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Half a Million Views!!!

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freeenglishlessonplans.com has just reached half a million all time views! Thanks to all my followers and everyone who’s ever viewed anything!

 

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Posted in Conversation Classes

Conversation topic: The best way to…

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This is a straightforward conversation topic lesson plan which can be used with both teens and adults and many levels (high A2+). Students discuss the best thing to do in different situations.

You will need the “best way to…” powerpoint:

The best way to

Language

Put the following structures on the board:

Opinion:

  • In my opinion
  • From my point of view
  • As far as I’m concerned
  • I reckon

The best/worst thing to do is…

Agreeing and disagreeing:

Agreeing Disagreeing Ending an argument:
  • We see eye to eye
  • I couldn’t agree with you more.
  • That’s exactly how I feel.
  • You have a point there.
  • I was just going to say that.
  • Absolutely.
  • We don’t see eye to eye
  • I take your point but
  • I tend to disagree with you there
  • I’m afraid I have to disagree with you there
  • I beg to differ
  • That’s not always the case.
  • Let’s just move on shall we?
  • I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree.

Project the powerpoint onto the board and go through the slides. Play devil’s advocate and ensure that students debate each topic thoroughly.

Debates

You could split the class into teams and debate one of the topics. Give each team an opinion, for example “the best way to break up with someone is by text”, and they have to defend that opinion even if they don’t agree with it.

Homework

Have students choose one of the topics raised and write an essay on it; exploring the different ways suggested and reaching a conclusion as to which is the best.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Games

Game: Articulate

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Image credit: www.drumondpark.com

This is a great end of year game to play with all ages and levels. It’s based around the popular board game “Articulate” which is a staple in my household at Christmas.

You will need a die and the handouts listed below printed and cut up.

articulate objects

articulate nature

articulate places

articulate famous ppl

For action cards you need to print out the MES flashcards below and write the verb next to the picture:

http://www.mes-english.com/flashcards/files/can_cards.pdf

http://www.mes-english.com/flashcards/files/verbs2_cards.pdf

http://www.mes-english.com/flashcards/files/verbs1_cards.pdf

The Game

Split your class into groups of 3. Have each group come up with a team name and write them on the board. Decide which team goes first. The first player comes to the front of the class and rolls the dice; the numbers correspond to the different categories:

  1. Objects
  2. Nature
  3. People
  4. Places
  5. Actions
  6. You choose

If students roll a 6 they can choose whichever category they like. The player than has 1 minute to describe as many of the words on the cards to their team-mates  as they can. Teams score 1 point for each word correctly guessed. If the describer doesn’t know the word or their team are struggling to identify it, they can pass but they can only pass 3 times. Play then passes to the next team. Play at least 3 rounds so that each member of each team has a go at describing.

The rules to describing are:

  1. You can only pass 3 times.
  2. No miming.
  3. Strictly English only.
  4. No spelling words out.
  5. Silence from other teams while one team is playing.

The game is a perfect opportunity to practice different structures such as relative clauses, adjective order and many more. Below are photos of the prompts I put on the board for my pre-intermediate teenagers class:

Make sure you drill the frames with the students beforehand and do a few yourself to demonstrate. I always carry the (rather battered) card packs in my folder in case I’m ever stuck for an activity for the last 10 minutes of class. Alternatively, play it as an end of term treat and bring sweets for the winning team. Let me know how it goes.

 

Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes

Used to/would – Past habit and states

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Just a quick note…

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Used to/would – Past habit and states

This is a lesson plan for intermediate students to practice “used to” and “would” to talk about past habits and states using videos and conversation.

Download the lesson plan and student’s worksheet here:

Used to would lesson plan

Used to would students sheet

Used to

Warmer: 2 truths and a lie, write three sentences about yourself using “used to”, 2 true and 1 lie. Try to write 2 with state verbs and 1 with an action verb like this:

  1. I used to have shoulder length hair.
  2. I used to dance ballet when I was a child.
  3. I used to be a builder before I was a teacher.

What does used to mean here?

A past state or habit which is not true now.

What are the negative and interrogative forms?

I used to dance ballet.

I didn’t use to dance ballet.

Did you use to dance ballet?

Drill pronunciation: weak “to” in “used to” and the “ed” in “used” is not pronounced.

Remember: Used to only exists in the past, to talk about present habit we use the present simple with adverbs of frequency.

I usually/normally/tend to go to the gym twice a week.

Would

“Would” can replace “used to” in one of the three sentences at the top of the page with exactly the same meaning. In which sentence is would possible?

  1. I would/used to dance ballet when I was a child.

We can use “would” with the same meaning as “used to” only when we’re talking about past actions or habits not when we’re talking about states.

When I was at uni I would/used to get up at 11am. (get up = action/habit)

When I was a child I would/used to have blonde hair. (have = state)

Look at the following sentences, decide if we can only use “used to” or if “would” is also possible.

  1. When I lived in Japan I would/used to eat sushi every day.
  2. When I was at school we used to/would play hopscotch in the playground.
  3. When I was a kid I didn’t use to/wouldn’t like olives.
  4. My dad used to/would have a big green land rover.
  5. He used to/would drive it through the forest on bumpy tracks.
  6. When I was a teenager I used to/would love heavy metal music, now it’s too loud for me.

Videos

Watch the video and make sentences about it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEZUQxQ51Ak

Arnold used to be a bodybuilder. He would lift weights all day. He used to be the governor of California.

Discussion

  1. What games did you use to play when you were a child?
  2. Where did you use to go on holiday?
  3. Are there any foods or drinks that you used to hate when you were young that you like now?
  4. What did you use to look like when you were a teenager?
  5. What hairstyle did you use to have?
  6. What clothes did you use to have?
  7. Were you badly behaved at school? What bad things did you use to do?
  8. What did you use to do at the weekends?
  9. What did you use to do at Christmas?
  10. How has the place where you grew up changed in your lifetime?

There used to be a (park/playground etc.)

Follow up:

Students write a composition detailing all of the things that they used to do when they were younger and explaining why they don’t do them anymore.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes

Infinitives

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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 lesson plan for intermediate students to practice different uses of the infinitive through games and conversation.

You will need the lesson plan, students worksheet and articulate cards.

Infinitives Lesson Plan

Infinitives students sheet

Articulate Object Cards

Warmer

Play the classic memory game: “I went to the shops to buy…”

Teacher starts: “I went to the shops to buy a loaf of bread” (encourage use of partitives – loaf of bread, bar of soap, carton of milk etc.)

Next student must repeat the sentence and add another item, continue until you have a huge shopping list of items.

Infinitives of purpose

Have students repeat back the sentences “I went to the shops to buy…”

Ask them what the infinitive expresses? Purpose/reason, introduce the title: infinitives of purpose. Students complete the matching exercise.

Match the sentences halves 1-6 a-f to make sentences using the infinitive of purpose.

1.       I go to the gym 3 times a week a.       To give to her mother.
2.       I went to the supermarket b.      To see the new Woody Allen film.
3.       We went to the cinema c.       To do the weekly shop.
4.       I drove all night just d.      To clean underneath it.
5.       He lifted up the sofa e.      To keep fit.
6.       She bought chocolates f.        To see you.

Key: 1-e, 2-c, 3-b, 4-f, 5-d, 6-a.

In these sentences we can also use “in order to” to be more formal.

We often use “so as” with a negative infinitive to express purpose.

She’s leaving now so as not to arrive late.

1.       She entered the house quietly a.       So as not to hurt his feelings.
2.       He turned the volume down b.      So as not to wake the children.
3.       She stopped eating chocolate c.       So as not to burn the onions.
4.       They told him the terrible picture was lovely d.      So as not to miss the start of the film.
5.       He turned the heat down e.      So as not to annoy the neighbours.
6.       They hurried f.        So as not to put on weight.

Key: 1-b, 2-e, 3-f, 4-a, 5-c, 6-d.

Game – Articulate

Cut up the object cards on the hand out. Split class into teams. Each team has 1 minute to describe the objects on the cards using an infinitive of purpose:

It’s an object we use to eat soup. Spoon!

For each card they get 1 point.

Verbs with infinitives

The following verbs are all followed by the infinitive. Use them to answer the questions below.

Decide Want Need Would like/love Learn Pretend Promise Forget + an obligation
  1. What did you want to be when you were a child?
  2. Do you always keep your promises?
  3. Have you ever broken a promise?
  4. When did you learn to ride a bike?
  5. Have you ever forgotten to lock your door?
  6. Have you ever forgotten to pick up your keys?
  7. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever forgotten to do?
  8. Who did you pretend to be when you were playing as a child?
  9. Have you made any big decisions recently? What have you decided to do?
  10. What would you like/love to do this year?
  11. What do you want to have for dinner tonight? What do you think you will have?
  12. Is there anything important you need to do this week? Do you think you will do it?
Posted in Conversation Classes, TED Talk Lesson Plans, Vocabulary Classes

TED Talk: Pamela Meyer, How to spot a liar

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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.