Last week of school – time to say goodbye!

With summer approaching fast, our students often have short attention spans and more energy. You may want to plan something different for the final week. Here comes my personal favourite last day activity I have used over the years.

I hope you will find it as useful and fun to teach as I´ve had!

Levels: Can be adapted for all levels

Aimed at: Young learners/young adults/adults

Aims: To revise different ways of talking about the future//To practise reading/To encourage speaking in the context of summer holidays/vocabulary focus: ways of saying goodbye

Time: +/- 60 minutes

Materials: 1 sheet of A4 paper for each student/coloured pencils (for young learners)/Blu- tack

 

Procedure

1.Distribute one A4 paper for each student. Write your name on the board and have students write their names in the middle of their A4 papers. Explain the students that you are going to tell them about your summer holiday plans/intensions. Start drawing lines, as in the spider chart, and write up whatever structure you find appropriate for students´ level.

I usually start with “is” and ask the group to finish it for me. It´s a great way to revise different ways of talking about the future you have covered this year! They tend to be extremely creative:

Kasia is flying to Mars on Sunday.

Have students copy the structure from the board and finish it with their own ideas about their summer holidays. Explain that it doesn´t necessarily need to be true and encourage the group to use humour:

Kasia hopes to win a lottery.

Kasia might start dating Brad Pitt, etc.

+/- 10 minutes

3. Continue filling up the board with different structures and ask the students to do the same on their A4 papers. Pause after each structure and make sure everybody has finished. Some students might need more time than others to come up with ideas. Ask those who have finished to help out! At the end of this part everyone in the class should have something similar to this on their A4 paper (completed):

THISSUMMER

+/- 20 minutes

4. Collect the A4 papers from the students and place them around the room (use Blu-Tack to stick them to walls/board/door/windows etc.) Ask the students to walk around the room and read their classmates´ papers. Explain that the objective here is to try to remember as many interesting details about their classmates holiday plans/intentions as they can.

+/-10 minutes

5. Have students work in groups and tell one another what they have learned about their classmates´ holidays.

+/- 10 minutes

6. Different ways of saying GOODBYE!:
Ask your students to work in small groups and make a list of different ways of saying GOODBYE.

Have their ideas listed on the board and add some of your own ideas to their lists.  At the end of this activity you should have something similar to this on the board:

goodbye1

Ask your students to work in pairs and organize the goodbyes from the board under the following categories:

FORMAL GOODBYES

CASUAL GOODBYES

SLANG GOODBYES

GOODBYES IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE

Have a brief class feedback

+/- 10 minutes

We all hope it´s not a final goodbye… It´s see you in September!!!

 

What are your favourite last day of school activities? I would love to hear from you!

Happy creating!

Creativity in the classroom – idioms

 

meetthe teachers.png

Levels: B1/B2/C1/C2

(You could easily pick and choose appropriate idioms for each level and age group but try to avoid teaching idioms to beginners. It might be confusing at this very initial stage of learning.)

Aimed at: Young learners/young adults/adults

Aims: To enhance students´ knowledge in the lexical field of idiomatic expressions/To encourage group work and autonomous learning/ To encourage creativity in the classroom

Time: +/- 1 h 20 minutes

Materials: Camera – if you choose the picture option/Card/Scissors/Coloured pencils or board markers/Handouts 1 and 2

 

  1. What am I about to draw?

Start drawing a picture on the board, but only one line of it. Ask your students the following question:

What am I about to draw?

“a bridge”, “a square”, “a line”, etc.

Add the next line and ask the above question again. Keep doing this until eventually a student guesses the picture connected with the lesson topic:

acupoftea

+/- 5 min

2. What are idioms?

Show your students the picture of Christina illustrating “not my cup of tea” idiom (or any other picture you find appropriate):

This is Chris illustrating a very popular English idiom. Can you guess which one_Happy creating! (2)

 

Tell the students that you invited Christina to go fishing with you last week but she politely refused, saying that fishing wasn´t her cup of tea.

Elicit the meaning:

Not one´s cup of tea (idiom): If something is not your cup of tea, it is not the type of thing that you like.

Source: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/not-be-sb-s-cup-of-tea?q=not+be++sb%27s++cup+of+tea

Ask your students to give you a definition of an idiom:

Idiom (noun): A group of words in a fixed order that have a particular meaning that is different from the meaning of each word on its own.

Source: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/idiom

Do they know any idioms in English? How about their own language?

Do they often use idioms? Do they think it´s important to learn idioms? Why/why not?

Have a brief class feedback.

+/- 10 minutes

3. Matching activity (Handout 1)

 

Have the students work in pairs and ask them to match the idioms to their meanings.

Handout 1 idioms

I have chosen 8 popular idioms that I thought were fairly easy to illustrate. Feel free to use a different set of idioms. You know best what your students need and like.

Source: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/

Have a brief class feedback.

+/- 10 minutes

4. Idioms in context (Handout 2)

Have your students work in pairs again and complete the sentences using the idioms from Handout 1:

Handout 2 idioms

Have a brief class feedback

+/-10 minutes

5. Idioms illustrated

Option 1: DRAWINGS

Tell the students that it is sometimes easier to remember words or expressions if they have a visual image. Divide the class into groups, distribute all the materials (card, scissors, coloured pencils or board markers) and ask them to make a drawing illustrating one of the idioms from Handout 1.

For higher levels you can ask the students to make a drawing of any idiom of their choice.

When they have finished, ask the groups to swap the drawings and guess each others´ idioms!

+/- 30 min

Option 2: PHOTOGRAPHS

Show your students the following picture and ask them to guess the idiom (Bite the bullet):

This is Chris illustrating a very popular English idiom. Can you guess which one_Happy creating!

You can also use this one as an example (Couch potato):

This is Kasia illustrating a very popular English idiom. Can you guess which one_Happy creating! (1)

Tell the students that it is sometimes easier to remember words or expressions if they have a visual image. Divide the class into groups and have them decide which idiom from Handout 1 they would like to illustrate in a photograph.

Have them brainstorm ideas and think of different objects they might need. Ask the students to bring in the objects to the next lesson. Students can use their phones to take pictures or, if you prefer, bring your own camera. Have students create visual images to present their assigned idioms.

When they have finished, ask the groups to swap the photographs and guess each others´ idioms! You can have them projected on the board.

+/- 30 min

For both options, have the students create a classroom display with their wonderful work!

How do you teach idioms? I would love to hear from you!

Happy creating!

Cultural focus – The British

 

Cultural focus – The British
Level(s): (B1) Intermediate/ (B2) Upper-Intermediate
Aimed at: Teenagers/young adults/adults
Aims: Speaking/ Vocabulary in the context of stereotypes about the British and Britain and British cultural symbols/Authentic reading
Materials: Handouts 1&2
Time: +/- 60 min
Article link: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/08/11/untrue-british-stereotypes-comedy_n_5484261.html

1. Begin by asking the students if they would like the chance to live and work abroad. If so, why?

Have the students work in groups of three and make lists of at least 3  benefits and 3 challenges of living and working abroad (encourage them to make them personal). Possible answers: benefits – higher salary, can get a better job after returning to their countries, possibly more flexible working style, etc. difficulties – understanding a different culture, miss family, language barrier, adapting to new working styles, getting along with a foreign manager and colleagues etc.

Feedback/Have some popular answers listed on the board.
+/- 10 minutes

2. Ask the students if they have ever considered working and living in the UK. If so, why? Have the students work in small groups again and read out the following sentences for them to finish:

A typical Englishman lives in a/an _________.
A typical Englishman likes _______________.
A typical Englishman carries a/an _________.
A typical Englishman wears a   ____________.
A typical Englishman has __________ for breakfast.
A typical Englishman is ____________ , etc.

What else springs to mind when they think about the British culture? Have students work in small groups and list their ideas. Have their ideas listed on the board and add some of your own ideas to their lists. Take it as an opportunity to introduce vocabulary, e.g. stiff upper lip, bowler hat, thatched cottage, telephone box, etc. At the end of this activity you should have something similar to this on the board:

 

british-poster
+/- 15 min

3. Have students work in small groups and explain that they are going to read an article about 9 stereotypes about the British that simply aren´t true. Give out the set of images form Handout 1 for each of the group and ask them to predict the stereotypes. Have a class feedback/list students´ ideas on the board.

+/- 10 min

Handout 1

Handout1british

4. Give out the original stereotypes to each group of students ( Handout 2) and have them compare it with their ideas. Have they guessed? Which stereotypes are the most surprising ones? Have a brief class discussion.

+/- 10 min

Handout 2

Handout2british

5. When in Rome do as Romans do

Write the above proverb on the board and ask students to discuss it.  Do they believe it is always applicable? If they went overseas, how would they adapt and what customs would they keep?
As a follow up activity, students can create a poster about their countries or countries they would like to visit/visited.
+/- 20 min

Have fun creating!

The above lesson idea was first published at:

http://teacher.pl/cultural-focus-the-british/

The Power of Motivation

Lesson Plan:

Lesson based on a song ´TITANIUM´ by David Guetta

Level(s): (B1) Intermediate / (B2) Upper-Intermediate

Aimed at: Teenagers/young adults

Aims: Listening for gist and specific information/Speaking in the context of motivation and praise/Metaphor interpretation/Vocabulary focus: ways of saying WELL DONE!

Materials: Song:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRfuAukYTKg

Song handout: See Appendix 1/ Song lyrics (for teachers): See Appendix 2

Time: +/- 60 minutes

1. Brainstorming/Different ways of saying WELL DONE!:
Ask the students to work in small groups and make a list of different  ways of saying WELL DONE!

Have their ideas listed on the board and add some of your own ideas to their lists.  At the end of this activity you should have something similar to this on the board:

sem nome

 

+/- 10 min

2.  Ask the students to work in pairs and think of how praise can motivate them to achieve better results. Do they feel  they are being praised enough? Too much? Who praises them the most? Can praise be addictive? Is praising always fair? Do they think they need praise? Why? etc.

Have a brief class feedback

+/- 10 min

3. Tell the students that they are going to listen to the song TITANIUM by David Guetta

Ask them if they know what TITANIUM is (a very strong and light silvery metal) and why the author chose it as the song´s title.

After a brief feedback have the students listen to the song and fill in the gaps (Appendix 1) Ask them to compare their answers in pairs. +/- 10 min

4. Have the students listen again and check. +/- 5 minutes

5. Song interpretation:

Ask the students if they think this song promotes violence. If not, what does it promote?

(possible answer: It doesn´t promote violence. It uses a violent metaphor in order to illustrate hurtful actions and words)

Ask the students to define a metaphor and give you some examples.

Metaphor: an expression, often found in literature, that describes a person or object by referring to something that is considered to have similar characteristics to that person or object:

“The mind is an ocean” and “the city is a jungle” are both metaphors.
Metaphor and simile are the most commonly used figures of speech in everyday language.

Ask the students to work in pairs and look at the song´s lyrics again. Ask them to think of what the following metaphors stand for:

YOU in the You shout it out line   (answers may vary; YOU, for instance, could be the society)

RICOCHET in the I’m criticized but all your bullets ricochet  line (you´re not going to give up because of all the criticism, disapproval around you; you´re stronger than this)

SHOOT DOWN in the You shoot me down but I won’t fall line (Someone can really put you down, make you feel miserable)

BULLETS (metaphors for the shouts/criticism)

TITANIUM (the speaker is like titanium, highly resilient)

Ask the students to work in pairs and find more examples of metaphors in the song.

Have a brief class feedback and don´t forget to praise them!

+/- 20 min

Happy creating!

 

Appendix 1

Titanium

You _____ it out,

But I can’t hear a word you say

I’m talking _____ , not saying much

I’m _____ but all your bullets ricochet

______ me _____, but I get up

I’m bulletproof, nothing to _____

Fire away, fire away

Ricochet, you take your aim

Fire away, fire away

You _____ me _____ but I won’t fall

I am titanium

You _____ me _____ but I won’t fall

I am titanium

Cut me _____

But it’s you who’ll have further to _____

Ghost town and haunted love

Raise your voice, sticks and stones may _____ my bones

I’m talking loud not saying much

I’m bulletproof, nothing to _____

Fire away, fire away

Ricochet, you take your aim

Fire away, fire away

You ______ me _____ but I won’t fall

I am titanium

You _____ me _____ but I won’t fall

I am titanium

I am titanium

I am titanium

_____ – _____, machine gun

Firing at the ones who run

Stone heart loves bulletproof glass

You _____ me _____ but I won’t fall

I am titanium *4
Appendix 2

Titanium

You shout it out,

But I can’t hear a word you say

I’m talking loud, not saying much

I’m criticized but all your bullets ricochet

Shoot me down, but I get up

I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose

Fire away, fire away

Ricochet, you take your aim

Fire away, fire away

You shoot me down but I won’t fall

I am titanium

You shoot me down but I won’t fall

I am titanium

Cut me down

But it’s you who’ll have further to fall

Ghost town and haunted love

Raise your voice, sticks and stones may break my bones

I’m talking loud not saying much

I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose

Fire away, fire away

Ricochet, you take your aim

Fire away, fire away

You shoot me down but I won’t fall

I am titanium

You shoot me down but I won’t fall

I am titanium

I am titanium

I am titanium

Stone-heart, machine gun

Firing at the ones who run

Stone heart loves bulletproof glass

You shoot me down but I won’t fall

I am titanium *4

 

Continue reading “The Power of Motivation”

The Logical Song – A different look at the FCE Word Formation part

Lesson based on a song by Supertramp

Level(s): (B2) Upper-Intermediate / (C1) Advanced

Aimed at: Teenagers/young adults/adults

Aims: Listening for gist and specific information/ FCE practice: to provide an environment where students can practise their word formation skills in a memorable way/ Speaking

Materials:

Worksheet 1

Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k3JVfxluFU

Time: +/- 1h

  1. Have students work in pairs and write the following quotation on the board:

“_______ is a candy shop filled with candies. Some are bitter, some are sweet, some are soft, some are hard, some are colourful, some have weird shapes, others have even weirder tastes, and some have a surprise centre waiting to be discovered.”

Can you guess what the mystery word is? Do you agree with the quotations? What does the mystery word mean to you? Discuss with your partner.

+/- 5 min

The mystery word: LIFE

  1. After a brief feedback have students listen to the song and write as many ADJECTIVES and ADVERBS they can hear. Ask them to compare their lists in groups. +/- 10 minutes
  2. Give out Worksheet 1 to each student and ask them to fill the gaps. They have to change the words provided into adverbs or adjectives. At this stage you can explain that they are expected to complete a similar activity in the third part of the Use Of English section of the FCE exam. Have students compare their answers in pairs before they listen to the song.  +/- 15 minutes
  1. Have students listen again and check. +/- 5 minutes
  1. Discussion: Have students work in pairs and ask them the following question:

Is it a happy song? (Have students discuss it)

When they have finished, ask them another question and repeat the procedure until the last question from the below list:

What does the song criticize?

Do you agree with the singer?

What do you think “a vegetable” mean in the 4th stanza?

Who´s got a simple mind?

What kind of questions are bothering the singer at night?

Feel free to add more! +/- 10 minutes

Worksheet 1

The logical song by Supertramp
When I was young
It seemed that life was so 1_______________ 1. WONDER
A miracle, oh it was 2_______________ , 3. ___________ 2. BEAUTY / 3. MAGIC
And all the birds in the trees
Well they’d be singing so 4. ____________ 4. HAPPINESS
5________________ 6. ___________ watching me. 5. JOY /6. PLAY
But then they send me away
To teach me how to be 7. ___________ 7. SENSE
8. _________, 9. _________, 10. LOGIC/RESPONSIBILITY/PRACTICE
And then they showed me a world
Where I could be so 11. _____________ 11. DEPENDABILITY
Clinical, 12_______________ , cynical 12. INTELLECT
There are times when all the world’s asleep
The questions run too deep for such a simple man
Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned?
I know it sounds absurd but please tell me who I am
I say, “Now what would you say or they calling you a radical
13. ___________, fanatical,14.____________ LIBERATE / 14. CRIME
Won’t you sign up your name? We’d like to feel you’re
15. __________, 16. __________, presentable, a vegetable 15.ACCEPT / 16. RESPECT
At night when all the world’s asleep
The questions run so deep for such a simple man
Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned?
I know it sounds absurd but please tell me who I am
Who I am, who I am, who I am
Cause I was feeling so 17_______________ 17. LOGIC
D-d-digital
Oh, oh, oh, oh
It’s getting 18. ________________ 18. BELIEF

 

Answer key:

When I was young
It seemed that life was so wonderful
A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical
And all the birds in the trees
Well they’d be singing so happily
Oh joyfully, oh playfully watching me
But then they sent me away
To teach me how to be sensible
Logical, oh responsible, practical
And they showed me a world
Where I could be so dependable
Oh clinical, oh intellectual, cynical

There are times when all the world’s sleep
The questions run too deep
For such a simple man
Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd
But please tell me who I am

Now watch what you say or they’ll be calling you a radical
A liberal, oh fanatical, criminal
Oh won’t you sign up your name
We’d like to feel you’re
Acceptable, respectable, oh presentable, a vegetable

At night when all the world’s sleep
The questions run so deep
For such a simple man
Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd
But please tell me who I am, who I am, who I am, who I am

Cause I was feeling so logical.
D-d-digital
Oh, oh, oh, oh
It’s getting unbelievable.

 

Have fun creating!

Song background:

A perfect example of combination of great lyrics, beat, and instrumentation in a 1979 hit that is constantly ranked in the “top 100 best rock songs”.

The song, not unlike like others in that period, is a scathing criticism of British school and education at the time.

The above post was first published at:

http://teacher.pl/the-logical-song-a-different-look-at-fce-word-formation-section/

Creativity in the classroom – adjectives of personality

The ability of incorporating adjectives into FCE writing paper enables learners to achieve higher marks for vocabulary usage section of marking criteria, as well as the general effect on the reader. Adjectives are also commonly used in speech. Don´t we have to describe things all the time? How can we as teachers enhance students´ knowledge of adjectives or allow them to make their own choices when it comes to vocabulary in order to make it more memorable and student centered? How can we make them play more of an active role in their learning? Do our lessons cater for different learning styles? Do the schools really have to kill creativity? This lesson idea aims at answering all the above questions.

Levels: Any

Aimed at: Young learners/young adults/adults

Aims: To enhance students´ knowledge in the lexical field of adjectives of personality /To encourage group work and autonomous learning/ To encourage creativity in the classroom

Time: +/- 1h 20 minutes

Materials: Bilingual dictionaries/Card/Scissors/Coloured pencils or board markers/CD player for the background music/Appendix 1

  1. Ask for a volunteer (be patient, someone will be up for it sooner or later, just wait) and ask him or her to sit with his back to the board. Write a name of a famous person on the board so the whole group can see it. Explain that the objective of the game is for the volunteer to guess who the person is. Each person can shout out one adjective they would describe that person with. If it goes for too long, allow for some more detailed clues (facts from the person´s life, etc.)

+/- 5 minutes

  1. Put the students in groups of 3 or 4 and ask them to reflect on the previous activity. Questions you might ask them to answer are:
  • Did you enjoy the game?
  • What was the most challenging part of the activity?
  • What kind of difficulties did you experience when taking part in the activity?
  • Would you like to repeat it in the future? And so on.

Have a whole class feedback session. It is very likely that someone would mention the lack of vocabulary (in this case descriptive adjectives) to fully participate in the game. Ask the group what could have possibly facilitated their participation? Elicit: a bilingual dictionary.

+/- 5 minutes

  1. Tell the students that today they will be working with bilingual dictionaries and in groups, they will create a poster. Show the picture from Appendix 1 as an example. Having divided the class in groups and distributed all the materials, ask them to give you a few adjective they associate with each part of the human body. If they cannot come up with the word in English encourage dictionary work at this point. Explain that this is not an art competition and it does not have to be perfect. I am pretty sure, however, that there will be quite a few people in the class who would be more than willing to show off a little with their art skills.

+/- 5 minutes

  1. Give each group a time limit of 45 minutes to finish their posters. Explain that they have to work in groups and look up any vocabulary they might need in a dictionary. Monitor closely to make sure all the conversation is done mainly in English. (They can of course relate to their L1 but only when looking for the vocabulary). Put the CD player on (you know your class and try to choose something they would like: ask!).

+/- 45 minutes

  1. Have each group present their posters and create a wall display.

Appendix 1

You become what you think…

Have fun creating!

The above idea was first published at:

http://teacher.pl/creativity-in-the-classroom-adjectives-of-personality/

 

 

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