4 elements

Introduction:

This is an activity to introduce and practise idioms with the elements: air, earth, fire and water. Students first complete the expressions with the missing words, match the idioms to their definitions, complete the sentences in Exercise 2 and then decide if these sentences are true for me, the teacher. I came up with my own examples to personalise the activity. You could do the same or simply ask students to decide if the sentences are true for them.

Level: B2

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To increase familiarity and correct use of idioms with air, earth, fire and water.
  2. To match the idioms to their definitions.
  3. To complete the sentences with the missing idioms and then decide if the sentences are true for the teacher or the students themselves.

Materials:

  1. 4 elements Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Hand out a copy of 4 elements Worksheet and ask students to complete the expressions with the words air, earth, fire and water. When they are finished ask them to compare with their classmate(s).
  2. Check together as a class, but before you give students the answers make sure they compare as a whole class. Always encourage them to justify their answers to each other and, if they are sure of their answers, to try and convince others they are correct.
  3. Ask the students to match the expressions to their definitions. The students could first work individually and then compare with their partners, but once they get into groups or pairs they must agree on the answers. It encourages discussions and forces students to engage and defend their answers rather than mindlessly/distractedly do the task before moving on to the next one.
  4. Check together as a class.
  5. When the students have finished, ask them to complete sentences in Exercise 2 with the missing idioms.
  6. When they have finished, ask them to swap their sheets with a partner and peer correct.
  7. Check together as a class.
  8. Next students look at the sentences and try to decide which of them are true for their teacher (you can obviously use my examples but I would encourage you to come up with your own to make it more personal). Encourage students to give reasons for their choices to keep the conversation going, e.g. I think number 3 is correct. Karolina is constantly talking about her sister and all the things they do together. I imagine they must have a great relationship and get on like a house on fire.
  9. When they are finished ask them to ask you questions to check if they were correct, using the new expressions, e.g. Are you still up in the air about where to go on holiday in July? This also gives you the chance to correct and for students to yet again recycle the idioms.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to come up with sentences that are true for them using the expressions they have learnt. Always encourage them to write down what is TRUE for them. It makes the activities much more personal and memorable.

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

There is no place like…school

Somewhere over the rainbow 

P.S. “Some women are lost in the fire. Some women are built from it.” ― Michelle K.

I spy with my little eye

Introduction:

This is an activity to introduce and practise idioms with the word EYE. Students first divide the expressions into 3 categories and then answer the questions and discuss their responses with their classmates.

Level: B2

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To increase familiarity and correct use of idioms with the word EYE.
  2. To develop fluency and answer questions containing the target language in pairs.

Materials:

  1. I spy with my little eye Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Hand out a copy of I spy with my little eye Worksheet and ask students to place the sheets of paper in front of them FACE DOWN.
  2. Tell them to, on the word GO, turn over the worksheet, scan the expressions in Exercise 1 and try to, as fast as the can, find the one body part that completes all expressions. My students all loved this mini competition at the start of the class and instantly became very engaged.
  3. Next ask students to complete the idioms with the word EYE or EYES.
  4. Check together as a class.
  5. Ask the students to divide the expressions into three categories, into those that they know well (I could define it with my eyes shut), those they have heard of but have never used (There is more to it than meets the eye), and those they have never come across before (Please open my eyes to it).
  6. When the students have finished, ask them to answer questions in Exercise 2 out of order on a separate piece of paper or in their notebooks and in as LITTLE detail as possible. Tell students to avoid writing just a YES or NO.
  7. When they have finished, ask them to swap their sheets with a partner.
  8. Students now try to identify which answers correspond to which questions.
  9. When the students have finished, ask them to swap the sheets again and check if their classmates were correct.
  10. Next students discuss their answers; with the same classmates they swapped their sheets with, in GREATER detail.
  11. When the students have finished, ask them to share 2 answers that they had in common and 2 that were different.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to draw four expressions they have learnt in class in their notebooks.

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All hands on deck, kids

Can’t stop dishing out idioms

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Somewhere over the rainbow 

You make my heart BEET 😉

Actions speak louder than words

Ups and downs

All rise please

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Half full or half empty?

 

All hands on deck, kids

Introduction:

This is an activity to introduce and practise transport idioms. Students complete the idioms with the missing words, match the idioms to their definitions, do a few vocabulary games and later interview their classmates.

Level: B2+

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To present students with transport idioms.
  2. To complete the idioms in Exercise 1 with the missing transport words.
  3. To match the idioms to their definitions.
  4. To answer questions containing the target vocabulary in pairs or small groups.

Materials:

  1. All hands on deck, kids Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Ask students to briefly discuss their favourite/ least favourite means of transport.
  2. Hand out a copy of All hands on deck, kids Worksheet and ask students to individually complete the idioms in Exercise 1 with the missing transport words. There are two extra words to make the activity slightly more challenging.
  3. When the students have finished, ask them to compare in small groups and then check together as a class.
  4. Next students match the idioms to their definitions on the right. When the students have finished, ask them to compare in small groups again and then check together as a class.
  5. Clarify meaning if necessary.
  6. Divide the students in small groups (2 or 3 students in each group).
  7. One student from each group draws one of the expressions on the board and the players from the other teams try to guess what the expression is. Each team only has two opportunities to guess. Ensure ALL the students have had an opportunity to draw an idiom (you might have to do 2 or 3 rounds depending on the number of students on each team). Each team receives 1 point for a correctly identified expression.
  8. Next, the students take it in turns to act out the expressions silently, with the players from other teams trying to guess the idiom.
  9. Then, the students describe the expressions using THREE WORDS only (thank you Alex) but must not use any of the words that are in the expressions.
  10. Finally, in their teams of two or three, ask the students to complete the idioms in Exercise 2. Tell them to fold the paper so they do the exercise from memory. I gave one point to the team who finished first and one point to the team who completed all the idioms correctly.
  11. When the students have finished, ask them to discuss the questions 1-12, Exercise 2 in pairs.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to write down as many expressions as they can remember without looking at the paper.

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Actions speak louder than words

Ups and downs

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

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Money Money Money

Introduction: 

These are activities to introduce and practise phrasal verbs related to money. Students match the phrasal verbs to their definitions and play a board game.

Level: B2

Time: 70 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce phrasal verbs related to money.
  2. To try and define the phrasal verbs using the context provided.
  3. To match the phrasal verbs to their definitions.
  4. To answer and ask questions about money whilst playing a board game.

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

  1. Money Money Money Worksheet and Board game, one per student.

Procedure

  1. Write ‘“Money often costs too much” Ralph Waldo Emersonon the boardAsk students to discuss the quote in pairs and give examples from their own lives, books, films etc.
  2. Hand the students Money Money Money Worksheet.
  3. In pairs, students try to first define the phrasal verbs (in bold) without looking at the definitions. Monitor and encourage students to keep trying but do not give them correct answers at this stage. The majority of my students managed to get 80% of the answers right, just from context.
  4. Individually, students match the definitions (a-l) of the phrasal verbs in sentences 1 to 12 and write them down in the spaces provided.
  5. When the students have finished, they compare their answers with a partner.
  6. Check the answers as a class.
  7. Next put the students in groups of 2 or 3, and give them a copy of Money Money Money board game and a die.
  8. Players must first complete the empty squares with phrasal verbs. Each player describes a situation with a particular phrasal verb in mind but without using the phrasal verb itself, e.g. Last week I went shopping and I spent a huge amount of money in Lush and Body Shop. I just couldn’t resist all those deliciously smelling potions and concoctions. When the other student(s) guess the phrasal verb is splash out they all write it down in the same square. Students continue until they have filled in all the squares. It’s a great way to start recycling vocabulary and personalising the activity straight away.
  9. Now 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 /phrasal verb.
  10. 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 phrasal verb they must use it to form a question for their partner(s), e.g. Have you ever been ripped off?
  11. The game continues in the circle going left.
  12. At the end, ask students what they found out about their classmates.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to write down some money tips/ financial advice for other students using the phrasal verbs studied, e.g.  Make sure you put some money aside each month.

P.S. Happy Birthday Queen B. I love you.

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Single and ready to mingle

 

Half full or half empty?

Introduction: 

This is a board game to introduce and practise idioms and phrases related to happiness and misery. Students divide the idioms into two categories: jumping for joy and running on empty (sad) and answer questions about happiness using the new idioms.

Level: B2

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce idioms related to happiness and misery.
  2. To divide the idioms into happy and not so much.
  3. To answer and ask questions about happiness and misery whilst playing a board game.

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

  1. Half full or half empty board game, one per group.

Procedure:

  1. Ask students to briefly discuss in pairs whether they consider themselves to be positive or negative people and give examples from their own life.
  2. Next write the following idioms and phrases on the board:
  • To be a bundle of joy
  • To be happy as a clam
  • To be in bits
  • To be on cloud nine
  • To be reduced to tears
  • To be walking on air
  • To feel like a dog with two tails
  • To have a face like a wet weekend
  • To have a whale of a time
  • To have the blues
  • To mope around
  • To take something hard
  1. In pairs ask students to divide the idioms above into two categories: jumping for joy (happy) and running on empty (sad).
  2. Check together as a class and make sure students know the meaning of each idiom.
  3. Put the students in groups of 2 or 3, and give them a copy of Half full or half empty board game and a die.
  4. Now ask the players to write down the “happy” idioms in the orange squares (orange supposedly evokes feelings of happiness, optimism and energy) and “unhappy “idioms in the blue squares (said to express sadness, but can also be calming and soothing so not all hope is lost).
  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. When a player lands on a square they must answer the question from that square in as much detail as possible AND using two idioms (they can choose from either the idioms in the same row or the same column). Encourage students to ask each other additional questions to obtain more information. When a player lands on a square with an idiom they must use it to form a question for their partner(s), e.g. Do you always have a whale of a time when you go out with your friends?
  7. The game continues in the circle going left.
  8. At the end, ask students what they found out about their classmates.

Fast finishers:

Give students the scrambled up idioms and ask them to unscramble them from memory:

  • A time have of a whale to
  • Like to with tails feel two a dog
  • Of a joy be bundle to
  • To clam be as happy a
  • To hard something take
  • To weekend face like a wet have a

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There is no place like…school

Keep up the good work

Introduction: 

These are activities to introduce and practise phrasal verbs related to work. Students match the phrasal verbs to their definitions and play a board game.

Level: B2

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce phrasal verbs related to work.
  2. To match the phrasal verbs to their definitions.
  3. To answer and ask questions about work whilst playing a board game.

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

  1. Keep up the good work Worksheet, one per student.
  2. Keep up the good work board game, one per group.

Procedure

  1. Write ‘ “Work is the key to success and hard work can help you accomplish anything” Vince Lombardi on the boardAsk students to discuss the quote in pairs and give examples from their own lives.
  2. Hand the students Keep up the good work Worksheet.
  3. Individually, students write down the definitions (a-l) of the phrasal verbs in sentences 1 to 12 in the spaces provided. You could also ask students to first try and define the phrasal verbs without looking at the definitions.
  4. When the students have finished, they compare their answers with a partner.
  5. Check the answers as a class.
  6. Next put the students in groups of 2 or 3, and give them a copy of Keep up the good work board game and a die.
  7. 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 /phrasal verb.
  8. 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 phrasal verb they must use it to form a question for their partner(s), e.g.  Have you or  anyone you know ever been laid off?
  9. The game continues in the circle going left.
  10. At the end, ask students what they found out about their classmates.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to briefly describe their professional career using at least 5 phrasal verbs they have learnt. Younger students could describe what they would like their future job to look like.

Food for thought:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R_BKlb_Y8k

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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.