Check out this other great ESL blog:
This is a conversation activity in which students discuss human achievements and the Mars One colonisation project. Either split the class into small groups (3-4) or for smaller groups have a class discussion. You can download the handout here.
- How many amazing physical achievements (climbing Everest, walking to the South Pole etc.) can you think of?
- Which achievement was the most impressive?
- What’s the most physically difficult thing you’ve ever done? (climb a mountain, run a marathon etc.)
- Are there any you would like to try in the future?
- Are there any you wish you had tried in the past?
- Are the world’s best athletes present at the Olympic Games?
- What type of athletes or sportsmen/women do you think deserve the most respect?
- What do you think of ‘extreme’ sports (bungee jumping, tightrope walking…)?
- What do you think is the most impressive human achievement? (not necessarily physical, could be scientific/technological/medical for example the moon landings)
- How much do you know about Mars? Share your knowledge with your group.
- Are you interested in astronomy and the science of space travel?
- Do you have any memories of important achievements in space travel?
- Have you heard of the Mars One project? Share your knowledge with your group BEFORE READING THE DESCRIPTION BELOW.
Mars One is a privately funded project which intends to establish a human colony on Mars by 2025. They plan to send an unmanned spacecraft to the planet in 2018 followed by equipment and supplies over the following 6 years. They are currently accepting applications to be part of the first 4-man crew that will take off in 2024 on a one-way 7 month trip to the red planet. Once the colony is established 4 people will be sent every 2 years.
- What do you think of the project? Is it realistic?
- The project is currently accepting applicants to be part of the 4 man crew that will leave in 2024. What kind of people do you think they are looking for?
- Would you be interested in participating? Why? Why not?
- What kind of people do you think would apply for the project?
- If you were running the project what tests would you do on the applicants to check if they are suitable?
- What are the biggest problems the people could encounter on the 7 month journey to Mars? And when they land?
- How would you feel if a member of your family wanted to apply for the project?
- Do you know anyone who you think would like to apply?
- Why do you think people would apply to be part of the project?
- Imagine you have been selected to be part of the first crew. You are allowed to take 1 item of hand luggage (standard budget airline size) of personal belongings. What would you take and why?
Put your students in groups of 3 and ask them the following question:
What would you do with €100,000?
Give them 2 minutes to share their ideas, then have them report each other’s answers to the class. (each person reports someone else from their group’s answer)
Did anyone give it to charity?
Give out the following handout:
In their groups students discuss the problem and then present their ideas to the class.
As a wrap up ask the students which suggestions they thought were the best, see if they can come to an agreement as a class on how to give the money away.
A long lost aunt that you didn’t know you had has recently passed away. In her will she left your group €100,000 with a note saying it should be given away to “make the world a better place.” Decide in your groups who you are going to give it to.
I think we should……………….
I reckon we ought to…………………
Why don’t we………………………..
How about / what about + gerund………………………….
Agreeing / Disagreeing
|Agreeing||Disagreeing||Ending an argument:|
Here is another fantastic activity from Adam Simpson’s blog. Using interactive youtube videos in the classroom to practice a range of structures.
This is a fun lesson plan for A2+ students. It can be adapted for different levels.
Here are the handouts you will need:
Part 1 – discussion
Start by telling students to get there mobiles out. Encourage each student to talk about their phone. When they got it, what they use it for, if they like it or not.
You can either go through the following conversation questions as a class or split the class into groups of 2 or 3.
What phone have you got?
How many different things can your phone do?
Do you know how to use all of the functions on your phone?
How often do you speak on the phone?
When do you switch off your phone?
When do you think phones should be switched off?
What annoys you about mobile phones?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of mobiles?
At what age should a child have a mobile?
What effect do you think they have had on society?
Have you ever spoken in English on the phone? Where? Why? How was it?
Have students report back their opinions and ideas to the class. Focus especially on the last question. Encourage students to share their experiences of speaking English on the phone.
Part 2 – phone role plays
Put students in pairs and tell them to swap phone numbers with their partners in English.
Assign letters A/B to to the students.
Tell all As to imagine that they have just arrived in the UK, they have moved to the country to live in and work. They are looking for a flat / house. They have seen an advert on the internet for accommodation, they are going to call the landlord / lady to ask for information.
Tell all Bs that they are landlords/ladies, they are expecting calls from potential tenants. Give all Bs one of the role cards from the handout.
Tell A’s that they will need a pen and paper. They have to call B and take down the following information:
- Landlord / lady’s personal details – Full name, address, telephone number and email address. Correct spelling!
- Information about the house they are letting.
- The price of the rent and whether or not it includes bills.
- Any rules that the house has.
On the board go over the following:
- How to read phone numbers (o not zero, 77=double 7 etc.)
- How to read email addresses (@-at, .-dot, _-underscore etc.)
- Vocabulary – bills included, fully furnished, €300 a month, deposit, no pets allowed etc.
- Polite phrases – could you repeat that please? Could you spell that please? Could you speak slower please? etc.
Now send the landlords / ladies out of the classroom. Encourage the tenants (As) to think of some extra questions to ask about the house.
Tenants call landlords / ladies and take details.
When they have finished ask Bs to come back in and check the details for spelling the winning pair is the one who made the least mistakes. Now rotate the role cards to the left and As and Bs swap roles and repeat.
Afterwards students feed back to class. Was it difficult? Which bits were most difficult? etc.
Here are the role cards:
Address: 13 Waterloo road, Exeter, Devon EX2 9DT
Small flat sharing with two other people. Small bedroom with a single bed.
€400 a month bills included
No pets, no smoking, no parties.
Address: 17 Park view, Swansea, Wales, SW1 4FG
Large private apartment next to the park. 2 bedrooms with double beds.
€700 a month bills not included
No pets, no students,
Address: 15 winterbrook park, Bradford, Yorkshire, YO4 4RC
Tel: 01566 344987
1 bedroom flat on the 8th floor. No furniture included.
€500 a month bills not included
Maximum 2 people living in flat, no smoking, pets allowed.
Address: 16 Clinton avenue, Exeter, Devon EX1 5GG
Tel: 01392 211345
Large bedroom in shared student house. Sharing with 3 19 year old students.
Price: €250 a month bills included.
There are no rules!!!
Address: 1 Green avenue, Newcastle, NW3 9RG
Tel: 01298 600999
Small room in a family home. Sharing with a family of four.
Price: €500 a month bills and meals included.
No parties, no partners sleeping in the house, no pets, no noise after 9pm.
Here is a link to a list of great English podcasts for higher level students:
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 😉
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:
Here’s a link to a quizlet flashcard set that can be used for preteaching or revision:
- “Do you want to go and see the new play?” Petra asked her friend
Petra asked her friend whether……………………………………..to see the new play.
- Pat does not intend to have a holiday this year
Pat has …………………………………………………….. on holiday this year.
- Lisa was about to leave the house when.. (POINT)
- I think learning to use a typewriter is a waste of time (POINT)
- A number of sporting events had to be cancelled owing to bad weather. (LED)
- When it comes to computer games, Gareth is a real expert. (CONCERNED)
- Carlos really should get someone to mend his bike. (HIGH)
- The company has a good reputation in the local area (HIGHLY)
- Do you think Pablo is likely to win the competition? (CHANCE)
- I’ve been greatly impressed by the way Jasper deals with problems (MADE)
- Darius soon recovered after the operation (MADE)
- I think the weather will improve next week. (CHANGE)
- Pheobe was surprised to be offered a place on the course (CAME)
- It’s so difficult to create new ideas for the festival every year (COME)
- The company is almost certain to get the contract (EVERY)
- Sven would have called yesterday if he had had more time (SHORT)
- Many people believe that Garcia has the ability to become world champion (CAPABLE)
- In his speech, the Principal did not mention the new language courses. (REFERENCE)
- Sam never thought of asking me for my advice (OCCURRED)
- Despite all their efforts, they could not get the old car to start (HARD)
- “I’m sorry, but there’s no way I’m going to sleep on the floor” said Maria. (CLEAR)
- “Remember to write or phone,” Marta said as she waved goodbye (TOUCH)
- Simon really ought to make a decision about his future (MIND)
- If you don’t pay on time, your booking will be cancelled (RESULT)
- I’m sure Gemma is going to become a famous model one day (MATTER)
- Barbara’s parents were certain that she would be a great tennis player (DOUBT)
- The company isn’t able to guarantee an allocated car parking space to all employees (COUNT)
- Daisy said that she would no longer tolerate her colleagues being rude (PUT)
|she was interested in going||“Do you want to go and see the new play?” Petra asked her friend
Petra asked her friend whether……………………………………..to see the new play.
|no intention of going||Pat does not intend to have a holiday this year
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.
Sven ……………………………………………… the police when the burglar stopped trying to open the window and ran away.
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:
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:
- 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?
Here is a useful quizlet set for set phrases with determiners:
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:
- A family t_______
- B______ is thicker than w________
- L______ father l_______ son
- To take a_______ somebody (to inherit characteristics from a parent)
- Like two p_____ in a p______ (very similar)
- Like c_______ and c_______ (very different)
- Go to a family g_____ – t________ / g_________
- A father f__________
- blood, water
- like, like
- peas, pod
- chalk, cheese
- get-together / gathering
Go through the expressions as a class, then but students in small groups to discuss the following discussion questions:
- 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?
- 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?
- Who do you take after? Your mother or father? In appearance? Personality? Are there any specific hereditary characteristics in your family?
- Do you have any family members or friends who are like two peas in a pod? Or any who are like chalk and cheese?
- 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?
- 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?