Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Games

Game: Just a Minute/Blockbusters Mash-up

Image credits: www.bbc.co.uk and www.youtube.com

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This is a game that can be adapted for a range of levels. I thought it up specifically for students to practice for the FCE/CAE/CPE speaking part 1, in which candidates must give complete answers to a series of interview style questions.

You will need Adam Simpson’s amazing blockbusters powerpoint game which you can download here. You will also need a list of typical Cambridge exam questions which you can download below. Alternatively, for non-exam classes, you can play the game with the “Just a minute” topic cards also included below with the class procedure and rules.

Class procedure and rules

Typical Cambridge Exam Questions

just a minute

Class Procedure and Rules

Divide the class into two teams, orange and green, show the blockbusters power point. The green team’s objective is to make a line of tiles from left-to-right across the board, while the orange team has to do the same but from top-to-bottom.

Teams claim a tile by speaking about a topic for a minute with no hesitation, repetition or deviation. For lower levels you could change the time limit to 30 seconds and be more lenient with hesitation repetition and deviation. Students nominate one member of their team to go first.

The team decides which tile they want to try to claim. The teacher chooses a question from the list or a topic from the “Just a Minute” topic cards. The student must then speak for a minute about the topic, if they hesitate, repeat themselves or deviate from the topic the teacher stops the stop-watch and a member of the opposing team can try to talk for the rest of the minute to claim the tile for their team.

Useful language

Time buyers

Well, let me see…

That’s an interesting question…

Rephrasing/Clarifying

What I’m trying to say is…

What I want to say is…

I mean…

Discourse markers

Obviously,

Sadly,

(un)Fortunately,

Probably the (most important)…

etc.

Topic nomination

Speaking of…, … (Speaking of living abroad, my sister is currently living in…

That reminds me…

Before I forget…

Addition

What’s more…

Also…

On top of that…

Besides that…

… as well.

Just a Minute Topic Cards

The best advice my parents ever gave me. The best day of my life. Being an only child Albert Einstein
My favourite dessert Falling in love The most annoying thing in the world

 

My favourite toys as a child.
The worst thing about living in Barcelona My most embarrassing moment My favourite hobby How to cook the perfect paella
Bullfighting

 

 

Making a cup of tea Learning to drive Chocolate
Things that make me angry Weddings What I was like as a child. cheating
Don Quixote

 

Breakfast The best way to propose to your boyfriend / girlfriend Red wine
Beer English tourists Real Madrid Crocodiles

 

 

Ghosts and the supernatural

 

The pope Going to the dentists Buying a new car.
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Posted in Conversation Classes

Ice breaking activity: My life star

star

Thanks to my Spanish teacher Montse for this activity.

This is a good activity for the first class of a course to break the ice. The students learn a bit about their teacher and then about each other.

It is suitable for levels A2 – C2.

You will need this handout:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!297&authkey=!AOyUfMWbXMGz2Uw

Preparation:

Draw or project the star from the handout on to the board. Write a different word or phrase related to your life at each point of the star. For example, you could write your partner’s name, your pet’s name, your favourite band etc.

Lesson plan:

Tell the students that each point represents something important from your life. Put them in small groups, they then have to discuss what each word or phrase represents. Encourage them to use modal verbs of deduction:

“Fido” could / might be his dog’s name. It can’t be his wife’s name.

When they have finish have them put forward their ideas, tell them if they are right or wrong and explain a little about each subject.

Put the students in pairs or threes and give out the handout. Give them 5 minutes to write something at each point. Students then ask and answer questions about each others lives and share information to get to know each other. Tell them to try and remember as much information as possible.

Students change partners or groups. They must then tell their new group as much information about their old groups as the can remember. This is a good way for the students (and the teacher) to use and remember all the other students names.

Wrap up:

At the end of the class have the students recall as much of the information they learned about you as possible. Put them in groups, give them a star they have to remember all your points.

freeenglishlessonplans.com

Posted in Games, Grammar Classes

Grammar: The future

future

This class is composed of a powerpoint presentation explaining different ways of talking about the future and a grammar betting game to practice afterwards.

Grammar explanation presentation:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!269&authkey=!ABDso4m8bIbeqfk

Place your bets gambling grammar game:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!268&authkey=!AFWO_RrAMckakGY

Posted in Games

Call my bluff game

Game – Red Herrings / Call my bluff – you will need big English dictionaries.

callmybluff

Here is the handout with examples of strange English words and the correct definition, students have to invent fake definitions.

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!267&authkey=!AIvDEVoJg4J4mVo

Use the sheet Red Herrings to introduce the game. Choose one of the examples from the sheet and put it on the board.

There are strange words with 3 possible definitions, put SS in teams, pairs or threes depending on numbers. SS have to decide which is the correct definition, encourage them to explain why they think it is correct, they should use modal verbs of deduction:

  • It can’t be number 1 because
  • It could be number 2 because
  • It must be number 3 because

Each team gets 1 point for each correct guess.

Do 2 examples if necessary. Then you can either give the students the strange English words with the correct definition (on the handout) and they have to invent to fake ones, or you give them the dictionaries and they find strange words themselves.

Students must prepare 3 definitions (1 real, 2 fake) with a sentence example. Teacher must check definitions and sentences for accuracy before they’re used in the game, if there are mistakes it is obvious which ones have been invented.

Give SS time to write their definitions and correct them, then play the game as a class, each team reads out a word and the 3 definitions and the others must guess which one and explain their decisions. SS get 1 point for a correct guess and the team whose word it is gets 1 point for each team they tricked the others into guessing a fake definition.

Posted in Recommended Websites

Other recommended blogs.

Hitch-Hikers Handbook

A great site full of excellent travel writing, photography and top tips for travelling on a budget.

http://robbiodobbio.wordpress.com/

A blog comprised of short stories and articles.

Posted in Conversation Classes

Adventure Game

Murphys Gesetz 9 - Fantasy Adventure

This lesson plan is good for young children and low level adults. Some teens really get into it, with others it has been known to die on its arse. You will need a dice and the powerpoint below.

Here is the powerpoint:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!234&authkey=!ADjqXTKxe4d-QPA

It is a beautiful demonstration of my skill on Microsoft paint.

Game Instructions:

This is a problem solving game. Students must use items they find during their adventure to solve problems and overcome obstacles that are in their path.

Tell the students that one night they all go to sleep and suddenly wake up in a strange place. In front of them are 4 mysterious doors (slide 3). They can choose which door to go through. Behind each door there is a different scene:

  1. Behind door 2 (red) there is a small orchard with some apple trees, flowers and a mysterious X on the floor  (slide 4).
  2. Behind door 4 (yellow) there is a crying princess in a room with two axes on the wall (slide 9)
  3. Behind door 3 (blue) there is a man lying in bed ill with hamburgers under his bed. (slide 12)
  4. Behind door 5 (orange) there is a cold, hungry guard guarding a big locked gate, he has a spade. (slide 14)

The students have to complete the quest, here is the solution, try and let the students think through all their options, useful questions to ask are: What can you do? What do you have?

On entering door 2 (red) the students see the orchard, the flowers and the X. If they want they can pick flowers and apples (slide 5 shows the picked flowers and apples).

On entering door 4 (yellow) they see the princess. If they speak to the princess she will tell them that she is very sad because nobody loves her and nobody every gives her any presents. If they give her the flowers from the orchard (door 2) she will stop crying and give them an axe (slide 10 shows this)

On entering door 3 (blue) students will see the ill man who will tell them that his stomach aches because he has eaten too many hamburgers and that he needs healthy food to feel better. If they give him apples from the orchard (door 2) he will feel better and fall asleep (slide 13 shows this) the students can then take hamburgers.

On entering door 5 (orange) students will meet the cold hungry guard. He doesn’t like apples. However, if they give him a hamburger from (door 3) he will be happier (slide 15) But he won’t give them his spade unless they make him a fire by chopping down a tree in the orchard (door 2) with the axe they got from the princess (door 4) (slide 6 shows the chopped down tree, slide 7 shows the tree chopped into firewood). If they make him a fire the guard will be warm and happy (slide 16) He will then give them his spade.

The students can then use the spade to dig for treasure on the X in the orchard (slide 8 shows the treasure dug up) The treasure is a small golden box, but it is locked, it cannot be opened by force. If they show it to the princess she will unlock it because she has the key in a locket around her neck. Inside the box is an enormous key which unlocks the gate in door 5.

The boss room (slide 17) On entering the boss room students will see a hydra and the handsome prisoner held captive in a cage. Students must attack the hydra with the axe and must roll higher with the dice than the teacher to be successful. Each student has 2 lives, if they roll less than the teacher they lose a life. When the student rolls higher than the teacher for the first time show slide 18, and explain that the student has cut of the hydras head but 2 more have grown back in its place. The prince will then shout that you need fire to burn the stumps after you cut them. The students must return to the guard room and get a flaming piece of wood. When the students have beaten the hydra by rolling higher than the teacher 4 times (slides 19 and 20) (one for each head) then the prince’s cage will magically spring open. The prince and princess will be reunited (slide 21) and will live happily ever after. They will also give the students lots of treasure!

Notes:

I wrote this lesson plan for children, specifically a small group. I have since gone on to use it with larger groups of children and found it to be successful. Then one day I tried it out on a group of lower level adults and they got really into it.

Target Language:

Loads of good stuff comes up and the higher the level the more vocabulary you can introduce. Examples include:

Verbs: chop, cut, give, ask, burn, dig, pick (flowers)

Nouns: spade, axe, fire, gate, key, lock, orchard etc.

It can be used to practice a range of structures depending on the level. For example for intermediates you can have them discuss their options in the 1st conditional: “Maybe if we give him a hamburger he will give us the spade.”

Enjoy, let me know if the instructions make sense or not.