Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Writing Classes

Critical Thinking Cheatsheet from Global Digital Citizen Foundation

crit-thinking-cheatsheet

I saw this great cheatsheet from the Global Digital Citizen Foundation on Facebook, could be useful for getting students thinking about issues, especially when planning essays and reports.

Advertisements
Posted in Conversation Classes

Crime and Punishment: Conversation Topic

Image credit: www.theguardian.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a conversation topic for adults and teenagers on the subject of crime and punishment. Students discuss how safe they feel in their city, discuss the attraction of crime films and decide the correct punishment for some heinous (and not so heinous) crimes. Download everything below:

Crime and Punishment Lesson Plan

Crime and Punishment

crime film posters

Handout

Discussion

  1. Is your city a safe place to live? Why?
  2. Does your city have any dangerous areas? Where are they?
  3. Are you afraid to walk outside after dark? Why?
  4. Do you know anyone who has been robbed? If so, what happened?
  5. Have you ever been robbed? Have you ever had something stolen from you?
  6. Is it ever okay to break the law? If so, when?
  7. What are some things people can do to protect themselves from crime?
  8. What are some things that are legal but you personally think should be illegal?
  9. What are some things that are illegal but you personally think should be legal?
  10. What crimes have you heard about recently in the news?
  11. What do you think is the worst crime a person could commit? Why?
  12. What crimes do you think will increase in the future? Why?
  13. What crimes do you think will decrease in the future? Why?
  14. Does your country have the death penalty? If so, for what crimes can people receive the death penalty?
  15. Do you think the death penalty is a fair punishment? Why?
  16. Are there any reasonable alternatives to the death penalty? What?
  17. Why do people steal things?
  18. Have you ever had anything stolen from you?
  19. Have you ever stolen anything?

Brainstorm Crimes and punishments

https://www.englishclub.com/english-for-work/police-crime.htm

Glamourising Crime

Show pictures of crime films/books.

  • What happens in these films?
  • Why do we sympathise with the criminals?
  • What crimes are glamorous?
  • Can criminals be heroes?
  • What makes a villain a villain?

The punishment fits the crime

Students debate what punishments are appropriate for the crimes in the powerpoint.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Conversation Skills: Topic Nomination

Image credit: alburychurch.org.au

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

I’m running the Barcelona Half-Marathon dressed as David Bowie to raise money for Cancer Research, sponsor me here:

https://www.justgiving.com/Timothy-Warre/

This is a conversation skills lesson for B2+ students. Students will learn ways to nominate topics and develop their turn-taking skills. First they will listen to native speakers having a conversation the analyse it for the language of topic nomination. Download the handouts and audio file below:

Topic Nomination Student’s handout

Topic Nomination Teacher’s version

http://1drv.ms/1Qxrerx – Audio

Listening

Students listen to two people having a conversation 3 times, they should answer the following questions:

1st listen (without transcript)

What topics do they talk about?

 

2nd listen (without transcript)

How do they nominate topic?

 

3rd listen (with transcript)

Underline:

·         Phrases to nominate topic (Using the expressions in bold in the transcript)

 

Look for:

A phrase for agreeing – you can say that again

A phrase that means “I can’t go” – I’m not going to make it.

A phrasal verb that means “increase” put up

Another way of saying “why” how come

A phrasal verb that means “contribute some money” chip in

Another way of saying “it’s ok” now worries

Transcript:

A: Bit chilly today. Isn’t it?

B: You can say that again. It’s freezing in my house, I have to keep my jacket on inside!

A: I know, our place is the same. Our heating doesn’t work and the landlord won’t fix it!

B: That’s rubbish, speaking of landlords, ours is threatening to put the rent up again!

A: What a bastard! Why don’t you just move out?

B: We’re thinking about it, we could have a massive leaving party and trash the place!

A: Haha, go for it! I’ll come. Ooo that reminds me, are you going to Tony and Dave’s tonight?

B: Nah, I’m not going to make it, I have to work tomorrow.

A: On Saturday! How come?

B: We have to get everything ready for the big conference on Monday.

A: Rubbish.

B: I know. I’m free next weekend though.

A: Oh, before I forget, do you want to chip in for Fiona’s birthday present.

B: Yeah sure, how much do you need?

A: A tenner?

B: No problem. Hang on, while we’re on the subject of money, you owe me a tenner from the cinema last weekend.

A: Oh yeah, shit I forgot, sorry.

B: No worries, just put it towards Fiona’s present.

A: OK, no problem.

Students Practice Dialogue

Students use the transcript to practice the dialogue. Play close attention to word stress on some of the phrases “You can say THAT aGAIN”. First they practice with the script, then without, when they practice without, tell them not to worry about being word perfect, the focus should be more on the changes in topic.

Controlled Practice:

Put students in groups of 3-4 cut up and give out the topic cards below and distribute them evenly among the students. Then tell students that they are a group of friends meeting in a bar, they are going to have a conversation starting with the following sentence:

Bit chilly today, isn’t it?

Each member of the group must then try to steer the conversation towards one of the topics on their cards, every time they do this successfully they can place the corresponding card on the table in front of them, the winner is the first person to get rid of all their cards. Note, their topic changes must makes sense!

For example:

A: My son hurt his foot playing football.

B: Speaking of football, did you see the match last night?

Allow students a couple of false starts, feel free to mix groups up and play again.

The weather A recent football match A concert you’re going to

 

A dinner party you’re having An accident someone you know had A film you want to see
A TV program you’ve seen A story in the newspapers

 

A problem you have at home
Something you need to buy A friend who’s coming to visit

 

A favour you need to ask
Some romantic gossip you want to tell Something you want to complain about Your holiday future holiday plans

Free-practice

Students have a freer conversation about their weekend/holiday plans/current affairs and try to use the expressions to nominate topic.

 

Posted in Conversation Classes

First class back after Christmas

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

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.

Posted in Conversation Classes

Conversation topic: Who’s in the wrong?

Image credit: www.learnaboutislam.co.uk

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a conversation lesson plan for intermediate (B1) upwards around the topic of blame. Download the powerpoint below:

Who’s in the wrong

Warmer

SS discuss in pairs:

  • When was the last time you got into trouble?
  • Who was to blame?

Language of blaming:

  1. It was my/his/her/your/their/our _________.
  2. He was to _________.
  3. She was in the _________.
  4. They were at ________.
  5. I blame the broken window _____ John.
  6. I blame John _____ breaking the window.

SS complete the sentences with the following words:

for

on

blame

wrong

fault (x2)

  1. It was my/his/her/your/their/our fault
  2. He was to blame
  3. She was in the wrong
  4. They were at fault.
  5. I blame the broken window on John.
  6. I blame John for breaking the window.

Show the first slide from the powerpoint and have students discuss who is to blame in small groups. Ss then report back in open class. You might want to assign roles from the different situations to different students to make it a bit more exciting.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Recommended Websites

Macmillan’s free online resources are amazing!!

Thanks to my colleague Raquel Gomez for introducing me to Macmillan’s amazing database of resources:

http://www.macmillandictionary.com/learn/english-language-resources.html

She focused specifically on the pragmatics section in a seminar she recently gave in my school. She ran an experiment last year using the materials to boost scores for FCE and CAE speaking exams so I’m going to try them out for myself today, starting with this one on agreeing and disagreeing:

http://www.macmillandictionary.com/external/pdf/expressing-yourself-agree.pdf?version=2015-09-07-1650