Posted in Conversation Classes

Conversation topic: Who’s in the wrong?

Image credit: www.learnaboutislam.co.uk

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a conversation lesson plan for intermediate (B1) upwards around the topic of blame. Download the powerpoint below:

Who’s in the wrong

Warmer

SS discuss in pairs:

  • When was the last time you got into trouble?
  • Who was to blame?

Language of blaming:

  1. It was my/his/her/your/their/our _________.
  2. He was to _________.
  3. She was in the _________.
  4. They were at ________.
  5. I blame the broken window _____ John.
  6. I blame John _____ breaking the window.

SS complete the sentences with the following words:

for

on

blame

wrong

fault (x2)

  1. It was my/his/her/your/their/our fault
  2. He was to blame
  3. She was in the wrong
  4. They were at fault.
  5. I blame the broken window on John.
  6. I blame John for breaking the window.

Show the first slide from the powerpoint and have students discuss who is to blame in small groups. Ss then report back in open class. You might want to assign roles from the different situations to different students to make it a bit more exciting.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class

Speaking Activity: Persuading/Convincing Role-plays

Image credit: maybusch.com

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This is a speaking activity for intermediate and upwards on the subject of persuading and convincing. It can be used as preparation for FCE and CAE due to its similarity to part 3 of the speaking test.

You will need this powerpoint:

Debate, Discuss, Persuade

Split the class into groups of 4 or 5. Use this quizlet set to practice language for convincing and persuading. For higher levels get them to brainstorm the language in pairs first and then board it.

Language from the quizlet set:

  1. Don’t you _________ it would be better to go to Ibiza?
  2. __________ it be better to go to Ibiza?
  3. I think we _________ go to Ibiza.
  4. I suggest/recommend ________ to Ibiza.
  5. We o_________ to go to Ibiza.
  6.  I i__________ that we go to Ibiza.
  7. By ______ the best idea is to go to Ibiza
  8. What/How _______ going to Ibiza?

Key:

think

Wouldn’t

should

going

ought

insist

far

about

Students discuss the different situations in the powerpoint in their groups of 4-5. Nominate one person from the group to be the person who the others must persuade (parent, headmaster, boss, editor, friend)

Report back at the end. Who was the most persuasive?

Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class

Fun FCE Picture Description Practice

Image credit: theguardian.com

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Download the worksheet here:

Describing Pictures

And the picture reveal powerpoint here:

picture-reveal-fce

Yet another lesson plan on picture descriptions, deduction and speculation. What can I say? I’ve got to prep a lot of students for FCE speaking!

Warmer – Who’s this?

Show students the picture of BBC radio 2 DJ Steve Wright but don’t tell them who it is. Put them in groups and tell them to come up with an idea of who he is. Monitor and check what language they’re using, board any nice examples of speculative language.

Students present their ideas of who he is. After reveal that he is a famous radio DJ in the UK.

Speculative Language

Handout the exercise on the worksheet. Have students complete the gap-fill in pairs; encourage them to discuss it in English: “Number 1 could be …, don’t you think?” etc.

Complete the sentences with a word from the box

guess     can’t    as    could/might/may   perhaps   pretty   must
  1. He ______ be a policeman with that long hair. (it’s impossible that he’s a policeman)
  2. ______ she’s a lawyer, she’s wearing a smart suit. (It’s possible she’s a lawyer)
  3. He ______ be enjoying himself, look at that big smile. (I’m sure he’s enjoying himself)
  4. I’m ______ sure they’re brother and sister, they look quite similar. (75% sure)
  5. I’d ______ that they’re in a hot country, judging by their clothes. (It’s possible)
  6. She ______/_______/________ be his girlfriend, they seem very close. (It’s possible)
  7. He looks _______ if he’s tired after a long day at work.

Review as a class:

  1. can’t
  2. perhaps
  3. must
  4. pretty
  5. guess
  6. could/might/may
  7. as

Choral drill sentences for intonation and sentence stress.

Practice

Show students the pictures of more English celebrities. Elicit the instructions to the next activity, (use the new language to speculate about the people in the photographs)

Students share ideas as a class, award points to groups that guess correctly.

 

Answers:

  1. Stephen Fry – TV presenter, journalist, novelist
  2. Jade Goody – Reality TV star, Big Brother contestant
  3. Jack Monroe – Chef, writer, journalist, political activist
  4. Jeremy Corbyn – Politician, new leader of the Labour Party.

Picture Reveal Game

Massive thanks to https://tekhnologic.wordpress.com/ for the amazing picture reveal powerpoint template I’ve used for this next activity.

Project the first slide of the picture reveal powerpoint. Students take it in turns to choose a number, click on the number and it will disappear, revealing part of the picture underneath. Students must then speculate as to what the picture is. Award points for correct use of the phrases and teams that correctly guess the contents of the photo.

Slide 4 is an actual FCE part 2 task with 2 pictures to compare and contrast, while slide 5 is a part 3 collaborative task that students can complete in pairs or threes at the end of the game.

Follow-up

Nominate a few students to bring a photo to the next class to repeat the activity as a warmer.

 

Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Recommended Websites

Macmillan’s free online resources are amazing!!

Thanks to my colleague Raquel Gomez for introducing me to Macmillan’s amazing database of resources:

http://www.macmillandictionary.com/learn/english-language-resources.html

She focused specifically on the pragmatics section in a seminar she recently gave in my school. She ran an experiment last year using the materials to boost scores for FCE and CAE speaking exams so I’m going to try them out for myself today, starting with this one on agreeing and disagreeing:

http://www.macmillandictionary.com/external/pdf/expressing-yourself-agree.pdf?version=2015-09-07-1650

Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes

Interesting People: Deduction and Speculation

Image Credit: www.visualnews.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for intermediate and up based around pictures of interesting people and language of speculation and deduction. Credit to my workmate Mont for the idea, thanks Mont.

Download the handout here:

speculate pictures interesting people

Warmer – Who’s that guy?

Write the following expressions on the board:

He might/may/could be… (possible)

There’s a chance that he’s… (possible)

He can’t be… (impossible)

There’s no way he’s… (impossible)

He must be… (almost certain)

I’m pretty sure he’s… (quite certain)

Then show them the picture of the guy at the top of the post. Students come up with 5 deductions/speculations based on the picture. Tell them they can speculate about his age, nationality, job, personality or anything else they like.

The show them the pictures from the handout. Give them a few minutes to make speculations about the people.

Then show them the following list:

  • A lawyer
  • A police officer
  • A serial-killer
  • A billionaire
  • A rock star
  • A bank robber
  • A chef
  • A professional sports-person

Tell student that they must decide which person has which job. The secret is: There’s no correct answer! But don’t tell them that yet. Give them 5-10 minute to make speculations and provide reasons for which person has which job, then have them present their reasoning to the class and debate them. Only then can you reveal that there’s no correct answer!

Follow up activity

Composition: Can you judge a book by it’s cover? Have students write and essay/article on the topic of first impressions and judging people based on their appearance.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Ice-breakers

Find someone who… Summer holiday edition

Image credit: travelnotings.com

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This is my version of the classic “Find someone who…” speaking and ice-breaking activity designed for teenagers for the first class after the summer holidays. I’ve also added a version for adults.

Download the handout here:

Find someone who – teenagers

find-someone-who-adults-edit

Warmer – Guess my holiday

Students get 20 questions to guess where the teacher went on holiday.

Allow students to ask you more questions to find out some information about the holiday.

Main Activity

Project the handout onto the board. Students must circulate, speaking to all their classmates until they have found someone who did all of the listed activities during the summer holidays. When they find someone who has done one of the activities they must also ask them for some details and record them in the details column.

Before starting model past simple yes/no questions on the board:

Went to another continent:

Did you go to another continent?

Also model questions for details:

Where did you go?

What did you do there?

What did you eat?

The winner is the first person to find someone people who have done each of the things on the list or prove that nobody has done them by speaking to everyone.

Handout

Try to speak to everyone in the class. You must find someone who did the following things in their summer holidays.

Find someone who…

Activity Person Details
Went to a different continent
Tried some new food
Went to a summer camp
Had a party
Ate McDonald’s
Tried a new activity
Visited another part of Spain
Saw an amazing monument
Hurt themselves
Didn’t leave Catalonia
Earned some money
Bought some new clothes
Went on holiday without their family
Visited a famous city
Posted in Conversation Classes, Ice-breakers

Icebreaker: Show me a picture of…

Image credit: http://www.tribunahacker.com.ar/2014/05/android-a-las-camaras-o-el-regreso-de-la-polaroid/

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

Thanks to Nicky Hockly at The Consultants-e for the inspiration for this lesson plan. It’s an icebreaking lesson in which students can use their mobiles (shock horror) for intermediate levels and up.

Introduction

In a new class students are always keen to learn a bit about their new teacher and if you’re willing to share and personalise your classes the students will reciprocate with you and each other. So start by projecting some photos of things from your life on to the board with some sentence stems for deduction.

Intermediate levels:

He/she/it could/might/may be his girlfriend (possibility)

He/she/it must be his brother (almost certain)

He/she/it can’t be his sister (impossible)

Higher levels:

I’d say that…

I’d hazard a guess that…

I bet you €X that’s his brother.

I (don’t) reckon that…

I’m absolutely certain that…

There’s no doubt in my mind that…

There’s a good/strong/slim chance that…

I could be wrong but I think…

Drill sentence stress and intonation. Then put students in pairs and show them some of the pictures. Monitor them as they make guesses about who the people in the pictures are and have students share their deductions with the class. Award points for correct guesses.

Here are some example pictures from my life:

Other useful language:

You look just like (your mum)

You don’t look anything like (your sister)

You are the spitting image of (your Dad) (you look exactly the same)

You take after (your Dad) – you look/act the same.

Step 2: Pair work

Put students in groups of 2/3 and tell them to take out their phones and go to their photo albums. They must then take it in turns to show their group a picture of the following things:

  • A parent
  • A grandparent
  • A pet
  • A very close friend
  • An activity you love
  • A great meal
  • A fantastic day
  • An amazing view
  • A selfie

The others in the group must use the language of deduction to guess what the picture is and then they can ask questions to discover more information about their partner.

You might want to model some questions on the board:

When was the photo taken?

How long ago did you take this photo?

Where were you when you took the photo?

What does your Dad do?

How long have you been …ing?

Language for reactions:

Wow! That looks amazing/lovely/gorgeous

No way! Me too!

Your Dad works in finance? No way, mine does too!

That must be (amazing/fantastic etc.) – present event/state

That must have been (amazing/fantastic/so much fun) – past experience

 

Give SS 10-15 minutes to talk, encourage the use of the vocabulary, award points to groups using the most.

Students then report back to the class about the favourite photo their classmates showed them. If you can, project the photos onto the board so the whole class can see them.

Follow up/Homework

Story behind the picture. SS write a composition (150-200 words) telling the story behind one specific picture. Encourage them to copy paste the picture at the top of the page. This is a good opportunity to practice narrative tenses: “I had been walking all day, that’s why I look a bit tired in the photo.” “The sun was shining, the wind was blowing in the trees” “It was the scariest thing I have ever done.” “I was walking down the street when I saw a…”

Posted in Conversation Classes

Dilemmas and Debates

Image credit: www.osomac.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a straightforward “What would you do?” speaking activity to practice hypothetical conditionals and just generate debate and conversation.  Download the powerpoint below and project it or print it:

Dilemmas and debates

Language of agreeing and disagreeing will be useful.

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.

Credit to: http://www.buzzfeed.com/tracyclayton/moral-dilemmas-that-will-break-your-brain#.lhwmbK9XK

For a couple of the ideas.

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 Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes

3rd Conditional: Balloon Debate

Photo credit:en.wikipedia.org

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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 conversation lesson plan to practise past (3rd) conditional structures whilst debating the value of specific professions to society. Credit to the university of Kent for the inspiration for the activity. I have changed the wording of the task slightly so that students must imagine a world without the achievements and inventions of some famous names from history.

You will need the handout, I have made 4 versions:

Intermediate teens:

Balloon Debate intermediate teenagers

Intermediate adults:

Balloon Debate Intermediate adults

Advanced teens:

Balloon Debate Adv teenagers

Advanced adults:

Balloon Debate Adv adults

I planned this as an activity to practise uses of advanced 3rd conditional structures such as:

But for + noun phrase, would/could/might have….

But for Thomas Edison, the lightbulb would have been invented much later.

Or inverted past conditionals:

Had it not been for Shakespeare, we wouldn’t have such a rich vocabulary.

You may want to preteach these structures using my other materials which you can find here and here.

Below you will find they advanced adults version of the activity.

Balloon Debate

You are in a hot air balloon which is losing height rapidly and will soon crash because it is overweight. You are travelling with a group of school children who will grow up to be very famous. You have to decide which 7 to throw over the side; if the balloon crashes you will all die. The passengers are:

  • Mother Teresa
  • Mao Tse-tung
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • Florence Nightingale
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Mikael Gorbachev
  • Charles Darwin
  • William Shakespeare
  • Diego Maradona
  • Albert Einstein
  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Beethoven
  • Vincent Van Gogh
  • Jane Austen
  • Steve Jobs

 

Language

Conditionals Making Decisions
If_____ hadn’t invented_____, _____ wouldn’t have happened. There’s no way we’re throwing ______ overboard because______
But for ________ we wouldn’t have________. Throwing _______ is out of the question because________
If it hadn’t been for ______, we wouldn’t have _______ now I think ________ is expendable.
Had it not been for _______, we wouldn’t have________. What did _______ really do for us?

Examples:

If Charles Darwin hadn’t discovered evolution, society wouldn’t have developed like it has.

If it hadn’t been for Gandhi, India would still be a British colony.

But for Shakespeare, we wouldn’t have such a rich language.

Had it not been for Abraham Lincoln, the slaves wouldn’t have been freed.

Homework Activity:

Students write an essay examining two of the people from the balloon and deciding which one has contributed most to society. They must compare and contrast the achievements of the two and reach a conclusion as to which should be crowned as the most inspiring person in history.