Posted in Vocabulary Classes

Proverbs

Image credit: englishbookgeorgia.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for higher level learners (C1+) in which students learn some common English proverbs. Download the worksheet and key below:

Proverbs

Matching

Match the different sentence halves to form English proverbs.

1.       Where there’s a will

2.       Don’t look a gift horse

3.       If it ain’t broke,

4.       Beggars can’t

5.       Too many cooks

6.       There’s no such thing

7.       People who live in glass houses

8.       Two wrongs

9.       The squeaky wheel

10.   Don’t put all your eggs

11.   Two heads

12.   Don’t count your chickens

a.       Be choosers

b.      Before they hatch

c.       Spoil the broth

d.      There’s a way

e.      Are better than one

f.        As a free lunch

g.       In the mouth

h.      In one basket

i.         Shouldn’t throw stones

j.        Gets the grease

k.       Don’t fix it

l.         Don’t make a right

Meaning

Now match the proverb to its definition:

  1. Getting revenge will only make things worse.
  2. Don’t criticise people if you’ve got imperfections too.
  3. If something is working well, why change it?
  4. If you’re desperate you’re not in a position to be picky.
  5. If you complain about a situation you’re more likely to get better service.
  6. Have a backup plan. Don’t risk all of your money and time on one plan.
  7. If there are too many people involved in making a decision, it won’t turn out well.
  8. If someone gives you a present, don’t question it.
  9. Two people will probably solve a problem faster than one.
  10. Your plan might not work out. Don’t assume they are going to work out and start celebrating or planning the next step too early.
  11. If something is free, there’s normally a catch or hidden cost.
  12. If you really want something, you’ll find a way to achieve it.

Processing

  1. Which proverbs are the same in your language?
  2. In which ones is the meaning obvious?
  3. Which ones will you remember?
  4. Which ones will you forget?
  5. Which one is your favourite?
  6. What image do you associate with each proverb?

 

Picture Match

Match the picture to the proverb (only show up on the handout 😦 )

 
     

 

Scenarios

Match the scenario to proverb.

  1. Just because he cheated on you doesn’t mean you should cheat on him.
  2. The Christmas play is going to be awful because there are 5 different directors!
  3. I gave him my old bike for free and now he’s complaining about the tyres.
  4. I know they said we only have to go to the timeshare presentation to get the free camera but I smell a rat.
  5. I’ll ask Julia for what she thinks; we’ll work on it together.
  6. He’s desperate to go travelling in the summer but he’ll have to save up a lot of money first.
  7. Is your soup cold too? We should say something.
  8. You can talk Martin! You drink just as much as Tony does!
  9. I just think we should have something else up our sleeve if they don’t like the first idea.
  10. Hold your horses, we haven’t won the competition yet so stop planning how you’re going to spend the prize money.
  11. It’s the only room you can afford, so it’s take it or leave it I’m afraid.
  12. The new accounts system is working really well but I hear they’re thinking of changing it again.

Test

In pairs, take it in turns to read out the first half of a proverb to your partner, they must complete it.

A: Too many cooks…

B: Spoil the broth.

Personalise

Choose 3 proverbs and try to relate them to a time in your life. Write three sentences.

Key

Matching

1.       D

2.       G

3.       K

4.       A

5.       C

6.       F

7.       I

8.       L

9.       J

10.   H

11.   E

12.   B

Meaning

1.       Two wrongs don’t make a right

2.       People who live in glass houses…

3.       If it ain’t broke…

4.       Beggars can’t be choosers

5.       The squeaky wheel

6.       Don’t put all your eggs in…

7.       Too many cooks…

8.       Don’t look a gift horse…

9.       Two heads are better than one

10.   Don’t count your chickens…

11.   There’s no such thing as a…

12.   Where there’s a will…

Picture Match

1.       Too many cooks…

2.       Don’t put all your eggs…

3.       Don’t count your chickens…

4.       Don’t look a gift horse in…

5.       People who live in…

6.       2 wrongs don’t make a right

7.       2 heads are better than 1

8.       There’s no such thing as a free lunch

Scenarios

1.       2 wrongs don’t make a right

2.       Too many cooks…

3.       Don’t look a gift horse…

4.       There’s no such thing as…

5.       2 heads are better than one

6.       Where there’s a will there’s a way

7.       The squeaky wheel…

8.       People in glass houses…

9.       Don’t put all your eggs in one…

10.   Don’t count your chickens…

11.   Beggars can’t be choosers

12.   If it ain’t broke…

Posted in Games, Uncategorized

Game: Alphabet Quiz CPE Idioms Version

Image credit: www.20minutos.es

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a new version of my Alphabet Quiz game designed for very high levels (high C1) in which students have to guess different idioms which begin with each letter of the alphabet. Credit to my colleague Peter Rassa for the idea. The game is similar to the gameshow “Pasaparabla” on Spanish television. You will need the lesson plan with the question sheet:

Alphabet Quiz CPE Idioms Version

Procedure

Write the alphabet on the board, if you’re feeling really creative you can do it in a circle as shown in the picture above. Quickly recap the letters that often cause your students problems. It varies from place to place but in Spain they struggle with J, G, E, I, Q, W, and Y.

Quickly recap the letters that often cause your students problems. It varies from place to place but in Spain they struggle with J, G, E, I, Q, W, and Y.

Write all your students’ names on the board in a list.

Choose a player to go first, explain to them that you are going to ask them a question, the answer to the question begins with the letter A. They have two options: they can attempt to answer the question or they can say “pass”. If they choose to answer and they get it right, they get 1 point but if they get it wrong they lose 1 point. If they choose to pass, then it is the next student’s turn but the next student is asked the “B” question. You continue like this through the list of questions, every time a question is answered correctly you cross that letter out from the list on the board. When you reach the end of the list (the “Z” question) you then return to the top of the list and work your way through any questions which were not answered the first time around.

NOTE: It is important that students don’t shout out the answers to the questions if it’s not their turn as that question could be revisited later.

The winner is the student with the most points when all the questions have been answered or at the end of a set time limit.

 

  1. A person’s weak spot. Achilles heel.
  2. A person who is bad and makes other bad. Bad Apple
  3. A relaxed, quiet time immediately before period of violent activity or argument .Calm before the storm.
  4. If you are overcharged or underpaid, open, unfair and hard to prevent. Rip-off has a similar meaning. daylight robbery.
  5. If someone has egg on their face, they are made to look foolish or embarrassed.
  6. If you have to face the music, you have to accept the negative consequences of something you have done wrong.
  7. If you get something off your chest, you confess to something that has been troubling you.
  8. If someone is happy-go-lucky, they don’t worry or plan and accept things as they happen.
  9. This expression is used to refer to something good that happens on top of an already good thing or situation. Icing on the cake
  10. If people are joined at the hip, they are very closely connected and think the same way.
  11. When someone kicks the bucket, they die.
  12. The last straw is the final problem that makes someone lose their temper or the problem that finally brought about the collapse of something. It comes from an Arabic story, where a camel was loaded with straw until a single straw placed on the rest of the load broke its back.
  13. If you make a killing, you do something that makes you a lot of money.
  14. If two competitors or candidates, etc, are neck and neck, then they are very close and neither is clearly winning.
  15. If you’re on a roll, you’re moving from success to success.
  16. If you go out for a night out with lots of fun and drinking, you paint the town red.
  17. If someone’s as quiet as a mouse, they make absolutely no noise.
  18. Someone who starts life very poor and becomes rich goes from rags to riches.
  19. When all the best people, things or ideas and so on are used up and people try to make do with what they have left, they are scraping the barrel.
  20. If you take a leaf out of someone’s book, you copy something they do because it will help you.
  21. If you are feeling a bit ill, sad or lack energy, you are under the weather.
  22. A vicious circle is a sequence of events that make each other worse- someone drinks because they are unhappy at work, then loses their job… ‘Vicious cycle’ is also used.
  23. If something belongs to the past and isn’t important or troubling any more, it is water under the bridge.
  24. If something is x-rated, it is not suitable for children.
  25. This idiom means that if you do something for me, I’ll return the favour. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.
  26. This is used to tell someone to be quiet. Zip it.
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 Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

Sentence Swap: Verbs with Prepositions

Image credit: www.rankia.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a peer teaching lesson plan for C1+ students in which students teach and test each other on verbs with dependent prepositions. You will need the cards and worksheet below:

Sentence swap verbs with preps

Verbs and Prepositions Worksheet

Preparation

Cut out the cards, fold them over and stick them together so that one side shows the gapped sentence and the other shows the answer. I chose to laminate them for future reuse.

Procedure

Peer testing + teaching

Give out one card to each student. I designed this of a class of 16 so it worked out as one each, for smaller groups either give students 2 each or split the activity over two classes.

Explain to students that they are going to test their partner’s knowledge of verbs with prepositions. They must read the gapped sentence to their partner who must try to guess the preposition. If they can’t do it then the “teacher” shows them they answer. Then they swap roles.

After both students have taught their verb + prep, students swap cards with their partner and find a new partner. They then repeat the process. They continue until they have been tested and taught on all the verb/preposition combinations.

Worksheet

Hand out the worksheet and have students complete the first exercise in pairs.

Students can task check themselves, further reducing teacher talk time, the person holding the card for the first sentence holds it up and calls out the correct answer for everyone to check.

Personalisation

Students then complete the sentences with the correct preposition and some information about themselves. Do a few examples to set the ball rolling and encourage them to share:

I sometimes boast about my cooking abilities.

My problem with my attention span stems from using social media too much.

Worksheet

Sentence Completion

Which verb and preposition combinations can you remember?

1.       The school provided me ______ all the materials I needed for the course.
2.       The car slid on the icy road and crashed ______ the parked car.
3.       He was so engrossed _____ his book that he missed his metro stop.
4.       He succeeded _____ playing the symphony without making any errors.
5.       I think you would benefit _____ spending a few weeks in an English speaking country.
6.       The cute guy kept glancing _____ me during the lecture.
7.       He’s so big-headed, he’s always boasting _____ something he has done. (boast=jactarse)
8.       I don’t know where she is I’m a little concerned _______ her.
9.       I’m sorry but this theme park doesn’t cater _____ little babies. (Cater = atender)
10.   We bought a big dog to deter people _____ robbing our house. (deter = disuadir/impedir)
11.   I’m not sure but I think the problem stems _____ a lack of car parking spaces in the city centre.

(stem = originate/come)

12.   I suspect him ____ having cheated in the exam, but I have no proof.
13.   Scientists attribute the melting ice caps _____ global warming.  (attribute = atribuir)
14.   Messi prides himself ____ his ability to run past any player. (pride yourself = enorgullercerse de)
15.   He’s a surgeon, he specialises _____ feet and ankles.
16.   Please refrain _____ using mobiles in the library.

(refrain=abstenerse)

17.   They charged me €15 _____ a sandwich and a bag of crisps!

 

Personalise

Complete the sentences with the correct preposition and some information about you.

  1. I sometimes boast _______ _______________________________________________.
  2. I pride myself ______ ___________________________________________________.
  3. My school provides me _______ ________________________________________.
  4. If I were a teacher, I would specialise _____ __________________________________.
  5. The best way to deter people _______ cheating in exams is _____________________.
  6. I suspect _________ (a person) _____ (preposition) __________________________.
  7. Sometimes I’m so engrossed _____ __________________________ that I ________________________.
  8. My problem with ________________ stems ________ _________________________.
  9. I’m a bit concerned ________ ________________________________________.
  10. I find it difficult to refrain _______ _______________________________________.

Cards

 

The school provided me ______ all the materials I needed for the course.

With
The car slid on the icy road and crashed ______ the parked car. Into
He was so engrossed _____ his book that he missed his metro stop. In
He succeeded _____ playing the symphony without making any errors. In
I think you would benefit _____ spending a few weeks in an English speaking country. From
The cute guy kept glancing _____ me during the lecture. At
He’s so big-headed, he’s always boasting _____ something he has done. (boast=show off/say how great you are) About
I don’t know where she is I’m a little concerned _______ her. About
I’m sorry but this theme park doesn’t cater _____ little babies. (Cater = atender) For
We bought a big dog to deter people _____ robbing our house. (deter = disuadir/impedir) From
I’m not sure but I think the problem stems _____ a lack of car parking spaces in the city centre.

(stem = originate/come)

From
I suspect him ____ having cheated in the exam, but I have no proof. Of
Scientists attribute the melting ice caps _____ global warming.  (attribute = atribuir) To
Messi prides himself ____ his ability to run past any player. (pride yourself = enorgullercerse de) On
He’s a surgeon, he specialises _____ feet and ankles. In
Please refrain _____ using mobiles in the library.

(refrain=abstenerse)

From
They charged me €15 _____ a sandwich and a bag of crisps! For
Posted in Conversation Classes, Vocabulary Classes

You can’t choose your family: Family Expressions

Image credit: blogs.elon.edu

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for higher levels (C1+) designed with CAE students in mind. Students will teach each other some expressions related to family and use them to describe themselves. Credit to my colleague Julie Banks for some of the expressions. Download the handout and key below:

You cant choose your family handout

You can’t choose your fam teacher notes

Teacher’s notes

Lead-in

Write the expression “you can’t choose your family” on the board. What does it mean? Does it exist in your language?

Peer Teaching

Put students in pairs and assign them As and Bs. Cut up the hand out and give them out. Tell students that they are going to teach each other some expressions related to family. Have two strong students do an example at the front of the class. A reads the first question of the first set to B:

“Are you named after another member of your family?”

If B doesn’t understand they say “Sorry I don’t understand” and A reads them the second question, which contains the definition of the expression in bold:

“Were you given your name because an older member of the family has/had the same name?”

So named after means your name was inspired by the name of another member of the family or by another person whose name your parents liked.

In pairs students ask and answer the questions, taking it in turns to ask and teach each other an expression. When they have finished they must test each other, first by asking for a definition of an expression, for example “what does like two peas in a pod mean?” and then by eliciting the expression “what’s the expression that means that two people are very similar?”

Then test them in open class, As should know all of B’s expressions.

Definition match

Students match the expressions with the definitions.

  1. k
  2. e
  3. f
  4. i
  5. b
  6. l
  7. g
  8. j
  9. h
  10. c
  11. d
  12. a

Personalise

Students complete the sentences about themselves and then compare with their partners.

Student handout

Student A

Here you have six sets of two questions. Ask the first question of each set to your partner. If they don’t understand the expression in bold, ask them the second question, which contains the definition.

  1. Are you named after another member of your family? Were you given your name because an older member of the family has/had the same name? Do any specific names run in your family?
  2. Are you the spitting image of another member of your family? Do you look almost exactly the same as another member of your family? If so, who?
  3. Are you the black sheep of your family? Are you the one member of your family who is different to all the others? If not, who is?
  4. Do you often fall out with members of your family? Do you argue of fight with members of your family? If so, who?
  5. Do you want to follow in your parents’ footsteps? Do you want to do the same job as your parents? Why? Why not?
  6. They say that blood is thicker than water. Do you agree? Do you think that family is the most important thing?

Student B

Here you have six sets of two questions. Ask the first question of each set to your partner. If they don’t understand the expression in bold, ask them the second question, which contains the definition.

  1. Do any specific names/characteristics run in your family? Are there any specific names/characteristics that are passed down from generation to generation?
  2. Are you and any member of your family like chalk and cheese? Are you and any member of your family completely different?
  3. Are you and any member of your family like two peas in a pod? Are you and any member of your family exactly the same in looks and personality?
  4. Who is the main breadwinner in your house? Who brings home the bacon? Who supports the family financially?
  5. Who do you get on like a house on fire with in your family? Who do you have a fantastic relationship with?
  6. Who do you take after in your family? Which parent have you inherited the most characteristics from?

 

 

 

 

Worksheet

Definition Match

Match the expressions on the left with the definitions on the right

1.       Take after sb

2.       Get on like a house on fire

3.       The breadwinner/bring home the bacon

4.       Like two peas in a pod

5.       Like chalk and cheese

6.       Run in the family

7.       Blood is thicker than water

8.       Follow in your parents’ footsteps

9.       Fall out with sb

10.   The black sheep of the family

11.   The spitting image of sb

12.   Be named after sb

a.       Your name was inspired by an older member of the family

b.      Completely different to sb

c.       Completely different to everyone else in the family

d.      To look exactly the same as sb

e.      To have a great relationship with sb

f.        The one who supports the family financially

g.       Family is the most important thing

h.      To argue/fight with sb

i.         Extremely similar in personality

j.        Do the same job as your parents

k.       To inherit personality/appearance from a parent.

l.         When a characteristic is passed down through many generations.

 

Personalise

Complete these sentences so that they’re true for you.

  1. My ____________ is the breadwinner in my house because________________________.
  2. Me and my ______________ are like two peas in a pod because_______________________.
  3. I often fall out with my ___________________ over ______________________.
  4. I’m named after ____________________________.
  5. I think I take after my ___________________ in my personality and my _________________ when it comes to my looks.
  6. __________________ am/is the black sheep of my family because ____________________.
  7. Me and my ___________________are like chalk and cheese because __________________.
  8. I get on with ____________ like a house on fire because __________________________.
  9. ____________________ runs in my family.
  10. I would/wouldn’t like to follow in my Mum/Dad/parents’ footsteps because _________________________________.
  11. People tell me that I’m the spitting image of ___________________________________.
  12. I agree/disagree that blood is thicker than water because___________________________.
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

CAE Phrasal Verb Worksheet #2

Image credit: www.cutoutpeople.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is another worksheet for CAE students to learn 12 phrasal verbs and us them in a discussion. Download the worksheet and key below, you can also use the quizlet set I have made that also contains the phrasal verbs from the first worksheet.

CAE Phrasal Verbs 2 key – Key

CAE phrasal verbs 2 – Worksheet

https://quizlet.com/123807629/cae-essential-phrasal-verbs-flash-cards/ – quizlet set

Worksheet

Definition Match

Match the phrasal verbs in bold with their definitions.

  1. The dinosaurs are thought to have died out millions of years ago.
  2. If someone doesn’t deal with the problem soon, it’s going to get much worse.
  3. I dropped off in the middle of the film and missed the end.
  4. He started a law degree but dropped out after 1 term because it was too hard.
  5. He fell asleep on the train and ended up in Glasgow!
  6. When she’s nervous she fiddles with her hair a lot.
  7. Being the only foreign girl in the school, at first it was difficult for her to fit in.
  8. Do you want to go for a coffee after class?
  9. Hhhmmm, I think I’ll go for the steak tartar please.
  10. The fire alarm went off and everybody had to evacuate.
  11. Are you sure it’s this way? Let’s just head for the city centre and hopefully we’ll find someone who speaks English.
  12. My brother walks so fast, it’s difficult to keep up with This course is really hard; I’m struggling to keep up with all the homework.
a.       Feel accepted + comfortable

b.      Choose

c.       Withdraw from/stop doing something

d.      Become extinct

e.      Go towards

f.        Finally be somewhere/do something

g.       Take action to solve/talk or work with

h.      Touch/move with no purpose

i.         Go somewhere to have something (break/drink etc.)

j.        Make a noise/start working

k.       Maintain the same speed as something/someone.

l.         Fall asleep without wanting to.

Collocation match

Some of the phrasal verbs above collocate with the words below. Put them together:

A bomb

An alarm clock _________

__________ a break/a cigarette/ a meal ____________ a competition/ a race/ school/ university
___________ jewellery/ a pen/ keys __________ a complaint/ people  

Question Completion

Complete the questions with the phrasal verbs:

  1. Have you ever _________ __________ in the cinema? Or in an embarrassing situation?
  2. What foods do you normally _______ ________ when you eat out?
  3. If you could bring one animal that has ________ ________ back to life as a pet, which would you choose and why?
  4. How often do you _______ _______ a break when you’re studying?
  5. Have you ever had to _______ ________ of a competition or course? If so why?
  6. Do you normally ______ _______ a problem straight away or put off for later?
  7. Have you ever got lost and _______ ______ in the wrong place?
  8. What’s the first thing you do after your alarm ________ _________ in the morning? Has the fire alarm ever _______ _________ at your school/workplace? Was it a false alarm?
  9. If you get lost in strange place, what’s the best place to __________ ___________?
  10. How important is it for you to ______ ________ in a new situation? Have you ever felt like you didn’t ______ _______? What did you do?
  11. What do you ________ _________ when you’re nervous?
  12. Do you find it hard to ________ _________  _________ the work you have to do? Do any of your friends speak so fast that it’s difficult to ________ _________?

Key

Definition match

  1. d
  2. g
  3. l
  4. c
  5. f
  6. h
  7. a
  8. i
  9. b
  10. j
  11. e
  12. k

Collocations

Some of the phrasal verbs above collocate with the words below. Put them together:

A bomb

An alarm clock goes off

Go for a break/a cigarette/ a meal Drop out of a competition/ a race/ school/ university
Fiddle with jewellery/ a pen/ keys Deal with a complaint/ people  

 

Question Completion

Complete the questions with the phrasal verbs:

  1. Have you ever dropped off in the cinema? Or in an embarrassing situation?
  2. What foods do you normally go for when you eat out?
  3. If you could bring one animal that has died out back to life as a pet, which would you choose and why?
  4. How often do you go for a break when you’re studying?
  5. Have you ever had to drop out of a competition or course? If so why?
  6. Do you normally deal with a problem straight away or put off for later?
  7. Have you ever got lost and ended up in the wrong place?
  8. What’s the first thing you do after your alarm goes off in the morning? Has the fire alarm ever gone off at your school/workplace? Was it a false alarm?
  9. If you get lost in strange place, what’s the best place to head for?
  10. How important is it for you to fit in in a new situation? Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in? What did you do?
  11. What do you fiddle with when you’re nervous?
  12. Do you find it hard to keep up with the work you have to do? Do any of your friends speak so fast that it’s difficult to keep up?
Posted in Writing Classes

CAE Informal Letter Task: An Exotic Holiday

Image credit: www.afripotsafari.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a writing task for CAE students in which they write an informal narrative letter describing an exotic holiday. It is a follow up lesson to my Travelling: Expressions and Discussions lesson as it gives students the opportunity to use the expressions in context. It was designed with students in the latter stages of their studies for the exam in mind as it contains revision of advanced grammar structures such as inversions, participle clauses and cleft sentences. Download the students’ handout, worksheet and teacher’s notes below you will also need the two quizlet sets to revise the vocab:

Informal narrative letter update – students’ handout

Informal Letter Worksheet – students’ worksheet

Narrative Informal Letter Teachers notes

Quizlet sets: Travelling expressions + Travelling collocations

Narrative Informal Letter – Exotic Holiday Teacher’s Notes

Lead in

Write on the board:

  1. What’s the most exotic place you’ve ever been to?
  2. What did you do there?
  3. Would you recommend it? Why? Why not?
  4. What advice would you give to someone who was going there for the first time?

Students discuss in pairs. Go to open class, students share exotic destinations, activities and advice.

Task Analysis

Give out student handout. Students read task and underline the 4 things they must include in their letter

Task

You have recently been travelling in an exotic country. Your friend has written to you because they are thinking about visiting the same place. Write them a letter describing the highlights of your trip, you should also mention any problems you encountered, say whether or not you would recommend the place and give your friend advice for their trip.

Students complete paragraph plan

Paragraph Plan

  1. Standard informal email opening
  2. Describe highlights
  3. Mention problems
  4. Recommend or not + give advice
  5. Sign off

Brainstorm – Informal letter opening + sign off

As a class brainstorm standard opening and closing expressions for informal letters:

Opening Closing
It’s wonderful to hear from you again.

It’s been ages since we last saw each other.

How have you been?

What have you been up to?

Sorry for not writing back sooner, I’ve been snowed under with schoolwork/exams/work.

So you wanted to know about…. Well…

Anyway, I’d better get going as I have an early start in the morning.

Well, it’s getting late and I’ve gotta get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow.

Hugs and kisses

Lots of love

Send my love to ….

Briefly run through the language on the handout for sequencing etc. Students read and field any questions or doubts they might have. We will look at the advanced grammar next.

Worksheet – Collocations and Advanced Grammar

Collocations

Give out the worksheet. Students match the collocations. Use the quizlet set to drill/reinforce with games.

Key: 1-h, 2-b, 3-d, 4-a, 5-e, 6-f, 7-g, 8-c

Advanced Grammar

This section is revision of several advanced grammar structures that can be used in compositions with a narrative element.

Key:

Just as we had got on the helicopter it took off.

No sooner had we got on the helicopter than it took off.

As soon as we had left the jeep we were surrounded by different types of monkeys!

Hardly had we left the jeep when we were surrounded by different types of monkeys.

We went scuba diving and spear fishing.

Not only did we go scuba diving but also spear fishing.

We had no idea that there were man-eating sharks in the water.

Little did we know that there were man-eating sharks in the water.

I enjoyed the safari the most.

What I enjoyed most was the safari.

It was the safari that I enjoyed most.

I had never seen such a spectacular sunset before.

Never before had I seen such a spectacular sunset.

The road was so wet that we had to turn back and go a different way.

So wet was the road that we had to turn back and go a different way.

The gorilla was so strong that he broke the window of the jeep!

So strong was the gorilla that he broke the window of the jeep!

Revision – Travelling expressions

Use the quizlet sets to recap the travelling expressions using the scatter game.

https://quizlet.com/122267420/travel-collocations-flash-cards/

https://quizlet.com/122237779/travelling-expressions-flash-cards/

 

Students’ Handout

Task

You have recently been travelling in an exotic country. Your friend has written to you because they are thinking about visiting the same place. Write them a letter describing the highlights of your trip, you should also mention any problems you encountered, say whether or not you would recommend the place and give your friend advice for their trip.

Paragraph Plan

  1. Standard informal email opening
  2. __________________________
  3. __________________________
  4. __________________________
  5. Sign off

Past narrative tenses

Past simple – finished actions in the past, actions in sequence.

I breathed in deeply and stepped out of the plane into the air.

Past continuous – descriptions/actions in progress interrupted by past simple actions.

The pale winter sun was shining through the leaves of the trees, the birds were singing happily and the wind was whistling past.

As the balloon was rising into the sky I looked down at the people below me.

Past perfect – actions that happened before a specific moment in the past.

I looked out over the landscape, I had never seen such a beautiful sight before.

I took the map out and checked our location. I had marked all the most important places on it the night before.

Past perfect cont. – duration of time for an action that happened before a specific moment in the past.

When we finally reached the summit of the mountain we had been walking for over 6 hours.

I had been dreaming about taking to the skies in a hot air balloon since I was a child.

Sequencing

At first/To start with/In the beginning…………..

Then/next/after that/…………………

The next thing that happened was…………….

The next thing I knew was………………

Seconds/Minutes later………………

Later on/Some time later……………..

It wasn’t until much later that…………..

After some time/what seemed like years…………

Finally/In the end……………..

At last,…………..

I was just about to (infinitive) when……….

I was on the point of (gerund) when………..

 

Sudden/unexpected events.

Out of the blue……………

Like a bolt from the blue………

Completely unexpectedly……………

Just as I was least expecting it…………..

Looking back

In retrospect……………

When I think back to that day………..

Looking back on that day………….

 

Rapid events

In the blink of an eye………….

As quick as a flash…………..

Simultaneous events

Meanwhile, In the meantime……….

While all this was going on…………

Ways to say exciting/excited:

exhilarating/exhilarated

adrenalin rush

thrilling/thrilled

Scary/scared

petrifying/petrified

terrifying/terrified

frightening/frightened

Nervous

on edge

I had butterflies in my stomach

nerve-racking/nail-biting (to describe the activity)

Difficult

Tough

Hard

Challenging

Phrasal verbs:

take up a challenge (accept)

set off on a journey/adventure (start)

freak out (get very scared and nervous)

Describing the weather:

A scorching summer day

A freezing winter day

A crisp winter day

A howling wind was blowing

A light breeze was blowing

The sun was beating down on us

It was pouring with rain

The heavens opened (it started to rain very hard)

 

Grammatical Range – SHOW WHAT YOU KNOW!

Inversions:

No sooner had I got on the board, than I fell off.

Hardly had the plane left the ground when I started to feel sick.

Only when/Not until two days later did I appreciate how much danger I had been in.

On no account must you leave the car during the safari.

Little did I know that there were man-eating sharks in the water.

At no time did I stop screaming with fear and delight.

Never before had I seen such breath-taking views.

Never before had I felt so alive.

 

So + adjective/adverb + verb + subject

So clear was the water that you could see right to the bottom.

So delicious was the dessert that we went back for seconds.

Participle clauses:

Being a strong swimmer, I had no problem in the strong currents.

Having studied French at school, I was able to get by speaking to the locals.

Seeing the Lion running towards me, I panicked and got back in the jeep.

 

Cleft Sentences

I liked the rollercoasters the most.

What I liked most was the rollercoasters.

It was the rollercoasters that I liked the most.

 

Inverted conditionals

Were I to go again, I’d pack more warm clothes.

Had I known it was going to be so cold, I would have packed warmer clothes.

Had I not seen the warning sign, I would have jumped into the crocodile lake.

Had it not been for + noun

Had it not been for the guide, we would have got completely lost!

 

Students’ Worksheet

Impressive Vocabulary

Match to make impressive collocations

1.       Breath-taking /Jaw-dropping/mind-blowing

2.       Mouth-watering

3.       Mile upon mile of

4.       Death-defying

5.       Baffling/bewildering

6.       Crystal clear/ice-cold

7.       Densely-populated/Bustling

8.       World-famous/internationally-renowned

a.       Activities/sports

b.      Local delicacies

c.       Monuments/attractions

d.      Golden sands/rolling hills

e.      Local traditions/customs

f.        Water

g.       City/metropolis

h.      Views/landscape

Impressive Grammar

Transform the sentences to use impressive grammar structures

Just as we had got on the helicopter it took off.

No sooner _________________________________________________________

As soon as we had left the jeep we were surrounded by different types of monkeys!

Hardly__________________________________________________________

We went scuba diving and spear fishing.

Not only _____________________________________________________________

We had no idea that there were man-eating sharks in the water.

Little___________________________________________________________

I enjoyed the safari the most.

What________________________________________________.

It____________________________________________________.

I had never seen such a spectacular sunset before.

Never before _______________________________________________________.

The road was so wet that we had to turn back and go a different way.

So____________________________________________________________

The gorilla was so strong that he broke the window of the jeep!

So______________________________________________________________