issues. Then give out the open cloze and word formation exercises.

Discussion questions:

  • What do you think of the program?
  • What are the potential advantages and disadvantages?
  • Why would this program appeal to the students?
  • Why would this program appeal to the elderly people?
  • What would the students get out of the program?
  • What would the elderly people get out of the program?
  • Would you have liked/like to spend your university years living in a retirement home?
  • Would you like to live in a home like this when you retire?

Follow up activity: Students write a CAE style essay, report or proposal on the topic of ageism and the retirement home program outlining pros and cons or highlighting advantages and disadvantages for the students and the elderly people.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Current Affairs Classes

Conversation Topic: Mars One

mars-one-colony-astronauts-2

This is a conversation activity in which students discuss human achievements and the Mars One colonisation project. Either split the class into small groups (3-4) or for smaller groups have a class discussion. You can download the handout here.

Introduction

  • How many amazing physical achievements (climbing Everest, walking to the South Pole etc.) can you think of?
  • Which achievement was the most impressive?
  • What’s the most physically difficult thing you’ve ever done? (climb a mountain, run a marathon etc.)
  • Are there any you would like to try in the future?
  • Are there any you wish you had tried in the past?
  • Are the world’s best athletes present at the Olympic Games?
  • What type of athletes or sportsmen/women do you think deserve the most respect?
  • What do you think of ‘extreme’ sports (bungee jumping, tightrope walking…)?
  • What do you think is the most impressive human achievement? (not necessarily physical, could be scientific/technological/medical for example the moon landings)

Mars One

  • How much do you know about Mars? Share your knowledge with your group.
  • Are you interested in astronomy and the science of space travel?
  • Do you have any memories of important achievements in space travel?
  • Have you heard of the Mars One project? Share your knowledge with your group BEFORE READING THE DESCRIPTION BELOW.

Mars One is a privately funded project which intends to establish a human colony on Mars by 2025. They plan to send an unmanned spacecraft to the planet in 2018 followed by equipment and supplies over the following 6 years. They are currently accepting applications to be part of the first 4-man crew that will take off in 2024 on a one-way 7 month trip to the red planet. Once the colony is established 4 people will be sent every 2 years.

  • What do you think of the project? Is it realistic?
  • The project is currently accepting applicants to be part of the 4 man crew that will leave in 2024. What kind of people do you think they are looking for?
  • Would you be interested in participating? Why? Why not?
  • What kind of people do you think would apply for the project?
  • If you were running the project what tests would you do on the applicants to check if they are suitable?
  • What are the biggest problems the people could encounter on the 7 month journey to Mars? And when they land?
  • How would you feel if a member of your family wanted to apply for the project?
  • Do you know anyone who you think would like to apply?
  • Why do you think people would apply to be part of the project?
  • Imagine you have been selected to be part of the first crew. You are allowed to take 1 item of hand luggage (standard budget airline size) of personal belongings. What would you take and why?
Posted in Conversation Classes

Tiger Mother Conversation Topic

tiger mum

This is a conversation activity based around Amy Chua the controversial author of the book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, her guide to parenting using stricter Chinese methods. Below are the links to the prezi and two hand outs.

Prezi

tiger mother example of technique

Tiger Mother quotes handout

Lesson Plan

First show the first slide of the prezi with the three quotes and have students discuss them as a class or in small groups.

Then tell show them the second slide and tell them that the three quotes are all from Amy Chua. Ask students if they have heard of her and encourage them to share their knowledge if they have.

Then give out the first handout (example of technique). Have the students read the story, go over any vocabulary issues and then have students discuss it using the questions on the 2nd slide.

Then have students discuss the quotes in the 3rd slide of the prezi or alternatively print out the second hand out (quotes) and use that for discussion.

Homework Suggestion

Students preparing for exams could write an article or essay based around Amy Chua and her techniques. A compare and contrast piece based around students opinions of her techniques compared to traditional western parenting.