Posted in Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C1/C2: Animal Idioms

How the Cat Gets Its Stripes: It's Genetics, Not a Folk Tale - The New York  Times

This is a vocabulary and conversation lesson for C1/C2 students. Students look at 18 animal idioms and put them into practice in conversation and an optional writing exercise. Download the handouts below:

Students first recall the names of some animals, then have a chance to share animal idioms they already know.

Then they must use the 16 animals from exercise 1 to complete the different animal expressions.

Keep the conversation questions hidden from students until after they’ve completed the first gap-fill.

Then have them recall the expressions by filling in the gaps in the questions. They can then ask and answer the questions in pairs or small groups.

I designed this task for use with a C2 Proficiency preparation group so I added on a writing task, an article, for them to do as homework.

Posted in Advanced C1, B2 First, Grammar Classes, Writing Classes

B2+ Formal Linkers

Fine 3d Image Of Metal Ring Chain Cartoon Style Stock Photo, Picture And  Royalty Free Image. Image 9852810.

A new worksheet for B2+ students to help them add more cohesion to their writing through the use of formal linkers and connectors. Download the handout and key below:

Lead students through the worksheet. Encourage creativity in the final activity. Set students an FCE or CAE part 1 essay for homework.

Label the groups of linkers (A, B, C, D) with the titles in the box based on their function.

REASON       ADDITION      CONTRAST/CONCESSION      CONDITIONALS
  1. ____________________
  2. One of the main benefits of research into green energy is the impact it can have on the environment. Furthermore, by switching to renewable energy sources, we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels such as oil.
  3. The project failed to live up to the expectations of the management team. What is more, it was €100,000 over budget.
  4. Construction of the solar farm was finished on time. Moreover, workers were able to increase power output by 15% in the first month.
  5. ____________________
  6. Many parts of the world are being ravaged by extreme weather conditions due to/owing to the impact of climate change.
  7. Emissions of harmful greenhouse gases have increased owing to/due to the fact that the world’s population keeps growing.
  8. Further research is needed in order to push the boundaries of our scientific knowledge.
  9. Governments should provide more funding for green energy projects so as to increase their efficiency.
  10. More charging stations for electric cars should be installed so that there are enough to meet demand.
  11. ____________________
  12. Space exploration is undoubtedly an exciting area of research. Even so, is it really the most pressing issue humankind is facing right now?
  13. In spite of/Despite recent technological advancements we have seen, we still know very little about the universe.
  14. In spite of/Despite the fact that time is running out, we must not give up and accept our fate.
  15. Much progress has been made in this field. Nevertheless, there is still a lot to be done.
  16. ____________________
  17. Unless we take steps to combat climate change now, we may be too late.
  18. Even if we manage to reduce emissions considerably, there is no guarantee that it will be enough.
  19. We are still not sure whether or not we are alone in the universe.

Sentence Structure Rules

Group A:

  • What do you notice about the way all 4 linkers are used?

Group B:

Look at the sentences and choose the correct alternative:

  1. Due to/owing to + a noun // a clause (subject + verb + object)
  2. Due to/owing to the fact that + a noun // a clause (subject + verb + object)
  3. In order to + a verb // a clause
  4. So as to + a verb // a clause
  5. So that + a verb // a clause

Group C

  • What do “even so” and “nevertheless” have in common?

Look at the sentences and choose the correct alternative:

  1. In spite of/Despite + a noun // a clause (subject + verb + object)
  2. In spite of/Despite the fact that + a noun // a clause (subject + verb + object)

Group D

Look at the linkers in group D and match them to their meaning

  1. “it doesn’t matter if”
  2. “If we don’t”
  3. “If or not”

Practice

Complete the sentences with a linker from the previous exercise, more than one answer might be possible.

  1. They brought in extra seats …………. everyone could sit down.
  2. ………… you were the only man in the world, I still wouldn’t go out with you.
  3. They planted trees in the garden …………… attract more wildlife.
  4. His CV is impressive. ………….., I’m still not sure if he’s the right candidate.
  5. …………. all their hard work, they weren’t able to complete the project on time.
  6. I was unable to attend the meeting ……………. the heavy snowfall.
  7. Many people have chosen to move out of the city ……………….. house prices have fallen in the countryside.
  8. One benefit of city life is the superior health facilities. ……………….., there are many more job opportunities.
  9. It seems like a very tempting offer. ……………….., I feel I must reject it.
  10. ……………….. we run, we’re going to miss the last train.
  11. I’m still not sure ……………….. we made the right decision.
  12. He cancelled all his morning appointments ……………….. spend time with his family.

Creative Practice

Use linkers to upgrade these sentences for use in a C1 essay. You can also upgrade the language in the sentences.

  1. Shopping in shops is good, but shopping online is better.
  2. We should build more parks because they’re good for people.
  3. People got sad because the pandemic was bad.
  4. It doesn’t matter if you recycle, big companies are bad for the planet.
  5. There are too many cars, that’s why there’s lots of pollution.
  6. We should make drivers pay more to make them take the bus.
  7. Veganism is good but I don’t think I could do it.
  8. Books are good because they help you learn words and you imagine things.
Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Advanced C1, B2 First, Listening Classes, Proficiency, Reading Classes

2Ts in a Pod: Episode 51 – Book Club – Thursday Murder Club Part 7

Don’t you just love a 2 episode week? We’re back with episode 51 continuing our book club series on Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club.

In this episode we talk about chapters 32-40; we discuss the things that happen, our favourite parts and examine some interesting vocabulary that comes up.

Why not read and listen along? Or, if you’re a teacher, encourage your students to do so.

Listen on SoundCloud:

Or, alternatively, listen on Spotify:

Posted in Advanced C1, B2 First, Conversation Classes, Proficiency

Where do you stand? Summer Edition

Is SUMMER about to truly start? - The Church Irish Bar Albir

This is a special summer edition of my “Where do you stand?” conversation series. Students decide to what extent they agree with different statements on the topic of summer activities and holidays and then share their views with their classmates. Download the PowerPoint and student handout below:

The PowerPoint has some quite advanced language for discussion on it. You may want to use this phrase sheet, designed with B2 students in mind, for lower levels.

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Uncategorized

2Ts in a Pod at Innovate ELT

2Ts_banner_2460x936
2Ts in a Pod is coming to Innovate ELT at Oxford House in Barcelona on May 11th & 12th and you can join us there at a discounted price using the offer code ‘2TSINAPOD20’ when you buy your ticket from the link below:
 
 
We’ll be doing the rounds interviewing speakers and attendees. Take a look at the lineup, who are you most excited to see?
Posted in Games

Game: Call My Bluff

Image credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a version of the classic definitions game “Call My Bluff”. Download the handout below:

Call My Bluff

Introduction:

Start by demonstrating the game by copying/projecting the examples from the handout onto the board. Thanks to busyteacher for the examples:

http://busyteacher.org/20650-call-my-bluff-esl-adaptation-5-steps.html

This is an opportunity for students to use language of deduction:

It could/might/may be….

It can’t be ….. because …..

It must be ….. because …..

I’m torn between …. and ….

I’m going to have a stab in the dark and say ….

By a process of elimination I’d say it’s ….

There’s no way it’s …. because …

… is too obvious.

I’m going to plump for (choose) …

 

Put students in pairs or threes and have them discuss the three examples and give their answers. Award points for correct answers.

Students create false definitions:

Now give each pair one of the game cards. The cards contain a rare English word and the correct definition. Students must invent two false definitions for the word and write them down. Set a time limit of 3-4 minutes for this part. Groups then read out their words and the three definitions, encourage them to be expressive and inventive in their definitions and their presentations in order to better convince their opponents. Award points for groups who guess the correct definition and points for the groups who successfully convince opponents into choosing their invented definitions.

Posted in Games

Game: Consequences

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

Image credit: www.considerthis.net

The old childhood classic retooled for the ESL classroom. All you need is pens and paper.

It’s the last week of term and I need a fun activity to finish on so I’m going for consequences. You can find the instructions in the link below. You will also find a link to lists of personality adjectives which you’ll also need for the game. Have fun!

http://www.wikihow.com/Play-Consequences

https://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/adjectives-personality.htm

Posted in Conversation Classes, Games

Game: Articulate

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

Image credit: www.drumondpark.com

This is a great end of year game to play with all ages and levels. It’s based around the popular board game “Articulate” which is a staple in my household at Christmas.

You will need a die and the handouts listed below printed and cut up.

articulate objects

articulate nature

articulate places

articulate famous ppl

For action cards you need to print out the MES flashcards below and write the verb next to the picture:

Click to access can_cards.pdf

Click to access verbs2_cards.pdf

Click to access verbs1_cards.pdf

The Game

Split your class into groups of 3. Have each group come up with a team name and write them on the board. Decide which team goes first. The first player comes to the front of the class and rolls the dice; the numbers correspond to the different categories:

  1. Objects
  2. Nature
  3. People
  4. Places
  5. Actions
  6. You choose

If students roll a 6 they can choose whichever category they like. The player than has 1 minute to describe as many of the words on the cards to their team-mates  as they can. Teams score 1 point for each word correctly guessed. If the describer doesn’t know the word or their team are struggling to identify it, they can pass but they can only pass 3 times. Play then passes to the next team. Play at least 3 rounds so that each member of each team has a go at describing.

The rules to describing are:

  1. You can only pass 3 times.
  2. No miming.
  3. Strictly English only.
  4. No spelling words out.
  5. Silence from other teams while one team is playing.

The game is a perfect opportunity to practice different structures such as relative clauses, adjective order and many more. Below are photos of the prompts I put on the board for my pre-intermediate teenagers class:

Make sure you drill the frames with the students beforehand and do a few yourself to demonstrate. I always carry the (rather battered) card packs in my folder in case I’m ever stuck for an activity for the last 10 minutes of class. Alternatively, play it as an end of term treat and bring sweets for the winning team. Let me know how it goes.

 

Posted in Writing Classes

CAE Writing Part 1: A Formal Essay

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

Photo Credit: http://ozgekaraoglu.edublogs.org/2015/04/01/how-to-get-a-good-essay-written-by-writers/

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. We have released 5 episodes so far and 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/

This is a lesson plan to help students approach and complete the new formal essay task in the CAE writing paper.

You will need the handout and teacher’s key:

CAE Writing Part 1 handout

CAE Writing key

Task Type

The new CAE writing part 1 is a formal essay based on a talk/lecture that the student has recently attended. There are always 3 bullet points that the lecture discussed, of which the candidate must only address two. There are also some quotes from other attendees/surveyed people that can be used. The final part of the task will include a question that the essay MUST answer.

essay shopping

Credit: Spotlight on Advanced – Cengage Learning and National Geographic.

Planning

Make enough copies of the 2nd page of the hand out for one between two. Cut the hand out up, give the slips of paper with the different planning steps to the students and have them put them in order. My suggested order is as follows:

  1. Read task carefully. Underline most important parts; focus on the question that your essay MUST
  2. Brainstorm ideas based on the 3 bullet points.
  3. Choose the 2 bullet point you have the most ideas about.
  4. Brainstorm ways to express your ideas and the quotes in the task using advanced grammar:
  • Inversions: Not only is/do…..but also… Rarely/seldom do people….
  • Double comparatives: The cheaper the…., the more popular…
  • Participle clauses: Being a keen shopper myself,… Having bought many products online,….
  • Advanced linkers: Despite the fact that…., ….. due to the fact that = because
  1. Plan your introduction:
  • An interesting way to introduce the topic.
  • Formal questions that the essay will answer.
  1. Plan your conclusion: Focus on answering the question you underlined in step 1.
  2. Write
  3. Reread carefully checking for:
  • Repetition of words/structures.
  • Contractions
  • Boring/informal vocabulary.
  • Also Furthermore/moreover. Because due/owing to the fact that. Although In spite of the fact that. However nonetheless/nevertheless.
  • Have you answered the question completely?

Have students complete step 1 in pairs:

essay shopping underlined

Have students complete step 2 as a CAE speaking part 3 task. Draw a spider diagram on the board. In the middle write: What influences where/how people shop? On the 3 spokes write the three bullet points: Convenience, cost and enjoyment. Briefly recap some language for speaking tasks and have students discuss the topic for 3 minutes.

Hold a plenary session and board all the students ideas in note form. Then put them in pairs to complete the next step: Brainstorming impressive grammar structures to use.

When shopping online not only do you avoid paying parking fees, but also crowds of people.

Having shopped both online and in stores, I would say that….

Linkers activity

Give out 1 copy of the third page of the handout to each student and have them complete it in pairs.

Pimp my paragraph

Either hand out the paragraph upgrade sheet out or project it on to the board. Students must upgrade the language in the paragraph to make it more impressive and more formal.

Introduction Phrases:

I got these great phrases from another handout I found on the internet:

More and more families are choosing to have only one child.

The trend nowadays is towards having smaller families.

Over the past ten years or so the media have frequently carried reports of ……………

Recent research indicates that the number of teenagers who smoke is increasing.

Hardly a week goes by without another report of …………….. appearing in the media.

This raises the issue of whether ……………..

Although most people would generally agree that …………… few would deny that …………….

I hope you find these activities useful in developing your students’ writing abilities, I appreciate any feedback or constructive criticism in the comments section.