Shoulda coulda woulda


This is a role play for intermediate + students to review past modals. Students have upset someone important in their lives by doing, or not doing, something important and they must think of excuses to defend themselves.


  1. To review and correctly use past modals in context.
  2. To practise pronunciation of contracted verbs ‘should have’, ‘could have’ and ‘would have’.


Printable cards: print and cut out one set


  1. Review uses and form of ‘should have’, ‘could have’ and ‘would have’. Draw attention to the pronunciation.
  2. In pairs, students decide on their roles – student A is angry, student B is guilty.
  3. Student B takes a card with the description of their wrongdoing. They must place themselves in the situation and briefly describe what they have done to student A, e.g. ‘I am so sorry I didn’t call you last night, but I was out with friends and my battery died.’
  4. Student A is annoyed and must use ‘should have’, ‘could have’ and ‘would have’ in the discussion, e.g. You should’ve charged your phone before you left home. You could’ve looked for an internet café and emailed me. I would’ve have done anything in my power to get in touch with you.
  5. Student B must defend themselves, e.g. ‘The electricity went off and I couldn’t charge my phone!’, until student A has given at least 3 examples using ‘should’ve’, ‘could’ve’ or ‘would’ve’ done.
  6. Monitor and offer feedback. Students swap roles and repeat with a different situation.
  7. When the students have finished, ask them to choose their most interesting exchange to write as a dialogue and perform to the other students.


P.S. Stu, you really should’ve cut up the cards before the class the other day 🙂

P.S. Thank you Alex. I couldn’t have done it without you.

P.S. Thank you Stu. Without you putting me in a bit of a sticky situation in December, I would have procrastinated even more.

What do ya reckon?


This is a fun Find Someone Who… with a twist activity to practise asking for opinions. It allows students to interact with 6 different classmates and discuss a variety of topics.


  1. To practise asking for opinion using the expressions given.
  2. To find out why students’ classmates agree or disagree with the statements given.
  3. To get other classmates’ opinions on all the statements on the worksheet.


  1. Hand out one worksheet to each student.
  2. Students must mingle with other students, asking about the statements on their lists.
  3. Students must ask a classmate their opinion on the given topic, using one of the expressions at the top of their worksheet. They must then complete the box with the name of that classmate and the reason why they agree or disagree with the statements given e.g.: Student A: I’d be very interested to hear your views on cutlery. Do you think it’s useless? Student B: Well, to be honest, I think it’s a complete waste of money and we should all use our fingers instead.
  4. Students are not to discuss more than two statements with each classmate.
  5. When the students have had a chance to ask everyone’s opinion, ask them to share the most interesting views with the rest of the class.


Lovers’ tiff


This is a lesson plan for intermediate + students. Students look at relationship related vocabulary, create a short love story and write an informal letter to a friend asking for advice.


  1. To introduce relationship related vocabulary.
  2. To use new vocabulary in context to create a short love story.
  3. To write an informal letter to a friend asking for advice.


  1. Give each student worksheet A with relationship related vocabulary.
  2. Go through the vocabulary together to make sure the students understand all the expressions.
  3. Working individually, the students divide the expressions into ones they have positive and negative associations with and then discuss it with their partner.
  4. In pairs, the students must now create a short love story using as many expressions from the previous stage as possible.
  5. Monitor the use and repetition of the target language.
  6. Still in pairs, the students describe in detail one of the couple’s conflicts or arguments.
  7. When the discussion is over, students now become the main characters in their stories (student A represents one character and student B his or her partner) who are unable to resolve their issues without help. Individually, they must write an informal letter (Worksheet B) to a mutual friend (140- 190 words), in which they present their version of events and ask for some advice. The students must use at least 6 new relationship expressions in their letter.
  8. When the students have finished, they swap their two versions of events with another pair who then must discuss and decide the best course of action for the couple in question.




Yummy Yummy I’ve got food in my tummy


These are some activities you can do with lower intermediate + students to review countable / uncountable nouns and quantifiers. Students divide the nouns into categories, make a shopping list and use the language in a role-play.


  1. To review countable and uncountable nouns.
  2. To review common quantifiers used with countable and uncountable nouns.
  3. To give learners an opportunity to use the target language in a role-play situation.


Cut up Worksheet A (countable / uncountable nouns) and Worksheet B (quantifiers).


  1. Elicit examples of countable and uncountable food items from students and put them in two categories on the board.
  2. Divide the students into pairs and hand out each pair one set of countable and uncountable nouns cards (Worksheet A) for students to divide them into two columns: countable and uncountable.
  3. Correct and provide feedback.
  4. Elicit examples of quantifiers they could use with countable nouns, e.g. a few, many, several, some, a lot of, a large number of etc.
  5. In their pairs, students now think of an appropriate quantifier they could use with each of the uncountable nouns on their list, e.g. a bottle of oil, etc.
  6. Give each pair of students the set of quantifier cards (Worksheet B) for them to match the quantifiers to the uncountable nouns.
  7. Correct and provide feedback.
  8. Students now choose 6 food items from their lists and move all the other food cards aside. Using only these six ingredients, they must think of a dish they would make and discuss it with their partner.
  9. With this dish in mind, students then make a shopping list, e.g. a bag of flour, six eggs, a kilo of oranges, etc.
  10. Divide the class into two groups, shopkeepers and shoppers.
  11. Divide ONE set of countable / uncountable nouns cards (worksheet A) equally between all the shopkeepers.
  12. Using their lists, the shoppers must try to buy the ingredients they need to prepare their dish from the shopkeepers. If they use their ingredients correctly in a sentence with the correct quantifier, they keep the card, e.g. Can I have half a kilo of apples, please? Can I have a bottle of olive oil, please?
  13. When the shoppers have completed their shopping lists, the students swap roles and repeat.

Fast finishers:

  1. Students make a detailed list of things they need to buy next time they go grocery shopping.





How well do you really know your place of work?


This is a fun competitive game I played in one of my intermediate business classes. Students who all work together in the same company had a chance to use business related vocabulary in a very practical context and had a lot of fun doing so.


  1. To introduce or revise business related vocabulary.
  2. To write true statements about students’ places of work and their colleagues.
  3. To practise question forms by asking other students questions about their place of work and their colleagues.


  1. Put students in pairs or small groups and give them three categories: departments, duties, and positions.
  2. Ask students to give examples for each category e.g. Department: accounting and finance; Duties: preparing financial statements; Position: accountant. I have pre-prepared a set of cards and you can ask students to add further as necessary, in order to personalise the activity.
  3. Go through the vocabulary as a class to ensure the students understand the language in context.
  4. Divide the class into between 2 – 4 teams depending on numbers.
  5. In their teams, the students produce 10 true statements about their place of work using the vocabulary from the previous exercise, e.g. The accountant has been off sick for the last week; The accounting and finance department is responsible for preparing financial statements, etc.
  6. When the students have finished, the game begins.
  7. The students on the first team must change each of their affirmative statements into a question for the other teams, e.g. What is the accounting and finance department responsible for?
  8. The first team member to raise their hand and correctly answer wins the point for their team.
  9. Once the first team has asked all ten questions, it’s the next team’s turn.
  10. The team with the highest number of points after all the questions have been asked wins.


What for?


These are three short games which allow students to practise the infinitive of purpose and revise some vocabulary. A lot of my students (especially Spanish) struggle with this structure and I think the following activities, which could be used as a warmer or a plenary session, are a fun way of practising it. You could do one activity only, two, or all three, depending on time.


  1. To practise the infinitive of purpose.
  2. To revise words for furniture and household items.
  3. To revise words for places in town.
  4. To revise words for different family members.


Option 1

  1. Students stand in a circle.
  2. Tell the students that they have just moved into an unfurnished flat and they have to buy new furniture, e.g. sofa, table etc.
  3. The student to your right starts, e.g. I’m going to buy a sofa to sit on.
  4. The next student repeats what the first one said and adds their own item with infinitive of purpose, e.g. I’m going to buy a sofa to sit on and a table to have something to eat on.
  5. The next student repeats what the previous two students said, and adds their own item with infinitive of purpose.
  6. The game continues until all the students have added their item and infinitive of purpose, or until the whole flat is furnished.

Option 2

  1. Students stand in a circle.
  2. Tell the students that they are going to be visiting places in the town they’ve just moved into, to run errands and to get to know the area, e.g. supermarket and cinema.
  3. The student to your right starts, e.g. I’m going to the supermarket to buy groceries.
  4. The next student repeats what the first one said and adds their own item and infinitive of purpose, e.g. I’m going to the supermarket to buy groceries and also to the cinema to watch one of their new releases.
  5. The next student repeats what the previous two students said, and adds their own item with infinitive of purpose.
  6. The game continues until all the students have added their item and infinitive of purpose, or until they have been to all the places in town.

Option 3

  1. Students stand in a circle.
  2. Tell the students that they are now going to receive visits from all the family members who want to see how they have settled in e.g. mother and cousin, but some relatives might have an ulterior motive for visiting them.
  3. The student to your right starts, e.g. My mother is going to visit to make sure the new place is spotless.
  4. The next student repeats what the first one said and adds their own family member and infinitive of purpose or motive, e.g. My mother is going to visit to make sure the new place is spotless and when she’s gone my cousin is going to visit to ask for some money.
  5. The next student repeats what the previous two students said, and adds their own family member with infinitive of purpose or motive.
  6. The game continues until all the students have spoken, or until the students have been visited by all the family members.

Award-winning routines


This is a fun lesson plan for intermediate + students to practise asking and answering questions about daily routines. Students interview each other and then write a short article using the information they’ve gathered.


  1. To talk about daily routines and rituals.
  2. To interview another student.
  3. To write a short article.
  4. To peer edit another student’s article.


  1. Put students in pairs.
  2. Individually, students divide a piece of paper in their notebooks into three parts: morning, afternoon and evening.
  3. Students write questions for their partners about their daily routines – 4 questions for each section of the day, e.g. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Do you usually have a nap in the afternoon? Do you have a bedtime ritual for better sleep?
  4. Students work in pairs and answer each other’s questions, making notes on each answer.
  5. When the students are finished, they must imagine the person they’ve just interviewed is a celebrity whose strict and weird routine has led to their success.
  6. They must write a short article (140-190 words) describing their interviewee’s rise to stardom, thanks to their unchanging routine.
  7. When the students have finished, they swap articles with their partner and edit them according to the following success criteria:
  • The article has an eye catching headline, e.g. Can’t keep up? Don’t settle. Have some invigorating nettle.
  • The article has an interesting introduction, e.g. Ever wondered why you never had ‘A’s at school, why you never got that dream job or the guy you fancied? Well, the answer might lie in something as inconspicuous as nettle tea.
  • The writer gives specific examples, e.g. The A-list celebrity I’ve had a chance to interview never leaves the house without indulging in a cup of lovely nettle tea. In fact, she keeps on drinking gallons of nettle tea throughout the day and swears by its superpower qualities.
  • The article is divided into paragraphs, with an inspiring final paragraph to motivate the reader into making a small change in their lives which may lead to super success!

Put yourself in my shoes



This is a great speaking activity from my acting class. It allows students of lower intermediate + level to share anecdotes from their lives and get to know each other better, as well as practise a variety of tenses.


  1. To use a variety of tenses.
  2. To increase speaking fluency by sharing an anecdote from your life with your classmates.
  3. To retell another classmate’s anecdote as if it was your own.
  4. To identify which anecdotes belong to which students.


  1. Depending on the number of students, divide your class into a minimum of 2 groups, with a minimum number of 3 in each group.
  2. Move the groups so they are as far away as possible from each other.
  3. In turns, students in each group give a short anecdote from their life, for example, the last time they felt scared, lost something, received a letter, laughed, etc. The other members of the group make notes, as necessary.
  4. Allocate a time for this; monitor and correct.
  5. When the students in each group have shared their anecdotes, they must decide which person in their group will repeat their story in first person, and who will go first.
  6. Nominate one group to start; the whole group stands or comes to the front of the class, and all the students tell another’s anecdote in the first person.
  7. The other group(s) must decide together which students they think the anecdote belongs to.
  8. It is then the turn of the next group, who must stand or come to the front of the classroom.
  9. Continue until all the stories have been told.