Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency

C2 Proficiency: DIY Speaking Long Turn Topics

C2 Proficiency de Inglés (CPE) del Cambridge: Cómo Aprobarlo | TURBOLANGS

This is a lesson plan for students preparing to take the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam. Students create their own topic cards for part 3 of the speaking exam; the dreaded long turn! Download the handout and examples below:

Procedure

You could use this lesson plan to introduce the long turn, give students a chance to practice and go over some useful language before they make their own topic cards.

Print and cut out the example cards, these examples were created by my C2 group. As you can see they came up with some thought provoking topics that are definitely more engaging than some of the run-of-the-mill topics from most text books.

Put students in pairs and have them complete a timed long turn each to get them warmed up to the task.

Then give them a set of blank cards each (candidate A & B) and have them work together to create two topic cards with a main question and three bullet points. Tell them that their classmates are going to use their topic cards so they should choose engaging, open topics. Give them 3-5 minutes to do this. In the exam, after candidate A has finished their long turn, candidate B is asked a shorter question in response to what candidate A has just said, so you could have your students write a question for candidate B on the back of A’s card and vice versa for candidate B.

Have them pass their newly created cards to another pair so that everyone has a set created by another group. Instruct them to keep practicing two-minute long turns using the new cards. Then encourage students to give feedback to the group who wrote the topic card; was it easy to talk about for two minutes? Did the bullet points help? Could anything be clarified?

Students then pass the cards to another group, rinse and repeat. Students will get lots of practice for this part of the exam on topics chosen by their peers.

I was really impressed by the questions my group came up with, there weren’t too many softballs in there. Comment below with some of the topics and bullet points your students come up with and I’ll add them to the example doc, that we can create a big list of topic cards for future use.

Posted in Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Proficiency

Where do you Stand? Entertainment & Culture

Entertainment And Culture Icon Set High-Res Vector Graphic - Getty Images

This is another edition of my “Where do you Stand?” conversation series. Students debate different topics related to entertainment and culture but must rate the opinion on a scale from 1-6 before they begin the discussion.

The PowerPoint contains examples of language of opinion, agreement and disagreement designed with C1 students in mind. If you are teaching lower level students, you could just use the student handout. You can download a B2 phrase sheet here.

Here are the topics students discuss:

The book is always better than the film.

There are too many sequels and spin-off films these days. There aren’t many original stories.

The original version of a song is always the best.

Celebrities shouldn’t complain about being in the public eye. It’s part of the jobNetflix will kill the cinema.

You shouldn’t watch films on your phone. It ruins the experience.

Watching a film at the cinema is always better than at home.

Violent films and videogames should be banned.

Music, art and drama should be compulsory subjects at school.

Social media companies should be responsible for the content that users post on their platforms.

Children shouldn’t play with “violent” toys like guns and weapons.

Something is always lost when a text is translated.

Physical books will disappear one day.

Governments should be allowed to censor some elements of the media including books and films.

The benefits of social media platforms outweigh the negative aspects.

Sports involving animals (hunting, horse riding, bullfighting, etc.) are an important part of my culture and must be protected.

Watching too much television makes you stupid.

Posted in Conversation Classes

“I could eat a horse!” – Food Conversation Topic

Super simple conversation activity based around the topic of food. Suitable for a range of levels from A2 upwards. It was written for students based in Barcelona so a couple of questions won’t make sense outside Catalonia, but you can skip/adapt those ones. Credit to my DELTA tutor Neil Forrest for the dressing a salad question and nationalfoods.org for the weird national dishes questions.

Introduce the topic of food debates using the first slide about the Devon vs Cornwall cream tea debate. Cream teas are scones topped with jam and clotted cream but there is a heated debate regarding which should be put on the scone first. Cornish heathens think that the jam should go first, followed by the cream, which is just preposterous. Righteous Devonians know that the correct order is cream first, then jam. (can you guess where I’m from?) Then ask students to discuss any food debates that exist in their country.

Download the powerpoint below:

Posted in Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Proficiency

Discussion Topics: Where do you stand?

Life Begins at 40: Imágenes, fotos de stock y vectores | Shutterstock

This is a conversation lesson plan designed with higher level adults in mind (C1/C2). It could also be adapted for lower levels. Download the handouts below:

The advanced discussion phrases handout is a truncated version of my C2 speaking phrase sheet, other phrase sheets could be used for lower levels.

Give out the phrase sheet. Have students peruse it and ask questions about unfamiliar expressions. You may also want to model pronunciation of some of the exponents, although this could also be done reactively. You could also ask students to choose their favourite expressions from the list to encourage ownership of the exponents.

Give out the discussion topics. Explain the system: students must read the topic and first individually circle one of the numbers between one and six to determine how much they agree with the statement. Students are then free to discuss the topic in groups or as a class. They must decide their level of agreement before discussing the topic to avoid following the crowd. This system should lead to more in-depth discussion and hopefully more disagreements!

Encourage the use of the expressions on the phrases sheet; you could award points for the number of expressions used. Some of the discussion topics are common proverbs or phrases so be ready to give definitions and examples to illustrate meaning.

Posted in Uncategorized

CAE Ice-Breaker UPDATE

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Image credit: englishrussia.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is an updated version of my CAE/C1 ice-breaking activity for the first class of a course. Click this link to the prezi (you’ll only need the first 5 slides).

Obviously it’s tailored to my interests but you’ll get the idea and be able to adapt to your own.

First I flash up the sentences with the adjective/verb + preposition combination (petrified of) etc. and tell them that some are true and some are false. They have to decide which are true and which are false in pairs. Award points to the pairs who guess correctly.
Then test them on the prepositions by flashing up the slide with them omitted. Then they have to write 4 sentences using the same combinations, some true some false and read them to their partner, who has to guess which are T/F.
Then the next bit is 6 sentences with some nice phrases about personal interests etc. “I’m into….” etc. I show them my examples (they’re all true) and let them ask me some questions. Then they have to complete the sentences so they’re true for them.
Then they have to mingle around the class reading their sentences to each other, flash up the expressions for showing interest: Uh-huh, mm-hmmm etc. and encourage them to use them. Tell them that they should try to remember as much information as they can about their classmates. While they do this, monitor and board any emergent language to look at later.
After 10 mins or so have them sit down and split them into two teams. Select one member from the first team, the other team then has to remember as much as they can about that person:
“He’s into football and rugby.”
“He has a burning ambition to meet Messi.” etc.
Award 1 point for each correct bit of info. The idea is that they’re recycling the 6 expressions over and over and getting to know each other at the same time.
Posted in Conversation Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Working 9 to 5

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This is a vocabulary activity for adults intermediate students. Students will learn some vocabulary related to the world of work and put it to use in a discussion. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below:

Working 9 to 5

Handout

Question completion

  1. What is the minimum hourly ______ in your country? Do you think it is enough?
  2. What is the average ________ for a politician in your country? Do you think it is enough?
  3. How long is your normal working day? Do you get paid for ________ (working extra hours)?
  4. Do you get a Christmas or Summer _________ in your job? If so, how much do you get?
  5. How much __________ do you get at Christmas, Easter and in the summer?
  6. Have you ever worked a night ________? What was it like? Do you know anyone who does it often?
  7. What are the most common ___________ jobs for people with children in your country?
  8. If you have to travel for your job, does your company pay your _________? Or do you have to pay them yourself?
  9. When was the last time you got a _________ from a carpenter/plumber/builder etc.? How much was it?
  10. How much does a teacher _________ in your country? Is it enough? Who do you think doesn’t _______ enough? Who do you think ________ too much?
A.SHIFT  B.EXPENSES  C.WAGE    D.SALARY    E.BONUS   F.OVERTIME   G.QUOTE    H.EARN    I.PART-TIME   J.TIME OFF

 

Different Trades

What are the names of these jobs?

  1. How do people train for these jobs in your country?
  2. Do you have any skills in these areas?
  3. What are the advantages of these jobs compared to an office job?

 

Procedure

Give out the handout and have students complete the questions with one word from the box. Check their answers, students then ask and answer the questions in pairs or groups of three. Feed back in open class.

Students then try to name the different tradespeople then ask and answer the discussion questions.

Key

  1. Wage (normally refers to hourly or weekly pay from a job)
  2. Salary (often refers to annual amount)
  3. Overtime
  4. Bonus
  5. Time off
  6. Shift
  7. Part-time
  8. Expenses
  9. Quote
  10. Earn, earn, earns

Trades

  1. Plumber
  2. Electrician
  3. Builder
  4. Carpenter
  5. Painter and decorator
  6. Gardener
Posted in Conversation Classes, Listening Classes, TED Talk Lesson Plans, Video Classes

TED – Daniel Levitin: How to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed

Image credit: http://www.ted.com

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This is a new TED talk lesson plan for C1+ students. You can either set the TED talk with the comprehension questions as homework or watch the talk in class as it’s only 12 minutes long. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below:

TED Daniel Levitin Stress sts handout

TED Daniel Levitin Stress Teacher notes

Student Handout

Language Focus

Discuss the meaning of the phrases in bold with your partner.

  1. I had just driven home,it was around midnight in the dead of Montreal winter.
  2. As I stood on the front porch fumbling in my pockets,I found I didn’t have my keys.
  3. It releases cortisol that raises your heart rate,it modulates adrenaline levels and it clouds your thinking.
  4. Now you might be thinkingI’ve pulled this number out of the air for shock value.
  5. So the idea of the pre-mortem is to think ahead of timeto the questions that you might be able to ask that will push the conversation forward. You don’t want to have to manufacture all of this on the spot.
  6. You might change your mind in the heat of the moment,but at least you’re practiced with this kind of thinking.
  7. So I’m not completely organized,but I see organization as a gradual process, and I’m getting there.

Comprehension Questions

  1. What happens in the anecdote Daniel tells at the start of the talk?
  2. What were the consequences of Daniels clouded thinking?
  3. What is the solution he comes up with?
  4. What are the two practical tips he gives for common problems?
  5. What are the two questions he recommends asking to a doctor before they prescribe you a drug?
  6. What was the historical advantage to the brain releasing cortisol in stressful situations?

Discussion Questions

  1. What did you think of the talk?
  2. Have you ever been in a similar situation to the one Daniel describes in his anecdote? What did you do?
  3. Have you ever forgotten a passport or boarding card when flying somewhere? What did you do?
  4. Are you an absent-minded person? What things do you lose/misplace? Where do you keep your keys/mobile/wallet at home?
  5. In what situations is it good idea to predict the possible problems that could occur?
  6. Are you good at making decisions under pressure?
  7. What do you think of what he says about the medical industry?
  8. Would you trade quality of life for a longer life?

Pre-mortem

What things could possibly go wrong in these situations, and how could you prepare for the problems?

A job interview Travelling by plane An important exam A first date
A wedding The first day at a new job A surprise party Climbing a mountain

Teacher’s notes

Language Focus

  1. In the dead of winter/night = in the middle of
  2. Fumble = to feel/do something clumsily/inefficiently
  3. Clouds your thinking = confuses/affects your thinking in a bad way
  4. Pull a number out of the air = invent a number in the moment of speaking
  5. For shock value = in order to cause shock
  6. On the spot = in the moment of speaking, also “to put someone on the spot” = force someone to answer a difficult question without preparation.
  7. In the heat of the moment = do something while stressed/angry/excited
  8. I’m getting there = I’m making progress

Comprehension questions

  1. He forgets his keys so has to smash the basement window to get into his house.
  2. He forgets his passport the next morning when he goes to the airport.
  3. To perform a “pre-mortem” evaluation of possible problems that could occur.
  4. Designate a place for commonly lost things: keys, wallet etc. Take a photo of things you might lose while travelling: credit card, passport, keys and save it to the cloud to make it easier to get them back.
  5. What is the number needed to treat? What are the side-effects?
  6. When faced with a predator it helped us to escape.
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

CAE Phrasal Verbs Worksheet #3

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This is a worksheet for CAE students in which they learn and practice 12 typical C1 phrasal verbs. Download it below:

CAE Phrasal Verbs 3

Definition Match

Match the phrasal verbs in bold with their definitions.

  1. The comedian did a routine about being drunk at work and the audience lapped it up.
  2. If we get beaten by the junior team we’ll never live it down so we have to play well.
  3. In the past people used to just live off the land, nowadays we’re so dependent on shops for everything.
  4. We spent 3 weeks in India and then we moved on to Thailand. I think we’ve finished talking about that topic, shall we move on to the next one?
  5. As soon as I turn 18, I’m going to move out of my parents’ house and get my own flat.
  6. I lived in Brazil for two months, I didn’t do any classes but I managed to pick up a bit of Portuguese.
  7. You should come shopping with us, we’ll pick you out a nice shirt for the wedding.
  8. Driver! Driver! Pull over! I’m going to be sick!
  9. I’ve got a tonne of work to do but I keep putting it off. I’ll have to do it soon.
  10. I’ve been travelling around all my life. Now I think I’d like to settle down and start a family.
  11. The new school was a bit scary at first but I’m settling in
  12. We finished our drinks, settled up with the waiter and left.
a.        Learn/acquire without effort

b.       Be allowed to forget st

c.        Really enjoy st

d.       Pay what you owe

e.       Leave a house to live somewhere else

f.         To stop moving and permanently live somewhere

g.        To drive to the side of the road and stop

h.       Choose st from a selection

i.         Rely on st to survive

j.         To start to feel safe and comfortable in a place

k.        To postpone

l.         To leave a place and travel to another

Testing

You and your partner have 1 minute to study the phrasal verbs before another pair tests you on them.

Questions

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

  1. Do you trust your friends to ______ ______ nice clothes for you when you’re shopping? What about your parents?
  2. How are you _________ ______ in class? Do you feel comfortable? How long did it take you to _______ ___ when you first joined your school/workplace?
  3. What’s the best place to _________ _______ and start a family, the countryside or a big city? Why?
  4. Do you think you could _______ ______ the land? Could you ______ ______ €50 a week?
  5. When was the last time you ________ _____ a performance? What was it? Why was it so good?
  6. Are you _______ ______ any work at the moment? When are you going to do it?
  7. Have you or your parents ever been _______ ______ by the police? Have you ever had to ______ ______ to be sick?
  8. When do you want to/When did you _______ ______ of your parents’ house?
  9. Has anything really embarrassing happened to you that you will never ______ ______? Has anything really embarrassing ever happened to your friends or family that they will never _____ _____?
  10. When you go abroad do you tend to ______ _____ a bit of the language?

Key

Definition Match

  1. C
  2. B
  3. H
  4. K
  5. E
  6. A
  7. H
  8. G
  9. K
  10. F
  11. J
  12. D

Questions

  1. Pick out
  2. Settling in – settle in
  3. Settle down
  4. Live off – live off
  5. Lapped up
  6. Putting off
  7. Pulled over – pull over
  8. Move out
  9. Live down – live down
  10. Pick up

 

Posted in Conversation Classes, Uncategorized

Invention Presentations

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Image credit: en.wikipedia.org

This is a lesson plan for pre-intermediate (A2) upwards. Students think of an invention and present it to the class. Download the powerpoint here:

present-an-invention1

Put students into groups of 2-3 and show them the powerpoint. Tell them to think of an invention, there are some pictures in the first slide to give them some inspiration. Then give them 10 minutes to write and practice a presentation using the language on slide 2 and any other language they can think of. They must also think of a brand name and slogan.

Students then present their inventions to the rest of the class, who can decide, Dragon’s Den style, if they want to invest or not.