February is a short month. First round of exams is over and I need to concentrate on preparing my students to take standardized exams. I am beginning to feel the pressure. OMG! It’s only February and I am already a bit stressed out. Will I make it to the end of the course with all my wits about me? Highly unlikely!
So, next topic on my list is Food and Nutrition and all the subtopics around it, which are …like a lot.
What you will see in this post is an example of how I prepare my students to take oral exams.
Revision and introduction of vocabulary-related terms
Listening Comprehension Activity: Food waste
Pronunciation Activity: Organic Food No More Nutritious
Speaking Activity through Reading passages with Follow-up Questions
This lesson is aimed at students with a language level of B2 (upper-intermediate) and focuses on revising, learning and using vocabulary related to health and illnesses through a variety of engaging activities which will help them improve listening and speaking.
This lesson plan works well on its own, but I have used it to complement Unit 2 of the course book New English File Upper-intermediate.
The Hot Seat. Revising and consolidating vocabulary.
A fun way to revise and consolidate vocabulary is playing the hot seat with the wheel of fortune.
Divide the class into two teams and ask them to choose a person to play for them and take the “hot seats”. These two students will be facing their teams and with their backs to the whiteboard
Decide which team starts the game by tossing a coin. Let’s say Team A starts the game. Tell them each team will have one minute to describe and guess as many words as possible.
Spin the wheel. Team A will have to define the word for its player. Once the player has guessed the word, the teacher will spin the wheel again for the same team. For every word they guess, they will get 1 point. If the player for Team A doesn’t know the word, then Team B gets the chance to define the word for its player. If he guesses, the team gets 2 points for this word.
Repeat procedure for Team B.
Role-Play: at the doctor's
At this stage, students will have already learned the vocabulary for minor and more serious illnesses and conditions so now, it’s time to practise it.
Step 1. Working on pronunciation
On the board, write some of the words students have found most difficult to pronounce and revise their pronunciation. In my case, they might include:
Stomach ache cough temperature consciousness sprained antibiotics antihistamine wound blood pressure medicine paracetamol
Step 2. Visiting the doctor
Ask students about the last time they were ill. What symptoms did they have? Did they go to the doctor? What was the treatment? Did you follow his advice? Could you go to work/school?
Tell students that they are going to role-play a conversation at the doctor’s where half the class will be patients and the other half will be doctors.
Students playing the role of patients will get a card with their ailment and they will need to talk to the doctor, describe their ailment and get some advice or treatment.
Students playing the role of doctors will have to ask questions and then prescribe some medicine, if necessary, and give some advice (rest, diet…etc).
Build the basic guidelines of the conversation on the board with the students’ help
Doctor: “Good morning/afternoon. What seems to be the problem?”
Patient: “I haven’t been feeling well for a few days/ I don’t feel well”. Explain your symptoms
Doctor: Asks more questions like ” Are you taking anything for… ?“Do you have a headache”? When did it start?” Have you taken your temperature?” …etc
Ask half the class (the doctors) to remain seated at their desks and ask the other half (the patients) to stand up and move to a corner of the room. Give each of the patients a card with their illness and ask them to choose a doctor and role-play the conversation.
When a student playing the role of patient finishes, he should go back to the corner and wait there for another student (patient) to swap the cards. Students will role-play as patients twice.Once this step is over, change roles: patients will now be doctors and doctors will role-play as patients. Give them new cards or reuse the previous ones.
Listening comprehension: Complementary and alternative medicine
Write “alternative medicine” on the board and ask students if they know what it is and if they have ever tried it.
There is a nice Reading Comprehension on Acupuncture here
Tell students they are going to watch a video where Dr Mc Cann discusses traditional medicine and alternative medicine. Ask them to listen once and then, in pairs, share any ideas they got from the video.
Ask students to listen a second time (even a third, if necessary) and answer the following:
True or False? Justify your answers
Integrative medicine is a combination of traditional medicine and complementary and alternative medicine.
At medical school, professors show you some alternative and complementary medical practice.
Dr McCAnn thinks a doctor needs to treat patients with either conventional or alternative medicine
According to alternative medicine, the human being can heal himself
Patients of integrative medicine are willing to take an active role in their healing process.
Some patients of integrative medicine are not ill at all.
Dr McCAnn believes integrative medicine is here to stay.
Answers: At the end of this post
Going the extra mile: Introducing more advanced vocabulary
To feel under the weather = to feel slightly ill
To be as fit as a fiddle= to be healthy
To phone in sick= to call work and say you’re ill
To suffer from a disease
To be a hypochondriac or a cyberchondriac /ˌhaɪ.pəˈkɒn.dri.ək/
To give someone a diagnosis /ˌdaɪ.əɡˈnəʊ.sɪs/ Ex: The doctor cannot give a diagnosis without doing some tests
To treat an illness such as asthma, depression, high blood pressure
To relieve a headache, dental pain, arthritis /ɑːˈθraɪ.tɪs/
To practise self-medication with non-prescription medicines /ˈmed.ɪ.sən//ˈmed.sən/
To have an operation, to undergo an operation
To donate organs, to be a donor
To go down with a cold / the flu
To need surgery /ˈsɜː.dʒəi/
A life-threatening illness
A tumour /ˈtʃuː.mər/ (UK) /ˈtuː.mɚ/ (US). Ex: Brain tumours develop in fewer than one in 50,000 people
The side effects of drugs
Integrative medicine: a combination of traditional and alternative medicine
Alternative medicine /ɒlˈtɜː.nə.tɪv/
Homeopathy /ˌhəʊ.miˈɒp.ə.θi/: a way of treating illnesses using very small amounts of natural substances,
Osteopathy /ˌɒs.tiˈɒp.ə.θi/: the treatment of injuries to bones and muscles using pressure and movement
Reflexology: a treatment in which your feet are rubbed and pressed in a special way in order to improve blood flow and help you relax,
Acupuncture /ˈæk.jə.pʌŋk.tʃər/: to insert very fine needles into the body at points along the meridians
Controversial Statements about health.Discussion Posters
Using vocabulary is key in this lesson. In fact, all the lesson is aimed at motivating students to use vocabulary they are already familiar with and to give them a chance to use newly-learnt terms.
So, this lesson could not finish without devising another strategy to help them use the target vocabulary; this time with the help of visual images in the form of posters and with controversial statements that will, hopefully, spark discussion.
Procedure: Gallery Walk
On the wall of the class, display the posters. Ask students in threes to choose a poster and discuss the statement written on it. Encourage the use of target vocabulary.
I want to start this week with a positive thought. It is something I’ve read recently and that has been going around for some days inside my head.
Happiness is not getting what you want . It’s wanting what you have.
I should say that I am normally a glass-full type of person but sometimes, only sometimes, I need to remind myself.
Well, today I want to share with you this amazing site which has a lot of potential. Educaplayis a platform to create embeddable multimedia teaching activities . You can create interactive engaging activities like crosswords, matching exercises, dialogues, presentations, tests, dictations , interactive maps, word search puzzles and many more… but what I really like about this website is the possibility of creating a video quiz as the one I have posted below .
The structure of the activity, is defined by sequences that are composed of a video, or part of it, and a question that will be the end of the sequence.
To define the sequences, we go through three phases:
Video election: We can use the search engine, or if we know, insert its URL directly.
Sequence election to be held on the question.
Definition of the question: Each question can be configured to ask for the answer in any of the following methods;
♥In a written form, by selecting one answer from various options or by selecting several answers from various options.
Another important feature is that it is entirely web based so you don’t need to download anything and … it is free, you only need to register.
And now, have a look at this videoquiz answering the question WHAT IS A VEGETARIAN?
Well, I don’t know what I am, that’s why I have dedicated some time to finding an answer to what I am or rather to what I eat or don’t eat. For me,one of the most tiring things about not eating what everybody around me eats is having to hide the fact that I just eat differently and having everybody around me worried about what they might offer me; so, when my friends and I go to a party or birthday or whatever occasion where food is involved I ask them not to attract attention to my eating habits. I can tell you it’s not fun struggling to make people understand that I won’t eat anything cooked with meat and what is worst, trying to explain that even though they remove the chicken or the meat I still won’t eat 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. VEGAN . This person doesn’t eat any animal products or by products and this includes cheese, milk… some of them don’t even wear leather or wool. LACTO-VEGETARIAN : The same as vegans but they eat dairy products OVO- VEGETARIAN : The same as vegans but they eat eggs OVOLACTO VEGETARIANS are by far the largest group of vegetarians SEMI-VEGETARIAN are not vegetarians strictly-speaking as they may eat fish but not meat or the other way round.
Silly things people say to vegetarians ….. when given the chance. I no longer do.
•So what do you eat? A lot of salad?
•Can’t you just pick out the bits of meat in (insert name of dish here) and eat the rest of it?
•You should feel bad about the pain and suffering you’re causing all those plants you’re eating.
•What did you say gelatin was made of? You’re joking.
Every time time I need to write something related to Medicine I cannot but think my father is smiling at me from up above. He wanted me to be a doctor but even though I might have done it, just to please him, the truth is that I would have made an awful physician as , unfortunately, my knees still go weak whenever I see blood or someone happens to mention the gory details of an accident or operation. Well, that’s me!, the proud daughter of the best doctor ever, who cannot even stand the sight of a needle!
So, daddy, here it is, another post in your memory!!
Sick vs Ill
♥Ill is often used to mean ‘unwell‘ in British English. In American English ill is unusual except in a formal style. Note that we use ill after a verb.
She is ill.
♥In Attributive position (before a noun), many British people prefer to use sick. Sick is also the normal informal American word for unwell.
The President is sick.
♥Be sick can mean ‘vomit‘.
I was ___ three times during the night
The problems faced by mentally ___people need to be dealt with
She is never sea-__
His mother is seriously ___ in hospital
Toothache vs A Toothache
♥ Illnesses are usually uncountable in English, including those ending in -s : measles, flu…
But some more common minor ailments such as: a cold, a headache, a sore throat, a nose bleed, a cough, a rash… are countable, ie, they take the indefinite article (a,an)
♥While in British English, toothache, earache, stomach-ache and backache are uncountable. ( I have earache) in American English , they are generally countable if they refer to particular attacks of pain.
I have toothache (BrE) // I have a toothache (Am E)
(Source Practical English Usage – Micheal Swan)
Ache vs Hurt
♥ What ‘s the difference between My leg hurts and My leg aches?
If your leg aches you have a continuous, dull (not intense) pain.
If your leg hurts, it is often stronger and sudden. Ex. Ouch! My leg hurts!
♥On the other hand, ache is used both as a noun and as a verb whereas hurt is only used as a noun.
I have a(n) ___ in my stomach
The pain in the small of his back was worse and there was a dull __ in his arms
I ___my hand on that broken glass
He ___ my feelings by ignoring me
And, now that we are on the subject, how do you fancy answering some questions about this issue? If you need to revise the vocabulary , click here