Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Conversation Lesson: Agony Aunts

This is a conversation class based on the topic of agony aunts for advanced adult students (C1+) in which students learn some expressions and structures for giving advice. Here is the language handout and the situations for advice:

Agony Aunt + Agony Aunt Language

Start by trying to elicit what an agony aunt is. You could show the this link to the Sun’s Dear Deidre column (be warn it has some partial nudity)

Ask students if they have similar columns/websites in their country.

Tell students that they are going to become agony aunts for the class.

Give out the handout and go through the language Then cut up the agony aunt situations and have students take it in turns to read a situation as if it were their own. Other students then give advice on the situation.

Giving advice

Present:

You should/shouldn’t…

You ought to/ought not to…

You had better/had better not…

If I were in your shoes/position, I would…

I’ll tell you what, why don’t you…?

What you can do is…

I suggest/recommend that you + infinitive – to

I suggest/recommend + gerund

Have you tried + gerund?

It’s vital that you…

You simply have to…

Past:

You should/shouldn’t have + past participle.

You ought (not) to have + past participle.

Expressions

Woah! That’s a tough one.

That’s a delicate/tricky situation.

A minefield.

You have to tread carefully.

Be subtle/tactful/diplomatic.

Bring it up casually.

Who is in the wrong?

Don’t think twice about + gerund (definitely do it)

Don’t even think about + gerund (definitely don’t do it)

Put your foot down.

Don’t take any crap/bullshit.

You have to nip this problem in the bud.

I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.

It’s just a storm in a teacup.

It’ll blow over.

Don’t make any hasty/rash decisions.

You have to face the problem head on.

Put yourself in his/her shoes.

What would you do if the shoe was on the other foot?

Don’t put up with it.

Stay strong.

Go with your gut instinct.

Agony Aunt – Situations

My partner has to go away on a business trip with his/her ex, they will be staying in the same hotel. He/she has assured me that /he/she has no feelings for the ex. My partner’s personal hygiene standards have slipped. My partner’s parents are always dropping hints about wedding bells and the pitter patter of tiny feet.
My best friend always flirts with my partner, I don’t want to make a big deal of it but it bothers me. My partner called out the wrong name during sex! My partner used to be really romantic but has stopped making the effort.
My partner told me he/she didn’t want anything for valentine’s day so I didn’t get him/her anything. He/she is now giving me the silent treatment. I’ve been with my partner for 5 months; I have to move out of my house because my landlord is selling it. My partner has invited me to move in with him/her but I’m not sure. Is it too soon? I don’t want to hurt his/her feelings. My partner doesn’t want to have kids and I’ve always said the same but now I’m starting to get broody.
My partner doesn’t help out around the house. He/she doesn’t cook, clean or help fix anything. I lent my partner €1000 and he/she hasn’t paid me back yet and he/she hasn’t brought it up for months. I get the feeling that my partner’s parents don’t approve of my line of work. I’m a professional musician. My partner used to go out with a lawyer.
My partner is still on good terms with all of his/her exes; he/she chats with them regularly on facebook. My best friend told me that my partner came on to him/her when he/she was really drunk. My partner’s mother won’t leave him/her alone. She insists on doing all his/her laundry and that they go out together, just the two of them, every Friday night. How do I make her back off?
I’ve fallen in love with my best friend but he/she isn’t interested. I’m 19 years old and my partner has just proposed to me. I love him/her but is this too big a step? I’m getting married in 2 weeks but I think my fiancé is getting cold feet about wedding. He/she goes really quiet when I start talking about it and he/she doesn’t seem to be sleeping much.
I’m single, I kissed a colleague at the work Christmas party and now he/she has asked me out on a date. My boss at work keeps giving me the eye and dropping hints about us going on a date. He’s invited me to a conference next weekend. I’ve just come out of a long-term relationship. I met a great guy/girl in a bar the other day. I told him/her that it was just a bit of fun but I think he/she is falling for me.
Posted in Grammar Classes, Video Classes

Video Lesson: Jurassic Park 3rd Conditionals

This is a lesson plan to practice the 3rd conditional using clips from the film Jurassic Park. There are two different activities, one for FCE level and one for CAE/CPE.

FCE

Use the Jurassic Park powerpoint to introduce the characters from the film and the formula for the 3rd conditional and then show the t-rex attack video:

Then students come up with as many 3rd conditional sentences as they can.

If Ian hadn’t run to the toilet, the t-rex wouldn’t have eaten Gennaro.

If the kids hadn’t been so stupid, the t-rex would have left them alone.

If Alan hadn’t distracted the t-rex, it would have eaten the kids.

You can also repeat the exercise with Dennis Nedry’s death scene:

CAE/CPE

The video can also be used to practice the more advanced conditionals needed for the CAE and CPE exams. Use my prezi on advanced conditionals to go over the grammar first. Then introduce the characters and story with the powerpoint from the link above.

Use the video to practice conditionals with noun phrases:

If it hadn’t been for Alan’s bravery, the t-rex would have eaten the kids.

But for Ian’s stupidity, Gennaro wouldn’t have been eaten.

Or inverted conditionals:

Had the kids not attracted the t-rex’s attention, it might have left them alone.

Had it not been for the glass, the t-rex would have eaten the kids.

I recommend giving students the noun phrases you want them to use before watching, then let them watch the video. Afterwards, they make the sentences together in pairs.

Noun phrases:

the flashlight/torch

Alan Grant’s bravery

the kid’s stupidity

Ian Malcolm’s stupidity

the glass

Again, if you have time or if you want to recap at the end of the class or the beginning of the next lesson, show the Nedry video.

Follow up:

Composition: Review/letter of complaint about a trip to Jurassic Park. It would be a good way to practice formal phrases for complaining but in a funny context.

Posted in Grammar Classes, Young Learners

There Was/There Were Picture Memory Game

IMG_0567

This is a class for low levels to practice the structures “there was/were” and prepositions of place.

Quickly recap prepositions of place with a pen and paper: on, in, under, above, next to, in front of etc.

Now tell students you are going to show them a photo and they have to remember as much detail as they can. Show them the photo above for 1 minute, then hide the photo. Students must recall as many of the objects as they can, award 1 point for each correct sentence using there was/were.

There was a cat under the table.

There were two plants on the table-

There was a green and white folder on the chair.

There were two batteries behind the plants.

The show students more photos, you can either use my photos or take photos of your own messy flats and use those. Or you could tell students to take a photo of their own messy bedroom and bring it in for the next class to recap. Here are some more photos:

IMG_0568 IMG_0570 IMG_0571 IMG_0572

Posted in Games, Grammar Classes

Inversions of Prohibition – Pictionary

This is an update of my modals of obligation/prohibition lesson plan. This is a fun way to practice the following inversions:

Under no circumstances must you talk in the exam.

On no account should you put your head out the window.

Part 1 – Introduce the structures

Write the following sentences on a piece of paper, cut them up and jumble the words, then give a copy to the students to rearrange in pairs or groups of 3.

You must not speak in the exam.

You must not smoke in school.

The winner is the team who makes the sentences first.

Now elicit what the two sentences express: Prohibition. Now explain that there are two inversion structures we can use to express prohibition in a more formal way.

Model the sentences on the board with the inversion structures, paying particular attention to the way in which the aux verb and subject are inverted and the “not” is removed.

Under no circumstance must/should you speak in the exam.

On no account must/should you smoke in school.

Part 2 – Pictionary

Now split the class into two groups. Tell each group that they need to come up with 10 prohibitions using the two structures as a group and write them on strips of paper, emcourage them to be imaginative and think of crazy prohibitions: Under no circumtances must you sing to the dolphins. To them to work quietly so that the other group doesn’t hear their sentences.

While they work monitor them and correct mistakes.

Now collect in the sentences making sure to keep the two group’s sentences seperate. Now the students play pictionary: 1 volunteer from the first group comes to the board and has 2 minutes to draw as many of the prohibitions written by the other group for their own group to guess. They musn’t speak or write letters. Award 1 point for each sentences they guess correctly.

Let both teams have 2 turns each, the winning team is the one with the most points.

Posted in Grammar Classes, Video Classes

Inversionana Jones: Video inversion lesson

This is a lesson plan based around clips from the Indiana Jones films to teach inversion structures. Specifically the following ones:

No sooner had I sat down than the phone rang.

Scarcely/hardly/barely do you enter the restaurant when you smell the delicious food.

Part 1 – Introducing the structures

Print out this handout and cut it up into separate words, keeping the “No sooner, hardly, barely, scarcely, than and when cards for yourself.” I laminated the words for future use and printed the “No sooner, hardly etc.” parts on orange paper.

Give out the cards to students in group and have them order them into correct sentences. Either do this on a central table where everyone can see, on the floor or have the students come and blu-tac the sentences on the board.

As soon as I had sat down the phone started ringing.

As soon as you enter the restaurant you can smell the delicious food.

As soon as we had stepped off the plane, it started raining.

Tell students that we can use inversion to express the same thing as these sentences in 4 different ways. Now use the “No sooner/hardly/barely etc.” cards to transform the sentences. Be sure to draw their attention to the way in which you invert the auxiliary verb or add it if it’s not in the original sentence. Note: if this is a revision class have the students do it themselves.

No sooner had I sat down, than the phone started ringing.

Barely do you enter the restaurant, when you can smell the delicious food.

Scarcely had we stepped off the plane, when it started raining.

Draw student’s attention to the use of “than” with no sooner and “when” with the others. Have them copy the following formula:

Inversion Phrase + aux verb + subject + verb

Hardly had I sat down

Part 2 – Indiana Jones Clips

Now you can show them the Indiana Jones clips, tell them to watch the action and look out for actions which can be described using the structures:

No sooner had he swapped the sandbag for the statue, than the temple began to collapse. Encourage students to look for more.

Barely had the Nazis got on the boat when Indy escaped on his motorbike. Encourage students to look for more.

Scarcely had the Nazi drunk from the fake Holy Grail, when he grew old and disintegrated. Encourage students to look for more.

There are hundreds of other video clips that can be used to teach these structures, let me know which other ones you find.

Follow up

Set a composition in which students need to describe an exciting activity they’ve done, encourage them to use the structures to make a narrative more exciting.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Games, Grammar Classes

Modals of Obligation, Necessity and Prohibition: Pictionary!

Just a quick note…

Before you use these materials… We’ve created a new podcast aimed at B2+ level English students and teachers alike. You can listen for free at our SoundCloud page below. You can download teacher’s notes to accompany them from our Facebook page or from this blog. All comments and feedback welcome! Give us a like and a share 😉

https://soundcloud.com/2tspod


https://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast/

Modals of Obligation, Necessity and Prohibition: Pictionary!

This is part of a series of 30 minute lesson plans I have been writing for conversation classes with small groups of teenagers. Each one covers a specific grammar point and features a game to encourage surly teens to use it.

Introduction

Write “rules” on the board. Tell students to tell you all the rules that their school imposes on them and board them all.  Try to elicit the following structures:

Prohibition:

Mustn’t/can’t/not allowed to

You mustn’t run in the classroom. You’re not allowed to use your mobile phones in class. You can’t smoke in school.

Obligation:

Must/have to

You have to study. You have to be at school at 9am. You must bring your gym kit for PE.

Lack of obligation:

Don’t have to (careful with this one, ensure they understand the difference between mustn’t and don’t have to)

You don’t have to come to school on Saturday. Children over 11 don’t have to wear uniform.

 

Once you have brainstormed all the different rules, ask the students this:

Which rules do you follow?

Which rules do you break?

Which rules annoy you the most?

Do any teachers let you break the rules?

 

Pictionary

Print and cut up the handout.

Draw the following picture on the board:

nosmoking

Elicit the prohibition: You mustn’t smoke.

Split the class into teams of 3-4. Tell them they are going to play pictionary. However, some of the rules are a little strange. Give students time to think of a team name and invite the first person from the first team to the board. They have a minute and a half to draw as many rules as they can for their team, for each rule they guess they get 1 point. The winning team is the one that gets the most point after 2-3 rounds. If you run out of rules, get students to come up with new ones for the other teams to draw and guess. Encourage them to make them as strange and difficult as possible.

Here are the rules from the handout:

You mustn’t sleep in your car

 

You have to wear a helmet
You are not allowed to feed the lions.

 

You mustn’t touch the dolphin.
You have to switch off your mobile.

 

You mustn’t play ping-pong when it’s raining.
You have to be in bed at 10pm.

 

You mustn’t speak during the opera.
You have to wear long trousers. You’re not allowed to drink in the computer room.
You mustn’t sing to the monkeys.

 

You’re not allowed to play video games after 11pm.
You have to take your medicine before going to bed. You’re not allowed to go skiing in the dark.
You mustn’t drink the water. You have to have a shower before going in the swimming pool.
Posted in Conversation Classes, Listening Classes, Video Classes

Past Modals of Deduction: The Hangover

hangover

Just a quick note…

Before you use these materials… We’ve created a new podcast aimed at B2+ level English students and teachers alike. You can listen for free at our SoundCloud page below. You can download teacher’s notes to accompany them from our Facebook page or from this blog. All comments and feedback welcome! Give us a like and a share 😉

https://soundcloud.com/2tspod


https://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast/

Past Modals of Deduction: The Hangover

This is a lesson plan based around the theme of hangovers in which students get to grips with past modals of deduction, and question formation.

Introduction

What is hangover?

Do you get hangovers?

When was the last time you had one?

What’s the worst hangover you can remember?

Do any specific drinks give you a worse hangover?

Part 1:

Give out the situation handout.

Read out the situation and clear up any vocabulary issues.

You wake up on your sofa with a very sore head. Your friends are all sleeping on the floor of the living room. One of your friends is wearing a wedding dress. You have a big bruise on your knee. There is an unfamiliar cat walking around the room. The room smells of vomit. Your car is not outside.

What happened last night???

Possible past actions Could/might/may have + past part.

 

My friend might have got married!
Almost certain past actions

 

Must have + past part. We must have got really drunk.
Impossible past actions

 

Can’t have + past part. I can’t have driven home.
Expressing regret

 

Should/shouldn’t have + past part. We shouldn’t have drunk so much.

 

First brainstorm the questions for the mysteries.

Where did I leave the car?

Where did the cat come from?

Why is my friend wearing a wedding dress?

Why did I fall asleep on the sofa?

Why does my head hurt?

How did I hurt my knee?

Why does the house smell like vomit?

Part 2

Tell students you are going to show them a clip from the film “The Hangover” that contains a similar situation. Tell them that while they watch they should make a note of the different mysteries.

After watching brainstorm the mysteries, putting all of them on the board paying special attention to question formation.

Then have students speculate on the mysteries using past modals of deduction.

Follow up

Put students in groups and have them write new hangover situations with lots of mysteries, they then exchange situations with another group and speculate about each other’s situations.

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Grammar Classes

CAE Conditionals

conditionals

This is a lesson plan designed to introduce some of the various conditional forms that can be tested in the CAE.

Here is the link to my prezi explaining the form and use of the different structures. I taught the structures over two hour and a half classes; in the first we did the zero, first and second conditionals and in the second the 3rd and the additional structures. For homework after the first class I set this sheet. The prezi contains sections to practice forming the structures but you will also want to do some other closed and open use activities. For example:

These great slideshows I found on the 2nd and 3rd conditional:

2nd conditional powerpoint

3rd conditional powerpoint

Fail videos for 3rd conditional practice:

This old lesson plan for 3rd conditional conversation practice.

This quizlet set on conditional key word transformations.

Interactive youtube videos:

They are great for natural use of conditional structures.

Hell Pizza zombie apocalypse adventure:

Follow up:

When setting the next writing task for your class encourage students to use at least one inverted conditional. For example:

In articles/reviews:

Try to use an inverted conditional in an anecdote or narrative: “Had it not been for Batman’s swift actions, the Joker would have conquered the city.”

In proposals:

Try to use an inverted condtional in the recommendations section you normally put in a conclusion to a proposal: “Should these recommendations be carried out, the event will be a resounding success.”

In reports:

In reports your recommendations are less likely to be followed so encourage students to use an inverted 2nd conditional: “Were the above changes to be made, the future of education in this country would be much brighter.”

What other compositons can you fit an inverted condtional into?