Posted in Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Current Affairs Classes, Exam Preparation Class, pragmatics, Proficiency

C1/C2: Expressing Opinion – Hot Button Topics

This is a quick activity I threw together to help higher level students with expressing opinions on a range of controversial or “hot button” topics. I got the list of opinion expressions from the excellent englishclub.com, they have some great lists of functional language exponents organised by level, check them out:

https://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/fl-giving-opinions.htm

Download the handout and PowerPoint below:

Procedure

Give out the handout and have students work together to try to complete the opinion expressions.

Go over their answers in open class.

Drill natural pronunciation of the expressions. Point out to students that we often emphasise or stress the part that identifies the stated opinion as our own:

In MY opinion,…

As far as I’M concerned,…

You know what *I* think?

For the hot-button topics you could either brainstorm some with your students by asking:

What issues are people debating fiercely these days?

What was the last heated argument/debate you had about?

Or, you could use the ones in the PowerPoint. Show a slide and have students express their opinions in small groups.

If you have an exam preparation group, the activity would work well as a warm-up to tackling some of the collaborative tasks such as Advanced speaking parts 3&4.

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency Key Word Transformation Training #6

Here’s another training worksheet for C2 students preparing to take the C2 Proficiency exam. Students guess the meaning of some common idioms and expressions, attempt to recall them, then put them into practice in conversation. Download the handout below:

Here’s a quizizz game for spaced repetition.

Posted in Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Proficiency

1st Class Back After Easter – Speaking Tasks

Some quick speaking activities combining chatting about Easter holidays with some practice for exam speaking tasks. Download the PowerPoints and handout below:

The long turn task is modelled on the C2 Proficiency speaking part 3 in which students have to speak for 2 minutes about a given topic with 3 bullet points to guide them. Give out the speaking phrases and go over the “cheat sheet” of useful expressions on the first slide. Then put students in pairs and have them take it in turns to complete the task seeing who can use the most expressions, they need to speak on their own for 2 minutes. Once they have finished they should find 5 similarities between their Easter holiday experiences and share them with the class.

Alternatively, if you want something more collaborative, I’ve added a C1 Advanced part 3 style task in a separate PowerPoint. Students should first look at the cheat sheet, clear up any doubts, then have them answer the central question in pairs. You could then give them a further question: “which of these 5 types of activities do you appreciate doing most in your holidays.”

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Reading Classes

C2 Reading & Vocabulary: Football Dreams

This is a reading and vocabulary lesson plan for C2 students who are preparing to take the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam. Students read a text about a boy, his grandad and football then look at expressions and collocations from the text. Download the handout and key below:

You may also want to use this quizziz game to review the language at a later date.

The class procedure is pretty self-explanatory and should take the best part of 90 minutes. Follow the instructions on the student handout.

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency

C2 Proficiency: Key Word Transformations – Mini Test

This is a little mini test of 25 key word transformation questions for C2 proficiency students. Most of the questions are based around fixed expressions that often come up at this level. You will find most of them in previous lesson plans I’ve made, so the test will serve as good spaced repetition for your students. Download the handout and answer key below:

Here’s a quizlet study set that students could use at home to revise the expressions.

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Listening Classes

2Ts in a Pod: Episode 53 – Mike Coppock: Endurance Challenges

2Ts in a Pod are back with a great new episode on the topic of endurance challenges. Katy and Tim talk to Mike Coppock, the long distance mountain runner, about his experiences completing the Island Munros Triathlon and setting a new record for crossing the Pyrenees mountains from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean coast.

If you want to read more about Mike’s adventures, or watch the excellent short film of the Island Munros Triathlon, follow the links below:

cutt.ly/xA5ypvm – Island Munros Triathlon & The Martin Moran Foundation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zK3bdOVBW78 – Island Munros Triathlon short film

cutt.ly/SA5y0ua – The full story of Mike’s Pyrenees crossing

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Key Word Transformation Training #5

This is another training worksheet to introduce some of the expressions that typically come up in part 4 of the proficiency use of English paper. Students work together to guess the meaning of the expressions from the context, then attempt to recall them to complete version 2. Download the handout below:

Then put students in pairs and have them first complete then ask and answer the discussion questions to put the language into more creative practice.

You could then use this quizizz game for future spaced recall/repetition of the expressions.

Version 1

  1. He bears a close resemblance to his uncle.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The little boy was green with envy to see his cousin riding his new bike.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. She’s been a bit down in the mouth for the last few days.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Look on the bright side, at least it isn’t raining.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The film is a far cry from the book.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. In his autobiography, he finally set the record straight about the infamous argument with his manager.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Listen, I’ll get straight to the point, we love the house and we want to make an offer.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Keep me posted on the progress with the order, you can call or text anytime.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The England supporters put their team’s failure to qualify down to bad luck.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The waiters at the restaurant couldn’t have been more attentive.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Listen, I think we got off on the wrong foot yesterday, can we start over?

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The police think Julia had something to do with the robbery but I think they’re barking up the wrong tree.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. We can go and have a look but there’s no guarantee that there will be space to park.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He prides himself on his ability to remember names and dates.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. She’s definitely at home, I caught a glimpse of her when she walked past the window.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. There were no rooms left in the hotel whatsoever.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. At the height of his success, he could get a table at any restaurant he wanted.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. There’s no telling how she’s going to react when you tell her.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. We need to face up to the fact that the money’s gone and we can’t get it back.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I’m not averse to going to the cinema by myself.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. You’ll have to work your socks off if you want to impress the boss, she’s very demanding.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I was really nervous when I met my girlfriend’s parents for the first time but they soon put me at ease.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Listen, I’ve said my piece, this matter is no longer open to discussion. Goodbye.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Version 2

  1. He looks very similar to his uncle. (BEARS)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The little boy was very jealous to see his cousin riding his new bike. (GREEN)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. She’s been a bit sad for the last few days. (MOUTH)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Be optimistic, at least it isn’t raining. (BRIGHT)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The film is very different from the book. (CRY)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. In his autobiography, he finally told the truth about the infamous argument with his manager. (RECORD)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Listen, I’ll talk about the most important thing first, we love the house and we want to make an offer. (POINT)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Give me updates about the progress with the order, you can call or text anytime. (POSTED)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The England supporters said that bad luck was the reason for their team’s failure to qualify. (PUT)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The waiters at the restaurant were extremely attentive. (COULD)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Listen, I think we didn’t start our relationship well yesterday, can we begin again? (FOOT/START)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The police think Julia had something to do with the robbery but I think they’re choosing the wrong course of action. (TREE)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. We can go and have a look but we can’t be sure that there will be space to park. (GUARANTEE)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He takes great satisfaction in his ability to remember names and dates. (PRIDES)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. She’s definitely at home, I saw her briefly when she walked past the window. (CAUGHT)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. There wasn’t a single room left at the hotel. (WHATSOEVER)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. When he was most successful, he could get a table at any restaurant he wanted. (HEIGHT)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Who knows how she’s going to react when you tell her? (TELLING)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. We need to accept the fact that the money’s gone and we can’t get it back. (FACE)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I don’t mind going to the cinema by myself. (AVERSE)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. You’ll have to work very hard if you want to impress the boss, she’s very demanding. (SOCKS)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I was really nervous when I met my girlfriend’s parents for the first time but they soon made me feel comfortable. (EASE)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Listen, I’ve said what I want to say, I don’t want to discuss this matter anymore. Goodbye. (PIECE/OPEN)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Conversation

Complete the questions, then ask and answer them with a partner.

  1. Which member(s) of your family do you …….. the closest resemblance to?
  2. Are you the kind of person that often feels green with …….. about your friends’ achievements or possessions? Do you think it’s normal to have these feelings? What can we do about them?
  3. If you’re feeling …….. in the mouth, how do you cheer yourself up? Are you someone who tends to look on the bright ……..? Or do you have a more gloomy outlook on life?
  4. Think of a place you’ve visited that was a far …….. from the place where you grew up. How was it different? Was it a good different or a bad different?
  5. If you have to talk to someone about a difficult subject, do you tend to get ……… to the point, beat around the bush or avoid confrontation altogether? What are the pros and cons of each approach?
  6. Think of a celebrity who has recently ……… the record straight about something they did or said in the past. What happened? Do you think they were right to speak out?
  7. When a person becomes extremely successful or famous, how much of their success do you think can be ……… down to luck and how much is about real talent?
  8. What’s the best customer service you’ve ever received? A place where the staff couldn’t ……… been more attentive. How did it make you feel? Does your country generally have good customer service?
  9. Have you ever ……… off on the wrong foot with someone and had to start ………? Did you then go on to become good friends with that person?
  10. Which of your skills/abilities do you pride yourself ………? Why do you think people tend to be overly modest or hide their best talents and abilities?
  11. Have you ever ……… a glimpse of a really famous celebrity? Where were you? What was the celebrity doing? If you could live that moment again, would you do anything differently?
  12. Think of an example of a famous person who is no longer at the height ……… their success. What are they doing now? Do you feel sorry for them?
  13. Are you someone who tends to ……… up to facts when they’re staring you in the face? Or are you sometimes in denial?
  14. “I’m not averse ……… going to the cinema by myself.” – Is this true for you? What are the pros and cons of going to see a film alone?
  15. Did/do you work your ……… off at school or uni? Or just coast along doing the bare minimum?
  16. How can the parents of a new girl/boyfriend ……… you at ease the first time you meet them? Have you ever been in this situation? How did it feel?
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Key Word Transformation Training #3

This is another training worksheet to introduce some of the expressions that typically come up in part 4 of the proficiency use of English paper. Students work together to guess the meaning of the expressions from the context, then attempt to recall them to complete version 2. Download the handout below:

Then put students in pairs and have them ask and answer the discussion questions to put the language into more creative practice.

You could then use this quizziz game for spaced recall of the expressions.

Look at the expressions in bold and try to guess their meaning with a partner.

  1. Young women are often discouraged from pursuing careers in engineering due to sexist preconceptions.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. People who earn under €10,000 a year are exempt from paying income tax.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I am behind with my rent payments, I owe my landlord €1000.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Whether he’s hot or not is beside the point, he’s my ex-boyfriend so you can’t date him.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. There is no question of him staying the night with us, he can get a hotel.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. New restrictions will come into force on Friday night.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Going camping in the mountains does not appeal to me at all.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The police ruled out the obvious suspect because he had an alibi for the night in question.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. They made the decision to get married on the spur of the moment.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He has set his heart on going to LA to be an actor.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. When what really happened comes to light, you’re going to be in big trouble.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I’m not nearly as good-looking as him, it’s not fair!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. It is a foregone conclusion that Man City will win the league now.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I just took it as read that anyone who applied for the course would have the necessary qualifications.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Sadly, he’s just not cut out to be a professional basketball player.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I have no idea whatsoever who’s going to win this match.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He came in for a lot of criticism after his comments to the press.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. My horse couldn’t keep pace with the rest of the riders and we soon fell behind.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Version 2

Try to recall the expressions using the key words.

  1. Young women are often put off pursuing careers in engineering due to sexist preconceptions. (DISCOURAGED)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. People who earn under €10,000 a year don’t have to pay income tax. (EXEMPT)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I have missed a few of my rent payments, I owe my landlord €1000. (BEHIND)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Whether he’s hot or not doesn’t matter, he’s my ex-boyfriend so you can’t date him. (BESIDE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. There’s no way he is staying the night with us, he can get a hotel. (QUESTION)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. New restrictions will become law on Friday night. (FORCE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Going camping in the mountains does not interest me at all. (APPEAL)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The police eliminated the obvious suspect because he had an alibi for the night in question. (RULED)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. They made the decision to get married on a whim. (SPUR)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He is determined to go to LA to be an actor. (HEART)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. When what really happened is revealed, you’re going to be in big trouble. (LIGHT)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He’s much better looking than me, it’s not fair! (NEARLY)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Man City will definitely win the league now. (FOREGONE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I just assumed that anyone who applied for the course would have the necessary qualifications. (READ)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Sadly, he just doesn’t have what it takes to be a professional basketball player. (CUT)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I haven’t the foggiest idea who’s going to win this match. (WHATSOEVER)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He received a lot of criticism after his comments to the press. (CAME)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. My horse couldn’t go at the same speed as the rest of the riders and we soon fell behind. (PACE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Discussion

Young women are often discouraged from pursuing careers in engineering due to sexist preconceptions.

  1. Is this true? If so, what can be done to change the situation?

People who earn under €10,000 a year are exempt from paying income tax.

  1. Should anyone else be exempt from paying tax? What can we do to cut down on tax avoidance?

Whether he’s hot or not is beside the point, he’s my ex-boyfriend so you can’t date him.

  1. Is it ever ok to date a friend’s ex? Why? Why not?

New restrictions will come into force on Friday night.

  1. What will you do if new coronavirus restrictions do come into force?

Going camping in the mountains does not appeal to me at all.

  1. Does it appeal to you? Why? Why not?

They made the decision to get married on the spur of the moment.

  1. Have you ever made a big decision on the spur of the moment?

He has set his heart on going to LA to be an actor.

  1. What do you have your heart set on? What will you do to achieve it?

Sadly, he’s just not cut out to be a professional basketball player.

  1. Do you think you’re cut out to be a professional sportsperson? Why? Why not? What skills/traits do you think you’re lacking?

He came in for a lot of criticism after his comments to the press.

  1. Think of a celebrity who has come in for a lot of criticism recently. What did they do? Do you think the criticism was deserved? What’s your opinion of cancel culture?
Posted in Action Research, Pronunciation Classes

Action Research: Pronunciation Project #2

This is the second in a series of posts documenting a mini research project I’m doing with a group of C1/C2 students to see how effective explicit pronunciation instruction activities can be. If you haven’t already, please read the first post to get a better idea of the methods I’m using. Download the slides and handout for this second mini lesson plan below:

Full credit to Mark Hancock for the excellent -ed endings maze, you can get it and many more from this excellent website he runs together with Annie McDonald. You can also get loads more great materials from his Instagram page. If you get the chance to attend one of his seminars/webinars, go for it, loads of great ideas.

This particular lesson plan focuses on -ed endings of regular verbs and consonant to vowel linking in phrasal verbs. If you’re following along with the project with your students, please let me know how it’s going in the comments.

Posted in Advanced C1, B2 First, Exam Preparation Class, Games, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

Word Formation Noughts & Crosses

This is a lesson plan for students preparing for the Cambridge main suite exams. I specifically created it with C1 or C2 students in mind but it could easily be adapted to B2. Students practice word formation while playing a game of noughts and crosses. Download the handout below:

Students play in pairs, they must choose a square on the board where they want to place their token, but they must first correctly complete the corresponding word formation question in order to do so. All of the words are based on the same root word.

If a student answers incorrectly, you could either have the opponent steal the square by answering correctly, or say that the square is now dead and nobody can place a token there.

An alternative game to play with the same 9 questions is this great, and very versatile, football game by https://tekhnologic.wordpress.com/

As a follow-up you could set your students the task of coming up with their own lists of nine sentences to use in future games. You could give them each a root word (use, communicate, etc.) and send them to the Longman Online Dictionary to look up all the derivatives in order to make their 9 questions: https://www.ldoceonline.com/