Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

CAE Gapped sentences practice

confused student

The gapped sentences exercise appears in the use of English section of the CAE, and is a part that many students tend to struggle with. Each correct answer in this section is worth 2 points so they make up a considerable part of the final mark. This class will try to present ways to practice and prepare for this exercise.

Here is a link to quizlet set of flashcards for this exercise:

http://quizlet.com/11177000/cae-gapped-sentences-flash-cards/

In the gapped sentences exercise students are presented with 3 sentences with a word missing in each. The same word completes all three sentences.

Example:

Gillian decided it was time to turn over a new _______ and forget her past mistakes.

Why don’t you take a _______ out of Simon’s book and start helping.

Autumn came suddenly and the first _______ had fallen before August had even ended.

Answer: leaf

The exercise tests the students vocabulary: their knowledge of collocations, phrasal verbs and expressions. As you can see from the example above the uses of the word can be very different.

Lesson plan:

Put the above example on the board, or print it out and hand it out to the students to complete in pairs. If needed explain the two expressions with leaf:

to turn over a new leaf – to make a resolution to change for the better.

to take a leaf out of someone’s book – to copy someone or try to be more like someone.

Load up http://www.wordreference.com and ask students to volunteer words to look for. Alternatively you can search for a typical words that often come up in this exercise. These are often words that require no transformation from verb to noun. For example “mark” or “place”. The idea is to give the students an idea as to the number or different uses each word has.

Class Exercise:

Put students in pairs and give each pair a word from the following list:

A: couple
B: place
C: stood
D: show
E: care
F: left
G: fell
H: mark
I: right

Give each pair a dictionary or allow them to use word reference on their smartphones. Tell them that they have to make a gapped sentence set for the rest of the class to complete. Encourage them to use more difficult meanings of the word. While they work go around and aid with sentence construction. Collect in the gapped sentences and put them on the board. The whole class then completes all the exercises.

Homework

Students create another set of gapped sentences at home. Encourage them to use word reference or a good dictionary to find more obscure uses of different words. Tell them to make them as difficult as possible.

The following class you can take them in, correct them and then print them out for class or homework, or post them online for the students to complete.

Here are some examples made by my CAE exam class:

1. He can usually be contacted at his……………….. of work.
2. Excuse me I seem to have lost my……………………… on the course.
3. I’ve saved you a ……………………., come and sit here.
(place)

1. We all………………….. around in the corridor waiting.
2. We …………………..up in order to get a better view.
3. The house …………………….. empty for a long time.
(stood)

1. She wants to ………………… her friends her new pair of heels.
2. He will ……………………… off during the football match.
3. The play will be on …………………….. at 10pm tonight.
(show)

1. The girl knows more than she would ………………….. to admit.
2. You don’t mean anything to me, I don’t …………………… what you think.
3. He doesn’t take ……………………. of Jack.
(care)

1. My eyes ………………………. before his steady gaze.
2. The city ………………………… to the enemy.
3. After 3 years his shoes ………………………….. apart.
(fell)

1.The cup left a ………………….. on the table.
2. The temperature hit the forty degree ……………………..
3. They shook hands as a ………………………. of respect.
(mark)

Here is a link to a set of gapped sentence examples on quizlet.com

http://quizlet.com/11177000/cae-gapped-sentences-flash-cards/

9/3/13 Title was amended as gapped sentences is no long part of the CPE exam.

freeenglishlessonplans.com

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Posted in Writing Classes

Composition: Short story, Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

nighthawks

This is a homework exercise to practice past narrative tenses for intermediate to advanced students (B1-C1) based on the picture above. Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.

Download the handout here:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!294&authkey=!AJdNI7pP–88YxQ

Composition short story

Write a short story (120-150 words) based on this picture.

  • Who are these people?
  • Where is the story set? When is it set?
  • What are they doing?
  • What has happened before this moment?
  • What happens next? (think of an exciting ending)

Generally stories are written in the past so use a selection of past tenses:

  • Past continuous to describe the scene, “The couple were sat at the bar talking and drinking.”
  • Past simple to describe actions in sequence: “The man paid his bill, put on his jacket and left the bar.”
  • Past perfect to describe actions that happened before this moment: “The man had been drinking in another bar before”
  • Mixture of past tenses to describe different actions: “As the man was putting on his jacket, the phone rang…..”

Competition!!!

Open to teachers or students. If you are a teacher send your best student’s story, or if you are a student your story to me at: tim_rd_warre@hotmail.com and I’ll post it to my page for all to see!

Posted in Conversation Classes, Reading Classes

Proficiency book club, lesson 1: The Destructors by Graham Greene

short stories

This is the first in a series of lesson plans for proficiency level students based around short stories from the book:

The Oxford Book of English Short Stories edited by A. S. Byatt.

Short stories are perfect for the ESL classroom because as the name suggests they are short. They are also an excellent way to introduce students to a wide range of authors and literature. This particular collection contains works from some of the greatest English writers. Including Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Virginia Woolf and the author with which I’m going to start this series Graham Greene.

The hope is that by introducing students to these authors in this short format (some of the stories run to only 4 or 5 pages) their interest will be piqued and they will go on to attempt the longer, more well-know works. Even if they don’t these stories are a fantastic way to introduce vocabulary and stir discussion.

Class structure

This series works, as the title suggests, like a typical book club: Each week you set a different story for homework to discuss the following week. The majority of the stories can easily be read in under half an hour

The Destructors

If you haven’t bought the book don’t worry because somebody has helpfully posted  a pdf of the story:

http://100mudcats.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/destructors.pdf

I chose to start with Graham Greene’s “The Destructors” for the simple reason that he is one of my favourite authors. It is also a story which stirs a lot of opinions. The main theme is the mental scars left on the survivors of the the London blitz during the second world war.

A good analytical essay of the story can be found here:

http://www.helium.com/items/1389999-analysis-of-graham-greenes-the-destructors

The essay: “The effects of war in The Destructors, by Graham Greene” by Holly Huffstutler gives a good analysis of the socio-political background of the story. Here is a link to a copy with some key parts underlined:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!284&authkey=!ANvo-Ct70jFmtb0

Lesson Plan

The students will have read the story for homework so start the class by asking for any queries on vocabulary. Some examples of things that might come up are listed below:

  • (pg 311) Ignoble
  • (pg312) crippled, lav – toilet, to pinch – to steal, to be in a bleeding funk – to be stressed or angry)
  • (pg 313) bribe, to draw lots.

Then put the students into groups and give out the following discussion questions:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!285&authkey=!AD2MBt2sCAB27pQ

  • What was your initial reaction to the story?
  • What’s the story about? What happens?
  • Describe the different characters.
  • Where and when does the story take place?
  • What are your feelings about the boys at the end of the story?
  • What good qualities do the delinquents have?
  • Explain Blackie’s motivations for re-joining the gang after losing the leadership.
  • What does Mr. Thomas (Old Misery) represent in the story?
  • Why are the boys suspicious of Mr. Thomas’ generosity with the smarties?
  • What are Trevor’s reasons for wanting to destroy Mr. Thomas’ house?
  • How do you explain the burning of the money and the way they treat Mr. Thomas?
  • What is the importance in the ending of “The Destructors”?
  • Does “The Destructors” portray a world without hope?
  • In what ways are the boys in “The Destructors” by Graham Greene isolated?
  • Is destruction a form of creation?

After the discussion have a feedback session so students can share their opinions. You may want to explain a little about the London Blitz:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blitz

You might like to point out that the story features in the film “Donnie Darko” in one of the first English class scenes. You could show a clip of the scene to the students and see if they agree with the main character’s assessment of the story.

Next week: Solid Objects by Virginia Woolf

 

 

 

 

Posted in Conversation Classes

Complaining in English

dare_to_complain

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 😉

https://soundcloud.com/2tspod


https://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast/

Complaining in English

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?

Posted in Conversation Classes

Christmas conversation lesson

christmas

This is a topical lesson plan for the festive season based on comparisons between a traditional British Christmas and Christmas celebrations in the student’s countries.

You will need:

The lesson plan:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!278&authkey=!AOWfTUkqHy7AtDc

The discussion questions handout:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!279&authkey=!ACygXSBVrDDA5H4

The Christmas in England powerpoint:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!127&authkey=!APSM9pHn8j56pvg

The cracker jokes handout:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!130&authkey=!AN8mCLV6wHxpSuQ

Brainstorm Xmas traditions in (the country you’re teaching in) in small groups.

Feedback traditions and put on board.

In pairs or small groups students discuss the following:

How many of these traditions do you follow?

Describe and compare your normal Christmas with your partner.

What do you do on Christmas eve? Christmas day? Boxing day? Kings Day?

If you have children what traditions do you follow? Father Christmas? Caga Tio (a Catalan Xmas tradition)?

When do you give presents?

What do you give?

What did you used to do when you were a child?

Do you still follow the same traditions your parents did?

Who in your family is the most difficult to buy presents for? Who is the easiest?

How have other cultures influenced Christmas celebrations in your country?

Debate:

Christmas is too commercial.

But the statement above on the board, split the class into two teams and assign “for” or “against” to each team. They then have 5 minutes to brainstorm their arguments. Then give them 5-10 minutes to debate the topic. Debate structure should be:

  • 2 minutes for each team to present their argument, the other team mustn’t interrupt, they should make notes ready for the 2nd phase.
  • 2nd phase 5 minutes open debate. Students attack the oppositions arguments and try to defend their own.
  • 1 minute each for a closing statement. Why each team thinks they have won the debate.

Teacher decides which team wins, but as it’s Christmas a draw is probably the fairest result!

 

British Christmas

Ask students to brainstorm a British Christmas.

Tell students that they are going to watch a presentation about Christmas in England. They have to watch and try to memorise as much as possible.

Show presentation “Christmas in England”

In groups students try to remember as much as they can, in the correct order.

Cracker Jokes

If students hadn’t heard of them before the presentation will have introduced them to Christmas Crackers. Hand out copies of the cracker jokes and have the students tell them to each other. They will get some fairly easily but some might need a little explaining.

Posted in Games

Adventure Game 2

Game board

This is an adventure game that works best with kids or low level adults.

Download the game board and instructions here you will also need 2 dice:

Game board: https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!275&authkey=!ANCVAjV4J-oSn9g

Game instructions: https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!276&authkey=!AFCw3ws1u4W1-Zk

The game is a simple problem solving task using a board based on the cult game “Angband”. Letters and other symbols represent different monsters and characters that the students encounter. For example, a “V” is a vampire, whereas a “D” is a dragon. These boards are easy to make, just use Microsoft paint and children really enjoy the adventures. Most importantly they learn new vocabulary and practice it thoroughly.

In each room students are presented with a different scenario and must work out the solution in order to continue the adventure.

Here is the solution to the adventure:

Dungeon game instructions

Students start game in room one (top left corner), they each have 10 hit points.

Room 1

Question monster – What is the capital of Germany?

1st chest contains special soft shoes for sneaking.

2nd chest contains a delicious hamburger.

Room 2

Contains 4 sleeping vampires and a closed window, it is sunny outside.

Solution: Put on special shoes and sneak past vampires to open window which lets the sunlight in and kills them all. Students must roll higher on the dice than the teacher. If they roll lower the vampires wake up and bite them -1 hit point

Room 3

Contains a very fat man and a locked door.

Solution: Give hamburger to Fat man, fat man gives you a gold key, unlock door.

Room 4

Contains a pit full of snakes and a rope.

Chest contains 2 gold coins.

Solution: Use rope to swing over pit of snakes, students must beat the teachers roll on a dice. If they roll lower snake bites them -1 hit point.

Room 5

Contains 2 question monsters and a shop. Shop keeper has a gun with 6 silver bullets and a big block of ice, they cost 1 gold coin each.

Questions:

Who is the fastest man in the world? Usain Bolt

What is 24 X 4?   96

Solution: Answer questions and buy gun and ice with coins.

Room 6

Contains a huge fire breathing dragon! There are lots of bones on the floor.

Solution: Give the dragon the block of ice to cool his fire. SS must roll higher than teacher.

Room 7

Contains 3 Werewolves!

Solution: Shoot the werewolves with the silver bullets. Students must roll higher than teacher three times. If they run out of bullets they must go and ask the shop keeper for more.

Room 8

Contains lots of small hungry dogs, If students try to enter the dogs bite them, and a big treasure chest.

Solution: Go back to room 6 and collect the bones, give them to the dogs. Stusents open the treasure chest and get lots of treasure, congratulations.

Teaching ideas:

Depending on the level of the class you can present the adventure in different ways. For example you can start by teaching the vocabulary the students are going to need in the adventure:

verbs: sneak, open, shoot, put on, give, buy, etc.

nouns: bones, treasure chest, gun, bullet, rope, window, shoes, coins, bones, ice, snakes, etc.

For higher level students I also had them retell the adventure in the past once they had completed it. “In this room we sneaked past the vampires and opened the window.”

Follow up:

Children make their own adventure games in small groups. They can draw the easily on paper with letters representing different monsters. Alternatively if you have access to computers they could create them on MS paint. Then they swap maps and complete each others, or the whole class plays each group’s map.

Posted in Writing Classes

Future Composition

303-thirtieth_birthday_balloon

This is a simple homework exercise for teenagers to practice some future tenses.

Download the handout here:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!273&authkey=!APnXkGeFZZa4pPk

Composition

Title: Me at 30

Write 120 words about how your life will be when you are 30 years old.

Use:

  • The future continuous for activities in progress at a specific time in the future:
  •  I will be living in a small flat in Madrid. I will be working in a music shop.
  • The future perfect for actions completed between now and your 30th birthday:
  •  I will have finished university. I will have married a nice man / woman.