Tag Archives: speaking

Oral Exams: Two Activities to Revise all the Topics in a Single Lesson

I know precisely what you are looking for because I guess,  we are all in the same boat: approaching finals, a plethora of topics to revise and juggling work and life. These two activities might come in handy now that you, like me, need to help students  1. revise the vocabulary for all of the topics covered during the course and 2. provide the means to use this vocabulary in spoken interactions or monologues. And this, in a single lesson. Granted it is a two-hour session, but still a feat.

What’s the aim?

  • to develop their communicative skills by asking and answering questions  about different topics
  • to compose a short speech on a topic of choice
  • to revise the specific vocabulary learnt for these topics

ACTIVITY ONE: Throwing the Dice. Revising Vocabulary. Asking the questions.

What you need:

  • slips of paper
  • sticky notes or, alternatively, scraps of paper and cellotape.
  • a dice or a virtual dice (here)

On the walls of the class, put up slips of paper with the various themes you wish to review: work, sports, education, leisure time activities…etc.

Step 1. Revising Vocabulary

  1. Put students into pairs or groups. You’ll need as many pairs/ groups as there are topics you’ll be revising.
  2. Assign each pair/group a topic and ask them to write down all the vocabulary/expressions…etc they have learnt related to their assigned topic. Have them name a secretary who will be in charge of writing the vocabulary on a clean sheet of paper and trying to write in legible handwriting.
  3. Give them some cellotape or blue-tack and instruct them to tape/stick the vocabulary on the wall,  next to the topic they have been assigned.

 

Step 2. Throwing the dice. Writing the questions

1. Assign to each number on the dice a wh-word and write it on the board. For ex:

  1. why
  2. where
  3. when
  4.  what
  5. how
  6. who

2. Now, roll the dice and ask pairs/groups to choose a topic and write a question beginning with the wh ( for example if the number is 4, they will need to write a question beginning with “what”) and related to the topic they have chosen. Make sure pairs/groups choose different topics. Encourage students to write interesting questions or questions that can generate conversation.

Ex: the topic is Crime and the number is 4; the question might be something like :

What are the most common crimes in your town?

3. Once they have written the question, ask them to post it next to the topic the topic it pertains to.

4. Throw the dice again and repeat procedure only, this time, groups must necessarily choose a different topic. Again, make sure all topics are covered. Hopefully, when you roll the dice, it will show a different number. If it is the same number( say number 4 as in the example), throw it again, you want a different Wh- question.

How many questions do I think would be more than enough for each topic? I would suggest 3 questions/topic

Step 3. Gallery Walk

Gallery walk: Once you have at least 2 or 3 questions per topic, ask students to stand up in their groups and stand next to a topic and together read the vocabulary for the topic they will next to it.  Then, have them read the questions and discuss them. Allow about 10 minutes per poster and then ask them to move clockwise to the next topic. Repeat procedure.

ACTIVITY TWO: Tearable topics. Beautiful template

It is not the first time I have used a tearable activity- if I may call it like this-, but it is the first time that I have used Meredithakers’s template. I saw her design and I thought ” I need to use it”. So cute. Have a look at her design here and if you don’t read her, I highly recommend it.

NOTE: This activity follows the first one where students have already had the opportunity to revise vocabulary. If you choose to do only this activity, give students some time to revise the vocabulary they will need to give a great speech.

Before the class: Edit a copy of my/her template and write your own content. My template here

Cut a line between words but don’t cut them all the way so that the slip of paper doesn’t detach. I guess a copy will be enough if you have a class of 24 students or less.

Divide the class into groups of 5-6 people. You can easily create 4 groups of 5-6 people as there are 24 tearable strips of paper. Topics might be repeated, just make sure they are not repeated within the group. In fact, for easier identification, you can divide the class into 4 groups and assign a colour to each group. They can only tear off a topic highlighted in their assigned colour.

Give them about 5 minutes to prepare their monologue encouraging the use of vocabulary and grammar.

Isn’t it a beautiful template? I told you! Thanks @meredith

Lesson Plan: The Hunt for News

It’s been years since  I last discussed the media and its role in our society in my classes. I don’t really think much has changed since the last time I explored this topic in class.

  • I feel we are still being manipulated by the media
  • I still feel we are, in most cases, misinformed
  • I still feel that the press is controlled by the same networks of people that run everything else
  • I still feel the information we receive is biased and based on speculation rather than hard facts.

But this lesson is meant to be focused on the paparazzi and their work chasing celebrities or famous people. We will discuss the very serious damage that the paparazzi and tabloid media can cause when they constantly invade people’s privacy. We will discuss whether the paparazzi are to blame for some unfortunate events and whether stricter laws should be enforced. We will study vocabulary relevant to this topic and read real examples where the right to have a private life will be discussed. Are you ready?

Step 1: a stirrer.
  1. Ask students: Have you ever met someone famous?

Telling an anecdote about yourself never fails to engage students. It’s only fair that if you are asking them to talk about themselves, you do the same.

2. On the board, write the question below and ask students to briefly comment on this.

 Want fame? Kiss your privacy goodbye! 

Step 2 . Introducing vocabulary

Every time I revise or introduce vocabulary in my classes, I make a point of reminding my students that they need to study the vocabulary in chunks. There is no point in studying the verb “apply” if they don’t know the preposition it collocates with.  The next activity is a good one to remind students of this necessity.

  • Give students two minutes to write all the vocabulary they know related to The media.
  • On the board, write a circle with the word The Media inside. Do a mind-map with all the vocabulary students provide.
  • Drill pronunciation and then do a quick translation exercise to consolidate meaning and pronunciation.

Introduce new vocabulary.

  • To follow a lead
  • paparazzo/paparazzi/amateur paps
  • revulsion/respect for their profession
  • a tip-off/to tip off the paparazzi
  • to gather news
  • to spot a celebrity
  • agency/ˈeɪ.dʒən.si/
  • news outlets
  • news coverage
  • exclusive /ɪkˈskluː.sɪv/
  • a major scoop
  • click-bait story
  • photojournalism
  • tabloid journalism and sensasionalism /senˈseɪ.ʃən.əl.ɪ.zəm/
  • to censor/impose strict censorship /ˈsen.sə.ʃɪp/
  • Celebrity scandals
  • sensational news
  • To harass foreign journalists UK /ˈhær.əs/ AmE /həˈræs/
  • to stalk a celebrity /stɔːk/
  • to pursue or chase celebrities /pəˈsjuː/
  • to catch up on the news
  • to leak to the press
  • to tackle misinformation
  • invasion of privacy /ɪnˈveɪ.ʒən/ /ˈprɪv.ə.si/
  • untrustworthy/reliable sources /ʌnˈtrʌstˌwɜː.ði/
  • accuracy of the reports
  • unverified information
  • biased/unbiased
  • to be in the limelight
  • to be highly sought-after /ˈsɔːt ˌɑːf.tər/

You can follow the rest of the lesson plan using the presentation below. I hope you enjoy it!

The Hunt for News

In case you are looking for debatable or persuasive topics about the media, here you have some.

Work: my Favourite Pictures to Spark Discussion

…because a picture is worth a thousand words or so they say.

My plan is to show the pictures one at a time and encourage pair discussion and then whole-class discussion.  That’s the magic of a good visual.

Source: Getty Images

Source: Knoff

 

 

Note: I don’t know the source for some of these pictures. In most cases, they have been uploaded to Pinterest and I have stored them in Topic-based folders.

Should the author of any of these pictures require attribution, kindly let me know.

Science and Research: Vocabulary, Listening and Conversation Questions for C1 students

Back to the grind with an engaging lesson on Science and Research.

  • Topic: Science
  • Level: C1
  • Skill and subskills: Vocabulary, Speaking, listening

Warm-up: Scientists and their discoveries and inventions

1. In pairs: In 1 minute, write as many scientists as you can think of together. Do you recall what they are known for?

2. Whole class. Display the exercise and do it as a whole class.  Students should rank the 3 most important discoveries or inventions in pairs, giving reasons for their choices.

Vocabulary. The words you need.
    • a major breakthrough in the fight against
    • to address the underlying cause of autism
    • to extract DNA from
    • to undertake/carry out a survey
    • to test animals in labs
    • to do experiments on sheep
    • the experiment was flawed
    • to do /carry out research
    • the findings show/ the findings highlight the importance…
    • to pave the way for …
    • lack of funding / get funding
    • genetic disorders
    • genetic engineering
    • gene manipulation
    • to invest in space studies
    • cutting-edge technology
    • to benefit or to harm people
    • to be more prevalent than
    • to clone
    • to devise a way to …
    • to carry out examinations
    • to successfully transplant
    • scientific theories 
    • to provide conclusive evidence
    • to be sceptical (UK)/skeptical (US) about…
    • to have growing concerns about
    • to go beyond the edge of ethics
    • a drugs trial
    • unethical research

Listening:Many Clinics Use Genetic Diagnosis to Choose Sex

Step 1. Pre-Listening:

Read the beginning of the news and ask students to discuss what the news is about

Prenatal genetic testing: A growing number of doctors are pushing the ethical limits of the procedure called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD.

Some say doctors are going beyond the edge of ethics. Some doctors analyze an embryo’s DNA so parents…

Step 2. Listening Comprension.

TRUE or FALSE?

  1. There is not a 100%  guarantee of success when choosing the sex of your baby.
  2. The American Society of Reproduction Medicine approves of this technique.
  3. The Indian couple is afraid of stigmatization.
  4. In Indian culture, having girls is less desirable than having boys.
  5. According to Dr Potter, the desired sex in most cases is male.

Source and transcript: https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6654619&t=1641299618264

Step 3. Now, on the board, write the question: “ Is it ethical to choose the sex of your baby?” and ask students to, individually, list some reasons to defend their position. Put them in pairs to discuss their opinions and then do a whole-class debate.

Note: You will also find this question (slightly modified) in the exercise below.

Speaking: Activating vocabulary

Display the first question and have students, as a whole class, come up with the word that best fits in the gap.

Talking about Art: the Battle of Wills

Introducing movement in my lessons is one of my favourite things to do when I am teaching.

On most days, when I am preparing my lessons, I really hate how this pandemic has put a stop to some of the most fun dynamics to engage our students. Fortunately, the headmaster in my school has had the bright idea to convert the staff room into a more flexible kind of room and pushed tables together, got rid of unnecessary furniture and provided teachers with a space to give free rein to our creativity, a place big enough for students to move around and keep their distance.

 

  • Level: C1
  • Topic: Art
  • Time: 60-70 minutes
  • Skills: Speaking
  • Material: Posters here, Cards here

I am not going to lie. This lesson has required preparation, like a lot. The good news is that you can use my lesson if you like it.

Before the class
  • I have designed 3 posters; one for every controversial statement. It was not necessary, I know. I could have easily read out the statements. But it is not the same. Plus, I just enjoy doing this kind of thing.
  • I have trawled the web looking for arguments for and against to help my students get some ideas. Come on! It is not easy to talk about art when you are not even remotely interested in the topic.
  • I have made cards with arguments for and against, I have printed and cut them out.
  • I have labelled two corners of the room with AGREE and DISAGREE.

In the class

Brainstorm vocabulary related to the Arts and write on the board. Add to their suggestions, the vocabulary listed below and drill pronunciation.

  • Exhibition/an exhibit = an object or collection of objects on public display in an art gallery or museum
  • Sculpture /ˈskʌlp.tʃər/ /sculptor /ˈskʌlp.tər/
  • Art installation= a form of modern sculpture
  • Artefact /ˈɑːtɪfakt/ or antiquity = an object made by a human being, typically one of cultural or historical interest
  • Artist
  • To commission a portrait/ a piece of art (normally in the passive)= a paid request for artwork
  • An auction
  • To bid at an auction
  • A collector
  • Street art/street artist
  • Optical illusions
  • Canvas
  • Graffiti artists
  • Artistic movement/style
  • Sitter
  • Self-portrait
  • Landscape
  • Still life
  • Minimalism/impressionism/classicism/cubism
  • Fake or counterfeit /ˈkaʊntəfɪt/
  • A curator= a keeper or custodian of a museum or other collection.
  • A work of art/ a piece of art
  • Patron /ˈpeɪ.trən/, patronage/ˈpatr(ə)nɪdʒ,ˈpeɪtr(ə)nɪdʒ/
  • Protegee /ˈprɒt.ə.ʒeɪ/ a young person who is helped and taught by an older and usually famous person
  • To promote the art
Revising vocabulary with a crossword

Speaking: Warm-up. Here we go.
  • Do you have any art in your house? What’s your favourite piece?
  • Do you have any artistic friends? What kinds of art do they create?
  • Are Arts sufficiently promoted in Spain? Do you think Art is important to society?

Stirrer:

Show this picture and ask students to guess what it is.  Someone will probably come up with the right answer.  Ask: Do you like this painting? How much would you pay for it?

Before displaying the image, it might be a good idea to read the news here.  (Robert Ryman’s Untitled sold for $20 million)

News here

Speaking: Battle of Wills (so to speak)

For this activity, I have used two corners of the classroom and labelled them AGREE and DISAGREE. You will find the PDF for the posters above.

Procedure:

Step 1. Explain they are going to see a poster with a debatable statement about art and they will need to choose the corner that best represents how they feel about the statement.

Step 2. Explain that in their corners, they will need to talk about the reasons for their choice and develop strong arguments to support their opinion as they will be challenged by students with opposing views. Encourage the use of vocabulary.

Step 3. Give them enough time to come up with their own arguments to justify their position.

Step 4. After a 10-minute discussion, ask students from both corners to face each other.

Step 5. Battle: This is the part I like best. Ask students to choose someone from the opposing corner. Pair them up and tell them they have 5 minutes to try to convince each other, using strong arguments,  to switch corners. For drama, ask them to use the phrase: “I challenge X”. ) Have a look at the picture above to see the position they take when they start the challenge. This is also important. “The magic behind every outstanding performance is always found in the smallest of details.”

These are the 3 posters I have used. Get the printable version here

Note: After Step 3, I have helped students build more solid arguments by handing out the cards below, which they had to read and comment on before the battle.

Get the printable version here

Art posters here    Art cards here