All talk and no cider


These are activities for upper intermediate students to introduce and practise idioms related to communication. Students unscramble the expressions, match them with the correct definitions and answer some questions in pairs.

Level: B2

Time: 60 minutes


  1. To introduce communication idioms and expressions.
  2. To unscramble communication idioms and expressions.
  3. To match the expressions with their definitions.
  4. To practise the new expressions whilst interviewing their partners.


  1. All talk and no cider, one per student.


  1. Put students in pairs and ask them to briefly discuss the following questions: What makes it easy to talk to someone? Who is the best conversationalist you have ever met? What percentage of a conversation do you spend talking? What do people do that drives you crazy in a conversation? How can you improve your conversation skills?
  2. Hand students All talk and no cider Worksheet. In pairs, students try to order the idioms to discover what the correct expressions are (bring order to chaos). Bear in mind that they will not know the majority of the expressions, but resist the urge to give them the answers. My students usually work relentlessly to try and come up with the right answers until eventually they get the majority of them right.
  3. Check the answers as a class.
  4. Now the students, in pairs again, match the expressions with their definitions. Again students work in pairs to encourage cooperation and show them how much they can learn from each other and that the teacher is NOT the only source of knowledge in the classroom. I don’t want my students to ever become too dependent on me. I value autonomy greatly and try to help them develop tools to be as independent as possible.
  5. Check the answers as a class. I always ask EVERYONE to compare FIRST rather than list the right answers. There is usually someone in the classroom who is able to peer correct. It makes students so much more confident when you show them they can do it without your help but you are always present to provide the support and guidance if they are at a loss.
  6. When the students have finished, ask them to look at the questions in Exercise 2 and first try and write down the idioms that match the definitions in bold. I encourage them to do it from memory first as it’s a great way to start recycling vocabulary and make them think and engage. I often turn these exercises into mini competitions to add some excitement. Last time I did this exercise the students thought I was insane and asked for the impossible, but as soon as they started, they saw that they remembered more than the thought and the majority managed to complete the task PERFECTLY and almost entirely from memory.
  7. Students now answer the questions in pairs or small groups using the communication idioms as often as possible.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to choose expressions that best describe them and in writing justify their answers.

Related posts:

You talkin’ to me?

Clothes do (not) make the man

Ups and downs

Stop beating around the bush

Nothing changes if nothing changes

P.S. This post pays homage to cider, cabrales, rich homemade almond turrón and of course Kompacho.

My bucket list


This is a free board game to talk about things students would like to add to or put on their bucket lists. I have done this activity with a variety of classes already and unexpectedly had students both overcome with emotion and excited about things they suddenly felt inspired to try. I have purposefully chosen ONLY irregular verbs for this game, so you could use it either to revise irregular verbs or as a fun speaking activity.

Level: B1


  1. To revise irregular verbs
  2. To talk about things students would like to put on their bucket lists

 Materials (Click on the worksheets below to download the PDF files):

  1. My bucket list worksheet
  2. PDF My bucket list board game per pair or group of three.


  1. Write to kick the bucket on the board and elicit some answers from students as to what the expression means. None of my students knew the expression, so just make sure you explain it at the beginning of the class. Other “fun” expressions you might want to add are : pushing up daisies, to sleep with the fishes, six feet under, your number is up, to pop one’s clogs, on the wrong side of the grass, dead as a doornail, to fall off one’s perch, to go home in a box.
  2. Next ask students if they know what a bucket list is and give them a few personal examples to create interest and elicit the answer e.g. be a black belt in karate, speak fluent German, run a marathon, drive a race car etc. ( These are all the things I would love to do)
  3. Once the concept is clear, put the students in pairs or groups and give them a copy of My bucket list worksheet and ask them to write a few examples of the things they would like to do before they kick the bucket and write them down in I am all in column. When they are finished ask them to briefly compare with their classmate(s).
  4. Next give the students My bucket list board game and a die.
  5. 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.
  6. The players now speak about the idea e.g. win a bet at the races (Well done Adam) and each player must explain to the others if they are all in and WHY, if they have already done it (been there, done that) and if so describe the experience, if it is not their cup of tea and WHY or if they are on the fence about it at this moment in time. After discussing each idea the students write down the name of the activity in the appropriate column. Do not rush the students and give them control over the activity as long as they answer the questions in English. Monitor and help with vocabulary as needed.
  7. At the end, ask the students to choose a few ideas they didn’t have time to discuss in class and in writing give reasons why they would like to add these ideas to their bucket lists.

Food for thought:

Related posts:

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