Posted in Conversation Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Where I live – Prepositions of place

my map

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:

This is a vocabulary lesson for pre-intermediate – intermediate students. Students will describe the area they live in and learn some prepositions of place.

Download the students’ hand out and teacher’s lesson plan below:

Where I live teachers handout

Where I live student handout


Write the two questions on the board and have students complete them in open class.


  1. What area of the city ____ _____ live _____?
  2. What street ___ ____ live ____?

What area of the city do you live in?

What street do you live on?

Students ask and answer the questions in pairs.

Reading Comprehension

Introduce me as a character using the picture below:

Tim is an English teacher who lives in Barcelona.

Students read the text and answer the questions. Then check in open class.

Read the text and look at the map. Then answer the questions (1-9)

I live in Raval on Carrer de la Cera. When I want to go out for dinner I have a lot of options. There is a Burger King opposite my house. If I want pizza, there is a pizza restaurant next to my house. There is an excellent tapas restaurant under my house, and if I feel like a kebab there are 3 kebab shops around the corner!

Kebabs, hamburgers and pizzas aren’t very healthy so I need to exercise. Fortunately, there are two sports centres close to my house. One problem is that the academy where I work is far from my house, but I can catch the bus there from the bus stop in front of Pia School.

  1. What area of the city do I live in?
  2. What street do I live on?
  3. What is opposite my house?
  4. What is next to my house?
  5. What is under my house?
  6. What is around the corner from my house?
  7. What is close to my house?
  8. What is the problem about where I live?
  9. Where do I catch the bus to work?

Concept Checking

Use the positions of the students in the class or a pen and bottle to check students’ understanding of the prepositions. For example, hold the pen next to the bottle and ask “Where is the bottle?” elicit the prepositions from students. Sts do the same in pairs.

Memory gap-fill

Have this printed on the back of the handout, students flip the sheet over and try to remember the prepositions, they can refer to the map to help them, encourage them to work in pairs.

Can you remember the prepositions?

I live __ Raval __ Carrer de la Cera. When I want to go out for dinner I have a lot of options. There is a Burger King _______ my house. If I want pizza, there is a pizza restaurant _______ my house. There is an excellent tapas restaurant _______ my house, and if I feel like a kebab there are 3 kebab shops __________________!

Kebabs, hamburgers and pizzas aren’t very healthy so I need to exercise. Fortunately, there are two sports centres __________ my house. One problem is that the academy where I work is __________ my house, but I can catch the bus there from the bus stop ___________ Pia School.

Draw a map and describe your area

Using the map of the area around your school that you drew on the board earlier, elicit a description using the prepositions in open class, for example: There is a bakery opposite the school, there is a bus stop in front of the school. Draw in the features as the students describe them. Then tell students to draw a map of the area around their house on a piece of paper and describe it to their partner, help with vocab for shops etc, students then change partners and describe their area to someone new.

Follow up/Homework

Students write a paragraph describing their area for homework for the next day using as many of the prepositions as they can.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes, Video Classes

Zero Conditional: Hiccup Cures!

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:


Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan to help students put the zero conditional into practice in conversation.

Download it here:

Zero Conditional


Ask students the following: What do you do when you get hiccups?

Show them the following video and tell them to write down as many causes and cures for hiccups as they can.

Mine the video for vocabulary:

Spasm, stuck, breathe, gasp, exhale/inhale, hold your breath, difference between breathe (verb, long vowel sound) and breath (noun, short vowel sound), chug, pull, tongue, drink from, wrong side, take a sip, swallow, tip your head back, plug your nose, a teaspoon of, sprinkle, squeeze your pinky, pressure point, pinch, recite, backwards, think of, bald, cure/get rid of hiccups.

Ask them which methods from the video they use.

Model a few sentences on the board:

When/whenever I get hiccups, I ask a friend to scare me.

Tell students that this is called the zero conditional. Give out the first page of the handout and go over it quickly.

We use the zero conditional to talk about general or scientific truths and habits.

If you heat ice, it melts. (General truth)

If I drink coffee after 6pm, I can’t sleep. (Habit)

We also use it to talk about what people should do in certain situations.

If you feel tired, stop for a rest.

If you feel ill, take your medicine.

The formula is:

If/when/whenever + present simple, present simple.

Matching exercise

Match numbers 1-5 with letters a-e to make zero conditional sentences.

1.     If it rains, a.     The roads are dangerous.
2.     If it snows, b.     I try a new flavour of ice-cream
3.     Whenever I visit Rome, c.      Tell a security guard.
4.     If you see someone stealing d.     It boils.
5.     When water reaches 100º C, e.     We play basketball inside.

Matching Key

1-e, 2-a, 3-b, 4-c, 5-d

Conversation exercise

Cut the following cards up. Students take them one at a time and discuss them in conversation. Encourage the use of: “Me too/neither” or “So/neither do I”

Whenever I go on holiday… When I go to the dentist…
If I drink too much red wine… Whenever the sales are on…
If I see a beggar in the street… If I see a tourist with their bag open…
When I go to the beach, I always… When it’s my birthday…
If I’m feeling blue… Whenever I need help at work/school…
If I eat too much… When I watch a sad film at the cinema…
When I forget to do something important at home… If I have free time…
Whenever I go to the city centre… When I visit my relatives…
If someone asks me for directions in the street… If you get hiccups…
If you have a hangover… If you feel ill at work/school…
If you need to take a day off… When I have too much work to do…

Here are some alternatives for teenage students:

When I get bored… If I feel sleepy at school…
If I drop my ice-cream on the floor… If a wasp comes near me…
If I can’t sleep… If my brother/sister annoys me…
When I don’t feel like going to school… When my teacher puts a video on…
When I forget to do my homework… If I get sunburnt…

Photo credit:

Video credit: buzzfeedyellow

Posted in Conversation Classes, Games, Grammar Classes

Modals of Obligation, Necessity and Prohibition: Pictionary!

Just a quick note…

Before you use these materials… We’ve created a new podcast aimed at B2+ level English students and teachers alike. You can listen for free at our SoundCloud page below. You can download teacher’s notes to accompany them from our Facebook page or from this blog. All comments and feedback welcome! Give us a like and a share 😉

Modals of Obligation, Necessity and Prohibition: Pictionary!

This is part of a series of 30 minute lesson plans I have been writing for conversation classes with small groups of teenagers. Each one covers a specific grammar point and features a game to encourage surly teens to use it.


Write “rules” on the board. Tell students to tell you all the rules that their school imposes on them and board them all.  Try to elicit the following structures:


Mustn’t/can’t/not allowed to

You mustn’t run in the classroom. You’re not allowed to use your mobile phones in class. You can’t smoke in school.


Must/have to

You have to study. You have to be at school at 9am. You must bring your gym kit for PE.

Lack of obligation:

Don’t have to (careful with this one, ensure they understand the difference between mustn’t and don’t have to)

You don’t have to come to school on Saturday. Children over 11 don’t have to wear uniform.


Once you have brainstormed all the different rules, ask the students this:

Which rules do you follow?

Which rules do you break?

Which rules annoy you the most?

Do any teachers let you break the rules?



Print and cut up the handout.

Draw the following picture on the board:


Elicit the prohibition: You mustn’t smoke.

Split the class into teams of 3-4. Tell them they are going to play pictionary. However, some of the rules are a little strange. Give students time to think of a team name and invite the first person from the first team to the board. They have a minute and a half to draw as many rules as they can for their team, for each rule they guess they get 1 point. The winning team is the one that gets the most point after 2-3 rounds. If you run out of rules, get students to come up with new ones for the other teams to draw and guess. Encourage them to make them as strange and difficult as possible.

Here are the rules from the handout:

You mustn’t sleep in your car


You have to wear a helmet
You are not allowed to feed the lions.


You mustn’t touch the dolphin.
You have to switch off your mobile.


You mustn’t play ping-pong when it’s raining.
You have to be in bed at 10pm.


You mustn’t speak during the opera.
You have to wear long trousers. You’re not allowed to drink in the computer room.
You mustn’t sing to the monkeys.


You’re not allowed to play video games after 11pm.
You have to take your medicine before going to bed. You’re not allowed to go skiing in the dark.
You mustn’t drink the water. You have to have a shower before going in the swimming pool.