Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Introduction: 

These are activities to introduce and practise idioms describing physical appearance. Students complete the idioms with the missing words, divide the idioms into Beauty and Beast categories, do a Find Someone Who activity and play a board game. As you can see there are plenty of opportunities to recycle new vocabulary. By the end of the lesson students will have used each idiom at least 6 or 7 times.

Level: C1

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce idioms describing physical appearance.
  2. To complete the idioms with the missing words.
  3. To divide the idioms into two categories Beauty and Beast.
  4. To find students who, e.g. think that new born babies are as ugly as sin, write their names next to the sentences and ask for more details (Exercise 2).
  5. To answer questions about beauty whilst playing a board game.

Materials (Click on the worksheet below to download the PDF file):

  1. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder Worksheet, one per student.
  2. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder board game, one per group.

Procedure:

  1. Write The beholder eye the is beauty in of on the board. Ask students to unscramble the phrase and in pairs discuss if they agree or disagree with it.
  2. Hand the students Beauty is in the eye of the beholder Worksheet.
  3. Individually, students complete the idioms in Exercise 1 with the missing words.
  4. When the students have finished, they compare their answers with a partner.
  5. Check the answers as a class.
  6. Now, individually again, the students decide if the idioms are used to describe attractive (Beauty) or unattractive people (Beast).
  7. When they have finished, ask them to compare with their partner.
  8. Elicit answers from students.
  9. Next, students complete the missing words in the idioms again (exercise 2). Ask them to fold the sheet and try and do it from memory first. I try to use every opportunity for students to play with the new vocabulary as much as possible and in as many ways as possible to increase their chances of remembering the idioms.
  10. Students now mingle and try to get affirmative answers from their classmates, e.g. find someone who thinks newborn babies are as ugly as sin. If the other student says ‘yes’ they have to elaborate on their answer. Allow no more than 3 minutes for each interview. When the time is up ask students to switch partners.
  11. When the students have had a chance to ask everyone’s opinion, ask them which answers surprised them the most.
  12. Next put the students in groups of 2 or 3, and give them a copy of Beauty is in the eye of the beholder board game and a die.
  13. Players take it in turns to throw the die twice – the first throw indicates which column they should use, and the second throw indicates which row, to obtain the question.
  14. When a player lands on a square all three players must answer the question from that square in as much detail as possible. Encourage students to ask each other additional questions to obtain more information. When a player lands on a square with a phrase they must use it to form a question for their partner(s) e.g.  When was the last time you were dressed to kill?
  15. The game continues in the circle going left.
  16. At the end, ask students what they found out about their classmates.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to briefly answer one of the questions (in writing) on the board game using at least 3 of the idioms studied.

Related posts:

Cold reading

Who are you?

MEOW!

Mirror Mirror on the wall…

Wanted

Recommended podcast:

http://activateyourielts.libsyn.com/ielts-vocabulary-tips-for-teachers-and-students

Check out my friend’s podcast. This week we talked about learning and recycling new vocabulary and I think it makes for an interesting episode. Enjoy.

 

Pronunciation station

Introduction: 

This is an activity for students to identify and practise the pronunciation of ‘ed’ in the past simple/past participle forms of regular verbs. Students brainstorm vocabulary in groups, divide the verbs into three categories and write a short description of the holiday they went on using the verbs in question. I have done this activity with one of my adult classes and it worked really well. You give students ownership by letting them choose the verbs instead of providing them with a list that might be irrelevant to their needs.

Level: A2+

Time: 50 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To practise the pronunciation of ‘ed’ in the past simple/past participle forms of regular verbs.
  2. To write and read a short description of a holiday the students went on using regular verbs.

Materials:

  1. A board

Procedure:

  1. Put students in groups of 2 or 3, and ask them to think of a holiday they really enjoyed. As they describe it to each other briefly in teams ask them to write down the REGULAR verbs others use when speaking. As a result students immediately have a reason to listen and something to concentrate on.
  2. Divide the board into three sections: / ɪd /, / t / or / d / and ask them if they know that there are three ways of pronouncing ‘ed’ in the past simple/past participle forms of regular verbs. For more information go to: bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/radio/specials/1413_gramchallenge26
  3. Explain to students what the rules are and provide some examples to get them started.
  4. Put the students in the same groups of 2 or 3 and ask them to now divide the verbs from their verb list into three groups depending on the pronunciation of ‘ed’ in the past simple/past participle forms of these verbs.
  5. Check as a class and write students’ answers on the board adding them to your examples.
  6. Now individually ask students to WRITE a short description of the holiday they talked about at the beginning using the regular verbs from the board.
  7. When the students are finished they read their pieces to each other. Ask other students to look at their lists and tick off the verbs used.
  8. Correct when necessary, ask other students to help you identify the mistakes first though.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to look for three new verbs they could add into each category. Make sure you tell them to write down the meaning of the new words, a great opportunity to enrich their vocabulary, and if time allows, write down an example sentence with each verb as well.

Recommended podcast:

http://activateyourielts.libsyn.com/

Check out my friend’s podcast. This week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by her. We talked about learning a foreign language from scratch and I think it makes for a great episode. Enjoy.

 

 

A match made in heaven

Introduction:

This is a short writing/speaking activity for CAE students to practise some expressions I have found in Part 4 of the Reading and Use of English CAE exam and that my students struggled with. The students complete the sentences individually in random order, read and match their classmate’s answers and further discuss the responses that caught their attention. Make sure the students complete the sentences TRUTHFULLY which makes the activity more personal. Ask them to think of examples that produce an emotional response which will hopefully help with memorising the words.

Level: C1

Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To complete sentences with students’ own ideas.
  2. To match their classmates’ sentence halves.
  3. To discuss the responses that caught students’ attention using the underlined expressions.

Materials:

  1. A match made in heaven Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Give each student ‘A match made in heaven’ Worksheet and ask them to complete the sentences in random order, e.g. write the answer to question 2 next to letter d etc. I am often in the mood for a glass of champagne and a slice of carrot cake.
  2. Put students in pairs, or groups of 3, and ask them to swap papers. The students now read each other’s answers and match the sentence halves. Ask students to underline the responses that catch their attention.
  3. Monitor throughout the activity.
  4. Now ask the students to swap the papers and check if their classmates matched the responses correctly.
  5. In the same pairs or groups of 3, now ask the students to explain in detail the underlined answers using the underlined expressions from the first column.
  6. Elicit some answers from the students and ask if any of their responses were identical to their partners’.

A good old chin wag

Introduction: 

This is a starter you can use with any new group, or at the beginning of any class, really. Students complete the sentences individually and look for the students whose strips of paper they have selected, to interview them further. I have purposefully chosen sentences that hopefully will encourage students to respond in a positive way to make them feel good throughout the activity, especially if it is their first class and they don’t know the teacher and/or the classmates.

Note: This activity could be adapted if you want to use a warmer related to a specific topic, e.g. describing personalities. I have created an example worksheet for you called ‘It’s all me, me, me…’

Level: B1+

Time: 30 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To complete the sentences with students’ own ideas.
  2. To get to know other students better.

Materials (Click on the worksheet below to download the PDF file):

  1. A good old chin wag Worksheet
  2. It_s all me, me, me Worksheet ( Topic related warmer)

Procedure:

  1. Print one or two copies of A good old chin wag worksheet and cut the paper into strips.
  2. Hand each student two or three strips of paper and ask them to complete them individually with their answers, making sure they put their names on each piece.
  3. When the students have finished, put the strips in a container, e.g. a hat, and mix them up.
  4. Go round the classroom and ask students to pick two or three pieces of paper from the hat. If they pick one of their own, ask them to choose another one.
  5. Next, students walk around the classroom, find and speak to the students who completed the sentences on their pieces of paper. Students chat to each other and try to get more information from each other, e.g. I get great pleasure from drinking coffee. Oh really? How many coffees do you drink a day? Do you like it black or white? Etc.
  6. At the end ask students to share what they found out about their classmates.

P.S. Thank you Alex.

So, what brings you here?

Introduction: 

This is a board game that could be used to assess your learners’ needs or to simply do a review of tenses. Students answer questions in pairs or small groups of three and the teacher closely monitors to determine what the learners are struggling with. I have deliberately chosen the questions that hopefully only evoke positive 🙂 emotions from learners to make them feel good throughout the activity especially if is their first class and they don’t know the teacher and/or the classmates.

Level: B1+

Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To assess the learners’ needs.
  2. To review past, present and future tenses etc.
  3. To answer questions containing the target language whilst playing a board game.

Materials (Click on the worksheet below to download the PDF file):

  1. So, what brings you here board game and one die per group of 3.

Procedure:

  1. Put the students in groups of 2 or 3, and give them a copy of So, what brings you here? board game and a die.
  2. Players take it in turns to throw the die twice – the first throw indicates which column they should use, and the second throw indicates which row, to obtain the question.
  3. When a player lands on a square all three players must answer the question from that square in as much detail as possible. Encourage students to ask each other additional questions to obtain more information.
  4. The game continues in the circle going left.
  5. At the end, write down the mistakes students made during the activity and ask them to correct them in their teams.
  6. Check together as a class.
  7. Ask students what they found out about their classmates.

Recommended reading:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/amberjohnson-jimludema/2018/03/29/for-a-high-performing-team-ask-positive-questions/#46af16781ddf

Related posts:

Do you believe in ghosts?

What would you do if…?

Brace yourselves. Phrasal verbs r bk

 

 

Cold reading

Introduction:

This is a great reading activity I have done with my advanced and proficient students and without a doubt one of my most memorable activities. Unfortunately the activity doesn’t work with just any class. You have to make sure the group is just right; ideally the students are relatively new and aged 15-24.

Level: C1

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To read a description of one’s personality and decide how accurate the description is.
  2. To read a description of another student’s personality and try to identify who the student is.

Materials:

  1. Personality reading PDF (adapted), one per student (Source: https://www.secrets-explained.com/derren-brown/cold-reading)
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6uj1ruTmGQ

Procedure:

Stage 1:

  1. A week or two before the class tell students you would like to try something different with them. It works better if you revise personality adjectives before the class too.
  2. Ask each student to take a piece of paper and draw an outline of their hand, write their date and time of birth at the top of the page and a name of an object that is not immediately recognized as theirs.  When the students have finished ask them to fold the papers, mix them up and hand them to you.
  3. Tell students you are now going to try and write a description of their personality based solely on the information they have provided. Tell students you will try and be as specific as possible and that it will take quite a long time for you to finish all the descriptions so they must be patient. The first time I did this activity my students waited a month for me to “complete” the descriptions and couldn’t wait for me to finish.

Stage 2:

  1. Print Personality Reading PDF and make as many copies as there are students in your class. The readings are all exactly the same so sometimes I change the font and the colour to confuse the students slightly if the happen to sit next to each other and see another classmate’s reading.
  2. Before you hand the students the papers tell them you have tried very, very, very hard to be specific and you would like them to read the descriptions carefully and to honestly tell you at the end how accurate they think you were.
  3. Sit the students as far away from each other as possible and tell them to use their phones/dictionaries to check the meaning of new words.
  4. When the students have finished give each student a post it note and anonymously ask them to rate the accuracy of the description (1%-100%). You don’t want the students to be influenced by others when the rate their description.
  5. Collect the post it notes.
  6. Now ask the students to mix all the descriptions and try to identify the classmates based on the description they now have.
  7. After a few minutes students will look confused. Ask them to shuffle the papers again until pretty soon they will realize all the descriptions are exactly the same.
  8. Students’ reactions to this experiment are priceless and I have even had one student return to my school a year later asking for a copy of the reading.
  9. Explain to students that it is a technique called cold reading and it is often used by psychics and astrologists. At the end show students the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6uj1ruTmGQ

Related posts:

Who are you?

Interactive reading class

Simply perfect

Introduction: 

This is a board game for B2 students to review past simple and present perfect. Students complete the board game with their own examples and then answer question in pairs or small groups of three.

Level: B2

Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To review past simple and present perfect.
  2. To write examples on the board using the target language.
  3. To answer questions containing the target language whilst playing a board game.

Materials (Click on the worksheet below to download the PDF file):

  1. Simply perfect board game and one die per group of 3.

Procedure:

  1. Put the students in groups of 2 or 3, and give them a copy of Simply perfect board game.
  2. Students first underline the verbs in all the questions on the board.
  3. Next, students use the underlined verbs to write a new question in the empty square provided below, changing all questions in the past simple tense into questions in the present perfect tense and all the questions in the present perfect tense into questions in the past simple tense, e.g. Change the question in Square 1:1 What did you eat for dinner last night? into What have you eaten today? for Square 2:1. Change the question in Square 4:1 Have you ever ridden an animal? into Did you ride a horse when you were little? for Square 4:2. The only requirement is for students to use the same verb in their new question.
  4. When the students have finished they pass their board game to the team/ group on their right.
  5. Students now go over ALL the examples written by their classmates to make sure they are grammatically correct.
  6. Check together as a class.
  7. Hand each group a die.
  8. Players take it in turns to throw the die twice – the first throw indicates which column they should use, and the second throw indicates which row, to obtain the question.
  9. When a player lands on a square all three players must answer the question from that square in as much detail as possible. Encourage students to ask each other additional questions to obtain more information.
  10. The game continues in the circle going left.
  11. At the end, ask the students to choose three questions they didn’t answer during the game and answer them in writing.

Related posts:

http://www.onestopenglish.com/community/lesson-share/pdf-content/lesson-share-time-expressions-lesson-plan/556366.article

Summary of past or recent events

Best birthday ever

Ir(regular) Xmas

Double Decker