All rise please

Introduction: 

These are activities for students to introduce crime idioms. Students match the idioms with their definitions, complete the sentences with the missing expressions, rate the crimes, answer questions about crime and interview their classmates.

Level: C1

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce crime idioms.
  2. To match the idioms with their definitions.
  3. To rate the crimes from the most to the least serious one.
  4. To answer questions containing the target language and interview a classmate.

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

  1. All rise please Worksheetone per student.

Procedure:

  1. Put students in pairs and ask them to discuss the following questions: What do you think the most common crime in your country is? Should police in your country be more strict or less strict? Do you think criminals can change? What crime would you commit if you could get away with it?
  2. Hand students All rise please Worksheet.
  3. Ask students to cover the definitions on the right and in pairs see how many idioms they could define before they match the expressions to the definitions provided. I found my students could accurately predict at least half the expressions given.
  4. Individually, students now match the idioms 1 to 11 to the definitions provided.
  5. When the students have finished, they compare their answers with a partner.
  6. Check the answers as a class.
  7. Next ask students to complete the sentences 1- 11 with the missing idioms.
  8. Check the answers as a class.
  9. Individually ask students to underline and rate the crimes in 1-11 from the most (1) to the least serious (11) one and then discuss their choices with their classmates.
  10. Now students individually answer the questions 1-11 (in RANDOM order and in as little detail as possible (Exercise 2).
  11. Once the students have finished ask them to cut the paper along the dotted line and give the sheet with JUST their answers to their partner.
  12. In pairs students now interview each other, e.g. Student A: Why did you write plenty of time to read in number 1? Student B: Because it is one of the advantages of doing time. Encourage the students to ask additional questions to obtain more details.
  13. After a few minutes ask students to switch partners and repeat the exercise. Repeat a few more times to make sure students recycle the expressions and use them in a variety of contexts.
  14. At the end ask students if they have spoken to anyone whose answers were identical to theirs.

Fast finishers:

  1. I asked my students to invent a crime and agree on the main points, e.g. a man was killed by his wife who found out he had been cheating on her with her best friend. Individually or in pairs students now write a police report describing the incident in great detail and using the expressions studied.

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Know thyself

Introduction:

This is a free board game to talk about philosophy. I have done this activity with some of my advanced and proficient students just because sometimes they fancy talking about something exciting and less mundane, without focusing on a specific outcome in mind. Many students also often ask me to give them an opportunity to talk about more challenging topics, so this is for them. If you feel uncomfortable about having no objectives, you could turn this activity into a debate and introduce some lovely agreeing and disagreeing expressions. If you are feeling rebellious just join the discussion and have fun with your students.

Level: C1

Objective:

  1. To have an inspired conversation about life in general.

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

  1. Know thyself, one PDF board game per pair or group of 3.

Procedure:

  1. Put the students in pairs, or groups of 3, and give them a copy of the 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. The players must then speak on that topic for as long as they find it interesting and in as much detail as possible. Do not rush the students but give them absolute control over the activity, as long as they answer the questions in English. Monitor and help with vocabulary as needed.
  4. The game continues in a circle going left.
  5. At the end, ask the students to choose one topic they would like to explore further and ask them to write an article or an essay at home. I did it with my students and they produced very interesting pieces.
  6. Encourage students to watch How philosophy can save our life Ted talk https://ed.ted.com/on/JQxh4veu

Reference: http://www.mantelligence.com

The old man and his grandson

Introduction:

This is a listening activity for advanced students to practise listening skills. Students discuss quotes and questions related with age and growing old, listen to a short fairy story by the Grimm Brothers, try to predict the ending and put the sentences from the story in the correct order.

Level: C1

Objectives:

  1. To discuss quotes and questions related with age.
  2. To listen and come up with three possible endings to a short fairy story by the Grimm Brothers.
  3. To put the sentences from the story in the correct order.

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

  1. The old man and his grandson Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Give students a copy of The old man and his grandson Worksheet.
  2. In pairs, ask students to discuss quotes and questions in Exercise 1.
  3. When the students have finished, ask them to share their opinions with the rest of the class.
  4. Tell students they are going to listen to a short fairy story by the Grimm Brothers. At this stage you could pre teach the vocabulary if you think your students might struggle with the text. I found the words my students struggled with were: dim, broth, stove, earthenware, to scold, to sigh, thus, trough, henceforth.
  5. Play the story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fdq8kZE62oQ and stop the recording at 1:25 (‘What are you doing there?’ asked the father).
  6. Ask the students to first summarize the story to each other and if necessary play the first part of the recording again.
  7. In pairs, ask the students to try and predict how the story ends and BRIEFLY write down their ideas (Exercise 2).
  8. Play the rest of the story and ask students to compare their ideas with the original ending. Elicit some answers from students and ask for their reactions to the ending. My students were both emotional and surprised when they heard the ending.
  9. In pairs again ask the students to order the sentences in Exercise 3. You can find the story here http://www.authorama.com/grimms-fairy-tales-27.html.
  10. Then play the recording again for students to check.

Fast finishers:

  1. I asked my students to translate the story into their own language (Spanish) and some pairs turned the story into a modern, updated version of the original text. It was a wonderful class.

P.S. “Seek the wisdom of the ages, but look at the world through the eyes of a child.” Ron Wild

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Actions speak louder than words

Introduction:

This is a high level activity to introduce and practise idioms related to words. Students first complete the idioms with the missing verbs, match the idioms with their definitions and interview their classmates.

Level: C1

Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To increase familiarity and correct use of word idioms.
  2. To complete the idioms with the missing verbs.
  3. To match the idioms to their definitions.
  4. To interview a classmate using questions containing the target language.

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

  1. Actions speak louder than words Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Write the following verbs on the board: break, eat, get, hang, have, put, twist, waste, weigh and in pairs ask students to brainstorm any idioms and expressions containing the word ‘WORD(S)’ and the verbs above.
  2. Elicit answers from students and write them on the board.
  3. Hand out a copy of Actions speak louder than words Worksheet and ask students to individually complete the idioms on the left hand side with the verbs given.
  4. When the students have finished, put them in pairs and ask them to compare their answers with their classmate.
  5. Check together as a class.
  6. Individually again ask students to match the idioms on the left to their definitions on the right.
  7. When the students have finished, ask them to compare their answers with their partner – they must discuss and agree on their answer.
  8. Check together as a class.
  9. When the students have finished, put them in pairs or groups of 3 and ask them to interview each other (Exercise 2).
  10. At the end, take the sheets away and divide students into small teams. Give them 4 minutes to write down as many idioms as they can remember. The team with the highest number of correct idioms wins.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to try and find equivalent idiomatic expressions to the ones studied in class in their own language.

P.S. You will have to eat your words Stu when I beat you at pool. You will be grannied. 🙂

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Can’t stop dishing out idioms

Introduction: 

These are activities for students to introduce and practise furniture & fixture idioms. Students complete the sentences with the missing words, decide if the definitions of the idioms are correct and do a Find someone who activity with their classmates.

Level: C1

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce furniture & fixture idioms.
  2. To complete the sentences with the missing words.
  3. To decide if the definitions of the idioms are correct or incorrect.
  4. To interview other students and try to get answers to as many questions as possible.

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

  1. Can_t stop dishing out idioms Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Write down the missing words from Exercise 1 on the board and in pairs ask students to tell each other if they know any idioms containing those words.
  2. Elicit some answers from the students.
  3. Hand the students Can’t stop dishing out idioms Worksheet.
  4. Individually, students try to complete the sentences in Exercise 1 with the missing words.
  5. When the students have finished, they compare their answers with a partner.
  6. Check the answers as a class.
  7. Now, individually again, the students decide if the definitions of the idioms in Exercise 1 are correct or incorrect (T = true, F= false).
  8. When they have finished, ask them to compare with their partner.
  9. Check the answers as a class.
  10. Next, using the bottom half of the worksheet (Exercise 2), students mingle asking questions and trying to get affirmative answers from their classmates, e.g. Is your sister a couch potato? If the other student says ‘yes’ they have to justify their answer to the interviewer and give an example or two, e.g. She spends 23 hours out of 24 on the sofa. She never does any exercise. 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 how many affirmative answers they managed to get and which answers surprised them the most.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to describe their ideal partner using at least 5 of the idioms studied, e.g. My ideal partner would have a memory like a sieve and quickly forget if I did or said something he didn’t like.

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Triple treat makes a comeback

Introduction:

These are three board game activities to talk about health, students’ hometowns and fashion. They can be used together or separately, and are a great way to help students practise speaking and develop fluency, as well as prepare for Part 1 of the FCE /CAE speaking exam.

Level: B2+

Objectives:

  1. To practise speaking about health, students’ hometowns and fashion.

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

  1. Triple treat makes a comeback, one PDF board game per pair or group of 3; a die and a timer per pair or group of 3.

Procedure:

  1. Put the students in pairs or groups of 3 and give them a copy of one of the board games and a die, they can use their phones for the timer. Aim to have all three board games in use at the same time.
  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. The player must then speak for at least 1 minute on that topic and provide their partner, or other two group members, with as much detail as possible.
  4. The game continues in a circle going left.
  5. Swap the board games after sufficient time to allow all three games to be played by each pair or group.
  6. At the end, ask the students to name three new things they have learnt about their classmates.

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There is no place like…school

Introduction: 

These are activities for advanced students to introduce and practise idioms and phrases relating to school. Students match the sentence halves; complete the sentences with the missing expressions, decide if the statements are true for them and discuss the statements with their classmates.

Level: C1

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To match idiom halves to make idioms and phrases relating to school.
  2. To complete the sentences with the missing idioms.
  3. To decide if the sentences are true/ not true for the students themselves.
  4. To discuss the statements with a classmate.

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

  1. There is no place like…school Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Write the following questions on the board and ask students to briefly answer them in pairs: What’s your first memory of school? Do you think your school days are the best days of your life? What do you think students should be taught at school but aren’t?
  2. Hand students ‘There is no place like…school’ Worksheet.
  3. Individually, students match the idiom halves and then compare their answers with a classmate.
  4. Check the answers as a class – you can make this more competitive by asking each pair for their answer and awarding a point for the correct answer.
  5. Now, individually ask students to complete the sentences with the missing idioms before they compare them with their partner.
  6. Check the answers as a class.
  7. Ask students to read the sentences again and decide if there are or aren’t true for them.
  8. Put the students into pairs and ask them to compare how many things they have in common and to discuss the statements in more detail.
  9. At the end ask the students to describe one experience they have in common with their classmate and one that was different.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to come up with some ideas of what an ideal school should look like and write them down in bullet points using the expressions studied e.g. In a ideal school students should be allowed to skip class if they are bored out of their minds.

P.S. Encourage students to watch a great Ted talk about education: https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity

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