Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes, Pronunciation Classes

Parallel Universe: 3rd Conditional Conversation Practice

Parallel_Universe_Desktop_by_VisionGfx

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/

Parallel Universe: 3rd Conditional Conversation Practice

Introduction

This is a class for higher levels (B2+) to help students feel more comfortable and stumble less over complex past conditionals.

Here is a link to the printable handout:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!313&authkey=!ADsjHXyBVtx-H1Y

As the title suggests the focus is on using the conditionals in conversation so start out by telling the class that you don’t want them to write anything down except the bare conditional structure for reference.

Tell them they are going to explore parallel universes in which they made different choices in their lives.

The exercise presents the students with different topics designed to generate past conditional sentences but also conversation. Explain that you don’t just want them to form 1 past conditional sentence from each point, they should explore each point fully in small groups and try to use the structure in a variety of ways: affirmative /negative / interrogative.

Example:

“If I hadn’t gone to the party, I wouldn’t have met my girlfriend because she was only in town for one night.”

“Do you think you would have had the chance to meet her again?”

“It’s possible, but maybe I would have met someone else.”

Note on pronunciation

For higher levels depending on how well they use the structure you can encourage them to use the weak forms:

Woulda / would’ve / wouldn’t ‘ve

If they have trouble with this start out with the contracted “had” in the if clause and slowly introduce the other forms.

 Establishing grammar

If I hadn’t gone to the party, I wouldn’t have met my girlfriend. (past result)

Maybe we wouldn’t be together now. (present result)

If I hadn’t studied drama, I probably would have studied literature.

If I had studied business, I would have got a job in an insurance company

I could have

Explain difference between would have and could have

would have = what definitely happened in this parallel universe

could have = what possibilities were available in the parallel universe

If + had/n’t + past participle + would / could + have + past participle.

Conversation Questions

What did you study at school / university? What other options did you have? Explain them to your group.

Do you remember the interview for your job? What would have happened if you hadn’t got it?

If you have a partner how did you meet? How could things have happened differently?

Think of an important exam you passed or failed in the past, how could things have happened differently?

What would you have done this week if you’d had more time? Why?

What would you have done last year if you’d had more money?

Think of a time when someone helped you with something, what would you have done without their help?

Think of a time when you helped someone, what would they have done without your help?

Think of a time when you had an accident, how could things have happened differently?

Think of a time when you or someone you know was in danger, how could things have happened differently?

Think of big decisions you have made in your life related to work / studying / family, how could things have happened differently? How could things be different now?

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Posted in Conversation Classes, Reading Classes

Proficiency book club, lesson 2: Solid Objects by Virginia Woolf

Iron_Lump

This is the second part of a series of posts based around stories from “The Oxford Book of English Short Stories” edited by A.S Byatt. This particular class is based on “Solid Objects” by Virginia Woolf, pages 205-209.

As before set the story as reading homework for the week before.

If you don’t have a copy of the book someone has helpfully uploaded it in pdf here:

http://inkandblotter.com/catalog/pdfiction/SOLID%20OBJECTS,%20Virginia%20Woolf.pdf

This analytical essay by Sam Mitchell about the works of Virginia Woolf may prove useful. It’s a little heavy as it’s an honours thesis but has some useful insights into the story.

https://dspace.lasrworks.org/bitstream/handle/10349/958/2011ENG-MitchellSam.pdf?sequence=1

Lesson Plan:

Start by asking the students for vocabulary problems. Woolf’s style can be confusing so some sections could require a little explanation. Some vocabulary that might cause problems is listed below:

lunging – to lunge, to move towards in a swift movement

tweed – woven material used to make clothes

to fling – to throw without care

to be to hand – to be within reach

to slash – to cut or mark something

to skim – to touch the surface of something lightly

slate – material used to make rooves

to hitch up a sleeve – to roll up or move higher to protect

moat – water around a castle

mantelpiece – surface above a fireplace where objects are kept

on the brink – on the edge

trifling – unimportant

to be cast down – to be depressed

matted – tangled into a lump

Lots of the vocabulary in the story can be used in various contexts, be sure to explore these fully. For example: fling – to have a fling (short sexual relationship)

Once you have cleared up any vocab issues hand out the following discussion questions:

1. Can you describe the characters?

2. What happens in the story?

3. What was your initial reaction to the story?

4. Did you feel sorry for John? Or bemused?

5. What strikes you about the introduction?

6. How can you explain John’s behaviour?

7. What do the objects represent?

8. Do you have any lucky charms? Did you have any when you were a child?

9. Do you collect anything?

10. Did you collect things when you were a child?

Either put the students into small groups to discuss the questionsand then feedback or have an open class discussion.

Here are some ideas and themes that could help fuel discussion:

Story written in 1918 towards the end of World War one. The idea of objects lasting longer than men, so many people died in the war and all that came back were objects: letters, belongings, clothes etc.

The idea of the permanance of objects and the transcience of people. The desire for permanance, ever lasting life.

The simplicity of the objects as pure pieces of different materials and also the mystery surrounding what they used to be.

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Posted in Writing Classes

Follow up: Homework composition about travelling

travelwriter

This is a homework activity written to follow my previous lesson plan about holidays and traveling here is the link to the original lesson plan:

https://freeenglishlessonplans.com/2013/01/30/holidays-and-travelling-conversation-class/

Here is a link to download the handout for homework:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!300&authkey=!AMJLj8z2NbQgFFI

A travel magazine is running a competition for travel articles about different types of holidays / ways to travel for young people.

Choose 1 type of holiday / way to travel from the class handout and write an article about why it’s good for young people. Include:

  • An interesting introduction to catch the reader’s attention. Include direct questions.
  • Pros and cons of your chosen subject.
  • Reasons why you recommend it to other young people.
  • You can include (invented) anecdotes.

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Posted in Conversation Classes

Ice breaking activity: My life star

star

Thanks to my Spanish teacher Montse for this activity.

This is a good activity for the first class of a course to break the ice. The students learn a bit about their teacher and then about each other.

It is suitable for levels A2 – C2.

You will need this handout:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!297&authkey=!AOyUfMWbXMGz2Uw

Preparation:

Draw or project the star from the handout on to the board. Write a different word or phrase related to your life at each point of the star. For example, you could write your partner’s name, your pet’s name, your favourite band etc.

Lesson plan:

Tell the students that each point represents something important from your life. Put them in small groups, they then have to discuss what each word or phrase represents. Encourage them to use modal verbs of deduction:

“Fido” could / might be his dog’s name. It can’t be his wife’s name.

When they have finish have them put forward their ideas, tell them if they are right or wrong and explain a little about each subject.

Put the students in pairs or threes and give out the handout. Give them 5 minutes to write something at each point. Students then ask and answer questions about each others lives and share information to get to know each other. Tell them to try and remember as much information as possible.

Students change partners or groups. They must then tell their new group as much information about their old groups as the can remember. This is a good way for the students (and the teacher) to use and remember all the other students names.

Wrap up:

At the end of the class have the students recall as much of the information they learned about you as possible. Put them in groups, give them a star they have to remember all your points.

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Posted in Exam Preparation Class

CAE Study Guide

exam_1464481c

This post will give students who are about to sit the CAE exam a rough guide of what to study and links to helpful online tools.

Vocabulary sets for CIC 607 CAE students:

https://quizlet.com/144482326/flashcards

http://www.cram.com/flashcards/607-vocabulary-7433047

Here you have a link to sets of flashcards I have made on the website quizlet.com. There are 39 different sets focusing on various different parts of the use of English section:

http://quizlet.com/join/vwMDp6Qe6

Here are individual links to different quizlet sets that will help you prepare for the use of English paper, use the flashcards to study then try clicking on “learn” or “test” at the top, you can also play the games “scatter” and “gravity”:

https://quizlet.com/144514233/verbs-with-preps-short-flash-cards/?new – verbs with prepositions.

https://quizlet.com/99435871/inversion-revision-flash-cards/ – Inversions

https://quizlet.com/84053293/cae-letter-of-complaint-flash-cards/ – Letter of complaint

https://quizlet.com/32210011/cae-gerundinfinitivebare-infinitive-flash-cards/ – Gerund or infinitive

https://quizlet.com/96177238/flashcards – 82 different key word transformations

https://quizlet.com/29838781/cae-use-of-english-part-4-flash-cards/ – more key word transformations

https://quizlet.com/16987300/flashcards – even more key word transformations

https://quizlet.com/56139712/flashcards – use of English revision

https://quizlet.com/60219071/flashcards – word formation

https://quizlet.com/128430288/flashcards – reporting verb patterns

https://quizlet.com/5740189/flashcards – phrasal verbs

https://quizlet.com/123807629/flashcards – more phrasal verbs

https://quizlet.com/8192472/flashcards – word formation

 

Other useful websites include:

http://www.flo-joe.co.uk

http://www.examenglish.com/CAE/

You can also download the CAE handbook here, it contains 2 test papers with the answers.

Where there are online tests and loads of other useful features.

Use of English

There are Use of English papers you can use to practice here:

http://www.flo-joe.co.uk/cae/students/tests/index.htm

There are 3 different papers, do 1 a day, make notes on your mistakes and redo the same paper, it helps to make the information stick.

Part 1: Multiple choice cloze

Study Quizlet sets on Collocations, verbs / adjectives with prepositions etc. Then try a practice paper from flo-joe.

Part 2: Open Cloze

Past papers on flo-joe or go back over your notes. Quizlet sets on verbs / adjectives with prepositions and collocations also help.

Part 3: Word formation

There are lots of sets on quizlet for word formation. Also you can download a word formation list here:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!190&authkey=!ACS0L7Fi2v-suyo

Then do past papers on flo-joe.

Part 4: Key word transformations

There are lots of key word transformation sets and phrasal verb sets on quizlet and past papers on flo-joe.

Also check flo-joe’s daily word bank for new vocabulary:

http://www.flo-joe.co.uk/cae/students/wordbank/index.htm

Here is a link to quizlet set of 82 Key Word Transformations:

http://quizlet.com/38840080/cae-use-of-english-part-5-key-word-transformation-flash-cards/

Extra resources:

Collocations practice:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!194&authkey=!AIDza1OWzb6yBCc

Or lexical phrase list from here:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!197&authkey=!AH-GLrI0X_c_wGs

Exam practice collocations:

http://www.tukudoo.com/exam-practice/cae-collocations/

Writing

Here is an exhaustive collection of useful phrases for writing tasks:

CAE Writing (useful language) (1)

Download the examples of each different writing task and check out the page on the my wiki called CAE writing text types explained.

Examples of each task type:

http://timsenglishclasses.wikispaces.com/CAE+Writing

Explanation of task types:

http://timsenglishclasses.wikispaces.com/CAE+Writing+text+types+explained

Remember part 1 is compulsory and it will be a formal essay. In part 2 you can choose from 3 different options. The possible options are: a letter (formal or informal), a report, a proposal and a review.

Also check out flo-joe’s writing class:

http://www.flo-joe.co.uk/cae/students/writing/index.htm

There are lots of activities for linking words and expressions, formal / informal language etc.

Reading

There’s only 1 Reading paper on flo-joe but it’s better than nothing.

Listening

If you want to practice listening you can use this website:

http://www.elllo.org/english/level-7-advanced.htm

There are a lot of different listening exercises with comprehension questions and vocabulary questions. Try some.

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Posted in Recommended Websites

Support the English Disco Lovers!

disco balls

The English Disco Lovers (EDL) is a campaign set up by some open-minded Londoners in retaliation to the rise of the English Defence League (EDL) a racist far right organisation in the UK.

The idea is to replace the English Defence League with the English Disco Lovers at the top of all Google / facebook / twitter searches.

All you have to do is share the English Disco Lovers website on your blog to help fight back against racism and bigotry.

Here is the website:

http://www.edl.me/

The more times the link appears on other websites (blogs for example) the further up the google listings it goes.

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.