Posted in Conversation Classes

Conversation topic: The best way to…

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Image credit: www.cleverprocrastination.com

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 Writing Classes

CAE Writing Part 1: A Formal Essay

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Photo Credit: http://ozgekaraoglu.edublogs.org/2015/04/01/how-to-get-a-good-essay-written-by-writers/

This is a lesson plan to help students approach and complete the new formal essay task in the CAE writing paper.

You will need the handout and teacher’s key:

CAE Writing Part 1 handout

CAE Writing key

Task Type

The new CAE writing part 1 is a formal essay based on a talk/lecture that the student has recently attended. There are always 3 bullet points that the lecture discussed, of which the candidate must only address two. There are also some quotes from other attendees/surveyed people that can be used. The final part of the task will include a question that the essay MUST answer.

essay shopping

Credit: Spotlight on Advanced – Cengage Learning and National Geographic.

Planning

Make enough copies of the 2nd page of the hand out for one between two. Cut the hand out up, give the slips of paper with the different planning steps to the students and have them put them in order. My suggested order is as follows:

  1. Read task carefully. Underline most important parts; focus on the question that your essay MUST
  2. Brainstorm ideas based on the 3 bullet points.
  3. Choose the 2 bullet point you have the most ideas about.
  4. Brainstorm ways to express your ideas and the quotes in the task using advanced grammar:
  • Inversions: Not only is/do…..but also… Rarely/seldom do people….
  • Double comparatives: The cheaper the…., the more popular…
  • Participle clauses: Being a keen shopper myself,… Having bought many products online,….
  • Advanced linkers: Despite the fact that…., ….. due to the fact that = because
  1. Plan your introduction:
  • An interesting way to introduce the topic.
  • Formal questions that the essay will answer.
  1. Plan your conclusion: Focus on answering the question you underlined in step 1.
  2. Write
  3. Reread carefully checking for:
  • Repetition of words/structures.
  • Contractions
  • Boring/informal vocabulary.
  • Also Furthermore/moreover. Because due/owing to the fact that. Although In spite of the fact that. However nonetheless/nevertheless.
  • Have you answered the question completely?

Have students complete step 1 in pairs:

essay shopping underlined

Have students complete step 2 as a CAE speaking part 3 task. Draw a spider diagram on the board. In the middle write: What influences where/how people shop? On the 3 spokes write the three bullet points: Convenience, cost and enjoyment. Briefly recap some language for speaking tasks and have students discuss the topic for 3 minutes.

Hold a plenary session and board all the students ideas in note form. Then put them in pairs to complete the next step: Brainstorming impressive grammar structures to use.

When shopping online not only do you avoid paying parking fees, but also crowds of people.

Having shopped both online and in stores, I would say that….

Linkers activity

Give out 1 copy of the third page of the handout to each student and have them complete it in pairs.

Pimp my paragraph

Either hand out the paragraph upgrade sheet out or project it on to the board. Students must upgrade the language in the paragraph to make it more impressive and more formal.

Introduction Phrases:

I got these great phrases from another handout I found on the internet:

More and more families are choosing to have only one child.

The trend nowadays is towards having smaller families.

Over the past ten years or so the media have frequently carried reports of ……………

Recent research indicates that the number of teenagers who smoke is increasing.

Hardly a week goes by without another report of …………….. appearing in the media.

This raises the issue of whether ……………..

Although most people would generally agree that …………… few would deny that …………….

I hope you find these activities useful in developing your students’ writing abilities, I appreciate any feedback or constructive criticism in the comments section.

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Writing Classes

CPE Writing Part 1: Formal Essay

This is a lesson plan to help prepare students for part 1 of the CPE writing exam, in which students are required to write a formal essay which summarises and evaluates two other texts.

Here is my step-by-step guide to approaching the task:

Download the class handout here:

CPE writing essay 2nd plan

Step 1 – Text analysis

  • Read both texts and decide if they are complementary or contrasting.
  • Underline the two key content points in each text.

Step 2 – Paraphrasing and summarising

  • Brainstorm different ways to paraphrase and summarise the key points.
  • What impressive structures can you use? Inversions, passives, collocations, expressions.

Step 3 – Evaluate and react

  • Decide which points you agree and disagree with.
  • Brainstorm your own thoughts and experiences on the subject.

Summarise, evaluate, react.

Introduction

Present the topic of discussion and ask questions the essay will answer.

Hardly a week goes by without another report of …………….. appearing in the media.

Over the past ten years or so the media have frequently carried reports of ……………

The trend nowadays is towards (gerund)

How has the public’s opinion on this issue shifted over the last few years?

Although most people would generally agree that …………… few would deny that …………….

This raises the issue of whether or not……………..

This issue strikes a chord with the vast majority of the general public.

What impact, if any, have these shifts/changes/developments had on the general public’s psyche?

How are we to gauge the effect of such shifts/changes/developments?

Finish your introduction with the following sentence:

Both (1) extracts (2) discuss the nature of these (3) notions, but from different (4) viewpoints.

synonyms for text – extract passage

discuss/evaluate/explore

notions/concepts/ideas

viewpoints/perspectives/points of view

Paragraph 1 – Text 1

The first (1)text (2)argues that………

(1)extract/passage

(2)suggests/puts forward the idea that/asserts

Try and sum up the first point neatly with an inversion:

Seldom does the airplane make the top 5, let alone the top spot when the lists of the so-called most influential inventions are drawn up.

Not since…. Only when….. Not until…. Not only…. But also, No sooner… than
Seldom/rarely…….. Barely/scarcely/hardly……… when

Paragraph structure:

Option 1
  • Introduce content point 1 (paraphrased)
  • Evaluate and react. (your opinion)
  • Introduce content point 2
  • Evaluate and react. (your opinion)

Option 2

  • Summarise both content points
  • Own evaluations and reaction.

Stating opinion

Stating your opinion

As I see it,

It seems to me that ………… I would also say that ….

I am convinced that ……………

I am inclined to believe that ………………

There is no doubt in my mind that ………………

One of the drawbacks of ……. is ……….

However, one of the benefits is that …………

EMPHASIZING

I would like to stress that the research is still at an early stage.

It should be noted that there are a number of alternative methods available.

It is worth bearing in mind that 90% of the scientists researching herbicides in the US are employed by chemical companies.

CAUSE

-lead to: The research could lead to a cure for many serious illnesses.

-result in: The fire resulted in damage to their property.

-be responsible for: He was responsible for the accident.

-bring about: The war brought about enormous social change.

-give rise to: Poor performance in exams can give rise to depression and even thoughts of suicide.

-trigger: to make something suddenly start to happen, especially a bad situation such as a crisis or a war, or a medical condition: Certain foods can trigger allergies.

-contribute to: Passive smoking could contribute to the development of respiratory diseases among nonsmokers.

-factor: Cost is often the deciding factor when choosing any product.

Describing causes

One factor which has led to ………… is …………..

One of the factors which has brought this about is ………

The problem often stems from ………………..

The situation has been exacerbated by …………….

………….. has only made the situation worse.

One consequence of ……………. is …………….

Concluding

All in all it seems to me that ………..

The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that …………………..

All things considered, ………….

On balance, I tend to believe that …………

The world would surely be a better place to live in if …………..

If people stopped ….ing, we would have/ we could look forward to a ……………

The prospects for the future will be bleak/grim unless ……………….