Posted in Vocabulary Classes

Online Dating: Compound Adjectives

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This is the lesson plan I designed for my DELTA vocabulary assignment. It is designed for B2 students. Students read online dating profiles and decide if the people are compatible and then learn compound adjectives and put them to use in a discussion. Download the students’ materials, powerpoint and lesson plans below:

My Lesson Plan for assessed class +procedure – Teacher’s procedure

Online Dating powerpoint

Dating Profiles materials – Students’ handout

Teacher’s notes

Activity Time
1.     First slide –Title, ask: “What do people put their dating profiles?”

2.     Give out handouts, what are the titles? Teach turn ons and offs

3.     Sts read, are they compatible?

4.     Task check across class: Why? Why not?

5.     Any doubts? Deal with compounds after.

6.     Students underline compound adjectives – show slide 2, underline them as task check

7.     Meaning matchdo first one as an example: 1-C

Answers: 1-c, 2-e, 3-f, 4-L, 5-g, 6-k, 7-a, 8-b, 9-d, 10-h, 11-I, 12-j

Task check with powerpoint.

8.     Form match in pairs

Task check on powerpoint

9.     Sts check which ones end in an extra syllable. Do first two as an example. Identify stressed syllable: First in second word. Fun and loving stressed.

10.                        Mumble drill first two. “Practice saying the first two to yourself quietly. Then say them to your partner.”

11.                        Controlled practice questions. In pairs, ask first question to your partner, they remember the compound. Example with strong pair (Aris and whoever)

12.                        New questions, new compounds.  Do top up in OC:

·        Opposite of dark-haired – light/fair-haired.

·        Someone with dark skin – dark-skinned

·        Someone with green eyes – green-eyed (jealous/envious)


Work with a partner, try to guess the compound. Do first one as an example. Ask to class. MAN-EATING CROCODILE

13.                        Practice: Discussion. What are your preferences for appearance? Do you like brown or blonde-haired men and women? “I like brown-eyed women because their eyes are very mysterious.”

14.                        Wrap-up/top-up. Look at boarded vocabulary. Work on pronunciation. Maybe do opposites etc: badly-paid, badly-educated. Dark/light-skinned etc.






































Stage Time Focus Procedure Aim
Pre-reading 5 mins pairs Sts discuss the typical information people put on dating profiles. To engage students top-down knowledge of relationships and online dating
Reading 10 mins Pairs









Sts read Jon and Sally’s dating profiles. Then decide if the two are compatible in pairs.






Feed back in open class, T encourages discussion.

To introduce compound adjectives in context. To develop students receptive understanding of compounds



To check sts understanding of the text

Language Focus: Meaning 2 mins




5 mins










Sts underline all the compound adjectives in the two texts.



Sts match compound adjectives to their definitions on handout.


Task check across class and using powerpoint to confirm

To check sts ability to identify compound adjectives.


To develop sts understanding of the meaning of the target language.

Language Focus: Form 5 mins Pairs





Sts group compound adjectives based on their form



Task check using powerpoint.

To develop sts understanding of the different compound adjective patterns.
Language Focus: Pronunciation 2 mins












5 mins














Sts contrast the “-ed” compounds that end with /ɪd/ with those that end /d/ and the stress patterns in the different forms.

T highlights rules on powerpoint:

·         ends in “t” or “d” –ed = /id/ extra syllable

·         others –ed = /d/

·         noun is stressed in noun + present participle compounds (fun-loving)


Sts use phonemic script from handout to mumble drill target language individually then practice in pairs. T monitors and corrects.

To highlight different forms of pronouncing “-ed” endings and stress patterns in compound adjectives.








To practice the pronunciation of compounds.

Vocabulary practice 10 mins Pairs






Sts ask and answer first set of questions on handout which elicit the target language. T monitors, reactively helping with pron.


T tops up:

·         Opposite of dark-haired – light/fair-haired.

·         Someone with dark skin – dark-skinned

·         Someone with green eyes – green-eyed (jealous/envious)


Sts answer 2nd set of questions to attempt to identify new compound adjectives by applying the rules of form they have just learned.

To consolidate meaning of target language, practice pronunciation and increase chances of retention.

To encourage autonomous application of the rules of compounding.

Personalised practice 10 mins Pairs








Sts discuss their hair and eye colour preferences in pairs. Then decide on the 2 best and worst personality characteristics for a partner.

T monitors and boards emergent language.


Feed back to open class looking for agreement/disagreement and discussion.

To encourage creative use of the target language and make sts process it at a deeper cognitive level.
Wrap-up/topping-up 5 mins pairs T draws students’ attention to boarded emergent language and tidies up doubts and pronunciation errors. To exploit learning opportunities with emergent language.


Read Jon and Sally’s dating profiles below. Do you think they are compatible? Why? Why not?

 Jon, 26 years old, Edinburgh.

I’m a hard-working medical student from Aberdeen in Scotland. I go to the gym four times a week so I’m quite well-built. I do a lot of voluntary work and I’m training to be a doctor.


I’m crazy about blonde-haired, blue-eyed women, I find them really attractive. I like women who are open-minded because I love travelling and trying new experiences.


I really don’t like selfish people, with some people it’s all “me, me, me” and I can’t stand that. Another big turn-off for me is narrow-minded people, there are so many wonderful places to visit and people to meet in the world and I can’t wait to get started.


Sally, 25 years old, York.

I’m a fun-loving advertising executive from York in northern England. My job is well-paid but quite stressful so I like to have a good time at the weekends. I also like to do sport and help out at the local children’s hospital once a month.


I’m into dark-haired mysterious men, but the most important thing for me is that they are kind-hearted, adventurous and have a good sense of humour. I read a lot and like having a good debate so I’m looking for someone who is well-educated.


The biggest turn-off for me is big-headed guys, I can’t bear people who think they are better than others. I also don’t like bad-tempered people, I’m an optimist and I always try to see things in a positive way.


Read the texts and underline all the compound adjectives you can find.


Language focus

Match the compound adjective (1-12) to its definition (A-L)

1.      I’m a hard-working medical student. A.     Someone who often gets angry.
2.      I’m crazy about blonde-haired, blue-eyed women. B.      Someone who is strong and has muscles.
3.      I’m a fun-loving PhD student.


C.      Someone who works hard.
4.      I’m looking for someone who is well-educated. D.     Someone who is nice and generous.
5.      I don’t like big-headed people. E.      Someone who has blonde hair. Someone who has blue eyes.
6.      My job is well-paid but stressful. F.      Someone who likes to socialise and have a good time.
7.      I also don’t like bad-tempered people. G.     An arrogant person who thinks they are better than others.
8.      I go to the gym four times a week so I’m quite well-built. H.     Someone with brown or black hair.
9.      The most important thing for me is that they are kind-hearted. I.        Someone who is open to different opinions and activities.
10.  I’m into dark-haired mysterious men. J.        An intolerant person who doesn’t listen to other people’s opinions.
11.  I like women who are open-minded because I love travelling. K.      Something you earn a good salary for.
12.  Another big turn-off for me is narrow-minded people. L.       An intelligent person with a good education.


Put the different compound adjectives in the correct box:

A.     Adjective + noun + -ed

1.      Narrow-minded

2.      _________________________

3.      _________________________

4.      _________________________

5.      _________________________

6.      _________________________

7.      _________________________

8.      _________________________

B.     Adverb + past participle

1.      Well-built

2.      __________________________

3.      __________________________


C.     Adjective/noun + …ing

1.      _________________________

2.      _________________________





Look at the phonemic script of the compound adjectives:

  • In which adjective is the “-ed” pronounced as an extra syllable?
  • Which syllable is stressed in the compound adjectives?
  1. Blue-eyed – | bluːˈaɪd |
  2. Well-educated – | welˈedʒʊkeɪtɪd |
  3. Blonde-haired – | blɒndˈheəd |
  4. Big-headed – | bɪɡˈhedɪd |

What’s different about the stress in this one?

  1. Fun-loving |ˈfʌnˈlʌvɪŋ |


Take turns to ask these questions to your partner to test your memory.

  1. What do you call someone with blue eyes?
  2. What do you call someone with blonde hair?
  3. What do you call someone who has dark hair?
  4. What do you call someone who has a good education?
  5. What do you call a job with a good salary?
  6. What do you call an arrogant person?
  7. What do you call a person who is often angry?
  8. What do you call someone who is open to new experiences and opinions?
  9. What do you call someone who isn’t open to new experiences and opinions?
  10. What do you call someone with muscles?
  11. What do you call a nice, generous person?
  12. What do you call someone who isn’t lazy?
  13. What do you call an active, sociable person?

Use the different forms of compounding to make more compound adjectives to answer the questions.

  1. What do you call a crocodile that eats men?
  2. What do you call someone who writes with their left hand?
  3. What do you call a job with a bad salary?
  4. What do you call a child that behaves well?
  5. What do you call someone who looks good?


Discuss these questions with your partner using the compound adjectives.


  1. Do you prefer a specific hair or eye colour for a man/woman?
  2. Do you find muscles attractive?

Personality and lifestyle

  1. Is it important that your partner has a good salary? Why/why not?
  2. What are the two best personality characteristics for a partner? Why?
  3. What are the two worst? Why?
Posted in Vocabulary Classes

Peer-Taught Phrasal Verbs

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This is a vocabulary lesson originally designed for higher levels (C1+) but the method can be adapted for any level and any set of vocabulary. The idea is that students teach each other a set of phrasal verbs, analyse them and then put them into practice in a gap-fill and a discussion.


Print out the phrasal verb cards and one copy of the worksheet for each student. Cut out the cards so that the phrasal verb is on one side and the definition and example sentences are on the other. I laminated them, as shown below, but you could easily just glue them together. Students will work in groups of 3 and teach 2 phrasal verbs each to their groups so you will need 1 set of cards for each group of 3.

Lesson Plan Word doc – Peer Taught Phrasal Verbs LP

phrasal verbs peer teaching CARDS

Peer taught phrasal verbs worksheet



Peer Teaching

Put students into groups of three and give each member of each group 2 phrasal verb cards. Give students 2 minutes to familiarise themselves with the phrasal verbs and the example sentences. Students then take it in turns to teach their phrasal verbs to their group mates, who can ask additional questions to clarify the use and meaning. Encourage the “teachers” to think of their own example sentences aside from the examples on the cards so that they can personalise it. Also, you could tell them to give their groups an opportunity to guess the meaning before they explain it. For this section I boarded some expressions:

to hazard a guess – make a guess

to put sb out of their misery – kill someone who’s suffering/give sb who is guessing something the answer

When everyone has finished move onto the next stage.

Analysis and Processing

Invite students to come to the board and write a phrasal verb they have learnt and a definition. However, they must board one of the phrasal verbs they have just learnt, NOT one of the ones they taught to their group.

When you have all 6 phrasal verbs on the board, give the students the handout and have them analyse them in their groups using the criteria on the worksheet:

Look at the phrasal verb and decide:

  1. Is the meaning easy to understand from the words?
  2. Put them in order, which one is the most useful?
  3. Which one is the easiest to use?
  4. Which one do you think is easiest to remember?
  5. Which ones could you use at home/work/school/in the street/in emails/letters?

The aim of this section is to force students to process the items at a deeper cognitive level, thus increasing the chances of retention. Feedback briefly in open class. Make a note of the ones students think are hardest to remember.

Gap-fill and Discussion

Students complete the gap-fill exercise on the handout in their groups and then ask and answer the questions.

Put the phrasal verbs in the questions:

  1. What do you do when people _________ when you’re talking? Do people in your country tend to _________ more than other nationalities? Butt/cut in
  2. What fashion trend _____________ when you were younger? Are they still in fashion today? caught on
  3. What did your parents use to do when you ___________? Were they strict or lenient? acted up
  4. How long do you think you could ________________ the internet/TV/music/your favourite food/meat? do without
  5. Have you ever been _____________? What happened to the company? If a company is in trouble, who normally gets _________ first? laid off
  6. What would you do it you saw two people ____________each other in the street? Would you step in? Why? Why not? laying into

Follow up

Test students on the phrasal verbs in the next class and see if their opinions about which are hardest to remember are true.


Posted in Conversation Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Politics: Idioms and Discussion

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This is a lesson plan for adult higher-level students (high B2+) in which students learn some political idioms and put them into practice in a discussion. Download the hand out and key below:

Politics student handout

Note: I found most of the political idioms on the site below, but designed the matching task, sentence matching activity and discussion myself:

Politics – Idioms and Discussion

Match the idioms to their definitions:

the hand-out has pretty pictures but they didn’t come out here 😦

1.       A two/three/four-horse race 2.       A political football 3.       Hot air
4.       Toe the party line


5.       A political hot potato 6.       A hung parliament
7.       Press the flesh


8.       Get on/off your soapbox 9.       Throw in the towel
10.   Bent/crooked 11.   Live/be in an ivory tower


12.   Have the common touch


a.       Be corrupt

b.      When there’s no clear winner in an election

c.       Empty words

d.      To speak passionately about something you believe in

e.      A problem that doesn’t get solved because of political reasons

f.        To give up

g.       A competition/election only a few people can win

h.      To shake hands with the public

i.         To be able to relate to the public

j.        To be detached from reality

k.       A potentially controversial  topic

l.         Conform to and express the same views as the leaders of your party.


Put the expressions in the sentences:

  1. After the speeches the politicians went into the crowd to __________________ with members of the public.
  2. What the chancellor said about trickle-down economics is a load of ________________, I don’t believe it for a second.
  3. The problem with most politicians is that they __________________________ and have no idea how their policies affect people.
  4. I reckon half the politicians in this country are _____________________, you just have to follow the money.
  5. The opposition have decided to __________________________ and accept that they lost the election.
  6. Normally, if a cabinet minister doesn’t ________________________ they’ll soon be out of a job.
  7. Early polls suggest the result will be a _____________________ with no clear winner.
  8. It looks like the election will be a ___________________ between Labour and the Conservatives.
  9. Prison reform has been a ______________________ for years because prisoners don’t vote!
  10. The subject of MPs’ expenses is a ______________________, nobody wants to touch it but I’m sure it’s going to blow up soon.
  11. The new leader of the Liberals _______________________, you can see it in the way he talks to his constituents.
  12. ______________________ Tony, you’re always banging on about conspiracy theories but we’ve heard it all before.


  1. How much of a politician’s time should they spend on local issues relevant to their constituency?
  2. How much of a politician’s time should they spend on national issues?
  3. Should all politicians have to toe the party line? When should they be allowed to speak out against their leader/policy in their party?
  4. If a politician doesn’t toe the party line, what should the leader do?
  5. Which politicians are always spouting hot air? Can you trust anything a politician says? Are there any politicians in your country that you believe in?
  6. Who should get the first opportunity to form a government in a hung parliament, the party that got the most votes? Or the party most likely to be able to form a stable coalition?
  7. What have been the biggest political hot potatoes in your country in the last few years?
  8. Are there any issues that are treated like political footballs in your country?
  9. What do you think when you see a politician pressing the flesh? Why do you think they do it? Have you ever pressed the flesh with a politician?
  10. What do you get on your soap box about?
  11. Which politicians in your country have the common touch? And which don’t?
  12. Are elections in your country normally a two-horse race?
  13. If you could change one thing about the political system in your country, what would it be?
  14. How much do politicians earn in your country? Is it enough? Why do people get into politics?


Definition match

  1. G
  2. E
  3. C
  4. L (l)
  5. K
  6. B
  7. H
  8. D
  9. F
  10. A
  11. J
  12. I (i)

Sentence match

  1. Press the flesh
  2. Hot air
  3. Live/are in an ivory tower
  4. Crooked/bent
  5. Throw in the towel
  6. Toe the party line
  7. Hung parliament
  8. Two-horse race
  9. Political football
  10. Political hot potato
  11. Has the common touch
  12. Get off your soap box – used to tell someone to stop talking about something

Follow up

Students could write a CAE/CPE style report on the state of politics in their country, the report could then suggest ways in which politicians could get young people to take and interest in politics.

Posted in Conversation Classes

What’s the best/worst thing about…?


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This is a conversation activity designed to get teenagers and adults talking and practice the phrases:

The best/worst thing about… is…

Download the powerpoint below, project it and have students discuss their ideas in groups then share them in open class, board any emergent language and exploit any opportunities for debate and exponents of agreeing, disagreeing and expressing opinion.

Best Worst thing

Posted in Conversation Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Music Idioms and Conversation Topic

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This is a conversation and vocabulary lesson plan for advanced students based around the topic of music. Students talk about their tastes in music and learn some music based idioms. Download the plan below:

Music LP



  1. What is music to you?
  2. Define “good” music.
  3. What music do you listen to when you’re stressed/angry/happy/sad?
  4. Are you a musician? Can you sing?
  5. What’s more important to you, a good melody or good lyrics?

Music Idioms – match the idioms (1-12) to the definitions (a-m)

  1. There’s no point denying it or putting it off it’s time to face the music and admit you did it.
  2. I don’t want to blow my own trumpet but I think I dealt with that situation rather well.
  3. For our honeymoon we went on a whistle stop tour of 5 European capital cities.
  4. Paul is like a broken record, he’s always banging on about vegan food.
  5. Change the record Janet, we’ve heard it all before!
  6. The lyrics in the second verse really struck a chord with me when I was a teenager.
  7. She’s the one who calls the tune/shots in that office.
  8. My granddad is amazing, 90 years old and still fit as a fiddle.
  9. When they told me the school would have to close early it was music to my ears.
  10. I’m fed up of playing second fiddle to that moron, he messes everything up.
  11. The article’s ok, a bit boring though, why don’t you jazz it up with some raunchy photos?
  12. My students are the worst, I’ve been drumming it into their heads that they have exams today but they still all looked surprised when I told them.
a.       To be in perfect health

b.      To teach someone something repeatedly

c.       To boast/praise yourself

d.      Make something more colourful/interesting

e.      To make the decisions

f.        Someone who keeps saying the same thing over and over

g.       Exactly what one wants to hear

h.      Accept the negative consequences of your actions

i.         Constantly talking about something

j.        To be moved/remind of something when hearing something

k.       Visit the key things in a places very quickly

l.         Talk about something else, we’ve heard this before

m.    Take a subordinate role to someone else


  1. Who do you have to play second fiddle to?
  2. What is music to your ears?
  3. Who calls the tune/shots in your house/workplace/relationship?
  4. How can you be sure that you’re fit as a fiddle when you reach old age?
  5. How do you jazz up your meals?
  6. Did any particular songs/books/poems strike a chord with you when you were growing up?
  7. Are you like a broken record? If so, what are you always banging on about?
  8. What’s the best way to face the music?
  9. Are you known to blow your own trumpet?
  10. What’s the best way to drum something into someone’s head?

Key – Music Idioms

  1. H
  2. C
  3. K
  4. F+i
  5. L
  6. J
  7. E
  8. A
  9. G
  10. M
  11. D
  12. B
Posted in Conversation Classes, Reading Classes

Reading: The Very Latest Inventions

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This is a reading and conversation lesson plan based on an article from the guardian about some of the latest inventions. Download the text below or read the full article here:

The latest inventions

Basically students need to identify the inventions by reading the first section of each text in which the inventor describes them. They will then reread in order to answer detail questions in pairs and respond to the text by answering discussion questions.

Here’s the key:

  1. The selfie-stick
  2. Emojis
  3. The cronut (a doughnut crossed with a croissant)

Read this inventor describing his invention and see if you can guess what it is.

I’ve been fascinated with photography since I was a kid. I used to develop my own prints and experimented with Polaroids and early video cameras.

In 2002 I took my daughter on holiday to Italy. I wanted photos of us together but if you take it yourself you always end up with a head off centre. In the end, we’d wait for a passer-by who looked savvy enough to use my digital camera, then explain what we wanted usually without a common language. Then we had to deal with people walking in front of us while the photo was being taken. I just thought: “There has to be an easier way.”

It took about 100 prototypes to get it right. Every pin, spring, lever and gear had to be up to the job. I wanted each one to last 20 years and be able to withstand use under the sea or in the heat of the Sahara.

  1. Why did he invent it?
  2. Why do you think they became so popular?
  3. What problems do you think the inventor has encountered since the product has taken off?

It wasn’t the first time someone had come up with the idea of sticking a camera on the end of a pole – the BBC claims to have unearthed a picture showing a couple using a selfie stick in the 1920s. Originally, I called it The Quik Pod Extendable Monopod – we only started using the term “selfie stick” when it became part of the lexicon. The first take-up happened in the extreme sport community – it was really popular with skiers, paragliders and divers.

Sales have grown every year since launch but one of the problems I’ve encountered is cheap, rip-off selfie sticks – it’s too time-consuming to go after any but the most blatant copycats.

But money was never my main motivation. I’m far more interested in creating a world where families have good pictures in which everyone is present. In earlier decades, one of the parents tended to be the “designated photographer” and was often all but invisible in their photo albums. Now, for the first time, everyone can always be present. CB

  1. What do you think of the invention?
  2. Do you agree with his justification?

Read the first paragraph, can you guess what the invention is?

It was the 1990s, and we were designing a new online language to use in text messages. Before mobile phones in Japan, we used to have pagers called Pocket Bells. They were cheap and really popular among young people, partly because they had a heart symbol. I knew that symbols absolutely had to be part of any texting service.

  1. How many do you think there are now?

The original emoji were black and white and very simple.
I drew inspiration from symbols used in weather forecasts. At first there were 200, for things like food, drink and feelings – including the heart, of course. Now there are over 1,000.

I didn’t think emoji would spread and become so popular internationally. When I’m introduced as the man who invented emoji, people are taken aback. Emoji is incredibly useful because it transcends language – sometimes a single emoji can say more than words.

  1. Where did he get the inspiration from?
  2. What do you think of the invention?

Read the first section. Can you guess the invention?

I started in kitchens when I was barely 16. My parents didn’t have much money but I found a cookery school. I spent some time in the military and then I worked for the French bakery Fauchon, and Daniel Bouloud in New York, before I opened my own bakery in Soho in 2011.

Someone pointed out that we didn’t have any kind of donut on the menu. I said OK, let’s try it. But I’m French, I don’t know about donuts. Let me work with a texture I grew up with – the croissant.

How do you think they became so popular?

The dough itself is not croissant dough, there’s a different ratio of ingredients. I wanted it to be light but I didn’t want to change the flavour. When I finally found the right balance, it had the perfect texture – the crunch on the outside, the flaky layers within. The team always tastes new recipes together. They said: “Yeah, it’s good. It should go on the menu.”

After that everything happened really fast. By chance, a blogger for Grub Street (New York magazine’s restaurant blog) came into the shop and tried the Cronut. He put it on the blog. Then he called me – overnight, there had been more than 140,000 links to his blog post. He said: “I think you should make a few more.”

The first day I made 30. The next, 45. By the third day we had more than 100 people queuing and the craze began. The line stretched back over four blocks. The enthusiasm is still as strong. Most days we have a line of between 100-180 people, no matter the weather. We serve them hot chocolate while they’re queuing.

I don’t take this success for granted. We have auctioned Cronuts to raise thousands for food banks and food charities here in New York.

I believe in creativity and in innovation. We’re always thinking about how we can impress, how we can touch people with food, so we never stop inventing. I get inspired by all kinds of things – by art, by painting. Recently I was looking at nail art on Instagram. The details, the colour, the mix of techniques are fascinating. Maybe someday I will glaze a cake and be reminded of those details.

Baking’s still pretty much the same wherever you go: bakeries are mostly French, Italian or German. It’s not like cooking, where you have chefs from all kinds of backgrounds fusing different foods. So this is just the beginning. There’s plenty of room to grow. RI

  1. How does he feel about his success?
  2. What other things inspire him?
  3. Are you a baker?
  4. Have you ever tried a cronut?
Posted in Conversation Classes

Conversation topic: Who’s in the wrong?

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

Who’s in the wrong


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:





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 Listening Classes, Proficiency

Proficiency Podcasts: Radiolab, Words

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Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is the second in a series of lesson plans based around podcasts for high level learners (high C1+). This one is based on the first part of Words by radiolab. The link, transcript and lesson plan are below:

Proficiency Podcasts words, Lesson plan

Words Transcript – divided into sections.

Warmer – Charades

SS have to sign the following sentences:

I don’t like bananas

I love soup

I think it will rain

Where is Joan?

I went swimming yesterday.

Can I have a pen?

Was it easy? Which sentences were the easiest? Do you ever play this game with your family?

  1. Do you know sign language?
  2. How difficult is it to communicate without words?
  3. What’s your favourite word in your own language/English?

Listening – Radiolab, words

1st section 00:15 – 01:02

Listen and answer these questions:

  • What happened to Susan? She was hit by a catering truck while riding her bike.
  • What were the consequences? She had concussion and couldn’t go to school.
  • How did she feel? Very bored

Listen once, ss share answers in pairs. Listen again for specific detail and language.

  • How does she describe the accident? A catering truck hit me.
  • How does she describe her feelings? Bored out of my mind.

Follow same sequence with each section, general comprehension questions, then listen again and clear up language problems.

2nd section 01:02 – 1:40

  • What did she do? Why? Her friend suggested that she crashed classes at the local uni.

2nd listen for language.

Make a prediction in pairs:

  • What happened that changed her life?

3rd section 01:40 – 2:15

  • What happened? She walked into a signing class.
  • What was her reaction? Mesmerised

Predict: What’s going to happen next?

4th sections 2:15 – 3:05

  • What happens next? Becomes a signer.
  • Where does she go? LA
  • Who does she meet? A man born deaf.

5th section 3:05 – 3:50

  • How does she describe the man? Beautiful, great cheekbones, black hair black eyes.
  • What’s the guy’s problem? Copies everything, visual echolalia

6th section 3:50 – 4:48

  • What does he realise about the guy? Has no language
  • How does he think the world works? That we figure stuff out visually

7th section 4:48 – 5:07

  • What questions do they ask?
  • What do words do for us?
  • Are they necessary?
  • Can you live without them?
  • Can you think without them?
  • Can you dream without them?
  • Can you swim without them?

Discuss these questions as a class.

Set the rest of this part of the podcast as homework with the following questions:

5:07 – 8:35

  • What problems did she have teaching him? He copied everything she did, he thought everything was an order. Didn’t know how to say goodbye, didn’t know if he would come back.
  • How did she make a breakthrough? Acted out the role of student and role of teacher.
  • What was his reaction? He broke down in tears.


  • Have you ever had to communicate without words? Why?
  • How do you make yourself understood if you’re in a country where you don’t speak the language?
  • Have you ever had a misunderstanding with someone in this situation?
  • How much do you rely on signing and body language?
  • Have you ever spoken English on the phone? What was it like?

Accuracy vs Fluency

  • What’s more important accuracy or fluency when speaking?
  • If you spoke extremely accurately but with no fluency what problems would you have? And vice versa.
  • In what situations is it especially important to be accurate?
  • In what situations is it especially important to be fluent?
  • “Only teachers notice your mistakes” Do you agree?
  • “As long as the errors don’t affect understanding they don’t matter” Do you agree?
  • “Little mistakes will go away over time, you don’t have to focus on them.” Do you agree?
  • “Confidence is more important than how much you’ve studied when speaking a foreign language” Do you agree?
Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes

Quantifiers Worksheet

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This is a worksheet for intermediate students to practice quantifiers. It’s written with Catalan students from Barcelona in mind so you might want to edit some of the discussion questions.

Download the handout here:

Quantifiers Worksheet

All of

Most of

Some of

A few of         + A determiner + noun

None of        (my/your/his/the/etc.)

Neither of

Both of




A few       + a noun



All (of) my siblings are married.*

Both (of) my siblings are married.*

Most of his family have left the country.

A few of the people I went to school with are coming to visit.

None of her friends live in the village now.

Neither of her parents can drive.


*With all and both the “of” is optional.

All vegetables are good for you.

Most people prefer summer to winter.

Some people don’t like cheese.

A few places still let you smoke inside.

Neither hat was big enough for her.

Both men were extremely drunk.

Which of these sentences is incorrect?

  1. I love the rock music.
  2. I loved the music that they were playing last night.
  3. Most of the English people drink too much.
  4. Most of the people I know drink too much.

REMEMBER: When we’re speaking in general we don’t use “the”:

Most English people drink too much.

I like rock music.

Choose the correct option to complete the sentences:

  1. A few of/A few the people who came to the party didn’t bring presents.
  2. Neither/Neither of my pens worked so I couldn’t take notes.
  3. Most of/Most Spanish people support either Barça or Madrid.
  4. All of/all children should play outside 3 times a week.
  5. All of/all the children in my school come from the same area.
  6. Most/Most of restaurants close at midnight.
  7. Most/Most of the restaurants on my street are Turkish.


  1. How many of your friends did you meet at school?
  2. How many of your friends speak English?
  3. How many of your friends speak Mandarin Chinese?
  4. Do your classmates do sports?
  5. Do any of your siblings smoke?
  6. How many people take a siesta in Catalonia?
  7. How many people take a siesta in the rest of Spain?
  8. How many people like bullfighting in Catalonia?
  9. How many people like bullfighting in the rest of Spain?
  10. Did your parents let you play in the street when you were little?
  11. Did your parents let you smoke when you were at school?
  12. Where did your parents grow up?
  13. Where did your siblings go to school?
  14. How many people support Barça in Barcelona?
  15. How many people support Espanyol?