Posted in Conversation Classes

Plan a Magical Christmas

Image result for christmas markets berlin

Image credit: Party Earth

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is another Christmas themed lesson plan for intermediate (B1+) teenagers and adults. Students will be required to use smartphones, tablets or laptops as part of the activity. Download the lesson plan below:

plan-a-magical-christmas

Warmer

Tell your partner about your most memorable Christmas ever.

Report back in open class.

Planning the perfect Christmas

Put students in pairs or groups of 3. Write a range of amounts of money on small pieces of paper, for example: €100, €1000, €10,000, €100,000. Put the pieces of paper in a hat, each team picks a piece of paper.

The amount of money that they have picked is their budget for the magical Christmas they are going to plan. They should plan a week of activities, from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve. Students can use the internet to research what they are going to do with their money: book flights to or a hotel in an exotic destination, book tables in fancy restaurants, organise interesting activities etc. The only rule is that they can’t go over budget AND they must speak in English the whole time, project the language for making and responding to suggestions below onto the board.

To be nice to the group that drew the €100 you could let them come up with a money making scheme such as baking and selling cookies in order to get more money. Encourage them to use their imagination, be creative and also, decide what the most important thing about Christmas is to them. Students have 20-30 minutes to plan.

Language

Making suggestions Accepting suggestions Rejecting suggestions
How/what about …ing…?

Why don’t we…?

We could….

Shall we…?

I reckon/think we should/ought to….

What do you think about …ing?

Let’s…

That’s a great idea!

Good idea!

I was thinking the same thing.

You took the words right out my mouth.

That’s a terrible idea.

Are you joking?

Don’t be silly.

I’m not sure about that.

It’ll be too cold/expensive etc.

Presentations

After 20-30 minutes students present their plans to the rest of the class and explain their reasons:

“We’ve decided to spend Christmas in Germany because we want to visit the famous Christmas markets”

After all the presentations, students vote on the plan that they like best.

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Posted in Conversation Classes, Games, Writing Classes

Tall Tales

Image credit: breweryarts.org

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is an activity that can be used with all levels in which students have to invent tall tales and try to convince their classmates that they’re true. It is similar to two truths and a lie but the stories have to be at least 5 sentences long and must contain a range of narrative tenses as well as language of cohesion appropriate to the level. Credit to my colleague Peter Rassa for the idea. Download my stories below:

Tall Tales

Preparation

Write three short stories (5 sentences long) about your life or the lives of your family members, one of the stories must be true, the others should be made up but believable. For example:

  1. My Dad used to work as a doctor in the emergency department of a hospital. One day he was working the night shift when suddenly the police came into the hospital and told the staff that someone very important was about to come in. The police secured the hospital and then Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband, arrived. He had broken his arm when he fell off his horse playing polo. My Dad did an x-ray on his arm and helped to cure him. Two weeks later he received a thank you card and an autographed photo from the prince.
  2. My Granddad was a war hero. In the second world war he was a paratrooper, this meant that he had to jump out of a plane and parachute into enemy territory. In 1944 when the allies landed on the beach in northern France my Granddad parachuted in behind enemy lines and sabotaged Nazi fortifications. He was almost captured several times. He was shot in a big battle in the winter of 1944 and got sent home to recover. He was given a medal of honour after the war.
  3.  When I was at university I used to work as a waiter at the weekends and in the evening to earn extra money. One weekend I was sent to work on a big battleship. We didn’t know what the event was but we had to wear special white suits. We were given silver trays with glasses of champagne. We had to stand on the deck of the ship and serve drinks to the guests. Suddenly everyone stood up and Princess Anne, the queen’s sister walked in. She stopped to speak to some of the workers, I spoke to her and offered her a glass of champagne, when she took it I almost dropped the tray! It was almost a complete disaster!

Procedure

Split the class into groups of 3, it works best if you have 3 or more groups. Project or print out your three stories, tell students that one of them is true and two are false. Give them a few minutes to read the stories and decide which one is true. Students then guess, award points for correct guesses.

Then tell students that they must write 3 short stories, 1 true and 2 false. Give them 10 minutes to do so. Monitor and help them while they do this, make sure the groups are well separated so that they don’t overhear each other, maybe play some music to mask the sound or consider sending one group to another room.

Students then read their stories out, the other students must guess which story is true. Award points for correct guesses and points to any team whose story convinces another team that it is true. The winning team is the one with the most points at the end.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class

Get Organised! Collaborative Speaking Tasks

Image credit: www.organisemyhouse.com

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This is a speaking lesson plan designed for teenagers that focuses on various exponents of suggesting, offering, agreeing and disagreeing. The main aim of the lesson is for students to improve their collaborative speaking skills, it will work well as preparation for FCE/CAE speaking exams. You will need the powerpoint and teacher’s notes below:

Get Organised!! – Powerpoint

Get organised Teachers notes

Teacher’s notes

The class is loosely based on Willis’s Task Based Learning in that students are given the opportunity to repeatedly practice a similar task and hopefully internalise some useful exponents for collaborative speaking.

Put students into groups of 3, it would also work with pairs but 3s are ideal. The idea is that groups perform the tasks separately and afterwards compare their decisions in a mini-presentation.

Show the 2nd slide of the power point. Clear up any doubts about the different exponents on the left.Then have students perform the task in their groups, encourage them to use a range of expressions and to be imaginative. Monitor and board any vocabulary they need, or any issues they have with the form or pronunciation of the exponents. Groups then feed back in open class.

Note: This is a good opportunity to teach the difference between “will” for decisions in the moment of speaking and “be going to” for a future intention. Students will discuss the different options using will:

“We’ll have the party on Friday so we can stay up late.”

“Yeah, that’s a good idea.”

Then when the time comes to present their decisions to class they will change to “be going to.”

“We’re going to have the party on Friday so we can stay up late.”

Then students go back to their groups and repeat with the next task but trying to bear any corrections you boarded during the first task in mind. Again groups feed back in open class and compare and contrast their ideas.

For the remainder of the tasks on the powerpoint the exponents are hidden initially but can be shown with a click of the mouse or the right arrow key. They idea is that you gradually phase out having the exponents on the board in the hope that they continue to use them from memory.

Follow up

Students could write an FCE/CAE style report on one of the events they have organised. It could either be a report after the fact stating the strengths and weaknesses of the event or a proposal for a future event putting forward different ideas and making recommendations.

Posted in Conversation Classes

My Emoji Weekend

Image credit: guesstheemoji-answers.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

I can’t remember where I got this idea from, I think it was Lindsay Clandfield at the Barcelona IH Conference two weeks ago. This is a quick lesson plan designed for use with teenagers of almost any level. Download the lesson plan below:

My Emoji Weekend

Preparation

Write what you did at the weekend, but, write it in emojis. Like this:

20160216_222915

Take a photo of the emojis and either print them out or project them in some way.

Class Procedure

Show students the emojis and tell them that they represent your weekend. In pairs students have to recreate your weekend as a text, this is a good opportunity for them to practice past simple and also language of sequencing: After that/afterwards, later, in the afternoon, firstly, secondly, finally etc.

Give students about 5 mins to prepare their text, monitoring and boarding any vocabulary. Students then read out their version of your weekend. The pair whose version is closest to the real version is the winner. You can also award points for imagination. Below is the text version of my weekend.

My Weekend

On Saturday morning I had a lie-in because I was very tired. I woke up at around 11 and had a cooked breakfast. Then I watched a football match on TV. After that I went to the city centre to go clothes shopping, I bought a new shirt and some trousers. Then I stopped in a kebab shop for lunch. When I got home I watched an action film on my laptop and went to bed early.

On Sunday I had to get up early, I got up at 7am. I ate two bananas for breakfast and then I ran the Barcelona half-marathon. I finished the race and won a medal. Afterwards I went to a bar with some friends to celebrate. I drank some beers and ate a hamburger. When I got home I had a shower, played some videogames and went to bed, I was exhausted!

Pair-work

Now give students 2 minutes to draw their weekend  in emojis. If you want you could have students send their emoji weekend to each other via a messenger app, this may not be advisable with some groups. They should know most of the emojis but if they don’t use the pictures below:

Students then have to guess what their partner did by looking at their emojis. They then tell each other if they were wrong or right and explain the real version.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Games

Game: Just a Minute/Blockbusters Mash-up

Image credits: www.bbc.co.uk and www.youtube.com

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

https://www.justgiving.com/Timothy-Warre/

This is a game that can be adapted for a range of levels. I thought it up specifically for students to practice for the FCE/CAE/CPE speaking part 1, in which candidates must give complete answers to a series of interview style questions.

You will need Adam Simpson’s amazing blockbusters powerpoint game which you can download here. You will also need a list of typical Cambridge exam questions which you can download below. Alternatively, for non-exam classes, you can play the game with the “Just a minute” topic cards also included below with the class procedure and rules.

Class procedure and rules

Typical Cambridge Exam Questions

just a minute

Class Procedure and Rules

Divide the class into two teams, orange and green, show the blockbusters power point. The green team’s objective is to make a line of tiles from left-to-right across the board, while the orange team has to do the same but from top-to-bottom.

Teams claim a tile by speaking about a topic for a minute with no hesitation, repetition or deviation. For lower levels you could change the time limit to 30 seconds and be more lenient with hesitation repetition and deviation. Students nominate one member of their team to go first.

The team decides which tile they want to try to claim. The teacher chooses a question from the list or a topic from the “Just a Minute” topic cards. The student must then speak for a minute about the topic, if they hesitate, repeat themselves or deviate from the topic the teacher stops the stop-watch and a member of the opposing team can try to talk for the rest of the minute to claim the tile for their team.

Useful language

Time buyers

Well, let me see…

That’s an interesting question…

Rephrasing/Clarifying

What I’m trying to say is…

What I want to say is…

I mean…

Discourse markers

Obviously,

Sadly,

(un)Fortunately,

Probably the (most important)…

etc.

Topic nomination

Speaking of…, … (Speaking of living abroad, my sister is currently living in…

That reminds me…

Before I forget…

Addition

What’s more…

Also…

On top of that…

Besides that…

… as well.

Just a Minute Topic Cards

The best advice my parents ever gave me. The best day of my life. Being an only child Albert Einstein
My favourite dessert Falling in love The most annoying thing in the world

 

My favourite toys as a child.
The worst thing about living in Barcelona My most embarrassing moment My favourite hobby How to cook the perfect paella
Bullfighting

 

 

Making a cup of tea Learning to drive Chocolate
Things that make me angry Weddings What I was like as a child. cheating
Don Quixote

 

Breakfast The best way to propose to your boyfriend / girlfriend Red wine
Beer English tourists Real Madrid Crocodiles

 

 

Ghosts and the supernatural

 

The pope Going to the dentists Buying a new car.