New Episode! This is the first in a new series of book club episodes based around Richard Osman’s brilliant page-turner “The Thursday Murder Club”. Tim and Katy discuss the plot a few chapters at a time and highlight some useful language. Try it out with your high-level students!
2Ts in a Pod is back with our first episode of season 4! It’s the 2020 Halloween special!
Some great creepy stories to use as listening activities in your classes this week! Try the spine-tingling one from 40:09-43:05 by friend of the pod Wilf Merttens.
If you like what you hear, check out Wilf’s podcast The Wilfiad: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-wilfiad/id1198607038
I haven’t even had time to keep up with the posts about each episode of our podcast. Terribly neglectful of me. Towards the end of last year we did a little mini series on the Cambridge B2 First or whatever it’s called these days (Cambridge keep changing the name). We looked at most parts of the exam; have a listen by following the links below:
FCE General Tips
FCE Use of English
Image credit: https://play.acast.com/s/offmenu/
This is a lesson plan for B2+ students based around a clip from the brilliant Off Menu Podcast presented by Ed Gamble and James Acaster. The idea is to use the listening exercise as a way to encourage students to listen to podcasts for pleasure outside class. Download the student handout and answer key below:
The Off Menu Podcast is hosted by comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster. Every week a different guest comes onto the show and talks about their ultimate dream meal. The meal must include a starter, main course, side dish, dessert and drink. There are no limits to what each dish could be, some guests have chosen things as varied as McDonald’s fries and Pizza Hut pizza or their mum’s Christmas dinner or a traditional Indian curry.
This week’s guest is the Indian comedian Sindhu Vee. Sindhu was born in India and has also lived in the Philippines; she now lives in London with her Danish husband.
Predict with your partner: You’re going to listen to the part where Sindhu chooses her dream main course. What do you think she chooses?
Link to the episode. Timing: 29:49-32:50
Listen for Gist
First listen: What was the dish?
Listen for Detail
- Where did she try the dish?
- Who made the dish?
- How did the different members of her family react to the chef’s driving?
- What surprised her about Sicilian food?
- What was her husband’s reaction to the dish?
- What really impressed her about the dish?
Look at the expressions Sindhu uses, what do you think they mean?
“I had to keep face”
“Not cognisant of the world around him.”
“You have a fight and flight response.”
“You’re gonna fight through to the taste.”
Listen to the rest of the episode for homework, what does Sindhu choose for the other parts of her dream menu?
Listen for Gist
First listen: What was the dish? Pasta arrabbiata with angel hair pasta
Listen for Detail
- Where did she try the dish? Near Florence
- Who made the dish? Mr Mancini the boss of the hotel
- How did the different members of her family react to the chef’s driving? She was fine, her husband was scared, her kids loved it
- What surprised her about Sicilian food? How spicy it was
- What was her husband’s reaction to the dish? He went blind
- What really impressed her about the dish? How it maintained its flavour despite being so spicy
Look at the expressions Sindhu uses, what do you think they mean?
“Maniacal driving” – driving like a crazy person
“I had to keep face” – to maintain one’s reputation
“Not cognisant of the world around him.” – Not aware/unconscious
“You have a fight and flight response.” – Instinctive reaction, stand and fight or run away
“You’re gonna fight through to the taste.” – Battle against the spiciness to the flavour
Image credit: Disney Wiki – Fandom
This is another guest post by Katy Wright, the co-host of our podcast 2Ts in a Pod. This is a listening activity for B2+ students based around a clip from an episode of the popular podcast This American Life. The episode is called 20 Acts in 60 Minutes. The clip in question is an interview with the actor Tate Donovan in which he recounts a particularly embarrassing moment in his life. Download all the materials below:
- This American Life Powerpoint
- This American Life Transcript
- This American Life Student Handout
- This American Life Teacher’s Notes
- Audio Files: Full Clip and Section for Decoding
- Show a picture of Tate Donovan. Ask students if they recognise him (he was famously Joshua on Friends)
- Tell students that they are going to listen to an him talking about an embarrassing moment.
- Ask you students: What would an actor find embarrassing?
- Play the audio file (This American Life: 20 acts in 60 minutes)
- Were their predictions correct?
- Give students the transcript
- Ask them to listen again to the section and fill in the gaps. Tell them that there is one word per gap
- The students may need you to play it several times to get the right answer. Give them the first letter of the word to help them if they are struggling.
- Tell students that these are elements of connected speech. Ask students to drill (repeat after the teacher) the connect speech. If students are too embarrassed to do this tell them that it is ok to do this quietly (mumble drill)
- Ask students to listen to the section again and this time underline the stressed words. You do the first word as an example
- Check their answers
- Now ask students to drill the section, sentence by sentence. Using both the connected speech and the stress.
- Now tell them that they are going to say the words at the same time as the audio. Do this sentence by sentence, pausing in between to help students to catch up.
- Ask students if they feel this has improved their understanding of connected speech and intonation in English.
- Ask students to think about an embarrassing moment that they had or someone they know has had, but not to discuss is yet!
- Tell them to think for 2 minutes and write down 5 – 10 words about their story.
- When time is up, turn to their partner and tell their story
- Monitor the class and note down example of errors or interesting language that emerges
- In open class look at the emergent language and discuss improvements or other ways of expressing the same thing
- Ask students to turn to another partner and repeat their story. This time trying to use the improvements discussed in open class
- Ask students to write out their story for homework and record it on their phones. They can send the audio file to you for homework
Decoding Key – Stress Underlined
So all of a sudden, the 10 minutes we’re sitting there waiting for it to start, three or four people come up to me and recognize me. I mean, they know exactly who I am. And they are quoting lines from a television show I was on. And like, hey, you were Joshua on Friends.
This is a guest post by Katy Wright, the co-host of 2Ts in a Pod. It’s a listening activity based around a clip from episode 5: Pet Hates. Download all the materials below:
- Tell students they are going to listen to two people, Tim and Katy, talking about their pet hates. Check their understanding of pet hate [a common, everyday thing that can be really annoying]
- Ask student to predict in groups about what could annoy Tim?
- Listen to the extract and check their predictions
- Ask students if they also find these things annoying.
- Ask students to make a list of 3 of their biggest pet hates and share them with their partner
Listening in detail
- Tell students they are going to listen to the extract again. This time they write down expressions they hear related to being annoyed or irritated
- You may want to play the extract again is students are struggling
- Students compare the expressions they have written.
- Give the students the transcript of the extract. Ask them to underline the pragmatic language related to annoyance. Did they find them all?
- Check understanding of the expressions in open class. Point out the stressed words of these expressions
- Ask students to repeat the expressions with their partner to practice pronunciation and stress
- Go back to the list of 3 pet hates they discussed earlier in the lesson. Ask students to talk about them again but this time using the expressions from the extract
- Monitor and give feedback on emergent language
- Students can practice the conversation a few times with a partner and then record their conversation “podcast” style. This could then be shared among the other members of the group on WhatsApp or a wiki if they feel comfortable to do so.
1:43 – 3:00 minutes
Katy: [00:00:00] But first Tim, what really annoys you? What really drives you up the wall?
Tim: [00:00:05] What drives me up the wall. I would say, in general, inconsiderate people really get on my nerves. So, especially in public places like on public transport, for example. Here in Barcelona, it’s really common. So, say you’re on the Metro, okay, and you’re coming up to a stop and it pulls, the Metro pulls into the station and stops the doors open and people try to get on the Metro before you’ve got off. Yeah it really, really drives me insane.
Katy: [00:00:42] So annoying.
Tim: [00:00:43] If you just let us off everything would be so much easier. Yeah. It really really really really gets on my nerves. Also another thing on the metro I think it’s quite common, um, that really annoys me is people listening to music without headphones on their mobiles.
Katy: [00:01:02] That annoys me if people are walking down the street. I don’t know. Just turn it down, put headphones in. Or turn it down.
Tim: [00:01:11] Yeah. No one wants to listen to that.
Katy: [00:01:12] No one cares.
Tim: [00:01:14] So that, that’s what really really really annoys me. Yeah, It drives me up the wall.
This is a listening activity for B1+ students based around an extract from episode 11 of our podcast on the topic of Small World Stories and Coincidences. Download all the materials below:
- 2Ts Coincidence Powerpoint
- 2Ts Coincidence Transcript
- 2Ts Coincidence Teacher’s Notes
- 2Ts Coincidence Student Handout
- Audio File
Use the first slide on the PowerPoint to introduce the topic and have students predict what kind of coincidences two identical twins separated at birth could have experienced.
Students listen and try to write down all the coincidences they hear then compare in partners and listen again if necessary. Task check using PowerPoint slide:
- Both called James
- Both grew up to be police officers
- Both marry a Linda
- Both had sons called James Alan/Allan
- Both had a dog called Toy
- Both remarried women called Betty
Students listen again and write down expressions for expressing surprise:
- No way!
- You’re shitting me!
- That’s mental!
- How bizarre!
3rd Listen: Decoding
Students listen to the first section again and fill in the gaps with elements of connected speech:
I’ve got some coincidence stories that have happened in the world. This one’s a good one. Right. So, as I mentioned I studied psychology at University so I’d, I’d heard about these guys. This is an article that I found on boredpanda.com. And it’s called “10+ crazy coincidences that are hard to believe actually happened”. So here’s the thing. There’s two twins who were separated at birth.
Students think of a surprising story or event from their own lives and write down 6 key words needed to tell the story. They then tell the story to their partner who reacts using the expressions. Teacher gives feedback/error correction, then they swap partners and repeat the exercise having taken the feedback on board.
Image credit: Mark Wilding
The fifth episode of our new podcast for B2+ English students and teachers alike is now live! In this episode we’re talking about our pet hates or things that really annoy us. Go to our SoundCloud page and download the teacher’s notes below:
2Ts in a Pod – Teacher’s Notes Episode 5: Pet Hates
- Intro convo 00:00-7:40
- Vox pop – Nicole – 07:46-09:55
- Vox pops – Abbi – 10:00-12:30
- Be like you – Berenece – 12:45 – 16:38
- 5 Ways to say – 16:50 – 21:00
- Knock knock jokes 21:13 – 25:49
5 Ways to Say
Pet hates/Annoying things
- People get on my nerves when they walk down the street really slowly. (annoys me)
- People who sit on the outside seat on the bus when the inside seat is free drive me insane/drive me up the wall! (annoys me)
- Annoying people get on my tits. (annoys me *informal/rude*)
- Inconsiderate people really piss me off. (annoys me *informal/rude*)
- My pet hate/bugbear is inconsiderate people. (a thing that annoys me specifically)
Making polite requests
- Would you mind turning the volume down? (remember to use …ing!)
- I wish you wouldn’t leave your socks on the floor. (use wish + would to express annoyance)
- I’d rather you didn’t smoke in here. (use past simple when changing subject)
- What’s your pet hate/bugbear?
- What things really get on your nerves when you’re on public transport?
- What things really get on your nerves at work?
- What things really get on your nerves at home?
- What things really drive you up the wall in the street?
- What things do you wish your parents/partner/kids/siblings wouldn’t do?
- Role-play: one person is smoking on the metro, the other wants them to stop.
- Role-play: Parent and teenager arguing about the things each one does that annoys the other.
Image credit: Mark Wilding
Episode 4 of the podcast is now live on our Soundcloud page! Click the link below to listen, you can also download the teacher’s notes.
On this episode we were talking about crimes like pick pocketing and mugging as well as other types of scam. We interviewed several people about their experiences being the victims of crime in Barcelona and other parts of the world. Hope you enjoy the show!
2Ts in a Pod – Teacher’s Notes Episode 4: Scams
- 00:00 – 03:14 – Intro chat
- 03:14 – 06:56 – Tim’s pickpocketing story
- 06:56 – 09:20 – Vox-pop with Vicky: Scams in Barcelona vs in Argentina
- 09:20 – 13:48 – Katy’s mugging story
- 13:48 – 17:06 – Five ways to say: Crime/scam expressions
- 17:06 – 20:54 – Vox-pop with Beranice: Barcelona robbery story
- 21:00 – 26:52 – I wanna be like you with Vicky
- 26:52 – 29:00 – Vox-pop with Lisa: Scam stories
- 29:00 – end – Thanks, credits, comment
Five Ways to Say…
- I totally fell for the scam. (I believed it, I was tricked)
- I was taken in by the con man. (he convinced/tricked me)
- This sandwich cost me €8! What a rip-off! (overpriced/too expensive)
- I got ripped off by the mechanic when I took my car in for a service.
- I felt like a right idiot/plonker/tit after they stole my bag. (feel stupid)
- Have you ever been pickpocketed? Or even mugged?
- What happened?
- What advice would you give someone to help them avoid something similar happening to them?
- Can you think of any other types of scam? Email scams? Phone scams? etc.
- What do you think the punishment for these crimes should be?
- Have you ever been ripped off when you bought something?
- Where were you?
- What did you buy?
- When was the last time you felt like a right idiot/plonker/tit?