Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Guest Posts, Writing Classes

Guest Post – Chasing the Cheese: Writing an FCE Article

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Image credit: Daily Mail

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is the third in a series of guest posts by my friend and colleague Josh Widdows, an English teacher and teacher trainer at International House Barcelona.

Getting FCE students to write an informative and descriptive article can be challenging. This entertaining 2.5/3-hour writing lesson encourages learners to source expressions from authentic texts, be inspired by video input and to annotate a model in order to effectively plan and draft their own article based around the idea of festivals.

Download the Lesson Procedure, PowerPoint and Handouts below:

And check out this video of crazy cheese chasers!

Lesson Procedure: FCE – Writing an article (2.5/3-hour class)

Go straight to No. 6 if you have less time and/or do not have authentic material.
1. (Optional Warmer)- source some authentic magazines, [Metropolitan is a great one for Barcelona], and board ‘Grab a mag’ and have students flick through and find an article that appeals to them. Tell them they will have to summarise the article to their partners.
2. Give Ss a minute to flick and find an article they find appealing. Make sure Ss don’t choose a review or an advert.
3. Ss have a further 2 minutes to scan read the text. Board prompts for them to think about.
a. What attracted you to this article?
b. Why does it have that title?
c. What did you like/ not like about the article?
d. Circle 5 new expressions.
e. Were you entertained? How?
4. Have Ss summarise articles in their own words. In 2s or 3s they ‘present and explain’ their article, using the prompts above.
5. Board up the article titles and have Ss think about why they have these ‘catchy’ titles. These examples are from Metropolitan Barcelona October 2017.
‘ACTUAL’ TITLES ‘BORING TITLES’
eg; – The writing on the wall – Graffiti again
– Clowning around – Theatre group in town
– The Brink of Extinction – The end of the world
Then get Ss to think up the ‘boring’ title for each one and think why that is less appealing. Obviously, these will depend on what material you bring to class.
6. (Warmer) – Show slide 1- ‘Chasing the cheese’ and ask Ss to guess what they think the article is about.
7. Gather ideas and then show slide 2: steep hill/ record crowds/ superhero costumes/ injured racers/ perilous event and predict article’s content.
8. Watch YouTube clip: Gloucester Cheese Rolling 2012 Official;
to see if predictions were correct. Simultaneously think about these questions?

a. What’s the aim of the event?
b. How do the participants achieve this objective?
c. Would you like to get involved in this event? Why/ why not?
9. Compare notes.
10. Read the article handout, (not filling the gaps yet!), and tell each other what else they found out about the event.
11. Ask students whether they’d like to go.
12. Ask Ss what the purpose of the text is- (to entertain and inform).
13. Individually complete open-cloze activity and check in pairs and then with original text.
14. Discuss gaps and reasons for some language items, (ie, fixed expression- you’ll never forget! /linker of contrast- although, etc.)
15. Invite Ss to underline all the synonyms used to mean participant. (4 – Why? As to not repeat and show a range of vocabulary). See handout for answers.
16. Ss underline useful expressions-(What do you get if….?) and strong adverbial phrases- (perilous event).
17. Dictate all the ‘normal adjectives’ (tired through to interested) from the Useful Language and Strong Expressions handout.
18. Ss compare spelling and then board to double check spelling.
19. Get Ss to think of the strong adjective for each, (ie. tired – exhausted/ knackered).
20. Give handout and replace the words in italics.
ANSWERS: 1. Exhausted, 2. Furious, 3. Freezing, 4. Fantastic, 5. Terrified, 6. Enormous, 7. Filthy, 8. Awful, 9. Essential, 10. Fascinated.
21. Show the penultimate slide and have Ss think about the purpose of each paragraph and top tips they would give a fellow student writing an Article for the first time.
22. Check ideas with slide.
23. Ss now complete Writing Articles: Top Tips! handout.
ANSWERS: informative, attractive, title, topic, reader, question, clearly, clearly, consistent, rhetorical, descriptive, consistent.
24. Brainstorm local and/or national events, ie. in Spain: La Merce, La Tomatina, San Fermin, Sant Joan.
25. Get ss to think of ‘catchy’ titles for each one. Examples could be: Run for your life, Las Ketchupped, Burnt to a cinder, Going crackers.
26. Give Ss Article Task and Plan Sheet handout and have Ss plan and draft their articles.

27. Ss complete their articles at home.

28. FOLLOW-UP TASK- having marked their texts, at the start of next class, board their titles and have Ss guess what the events are from the titles. Then Ss read each other’s texts and decide whose is the best. Then they read and edit according to the teacher’s comments.

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Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Uncategorized, Writing Classes

CPE/Proficiency Writing Part 1: Phrase Sheet

Imatge relacionada

Image credit: qvictorias.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

I’ve recently started teaching CPE again so I decided to make a phrase sheet for my students to help them tackle part 1 of the writing paper, the formal essay. Download it below:

CPE Writing Part 1 Phrase Sheet

Summarising Texts

  • The first text/passage/extract outlines the benefits/drawbacks of…
  • The second text argues/claims that…
  • The first text advocates… +…ing (supports)
  • The second text puts forward the idea that…
  • It then goes on to espouse the viewpoint that… (say)
  • The text sheds light on the issue/topic of…
  • The text brings the topic of… to light.
  • The writer of the first text is a firm believer in…
  • The writer/author of the second text is highly critical of…
  • Both writers seem to agree that…, where their ideas deviate however is on the topic of…
  • The second text makes bold statements in support of…
  • Not only does the first text state that…, but it also claims that…
  • In addition to the aforementioned point, it also claims that…

Critical Examination

  • One thing the writer fails to mention is…
  • A glaring omission from the first text is…
  • While the writer makes some valid arguments in favour of…, she ignores the fact that…
  • One area which the writer seems to have overlooked is…
  • While I am generally in agreement with the majority of the first writer’s points the obvious hole in their argument is…
  • Were I to pick holes in the writer’s arguments, I would start by pointing out that…
  • I feel it must also be pointed out that…
  • When it comes to the topic of…, the text seems to be lacking somewhat
  • One major weakness in the writer’s argument is that…
  • The text neglects to mention that fact that…
  • The writer seems to have gone overboard in their praise/criticism of…

Expressing Opinion

  • I am of the opinion that…
  • In my humble opinion…
  • My thoughts on the matter are that…
  • As far as I am concerned,
  • As far as my opinions on the matter are concerned,…
  • My initial reaction to the opinions outlined in the text was…
  • I am a firm believer in…
  • On the whole, I tend to agree with… due to the fact that…
Posted in Exam Preparation Class

CAE Key Word Transformations: Training Worksheet

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Image credit: Cambridge Exams

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This is a worksheet for CAE students designed to introduce them to a number of expressions that can appear in the use of English part 4 – key word transformations. Download the worksheet and key below:

Key Word Transformation Training

Key Word Transformation Training KEY

Put students in pairs and have them complete the worksheet together, then play a game of connect 4 or noughts and crosses to check the answers.

Worksheet

Sentence Completion

Complete the sentences with the key words from the box.

ACROSS  LOSS  RESULT  LIKELY  TRACK  UP  LOOKOUT  MUCH  RATHER  LET  PART  SUCH
  1. You need to be ON THE ________ FOR pickpockets in this area.
  2. Plans ARE BEING DRAWN _________ for a new shopping centre on the outskirts of the city.
  3. ________TO OUR HORROR, when we got back to the hotel all our stuff had been stolen.
  4. Would YOU __________ I HAD NOT told them about the party?
  5. _________ME KNOW if you can come to the party, I need to buy the food tonight.
  6. Andrés WAS AT A _________ TO EXPLAIN why he was late for class again.
  7. Failure to show a valid ticket is LIKELY TO ________ IN you having to pay a fine.
  8. It is HIGHLY __________ THAT THE FILM WILL win several awards.
  9. Quick ACTION ON THE ________ OF the ambulance crew saved the little girl’s life.
  10. How can I GET IT _________ TO HIM that I’m just not that into him.
  11. Don’t be silly, there IS NO _________ THING as vampires.
  12. I’m so sorry I’m late, I (COMPLETELY) LOST __________ OF TIME!

Missing Words

Complete the expressions with a missing preposition.

  1. I was _____ the point ____ leaving the house when the phone rang.
  2. He insisted _____ carrying my bag for me.
  3. He objected _____ being treated in such a rude way.
  4. They accused him _____ being careless and irresponsible
  5. Failure to arrive on time for your flight could result ____ you being unable to travel.
  6. You can always count _____ Jill to have a clear plan in situations like this.
  7. The headmaster’s speech will be followed ____ a performance by the school orchestra.
  8. They congratulated me ____ passing my driving test.
  9. It’s time for you to make ____ your mind about the course you want to study.
  10. Everything is going according ____ plan.
  11. The company is highly spoken ____ in the local area.
  12. The job offer came ____ a big surprise ____ me.
  13. I was taken ____ by the size of the phone bill. (surprised)
  14. I’m not going to put up ____ your rudeness anymore! (tolerate)
  15. Don’t hesitate ____ call if you have any questions or doubts.
  16. I sometimes feel that my children take me ____ granted.
  17. They have put him in charge ____ the marketing department.
  18. I applied ____ Apple ____ a job in sales.
  19. I am ____ no doubt that the show will be a big success.
  20. The little boys took no notice ____ what their mothers were saying.
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

78 CAE Key Word Transformation Expressions

Resultat d'imatges de cae

Image credit: Cambridge English

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

Before you use these materials why not check out or podcast for learners and teachers alike, it’s called 2Ts in a Pod, follow the link below to listen:

This is a list of 78 expressions from key word transformations in the CAE exam. The expressions are taken from the fantastic quizlet set that someone made. Have students study 10-15 of the expressions for homework and the use the quizlet set to test them in class; great for intensive preparation courses when you’re pressed for time. Download the handout below:

cae-key-word-transformation-expressions

Quizlet set – 82 key word transformations

Expressions

Study the expressions carefully, focus on the prepositions and patterns (gerund/infinitive etc.)

  1. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU undo your seatbelt during take-off.
  2. A new manager HAS TAKEN OVER THE running of the finance department.
  3. THERE IS NO KNOWING what’s going to happen in the next few days.
  4. The burglar must HAVE GAINED ENTRY/ACCESS through the bathroom window.
  5. An ant IS CAPABLE OF carrying ten times its own body weight.
  6. The news that my favourite teacher was leaving CAME AS A DISAPPOINTMENT TO ME.
  7. Sometime I feel as if my children TAKE ME FOR GRANTED.
  8. I need TO GET MY PASSPORT RENEWED before our trip to Greece.
  9. I WAS WONDERING IF YOU WERE willing to donate some money to our cause.
  10. I SEE NO POINT IN asking Tina for help, she always refuses.
  11. Playing video games is JUST AS MUCH FUN AS playing sports.
  12. The defendant DENIED HAVING SEEN the woman before.
  13. Everyone’s opinions must BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT before a decision is made.
  14. It’s IN YOUR INTEREST to take good notes during class, you’ll need them for the final exam.
  15. I really need to GET that broken window REPAIRED.
  16. MUCH TO THEIR DELIGHT, Jon and Ana didn’t have to pay to get in.
  17. The cat REFUSED TO COME down from the tree.
  18. Georgina SAID SHE WOULD NOT WEAR the yellow dress her mother had chosen for her.
  19. Don’t FORGET TO KEEP IN TOUCH while you’re travelling.
  20. You need to be ON THE LOOKOUT FOR pickpockets in this area.
  21. Plans ARE BEING DRAWN UP for a new shopping centre on the outskirts of the city.
  22. MUCH TO OUR HORROR, when we got back to the hotel all our stuff had been stolen.
  23. Would YOU RATHER I HAD NOT told them about the party?
  24. LET ME KNOW if you can come to the party, I need to buy the food tonight.
  25. Andrés WAS AT A LOSS TO EXPLAIN why he was late for class again.
  26. Failure to show a valid ticket is LIKELY TO RESULT IN you having to pay a fine.
  27. It is HIGHLY LIKELY THAT THE FILM WILL win several awards.
  28. Quick ACTION ON THE PART OF the ambulance crew saved the little girl’s life.
  29. How can I GET IT ACROSS TO HIM that I’m just not that into him.
  30. Don’t be silly, there IS NO SUCH THING as vampires.
  31. I’m so sorry I’m late, I(COMPLETELY) LOST TRACK OF TIME!
  32. IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT that the plane lands on water, lifejackets are stored under your seats.
  33. Katy HAS BEEN MADE RESPONSIBLE FOR the sales department, she’s a bit nervous but very excited.
  34. Gerald has been PUT IN CHARGE OF finding a catering company for the Christmas party.
  35. I WAS TAKEN BY SURPRISE/ WAS TAKEN ABACK when they asked me to take over from Jon as finance manager.
  36. Bob is IN DANGER OF GETTING SACKED/FIRED if his bad behaviour continues.
  37. In the end they PLACED THE BLAME ON a group of local teenagers for the vandalism to the church.
  38. Sorry but I HAD THE IMPRESSION/WAS UNDER THE IMPRESSION that this was a permanent contract.
  39. I WAS LED TO BELIEVE that the salary would be €2000 a month.
  40. The runner who finished second told the press that she had NO INTENTION OF RETIRING and that she’d be back to compete next year.
  41. It’s really difficult TO COME UP WITH GOOD IDEAS in such a short space of time.
  42. The young actress STANDS EVERY CHANCE OF BEING offered a big role soon.
  43. Dinner WILL BE FOLLOWED BY a performance by the school orchestra.
  44. No FEWER THAN THREE PEOPLE ARE REQUIRED to operate this machine.
  45. Please don’t HESITATE TO CALL (US)/ HESITATE TO GIVE US A CALL if you have any questions or doubts.
  46. John’s failure to answer all the interview questions COST HIM THE JOB.
  47. We SPENT HALF AN HOUR LOOKING for a parking space in the city centre.
  48. The pay rise CAME AS A SURPRISE TO me.
  49. THERE’S NO DENYING MY disappointment at not being given the job.
  50. Looks as IF TONY HASN’T BEEN sleeping well
  51. I’m not going TO PUT UP WITH your behaviour anymore.
  52. I’m really not SURE HOW I WOULD HAVE REACTED in that situation.
  53. Novak Djokovic BROKE DOWN IN TEARS AS he was given the trophy.
  54. Would you HAVE ANY OBJECTION TO ME taking the rest of the day off?
  55. Her LACK OF EXPERIENCE might AFFECT her ability to do the job.
  56. It (HAD) NEVER OCCURED TO ME to ask my grandfather for help with my history project.
  57. Oh dear, I think we might HAVE TAKEN THE WRONG TURNING/TURN a few miles back.
  58. We WOULD LIKE TO HAVE CARRIED / WOULD HAVE LIKED TO CARRY ON playing for a few more hours but it started raining.
  59. The project will GO AHEAD ACCORDING TO PLAN.
  60. You really need to MAKE UP YOUR MIND about which uni you want to go to.
  61. IT’S HIGH/ABOUT TIME YOU GOT your hair cut.
  62. The school IS HIGHLY SPOKEN of in the local area.
  63. He was ON THE POINT OF LEAVING the restaurant when she finally turned up.
  64. I WOULD BE SURPRISED IF they didn’t win this match, they’re far better than the other team.
  65. I am IN NO DOUBT that event will be a resounding success.
  66. I’m sorry but I don’t HAVE ANY RECOLLECTION OF meeting you before.
  67. We had TO PUT IN a claim with our car insurance company.
  68. They have NO CHANCE OF WINNING after that red card.
  69. The students TOOK NO NOTICE OF what the teacher was saying.
  70. The police have almost GIVEN UP HOPE OF FINDING any more survivors.
  71. It’s just A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE that car breaks down, it’s so old.
  72. I really can’t SEE THE POINT IN/OF LEARNING Latin anymore.
  73. The cat MADE A FAST RECOVERY after its operation.
  74. I DIDN’T USE TO LIKE olives when I was a kid but I love them now.
  75. He’s really MAKING A NAME FOR HIMSELF in the fashion world.
  76. We CAN AFFORD THIS HOLIDAY AS LONG AS we save up €100 a month.
  77. I HANDED IN MY NOTICE at work last week, 4 more weeks until I become my own boss!
  78. I haven’t got 10 cents, LET ALONE 1 euro.
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Uncategorized

Formal Writing: CAE Essay

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Image credit: LitReactor

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan designed to help students tackle the CAE writing part 1 formal essay task. It walks students through structuring their essays correctly. Download the handout and Powerpoint below:

formal-writing

formal-writing-handout

Student Handout

Introduction

In this day and age a worrying percentage of children are showing signs of obesity. The past few years have seen a steep decline in the number of school-aged children taking part in team sports or getting regular exercise. What is the most effective way to tackle this problem and encourage children to be more active?

In this essay I am going to talk about the problem of children not getting enough exercise. I will start by talking about parental influence and then I will discuss the role schools can play.

Hardly a week goes by without another article on the topic of childhood obesity appearing in the media. This is clearly a growing issue which must be addressed urgently. There are a number of ways in which this problem could be tackled.

Language for introductions

  • In this day and age…
  • … is a hotly-debated topic that often divides opinion.
  • … is a growing issue in today’s society
  • We live in an age when many of us are…
  • 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.
  • Although most people would generally agree that …………… few would deny that ……..

Language for topic sentences

First Paragraph

  • …. clearly/undoubtedly has an impact on…
  • It is common knowledge that… plays a crucial role in…
  • It is undoubtedly the case that…
  • There is little doubt that…
  • … is widely believed to contribute to…
  • It is generally considered that…
  • Recent research suggests that…
  • Studies have shown that… has an impact/influence on…
  • Few people would contest/dispute the fact that…

Second Paragraph

  • Another factor to consider is…
  • On the other hand/In contrast…
  • It is often claimed that…
  • All the evidence suggests that…

Language for supporting ideas

Language for introducing supporting ideas:

  • For example,
  • For instance,
  • An obvious example of this is…
  • A clear example of this is…
  • This is illustrated by…
  • As a case in point…

Paragraph Skeleton

It goes without saying that ______________________________________ A clear example of this is ___________________________________________ In addition,________________________________________ Nevertheless,_____________________________________________________________

Language for conclusions:

  • In light of the above, / Taking all this into consideration/account,…
  • As far as I am concerned, / in my opinion, / as I see it, etc.
  • … is the most effective way to… due to the fact that…

OR

  • In light of the above, / Taking all this into consideration/account,…
  • Despite the fact that… undoubtedly plays a role in… I firmly believe that… is more effective due to the fact that…

Credit to Cork English Teacher for some of the language from the handout.