All talk and no cider

Introduction: 

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

Objectives:

  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.

Materials:

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

Procedure:

  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.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Introduction: 

These are activities to introduce and practise idioms describing physical appearance. Students complete the idioms with the missing words, divide the idioms into Beauty and Beast categories, do a Find Someone Who activity and play a board game. As you can see there are plenty of opportunities to recycle new vocabulary. By the end of the lesson students will have used each idiom at least 6 or 7 times.

Level: C1

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce idioms describing physical appearance.
  2. To complete the idioms with the missing words.
  3. To divide the idioms into two categories Beauty and Beast.
  4. To find students who, e.g. think that new born babies are as ugly as sin, write their names next to the sentences and ask for more details (Exercise 2).
  5. To answer questions about beauty whilst playing a board game.

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

  1. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder Worksheet, one per student.
  2. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder board game, one per group.

Procedure:

  1. Write The beholder eye the is beauty in of on the board. Ask students to unscramble the phrase and in pairs discuss if they agree or disagree with it.
  2. Hand the students Beauty is in the eye of the beholder Worksheet.
  3. Individually, students complete the idioms in Exercise 1 with the missing words.
  4. When the students have finished, they compare their answers with a partner.
  5. Check the answers as a class.
  6. Now, individually again, the students decide if the idioms are used to describe attractive (Beauty) or unattractive people (Beast).
  7. When they have finished, ask them to compare with their partner.
  8. Elicit answers from students.
  9. Next, students complete the missing words in the idioms again (exercise 2). Ask them to fold the sheet and try and do it from memory first. I try to use every opportunity for students to play with the new vocabulary as much as possible and in as many ways as possible to increase their chances of remembering the idioms.
  10. Students now mingle and try to get affirmative answers from their classmates, e.g. find someone who thinks newborn babies are as ugly as sin. If the other student says ‘yes’ they have to elaborate on their answer. 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 which answers surprised them the most.
  12. Next put the students in groups of 2 or 3, and give them a copy of Beauty is in the eye of the beholder board game and a die.
  13. 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.
  14. 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 phrase they must use it to form a question for their partner(s) e.g.  When was the last time you were dressed to kill?
  15. The game continues in the circle going left.
  16. At the end, ask students what they found out about their classmates.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to briefly answer one of the questions (in writing) on the board game using at least 3 of the idioms studied.

Related posts:

Cold reading

Who are you?

MEOW!

Mirror Mirror on the wall…

Wanted

Recommended podcast:

http://activateyourielts.libsyn.com/ielts-vocabulary-tips-for-teachers-and-students

Check out my friend’s podcast. This week we talked about learning and recycling new vocabulary and I think it makes for an interesting episode. Enjoy.

 

Cold reading

Introduction:

This is a great reading activity I have done with my advanced and proficient students and without a doubt one of my most memorable activities. Unfortunately the activity doesn’t work with just any class. You have to make sure the group is just right; ideally the students are relatively new and aged 15-24.

Level: C1

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To read a description of one’s personality and decide how accurate the description is.
  2. To read a description of another student’s personality and try to identify who the student is.

Materials:

  1. Personality reading PDF (adapted), one per student (Source: https://www.secrets-explained.com/derren-brown/cold-reading)
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6uj1ruTmGQ

Procedure:

Stage 1:

  1. A week or two before the class tell students you would like to try something different with them. It works better if you revise personality adjectives before the class too.
  2. Ask each student to take a piece of paper and draw an outline of their hand, write their date and time of birth at the top of the page and a name of an object that is not immediately recognized as theirs.  When the students have finished ask them to fold the papers, mix them up and hand them to you.
  3. Tell students you are now going to try and write a description of their personality based solely on the information they have provided. Tell students you will try and be as specific as possible and that it will take quite a long time for you to finish all the descriptions so they must be patient. The first time I did this activity my students waited a month for me to “complete” the descriptions and couldn’t wait for me to finish.

Stage 2:

  1. Print Personality Reading PDF and make as many copies as there are students in your class. The readings are all exactly the same so sometimes I change the font and the colour to confuse the students slightly if the happen to sit next to each other and see another classmate’s reading.
  2. Before you hand the students the papers tell them you have tried very, very, very hard to be specific and you would like them to read the descriptions carefully and to honestly tell you at the end how accurate they think you were.
  3. Sit the students as far away from each other as possible and tell them to use their phones/dictionaries to check the meaning of new words.
  4. When the students have finished give each student a post it note and anonymously ask them to rate the accuracy of the description (1%-100%). You don’t want the students to be influenced by others when the rate their description.
  5. Collect the post it notes.
  6. Now ask the students to mix all the descriptions and try to identify the classmates based on the description they now have.
  7. After a few minutes students will look confused. Ask them to shuffle the papers again until pretty soon they will realize all the descriptions are exactly the same.
  8. Students’ reactions to this experiment are priceless and I have even had one student return to my school a year later asking for a copy of the reading.
  9. Explain to students that it is a technique called cold reading and it is often used by psychics and astrologists. At the end show students the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6uj1ruTmGQ

Related posts:

Who are you?

Interactive reading class

Who are you?

Introduction:

This is a fun activity for students to revise personality adjectives. Students match the adjectives to their antonyms, decide which adjectives apply most to them and look for classmates whose answers are either identical to theirs or very different.

Level: B2+

Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To revise/ introduce adjectives describing personality.
  2. To decide which adjectives apply most to students and give examples.
  3. To compare students’ choices with other classmates.

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

  1. Who are you Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. In pairs ask students to tell each other what personality types they get on with best and what personality types they just can’t stand.
  2. Elicit some answers from students.
  3. Hand each student a copy of Who are you? Worksheet and tell them to cover up the words at the bottom.
  4. Individually ask students to provide antonyms to the adjectives in the first column.
  5. When the students have finished ask them to compare with their partner.
  6. Next students look at the antonyms provided at the bottom of the page and complete the table.
  7. Check as a class.
  8. Individually now ask the student to consider each pair of adjectives and choose the number (1 to 5) closest to the adjective they feel applies most to them. Number 5 applies to the adjective in the first column and 1 to its antonym in the third column.
  9. Once the students have finished, put them into pairs and ask them to compare their choices with their classmates and provide specific examples where their numbers are identical or very different.
  10. Change pairs two or three times to give students a chance to compare their answers with as many classmates as possible.
  11. Ask students to give examples of unexpected answers they received whilst interviewing their classmates.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to pick three positive and three negative adjectives from the table that best describe them and justify their answers to their classmates.

P.S. “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Dr. Seuss

Related posts:

Mirror Mirror on the wall…

MEOW!

Wanted

Know thyself

 

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.

Related posts:

There is no place like…school

You make my heart BEET 😉

Somewhere over the rainbow 

It’s game time

Zzz

Nothing changes if nothing changes

The proof is in the pudding

MEOW!

IMG-20170101-WA0032

Introduction: 

This is an activity to introduce and practise animal idioms. Students describe 10 animals, complete the expressions with the missing adjectives and complete sentences about themselves.

Level: B2

Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To increase familiarity and correct use of animal idioms.
  2. To complete the sentences in Exercise 2 with the missing adjectives.
  3. To complete sentences containing animal idioms individually.

Materials:

  1. MEOW! Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Elicit different animals from students and write them on the board, e.g. tiger, dog, donkey, etc. and in pairs ask them to think of the characteristic traits of these animals, e.g. as fierce as a tiger.
  2. Hand out a copy of MEOW!! Worksheet and ask students to individually complete Exercise 1.
  3. When they have finished, ask them to compare their answers in pairs and justify their choice if it is different from their partner’s.
  4. Students then complete Exercise 2 individually, before comparing their answers with their partner.
  5. Check together as a class.
  6. Students then complete Exercise 3 individually.
  7. When they have finished, students swap their sheets with their partner and read each other’s answers.
  8. When the students have finished, ask them to circle 4 new things they have found out about their classmate from Exercise 3.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to write down the name of professions they associate with the expressions they have learnt, e.g. stubborn as a mule: English teacher, etc.

MEOW! Worksheet

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Mirror Mirror on the wall…

Wanted

P.S.  Nakotek. A little birdie told me it was your birthday today. Have an amazing day.

Mirror Mirror on the wall…

Introduction: 

These are activities for intermediate students to introduce vocabulary describing body, face and hair. Students categorise words into groups, draw a picture of their classmate and write a brief description of themselves for comparison.

Level: B2

Time: 55 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce vocabulary describing body, face and hair.
  2. To draw a picture of a classmate.
  3. To write a brief description of a student’s own physical appearance.
  4. To find similarities between the students’ drawings of their classmates and the classmates’ description of themselves.

Materials:

  1. Mirror Mirror on the wall…Worksheet A, one per student.
  2. Mirror Mirror on the wall…Worksheet B, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Show students several images of celebrities and elicit some words to describe their physical appearance and write them on the board e.g. short, tall etc.
  2. Put students into pairs and hand each student Mirror Mirror on the wall…  Worksheet A.
  3. Go through the words as a class to make sure the students understand meaning and pronunciation.
  4. In pairs, students complete Exercise 1.
  5. Monitor and provide feedback.
  6. When the students have finished, hand out Mirror Mirror on the wall…Worksheet B. In pairs, students must draw each other in the frame provided. Make sure the students don’t look at their partner’s pictures until you tell them so.
  7. When the students have finished, they now briefly describe their physical appearance using at least 7 new words from Exercise 1 of Mirror Mirror on the wall…Worksheet A.
  8. When the students have finished, they must compare their description of themselves with the drawing made by their partner and try to find 3 similarities and 3 differences. For example, In your drawing I have a round face but in my description I wrote that my face was oval. I have long wavy hair in both the drawing and the description.
  9. Ask students to share with the group how many similarities and differences they managed to find.

Fast finishers / homework: 

  1. Individually, students complete Exercise 2 of Mirror Mirror on the wall…Worksheet A.  When finished, they compare their answers with another classmate.

Mirror Mirror on the wall…Worksheet A

Mirror Mirror on the wall…Worksheet B

Related Posts:

Wanted