Nothing changes if nothing changes

Introduction: 

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

Objectives:

  1. To match sentence halves to make idioms and phrases relating to change.
  2. To do a role play activity to practise the new vocabulary in a new, playful context.

Materials:

  1. Nothing changes if nothing changes idioms and phrases, one set per small group of three or four, cut up and shuffled.
  2. Nothing changes if nothing changes Worksheet, one per student.
  3. Nothing changes if nothing changes fortune teller cards, one set per pair, cut up, and shuffled.

Procedure:

  1. 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?
  1. Hand students ‘Nothing changes if nothing changes’ idioms and phrases.
  2. In small groups, students match the sentence halves.
  3. Monitor and encourage students to guess some of the answers, before asking them to compare with the other groups.
  4. 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.
  5. Give students ‘Nothing changes if nothing changes’ worksheet and ask them to complete the sentences with the missing phrases individually before they compare it with their partner.
  6. Check the answers as a class.
  7. 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.
  8. Put the students into pairs and give one student a set of ‘Nothing changes if nothing changes’ fortune teller cards.
  9. One student is a fortune teller and the other is a client who is looking for advice.
  10. 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.
  11. Once the client has asked for 2 pieces of advice, students switch roles and continue with the next card.
  12. Then, mix the students into fresh pairs, shuffle the cards and continue.
  13. Role plays continue until each client has spoken to at least 3 fortune tellers.
  14. 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.

Fast finishers:

Unscramble the following idioms and write your own definitions of each one:

  1. Clean break to a make
  2. Breath fresh air of a
  3. To change times with the
  4. Face the to music
  5. To doors open new

The proof is in the pudding

Introduction: 

These are activities for upper intermediate students to introduce and practise food idioms. Students complete the sentences with the missing expressions, write their own definitions and play a taboo game.

Level: B2 +

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce food idioms and expressions.
  2. To write definitions of the new expressions.
  3. To play a taboo game to reinforce the new vocabulary in a new, playful context.

Materials:

  1. The proof is in the pudding worksheet, one per student.
  2. Three sets of taboo cards per pair, cut up and shuffled.

Procedure:

  1. Write the beginning of the following sentences on the board and ask students to complete them:
  • My favourite dessert is…
  • I typically eat desserts…
  • One of the countries I often associate with great desserts is…
  1. Hand students The proof is in the pudding worksheet.
  2. Individually, students have a go at completing the sentences with the missing expressions (Exercise 1).
  3. Monitor and allow them to read and guess some of the answers, before putting them into groups of three or four to discuss and compare.
  4. 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.
  5. Ask the students to write their own definitions of the expressions in Part 2.
  6. Monitor and offer feedback.
  7. Put the students into pairs and give them a set of taboo cards.
  8. Place the cards face down on the table and ask them to set a timer for one minute (they can use their phones, or you could use a timer as a class).
  9. For higher levels, the first player takes the first card and must explain the expression on the top of the card without using the three taboo words in the middle of the card. If a taboo word is used the student whose turn it is must put the current card into the discard pile.
  10. For lower levels, they can use the words as prompts for their partner to guess the correct expression.
  11. Play continues for one minute and the players swap. The continued repetition of the same 12 expressions will enforce their understanding.
  12. The winner is the student who has the most correctly guessed taboo cards at the end of the game.

Fast finishers:

  1. Choose 3 idioms and in writing try to predict what the origins of the expressions might be. Once you have finished do some research to find out if you were correct.

Related posts:

A piece of cake or a hard nut to crack?

Yummy Yummy I’ve got food in my tummy

P.S. Thank you for putting this activity to the test Stu. It was a pleasure to observe your class.

It’s all a numbers game

Introduction:

These are some creative activities to develop understanding and correct use of ‘number’ idioms. Students complete the idioms with the missing numbers and then complete a creative activity to test other classmates.

Level: B1+

Time: 70 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce idioms related to numbers.
  2. To use repetition through various means to cement understanding and correct use of the idioms, whilst also testing other students’ knowledge of the new vocabulary.

Materials:

  1. It_s all a numbers game Worksheet, one per pair.

Procedure:

  1. Write the following questions on the board and ask students to discuss them in pairs: What are the important numbers in your life? Do you have a lucky and unlucky number? Are you superstitious about any numbers?
  2. Briefly discuss as a class for feedback.
  3. Hand out a copy of ‘It’s all a numbers game’ Worksheet.
  4. Put students in pairs. The first student completes one of the sentences with a missing number; if his or her sentence is accepted by the teacher, they draw either an O or X in the square. The first player to line up 4 of their symbols in a row wins.
  5. When the students have finished, check ALL of the sentences as a class and in pairs ask students to provide the definitions of the idioms using their own words.
  6. Check together as a class.
  7. Put the students into pairs and ask them to complete Exercise 2.
  8. Once the students have finished ask them to cut up the squares and hand them to a pair of students on their right.
  9. The students now match the drawings, synonyms, etc, with their examples and definitions in Exercise 1. To make it easier you could ask students to cut up the squares in Exercise 1 too.
  10. Monitor at all times.
  11. Depending on the number of students you could repeat step 8 several times to recycle vocabulary.
  12. At the end, ask students to share 4 of their favourite or most challenging ‘representations’ of the number idioms.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to check which numbers from 1 to 10 were not represented in Exercise 1 and find one idiom for each of the numbers.

Related posts:

Lovely day, innit?

Clothes do (not) make the man

You talkin’ to me?

Decisions, decisions…!