Posted in Conversation Classes

Conversation topic: Who’s in the wrong?

Image credit: www.learnaboutislam.co.uk

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

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

Who’s in the wrong

Warmer

SS discuss in pairs:

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

Language of blaming:

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

SS complete the sentences with the following words:

for

on

blame

wrong

fault (x2)

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

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

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Posted in Listening Classes, Proficiency

Proficiency Podcasts: Radiolab, Words

Image credit: publicradiotulsa.org

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:

http://www.radiolab.org/story/91725-words/

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.

Discussion

  • 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

All

Most

Some

A few       + a noun

Neither

Both

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.

Discussion

  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?
Posted in Conversation Classes, TED Talk Lesson Plans, Vocabulary Classes

TED Talk: Pamela Meyer, How to spot a liar

Image credit: http://www.ted.com

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This is a lesson based around Pamela Meyer’s TED talk “How to spot a liar” on the subject of dishonesty in society.

You will need the annotated transcript, the vocabulary exercises and the discussion questions:

Pamela Meyer TED Lesson Plan

Pamela Meyer TED transcript

Pamela Meyer worksheet 1

Pamela Meyer Vocabulary Homework

Note: These classes were designed for a two hour post proficiency conversation class. I normally set the video as homework for my students the week before.

Warmer – Two truths one lie

The old classic activity. Write three sentences about yourself on the board; two true and one false, I wrote:

  1. I met Leo Messi and Mascherano on the beach.
  2. I collect comic books.
  3. I used to be a builder before I was a teacher.

Give students two minutes to ask you questions to try and catch you in a lie. Then they must say which one they think is true and explain why, did they pick up on any vocal or body language signals. Then reveal which one is a lie (number 2 for me). Award one point to each student that guessed correctly and one point to yourself for each student you duped.

Now give students five minutes to do the same; write three sentences about themselves, two true, one false and continue the game. The winner is the person with the most points, who earns the title master liespotter.

  • Who was the best liar?
  • Who was the best liespotter?

Vocabulary Matching

Give out the vocabulary matching sheet and the transcript. Put students in pairs and have them complete the exercise, the vocabulary words are in order as they appear in the transcript so if they get stuck they can find the word in context to aid their understanding.

Key:

1-k, 2-d, 3-j, 4-c, 5-a, 6-v, 7-t, 8-r, 9-q, 10-n, 11-e, 12-u, 13-l, 14-w, 15-x/b, 16-x/b, 17-p, 18-m, 19-o, 20-h, 21-I, 22-s, 23-g, 24-f.

Discussion Questions

The answers to the comprehension questions can be found underlined in the transcript.

Write the following quotes from the talk on the board:

“We’re all liars”

“lying is a cooperative act”

What does she mean? Do you agree?

  1. Why do people lie? Brainstorm on the board.
  2. How much money did she say was lost because of fraud? Nearly a $trillion.
  3. How much money is lost to fraud in your country?
  4. Can you think of any big fraud cases?
  5. How often are we lied to on an average day? From 10-200 times
  6. What does she say about when strangers meet for the first time? That they lie to each other on average 3 times in first 10 minutes.
  7. What does she say about the difference between men and women? That men tend to lie more about themselves while women lie to protect people.
  8. Do you think this is true?
  9. What does she say about marriage and relationships? That married people lie to each other in 1 in every 10 interactions.
  10. What lies do couples tell each other?
  11. Are these little white lies?
  12. What does she say about animals lying? Coco the gorilla blamed a kitten for ripping a sink off the wall.
  13. What does she say about how children develop their deception skills? Babies fake crying, children hiding, bluffing and flattering to get what they want.
  14. She says we live in a post truth society, what does she mean by that? With the internet, politics and capitalist society we are surrounded by scammers, and exaggeration.
  15. How often do normal people distinguish a lie from the truth? 54% of the time
  16. How often do liespotters distinguish a lie from the truth? 90% of the time.
  17. What are the speech patterns of a liar we see in the Clinton video? Emphatic denial, formal phrases, distancing language.
  18. What are the body language patterns? Freeze upper body, too much eye contact, blink more, chatter with fingertips, fidget, don’t smile with eyes.
  19. Could you identify these actions in the videos?
  20. Are you a good liespotter?
  21. What other videos did she show? Grieving mothers, lying politicians.
  22. What did she say about the attitudes of honest/dishonest people? Dishonest people tend to be more detailed, and stick to a chronological order.

Homework

Set the other vocabulary worksheet as homework.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Video Classes

TED talks lesson: Logan Laplante on “Hack-schooling”

This is a discussion class for higher levels (high B2 – C2) based around the Logan Laplante’s TED talk video on “hack-schooling” a form of home schooling based round applicable skills and hands-on experience.

The video is 11 minutes long so I set it for homework the lesson before so that students could watch and rewatch as many times as they needed to fully understand it. Alternatively, you could watch it in class if you have time.

Vocabulary

Logan uses some skier/skater American slang, for example:

To be stoked – to be excited about/interested in something

to be bummed out – to be annoyed/disappointed

Other vocab that might need highlighting:

To log out of reality – to escape from reality

mashup – a mixture/fusion of different elements

hacker mindset – a mindset is a set of attitudes a person has

Discussion questions

  1. What was your first impression of Logan?
  2. How old is he?
  3. Is he a typical 13 year old?
  4. What are the 8 keys to happiness? (Exercise/diet and nutrition/time in nature/contribution and service to others/relationships/recreation/religious and spiritual)
  5. What do you think of this idea?
  6. How does he define a “hacker”? (A person who changes and improves established systems)
  7. What is “hack-schooling”? (opportunistic learning that doesn’t follow a curriculum with no fixed structure)
  8. What do you think of this idea?
  9. How and what does Logan learn?
  10. Is it for everyone?
  11. Is it only for people from a privileged background?
  12. “Schools are orientated towards making a living rather than making a life” What do you think of this statement? Do you agree?
  13. Do students today learn applicable skills?
  14. What do you think Logan is going to be when he grows up?
  15. What would your friends say if you pulled your children out of school?

Role-play

Put students in pairs of groups of 3 and have them role play the last question, student A has decided to pull their kids out of school to teach them at home, student B thinks they are crazy!

Debate

“The education system does not prepare students for life.”

Split group in to two groups, 1 in support and 1 against the motion. Follow standard debate structure, 2 minute opening arguments, rebuttals etc.