The long turn task is modelled on the C2 Proficiency speaking part 3 in which students have to speak for 2 minutes about a given topic with 3 bullet points to guide them. Give out the speaking phrases and go over the “cheat sheet” of useful expressions on the first slide. Then put students in pairs and have them take it in turns to complete the task seeing who can use the most expressions, they need to speak on their own for 2 minutes. Once they have finished they should find 5 similarities between their Easter holiday experiences and share them with the class.
Alternatively, if you want something more collaborative, I’ve added a C1 Advanced part 3 style task in a separate PowerPoint. Students should first look at the cheat sheet, clear up any doubts, then have them answer the central question in pairs. You could then give them a further question: “which of these 5 types of activities do you appreciate doing most in your holidays.”
This is the second in a series of posts documenting a mini research project I’m doing with a group of C1/C2 students to see how effective explicit pronunciation instruction activities can be. If you haven’t already, please read the first post to get a better idea of the methods I’m using. Download the slides and handout for this second mini lesson plan below:
Full credit to Mark Hancock for the excellent -ed endings maze, you can get it and many more from this excellent website he runs together with Annie McDonald. You can also get loads more great materials from his Instagram page. If you get the chance to attend one of his seminars/webinars, go for it, loads of great ideas.
This particular lesson plan focuses on -ed endings of regular verbs and consonant to vowel linking in phrasal verbs. If you’re following along with the project with your students, please let me know how it’s going in the comments.
Want to do Christmas activities but your students have an exam coming up? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here’s some Christmassy proficiency speaking part 2 tasks. Students work in pairs on a timed collaborative task. Download the PowerPoint below:
They’ve made their demands and they’re not going to back down. – stop demanding something
My car always breaks down when I don’t have enough money to get it repaired. – stop working
They broke/split up last year but then they got back together. – to end; to separate (a marriage / a relationship / etc.)
My parents died when I was very young so my grandma brought me up. – raise/educate/care for (a child)
I bumped/ran into an old friend from uni in the street. – to meet someone unexpectedly
The situation calls for calm negotiations and cool heads from everyone involved. – demand / request
They’ve had to call off the match due to bad weather. – cancel (an event)
I’m just going to carry on working on my presentation, but let me know if you need anything. – continue
The new hairstyle has really caught on with teenagers in my town. catch on – to become popular (an idea or a style);
I kept dropping hints about what I wanted for my birthday but my wife didn’t catch on. – to understand/realise after a long time
I bought him a pint to try to cheer him up – make happier
I came across my old school books while I was clearing out the attic. – find by chance
He came into quite a lot of money when his grandparents passed away. come into (money) – inherit
Come round after school and we’ll work on the science project together. – come to your house
I’ve come up with a great idea for our Halloween costumes. – think of and suggest an idea
The topic of a pay rise came up in my meeting with the boss. – be mentioned, arise or appear (in class / an exam / a meeting)
Don’t be late! Everyone is counting on you. – to rely on
My New Year’s resolution is to cut down on fast food.– reduce the amount you consume
Sorry, the call got cut off when we went through a tunnel. – separate / isolate / interrupt
My doctor has told me I need to cut out all processed meats from my diet. – stop doing / eating something
The child was struggling to do up his shoelaces. We’re doing up our house this summer. – fasten, button up clothes; repair, redecorate or modernize a building or room
We all dressed up as monsters for Halloween.– put on different clothes in order to disguise yourself
My Dad dropped by on his way home to work to say hello. – to visit informally or unexpectedly
He also came to drop off my Christmas presents. The taxi dropped us off outside the airport. – to take something (or someone) to a place and leave it there
He didn’t enjoy the economics degree course and dropped out after 6 months. – stop taking part in (a competition, a university, etc.)
We got lost and ended up in a completely different town. We were supposed to go out clubbing but we ended up staying in. – an end result of something planned or unplanned
She fell for him the moment she met him. – fall in love with
She fell out with her younger sister over who was going to look after grandma at Christmas. – argue and stop being friendly with someone
Yesterday she found out that she passed her law degree. – discover
I wrote them an email to follow up my complaint from the previous day. – find out more about something; take further action
I get along/on really well with all my teachers. – have a good relationship with
We just want to get away for the weekend and have some peace and quiet. – go on a short holiday/break
He stole €10 from his mum’s purse and got away with it, she blamed his brother. – not be punished for doing something
I don’t earn much but it’s enough to get by. – manage to survive / live
Stop chatting and get on with your work! – start or continue doing something (especially work)
It took him a long time to get over her, I think he still loves her. – recover after the end of a relationship with someone
I’m still getting over a nasty cold but I should be fine in a couple of days. – recover from
I get together with my old uni friends every 6 months or so. – meet (usually for social reasons)
I’m cleaning out my garage this weekend, I’m going to get rid of so much old stuff. – eliminate/discard
He accidently gave away the surprise birthday party to the birthday girl, what an idiot! – reveal
Hey! That’s my bag! Give it back – return
Don’t forget to give/hand in your essays at the end of the class. – submit (homework, etc.)
The kids wouldn’t stop asking for an ice cream so I finally gave in and let them have one. – agree to something you do not want to
The rotting fruit was giving off a nasty smell. (a smell) – produce and send into the air
The receptionist gave out all the most important information to the guests. – announce or broadcast information
They’re giving/handing out free samples of delicious cheese at the supermarket. – distribute to a group of people
The sudoku puzzle was too difficult so I gave up and read a book instead. – to stop trying to do something (often because it is too difficult)
A: We should decorate the kitchen. B: Yeah, I’d go along with that. – support an idea or agree with someone’s opinion
The milk has gone off, we’ll have to buy some more. A bomb went off outside the airport, luckily nobody was hurt. – explode; become bad (food)
The poker game went on for hours and hours. – to continue
Have you heard? Charlie is going out with Kathy. – have a romantic relationship with someone
My Dad’s threatening to take away my car keys if I don’t tidy my room but I don’t think he will go through with it. – complete a promise or plan
My best friend from primary school and I grew apart over the years and now we hardly speak. – get distant from someone, like a friend
When I grow up, I want to be a firefighter. – slowly become an adult
We hung around outside the concert hall for 2 hours after the show trying to get an autograph. – to wait or spend time somewhere, doing nothing
I’m just going to hang out with my friends tonight. – spend time relaxing (informal)
Don’t leave your shirts on the floor, you need to hang them up. She finished the call and then hung up. – to hang clothes or an object on a hook or line; to end a phone call
Go down this street and then head for the big church, your hotel is right next door to it. – go towards
My shyness always holds me back in social situations. – prevent someone from making progress
We need to hurry up! Our train leaves in five minutes. – do something more quickly
Just keep on walking this way and you’ll get to the station in no time. – to continue
Where were you on Saturday? I really needed your help and you let me down. – disappoint
The police decided to let the kids off with a warning because it was their first offence. – give someone a lighter punishment than they expected (or not punish at all)
I can’t come out, I need to look after my baby brother. – take care of
I hate it when people look down on those who are less fortunate than them. – feel superior to
I’ve been looking for a flat for 2 months but haven’t found one I like yet. – try to find
I’m really looking forward to Christmas this year. – feel happy about something that is going to happen
The police are looking into the case of the missing dog. – investigate
I had never heard of my Dad’s favorite footballer, I had to look him up on wikipedia. – find information about (e.g. a word in a dictionary)
I’ve always looked up to my mum, she’s very resilient. – admire and respect
They gave us free tickets to a different show to make up for the cancellation. – compensate for
They fell out over something stupid but now they’ve made up. – become friends again
He’s always making up ridiculous stories and excuses for why he’s late. (something) – invent (stories, excuses)
Ok, thanks for that report Jon, now let’s move on to Sarah’s presentation. – change to a different job, activity or place
I moved out of my parents house when I was 18. – stop living in a house or flat
He was so dehydrated that he passed out and woke up in the back of an ambulance. – lose consciousness
When are you going to pay back the money you owe me? – return money
Don’t worry, my parents are going to pay for dinner. – purchase
They’ve finally managed to pay off the mortgage on the house. She got into Oxford University, all of her hard work has paid off! – finish paying for something; have a positive result from hard work
Mum, it’s raining really hard, can you come and pick me up from the train station? – meet / collect someone (e.g. at the station / from school)
At the end of the presentation our boss pointed out several obvious mistakes we had made. – to draw attention to something or someone
Vicky! Come and put away your toys before you have dinner. – put something back in the correct place
I’m going to the dentist tomorrow, I’ve been putting it off for months. – postpone
They put on a big show to raise money for charity. (an event/a show) – organize an event
Put your coat on, it’s cold outside. (clothes /make up) – place something on your body
I put on quite a lot of weight during lockdown. (weight) – increase (weight)
The firefighters were finally able to put the fire out. – extinguish (e.g. fire)
My uncle can put us up for a couple of nights while we’re in London. (for the night) – accommodate
Put your hand up if you have any questions. (your hand) – lift into the air
I’m not going to put up with anymore lateness from those kids. – tolerate
The car rental company tried to rip us off but I was having none of it. – charge someone too much for something
We ran out of petrol in the middle of nowhere, it was terrifying. – use up (e.g. money, petrol, time)
We had to set off at 4am, it was horrible. – start a journey
We set up the company in 1995 and it’s still going strong to this day. – establish / start (e.g. a company)
Dan! Stop showing off and pass us the ball, we’re losing 4-0. – try to impress people by telling or showing them what you are capable of
They’ve had to shut down 5 stores in the area because sales have dropped. – to close
We need to sort out accommodation for our trip to Paris. – arrange or order by classes or categories; find a solution
BBC stands for the British Broadcasting Corporation. – to represent
His ginger hair really makes him stand out from the rest of the boys in his class. – be easy to see because of being different
I’d say I take after my Dad in my looks and my Mum in my personality. (someone) – resemble a member of your family in appearance, behaviour or character
Please take your feet off the seat, your shoes are very dirty. – to remove from a surface or your body (clothes)
Our plane takes off at 9pm. – leave the ground (e.g. a plane)
She’s taken on a lot of extra responsibilities in her new job. – attempt something new; employ
A new manager has taken over the department. – take control of
I took to ice-skating really quickly and now I’ve signed up for weekly classes.– start to like, especially after only a short time
I first took up volleyball when I was in secondary school. – start doing (a hobby)
The teacher told us off for being late. – speak angrily to someone who has done something wrong
I’ve decided to throw away my old sofa, unless you want it. – get rid of something you do not need any more
The weather on the mountain got really bad so we had to turn back. – return towards the place you started from
They’ve turned down our offer for the house, they want more money. – reject or refuse
On a full moon he turns into a werewolf! They’ve turned my favourite restaurant into a Burger King! – to transform
Don’t forget to turn/switch off the lights when you leave. – to disconnect (e.g. a computer)
He switched/turned on the TV and sat down to watch the match. – to connect (e.g. the TV)
Our bus didn’t turn up for 2 hours. – arrive, usually unexpectedly, early or late
He always uses up all the toilet roll and doesn’t replace it. – finish a supply of something
I’ve completely worn out my old football boots, I need to get some new ones. – to use something until it becomes unusable
I work out 3 times a week at the gym. The students struggled to work out the complicated equations. The police couldn’t work out how the burglars got into the house. – think about and find a solution; do exercise
This is a lesson plan for C2 students preparing to take the Cambridge Proficiency exam. Students will learn exam techniques to tackle part 7 of paper 1, the multiple matching exercise. The example task is taken from CUP test book 1. Download the PowerPoint and task below:
Lead students through the steps in the PowerPoint. Students should focus on the list of questions first, underlining key words and trying to paraphrase the questions into simpler language where possible. The PowerPoint contains some examples of paraphrasing. Students should then tackle the reading texts in order while referring back to their notes. Encourage them to underline the parts of the text that they think answer each question.
Students should complete the first paraphrasing exercise in pairs. Then for the reading, they should work individually, set a time limit of 15 minutes for them to complete the exercise. Students should then compare their answers and show their partner the sections of the text that they have underlined for each question.
You will find the answer key and annotated copy of the texts on the final slides of the PowerPoint. You should set students another part 7 for homework so that they can put the technique into practice.
This is a guest post by Soleil García Brito just in time for Halloween. This lesson plan is for C1 students. They will discover the spooky origins of the jack-o-lantern and then learn about the new phenomenon of “spoopy” by doing a gapped text reading exercise. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below:
Watch the video (x2) until 5:17 and fill the gaps (1 to 3 words):
Once you think about the name “Jack-o’-lantern”, it becomes evident that this tradition comes from ____________.
Stingy Jack’s personal qualities made the devil ____________.
On his way home Jack saw _______________ on the ground.
The mutilated corpse’s voice was _____________ Satan himself.
The devil was surprised by Jack’s ______________.
Jack prevented the devil from climbing down the tree by surrounding it with ___________.
The devil gave Jack a glowing ember as a _____________.
According to the legend, Jack walks around _____________________ on October 31st.
Reading and Use of English (Part 7)
Read the text and choose the correct paragraph from [A]-[G] to fill in the gaps -. There is one extra paragraph, which you do not need to use.
ADAPTED FROM CULTURE DESK – San Francisco Chronicle
What is spoopy? Your guide to the Internet’s favorite Halloween aesthetic
For the past few years, October has not only heralded the return of Halloween and pumpkin spice lattes, it has also marked the dawning of spoopy season. For a small group of people who belong in the center of a Venn diagram of mellowed-out goths and the “extremely online,” the spoopy aesthetic has become a source of joy and comfort in turbulent times.
“Spookiness is campy, but spoopiness is campy in a very specific way,” says John Paul Brammer, a New York City writer and advice columnist whose popular memes about the demonic goat from the movie “The Witch” are more of the former. “Spoopy’s whole thing is that it is not frightening. It’s not threatening, not arcane, but uses the trappings of the threatening and the arcane to make the joke: OoOoOooOo!!! SpoooOOoooOOooky!!”
Its origin is much more straightforward than its meaning. In 2009, the word was spotted on a skeleton-theme sign displayed at a Ross Dress For Less store. Though its ascent took some time, the term gained popularity on niche social media communities like Tumblr until it finally reached escape velocity to spread even further.
Though it might seem random, the delight of this sort of banal creepiness stems from the desire to look an object of fear in the eye — and laugh.
In political discourse, Prevas points to anti-transgender activists using the image of Frankenstein’s monster to demonize transgender people. Historically, monsters have often stood in for types of people who were undesirable: racial minorities, immigrants, queer people, anyone outside the “normal.” “I love the unsettling part of (spoopiness),” Prevas says, “that disconnect between seeing the creatures which we expect to see in a horror scenario in a perfectly quotidian scene.”
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it resonates so well right now, at a time when marginalized people’s status feels extremely fraught and political rhetoric insists on estranging us from polite society. This aesthetic defies the imperative to be afraid: Instead, we embrace the monsters as part of ourselves, as neighbours. To let the monster out is, in a sense, letting oneself out.
When we look at the skeleton riding a bike, it almost feels aspirational: This is what life could look like if our cloistered selves were set free. As it turns out, spoopiness might be just what we need right now.
[A] Because I’m a restaurant critic, my gauge of whether or not something has hit the mainstream is “The Great British Bake-Off.” In the 10th season, currently airing on the British Channel 4 and Netflix, Spanish contestant Helena Garcia has emerged as a fan favourite thanks to her memorably macabre but cute creations like a chocolate orange tarantula flanked by macadamia nut spider eggs, eldritch horror pies and bloody green “witch finger” biscuits.
[B] What is “spoopy”? It’s the coupling of wildly absurdist humour with terror — an aesthetic unto itself that, like camp, can be hard to articulate.
[C] Spoopy is a reclamation and reframing of these monsters, a mind-set that boasts, “You say I should be scared of this? Hilarious!”
[D] In fables and literary fiction, monsters are the embodiments of everything that society represses: a “warning system” of sorts, says Christine Prevas, a Columbia University Ph.D. candidate whose research focuses on applying queer theory to contemporary horror. The monster is a taboo made flesh: A prepubescent girl turned foul-mouthed, vomiting demon in “The Exorcist”; a bad sexual encounter run amok in “It Follows.”
[E] When I look at this stuff, it reminds me of how I like to “watch” horror movies by reading their plot summaries on Wikipedia: a digital version of peeking at Medusa’s face by holding up a mirror.
[F] This disruption of the narrative of otherness mirrors the way people actually want to be seen. For instance, queer people can be queer outside of designated contexts like gay bars and the privacy of one’s bedroom, Prevas says. “We’re also queer in the grocery store. We’re also queer on a bicycle.”
[G] Much easier than defining it is sorting through what is and isn’t spoopy. As a start, think of it as friendly and somewhat sarcastic horror: A skeleton isn’t, but a skeleton riding a bike? Definitely spoopy. The Babadook isn’t, but the memes that claim that the monster is a proud gay man? Super spoopy.
Language focus (15 min)
Look at the words in bold in the text and discuss the meaning with a partner:
Next, fill in the gaps with the vocabulary words in the correct form to fit the context:
Jack saw a mutilated corpse with a(n) _____________ look on its face.
His mood ___________ the gloomy weather on that Halloween night.
Between risking being tricked and facing Jack’s grumbling stomach for the rest of the trip, the devil chose the _________.
Some consider him the very _____________ of evil.
The devil was ____________ confused by Jack’s request to pay the bill at the bar.
Jack ___________ a mutilated corpse on the ground on his way home from the bar.
Use the trappings of (sth) Stem from Run amok In a sense
After Jack __________ the level of danger he was in, he decided to trap the devil by using crosses.
This is a lesson plan for B2+ students. It is based on a text from https://www.iflscience.com/ on the subject of wild animals. It will serve as good exam practice for students preparing to take Cambridge exams and should also be an engaging topic of conversation for teenagers and adults. Download the handouts and slides below:
Show students the second slide of the PowerPoint, encourage them to guess which animal would win.
Show them the second and have them speculate about how a goat would beat a bear.
Give out handout and have students read to confirm their speculations, check in open class.
Have students complete the open cloze, they could work in pairs or individually and then check with their partner. Good practice for Cambridge exams use of English.
Lead students through the vocabulary exercises.
Discussion: Which animal could you beat in a fight? Show students the fourth slide and explain the statistics to them. Put students in groups and have them discuss which animals they think they could beat and how they would do it.
Lead a discussion on the best way to tackle certain large, dangerous animals. Have students speculate on the best thing to do in each encounter, then check on the internet to see whether or not they would have survived. Board any emergent language and exploit it for recall later.
Open Cloze Key
Apex predators make (1) IT to the top (2) BY being the most efficient hunters in their domain, but every now and (3) THEN an underdog crops up to disrupt the food chain. (4) SUCH an example played out on the mountains of Burgess Pass in Yoho National Park, where Parks Canada retrieved the body of a female grizzly bear. Such a creature would usually (5) BE the slayer rather than the slain, and most surprisingly of all the assailant turned (6) OUT to be a goat.
The battle (7) TOOK place sometime before September 4 after which Parks Canada was made aware (8) OF the presence of a carcass. Bodies such (9) AS these need to be removed as they can otherwise lure in wildlife that could put visitors to the pass (10) AT risk.
The discovery of a slain bear merits a forensic investigation to determine the (11) CAUSE of death, and so a necropsy (12) WAS conducted on the animal. During the examination, staff noticed that the fatal wounds were at the base of the bear’s neck and in (13) ITS armpits. The attack sites might sound random to the uninitiated, but to experienced park rangers, this was the work (14) OF one extremely lucky mountain goat.
“When grizzly bears attack, they tend (15) TO focus (16) ON the head, neck, and shoulders of the prey, usually (17) FROM above,” Alison Biles, Public Relations and Communications Officer for Parks Canada, told IFLScience. “In turn, the defensive response of mountain goats would (18) BE to protect themselves using (19) THEIR sharp horns.”
“Grizzly bear predation of mountain goats is relatively common and significant goat activity was observed (20) IN the immediate area. (21) IN this case, it appears that the mountain goat was (22) TRYING/ABLE to defend itself. While rare, other cases of mountain goats defensively killing bears have (23) BEEN reported in the past, (24) WHICH is not completely surprising since mountain goats are strong animals that are well-equipped to defend (25) THEMSELVES”
This is a special summer edition of my “Where do you stand?” conversation series. Students decide to what extent they agree with different statements on the topic of summer activities and holidays and then share their views with their classmates. Download the PowerPoint and student handout below: