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.
Time: 60 minutes
- To introduce communication idioms and expressions.
- To unscramble communication idioms and expressions.
- To match the expressions with their definitions.
- To practise the new expressions whilst interviewing their partners.
- All talk and no cider, one per student.
- 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?
- 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.
- Check the answers as a class.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Students now answer the questions in pairs or small groups using the communication idioms as often as possible.
- Ask students to choose expressions that best describe them and in writing justify their answers.
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.
This is a board game that could be used to assess your learners’ needs or to simply do a review of tenses. Students answer questions in pairs or small groups of three and the teacher closely monitors to determine what the learners are struggling with. I have deliberately chosen the questions that hopefully only evoke positive 🙂 emotions from learners to make them feel good throughout the activity especially if is their first class and they don’t know the teacher and/or the classmates.
Time: 45 minutes
- To assess the learners’ needs.
- To review past, present and future tenses etc.
- To answer questions containing the target language whilst playing a board game.
Materials (Click on the worksheet below to download the PDF file):
- So, what brings you here board game and one die per group of 3.
- Put the students in groups of 2 or 3, and give them a copy of So, what brings you here? board game and a die.
- 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.
- 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.
- The game continues in the circle going left.
- At the end, write down the mistakes students made during the activity and ask them to correct them in their teams.
- Check together as a class.
- Ask students what they found out about their classmates.
Do you believe in ghosts?
What would you do if…?
Brace yourselves. Phrasal verbs r bk
These are activities for upper intermediate students to introduce and practise idioms and phrases relating to change. Students match the sentence halves; complete the sentences with the missing expressions and do a role play.
Level: B2 +
Time: 60 minutes
- To match sentence halves to make idioms and phrases relating to change.
- To do a role play activity to practise the new vocabulary in a new, playful context.
- ‘Nothing changes if nothing changes phrases and fortune teller cards, one set of phrases per small group of three or four, cut up and shuffled and one set of fortune teller cards per pair, cut up, and shuffled.
- Nothing changes if nothing changes worksheet, one per student.
- Write the following questions on the board and ask students to briefly answer them in pairs:
- Have you made any recent changes in your life?
- If you could change anything in your life, what would it be?
- Do you think it is easy for people to change?
- Hand students ‘Nothing changes if nothing changes’ idioms and phrases.
- In small groups, students match the sentence halves.
- Monitor and encourage students to guess some of the answers, before asking them to compare with the other groups.
- Check the answers as a class – you can make this more competitive by asking each team for their answer and awarding a point for the correct answer.
- Give students ‘Nothing changes if nothing changes’ worksheet and ask them to complete the sentences with the missing phrases individually before they compare them with their partner.
- Check the answers as a class.
- Ask students to think of their love life, health, work/school and money, and very briefly describe what stage they are at in these. Tell them they can be creative and invent it, even pretending to be a celebrity, if they don’t feel comfortable sharing their personal information.
- Put the students into pairs and give one student a set of ‘Nothing changes if nothing changes’ fortune teller cards.
- One student is a fortune teller and the other is a client who is looking for advice.
- Once the client has explained their situation, the fortune teller draws one of the cards and offers advice using all three expressions on the cards, e.g. Unfortunately, the project you have been working on is not going anywhere. You will have to go back to square one and start again.
- Once the client has asked for 2 pieces of advice, students switch roles and continue with the next card.
- Then, mix the students into fresh pairs, shuffle the cards and continue.
- Role plays continue until each client has spoken to at least 3 fortune tellers.
- At the end ask the students which fortune player seemed the most convincing and which piece of advice in particular they found the most useful.
Unscramble the following idioms and write your own definitions of each one:
- Clean break to a make
- Breath fresh air of a
- To change times with the
- To doors open new