Posted in Grammar Classes

Regrets, I’ve had a few…

Image result for spiderman

Image credit: marvel.com

This a lesson plan for B2+ students to teach language of regret. It uses a clip from The Amazing Spiderman and texts about historic regrettable decisions. Download the teacher’s notes and student handout below:

Regrets teachers notes

Regrets student handout

Lead-in

Show students a picture of Spiderman and ask them: Why did Peter Parker decide to become Spiderman? They will probably say “because he was bitten by a radioactive spider”, but that’s not why, that’s how. Show them the video clip: Uncle Ben’s Death until 2:25: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp5m4g7pZ9s

So he became Spiderman because it was his responsibility to stop innocent people like Uncle Ben from getting hurt. Ask students these questions:

  1. What happened?
  2. How does Peter Parker feel?
  3. What could have been different?

Check students’ answers, they will probably try to express Peter’s regret at not saving Uncle Ben. Give out the hand-out and draw their attention to the language of regret at the top.

Language of Regret

Look at the example sentences, what are the formulas for each structure?

  • Peter regrets not stopping the robber.
  • He should have done
  • Uncle Ben shouldn’t have tried to pick up the gun.
  • If Peter had stopped the guy, he wouldn’t have killed Uncle Ben.
  • If Uncle Ben hadn’t tried to pick up the gun, the guy wouldn’t have shot him.

Historical Regrets

Read the texts about regrettable events from the past and make sentences using the structures.

Image result for lance armstrong Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong took performance enhancing drugs before winning seven Tour de France titles. A whistle-blower revealed information about his doping to the press but he denied it for years. Eventually the evidence was too much and he confessed to his crimes live on Oprah Winfrey’s chat show.

Image result for the beatles Decca Records & The Beatles

In 1962, Dick Rowe, an executive at Decca Records, thought guitar groups were falling out of favour. On New Year’s Day that year, The Beatles auditioned to be signed to the record label. Rowe rejected their audition and decided not to sign them. The Beatles went on to become the biggest selling band in history.

Image result for napoleon Napoleon

In 1812 Napoleon invaded Russia with his grand army of 680,000 soldiers. Instead of fighting the French, the Russian army retreated further into Russia burning the farms and supplies as they went. After winning some minor victories the French were forced to retreat because of the freezing Russian winter. Only 27,000 soldiers from the original army survived.

Possible Answers:

  1. Lance Armstrong regrets taking banned substances. He shouldn’t have taken performance enhancing drugs. If he hadn’t taken the drugs, he wouldn’t have won 7 titles.
  2. Dick Rowe regrets not signing the Beatles. He should have signed them. If he had signed them, he would have been rich.
  3. Napoleon regretted invading Russia. He shouldn’t have invaded Russia in winter. If he hadn’t invaded Russia, he might have conquered the whole of Europe.

My Biggest Regret

Students might be reticent to discuss this topic, if so try to encourage them to talk about a friend or family member’s regrets, often a bit of distance can help students open up and express themselves. It could also help if you shared some of your regrets with the class first.

  • Do you have any regrets? What about your family and friends?
  • Have you ever had an accident that was your fault? What happened?
  • If you could relive any part of your life, what would you change?
  • How would your life be different?
Advertisements
Posted in Grammar Classes

Narrative Tenses: Where were you when…?

Image result for michael jackson dancing

Image credit: www.biography.com

This is a lesson plan designed to help students practice past narrative tenses. The topic is remembering where you were when big events happened. Download the teacher’s notes and student handout below:

Where were you when student handout

Where were you when Teachers notes

Lead-in

Show image of MJ. Sts in pairs: Where were you when you heard that Michael Jackson had died? T makes note of language sts use: use of narrative tenses, errors etc.

Dictogloss

Procedure:

  1. Ask sts: How did Michael Jackson die? (aim: to preteach “take an overdose”)
  2. Tell sts you are going to tell them someone’s story of them finding out MJ had died. Tell them that after you’ve finished you want them to make a note of key words or phrases from the story. While you are reading they should just focus on listening and not write anything.
  3. Read the text at a normal speed pausing at punctuation in a natural way.
  4. Give sts 30 secs to write down key words, then compare and share with a partner.
  5. Tell sts that you’re going to read the text again and you want them to write down any more key words and phrases they hear.
  6. Now instruct sts to try to recreate the text in pairs, tell them not to worry if their version is different.

I was at a festival when I heard that Michael Jackson had died. It was about 3 in the morning and we were sitting in one of the big tents listening to music, drinking and chatting. Suddenly we overheard a guy sitting next to us saying that Michael Jackson had taken an overdose and had died. We thought it couldn’t possibly be true and carried on as before, but then the DJ played Beat it by Michael Jackson, then Billy Jean and then more and more of his songs, we all looked at each other, everyone in the tent realised that it must be true and we all stood up and danced.

Guided Questions:

  1. There are three different past tenses in the text, can you identify them?
  2. Which tense do we use to give a description of a scenario or scene at a specific time?
  3. Which tense do we use to say that an action happened before another action?
  4. Which tense do we use to describe short actions often in sequence?
  5. How do we form the past continuous? Subject + __________ + ___________
  6. How do we form the past perfect? Subject + __________ + ___________
  7. This is a contracted sentence: “Michael Jackson’d taken an overdose.” What is the complete version?

 

  1. Project/hand out the original text and ask sts to compare their version to it. They MUSTN’T CHANGE their version but just make a note of the differences.
  2. In open class go over some of the differences, do their versions still make sense? Are their versions grammatically correct?
  3. Have sts complete the guided questions. Clear up any doubts in open class.
  4. Give out the gapped text about 9/11 and have sts complete it in pairs.
  5. Check their answers using the complete text.

The Day the Towers Came Down.

I was at school when I ______(hear) that terrorists __________(attack) the World Trade Centre. I _________ (stand) outside the school gates ________ (wait) for the school bus and ________(chat) to my friends when suddenly one of the teachers __________(run) out of the school and ________(tell) us that something terrible ____________(happen) in New York. Two planes _________(crash) into the twin towers in New York, when I _________(get) home I __________(watch) the towers collapse on the news with my parents. I’ll never forget where I was that day.

I was at school when I heard that terrorists had attacked the World Trade Centre. I was standing outside the school gates waiting for the school bus and chatting to my friends when suddenly one of the teachers ran out of the school and told us that something terrible had happened/was happening in New York. Two planes had crashed into the twin towers in New York, when I got home I watched the towers collapse on the news with my parents. I’ll never forget where I was that day.

  1. Show sts the pictures of important world events, have them choose one and write a short text about what they were doing when they heard about the news.
  2. Have sts read out their texts and share their own experiences in open class.
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Grammar Classes

Would Rather/Would Sooner

Image credit: www.foodnavigator-usa.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a grammar activity designed for C1 students. Students learn how to express preference using “would rather” and “would sooner” then put them to use in a roleplay. Download the powerpoint, handout and key below:

Would rather – powerpoint

Would Rather worksheet – handout and key

Procedure

Use the powerpoint to present the rules, it is designed in a test, teach, test structure. Make sure that students copy down the rules and several examples then have them complete the worksheet and finally put the structures to use in a fun role-play. Students will role play being a married couple having a very civilised argument. Once they have finished have them feedback in open class: “Can the marriage be saved? Or is it on the rocks?” My teenage CAE students found it absolutely hilarious and used the structures in very creative ways.

Handout

Complete the sentences with the correct form of the verb in brackets:

  1. I would rather ____________ a light salad than a steak for dinner. (have)
  2. I would rather he ________________his dirty cups all over the house. (not leave)
  3. Venice was nice but I’d sooner __________________ to Paris. (go)
  4. He’s quite antisocial he’d just as soon ____________ video games all weekend than go to a bar. (play)
  5. I wanted to give the present to granny! I’d rather you _______________ for me to arrive before you gave it to her. (wait)
  6. We had dinner outside but it was too cold. I’d much rather ______________ inside the restaurant. (eat)

Complete the key word transformations using 3-6 words.

  1. My brother is always stealing my chocolate out of the fridge.

RATHER

I’d _______________________________________ my chocolate out of the fridge.

  1. Why did you tell the boss I was leaving?

RATHER

I ____________________________________ the boss I was leaving.

  1. I prefer visiting museums to lying around on the beach all day.

JUST

I ____________________________ than lie around on the beach all day.

  1. The chocolates he gave me were ok but I wanted roses.

RATHER

I _____________________________  me roses instead of chocolates.

  1. The art gallery was sooo boring; I wanted to go to the casino.

RATHER

I _______________________________ to the casino instead of that boring art gallery.

  1. He would prefer to do anything instead of watching a football match.

SOONER

He ___________________________________ anything instead of watching a football match.

Role-play

Role-play the following scenario with your partner:

You are a married couple; you have been married for 23 years. You have just got back from a party at a friend’s house. At the party you both got drunk and did a lot of things to annoy your husband/wife. You are both also annoyed about some things that the other does or doesn’t do around the house. Have a civilised argument using as many “would rathers” and “would sooners” as you can.

Key

Sentence Completion

  1. Have
  2. Didn’t leave
  3. Have gone
  4. Play
  5. Had waited
  6. Have eaten

Key Word Transformations

  1. Rather my brother didn’t steal
  2. Would rather you hadn’t told
  3. Would just as soon visit museums
  4. Would rather he had given
  5. Would rather have gone
  6. Would soon do
Posted in Grammar Classes, Reading Classes

Mysteries of the Ancient World: Past Modals of Speculation

Image credit: www.english-heritage.org.uk

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a grammar lesson on the theme of mysterious ancient monuments. I taught this class as my assessed lesson for the grammar assignment of my DELTA. Download the procedure, powerpoint and handouts below.

Let me know if the lesson procedure is clear enough as it’s written in Cambridge DELTA speak!

Lesson Procedure Past Speculation 3rd draft

The Mystery of Stonehenge 3rd draft – Students’ handout

The Mystery of Stonehenge Teacher’s copy with key – answers underlined

Mysteries of the ancient world 2nd draft – Powerpoint with pictures

The Mystery of Stonehenge – Students’ Handout

Thousands of years ago, an ancient civilization raised a circle of huge, roughly rectangular stones in a field in what is now Wiltshire, England. Stonehenge, as it would come to be called, has been a mystery ever since. Building began on the site around 3100 B.C. and continued in phases up until about 1600 B.C. No written records exist to explain how or why it was built.

How was Stonehenge built?

The biggest of Stonehenge’s stones, known as sarsens, are up to 30 feet (9 meters) tall and weigh 25 tons (22.6 metric tons) on average. Scientists believe that they must have been brought from Marlborough Downs, a distance of 20 miles (32 kilometers) to the north. Transporting the stones that distance can’t have been easy.

Smaller stones, referred to as “bluestones” (they have a bluish tinge when wet or freshly broken), weigh up to 4 tons and come from several different sites in western Wales, having been transported as far as 140 miles (225 km). It’s unknown how people in antiquity moved them that far. Scientists speculate that during the last ice age glaciers might have carried these bluestones closer to the Stonehenge area. An earlier theory was that the builders could have used rafts to transport the stones over the water. However, more recent research suggests that this method can’t have been used because of the weight of the stones.

  1. Where do scientists think the Sarsen stones came from?
  2. What does the writer say about transporting the Sarsen stones?
  3. Where did the blue stones come from?
  4. How do scientists think the blue stones were transported to the site?

What was Stonehenge?

There are a number of theories as to what the site was used for. Archaeologists agree that the site must have had a spiritual significance. It may have originally been a cemetery, according to a new study. After examining bones exhumed near the stones, scientists believe that the burials must have taken place at the same time as Stonehenge was built, suggesting that the stones could have been gravestones for religious or political elite.

  1. What are scientists certain about the significance of Stonehenge?
  2. Scientists are sure that Stonehenge was a cemetery T/F

Stonehenge may have been constructed with the sun in mind. One avenue connecting the monument with the nearby River Avon aligns with the sun on the winter solstice; archaeological evidence reveals that pigs were slaughtered at Stonehenge in December and January, suggesting that ancient pagan sun celebrations might have taken place there.

Steven Waller, a researcher in archaeoacoustics has revealed that before part of the ring collapsed it must have had excellent acoustics and speculates that it might have been an ancient concert hall or cathedral.

  1. Why do scientists think the builders chose the location for the stones?
  2. What other events possibly happened at Stonehenge?
  3. What does Steven Waller say about Stonehenge?

Wild theories about Stonehenge have persisted since the Middle Ages. Some say Merlin the wizard may have cast a spell to make the rocks as light as a feather to help with the construction. UFO enthusiasts believe that ancient aliens could have built Stonehenge as a spacecraft landing pad.

  1. What unscientific methods for Stonehenge’s construction have been suggested?

Form – Past modal verbs of speculation

Look at the sentences on the board and complete the table

Subject          + Modal           + _____________     + _____________
I

You

He/she/it

Etc.

Could

Might

May

Must

Can’t

 

 

_______

…………………

…………………

…………………

…………………

Etc.

Practice – Memory Test

Answer the questions with your partner using past modals.

  1. What did the text say about transporting the larger Sarsen stones?
  2. What did the text say about glaciers?
  3. What are scientists sure about the significance of Stonehenge?
  4. What did the researcher in archaeoacoustics say about Stonehenge?
  5. What were some of the more wild theories about its use?

Easter Island Heads

  1. Scientists are almost certain that the stones had a religious significance.

Scientists believe that the stones________________________________ a religious significance.

  1. Scientists think that it’s impossible that the stones came from a different island.

Scientists think that the stones _________________________________ from a different island.

  1. It’s possible that the stones were carved to resemble a famous leader of the tribe.

The stones _____________________________________ to resemble a famous leader of the tribe.

  1. Some people believe that there’s a possibility that the stones came from another planet. Some people believe that the stones _______________________________________from another planet.

Lesson Procedure

Stage Time Focus Procedure Aim
Pre-reading 5 mins OC

 

 

 

In pairs

Show picture of Stonehenge. Ask if anyone has been there. Share information with class.

 

Sts speculate. How old is it? How was it built? What was it?

Introduce topic. To allow sts to apply top-down knowledge
Reading 1 2 mins Pairs Give out handout. Sts read intro. Report back to open class. How old is Stonehenge? To confirm speculation and generate interest.
Reading 2 + language focus (meaning) 20 mins Pairs

 

 

 

 

 

OC

Instruct sts to read next section quickly then read questions and answer in pairs.

 

 

 

Check answers – nominate – check across class.

 

Board first 5 sentences that answer questions with modal verbs.

Ask questions: “How certain are the scientists?” to develop understanding of meaning.

Board paraphrases: “could have” = “it’s possible” “must have” = “almost certain” etc.

Repeat for sections 3,4,5.

While sts read, board phonemics for sentences on board:

/mʌstəv/

/ka:ntəv/

/meɪəv/

/kʊdəv/

/maɪtəv/

To confirm speculation. To test sts ability to understand past modals.

 

 

 

 

To develop understanding of meaning of target sentences.

Language focus 5 mins Pairs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sts look at 5 boarded sentences, analyse structures and complete substitution table on handout:

 

Board formula: modal + perfect infinitive (have + past part.)

 

Focus on pronunciation, sts use phonemics on board to practice target sentences.

To develop form of structures.

 

 

 

 

 

To develop pronunciation of past modals.

Speaking – controlled practice 5 mins pairs Sts answer questions about text on handout in pairs, trying to use the target language. To practice and become more familiar with the structures.
Writing – controlled practice 5 mins pairs Show picture of Easter Island Heads with scientific theories. Sts complete sentence transformations on handout using past modals.

 

Check answers across class.

To practice written form and meaning.

 

 

 

To check answers and practice pronunciation.

Speaking – controlled practice 10-15 mins Pairs

 

 

 

OC

 

Pairs/groups of 4.

Sts speculate about the Easter Island heads in pairs. Monitor, board corrections.

 

Share ideas in open class.

 

Repeat with pictures of Magura Cave, Great Pyramids, Uffington White Horse.

 

Sts make speculations in pairs about new pictures then speak to pair next to them and share ideas.

To practice and become more familiar with the structures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To come to a consensus about speculations.

Posted in Grammar Classes

CAE Conditionals Worksheet

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a worksheet to practice some advanced conditional expressions such as as soon as/otherwise/even if.

It follows on from my previous CAE conditionals lesson plan. Download the worksheet below:

Conditionals Worksheet

Conditionals Worksheet

Complete the sentences with a word from the box.

  1. ______________ the weather improves, we’ll have to cancel the match.
  2. ______________ you won the lottery, would you keep working?
  3. ______I known you were going to get angry, I wouldn’t have mentioned it.
  4. ______ they to install a swimming pool, how many people would use it?
  5. Put on another pair of socks, _____________ you’re going to get cold.
  6. I’m not going to speak to him again, ______________ he begs me on his hands and knees.
  7. __________ you feel sick, take two of these tablets.
  8. ______________ you pay us half of the money now, we’ll give you a 5% discount.
Should       were       supposing       unless       had       even if       provided that       otherwise

 

Match the first half of the conditional (1-8) to the second half.

1.     Supposing I asked you out for dinner,

2.     You can have a party,

3.     I wouldn’t go on a date with him,

4.     Should you need any assistance,

5.     Make sure you close the cage door,

6.     Unless you lower your price,

7.     Were the boss to give us a pay rise,

8.     Had I not seen the warning sign,

a.     Even if he was the last man on Earth.

b.     Provided that you clean up afterwards.

c.      Don’t hesitate to call me.

d.     We might not be so grumpy all the time.

e.     The deal is off.

f.       Otherwise the hamster might escape.

g.     I would have touched the cable and been electrocuted!

h.     What would you say?

 

 

 

Key

Exercise 1

  1. Unless
  2. Supposing
  3. Had
  4. Were
  5. Otherwise
  6. Even if
  7. Should
  8. Provided that

Exercise 2

  1. H
  2. B
  3. A
  4. C
  5. F
  6. E
  7. D
  8. G
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, Grammar Classes

3rd Conditional: Balloon Debate

Photo credit:en.wikipedia.org

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

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.