Tag Archives: speaking

Brainstorming, Introducing and Revising Vocabulary Related to Work for C1 Students

Undeniable. This course is proving to be quite challenging. Having your students sitting in rows, stuck on their seats and only being able to talk to the person on their right or on their left has me racking my brains trying to find attractive alternatives to some of the successful dynamics I used in the past.

With teaching online on the rise, more than ever I have been juggling different tools to make sure the work my students do at home is relevant, effective and motivating. I think Genial.ly, the tool I have used in this lesson, is a must-have in any teachers’ toolbox.

In this lesson, you will find:

  • Activating prior knowledge:  handout
  • Introducing new vocabulary: handout
  • Speaking activity
  • Engaging game to revise Vocabulary

Step 1. Activating Students’ Prior Knowledge. Brainstorming

Before introducing new vocabulary, it is crucial to help them activate prior knowledge so that they don’t feel overwhelmed by how much they need to learn. Learning expands gradually from previous knowledge and we cannot and should not neglect this important step.

To brainstorm vocabulary, I gave them 2 minutes to write down on their notebooks, words or expressions related to “work”. On the board, I wrote Work and then wrote their suggestions, exemplifying, clarifying and drilling pronunciation.

When appropriate and relevant, I also started introducing new terms, like the minimum wage as represented in the picture below.   Some  other vocabulary they came up with is here

Step 2: Introducing New Vocabulary

PDF here

Individual Work: I gave them this photocopy and a couple of minutes to underline any new words/expressions.

Whole class: Then,  I instructed them to ask the question. Does anyone know what the meaning of…. is?  Only when no one in the class could come up with a clear explanation, did I offer it.  Until then, it is all about asking students to tap into their previous knowledge.

Step 3: Firts attempt at introducing some new vocabulary in a speaking activity

I divided the class into As and Bs and asked As to choose three new words they wanted to use in their speech. I wrote them on the board under the headings A’s words/ B’s words.

I gave As this statement to discuss: Unpaid internships should be banned and I gave B’s Retirement age: higher or lower? I let them have some thinking time and asked them to do the speaking task.

Step 4: Revising Vocabulary with a Game

This proved to be an engaging game to revise vocabulary. You will find the instructions in the second slide, but watch the video with my students doing the activity if you want a sneak peek of how much fun we had.

And here’s the game. I have made the template editable in case you want to add your own pictures. To reveal the hidden word, you’ll need to hover the mouse pointer over the picture.

Lesson Plan for C1: Politics and Politicians.

I am certain I am not the only one who is fed up with politicians. Should you ask my friends, they’ll tell you that I never talk about politics. I never criticize or praise politicians. I talk about life, about life issues, but always being respectful of other people’s attitudes. I don’t like radical people. I don’t want them around me. I know that some of you might think knowing about politics is a necessity. I don’t disagree.  However, getting into heated arguments with people who have a different point of view is, in my opinion, a waste of time and frustrating. So, I don’t do it. And, in this frame of mind, I will approach this lesson about Politics.

PDF Teacher’s     PDF Student’s

Warm-up. Whole class
  •  What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the word POLITICIAN?
  • What is the minimum voting age in your country? Should it be higher or lower?   See: Voting age around the world
  • What are the main political parties in your country? Who is the most controversial politician?  useful vocabulary here.

 

Working on Vocabulary: Adjectives
  • On the board, write three headings: positive, negative and neutral and ask students to do the same in their notebooks. Tell them you are going to dictate a list of adjectives and qualities that can be applied to politicians.
  • Start calling out adjectives and ask them to place them under one of the columns. You might need to spell some of them, or alternatively write them down on the board. It is a good opportunity to drill pronunciation and clarify/teach meanings.
  • Do the exercise on the board. There might be slight disagreements and that is just fine.

Focusing on Listening:  How the US  and the UK election works

This listening exercise has different parts

Individual work:

  • Students are divided into pairs. Student A listens to How the US election works and Student B to How the UK election works. In my case, I have set it as homework but you can do it in class, asking students to bring some earbuds.
  • As students listen, ask them to write down any words/expressions related to the topic. Ask them to look them up and practise their pronunciation as they might be asked to explain some terms to the class.

In class:

  • Using Mentimeter, ask them to write the words they jotted down from the video. Once the cloud is formed, point to one word and ask them to explain it.

  • Pair up A and B and ask them to report their findings.

Student A. How the US election works

Student B: The voting system in the Uk

Follow up: Cloze with a twist.

Give students the transcript for both videos. Tell them you have deleted some words from the transcript. They will have to listen very attentively as there are no empty spaces showing there is a missing word. Ask them to compare in pairs before correcting the exercise.  You will find the exercise in the PDF.

Working on Vocabulary

Have a look at how these verbs collocate

  • Boost the economy
  • Harm/benefit someone or an organization
  • Put a strain on the finances of a country/area
  • Exacerbate a problem
  • Undermine the morale of citizens
  • Create divisions
  • Lead to tensions
  • Cut taxes
  • Extend working hours
  • Increase public spending
  • Abolish unemployment benefits
  • Allow a vote on independence
  • Increase penalties for…
  • Damage the economy
  • Resolve existing social problems
  • Rise of income inequality
  • Reform the education system
  • Solve social problems
  • Ensure prosperity
  • Hold an election
  • Rig the election
  • Stand for election

Other words you might want to know: floating voters. popularity ratings, a right-winger, a left-winger, a polling station, a running mate, a high turnout, voting booth, ballot card

Speaking

Before each section, ask students to call out 6 words or expressions they have learned in this unit. Divide the class into As and Bs and assign As three words and Bs three words. Display the first section and ask them to take in turns to answer the questions trying to use the vocabulary on the board

Politcs and Policiticians

 

Speaking and writing using Flipgrid

I have been dying to use Flipgris’s new update. “And what is it that has you so excited?” -you might be wondering. Well, it is the possibility of responding to a video in a written form.  Imagine the possibilities, imagine the potential it has for language teaching.

So, here’s the first activity for my students using the brand new Text Comments. I know it is a dangerous activity, but I teach adults and am relying on their self-restraint.

Breaking the Mould: a Speaking and Listening Lesson on Success

…and there I go again. Up to my eyes in work this week and yet, I cannot resist the temptation of stepping outside the book and giving my students a taste of fun and the opportunity to listen to a piece of audio that is not staged and academic and still relevant to the lesson. I think I have managed to accomplish both. Some might say it is a sacrilege to spend more time than necessary planning lessons and that this time should be devoted to socialising, but, … in Spain, no chance of doing that in the near future, so here we are glued to the computer and virtually socialising.

I am working with Language Leader Advanced and the lesson focuses on success and successful people. I have to admit I was greatly surprised that the three people chosen as representatives of this success were all women; one of them was Indra Nooyi, Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo and a woman known for her communication skills and leadership. I loved it when I read she had grown up playing the game What would you do if you were the president of…? It kind of rubbed off on her, don’t you think?

This smallish lesson has two parts and is meant to be used as a side dish and part of a larger lesson on the topic of success.

Game: speaking and learning vocabulary

1.Ask students to write the most defining  5 traits successful people share, in their opinion.

Introduce qualities such as willingness to learn, discipline, humble nature, sociability, integrity, passion, patience, willpower, self-confidence, commitment, consistency, the ability to embrace change…etc.

2. Tell students you are going to display the pictures of remarkably successful people. On one side of the flashcard, they will see their picture and on the other side, they will see some facts about their lives.  Put students into pairs and ask student A to face away from the board. Student B will briefly have a look at the picture and then use some of the facts on the back of the flashcard to help student A guess the person on display. Warn students it is very important not to give specific details in order to make their partner sweat a bit, ie, if you are showing Mark Zukerberg, you cannot mention Facebook.  Encourage them to use the facts on the back of the flipcard, but also the adjectives brainstormed in Exercise 1

There are 4 people on the flashcards and students take it in turns to talk about them.  Do not forget to go through any new vocabulary before displaying a new name.

Listening Comprehension

A word: The audio is not very good in the sense that it is very low in volume, but my class is about 50 square meters, there are 20 students in it and they have all managed to do it. Just instruct them not make any noise.

Ready? Here we go!!

First time listening

Listen to Indra Nooyi talking about what she calls her list of essential skills for leaders “ the five C’s” and cross out the words/expressions as you hear them. There are some distractors. I won’t tell you how many. You are a C1 student.

  1. The go-person
  2. Stand out from the pack
  3. Abreast
  4. True innovator
  5. Overinvest
  6. Mobilize the troops
  7. Graduate
  8. Flunked
  9. True innovator
  10. Sync
  11. Key elements
  12. Second-guessing
  13. Crashing down
Second time listening

Can you identify the five C’s?

Third time Listening

Make notes of what she says about each of them

Get the PDF here

 

Vocabulary Revision from the Video

The Shopping List: a Vocabulary Revision Game

Raise your hand if you find it hard to learn new vocabulary!  Make that two hands if you find it even harder to use it when you speak! For those of you who have raised a hand or two, I have created this exercise. A modern version of a shopping list, only this time we will be buying words. Words are worth points.

Pre-game: This is a retrieval practice kind of game. For those of you not familiar with the strategy, broadly speaking, retrieval practice is a strategy used to pull information out of the student. This strategy has proved to be a more effective way of learning as it challenges the mind to recall this information; but obviously, first, before bringing any information to mind, we need to push it in. Information= vocabulary

So, for this game, we have already taught students some new vocabulary. Time to pull it out to help them remember.

Setting the context

Tell students we are going to revise and use, in a speaking activity, newly-acquired vocabulary in a game called The Shopping List.

Step 1

Open the two editable lists and with the help of the whole class, fill in the two lists with the same number of words/expressions. You don’t have to fill in the 10 spaces, but you need to make sure the two lists are balanced in difficulty ie, if there is a phrasal verb on List A, there should be another on List B.

To see both lists displayed at the same time, I use the Google Extension Tab Resize. I have been using it for ages and it works great.

Step 2

Again, with the help of your students, assign points to the words on the list. I would give 1 point to the easiest and 2 points to the most difficult. To do this, you can easily project the lists on the board and write on the image.

Step 3

Divide the class into pairs A and B, and assign students their corresponding list.

Step 4

Give Student A  a question to discuss. Depending on the level, they will have to talk for about X minutes. While student A answers the question, student B jots down the words from the list he or she has used. When Students A finishes, he adds up the number of points according to the words used. Now, it’s Student B’s turn. Ask a new question and repeat procedure.

Note: Students can use the same list a number of times. In fact, the more they use the words, the more confident they will get. However, in my case, I will use the same list only 3 times and then ask them to swap lists so that new words are used.

Get the template for the lists here. Student A’s list and Student B’s list ( it will create a copy of the document on you Drive)

Lesson Plan: “What we learn with pleasure we never forget.”

I have to confess that I had to look up who Alfred Mercier, the owner of this quote, was. And I say “was” because although this inspirational poet was born at the beginning of the XIXc.,  he is very much in line with my way of thinking:  “what we learn with pleasure, we never forget”.

This has always been my aim: to teach trying to make my lessons memorable for my students. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t. But I am always trying. Anyway, I really believe the first five minutes of the class, mark its rhythm and that the way you present the information to students is of the utmost importance.

This lesson for C1 students focuses on education. It offers practice in the following:

  • vocabulary
  • listening
  • speaking
  • reading
Warm-up: What's the weirdest thing your teacher has done?

So, let’s start with some fun. On the board, write the word Weird and drill pronunciation. Show them the gif for a bit of fun and display or read some of the tweets sent to Jimmy Fallon’s hashtag game #MyWeirdTeacher. Here’s the link.  I think my fav is Number 1. That’s the one I would give my students as an example.

Ask the question: What’s the weirdest thing your teacher has done?. Give them some thinking time and listen to their stories.

Revising vocabulary

For a student, learning new vocabulary can be a bit overwhelming so it’s always a good idea to tap into students’ knowledge. It really helps make learning new words much easier. The method or activity used to extract previous knowledge should differ from the one used to teach new content using more dynamic strategies to work with the former.

A simple activity could be giving students 1 minute to write down as many topic-related words as they can remember, emphasizing words such as “teacher” or ” primary school” are not adequate for this level and will be dismissed.  I will be using Mentimeter for this activity but feel free to use the familiar pen and paper. The prize for the winner? a round of applause- we are suffering cuts in the school budget 🙂

Speaking and Writing: Small activities

Change one thing: If I could change one thing about the past school year…

Six adjectives: use 6 adjectives to describe your last academic year

What advice would you give to someone who is beginning to learn English?

Listening: What makes a good teacher? What makes a good student?

Pre-listening:

a. Give students some thinking time to come up with their ideas of what, in their opinion, makes a good teacher. This is a good opportunity to introduce vocabulary they will find in the video.

b. At the same time, ask them to write 3 adjectives that a good teacher needs to possess.

Before playing the video,  ask students to read the three adjectives they have written. Play the video once and see whose choice of adjectives are on the video. Play a second and even a third time and ask students to take notes.

Tapescript, here

Repeat procedure for What makes a successful student?

Introducing new vocabulary collaboratively

Give them the list of new words and ask students to underline the words they already know. This is a good way to guarantee you are not going to be the only one doing the work here and they will be engaged throughout the activity. After a couple of minutes, go through the list asking individual students to provide definitions and give examples. Clarify and exemplify any real new words.

Get the PDF here

Drill the pronunciation of…

  • creativity
  • data
  • discipline
  • plagiarism
  • poem
Speaking Interactive Posters : thumbs up, thumbs down.

Present the students with the following statements, one at a time, and ask them to give a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down to indicate whether they agree or disagree with the statement on display.

Once they have established where they stand, click on the interactive button on the poster, displaying suggested vocabulary they can use when presenting their point of view. Give them one minute to plan what they are going to say. Repeat procedure with all or some of the posters.

 

Further Practice. Homework