Posted in Proficiency, Reading Classes, Vocabulary Classes

C1/C2 Holiday Diary: Reading & Vocabulary

Image result for madagascar

Image credit: Madagascar Wiki – Fandom

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This is a reading and vocabulary lesson plan for higher level students based around an example of a holiday diary. It works well as a model for CPE article tasks about travelling. Download the power point and handout below:

Holiday Diary Madagascar – Handout

Holiday Diary madagascar pp – Power point

Procedure

Show the power point and have students discuss the questions as a warmer.

Give out the handout and have students complete the exercises.

Encourage students to write a similar holiday diary for homework.

Holiday Diary

What do you know about Madagascar? Have you ever been there? Would you like to?

Read the text and tell your partner is this type if holiday would be your cup of tea.

Madagascar

We’re quite adventurous so your standard beach holiday doesn’t really cut it for us so after umming and ahhing for a few months we finally settled on a trip to Madagascar. We had set our sights on exploring the dense undergrowth of Madagascar’s jungles and maybe catching a glimpse of some of its famed wildlife.

We flew into the capital Antananarivo, no sooner had we stepped off the plane than we were hit by a wave of intense heat, Madagascar has a really humid climate so the sweat was pouring down our faces in no time at all. Antananarivo is bustling with life with a mindboggling network of haphazard back streets in which you can lose yourself in the blink of an eye. Apart from the hotel we’d booked online we’d decided to play it by ear for the rest of the trip so we set about looking for a guide to take us into the lush vegetation of the surrounding rainforests. Unfortunately there was a mix-up with our luggage that set us back 2 hours but eventually we picked up our suitcases and set off on our mission.

As a city, Antananarivo isn’t much to write home about, it’s pretty grimy and run-down and our taxi ride into the city centre was pretty fraught. When we finally arrived at our hotel it looked a sorry sight, not what we’d been led to believe in the brochure. However, we’re not really big on creature comforts so we didn’t mind. Luckily, the hotel organised guided-tours of the rainforest and there was one leaving the very next day.

We were up at the crack of dawn the next day to board the rickety old minibus that was going to take us out into the middle of nowhere to begin our adventure. The bus journey was a little bit hairy as the road was little more than a track with potholes everywhere. We gradually wound our way up through the mountainous landscape which surrounds the city until we reached the summit of one of the foothills where we stopped for a picnic. The views of the rainforest stretching out in front of us were a real sight to behold, never before have I seen such an awe-inspiring sight…

Read the text again and decide if these statements are true of false.

  1. The author likes beach holidays T/F
  2. Antananarivo is a difficult city to navigate around T/F
  3. They had the whole trip planned out beforehand T/F
  4. Their luggage was put on the wrong plane T/F
  5. They liked Antananarivo T/F
  6. The hotel was different to the description in the brochure T/F
  7. They don’t mind roughing it T/F
  8. The journey to the rainforest was relaxing T/F
  9. They were impressed by the views from the foothill T/F

Look at the expressions in bold, discuss their meaning with a partner.

Look at the expressions again and try to categorise them.

 

What can you remember? Work with a partner.

Madagascar

We’re quite adventurous so your standard beach holiday doesn’t really  ___     (1) it for us so after ________(2) and ahhing for a few months we finally settled ______(3) a trip to Madagascar. We had set our ___________(4) on exploring the _________(5) undergrowth of Madagascar’s jungles and maybe catching a ____________(6) of some of its famed wildlife.

We flew into the capital Antananarivo, no sooner had we stepped off the plane than we were hit by a wave of intense heat, Madagascar has a really humid climate so the sweat was pouring down our faces in no time at all. Antananarivo is ___________(7) with life with a mindboggling network of ________________ (8) back streets in which you can lose yourself in the blink of an eye. Apart from the hotel we’d booked online we’d decided to play it by ________(9) for the rest of the trip so we set __________(10) looking for a guide to take us into the ___________(11) vegetation of the surrounding rainforests. Unfortunately there was a _________(12) with our luggage that set us _________(13) 2 hours but eventually we picked up our suitcases and set off on our mission.

As a city, Antananarivo isn’t much to write home about, it’s pretty ________(14) and run-down and our taxi ride into the city centre was pretty fraught. When we finally arrived at our hotel it looked a ________  (15) sight, not what we’d been __________(16) to believe in the brochure. However, we’re not really big on creature ______________(17) so we didn’t mind. Luckily, the hotel organised guided-tours of the rainforest and there was one leaving the very next day.

We were up at the ____________(18) of dawn the next day to board the rickety old minibus that was going to take us out into the ____________(19) of nowhere to begin our adventure. The bus journey was a little bit __________(20) as the road was little more than a track with potholes everywhere. We gradually wound our way up through the mountainous landscape which surrounds the city until we reached the summit of one of the foothills where we stopped for a picnic. The views of the rainforest stretching out in front of us were a real sight to ________(21) never before have I seen such an awe-______________(22) sight…

Memory

Cover the text and try to retell the story using as much of the vocabulary as you can.

Personalise

Have you ever had a similar experience? Tell your partner about it using the vocabulary.

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Writing Classes

CAE/CPE Writing: Formal Letter of Complaint – Task + Phrase Sheet

Resultat d'imatges de complaint

Image credit: Durham Constabulary

Before you use these materials… We’ve created a new podcast aimed at B2+ level English students and teachers alike. You can listen for free at our SoundCloud page below. You can download teacher’s notes to accompany them from our Facebook page or from this blog. All comments and feedback welcome! Give us a like and a share 😉
https://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast/

This is a phrase sheet and writing task for CAE/CPE students designed to help them tackle formal letter of complaint tasks. Download the handout below:

Letter of complaint phrase sheet

CAE/CPE – Letter of Complaint

Task – CPE Testbuilder pg 91

You recently stayed at one of a chain of large hotels and encountered a number of problems during your stay. Write a letter to the company’s head office detailing the problems you had, describing what happened when you complained to the hotel staff and suggesting ways the company could improve its service. (CAE 220-260 words – CPE 280-320 words)

Opening

  • Dear Sir or Madam, / To whom it may concern,
  • I am writing to express my disappointment with/dissatisfaction with the service I received in…
  • I would like to lodge a formal complaint against your company for the reasons outlined below:
  • I feel compelled to write to you in order to describe the

Listing Problems

  • First of all,
  • Not only was there a hair in my wife’s soup, but the main course also arrived cold.
  • On top of that…
  • As if that was not enough…
  • To top it all off…
  • The straw that broke the camel’s back was…

Complaining Expressions

  • The standard of the… was not up to scratch.
  • The… was not up to the expected standard.
  • The… left a lot to be desired.
  • The… failed to live up to our expectations.
  • We were left bitterly disappointed by…
  • The quality of the customer service we received was woefully inadequate.
  • The… was an absolute disgrace. (v.strong)
  • Overall, our visit to your (restaurant) was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish.

Requesting Action

  • It seems only fair that you should… (offer a full refund)
  • I would appreciate it if you…
  • I would be grateful if you…
  • Should these demands not be met, you will be hearing from my lawyers.
  • I expect to receive compensation to the tune of (€2000) for the…

Making Recommendations

  • I strongly recommend that your organisation…
  • It would be advisable to…
  • I suggest re-evaluating your procedures regarding…

Sign off

  • I look forward to receiving your reply.
  • I expect to receive a prompt reply to this letter.
  • Yours faithfully,
Posted in Vocabulary Classes, Writing Classes

CAE/CPE Report Phrase Sheet 2.0

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is an updated version of my CAE/CPE report phrase list. Download it below:

Report Phrase Sheet

Report

Register:

Formal, impersonal, cold and factual.

DO NOT USE:

·         Contractions

·         Colourful language (gorgeous/stunning/awesome etc.)

·         Informal phrasal verbs (meet up/break down/check out etc.)

·         “I/we think….” (too personal)

Forms and Conventions:

Title: Report into …….

Paragraph Titles: Introduction, Strengths, Weaknesses, Conclusion.

 

Fixed introduction: The aim of this report is to evaluate/put forward ideas for/examine etc.

 

Word limit: CAE: 220-260 CPE: 280-320

Introduction:

The purpose/aim of this report is to….

This report sets out to…

The report will comment on…

Below is an explanation of…

The focus of this report is…

This report will offer an in depth critique of…

Fake survey/questionnaire:

It can be a good idea to base the report on a survey/questionnaire.

This report will present the findings of/This report is based on the findings/results of an extensive survey completed by…

Ending Introduction:

1.        It will go on to give recommendations regarding…

Expressing general opinions/info:

….is considered/thought/said to be

…is highly regarded in (place)…(good reputation)

There is widespread agreement that…

Opinions are divided regarding…

It is common knowledge that…

Recent research indicates that…

Interviewees who had first-hand knowledge of the situation stated…

There is considerable disagreement regarding

Survey Results:

Virtually everyone who completed the survey stated that..

Over (60%) of those interviewed stated that…

The vast majority of people interviewed believe that…

A small percentage of those surveyed agree/disagree with…

Strengths:

The (school system) in this country undoubtedly has many strengths such as …. And…

… is particularly effective due to the fact that…

… has achieved impressive results owing to …

Another clear strong point is…

… is something the country can be proud of due to…

Weaknesses:

Despite the strengths mentioned above, there are also some areas that require attention.

… is failing to live up to expectations because…

Another clear weakness is…

… leaves a lot to be desired

… is not up to the required standard

Advantages/disadvantages:

…’s advantages clearly outweigh its disadvantages.

advantages

benefits/pros/strengths

disadvantages

downsides/weaknesses/drawbacks

Giving Recommendations:

In light of the above, we believe the following measures should be adopted…

My recommendations are as follows:…

Urgent improvement is needed in the field of…

I highly recommend + bring about change in the area of…

To improve the situation, we recommend…

It is recommended that…

Concluding:

-To sum up,…To conclude,…

-I hope that the plan outlined/presented in this

report meets with your approval…

-I hope that the recommendations outlined/

presented in this report will receive your serious

consideration.

Should the recommendations outlined in this report be carried out, I have no doubt that …. Will be a resounding success.

 

Grammar check list

Have you included?

·         An inversion (not only/no sooner/seldom)

·         An inverted conditional (Were we to…)

·         A participle clause (Being…/Having gone…)

·         A double comparative (The more we… the more)

·         A cleft sentence (What is most crucial is…)

·         Linkers (Nevertheless/despite/due to/consequently)

·         Impressive verbs (bring about change/undergo development)

Example Introduction

The aim of this report is to evaluate the current state of….. This report is based on the results of an extensive survey completed by (students at … school). It will present the results of the survey and go on to give recommendations regarding…

Posted in Writing Classes

CPE Review

This is a handout with as much language and advice possible for approaching the CPE writing part 2 review tasks. I made it for my December candidates, fingers crossed they actually read it! I only had time to add language for film, book and restaurant reviews, in return for using my lesson plan please be so kind as to answer me the following question:

What other types or review have you come across in CPE exams? Let me know and I’ll endeavour to add language for them to this phrase list.

You can download the handout here: CPE Review (formatting looks better in word than on wordpress!)

CPE Review

Register: Informal/neutral

Use: all your colourful vocabulary:

Phrasal verbs/idioms/impressive collocations.

Forms and conventions:

Title: for films/books/restaurants use the name/title or if think up an imaginative title using an idiom/expression.

Planning, 6 step system:

1.        Read task, underline content points.

2.        Divide content points into paragraphs: Intro, décor, ambiance, service, food, recommendation.

3.        WHAT do you want to say? Add your notes to each paragraph in simple form.

4.        HOW are you going to say that? Brainstorm advanced grammar and vocabulary for each note.

5.        Forms and conventions: Title paragraph titles, fixed introduction.

6.        Write! Remember word limit is: 280-320

Introduction:

Personal anecdote to grab attention. Introduce name of book/film, restaurant + location, course, TV show etc.

Seldom do I find the time to…, however when I do take time out of my hectic schedule, I like nothing more than…

Being a bit of a film buff/book worm/foody, the news that … had opened a new restaurant/released a new film/book had me itching to try/see/read it. So last week I popped down with a friend to check it out.

Having never seen/read/tried… before I approached … with a sense of trepidation, not knowing what to expect. Soon however, all my fears were allayed.

Book reviews:

Vocab to describe the book in general:

a page-turner / a white-knuckle ride / a tearjerker / a laugh a minute / I couldn’t put it down.

Vocab to describe specific parts:

a slow start / a gentle introduction /gripping climax / nail-biting conclusion / cliff-hanger ending/ a shocking twist in the tail

Setting:

The book is set in _______(place/time)

The action takes place in ______ (place/time)

the present day (now)

an alternate reality where vampires / wizards walk the earth

a sleepy village in the USA

the bustling city of New York

Plot:

The plot centres around / focuses on (the adventures / lives of _________)

The plot follows the adventures of _________(character name)

Characters:

Villain / hero / heroine / anti-hero / main character / protagonist

The characters are believable / well-crafted / a bit 2 dimensional.

Film/TV reviews:

General:

An all-star cast

heavily influenced by the films of..

glowing reviews

startling originality

suspense builds up

a polished performance

a bold experiment

an accomplished actor

an unmitigated disaster (bad film)

a dazzling display of his/her talents

made a lasting impression on me.

Brought a tear to my eye

Like watching paint dry (boring)

I was on the edge of my seat (exciting)

A blockbuster (big commercial film eg Superman)

… sets off an amazing chain of events

Gripping film (exciting)

The director/author evoked a magical atmosphere

… awakened my interest in…

Hold my attention

Capture the audience’s imagination.

Spectacular set-pieces (main action scenes)

… is cast in the role of…

… is miscast in the role of…

…gives a(n) (un)convincing performance as…

The film is let down by a clichéd script.

Restaurant review:

Hearty meal

Wholesome food

Piping-hot

Succulent/juicy (meat)

Creamy

With a kick (spicy)

Crunchy/crispy

Well-seasoned

Packed with flavour

A steaming plate of..

Hungry/starving/ravenous/famished

Bustling eatery(restaurant)

Lively atmosphere

Service with a smile

A plate piled high with..

Mouth-watering

To die for

Heavenly

To lick your lips in anticipation

Roast

Pan-fried

Grilled

Steamed

Freshly-baked

Restaurants cont.

Make a pig of one’s self

To feast/gorge on (eat a lot of)

To eat/drink to your heart’s content

Devour/gobble up

Savour

Nibble

Bite

Lick

Aromas wafting from the kitchen

Cheap – economical/reasonably-priced

Expensive – pricey/costs an arm and a leg

€20 a head (per person)

Killer Lines:

Were I to sum up … in one word, it would be…

… left a lot to be desired (wasn’t good enough)

…more than lives up to the hype (is as good as everyone says it is)

… is by far and away the best … you’re likely to … this year

… really raises the bar (sets a higher standard)

… sets the benchmark for other (others will be judges against how good it is)

… ticks all the right boxes

… holds up well in comparison with …

…comes off badly in comparison with …

Grammar check list

Have you included?

·         An inversion (not only/no sooner/seldom)

·         An inverted conditional (Were we to…)

·         A participle clause (Being…/Having gone…)

·         A double comparative (The more we… the more)

·         A cleft sentence (What is most crucial is…)

·         Idioms

·         Phrasal verbs