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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Stop beating around the bush

Introduction:

This is an activity for B2+ students to review some of the common phrasal verbs related to communication. Students use context to come up with their own definitions of the ten phrasal verbs, answer the questions and share their examples with other students.

Level: B1 +

Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To familiarise students with some of the most common phrasal verbs related to communication.
  2. To write down definitions of the phrasal verbs using the context provided.
  3. To discuss students’ examples with another classmate.

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

  1. Stop beating around the bush Worksheet

Procedure:

  1. Write the following questions on the board and ask students to briefly discuss them in pairs: What is good communication? What are the greatest challenges to effective communication? What role does body language play in communication? Do you believe people could benefit from communication courses?
  2. Elicit some answers from students and then write the following phrasal verbs on the board: to back up, to bring up, to cut off, to open up, to point out , to rant about, to speak up, to talk down to, to tell off, to tune out.
  3. In pairs, ask students to briefly define the phrasal verbs they know or think they remember. Tell the students all the phrasal verbs are related to communication.
  4. Hand each student the Stop beating around the bush Worksheet.
  5. Individually, students look at the questions in column 2 and complete the first column, e.g. Definition/ synonym: Support. Name two people who you know would always back you up.
  6. In pairs, students compare their answers with a classmate.
  7. Correct and provide feedback.
  8. Individually, ask the students to answer the questions in column 2 using the appropriate phrasal verb, e.g. Name two things you find yourself unable to stop ranting about. Your examples: I can’t stop ranting about men. I am constantly ranting about work. Encourage students to vary the structures slightly to give them an opportunity to play with the form of the verbs.
  9. When the students have finished, ask them to switch their worksheets, read each other’s answers and circle all the examples they have in common with their classmate, underline 3 examples they want to know more about and cross out 3 examples they completely disagree with.
  10. In their pairs, students now discuss their examples. Encourage students to use the phrasal verbs in their responses. You can ask students to switch pairs again to provide them with more opportunities to practise the target language.

Fast finishers:

  1. Students choose 4 questions from the worksheet and try to predict what the teacher’s answer would be or the classmate’s that they haven’t spoken to, e.g. What two topics make you tune out in the middle of a conversation?  Karolina tunes out when people talk about board games and the weather. When they are finished they give their sentences to the teacher/classmate to check if their predictions were correct.

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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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I will make better mistakes tomorrow

Introduction:

This is an activity for B2+ students to review some of the most common mistakes they make. The students correct the mistakes individually and interview their partners. I have created this activity with my Spanish students in mind, but I am sure you could use it with other nationalities too.

Level: B2+

Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To identify and correct common mistakes made by B2+ students.

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

  1. I will make better mistakes tomorrow Worksheet, one per student

Procedure:

  1. Give each student a I will make better mistakes tomorrow  Worksheet and in pairs ask them to discuss the quotes at the top of the page.
  2. Elicit some answers from students to learn more about their attitudes to errors.
  3. Now individually ask students to correct the mistakes in questions 1 to 18.
  4. When the students have finished, ask them to check their answers with a classmate. Together they must decide on an answer and agree.
  5. Check together as a class. The class must decide as a group what they believe the correct answer to be. As teacher, only write their final answers on the board, do not tell them if they are correct or not at this stage. Once they have discussed and agreed on all of their answers as a class, tell them how many (if any) they have wrong – do not tell them which ones are wrong. As a class, they must review all of the questions and decide which one(s) they think is incorrect. This increases talking time and requires repetition of the language; it also encourages competition.
  6. In the same pairs, or groups of three, ask students to interview each other using the questions 1 to 18.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to write down true statements about themselves using the expressions they were not able to correct by themselves.

P.S. “Your best teacher is your last mistake.” Ralph Nader

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