Posted in Conversation Classes

Tis the Season to be Jolly: Christmas Expressions

Image result for christmas

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a Christmas lesson plan for higher levels (C1+) in which students learn some Christmassy expressions then practice them in a crossword and discussion.

tis-the-season-to-be-jolly-teachers-notes

tis-the-season-to-be-jolly – Student handout

christmas-expressions-crossword-key

christmas-expressions-crossword

Teacher’s notes

Matching

Match the expressions in bold with their definitions.

  1. I really overindulged last Christmas, I felt awful on Boxing Day. (C)
  2. So this year I’ve decided to pace myself, no booze till lunchtime! (P)
  3. Oooo, I’m feeling a bit tipsy after all that champagne. (B)
  4. I’ll put some Christmas carols on to get in the festive spirit. (D)
  5. Christmas is a time to get together with your nearest and dearest. (O)
  6. I don’t get on with my uncle but we always manage to bury the hatchet at Christmas. (E)
  7. Christmas just isn’t Christmas without turkey with all the trimmings. (J)
  8. (opening a present) Another horrible jumper from Auntie Janet, oh well, it’s the thought that counts. (M)
  9. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. (H)
  10. Son: “Come on Granddad! It’s Christmas, don’t be such a scrooge!” (I)

Granddad: “Bah Humbug! I hate Christmas.” (K)

  1. My mum always spends hours slaving over a hot stove on Christmas day. (F)
  2. We’re doing a secret Santa in the office and I’ve drawn the boss! I don’t know what to get her. (G)
  3. (opening a present) Oh wow, it’s lovely, you shouldn’t have! (L)
  4. Christmas is really important in my family, we always pull out all the stops, decorations, presents, tonnes of food, you name it! (N)
  5. Children always get showered with gifts at Christmas. (A)
a.       Receive a lot of presents

b.      A little drunk

c.       Eat and drink too much

d.      To start feeling Christmassy

e.      To forget old arguments and be friendly

f.        To spend a long time cooking

g.       “amigo invisible” each person buys a present for another person in the group.

h.      A snowy Christmas

i.         A mean person who doesn’t like Christmas

j.        The traditional things that go with something

k.       People who don’t like Christmas say this.

l.         What you say when you receive a present

m.    What you say when you receive a bad present

n.      Make a big effort to achieve something

o.      Your family

p.      To eat and drink slowly and carefully.

Reflection

This section is designed to help students process the vocabulary and aid acquisition.

Look again at the expressions.

  1. Which ones do you like?
  2. Which ones do you think you will remember?
  3. Which ones do you think you will forget?
  4. Can you think of an equivalent expression in your language?
  5. Think of a way to remember each expression with your partner, you could relate it to a sound, a word in your language or maybe an image.

Crossword

Give out the crossword handout and have them complete it in pairs without looking at the original handout. The first group to finish is the winner.

Conversation

Students ask and answer the questions in pairs. Then feedback in open class.

Ask and answer the questions with your partner:

  1. Have you ever experienced a white Christmas? Where were you? What was it like?
  2. Do you try to pace yourself over the festive season? Or do you tend to overindulge?
  3. Who slaves over a hot stove in your family?
  4. Have you ever done a secret Santa? Who with? Who did you draw? Did you like the experience?
  5. Does your family pull out all the stops at Christmas?
  6. Do you get on with everyone in your family? Do you have to bury the hatchet with any family members at Christmas?
  7. Does anyone in your family give bad presents? What do you say when you receive a bad present? Have you ever taken a present back to the shop?
  8. What do you do to get into the Christmas spirit? Do you ever find it difficult?
  9. Are there any scrooges in your family?
  10. What’s the traditional Christmas dish in your culture? What are all the trimmings that go with it?
  11. Who gets showered with gifts in your household?
  12. Do you normally get tipsy at Christmas?
  13. How important is it to get together with your nearest and dearest at Christmas? Who do you normally spend Christmas with?
  14. How important is giving and receiving presents in your family? Is it really just the thought that counts?

 

Posted in Uncategorized

CAE Ice-Breaker UPDATE

Image result for ice-breaker

Image credit: englishrussia.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is an updated version of my CAE/C1 ice-breaking activity for the first class of a course. Click this link to the prezi (you’ll only need the first 5 slides).

Obviously it’s tailored to my interests but you’ll get the idea and be able to adapt to your own.

First I flash up the sentences with the adjective/verb + preposition combination (petrified of) etc. and tell them that some are true and some are false. They have to decide which are true and which are false in pairs. Award points to the pairs who guess correctly.
Then test them on the prepositions by flashing up the slide with them omitted. Then they have to write 4 sentences using the same combinations, some true some false and read them to their partner, who has to guess which are T/F.
Then the next bit is 6 sentences with some nice phrases about personal interests etc. “I’m into….” etc. I show them my examples (they’re all true) and let them ask me some questions. Then they have to complete the sentences so they’re true for them.
Then they have to mingle around the class reading their sentences to each other, flash up the expressions for showing interest: Uh-huh, mm-hmmm etc. and encourage them to use them. Tell them that they should try to remember as much information as they can about their classmates. While they do this, monitor and board any emergent language to look at later.
After 10 mins or so have them sit down and split them into two teams. Select one member from the first team, the other team then has to remember as much as they can about that person:
“He’s into football and rugby.”
“He has a burning ambition to meet Messi.” etc.
Award 1 point for each correct bit of info. The idea is that they’re recycling the 6 expressions over and over and getting to know each other at the same time.
Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

CAE Expressions Sheet

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a phrase sheet for my CAE students to help them with some nice informal expressions for the speaking assessment. The expressions are collected from various other worksheets but they idea was to have them all in one place for ease of studying. Download the sheet below.

cae-expression-sheet

 

Family

1.       I definitely take after my Mum.

2.       My sister and I get on like a house on fire.

3.       My Dad is the breadwinner in our family.

4.       My brother and I are like two peas in a pod.

5.       My cousin and I are like chalk and cheese.

6.       Curly hair runs in my family

7.       They say that blood is thicker than water.

8.       I want to follow in my parents’ footsteps and become a doctor.

9.       I’m always falling out with my sister, she’s so annoying.

10.   My uncle is the black sheep of the family.

11.   My little brother is the spitting image of my Dad.

12.   I’m named after my great-grandfather.

 

Friendship

1.      My best friend and I have been through thick and thin together.

2.       My best friend is such a good laugh.

3.       My best friend and I are like brothers/sisters from another mother.

4.       I can always turn to my friend for advice or help.

5.       My best friend always stands up for me in an argument or fight.

6.       I know that my best friend has got my back if there’s any trouble.

7.       If I tell my friend a secret, I know that their lips are sealed. They would never spill the beans.

8.       My best friend is definitely not a fair-weather friend.

9.       My best friend and I are lifelong friends.

10.  We were best friends at primary school but now we have drifted apart.

11.   My best friend and I are joined at the hip.

12.   I often crash at my friend’s house at the weekend.

 

 

 

Travelling

1.       Get itchy feet

2.       Get the travel bug

3.       Culture vulture

4.       Catch some rays

5.       Sit and watch the world go by

6.       Pack a lot in/Have a full plate

7.       See how the mood takes me

8.       Travel on a shoe string

9.       Live it up

10.   A culture shock

11.   Feel right at home

12.   Watch your back

13.   Travel light

14.   At the crack of dawn

 

The Future

With any luck, I will probably…

I have a burning ambition to…

I’ve always dreamed of… so I expect I will…

I haven’t made up my mind yet but I’m leaning towards studying…

I’m torn between studying… and ….

In all likelihood I’ll study…/work in…

I see myself working in the field of…

If everything goes to plan in 5 years, I’ll be…

I’ve got it all mapped out first I’m going to… then…

I have absolutely no clue what I’m going to do tomorrow let alone in 5 years.

I have always had aspirations to go into the field of…

I expect I’ll follow in my Mum/Dad’s footsteps.

 

Likes/Dislikes

·         I’m keen on / fond of……………

·         I’m a keen / avid + noun

·         I’m a keen swimmer.

·         I’m an avid guitarist.

·         I’m an avid traveller.

·         I’m a (bit of a) bookworm.

·         I’m an avid reader

·         I’m a (bit of a) film / music / history / art buff.

·         I’m a (bit of a) computer geek.

·         I’m a (bit of a) shopaholic.

·         I’m a (bit of a) workaholic.

·         I’m a bit of a risk taker / adrenalin junky / daredevil.

·         I like to recharge my batteries at the weekend.

·         I like to get away from the hustle and bustle of my job / school / the city.

·         The word is on the tip of my tongue

·         The word escapes me at the moment but….

·         I’m hooked on (Game of Thrones)

·         I’m a (bit of a) girly girl.

·         (Boys) I like sport, beer, and women.

·         I’m a (bit of a) man’s man.

·         I’m in tip top condition.

English/Education

·         I am / was a teacher’s pet / top of my class at school.

·         English is a requirement of my course / job.

·         If you want to get ahead in life you need English.

·         I’ve been studying English for ages.

·         I’ve been studying English for as long as I can remember.

·         English is an essential / key part of my everyday life.

 

 

Typical Speaking Part 1 Questions

  • What are you particular likes and dislikes?
  • What do you look for in a friend?
  • Describe your best friend.
  • What type of holidays do you enjoy?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
  • How important will English be in your future?
  • Tell me about your family.
  • What type of family do you have?
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

BFFs 4 Eva! Friendship Expressions

Image credit: www.zazzle.com.au

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a worksheet on expressions related to friendship for higher level learners. I designed it with CAE students in mind. Download the worksheet and key below:

BFFs 4 eva

Have students complete the worksheet in pairs and then personalise the expressions so that they are true for them.

BFFs 4 Eva!

Match the expressions on the left with the simple definition on the right.

1.       Me and my best friend have been through thick and thin together.

2.       My best friend is such a good laugh.

3.       Me and my best friend are like brothers/sisters from another mother.

4.       I can always turn to my friend for advice or help.

5.       My best friend always stands up for me in an argument or fight.

6.       I know that my best friend has got my back if there’s any trouble.

7.       If I tell my friend a secret, I know that their lips are sealed. They would never spill the beans.

8.       My best friend is definitely not a fair-weather friend.

9.       Me and my best friend are lifelong friends.

10.   Me and my best friend from primary school have drifted apart.

11.   Me and my best friend are joined at the hip.

12.   I often crash at my friend’s house at the weekend.

a.       My best friend isn’t a person who is only around for the good times.

b.      Me and my best friend from primary have slowly lost contact.

c.       My best friend is very trustworthy and good at keeping secrets.

d.      Me and my best friend spend almost all our time together.

e.       My best friend is very funny.

f.        I often sleep over at my friend’s house.

g.       Me and my best friend have experienced both good and bad times together.

h.      I know my best friend will defend me if anything bad happens.

i.         My best friend always defends me in a fight or argument.

j.        Me and my best friend are very similar.

k.       If I have a problem, I can always talk about it with my friend.

l.         Me and my best friend have been friends for a very long time.

 

 

Complete the sentences

Try to complete the sentences from memory

  1. I won’t tell anyone, my lips ________ _________.
  2. You’re such a ________________, as soon as there are any problems you disappear!
  3. I always see those two together, they’re practically joined _____ ______ _______.
  4. Jenifer spilt ______ ________ to everyone at the party about Sarah and Johnny.
  5. Don’t worry, if they start a fight I’ve _____ ______ ______. I’ll definitely stand _____ _____ ______.
  6. Freddy was there for me when my dog died but also when I got my dream job, we’ve been __________ ______________ ____________ _______________ _____________.
  7. I don’t know what happened, we were best friends at uni but I guess we just _________ __________.
  8. It’s getting late and I can’t be bothered to walk home can I ___________ _________ yours tonight?
  9. I always have so much fun with Tony, he’s such a __________ __________.
  10. We’re so similar it’s ridiculous we’re like _________ ____________ ___________ _______________.

 

Key

  1. G
  2. E
  3. J
  4. K
  5. I
  6. H
  7. C
  8. A
  9. L
  10. B
  11. D
  12. F

Sentence completion

  1. Are sealed
  2. Fair-weather friend
  3. At the hip
  4. The beans
  5. Got your back, up for you
  6. Through thick and thin together
  7. Drifted apart
  8. Crash at
  9. Good laugh
  10. Brothers/sisters from another mother
Posted in Vocabulary Classes

Proverbs

Image credit: englishbookgeorgia.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for higher level learners (C1+) in which students learn some common English proverbs. Download the worksheet and key below:

Proverbs

Matching

Match the different sentence halves to form English proverbs.

1.       Where there’s a will

2.       Don’t look a gift horse

3.       If it ain’t broke,

4.       Beggars can’t

5.       Too many cooks

6.       There’s no such thing

7.       People who live in glass houses

8.       Two wrongs

9.       The squeaky wheel

10.   Don’t put all your eggs

11.   Two heads

12.   Don’t count your chickens

a.       Be choosers

b.      Before they hatch

c.       Spoil the broth

d.      There’s a way

e.      Are better than one

f.        As a free lunch

g.       In the mouth

h.      In one basket

i.         Shouldn’t throw stones

j.        Gets the grease

k.       Don’t fix it

l.         Don’t make a right

Meaning

Now match the proverb to its definition:

  1. Getting revenge will only make things worse.
  2. Don’t criticise people if you’ve got imperfections too.
  3. If something is working well, why change it?
  4. If you’re desperate you’re not in a position to be picky.
  5. If you complain about a situation you’re more likely to get better service.
  6. Have a backup plan. Don’t risk all of your money and time on one plan.
  7. If there are too many people involved in making a decision, it won’t turn out well.
  8. If someone gives you a present, don’t question it.
  9. Two people will probably solve a problem faster than one.
  10. Your plan might not work out. Don’t assume they are going to work out and start celebrating or planning the next step too early.
  11. If something is free, there’s normally a catch or hidden cost.
  12. If you really want something, you’ll find a way to achieve it.

Processing

  1. Which proverbs are the same in your language?
  2. In which ones is the meaning obvious?
  3. Which ones will you remember?
  4. Which ones will you forget?
  5. Which one is your favourite?
  6. What image do you associate with each proverb?

 

Picture Match

Match the picture to the proverb (only show up on the handout 😦 )

 
     

 

Scenarios

Match the scenario to proverb.

  1. Just because he cheated on you doesn’t mean you should cheat on him.
  2. The Christmas play is going to be awful because there are 5 different directors!
  3. I gave him my old bike for free and now he’s complaining about the tyres.
  4. I know they said we only have to go to the timeshare presentation to get the free camera but I smell a rat.
  5. I’ll ask Julia for what she thinks; we’ll work on it together.
  6. He’s desperate to go travelling in the summer but he’ll have to save up a lot of money first.
  7. Is your soup cold too? We should say something.
  8. You can talk Martin! You drink just as much as Tony does!
  9. I just think we should have something else up our sleeve if they don’t like the first idea.
  10. Hold your horses, we haven’t won the competition yet so stop planning how you’re going to spend the prize money.
  11. It’s the only room you can afford, so it’s take it or leave it I’m afraid.
  12. The new accounts system is working really well but I hear they’re thinking of changing it again.

Test

In pairs, take it in turns to read out the first half of a proverb to your partner, they must complete it.

A: Too many cooks…

B: Spoil the broth.

Personalise

Choose 3 proverbs and try to relate them to a time in your life. Write three sentences.

Key

Matching

1.       D

2.       G

3.       K

4.       A

5.       C

6.       F

7.       I

8.       L

9.       J

10.   H

11.   E

12.   B

Meaning

1.       Two wrongs don’t make a right

2.       People who live in glass houses…

3.       If it ain’t broke…

4.       Beggars can’t be choosers

5.       The squeaky wheel

6.       Don’t put all your eggs in…

7.       Too many cooks…

8.       Don’t look a gift horse…

9.       Two heads are better than one

10.   Don’t count your chickens…

11.   There’s no such thing as a…

12.   Where there’s a will…

Picture Match

1.       Too many cooks…

2.       Don’t put all your eggs…

3.       Don’t count your chickens…

4.       Don’t look a gift horse in…

5.       People who live in…

6.       2 wrongs don’t make a right

7.       2 heads are better than 1

8.       There’s no such thing as a free lunch

Scenarios

1.       2 wrongs don’t make a right

2.       Too many cooks…

3.       Don’t look a gift horse…

4.       There’s no such thing as…

5.       2 heads are better than one

6.       Where there’s a will there’s a way

7.       The squeaky wheel…

8.       People in glass houses…

9.       Don’t put all your eggs in one…

10.   Don’t count your chickens…

11.   Beggars can’t be choosers

12.   If it ain’t broke…

Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

CAE Speaking: Future Plans

Image credit: www.bravadowaffle.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a phrase sheet to teach CAE students a range of impressive structures to talk about their future plans. Download the sheet below:

CAE Speaking Part 1 Future plans

In part 1 of the speaking paper it’s typical for candidates to be asked about their goals and aspirations. Give out the sheet and have students ask and answer the typical questions, then have them test each other on the expressions. They could go on to make gap-fill sentences for another pair to complete to consolidate the expressions.

Typical Part 1 Questions:

  1. What are your plans for the future?
  2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  3. What are your ambitions?

Expressions

With any luck, I will probably…

I have a burning ambition to…

I’ve always dreamed of… so I expect I will…

I haven’t made up my mind yet but I’m leaning towards studying…

I’m torn between studying… and ….

In all likelihood I’ll study…/work in…

I see myself working in the field of…

If everything goes to plan in 5 years, I’ll be…

I’ve got it all mapped out first I’m going to… then…

I have absolutely no clue what I’m going to do tomorrow let alone in 5 years.

I have always had aspirations to go into the field of…

I expect I’ll follow in my Mum/Dad’s footsteps.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Vocabulary Classes

You can’t choose your family: Family Expressions

Image credit: blogs.elon.edu

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for higher levels (C1+) designed with CAE students in mind. Students will teach each other some expressions related to family and use them to describe themselves. Credit to my colleague Julie Banks for some of the expressions. Download the handout and key below:

You cant choose your family handout

You can’t choose your fam teacher notes

Teacher’s notes

Lead-in

Write the expression “you can’t choose your family” on the board. What does it mean? Does it exist in your language?

Peer Teaching

Put students in pairs and assign them As and Bs. Cut up the hand out and give them out. Tell students that they are going to teach each other some expressions related to family. Have two strong students do an example at the front of the class. A reads the first question of the first set to B:

“Are you named after another member of your family?”

If B doesn’t understand they say “Sorry I don’t understand” and A reads them the second question, which contains the definition of the expression in bold:

“Were you given your name because an older member of the family has/had the same name?”

So named after means your name was inspired by the name of another member of the family or by another person whose name your parents liked.

In pairs students ask and answer the questions, taking it in turns to ask and teach each other an expression. When they have finished they must test each other, first by asking for a definition of an expression, for example “what does like two peas in a pod mean?” and then by eliciting the expression “what’s the expression that means that two people are very similar?”

Then test them in open class, As should know all of B’s expressions.

Definition match

Students match the expressions with the definitions.

  1. k
  2. e
  3. f
  4. i
  5. b
  6. l
  7. g
  8. j
  9. h
  10. c
  11. d
  12. a

Personalise

Students complete the sentences about themselves and then compare with their partners.

Student handout

Student A

Here you have six sets of two questions. Ask the first question of each set to your partner. If they don’t understand the expression in bold, ask them the second question, which contains the definition.

  1. Are you named after another member of your family? Were you given your name because an older member of the family has/had the same name? Do any specific names run in your family?
  2. Are you the spitting image of another member of your family? Do you look almost exactly the same as another member of your family? If so, who?
  3. Are you the black sheep of your family? Are you the one member of your family who is different to all the others? If not, who is?
  4. Do you often fall out with members of your family? Do you argue of fight with members of your family? If so, who?
  5. Do you want to follow in your parents’ footsteps? Do you want to do the same job as your parents? Why? Why not?
  6. They say that blood is thicker than water. Do you agree? Do you think that family is the most important thing?

Student B

Here you have six sets of two questions. Ask the first question of each set to your partner. If they don’t understand the expression in bold, ask them the second question, which contains the definition.

  1. Do any specific names/characteristics run in your family? Are there any specific names/characteristics that are passed down from generation to generation?
  2. Are you and any member of your family like chalk and cheese? Are you and any member of your family completely different?
  3. Are you and any member of your family like two peas in a pod? Are you and any member of your family exactly the same in looks and personality?
  4. Who is the main breadwinner in your house? Who brings home the bacon? Who supports the family financially?
  5. Who do you get on like a house on fire with in your family? Who do you have a fantastic relationship with?
  6. Who do you take after in your family? Which parent have you inherited the most characteristics from?

 

 

 

 

Worksheet

Definition Match

Match the expressions on the left with the definitions on the right

1.       Take after sb

2.       Get on like a house on fire

3.       The breadwinner/bring home the bacon

4.       Like two peas in a pod

5.       Like chalk and cheese

6.       Run in the family

7.       Blood is thicker than water

8.       Follow in your parents’ footsteps

9.       Fall out with sb

10.   The black sheep of the family

11.   The spitting image of sb

12.   Be named after sb

a.       Your name was inspired by an older member of the family

b.      Completely different to sb

c.       Completely different to everyone else in the family

d.      To look exactly the same as sb

e.      To have a great relationship with sb

f.        The one who supports the family financially

g.       Family is the most important thing

h.      To argue/fight with sb

i.         Extremely similar in personality

j.        Do the same job as your parents

k.       To inherit personality/appearance from a parent.

l.         When a characteristic is passed down through many generations.

 

Personalise

Complete these sentences so that they’re true for you.

  1. My ____________ is the breadwinner in my house because________________________.
  2. Me and my ______________ are like two peas in a pod because_______________________.
  3. I often fall out with my ___________________ over ______________________.
  4. I’m named after ____________________________.
  5. I think I take after my ___________________ in my personality and my _________________ when it comes to my looks.
  6. __________________ am/is the black sheep of my family because ____________________.
  7. Me and my ___________________are like chalk and cheese because __________________.
  8. I get on with ____________ like a house on fire because __________________________.
  9. ____________________ runs in my family.
  10. I would/wouldn’t like to follow in my Mum/Dad/parents’ footsteps because _________________________________.
  11. People tell me that I’m the spitting image of ___________________________________.
  12. I agree/disagree that blood is thicker than water because___________________________.