Archivos de la categoría Listening

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

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



  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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.

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

PDF here

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Lesson Plan: The Etiquette of Social Kissing.

“How far away the stars seem, and how far is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart”. William Butler Yeats

I was once kissed by a marquis, or maybe he was a count, but it was in a palace. I cannot remember his rank, but he was old and ugly, at least for me! Nothing to daydream about, believe me, but the fact remains that I was kissed by a nobleman. He was a long way from Prince Charming, but that was ok for me. He was selling. I was buying. That was it!

But the kiss… yes…back to the kiss. First time ever I had been kissed on the hand. I was ready for a handshake so I extended my hand. Instead the marquis suddenly, and in a very quick gesture took my hand, bowed and made the gesture,  and I have yet to decide whether he actually kissed my hand or just the air. Now that I know a bit more about the etiquette of hand-kissing I realize he probably never kissed me.

Photo by Tim Rooke/Rex/REX USA

Level: B2

♥DISCUSS: It is not very often that a woman has her hand kissed nowadays. But let’s reflect a bit on how we greet each other in our different countries. Discuss these questions with your partner:

  • What are the rules for social kissing in your country? Do you always know how you are supposed to greet someone? Have you ever experimented any awkward moments where you didn’t know what you were supposed to do?
  • When kissing as a form of greeting, do you kiss on one cheek or on both cheeks?
  • Is it the right or the left cheek you kiss first? Know that you should kiss the right cheek first to avoid awkward situations.
  • If you don’t like the kissing business, how do you cope with people who want to kiss you as a greeting?
  • Is it appropriate to kiss in a business setting?
  • Do you ever hug?
  • Apart from the handshakes, cheek kissing and hand kissing which are quite common for us, do you know any unusual ways  of greeting people ?

♥READ: Have a look at this interesting article about Unusual Ways to Greet People Around the WorldWhen you finish reading , tell your partner which form of greeting  you found most unusual.

♥LISTEN: Watch this video about the etiquette of social kissing and answer the following questions:

  1. In Good Morning America, the *anchorwoman describes an awkward moment when you get to a party. Why is it awkward for some people to greet your host or hostess?
  2. The British are described as” buttoned-up”. What do you think it means?
  3. Laura Ford is a British artist. Does she kiss people she doesn’t know? Choose from the options below and justify your answer.
  4. always b. never c. sometimes
  5. According to Hillary Brown, social kissing in France might be getting out of control. Why?
  6. Social Kissing is taught at some schools. Which ones?
  7. What are some of the rules of kissing taught at these schools?
  8. How are Americans and Latins different as regards social kissing?
  9. At the end of the clip, the anchorman apologizes. Why?

*anchorman/anchorwoman = a person who presents and coordinates a live television or radio programme involving other contributors.

CHECK: Answers here

♥WRITE: Imagine a foreign student is coming to your school/house on an exchange visit. What advise would you give about your customs. Use the ideas below and the modal verbs should/shouldn’t , could, must/mustn’t.

  • greeting someone
  • meeting someone for the first time
  • being punctual
  • being invited to someone’s house
  • tipping

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Listening Comprehension: Columbus Day

Introduction: Many countries in the New World and elsewhere officially celebrate as a holiday the anniversary of Christopher Columbus‘ arrival in the Americas, which happened on October 12, 1492. The landing is celebrated as Columbus Day in the United States, as Discovery Day in the Bahamas, as Día de la Raza (“Day of the Race”) in many countries in Latin America, as Día de las Américas(Day of the Americas) in Belize and Uruguay, as Día del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural (Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity) in Argentina, as Día de la Hispanidad and Fiesta Nacional in Spain, and as Giornata Nazionale di Cristopher Columbus or Festa Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo in Italy and in the Little Italys around the world. These holidays have been celebrated unofficially since the late 18th century and officially in various areas since the early 20th century. (source Wikipedia)


Level: B2

Watch the video from  about Columbus’ Day and answer the questions below:

Unfortunately, doesn’t allow embedding so you’ll probably need to open a new window to listen and see the exercises at the same time.

♥Click on the picture to listen

♥Answer the questions

♥Click here to see the answers and the transcript


True or False? Correct the False Sentences

  1. The idea of renaming Columbus Day has been going on for a while. True or False?
  2. So far, only Seattle has been able to change the name of the day . True or False?
  3. The American Indians want to rename the day so that nobody forgets the difficulties they have had to endure . True or  False?
  4.  The USA government is considering renaming the day next year.  True or False?
  1. Name four things, Columbus is blamed for







Some Priceless Topic-Based Videos to Help Students Prepare for the Speaking Test

Hi, hey! How are things?
Have you read my last post?? It’s all about first-day activities to get to know my new students. Are you going to be one of them? I hope so!
Lessons start on  5 October  and I am totally in teaching mode.In September  ,some  of my students will need to take the oral exam again and I thought it might be a good idea to share with you some priceless videos that I found on youtube  this summer.  I wish I had shared them with you before exams in June, but I didn’t know about them just then. Anyway, I hope you can still make good use of them .
What I am going to show you in this post is the website of an English teacher ,Marek Connell ,and his awesome videos on how to answer the questions in the Escuela Oficial de idiomas Intermediate (B1) and Advanced (B2)speaking exams. I have to say here that in my region (Asturias) EOI exams  don’t  follow exactly the same procedure Marek explains in his videos , ie , students cannot take notes and they do not have 10 minutes to organise their speech   , but what I like about his videos is that he shows how a fluent speaker would answer the questions related to a given topic .
For each topic I will show you:
From my own website : some questions you could be asked
From Marek Connell ‘s website , his own videos showing how  a native speaker (himself) would answer  some of these questions. Click to visit Marek’s website

So, pen and paper at the ready? Here we go.


Questions about Friendship,

Questions about your dream partner


Vocabulary and Questions


Questions about the weather

Questions about the environment


♥Vocabulary and Questions about Education


Questions about Fashion and Trends

Questions about Going Shopping

♥Questions about Money 1

Questions about Money 2


♥ Questions about Pets


Questions about Sports

Questions about Violent Sports


Lesson Plan about National  Stereotypes with Vocabulary and Questions

9. CRIME  


You’ll find more  topic -based questions  on my website Blog de Cristina. Click here,please 

Hints on Blank Filling Listening Comprehensions+ 2 Listening Activities

In this kind of listenings   you don’t need to write  a full sentence to give the correct answer.
Normally there is a maximum of three  words to complete notes , statements or questions.

In these exercises it is very helpful to:

And don’t forget to read the completed sentences to make sure the words fit grammatically  :)



Source: Cambridge FC Practice Tests
Source: Cambridge Complete First Certificate

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Two Wonderful Sites to Practise Listening and other skills

So, you’ve done all the listening exercises in your textbook, workbook  and on my website 😉  but still, you feel you  really need to go the extra mile ?

Here you are two wonderful websites where you can find tons of Listening exercises to practise before the exam.

1. ESOL COURSES. Choose your level and then choose the skill you want to practise ; they are all great!

2. ESl Lounge Students: on this site you can also practise all skills . Scroll down the page and on the right sidebar, choose the skill you want to practise and your level.


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Preparing for Listening: Focus on Distractors.

In a Multiple Choice Listening  you need a bit of attention. In this kind of listening exercises there are always words and expressions which are designed to distract students from the correct answer. If you don’t know about these distractors , you are likely to be misled by them and choose the wrong answer.

The most important thing in this kind of listening exercises is to read the questions carefully . You are always given some time to read  through questions and answers , use that time. Listen very carefully to the details and make sure the answer you choose really matches what the question has asked you. It’s important to concentrate on understanding in detail .

♥Let’s look at an example

How long has Liz been snowboarding?

a. One year          b. five years            c. every year since she was a child.

The underlined words in the transcript  all appear in the possible answers a, b or c, but only one answer is correct. The other words are distractors.

♥Read the transcript , choose the right answer and say why the other are not correct

I first did it when I was on holiday with my parents- When I was younger I used to go skiing every year with them and then one year I tried snowboarding and I haven’t skied since then. That was 5 years ago.

These extracts have been taken from Listening Comprehensions. The distractors are in bold . Read them and then answer the questions

A. My brother was so scared he couldn’t watch the film whereas I didn’t find it at all frightening. ♥Is the speaker frightened by the film?

B. Although most critics agreed that the film was her best ever , I was rather disappointed by her performance.  ♥ Did the speaker love the film?

C. Although snow is now unlikely, we can expect a certain amount of rain later on.   ♥ Does the speaker think it will rain or snow?

D. My daughter wanted me to help her with her homework but I told her to ask her mother.   ♥ Did the speaker help his daughter?

E. Whereas in most of her other film she plays the “baddie”  in this one he’s definitely the good guy. ♥ Does the speaker say the actor is the villain or the hero in the film?

Answers: A. no   B. no   C. rain   E. the hero

Now , let’s do some practice.

You will hear  people talking in 8 different situations. For each question , choose the best answer.



Source: Ready for First Certificate and Cambridge FC Practice Tests 1

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








 Step 5. Writing . You’ve been asked to create a poster to advertise your high school end-of-the-term musical.Use 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


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 


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?


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   here ,here,here and here

I hope you’ve enjoyed the lesson!!

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