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 Conversation Classes

Conversation topic: Who’s in the wrong?

Image credit: www.learnaboutislam.co.uk

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a conversation lesson plan for intermediate (B1) upwards around the topic of blame. Download the powerpoint below:

Who’s in the wrong

Warmer

SS discuss in pairs:

  • When was the last time you got into trouble?
  • Who was to blame?

Language of blaming:

  1. It was my/his/her/your/their/our _________.
  2. He was to _________.
  3. She was in the _________.
  4. They were at ________.
  5. I blame the broken window _____ John.
  6. I blame John _____ breaking the window.

SS complete the sentences with the following words:

for

on

blame

wrong

fault (x2)

  1. It was my/his/her/your/their/our fault
  2. He was to blame
  3. She was in the wrong
  4. They were at fault.
  5. I blame the broken window on John.
  6. I blame John for breaking the window.

Show the first slide from the powerpoint and have students discuss who is to blame in small groups. Ss then report back in open class. You might want to assign roles from the different situations to different students to make it a bit more exciting.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class

Speaking Activity: Persuading/Convincing Role-plays

Image credit: maybusch.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a speaking activity for intermediate and upwards on the subject of persuading and convincing. It can be used as preparation for FCE and CAE due to its similarity to part 3 of the speaking test.

You will need this powerpoint:

Debate, Discuss, Persuade

Split the class into groups of 4 or 5. Use this quizlet set to practice language for convincing and persuading. For higher levels get them to brainstorm the language in pairs first and then board it.

Language from the quizlet set:

  1. Don’t you _________ it would be better to go to Ibiza?
  2. __________ it be better to go to Ibiza?
  3. I think we _________ go to Ibiza.
  4. I suggest/recommend ________ to Ibiza.
  5. We o_________ to go to Ibiza.
  6.  I i__________ that we go to Ibiza.
  7. By ______ the best idea is to go to Ibiza
  8. What/How _______ going to Ibiza?

Key:

think

Wouldn’t

should

going

ought

insist

far

about

Students discuss the different situations in the powerpoint in their groups of 4-5. Nominate one person from the group to be the person who the others must persuade (parent, headmaster, boss, editor, friend)

Report back at the end. Who was the most persuasive?

Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes

Requests and Offers – Shall/could/can etc.

This is an activity to practice various ways of making offers and requests.

First go over the language on the handout for making offers and requests then cut up the situation cards and have students role-play them, simple as that. Here are the handouts:

Offers and Requests Situations

Making Offers and Requests language

Making Offers and Requests

It is common that English speakers make offers in conversations in order to be polite and helpful. When they do so they use these expressions:

Can I… ?
Shall I… ?
Would you like … ?
How about …?

English learner must be able to make offers as well as accept or reject them. The following are useful expressions to do so.

Can I help you?
Shall get you some juice?
Would you like a glass of water ?
How about some pizza?

 

Examples:

·         “Can I help you?”

·         “Shall I open the window for you?”

·         “Would you like another cup of coffee?”

·         “Would you like me to clean the board?”

·         “How about a juice? “

Remember:

·         Shall, can and will are followed by the verb without to.
Example:
“Can I help you?”
“Shall I bring you the mobile phone?

·         Shall is more formal than can.

·         Would you like… is followed either by a noun, or by the verb with to.
Example:
“Would you like some tea ?”
“Would you like to drink some coffee?

 

 

 

 

Responding to offers

Accepting Declining
Yes please. I’d like to.
That would be very kind of you.
Yes please, that would be lovely.
Yes please, I’d love to.
If you wouldn’t mind.
If you could.
Thank you, that would be great.
It’s OK, I can do it myself.
Don’t worry, I’ll do it.
No, thanks
No, thank you

Examples:

·         “Can I help you?”
No thanks, I’m just having a look.” (With a shop assistant.)

·         “Can I help you?”
“Do you know where the post office is.”

·         “Shall I help you with your maths problem?”
“Yes, please. That would be very nice of you.”

·         “Would you like a cup of tea?”
No thanks.” Or, “No thank you.”

·         “Would you like another piece of cake?”
Yes please, that would be nice .”
Yes please, I’d love one.”

·         “Would you like me to do the the ironing for you?”
If you wouldn’t mind.”
If you could.”

·         “I’ll do the washing, if you like.”
It’s OK, I can do it.”
Don’t worry, I’ll do it.
Thank you, that would be great.”

Asking others to do things – making requests

Asking Saying Yes Saying No
Can you…? Yes, sure. Well, I’m afraid + reason
Could you…?
Is it all right if you…?
Do you think you could…?
Will you…?
Would you…?
Yes, of course.
Certainly.
Well, the problem is
Sorry, but…
Do you mind -ing…?
Would you mind -ing…?
No, not at all.
Of course not.

Situation cards:

Offers and Requests Situations

You have just broken your leg. You have to stay in bed for 2 months. You have 3 children and 2 dogs. Ask your friends for help. You have to go away for the weekend for a business trip. You have lots of plants in your house and 3 cats. Your house is in a bad state: the walls need painting, one window is broken and the front door doesn’t close properly. You have no money for repairs. Ask your friends for help.
You have an important job interview tomorrow morning but your car is at the mechanics being fixed. You also need to take your children to school at the same time as the interview. You are organising a cocktail dinner party but you can’t cook or make cocktails and you don’t have any CDs or records to play. You had a big party last night and your house is a complete mess, the carpet is stained with red wine, all the dishes are dirty, there are cans and bottles everywhere and the toilet is broken. Ask your friends (who were also at the party) for help.
You are a little old lady. You have just been to the supermarket, you are carrying a lot of heavy bags and you want to cross the road. Ask a group of teenagers for help. You are in an expensive restaurant with friends. There is a group of loud football players at the table next to you singing and shouting. The restaurant is also too cold and smells bad. Ask the waiter for help. You had an accident at work and you have to wear two patches over your eyes for 2 weeks. Ask your friends for help with your daily activities.
You are moving house. You have to transport everything in your old house to your new one. You don’t have a van, ask your friends for help. You have a new boss at work. You want to impress him/her because you want a promotion. Offer to do some extra work. You are an old man, you have come to visit your children, you have arthritis and you need help with lots of things.

Credits for the language explanations to:

http://www.ecenglish.com/learnenglish/lessons/polite-requests

and

http://www.myenglishpages.com/site_php_files/communication-lesson-offers.php#.VOM_5vnF8k1

and the photo:

https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/microsites/guide-dogs-in-school/puppy-resources/guide-dogs-in-the-community/sighted-guiding/

Posted in Conversation Classes, Video Classes

TED talks lesson: Logan Laplante on “Hack-schooling”

This is a discussion class for higher levels (high B2 – C2) based around the Logan Laplante’s TED talk video on “hack-schooling” a form of home schooling based round applicable skills and hands-on experience.

The video is 11 minutes long so I set it for homework the lesson before so that students could watch and rewatch as many times as they needed to fully understand it. Alternatively, you could watch it in class if you have time.

Vocabulary

Logan uses some skier/skater American slang, for example:

To be stoked – to be excited about/interested in something

to be bummed out – to be annoyed/disappointed

Other vocab that might need highlighting:

To log out of reality – to escape from reality

mashup – a mixture/fusion of different elements

hacker mindset – a mindset is a set of attitudes a person has

Discussion questions

  1. What was your first impression of Logan?
  2. How old is he?
  3. Is he a typical 13 year old?
  4. What are the 8 keys to happiness? (Exercise/diet and nutrition/time in nature/contribution and service to others/relationships/recreation/religious and spiritual)
  5. What do you think of this idea?
  6. How does he define a “hacker”? (A person who changes and improves established systems)
  7. What is “hack-schooling”? (opportunistic learning that doesn’t follow a curriculum with no fixed structure)
  8. What do you think of this idea?
  9. How and what does Logan learn?
  10. Is it for everyone?
  11. Is it only for people from a privileged background?
  12. “Schools are orientated towards making a living rather than making a life” What do you think of this statement? Do you agree?
  13. Do students today learn applicable skills?
  14. What do you think Logan is going to be when he grows up?
  15. What would your friends say if you pulled your children out of school?

Role-play

Put students in pairs of groups of 3 and have them role play the last question, student A has decided to pull their kids out of school to teach them at home, student B thinks they are crazy!

Debate

“The education system does not prepare students for life.”

Split group in to two groups, 1 in support and 1 against the motion. Follow standard debate structure, 2 minute opening arguments, rebuttals etc.

Posted in Conversation Classes

Complaining in English

dare_to_complain

In this class students will learn some useful phrases for making complaints, discuss complaining and practice the language in a role-play.

You will need:

The handout with phrases for complaining:

Complaining in English (language)

Complaining discussion questions handout:

complaining discussion

Complaining role-plays handout:

Complaining roleplay

Instructions:

Put “to complain” and “to make a complaint” on the board. Ensure that students understand them both.

Put students in small groups (3-4)

Tell them to think of a time when they made a complaint. Tell them to tell their classmates the story:

  • Where were you?
  • Why did you complain?
  • How did you complain?
  • What was the result?

Tell students to listen carefully to their classmate’s story because after they are going to tell the rest of the class the same story.

Give the class 5-10 minutes to swap stories. When they have finished each group takes it in turns to tell the rest of the class each complaining story. This helps to recycle the language, also people love telling stories about complaining! Especially if they got some good freebies out of it!

Hand out discussion questions

Put students in pairs (A + B). Students ask and answer discussion questions.

Brief feedback to the rest of the class.

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show to Student B)

1) What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘complain’?
2) Are you a complainer?
3) Who do you usually complain to?
4) What complaints do you have at the moment?
5) Have you ever complained in a restaurant, hotel, airplane or train?
6) How often do people complain to you?
7) How often do people complain about you?
8) Do you have any complaints about English?
9) What are your biggest complaints about your friends?
10) Do men or women complain more?

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show to Student A)

1) What kinds of things do you complain about?
2) When was the last time you complained about something?
3) Have you ever written a letter or e-mail of complaint?
4) Do you like complaining?
5) What is your complaining style – polite or aggressive?
6) How often do you complain to yourself in public?
7) Do you think complaining relieves stress?
8) Do you like to watch when other people complain?
9) Have you ever got a better service after you’ve complained?
10) Why might people complain about you?

Hand out Complaining in English

Tell students to read through the sheet briefly in pairs.

Then go through and clear up any vocabulary problems and emphasise the cultural note.

Cultural note

It is important to remember that English is not as direct as other languages. It is important to be polite and follow rules for socially acceptable behaviour. For example, it is normal, when making a complaint, to start by saying “sorry” or “excuse me”, even though you haven’t done anything wrong. Being polite will help you get what you want.

Example:

In a shop

You’re in a shop and the assistant gives you the wrong change.

Excuse me, I think you’ve given me the wrong change.”

OR

Sorry, I think this change is wrong, I gave you £10 not £5.”

In a hotel

Customer

Excuse me, but there’s a problem with the heating in my room”

Sorry to bother you, but I think there’s something wrong with the air-conditioning.”

I’m afraid I have to make a complaint. Some money has gone missing from my room.”

I’m afraid there’s a slight problem with my room – the bed hasn’t been made.”

Hotel worker

Normally the worker will apologise deeply for the problem and promise some immediate action.

I’m so sorry sir / madam, I’ll send someone up to look at it immediately.”

I’m sorry to hear that, I’ll get someone to check it for you.”

Hand out role-play cards

There are two complaining role-plays so each student has a go at being the customer and the worker. Encourage students to use as much language from the previous handout as possible.

Complaining roleplay:

Student A: You are staying in a 5 star hotel, there is a famous rock band staying in the room next door, it is 3am and they are having a wild party, throwing televisions out the window and keeping you awake. You have an important business meeting at 9am.

Student B: You are the receptionist in a 5 star hotel, it is 3am a guest has come to complain about noise, there is a famous rock group staying in the hotel, they have paid €1million to have a party in their room. The hotel is full.

Student A: You are checking out of your hotel. When the receptionist gives you the bill it is very high, you have been charged for 2 bottles of don perignon Champagne from the mini bar and 2 “adult” movies on the TV, you didn’t drink any champagne and you didn’t watch the movies.

Student B: You are a hotel receptionist, student A is coming to complain about his / her bill.

Wrap up:

Who was the best complainer?

Which role was easier in the role-play?