Posted in Conversation Classes, TED Talk Lesson Plans, Video Classes

TED Talk: Rita Pierson, Every Kid Needs a Champion

Image credit: www.ted.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a conversation lesson plan based around Rita Pierson’s TED talk entitled: Every Kid Needs a Champion it’s suitable for C1+ although high B2s might be able to deal with it if you break the video up a bit. Download the handout below:

TED Rita Every child needs a champion

Have students watch the TED talk for homework or you can show it in class as it’s only 8 mins long. Then give out the handout and have students discuss it in small groups or as a class.

Handout

Discussion

  1. What is the talk about?
  2. What did you think of the speaker?
  3. Was she easy to understand?
  4. What is her message?

Look at these quotes from the talk and discuss the questions below:

“And we know why kids drop out. We know why kids don’t learn. It’s either poverty, low attendance, negative peer influences… We know why.”

  • Which of these things do you think has the biggest impact on dropout rates?
  • What can be done to help?

“James Comer says that no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.”

“George Washington Carver says all learning is understanding relationships.”

  • What is your interpretation of these quotes?
  • Do you agree with them?

A colleague said to me one time, “They don’t pay me to like the kids. They pay me to teach a lesson. The kids should learn it. I should teach it, they should learn it, Case closed.”

Well, I said to her, “You know, kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.”

  • What do you think of the teacher’s quotes? Do you agree?
  • Do students have to like their teacher to learn from them?

“How do I raise the self-esteem of a child and his academic achievement at the same time?”

  • How important is it that a teacher raises their students’ self-esteem?
  • What methods does Rita mention? What other ways can they do it?

“One year I came up with a bright idea. I told all my students, “You were chosen to be in my class because I am the best teacher and you are the best students, they put us all together so we could show everybody else how to do it.”

“I gave a quiz, 20 questions. A student missed 18. I put a “+2” on his paper and a big smiley face.”

  • What do you think of these methods? Do you think they would work?

“Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.”

  • What do you think of her message?
  • Did you have a “champion” when you were growing up? Who was it?
  • How can this message be put into practice?
Posted in Conversation Classes

School: Conversation Topic

Image credit: old-fashioned-school-room.jpg By Robert Weissberg

http://www.mindingthecampus.org/tag/charles-murray/

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a conversation exercise for adult students (A2+) in which they talk about and compare their experiences at school. I have prepared this activity as a follow up to studying comparatives and superlatives so encourage students to compare their schools and personal experiences: Your school was stricter than mine.

Download the handout here:

School Conversation

Useful language:

We had to…

We weren’t allowed to…

We couldn’t…

We didn’t have to… (it wasn’t necessary)

(noun/gerund)… was compulsory

(noun/gerund)… was prohibited

Discussion questions

Put students into groups of 2-4 and have them discuss the questions and then feedback/report what they’ve learnt from their classmates to the rest of the class. For small groups conduct the discussion as a class.

  1. Where did you go to school?
  2. Can you describe your school?
  3. Did you have to wear a uniform? If so, what did it consist of?
  4. What time did you have to start school?
  5. What were the rules at your school?
  • We had to…
  • We weren’t allowed to…
  • We couldn’t…
  • (noun/gerund)… was compulsory
  • (noun/gerund)… was prohibited/against the rules.
  1. Did you eat lunch at school?
  2. Who was the best teacher you had at school? Why?
  3. Who was the strictest teacher you had at school?
  4. What was your favourite subject?
  5. What was your least favourite subject?
  6. Describe a typical day at your school.
  7. What facilities did your school have? (gymnasium, swimming pool etc.)
  8. Have you been to your school recently? How much has it changed?
  9. Would you send your children to the same school?
  10. What things have changed for the better?
  11. What things have changed for the worse?
  12. Who was your best friend at school?
  13. Are you still friends with them now?
  14. Do you think school is easier or more difficult nowadays? Why?

Homework: Write an essay comparing and contrasting modern schools to schools in the past. Or a “day in the life” description of your school experience.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Video Classes

TED talk: Sir Ken Robinson, How schools kill creativity

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is another TED Talk lesson, this time based around Sir Ken Robinson’s fascinating talk on creativity in the education system. Please find an annotated transcript below. All I’ve done is underlined some interesting points he makes and vocabulary he uses, you can use them as a jumping off point for class discussion or simply mine them for useful vocabulary.

Ken Robinson TED annotated transcript

Posted in Conversation Classes, Video Classes

TED Talk: Ricardo Semler, How to run a company with (almost) no rules

This is a lesson plan based on Ricardo Semler’s TED talk: How to run a company with (almost) no rules

Have students watch the talk for homework or alternatively you can watch it in class. Give them copies of the annotated transcript. Basically I’ve just underlined interesting points he makes or vocabulary he uses. Use the underlined sections to generate discussion or mine them for vocabulary.

Ricard Semler TED annotated transcript

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.

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Grammar Classes

CAE / CPE Expressions for Key Word Transformations

Just a quick note…

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

https://soundcloud.com/2tspod


https://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast/

This is a worksheet to practice typical phrases and expressions that come up in key word transformations in both CAE and CPE. They are also very useful for writings.

Students rewrite the sentences using the word given in capitals.

Download the worksheet from here:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!388&authkey=!AAlKmGNu1itRsP0

Here’s a link to a quizlet flashcard set that can be used for preteaching or revision:

http://quizlet.com/16987300/cae-use-of-english-practice-part-5-flash-cards/

  1.  “Do you want to go and see the new play?” Petra asked her friend
    (INTERESTED)
    Petra asked her friend whether……………………………………..to see the new play.
  2.  Pat does not intend to have a holiday this year
    (INTENTION)
    Pat has …………………………………………………….. on holiday this year.
  3. Lisa was about to leave the house when.. (POINT)
  4. I think learning to use a typewriter is a waste of time (POINT)
  5. A number of sporting events had to be cancelled owing to bad weather. (LED)
  6. When it comes to computer games, Gareth is a real expert. (CONCERNED)
  7. Carlos really should get someone to mend his bike. (HIGH)
  8. The company has a good reputation in the local area (HIGHLY)
  9. Do you think Pablo is likely to win the competition? (CHANCE)
  10. I’ve been greatly impressed by the way Jasper deals with problems (MADE)
  11. Darius soon recovered after the operation (MADE)
  12. I think the weather will improve next week. (CHANGE)
  13. Pheobe was surprised to be offered a place on the course (CAME)
  14. It’s so difficult to create new ideas for the festival every year (COME)
  15. The company is almost certain to get the contract (EVERY)
  16. Sven would have called yesterday if he had had more time (SHORT)
  17. Many people believe that Garcia has the ability to become world champion (CAPABLE)
  18. In his speech, the Principal did not mention the new language courses. (REFERENCE)
  19. Sam never thought of asking me for my advice (OCCURRED)
  20. Despite all their efforts, they could not get the old car to start (HARD)
  21. “I’m sorry, but there’s no way I’m going to sleep on the floor” said Maria. (CLEAR)
  22. “Remember to write or phone,” Marta said as she waved goodbye (TOUCH)
  23. Simon really ought to make a decision about his future (MIND)
  24. If you don’t pay on time, your booking will be cancelled (RESULT)
  25. I’m sure Gemma is going to become a famous model one day (MATTER)
  26. Barbara’s parents were certain that she would be a great tennis player (DOUBT)
  27. The company isn’t able to guarantee an allocated car parking space to all employees (COUNT)
  28. Daisy said that she would no longer tolerate her colleagues being rude (PUT)

Key:

she was interested in going “Do you want to go and see the new play?” Petra asked her friend
(INTERESTED)
Petra asked her friend whether……………………………………..to see the new play.
no intention of going Pat does not intend to have a holiday this year
(INTENTION)
Pat has …………………………………………………….. on holiday this year.
Lisa was ON THE POINT OF LEAVING the house when. Lisa was about to leave the house when.. (POINT)
I think THERE’S NO POINT learning to use a typewriter. I think learning to use a typewriter is a waste of time (POINT)
The bad weather LED TO THE CANCELLATION OF a number of sporting events. A number of sporting events had to be cancelled owing to bad weather. (LED)
AS FAR AS COMPUTER GAMES ARE CONCERNED, Gareth is a real expert. When it comes to computer games, Gareth is a real expert. (CONCERNED)
IT’S HIGH TIME CARLOS GOT someone to mend his bike. Carlos really should get someone to mend his bike. (HIGH)
The company is HIGHLY REGARDED in the local area. The company has a good reputation in the local area (HIGHLY)
Do you think Pablo STANDS A CHANCE OF WINNING the competition? Do you think Pablo is likely to win the competition? (CHANCE)
The way Jasper deals with problems has MADE A GREAT IMPRESSION ON ME. I’ve been greatly impressed by the way Jasper deals with problems (MADE)
Darius soon MADE A (FULL) RECOVERY after the operation. Darius soon recovered after the operation (MADE)
I think the weather will CHANGE FOR THE BETTER next week. I think the weather will improve next week. (CHANGE)
The offer of a place on the course CAME AS A SURPRISE TO Phoebe. Pheobe was surprised to be offered a place on the course (CAME)
It’s so difficult to COME UP WITH new ideas for the festival every year. It’s so difficult to create new ideas for the festival every year (COME)
The company HAS EVERY CHANCE OF GETTING the contract. The company is almost certain to get the contract (EVERY)
Sven would have called yesterday if he hadn’t been SHORT ON / OF TIME. Sven would have called yesterday if he had had more time (SHORT)
Many people believe that Garcia IS CAPABLE OF BECOMING world champion. Many people believe that Garcia has the ability to become world champion (CAPABLE)
In his speech, the Principal MADE NO REFERENCE TO the new language courses. In his speech, the Principal did not mention the new language courses. (REFERENCE)
IT NEVER OCCURRED TO SAM TO ASK me for advice. Sam never thought of asking me for my advice (OCCURRED)
NO MATTER HOW HARD THEY TRIED, they could not get the old car to start. Despite all their efforts, they could not get the old car to start (HARD)
Maria MADE IT CLEAR THAT she wasn’t going to sleep on the floor. “I’m sorry, but there’s no way I’m going to sleep on the floor” said Maria. (CLEAR)
“Remember KEEP IN TOUCH,” Marta said as she waved goodbye. “Remember to write or phone,” Marta said as she waved goodbye (TOUCH)
Simon really ought to MAKE UP HIS MIND about his future. Simon really ought to make a decision about his future (MIND)
Not paying in time WILL RESULT IN YOUR BOOKING BEING CANCELLED. If you don’t pay on time, your booking will be cancelled (RESULT)
I´m sure IT’S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE Gemma becomes a famous model. I’m sure Gemma is going to become a famous model one day (MATTER)
Barbara’s parents HAD NO DOUBT that she would be a great tennis player. Barbara’s parents were certain that she would be a great tennis player (DOUBT)
Employees CANNOT COUNT ON HAVING an allocated car parking space. The company isn’t able to guarantee an allocated car parking space to all employees (COUNT)
Daisy said that she would no longer PUT UP WITH her colleagues being rude. Daisy said that she would no longer tolerate her colleagues being rude (PUT)
was on the point of calling Sven was about to call the police when the burglar stopped trying to open the window and ran away.
POINT
Sven ……………………………………………… the police when the burglar stopped trying to open the window and ran away.
Posted in Conversation Classes, Reading Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Proficiency Book Club: The Waterfall by H E Bates

short stories

This is a series of lesson plans for proficiency level students based around stories from “The Oxford Book of English Short Stories” edited by A. S. Byatt. Set the story as homework the week before, encourage students to bring any vocabulary questions to class.

The Waterfall tells the story of a repressed reverend’s daughter trying to cope with the emotions and sentiments of life and love. These feelings are symbolised by the waterfall in her garden which is being renovated. The breaking of the damn and the water surging down the waterfall could symbolise the release of all her bottled up affections and feelings towards her husband and the jovial Mr. Phillips who has been staying with the family.

Download this lesson plan here:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!383&authkey=!AJRdYjvoRf1OhyM

Vocabulary

First copy to the board or project the vocabulary table in the attachment above, students must try to match the new vocab to the definition.

Key: 1 – g, 2 – d, 3 – a, 4 – b, 5 – j, 6 – e, 7 – f, 8 – I, 9 – h, 10 – c.

Once they have matched the vocab give them 5 minutes to find the vocabulary in the text, make it a race, the first team to find all 10 wins.

Then discuss the following discussion questions:

Discussion Questions:

  • What happens in the story?
  • How would you describe the characters? Straight-laced. Prim and proper, repressed, damaged,
  • What does the waterfall represent?
  • How do you feel about Rose? Do you sympathise with her?
  • How do you think she feels about her new husband?
  • How do you think she feels about Phillips?
  • Do you think people are more or less emotionally repressed these days?
  • Do you think this is a good or bad thing?
Posted in Conversation Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Family Expressions Conversation Class

Family clip art

This is a short activity in which students learn some expressions about family and use them in a short discussion.

Have students try to complete the expresions below in pairs.

Complete the expressions:

  1. A family t_______
  2. B______ is thicker than w________
  3. L______ father l_______ son
  4. To take a_______ somebody (to inherit characteristics from a parent)
  5. Like two p_____ in a p______ (very similar)
  6. Like c_______ and c_______ (very different)
  7. Go to a family g_____ – t________ / g_________
  8. A father f__________

Key:

  1. tree
  2. blood, water
  3. like, like
  4. after
  5. peas, pod
  6. chalk, cheese
  7. get-together / gathering
  8. figure

Go through the expressions as a class, then but students in small groups to discuss the following discussion questions:

Discussion questions:

  1. Does your family have a family tree? Have you ever looked at it? Do you know your family’s origins? Do you have any famous ancestors?
  2. Do you agree that blood is thicker than water? How important is family to you? How important is family in your country? Do you think it’s more important than in other countries?
  3. Who do you take after? Your mother or father? In appearance? Personality? Are there any specific hereditary characteristics in your family?
  4. Do you have any family members or friends who are like two peas in a pod? Or any who are like chalk and cheese?
  5. How often do you go to family get-togethers / gatherings? When was the last time? Do you enjoy them? Do you have any annoying relatives?
  6. How important is it for a child to have a father figure? Or a mother figure? How do you think a lack of either can affect children?
Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes

Giving Advice

advice

Before you use these materials, why not check out our new podcast for learners and teachers alike? It’s called 2Ts in a Pod, have a listen here:

This is a conversation class to practice different forms of giving advice for B1 – B2 students.

Put on the board:

You should quit smoking

You ought to quit smoking

You had better quit smoking

Put students in small groups and tell them to think about the difference between the 3 sentences. Then have them share their ideas.

should and ought to are basically synonyms although ought to is generally more formal, they are used for giving advice: It would be a good idea if you quit smoking.

had better has a slightly different meaning; it implies that if the advice is not followed something bad could happen. In this context maybe the speaker could be a doctor warning a patient about the results of a recent test.

In this way had better can also be used to threaten:

1: Hey! Where’s that money you owe me?

2: I’ll pay you on Monday.

1: You had better.

Here had better contains the implication of violence.

The grammatical form is as follows:

subject + should / ought to / had better + bare infinitive (infinitive without to)

The negatives are as follows:

You shouldn’t smoke.

You ought not to smoke.

You had better not smoke.

To warm the students up present them with a simple problem that you have, for example: I want to get fit / It’s my partner’s birthday, what should I buy them?

Have the students give advice for these situations.

Then tell students that there are other ways of giving advice, try and elicit the following conditionals:

If I were you, I would / n’t………….

If I were in your shoes, I would / n’t…………

Then give out the following situations for advise, have the first student read out the situation as if it was a genuine personal problem, other students then give them advice. After each situations ask the discussion questions listed below the situations.

  1. I have a friend who is really tight-fisted. Every time that we go out for a drink or a meal he says he hasn’t got any money or he mysteriously disappears to the toilet when the bill arrives. At first we thought “poor John he never has any money”, but he works 6 days a week so he must have some money. What should we do?
  2. My best friend is always flirting with my girlfriend. He always pays her lots of compliments like “Wow! You look fantastic tonight!” Also when we go to parties he often asks her to dance. It’s making me really angry. What should I do?
  3. I share a flat with a friend and she keeps borrowing my things without asking. At first it was just little things like books and DVDs but now she’s started borrowing my clothes and when I want to wear my favourite dress for example, I find it on her bedroom floor unwashed! What should I do?
  4. I have invited 20 people over for a big dinner party, they are arriving in 20 minutes. I was going to cook a big roast turkey but I put the oven temperature too high and it burned! The dinner is ruined! What should I do?

Discussion Questions

Discussion questions for first situation:

  • Do you have any tight-fisted friends?
  • What do they do?
  • What is the custom when it comes to paying the bill in your country?
  • Have you ever had an argument over a restaurant bill?

Second

  • Who has a problem in this situation?
  • Is the speaker right to feel angry?
  • Who is to blame for the anger?
  • Have you or any of your friends ever been in this situation?
  • Are you a jealous person?

Third

  • Have you ever been in a situation like this?
  • Do you lend things to friends? Why? Why not?
  • Do you borrow things from friends? Why? Why not?
  • Have you ever lived in a shared house? What problems did you encounter?

Fourth

  • Have you ever been in this situation?
  • What did you do?
  • What was the worst meal you ever cooked?

Another game to practice this is the following:

Send one student out of the classroom. All the other students have to think of an imaginary problem that he / she has. Invite the student to come back in and sit at the front of the class. The student must guess what their problem is based on the advice they receive from their classmates.

If your students aren’t very imaginative you can use these situations:

  1. I have two VIP tickets to see Barcelona vs Real Madrid on the same night as my mother in law’s 50th birthday party.
  2. I found a wallet in the street with €2000 in it.
  3. I am a great chef, I want to open 300 restaurants and get rich but I have no money.
  4. I got very drunk at the office Christmas party and kissed my boss.
  5. My best friend’s ex girlfriend wants to go on a date with me.
  6. I am the manager of a big company. I have a vacancy for a salesman and my son wants the job, but he has no experience.
  7. I saw my best friend’s girlfriend kiss another man.

Class discussion about advice

Afterwards discuss the following questions about advice as a class:

  1. Who do you go to for advice?
  2. Do they give good advice? Why? Why not?
  3. Who comes to you for advice?
  4. Do you give good advice?
  5. Do you follow your friend’s advice?
  6. What’s the best / worst advice you’ve ever received?
  7. Does advice help? Or do most people ignore it?
  8. Sometimes advice can make you less decisive. Do you agree?
  9. Do you think some people are too proud to ask for advice?
Posted in Conversation Classes, Reading Classes

Proficiency Book Club: A Widow’s Quilt by Sylvia Townsend Warner

short stories

This is a series of lesson plans for proficiency level students based around stories from “The Oxford Book of English Short Stories” edited by A. S. Byatt. Set the story as homework the week before, encourage students to bring any vocabulary questions to class.

Vocabulary

Here is some vocab that your students might have trouble with:

page 243

  • the box – the television
  • parlour – a room in a kitchen where food is stored and prepared
  • applique quilts – patchwork quilts

page 244

  • rook – black bird and chess piece
  • blacking out curtains – heavy curtains used during world war two to block light from the windows of the houses
  • taffeta – material made from silk

245

  • to snatch – to take something from another person aggressively
  • jolt – a sudden violent movement

248

  • drudgery – a boring, difficult job
  • fidgeting / to fidget – to move comfortably and nervously
  • to thwart – to prevent the completion of something
  • a harlot – a whore / prostitute
  • to grimace – to make an angry / annoyed face

Discussion

Have your students discuss these questions in small groups or as a class:

  1. What happens in the story?
  2. Can you describe the characters?
  3. What do you think of Charlotte?
  4. How do you think she feels in her marriage? Trapped?
  5. What do her actions say about the position of women in the time the story was written?
  6. What do you think of Everard?
  7. How do you feel for him at the end?
  8. How do you feel for Charlotte?
  9. How can you explain the ending?
  10. Charlotte takes on the challenge of making the quilt, how important is it to have challenges and things to focus your attention on in life? Different stages of life. Things to look forward to etc.