Posted in Vocabulary Classes

Proverbs

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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 Games, Uncategorized

Game: Alphabet Quiz CPE Idioms Version

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This is a new version of my Alphabet Quiz game designed for very high levels (high C1) in which students have to guess different idioms which begin with each letter of the alphabet. Credit to my colleague Peter Rassa for the idea. The game is similar to the gameshow “Pasaparabla” on Spanish television. You will need the lesson plan with the question sheet:

Alphabet Quiz CPE Idioms Version

Procedure

Write the alphabet on the board, if you’re feeling really creative you can do it in a circle as shown in the picture above. Quickly recap the letters that often cause your students problems. It varies from place to place but in Spain they struggle with J, G, E, I, Q, W, and Y.

Quickly recap the letters that often cause your students problems. It varies from place to place but in Spain they struggle with J, G, E, I, Q, W, and Y.

Write all your students’ names on the board in a list.

Choose a player to go first, explain to them that you are going to ask them a question, the answer to the question begins with the letter A. They have two options: they can attempt to answer the question or they can say “pass”. If they choose to answer and they get it right, they get 1 point but if they get it wrong they lose 1 point. If they choose to pass, then it is the next student’s turn but the next student is asked the “B” question. You continue like this through the list of questions, every time a question is answered correctly you cross that letter out from the list on the board. When you reach the end of the list (the “Z” question) you then return to the top of the list and work your way through any questions which were not answered the first time around.

NOTE: It is important that students don’t shout out the answers to the questions if it’s not their turn as that question could be revisited later.

The winner is the student with the most points when all the questions have been answered or at the end of a set time limit.

 

  1. A person’s weak spot. Achilles heel.
  2. A person who is bad and makes other bad. Bad Apple
  3. A relaxed, quiet time immediately before period of violent activity or argument .Calm before the storm.
  4. If you are overcharged or underpaid, open, unfair and hard to prevent. Rip-off has a similar meaning. daylight robbery.
  5. If someone has egg on their face, they are made to look foolish or embarrassed.
  6. If you have to face the music, you have to accept the negative consequences of something you have done wrong.
  7. If you get something off your chest, you confess to something that has been troubling you.
  8. If someone is happy-go-lucky, they don’t worry or plan and accept things as they happen.
  9. This expression is used to refer to something good that happens on top of an already good thing or situation. Icing on the cake
  10. If people are joined at the hip, they are very closely connected and think the same way.
  11. When someone kicks the bucket, they die.
  12. The last straw is the final problem that makes someone lose their temper or the problem that finally brought about the collapse of something. It comes from an Arabic story, where a camel was loaded with straw until a single straw placed on the rest of the load broke its back.
  13. If you make a killing, you do something that makes you a lot of money.
  14. If two competitors or candidates, etc, are neck and neck, then they are very close and neither is clearly winning.
  15. If you’re on a roll, you’re moving from success to success.
  16. If you go out for a night out with lots of fun and drinking, you paint the town red.
  17. If someone’s as quiet as a mouse, they make absolutely no noise.
  18. Someone who starts life very poor and becomes rich goes from rags to riches.
  19. When all the best people, things or ideas and so on are used up and people try to make do with what they have left, they are scraping the barrel.
  20. If you take a leaf out of someone’s book, you copy something they do because it will help you.
  21. If you are feeling a bit ill, sad or lack energy, you are under the weather.
  22. A vicious circle is a sequence of events that make each other worse- someone drinks because they are unhappy at work, then loses their job… ‘Vicious cycle’ is also used.
  23. If something belongs to the past and isn’t important or troubling any more, it is water under the bridge.
  24. If something is x-rated, it is not suitable for children.
  25. This idiom means that if you do something for me, I’ll return the favour. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.
  26. This is used to tell someone to be quiet. Zip it.
Posted in Conversation Classes, Vocabulary Classes

You can’t choose your family: Family Expressions

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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___________________________.
Posted in Listening Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Scared Stiff! – Fear and Horror Film Expressions

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This is a lesson plan for higher level students (high B2+) in which students learn expressions related to fear and horror movies. It is a good companion activity my Chucky’s Participle Clauses lesson, I plan to teach the two activities in one 90 minute class. You will need the audio file and handouts below:

Scared Stiff Teacher notes

Scared Stiff Student Handout

Listening Audio File

Scared Stiff

Listening Comprehension

First check students understand “scared stiff” then tell them they are going to listen to a man talking about horror films. Dictate them these 5 questions, students write them down. Play the audio twice all the way through.

  1. What’s his opinion of gory films? He doesn’t find them frightening
  2. What types of gory scenes make him uncomfortable? Gory scenes involving eyes
  3. What types of horror films scare him the most? Psychological horror
  4. What sometimes happens while they are watching a horror film? The phone rings or the cat makes a noise, scaring them.
  5. What’s his girlfriend scared of? Spiders and anything that looks like a spider

Being a bit of a scaredy-cat I’m not really into horror films. But every now and then I like to sit down and watch one with my girlfriend. I’m not very squeamish so I don’t really find gory films very frightening but anything to do with eyes gives me the heebie-jeebies, so I find any scenes where people get the eyes cut or poked out really unsettling.

The films that really send shivers down my spine are psychological horror films, for me they’re far scarier than gory films. Maybe ones where some people are exploring a spooky house and there’s some creepy music playing, they really put me on edge because you don’t know when something is going to jump out and scare you half to death. Sometimes the scariest thing is when we’re watching a horror film and the house phone suddenly rings, or the cat makes a sound and we jump out of our skins with fright.

My girlfriend is slightly different to me. She’s petrified of spiders and anything that looks like a spider but they don’t really bother me. Once we watched a film about giant alien bugs and we had to switch it off because she was shaking like a leaf!

Students listen again and write down as many expressions as they can.

Language focus

Students look at the expressions in the box, find them in the text and try to deduce meaning from context.

1.       Scaredy-cat – a person who is easily frightened/scared of a lot of things

2.       Squeamish – a person who can’t deal with the sight of blood/gore

3.       Gory – a film with lots of blood and guts

4.       Gives me the heebie-jeebies – makes me feel uncomfortable/scared/disgusted

5.       Unsettling – makes you feel uncomfortable

6.       Sends shivers down my spine – a physical response to being scared

7.       Spooky – haunted, supernatural

8.       Creepy – discomforting, films can be creepy but people can too, a creepy guy etc.

9.       Put me on edge – makes me nervous

10.   Scare you half to death – scare a lot

11.   Jump out of your skin – gives you a big fright

12.   Petrified of – very scared of

13.   Shake like a leaf – physically trembling with fear

Memory gap-fill

Students turn the hand out over and try to remember the positions of all the expressions to complete the text. If they get stuck they can turn the paper over and look for one expression.

Analysis

Students look at the expressions and analyse them with the following questions to increase chance of retention.

  1. Is the meaning obvious from the words?
  2. Which ones exist in your own language?
  3. Which one is your favourite?
  4. Which one will be the easiest/most difficult to remember? Why?

Discussion

Students discuss the following questions with their partner using the expressions and the language in the box below. Students should be encouraged to use the “showing interest” expressions to actively listen to their partner.

Showing interest Personalising
Uh-huh.

That’s interesting/weird.

Oh, I see.

Right.

Totally/absolutely.

I see what you mean.

I’m exactly the same.

Uh-uh, not me.

No way!

You’re joking

For me personally,

Speaking personally,

From my point of view,

When it comes to (scary movies), I think…

Speaking of (scary movies), in my opinion…

I find (gory movies) really (terrifying)

 

(psychological horror movies) are much/far scarier than (gory movies)

  1. Are you a scaredy-cat?
  2. Are you squeamish? Do gory movies give you the heebie-jeebies?
  3. What type of movies put you on edge?
  4. What are you petrified of?
  5. Can you think of a scene in a film that made you jump out of your skin?
  6. What type of scenes/monsters send shivers down your spine?
  7. Which films left you shaking like a leaf?
  8. What scares you more, a spooky place or creepy music?
  9. What situations are unsettling in real life?
  10. Has a friend or family member ever made you jump out of your skin or scared you half to death?

Follow up

Students right a CAE style review of the scariest film they’ve ever seen, explaining why it was so scary and who they would recommend it to.

Posted in Vocabulary Classes

Mind-Boggling Expressions with Mind

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This is a vocabulary activity designed with proficiency students (C2) in mind. However, it can be adapted for advanced students. Students will learn expressions with the word “mind” and use them in a discussion. Download the students’ handout and teacher’s notes below:

Mind Expressions teachers notes

Mind Expressions student handout

Sentence completion

Give out the handout and have students work in pairs to complete as many as they can. For lower levels or if students struggle you could write all the missing words on the board and students could use them to complete the activity. Students can use the list on the back to check their own answers.

Key

1.       Great

2.       Load

3.       Meeting

4.       Frame/state

5.       Right

6.       Give piece

7.       Have own

8.       Boggling

9.       In/of

10.   Cast

11.   Bearing

12.   Crossed

13.   If do

14.   Half

15.   Sieve

16.   Tracked

17.   Running

18.   Put

19.   Own business

20.   P’s q’s

21.   Slipped

Definitions

  1. Great minds think alike – When two people have had the same good idea
  2. A load off one’s mind – news that brings relief
  3. A meeting of the minds – group of experts meeting to discuss something
  4. In a frame of mind – in a mental condition
  5. No one in their right mind would – no sane person would
  6. Give sb a piece of one’s mind – to angrily express disapproval to someone
  7. Have a mind of its own – does things on its own
  8. Mind-boggling – so big/complex that it’s difficult to comprehend
  9. To be in/of two minds about something – to be undecided
  10. Cast one’s mind back – think about a specific time in the past/make an effort to remember
  11. Bear in mind/It’s worth bearing in mind – Remember/take into account
  12. Cross one’s mind/It never crossed my mind to – I never thought about (normally in relation to a solution to a problem)
  13. Don’t mind if I do – I would like to, used when accepting an offer, usually food/drink
  14. Have half a mind to – to be considering doing something (normally something you’re not going to do)
  15. Have a mind like a sieve – bad memory
  16. Have a one-tracked mind – always thinking about one thing, almost always sex
  17. Run through one’s mind – something you’re constantly thinking about
  18. Put one’s mind to st – make a considerable effort to focus on doing something
  19. Mind one’s own business – not interfere in other people’s lives/problems
  20. Mind one’s p’s and q’s – be polite and follow social rules (please, thank you etc.)
  21. Slip one’s mind – forget something

Analysis

This section is important as it gives students an opportunity to process the expressions on a deeper cognitive level and relate them to their lives, this will increase the chances of retention. Allow them to discuss the questions and then briefly in open class.

Discussion Key

  1. Sieve slip
  2. One
  3. Cast
  4. P’s q’s
  5. Own business
  6. Gave
  7. Put
  8. In/of
  9. Right
  10. Own
  11. Bear
  12. Load
  13. Running

 

Student’s Handout

Sentence completion

Complete the sentences with 1 word to form expressions with “mind”.

  1. So you’ve decided to do a masters too! ________ minds think alike!
  2. They found the lost pendrive down the back of the sofa. Phew! That’s a ________ off my mind.
  3. The UN has organised a council of scientists to discuss the best way to solve the issue, it’s going to be a real _________ of the minds.
  4. Due to the recent speculation about a move to Real Madrid, the player has stated that he’s not in the right _________ of mind to play tomorrow.
  5. No one in their _________ mind would buy that car, it’s a death-trap!
  6. If you two don’t be quiet and go to sleep, I’m going to come up there and _____ you a ______ of my mind!
  7. My mobile phone seems to _______ a mind of its _______. It’s always calling people in my bag.
  8. The distances we’d have to travel to reach another habitable planet are mind-___________, it’s not going to be possible in our lifetime.
  9. I’m ___ two minds about what to do on Sunday, we could have a picnic or we could go to the cinema.
  10. ______ your mind back to the day of the robbery Mrs. Jones, what time did your husband arrive home?
  11. It’s worth __________ in mind that the sun goes down at 5:30 in winter, so we have to be off the mountain by then.
  12. It never ___________my mind to ask Tony for help, I figured he didn’t know anything about computers.
  13. Would you like another martini George? Oooo don’t mind ____ I _____.
  14. I have ______ a mind to go up there myself and tell them to turn the music down.
  15. I’m sorry but I’ve completely forgotten your name, I’ve got a mind like a _________.
  16. Most teenage boys have a one-_________ mind, and we all know what that means!
  17. Hi babe, are you tired? No, why? Because you’ve been ________through my mind all night.
  18. You can achieve anything if you ______ your mind to it!
  19. I was just sat at the bus-stop minding my _____ _______ when this guy walked up and started insulting me!
  20. You have to mind your ___’s and ____’s around my grandma, she’s quite sensitive about that sort of thing.
  21. Oh no! I forgot to bring you that letter, sorry, it completely ________ my mind.

Key

Below are the expressions from ex 1. Look at them with a partner, how can you express them in other words?

1.       Great minds think alike

2.       A load off one’s mind

3.       A meeting of the minds

4.       In a frame of mind

5.       No one in their right mind would

6.       Give sb a piece of one’s mind

7.       Have a mind of its own

8.       Mind-boggling

9.       To be in/of two minds about something

10.   Cast one’s mind back

11.   Bear in mind/It’s worth bearing in mind

12.   Cross one’s mind/It never crossed my mind to

13.   Don’t mind if I do

14.   Have half a mind to

15.   Have a mind like a sieve

16.   Have a one-tracked mind

17.   Run through one’s mind

18.   Put one’s mind to st

19.   Mind one’s own business

20.   Mind one’s p’s and q’s

21.   Slip one’s mind

Analysis

With your partner, look at the expressions and answer the questions below.

  1. Which ones are easy to guess from the individual meaning of the words?
  2. Which ones do you like?
  3. Which ones sound good?
  4. Which ones can be used in the most situations? And which in the least?
  5. Which ones can you easily relate to your life? Why?
  6. Which ones would you use in a letter/email/text message?
  7. Which ones would you use in speech?

Discussion

  1. Do you have a mind like a ________? What things normally _______ your mind?
  2. Is it true that men have a ______-track mind?
  3. How far can you ______ your mind back?
  4. Is it important to mind your ___’s and ___’s around your family?
  5. Are you a busy-body? Or do you tend to mind your _____ _____________?
  6. When was the last time you _______ someone a piece of your mind?
  7. You can achieve anything if you ________ your mind to it. Do you agree?
  8. Are you ____ two minds about anything at the moment?
  9. Complete the sentence about something in your city/life/country at the moment: No one in their _______ mind would…..
  10. Do any of your things have a mind of their ________?
  11. What should people ________ in mind if they want to do your favourite hobby/past-time?
  12. Can you think of any news you’ve received recently that was a _______ off your mind?
  13. Has anything been __________through your mind a lot recently? What are you going to do about it?
Posted in Conversation Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Politics: Idioms and Discussion

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Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

I’m running the Barcelona Half-Marathon dressed as David Bowie to raise money for Cancer Research, sponsor me here:

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This is a lesson plan for adult higher-level students (high B2+) in which students learn some political idioms and put them into practice in a discussion. Download the hand out and key below:

Politics student handout

Note: I found most of the political idioms on the site below, but designed the matching task, sentence matching activity and discussion myself:

http://www.learnenglish.de/vocabulary/electionidioms.html

Politics – Idioms and Discussion

Match the idioms to their definitions:

the hand-out has pretty pictures but they didn’t come out here 😦

1.       A two/three/four-horse race 2.       A political football 3.       Hot air
4.       Toe the party line

 

5.       A political hot potato 6.       A hung parliament
7.       Press the flesh

 

8.       Get on/off your soapbox 9.       Throw in the towel
10.   Bent/crooked 11.   Live/be in an ivory tower

 

12.   Have the common touch

 

a.       Be corrupt

b.      When there’s no clear winner in an election

c.       Empty words

d.      To speak passionately about something you believe in

e.      A problem that doesn’t get solved because of political reasons

f.        To give up

g.       A competition/election only a few people can win

h.      To shake hands with the public

i.         To be able to relate to the public

j.        To be detached from reality

k.       A potentially controversial  topic

l.         Conform to and express the same views as the leaders of your party.

 

Put the expressions in the sentences:

  1. After the speeches the politicians went into the crowd to __________________ with members of the public.
  2. What the chancellor said about trickle-down economics is a load of ________________, I don’t believe it for a second.
  3. The problem with most politicians is that they __________________________ and have no idea how their policies affect people.
  4. I reckon half the politicians in this country are _____________________, you just have to follow the money.
  5. The opposition have decided to __________________________ and accept that they lost the election.
  6. Normally, if a cabinet minister doesn’t ________________________ they’ll soon be out of a job.
  7. Early polls suggest the result will be a _____________________ with no clear winner.
  8. It looks like the election will be a ___________________ between Labour and the Conservatives.
  9. Prison reform has been a ______________________ for years because prisoners don’t vote!
  10. The subject of MPs’ expenses is a ______________________, nobody wants to touch it but I’m sure it’s going to blow up soon.
  11. The new leader of the Liberals _______________________, you can see it in the way he talks to his constituents.
  12. ______________________ Tony, you’re always banging on about conspiracy theories but we’ve heard it all before.

Discussion

  1. How much of a politician’s time should they spend on local issues relevant to their constituency?
  2. How much of a politician’s time should they spend on national issues?
  3. Should all politicians have to toe the party line? When should they be allowed to speak out against their leader/policy in their party?
  4. If a politician doesn’t toe the party line, what should the leader do?
  5. Which politicians are always spouting hot air? Can you trust anything a politician says? Are there any politicians in your country that you believe in?
  6. Who should get the first opportunity to form a government in a hung parliament, the party that got the most votes? Or the party most likely to be able to form a stable coalition?
  7. What have been the biggest political hot potatoes in your country in the last few years?
  8. Are there any issues that are treated like political footballs in your country?
  9. What do you think when you see a politician pressing the flesh? Why do you think they do it? Have you ever pressed the flesh with a politician?
  10. What do you get on your soap box about?
  11. Which politicians in your country have the common touch? And which don’t?
  12. Are elections in your country normally a two-horse race?
  13. If you could change one thing about the political system in your country, what would it be?
  14. How much do politicians earn in your country? Is it enough? Why do people get into politics?

Key

Definition match

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

Sentence match

  1. Press the flesh
  2. Hot air
  3. Live/are in an ivory tower
  4. Crooked/bent
  5. Throw in the towel
  6. Toe the party line
  7. Hung parliament
  8. Two-horse race
  9. Political football
  10. Political hot potato
  11. Has the common touch
  12. Get off your soap box – used to tell someone to stop talking about something

Follow up

Students could write a CAE/CPE style report on the state of politics in their country, the report could then suggest ways in which politicians could get young people to take and interest in politics.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Music Idioms and Conversation Topic

Image credit: https://sites.google.com/a/pgcps.org/greenbelt-middle-school-music-department/

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a conversation and vocabulary lesson plan for advanced students based around the topic of music. Students talk about their tastes in music and learn some music based idioms. Download the plan below:

Music LP

Music

Intro

  1. What is music to you?
  2. Define “good” music.
  3. What music do you listen to when you’re stressed/angry/happy/sad?
  4. Are you a musician? Can you sing?
  5. What’s more important to you, a good melody or good lyrics?

Music Idioms – match the idioms (1-12) to the definitions (a-m)

  1. There’s no point denying it or putting it off it’s time to face the music and admit you did it.
  2. I don’t want to blow my own trumpet but I think I dealt with that situation rather well.
  3. For our honeymoon we went on a whistle stop tour of 5 European capital cities.
  4. Paul is like a broken record, he’s always banging on about vegan food.
  5. Change the record Janet, we’ve heard it all before!
  6. The lyrics in the second verse really struck a chord with me when I was a teenager.
  7. She’s the one who calls the tune/shots in that office.
  8. My granddad is amazing, 90 years old and still fit as a fiddle.
  9. When they told me the school would have to close early it was music to my ears.
  10. I’m fed up of playing second fiddle to that moron, he messes everything up.
  11. The article’s ok, a bit boring though, why don’t you jazz it up with some raunchy photos?
  12. My students are the worst, I’ve been drumming it into their heads that they have exams today but they still all looked surprised when I told them.
a.       To be in perfect health

b.      To teach someone something repeatedly

c.       To boast/praise yourself

d.      Make something more colourful/interesting

e.      To make the decisions

f.        Someone who keeps saying the same thing over and over

g.       Exactly what one wants to hear

h.      Accept the negative consequences of your actions

i.         Constantly talking about something

j.        To be moved/remind of something when hearing something

k.       Visit the key things in a places very quickly

l.         Talk about something else, we’ve heard this before

m.    Take a subordinate role to someone else

Discussion:

  1. Who do you have to play second fiddle to?
  2. What is music to your ears?
  3. Who calls the tune/shots in your house/workplace/relationship?
  4. How can you be sure that you’re fit as a fiddle when you reach old age?
  5. How do you jazz up your meals?
  6. Did any particular songs/books/poems strike a chord with you when you were growing up?
  7. Are you like a broken record? If so, what are you always banging on about?
  8. What’s the best way to face the music?
  9. Are you known to blow your own trumpet?
  10. What’s the best way to drum something into someone’s head?

Key – Music Idioms

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