Category Archives: Lesson Plan: Intermediate

Lesson Plan: Do you Speak English?

This lesson is aimed at students with a language level of B1  (intermediate) and focuses on revising, learning and using vocabulary related to learning languages through a variety of engaging activities.

In this lesson students will get listening and speaking practice, learn new vocabulary, and have the opportunity to improve their writing skills.

Topic: Learning languages

Level:  Intermediate and above

Time:  60/90 minutes

Materials: PDF vocabulary, teacher’s notes

Online tools used: Spark adobe and Playbuzz


Warm up:

Guessing the topic.This funny sketch below works like magic to introduce the topic. The idea is to play this short funny video (2:48) and let students guess what we will be talking about.

Now, ask students to discuss these 2 questions:

  1. What’s the most spoken language in the world?
  2. What’s the most widely spoken language in the world?

Revising, introducing and using vocabulary

The idea is to elicit vocabulary by posing some questions and showing some pictures meant to stimulate spontaneous speech and class discussion. New vocabulary will be written on the board. See PDF with targeted vocabulary here

Tell students that of a total of 1, 5 billion speakers only 375 million are native speakers, so this means that over 1 billion people speak English as a second language. Ask them:

  • How do you think your country ranks in terms of English language proficiency?

Show them the picture below. If their country is not there, click here to see how it ranks. Elicit any reactions to the picture.

  • Does the ranking surprise them? Why (not)?

Get students in pairs to discuss the question below:

  • What do you find most difficult about learning English? Why do you think is that?

 

 


Listening and speaking

In this section there are 3 videos. Below you’ll find instructions to work with them. You can watch all of the snaps in a row or freely jump around from snap to snap.

Part 1: Speaking. English borrowings.

Follow the instructions in the video.

Part 2. Listening Comprehension. Note taking exercise.

Alex Rawlings, who speaks 11 languages, says that the way to start speaking a language more fluently and more proficiently is to practise speaking. In the video, he gives us four tips to get more practice speaking the language we’re learning.

      1. Get a conversation partner
      2. Talk to yourself.
      3. Learn vocabulary in phrases
      4. Imagine how you’ll use the language.

Watch the video and summarise what he says about each of these tips.

Part 3. Speaking. Reasons for learning a foreign language.

After watching the video, in groups of 3 share the reason why you’re learning English

Answer the following questions

      • Do you know anybody who has emigrated from your country?
      • Do you know any immigrants? Can they speak your language?
      • Before entering your country, should immigrants be required to speak the local language?

Speaking

Do you Speak English?


Writing

Write an article on one of the following:

  • “If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.” Zig Ziglar
  • “There is no elevator to success; you have to take the stairs”.Zig Ziglar

Post on how to write an article here

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Phones and Music: a Superb Combination

Funny thing! Every single year, no matter the level I’m teaching one of my lessons is  dedicated, without fail, to mobile phones.

This year, in November, I published a lesson for my B2 (upper-intermediate) students (lesson here) and now, it seems to be the turn of my B1 (intermediate) students.

This year my lessons about this topic seem to revolve around Adele’s hit “Hello”. Hey! What else did you expect? It’s not like every single year we have a song with
so many scenes where the leading actor is the mighty mobile phone. We certainly need to take advantage of this. Besides, I love Adele.

The lesson

This lesson is  aimed at students with a language level of B1 and focuses on discussing, reading and writing about mobile phones.There is also some general phone vocabulary and a song.

 

Warm-up: Speaking. Ask students as a whole class some of these questions.

  • What do you use your mobile phone for?
  • Have you ever lost your mobile phone?
  • How many text messages do you send every day?
  • Would you say you’re addicted to your mobile or the Internet?
  • Have you ever…?
  1. lost you phone?
  2. sent a message to the wrong person?
  3.  forgotten to turn your phone off/set to silent or vibrate mode (with embarrassing                      consequences)?

Teaching Vocabulary. You might want to show the slides twice to consolidate vocabulary. I would suggest doing it a third time at the end of the lesson.

Conjunto de Fichas creado con GoConqr por cristina.cabal

The song.
Warm-up. Students are going to listen to a song, so it may be a good idea to get them into the right mood by introducing the activity in a lively way.
Don’t tell students just yet we are going to listen to a song. After revising the vocabulary from the previous exercise, make a long pause until you have all the students staring at you, and say “hello”; I assume everybody should say “hello”. Pause again. Say “Adele”. I bet half the class would add “It’s me”. There you are! The perfect introduction!
(you might want to remind students that to introduce yourself over the phone “ It’s “ or “this is” are used ie. It’s Adele (speaking)/ this is Adele (speaking))

Task 1. Give students a list of words or expressions from the song. Give them some time to read them. If necessary, review how to pronounce the most difficult words. Depending on your class, you might want to keep the words in the order they are going to hear them or if you want a bigger challenge you can shuffle them and/or add some words that are not in the lyrics. Play the song and ask students to cross off the words as they hear them. Play the song once or twice depending on how challenging you want  the activity to be.
Handout here

 

Task 2.  Give students a photocopy with the lyrics of the song and ask them to sing/read along focusing on pronunciation.

Handout here

Reading and writing. Ask students to read online “7 strange stories of lost cell phones”  from the website mentalfloss.com and write a similar short story about something strange, funny or unusual that happened to them using their mobile phones.

Creating visual content for my classes with two awesome free online tools

Let’s go visual!

If you have been following my blog for a while you probably know how much I like exploring new tools to spice up my lessons. We all know students prefer looking at a screen than at a book so, for this lesson I have decided to explore two new free online tools, which have a lot of potential for language teaching.

 

Perhaps  you have never considered creating your own content because you think you aren’t tech-savvy and you don’t really know how to go about  these  modern things, but I can assure you that creating these two videos has been as easy as falling off a log.

In class, we are studying how to express preference with the structure would rather and (would)pefer  and this is just the perfect excuse to “play” with these two little tools.

1. For a revision of the grammar for Would Rather and Prefer, I have used biteable.com. This is how this tool works:

  • Login for free.
  • Click “create a new video”.
  • Choose your scenes one by one and enter the text. You can choose between animation scenes, footage scenes and image scenes where you can upload your own pictures. Click + to add a new scene.
  • Choose the colours for your presentation and then the music track or upload your own.
  • Click Preview and the video will be sent to your email address once it’s created.
  • At this point, you can download it, share it on facebook and twitter, or post to youtube.

(presentation created with biteable)

2. For a speaking activity using Would Rather, I have used emaze.com. This is how this amazing free online tool works:

  • Log in for free.
  • You can create a new presentation form scratch or upload a power point presentation.
  • Choose a template.
  • Share it or embed it on your blog.

(presentation created with emaze)

Powered by emaze

Give them a go! You won’t regret it!

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Nine Ways to Revise Vocabulary Using Slips of Paper

In today’s post I would like to share with you the link for an article I wrote for the  British Council’s magazine, Voices. As a result of winning this month’s  TeachingEnglish blog award with my article on pronunciation  Most Common Pronunciation Mistakes Heard in Oral Exams I was kindly invited to write a new article for their magazine.

Here’s the article Nine ways to revise vocabulary using slips of paperwhich I hope teachers will find useful.

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Lesson Plan: Families

FAMILY, in capitals, because is there anything more important in this world?

“Family is not an important thing, it’s everything.”Michael J. Fox. How far do you agree with Michael J. Fox?

This is a lesson for Intermediate students (B1) about Family. In this post you will find

  • A video about traditional and non-traditional families.
  • Some vocabulary you might need to revise/learn when discussing this subject.
  • Guided speaking: questions to discuss+ answers offered by a native speaker  (Flip Cards).
  • Freer Practice: pictures to describe and some questions to discuss in pairs or small groups

The first activity in this lesson (the video) will be set as homework.

1. The Video. What Is a Non-Traditional Family? – Definition of Options.

It is a long video. It lasts 8 minutes so I’d suggest breaking it up and asking students to work on different parts of the video.  In the video five non-traditional /alternative households are mentioned.

  • In class, show students the video and explain it discusses traditional and non-traditional families.
  • Explain that everybody will need to listen to the introduction where the concept of traditional family is explained (from the beginning – 1:02).
  • Explain that in the video Erin Long-Crowell, an educational psychologist, talks about five different non-traditional/alternative households.
  • Form groups of five students and tell them that in the next lesson they will be working in groups of five and each of them will share what they have learned about their assigned non-traditional household.
  • Assign tasks for the different students in the  group

Student 1: single parenthood 1:07-2:20

Student 2: cohabitation 2:20-3:23

Student 3: GLBT 3:23-4:32

Student 4: Polygamy 4:32-5:21

Student 5: Singlehood 5:21-6.30

(video no longer available on youtube) Click here to see it

2. Vocabulary. Family Life

Phasal Verbs

  • To take after your mum/dad
  • To bring up a child
  • To fall out ( with your sister)
  • To make up
  • To get on (well) with sb
  • To get along with sb

 

Verbs

  • To raise your children
  • To adopt
  • To quarrel with your siblings
  • To get divorced/ to be divorced
  • To share ( a bedroom)
  • To cohabit/kəʊˈhabɪt/
  • to start a family

Expressions

  • To have (a lot of) things in common
  • To get together
  • (A cousin) on my father’s side
  • To be close to
  • (not) to see eye to eye
  • To be the main breadwinner= the person in the family who earns the highest income
  • to be under age
  • to come of age

Nouns

  • A family gathering/ reunion /get-together
  • Childhood
  • Birth rate
  • Birth order
  • relationship
  • Immediate or nuclear/extended family
  • Twin
  • a spouse
  • Sibling (rivalry)
  • A parent
  • your significant other = Aspouse or long-term sexual or romantic partner
  • one-parent families
  • In-laws
  • Exhusband
  • Half brother
  • relationship
  • Step brother
  • A relative
  • Ancestors=aperson, typically one more remote than a grandparent, from whom one is descended
  • An only child
  • memories

Adjectives

  • traditional and non-traditional family
  • single parenthood
  • Close knit family

PDF here

3. Speaking .Guided speaking: questions to discuss+ answers offered by a native speaker  (Flip Cards)

  • Students in pairs. Display question 1 and allow two or three minutes for students to discuss this question. Flip the card for them to see how a native speaker would answer the question. Follow the same procedure with the rest of the questions.

Conjunto de Fichas creado con GoConqr por cristina.cabal

  • Freer Practice: pictures to describe and compare.
  • Freer Practice:conversation questions.

PDF here

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Ready-Made Lesson: Food and eating

Lesson on Food and Eating at Intermediate Level.

  • Vocabulary
  • Listening Comprehension
  • Picture description
  • Questions for discussion
  • Writing

STEP 1. VOCABULARY. You can download the pdf here.

To talk, you need words. These are  the words I think my intermediate students will probably need.

Adjectives

  • fresh fish
  • frozen lasagne
  • low-fat /high fat cheese
  • raw fish
  • spicy chicken
  • takeaway pizza
  • tinned meatballs
  • ready-made dish
  • delicious /nice taste
  • it’s nice/ it’s disgusting
  • fizzy drinks
  • healthy/unhealthy food
  • fatty food

 

Verbs

  • to eat out
  • to eat sensibly
  • to cut down on sugar
  • to cut out sugar
  • to be on a diet
  • to lose weight
  • to put on weight
  • to order food
  • to take vitamins
  • to take food supplements
  • to try new food
  • to contain vitamins and minerals
  • to have a balanced diet

Nouns

  • (food that is high/low in) carbohydrates “carbs”
  • (rich/high – low/poor in) proteins
  • (high in ) sugar
  • eating habits
  • a nutritionist
  • fats

STEP 2. LISTENING COMPREHENSION 

  • At this level, students know what a “vegetarian” is. So write the word VEGETARIAN on the whiteboard and ask students if they know any vegetarians and if they do,   what it is like for them when they eat out. Write the word “veggie” and explain that it is another term for vegetarian.  Play the listening below, just for fun! It only lasts 36 seconds and it is worth every second of it!

The word “vegetarian” is a blanket term used to describe somebody who does not eat meat, poultry, fish or seafood. But then, within this term there exist different sub-groups. Ask students if they know any of these sub-groups and if they think a diet without meat is better than a diet with it.

  • Tell students they are going to do a listening comprehension about the different types of vegetarians.

 

STEP 3. SPEAKING. You can download the pdf here

  • Picture description: Students describe the pictures talking about the topic  suggested .

EATING OUT IS NEVER A HEALTHY OPTION. Do you agree?

 

  • Interaction. Students in pairs or in threes talk about the questions elaborating on the answers.
  1. Is there any food or drink that you couldn’t live without? How often do you drink/eat it?
  2. Is there any food that you dislike? Which is it?
  3. What was your favourite food when you were a child?
  4. Do you eat healthily? Explain
  5. Do you ever have…
  •  ready-made food?
  •   takeaway food?
  1. Do you prefer to eat at restaurants or at home?
  2. What’s the best restaurant you have been to?
  3. Is a vegetarian diet better than a diet that includes meat? Why?
  4. What kind of diet would you recommend to a friend?
  5. Eating habits have changed a lot in Spain . Do you agree?
  6. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” Do you agree with this proverb?

STEP 4. WRITING

Write an opinion essay on  :

Eating meat can cause serious health problems so the best option is to become a vegetarian. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Check out how to write a for and against essay in my Writing Section  here

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An Engaging Combination: First-Day Introductions+Indirect Questions + Concentric Circles Technique

Last week was crazy. No lessons yet but lots of tests to be marked and tons of red tape to go through. So, I am shockingly super excited about beginning a new course; yes, excited about getting up early and teaching non-stop for six hours and   no…  I did not trip and fall  into a bucket full of cider   😉 (typical drink where I live).

First days are for introductions and little more, but  this year I think I am going to kill two birds with one stone  and combine introductions and some grammar that needs to be reviewed. So, I have got this idea in mind of asking students to introduce themselves to each other using indirect questions. I hope most of my new students will have, at some point over the years, studied  with me and for the rest, I will have to find a way to deal with the OMG- shocked looks I am sure I am going to get. But let’s cross that bridge when I come to it!

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Level: Intermediate and Above

Time Required: 30-45 minutes

Description of the Activity .This engaging activity has been designed as a  first-day oral introduction activity and to teach/help students revise how to make indirect questions . I will use the concentric circles  technique,  which is a mingle activity .The technique is explained below and I have also published a picture of my students doing the task.

STEP 1.Revision of Indirect Questions.

Indirect questions were studied last year, so we will just do a quick revision with this video I have  created using the free tool powtoon.com

If necessary, we will spend some minutes brushing up in two different ways

  1. Doing some online exercises you can find here  or , here  or if you do not have a computer, you might want to photocopy this worksheet here
  1. Orally producing some questions and asking students to provide the indirect question.

 STEP 2. Writing .

Ask students to write a question they would like to ask their classmates. For example: ” Do you speak any other languages?”, “Where do you live?” or “How long have you been studying English?”.

Give students slips of paper containing the beginning of an indirect question and ask them to make sure they know how to ask their question beginning with the phrase on their card. Cards here. (template downloaded from Teknologic). For example : “Can I ask  you where you live?” or “Would you mind telling me how long you have been studying English?”. 

STEP 3. Explaining the concentric circle technique.

This technique is a kind of mingle. Although mingles can be a bit noisy  and a bit disorganised, most students love it.The distinctive feature of a mingle activity is that all the students work simultaneously and switch from one classmate to another while speaking. Mingles allow constant repetition and this raises students’ confidence in their use of English.

Students arrange themselves so that they are facing each other in two circles. The inner circle faces out, the outer circle faces in, so that each participant has a partner that they are facing (Note: If the group has an uneven number of people, the teacher should participate in the circles). Each student from the outside circle, after speaking with the person facing him or her, moves one step clockwise to speak with a new classmate from the inside circle. I would suggest asking students to switch partners every four minutes for this activity. This concentric circle technique can very well be adapted to talk about any given topic of discussion. Encourage students to elaborate on their answers and use targeted language structure.

STEP 5. Speaking.

Students introduce themselves to the person they are facing and then ask their indirect questions making conversation with their partner. After four minutes, call time and rotate for the next question, forming a new partnership.

The conversation might go something like this:

Student A: Hi, I’m (student’s name)

Student B: Hello, my name’s  (student’s name)

Student A: Can you tell me how long you have been studying English?

Student B : (answers the question giving as many details as possible)

Student B : Can I ask you a question now? Would you mind telling me why you are studying English?

Student A: Answers

Teacher  says :”  Rotate” and students from the outside circle move one step clockwise to speak with a new classmate from the inside circle.

Model an example of a conversation with a student.

Stop the activity when they have had a chance to speak to most students.

 

 

 

Lesson Plan: Cities,Towns and Villages

This is a lesson for Intermediate students (B1).

Hopefully, at the end of this lesson you’ll have learnt useful vocabulary to talk about a city/town/ village you like, you’ll be able to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of living in the city or the countryside and you’ll be able to understand people talking about it.

What’s your hometown like?
Are you happy with the city/town/village you live in? What are some of the pros and cons?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of living in the coutryside or in a town

These are some common questions  in oral exams. Before reading any further, think about how you coud best answer these questions. Try really hard. Imagine you’re taking the real test.

Ok! Now!!! Do you have all the words you need or, are there things you couldn’t say because you didn’t have the right words? If this is the case, then go on reading, this post is for you.

Below you’ll find some ideas to help you get started.

Mapa Mental creado con ExamTime por cristina.cabal

 

Now, watch these two short videos and answer the questions below. The first one is about the advantages and disadvantages of living in a big city and the second about the advantages and disadvantages of living in a small town ( could also be applied to living in the countryside)

Video 1. Advantages and disadvantages of living in a big city

Speaker 1. What’s the disadvantage he mentions?

Speaker 2. What are the disadvantages he mentions?

Speaker 3. What is, in his opinion, the main advantage? What two disadvantages does he mention?

Speaker 4. What’s the huge advantage cities have compared to rural areas?

Speaker 5.  What’s, according to this speaker, the main advantage?

Answers here

Video 2. Advantages and disadvantages of living in a small town (could be applied to the countryside)

Speaker 1. What’s the advantage and the disadvantage he mentions?

Speaker 2. What does he say about the pace of life in small towns?

Speaker 3. What’s the advantage and the disadvantage he mentions?

Speaker 4. For him, what’s the advantage and the disadvantage  of living in a small town?

Speaker 5. What does he say happens in small towns?

 Answers here

♥By the way, do you know the difference between a city and a town???

A city is larger than a town and it has a cathedral 🙂 , at least in the UK

Now, do you think you can describe your hometown? Can you talk about your favourite city? Can you talk about the advantages and disadvantages of living in a city or in the countryside? Hope you can!

 

Today is on me- Let’s Go to a Musical Show !

Who doesn’t like music? Today I am inviting you to take a glimpse at the Top Ten Musicals in London. Tough  job to choose one ! A video-based lesson you’ll positively enjoy!

Level: B1/B2

Skills :listening, writing and vocabulary

Step 1. WARM UP. In pairs, talk about the questions below

♥How important is  music in your life?

♥Have you ever been to a musical show? Why(not)?

♥Do you know  any famous musicals?

♥There are lots of things to do in London, would you consider going to a musical?

 

Step 2. Look at the following collage containing pictures of different musicals. In pairs, can you identify any?

Get feedback. Most possibly students won’t be able to come up with the names for all the musicals. If this is the case, show them the options below.

A. The Lion King

B. The Phantom of the Opera

C. Wicked

D. Mamma Mia

E. Thriller

F. Billy Elliot

G. Les Miserables

H. The Book of Mormon

I. The Commitments

J. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Step 3. Play the video  for the first time without giving students any task.After watching it , ask them whether they  would fancy watching any of these musicals. Students watch the video a second time  and fill in the gaps in the exercise below

 

Number 10. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Grab your won golden ticket and step inside the ____ (1) and wonderful Wonka Chocolate factory

Number 9. The Commitments.Originally a novel, then a hit movie, this musical is jam ____ (2) with classic soul hits

Number 8. The Book of Mormon.From the ____  (3)of South Park, this outrageously funny musical is not for the faint -hearted

Number 7. Les Miserables.An epic tale of broken dreams, passion, ____ (4) and redemption

Number 6. Billy Elliot.The ____ (5) story of a boy’s struggle against the odds  to become a ballet star

 Number 5. Thriller Live.The spectacular show takes you on an electrifying journey through Michael Jackson’s musical ____ (6).

 Number 4.Mamma Mia. Abba’s  timeless songs create the ultimate feel-good tale of love , laughter and ____ (7)

 Number 3. Wicked.The untold story of the witches of Oz has won 90 international awards and is loved by ____ (8) and critics.

 Number 2.The Phantom of the Opera.Andrew Lloyd Webber’s  musical ____ (9) continues to captivate audiences

 Number 1. The Lion King.Set in the Serengeti, this epic show explodes with glorious colours, stunning effects and  ____ (10) music

 Step 4. Vocabulary. Find a synonym for the following words in the video

-ageless

-impressive

-strange

-fight

-located

-prize

-full

 Step 5. Writing . You’ve been asked to create a poster to advertise your high school end-of-the-term musical.Use postermywall.com to create the poster and think of something to say about the musical to attract an audience . Use some of the adjective+noun combinatios below

Mapa Mental creado con ExamTime por cristina.cabal

ANSWERS HERE

Lesson Plan: Dating , Family and Friends

Level: Intermediate
Topic: Dating, Family and Friends
Aim: To develop all four skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking .

Has our lifestyle changed so much that it has affected the way we socialise, date and  communicate with our family? Here is a nice visual lesson plan to talk about these issues TASK 1 Look at the picture below. Which of these adjectives would you use to describe the picture? Give reasons

Awesome   disgusting   funny   unreal   pornographic  sexist

romantic   interesting     unusual      provocative     depressing

Can you think of any more adjectives?

Task 2.  Introducing &Revising Vocabulary :   Dictogloss.

(Dictogloss technique here )

As I normally have large classes I have written two texts containing the target language so I will divide the class into two groups and I’ll dictate the texts in turns, following the dictogloss technique. Texts will be then written on the board or /and a copy of the texts handed out.

Vocabulary Handout 

TASK 3 SPEAKING

Has traditional dating become a thing of the past? Look at the  pictures  below showing different ways of dating. In pairs, discuss which ones you prefer, which one you wouldn’t mind trying and which ones you would never try, giving reasons to support your opinion.

TASK 4. LISTENING: What makes for a good friend.  See on youtube

Time to improve  your listening  abilities. This time we are going to listen for specific vocabulary. Ready?

Listen to  a man talking about  What Makes a Good Friend and fill in the spaces in the exercise embedded below .

 

 

 

TASK 5 . SPEAKING: A CLOSE FRIEND. Think of one of your close friends. In pairs, ask and answer these questions

  • How long have you known him?
  • Where did you meet?
  • Do you get on well? What do you have in common?
  • Do you ever argue? What about?
  • How often do you see each other?
  • How do you keep in touch? Have you ever lost touch? Why?

TASK 6. SPEAKING.

Students sit facing each other using the speed-dating technique. Some students remain seated during the whole event ( in real speed dating, women remain seated). When the bell rings, students sit across another student and they use their questions to start a conversation. They need to keep on talking for 3 minutes. Then a bell rings and “men” need to stand up and move to their right to start a new conversation with a different partner  and the whole process is repeated again. Instead of a  bell so I use a Class Timer (here).

Display with  the OHP ,on the whiteboard, the pictures with the questions and ask students to talk about the question on the picture for about three minutes. When the time’s up,  students change partner and a new picture is displayed.

I have created this slideshow with Thematic, which is a tool for creating and sharing visual stories

TASK  5 Writing. Choose any of the questions in the exercise above and write an essay  making sure you use the vocabulary you have learnt in this lesson. Do you need some inspiration? See what other students have written  hereherehere and here

I hope you’ve enjoyed the lesson!!

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