Let it snow…

Introduction:

This is an activity to introduce and practise winter idioms. Students first answer a few questions, complete the idioms with the missing ‘chilly’ words, match them to their definitions and answer some questions using the target language. I think this activity is quite appropriate not only because it is actually winter but also because we have recently enjoyed the biggest snowfall in decades here in Madrid. I have seen people put on their skis and snowshoes as well as sledding down the slopes all over the city. I hope your students are going to enjoy this activity as much as I am trying to enjoy the snow ;). Also don’t forget to check out my thematic fast finisher ideas at the end.

Teacher tip/reflection: 

One of the things I love doing when teaching idioms is to tell my students about the origin of the idiomatic expressions we study. It is not always clear where these expressions come from and not all sources can be trusted, but it hasn’t stopped me from trying. I have found that students find it easier to memorise the expressions if there is a story to go with it and it also often gives them the opportunity to learn more about the culture that speaks the language they are studying. My favorite idiom in today’s activity is to go cold turkey. Allegedly the phrase comes from the similarities between a drug addict in withdrawal, who is cold to the touch and covered in goosebumps and looks like a refrigerated turkey. Who knows?

Level: B2+

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To increase familiarity and correct use of chilly winter idioms.
  2. To match the idioms to their definitions.
  3. To answer questions containing the target language.

Materials:

Procedure:

  1. Hand out a copy of Let it snow to each student or display it on the screen.
  2. Tell students to, in pairs, answer questions in Exercise 1.
  3. Next ask students to complete the idioms with the missing chilly winter words. 
  4. Check together as a class but ask students to first compare their answers with their partners. Always 😉
  5. Ask the students to match the idioms to their definitions. 
  6. Check together as a class but again ask students to first compare their answers with their partners. 
  7. When the students have finished, ask them to look at the questions in Exercise 3 and first try to complete the sentences with the missing words. The first letters have been provided to make this memory workout slightly less daunting. You can turn this task into a mini competition to add some excitement.
  8. When they have finished, ask them to compare with their partner and then check together as a class.
  9. Students now answer the questions in pairs or small groups using the chilly idioms as often as possible.

Fast finisher ideas:

  1. Ask students to write a brief weather report describing what the weather has been like recently where they live, what it is like at the moment and what it will be like for a period in the future. 
  2. Write a list of 5 things to do to get your car out of a snow drift e.g. travel with a bag of kitty litter. You can tell I have been inspired by the current weather conditions.
  3. Come up with a dish using the following ingredients: Buckwheat, tuna, two tomatoes, mayo, half a pepper, three avocados, curry sauce, almond milk and pumpkin seeds. Make sure the food lasts for at least two days (Note: the supermarkets were closed for two days in my area and there were no deliveries so I was quite limited as far as cooking was concerned and these were the only things I had in my fridge 😉
  4. Come up with a list of simple pleasure to savour in winter e.g. cosy blankets, hot chocolate, drinks beside the fire etc.
  5. List as many winter sports as you can e.g. ice dancing, ice skating, Nordic walking ski bobbing etc. 

Related posts:

Lovely day, innit?

2020 Round-up

Introduction:

This is a board game activity to reflect on the past year. Students answer questions about the challenges they faced, things they learnt, things they would have done differently, etc. This time I have decided to add what I myself learnt in 2020. Scroll down to keep reading 😉

Level: B1 +

Objectives:

  1. To reflect on the past year.

Materials:

PDF board game and one die 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 or display the game on the screen.
  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. All three players must then answer the question in as much detail as possible.
  4. At the end, ask the students to name three new things they agreed on with other classmates.

Lessons I learnt in 2020:

Life is unpredictable;) We try and put things in place to fool ourselves into thinking we have everything under control, yet we do not control anything other than our own reactions to what happens. Before 2020 we might have been under the illusion that life bent to our will, but I am sure that with the arrival of the pandemic those illusions were quickly shattered. What I learnt, faced with unpredictability and uncertainty on a daily basis, is to let go, accept and to drop resistance. I know now that the more I resist reality and the present moment the more painful it is to move forward.

The power of positive habits and routines. I have been meditating now for a long time and I can not even begin to explain the power of meditation and how key it has been in moments of both happiness and pain. It helped me relax, stay grounded, realise the impermanence of things and allowed me to detach from what I strongly identified with e.g. my life story, people, material possessions, places etc. As I have realised, we fall back on our habits in the times of crisis, so I wanted to make sure my routines in 2020 were solid and definitely supportive of my health and well-being. I established a strict routine of yoga, meditation and walks in nature which helped keep me calm and reduced anxiety. Bringing myself back to centre also helped me control my negative emotions. I was acutely aware I did not want to project my fear and anxiety on others and did everything I could to manage and process my emotions in solitude and avoid taking things on other people. I apologise to anyone I took my anger out on last year. I am sorry;) 

Being surrounded by the right tribe. Energy is contagious and surrounding yourself with people who will lift you up and support you is key, but letting go of relationships that are no longer serving us is hard. In 2020, I had to let some relationships go. No hard feelings. It is what it is. We meet others to learn and grow but not everybody is meant to stay in your life. I have learnt not to force, push and try to fix things that maybe, at this moment in time, are not meant to be. The people that are meant to stay in your life, will stay or if they have only momentarily left, will return 😉

Authenticity. A year like 2020 certainly brings you to your knees. It has forced me to be more authentic, to be less of a people pleaser in search of validation and approval, to finally face certain things I’ve been avoiding or distracting myself from. I am no longer able to look away. I feel like the masks I have been wearing are coming off. Although I am still far from living in alignment, I am definitely striving daily to only keep things in my life that align with my values and goals. Lockdown helped/ forced 😉 me to turn even more inward by eliminating every distraction I surrounded myself with before the pandemic.

Responsibility. I have seen how much of what we do, we do unconsciously, automatically, without taking into account how it might affect others. We are quick to blame, judge, point fingers and criticise without pausing to examine how we might have contributed to problems we are now facing. We all want great things in our lives, but everything comes with its own set of positive and negative characteristics that we have to take responsibility for. I have tried to stop, not to react so quickly, to create a gap between the stimulus and my reaction and then if necessary respond. I am slowly trying to become more intentional, deliberate and responsible in my choices. More conscious.

There are more lessons I am sure but that’s all I have been inspired to share today 😉

Thank you to all my lovely students for making 2020, despite everything, beautiful and enriching. I love you 😉

Thank you for my new template Stu 😉

Thank you for inspiring me to write what I learnt in 2020 Vanesa E. 😉 and for sharing the podcast below.

Food for thought:

Somewhere over the rainbow Part 2

These are activities for students to introduce and practise colour idioms. Students complete the idioms with the missing colours, then complete the sentences with the missing expressions and in pairs answer questions containing the idioms.

Level: B2+

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce colour idioms.
  2. To complete the idioms with the missing colours.
  3. To complete the sentences with the missing idioms.
  4. To practise the new expressions whilst asking and answering questions.

Materials (Click on the worksheets below to download the PDF files):

Procedure:

  1. Put students in pairs and ask them to briefly discuss questions in Exercise 1.
  2. Hand students Somewhere over the rainbow Part 2 Worksheet or display it on the screen for everyone to see.
  3. Individually, students first try to complete the idioms with the missing colours (Exercise 2).
  4. When the students have finished, they compare their answers with a partner.
  5. Check the answers and elicit meaning. Clarify the expressions that are new or not quite clear.
  6. Now, students complete the sentences 1 to 12 with the missing idioms (Exercise 2). When the students have finished, they compare their answers with a partner.
  7. Check the answers as a class.
  8. Go to exercise 3 and from memory ask students to correct the mistakes highlighted in different colours. You could turn it into a mini competition and maybe even time the students 😉
  9. Now students answer questions 1 to 12 in pairs. Encourage them to ask their classmates additional questions to obtain more details.
  10. If you have had no time to discuss all questions in class ask students to answer a couple of them in writing at home.

Fast finishers:

Ask students to rate the expressions from the most to the least useful, according to them.

Related posts:

Home sweet home

Cats & Dogs

Ups and downs

What a zoo

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.” Little Prince

I spy with my little eye

Somewhere over the rainbow 

P. S. This post is dedicated to my lovely student Raquel, who was tickled pink about learning new colour idioms today. Thank you for a wonderful class my dear 🙂

Job interview

Introduction:

These are two board game activities (one prim and proper and the other a bit on the cheeky side) to practise answering common job interview questions. They can be used together or separately, and are a great way to help students practise speaking, develop fluency and of course prepare for a potential job interview.

Level: B2+

Objectives:

  1. To practise answering common as well as bizzare job interview questions

Materials (Click on the worksheets below to download the PDF files):

A die and a timer if needed or wanted

Procedure:

  1. Divide the students into “interviewer(s)” and “interviewee(s)”and give them a copy of one of the board games and a die or simply share it on the screen if you are teaching online.
  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 “interviewees” must then answer the question with as much detail as possible. Encourage “interviewers” to ask additional questions and make notes to be able to offer some constructive feedback at the end and also to help them decide who to “hire”.
  4. Allow 10/ 12 minutes for each interview and then ask students to either switch roles or interview a different applicant. Make sure however that all students get to play both roles and do a practice job interview at least once.
  5. At the end, ask students to say which answers they were impressed by and also to give others some constructive feedback to improve their next performance.

P.S. This post is dedicated to Javier. Best wishes for the interview(s).

Related posts:

BIG3

Triple Treat

Triple treat makes a comeback

Zooming it

So, what brings you here?

You’ll never guess what

Would you rather…?

Let’s Get Better Acquainted 🙂

When & where board game

Ask a Q board game

Yay or Nay

Introduction:

This is a fun debating board game that can be adapted to both bigger and smaller classes. Students practise the language used in debates and get a chance to discuss and explore a variety of interesting topics.

Level: B2+

Time: Till the cows come home

Objectives:

  1. To revise and practise using agreeing and disagreeing expressions.
  2. To practise fluency by discussing a variety of topics.

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

  1. Yay or Nay board game, one per team or class

Procedure:

  1. Hand out Yay or Nay board game to each team or simply display it on the screen if you are using Zoom or any other online platform.
  2. Split the class into two small teams ( of course this will all depend on the size of your class). 
  3. The teacher throws the dice twice – the first throw indicates which column they should use, and the second throw indicates which row, to obtain the topic.
  4. Tell each team to think of arguments FOR and AGAINST the particular topic. Give the class about five minutes to brainstorm some ideas. Monitor and help if necessary. 
  5. Before you begin the actual debates, go through some agreeing and disagreeing expressions. I have written a few expressions in a box above the board game so they are easily accessible for both the students and the teacher.
  6. Next, tell one group they are FOR the topic and one group that they are AGAINST the topic unless you want students to freely discuss the topics which often works better. I found that when I tell my students that they are for or against a certain statement, they often run out of steam quite quickly and feel they can no longer participate and contribute. You know your students best so decide on the course of action based on what encourages them and makes them come alive.
  7. Discuss the topic for as long as you see fit or as long as the students find it interesting and keep coming up with new arguments. Avoid setting a timer and interrupting your students if they are engaged, since it could potentially lead to loss of interest and motivation. It is not always about achieving objectives and getting to the end of an activity as fast as possible but actually enjoying the process and having fun.
  8. Monitor and take advantage of this speaking activity to feed students some new expressions. 

Related posts:

BIG3

Triple Treat

Triple treat makes a comeback

Soap Opera

Lollypop debate

 

BIG3

Introduction:

These are three board game activities to talk about culture, the unexplained phenomena and sports. They can be used together or separately, and are a great way to help students practise speaking and develop fluency, as well as prepare FCE /CAE speaking exams.

Also I find these games extremely useful since most of us are now teaching online. You simply display a board game on the screen and that’s a speaking activity sorted for you. Do not forget to feed students new vocabulary throughout the activity and obviously draw their attention to any mistakes they might be making.  You could always prepare a thematic vocabulary list and send it to the students before the class or even ask them to research the topic themselves and then teach others some new words they have learnt.

As always encourage students to ask each other questions and comment on each other’s responses. Do not let it be a monologue. I often tell students that if I asked them the same questions in a bar or outside the classroom, the conversation would flow much more naturally so aim towards that and have fun 😉

Level: B2+

Objectives:

  1. To practise speaking about culture, the unexplained phenomena and sports.

Materials (Click on the worksheets below to download the PDF files):

  1. Culture Schmulture board game
  2. One, two, three, BUNGEE! board game
  3. The unexplained board game
  4. A die ( use an online dice roller) and a timer ( or no timer, play around and see what works for your group)

Procedure:

  1. Give students a copy of one of the board games or display it on the screen if you are using Zoom or any other platform.
  2. The teacher throws the dice 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 answer the question and provide their classmates with as much detail as possible. Encourage students to ask additional questions and ask for clarification and further explanation. As I said in the introduction, do not let it be a monologue but a starting point for a great conversation.  Last week, in a 90 minute session my students answered only 2 questions, as they got so involved in the topic I didn’t dare interrupt their flow. I simply provided necessary vocabulary and correction and of course enjoyed listening to their ideas and opinions.
  4. At the end, ask students to give you three new things they have learnt about their classmates.

Related posts:

Triple Treat

Triple treat makes a comeback

Can you see the error of your ways? Sequel

Introduction:

This is an activity for lower intermediate students to review some of the most common mistakes they make. The students correct the mistakes individually, write sentences that are true for them and interview their partners. The mistakes in the exercise are genuine  mistakes made by my own students during Continuously present and How well do you know your folks? activities.

Level: A2

Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To identify and correct common mistakes made by lower intermediate students.
  2. To practice changing statements into questions.
  3. To develop fluency and confidence in speaking.

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

  1. Can you see the error of your ways sequel worksheet, one per student, per pair or a small team.

Procedure:

  1. On the left hand side of the board, write I have 2 childrens and in pairs, or groups of three, ask students to highlight the error and correct it.
  2. When they have finished, ask them what the error was and underline it on the board. To the right of the sentence, ask them to write their correct sentences on the board. Go through them together as a class and ask which statement is true for them e.g. I don’t have any children, I have one child, I have two children etc.
  3. Then, in their pairs or individually, ask the students to change the statement from the second column into a question, e.g. Do you have any children? How many children do you have? Write on the board to the right of the correct sentences.
  4. Clarify understanding and explain any incorrect suggestions.
  5. Give each student Can you see the error of your ways sequel… or display it on the screen if you are using Zoom and individually ask students to circle the mistakes in sentences 1 to 10.
  6. When they have finished, check together as a class.
  7. Individually, students then write correct sentences in the second column, making each statement true for them, as per the example ( if you are using Zoom ask students to make notes on a piece of paper and when they are finished copy the examples on the board).
  8. Check together as a class.
  9. Individually, ask the students to change the statements from the first column into questions and write them down in the third column, as per the example.
  10. Monitor closely. When they have finished, they check the answers with a partner.
  11. Explain any mistakes on the board.
  12. Then, put students into pairs, or groups of three, and ask them to interview each other using the questions.
  13. If students need more practice, ask them to switch pairs / groups and repeat the process.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to write down 4 things they have learned about their classmates.

Related posts:

Make no mistake

Correct me if I am wrong

I will make better mistakes tomorrow

Blah Blah PET Part 1

Can you see the error of your ways?

Bid it 2 Win it FCE Sentence Auction

Bid it 2 Win it Sentence Auction

My favourite mistakes card game

 

Home sweet home

Introduction:

This is an activity to introduce and practise idioms with HOME & HOUSE. Students first complete the expressions with the missing words, match the idioms to their definitions, complete the questions in Exercise 2 and answer the questions in pairs or small groups. 

Level: B2

Time: 50 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce idioms with the words ‘home’ and ‘house’.
  2. To match the idioms to their definitions.
  3. To complete questions with the missing words and then answer the questions in small groups or pairs.

Materials:

  1. Home sweet home worksheet, one per student or if you are currently using Zoom simply display it on the screen.

Procedure:

  1. Write the following questions on the board and ask the students to briefly discuss them in small groups or pairs. Do you like the place where you are living? Where do you feel most at home? What is your favourite room in your house? How have you changed your home since you started living here? How many different homes have you lived in? If you could change anything about your present home, what would it be? Idea: Since we are all currently teaching from home this could be a great opportunity to ask students to “show you around” their homes.
  2. Hand out or display a copy of Home sweet home Worksheet and ask students to complete the expressions with the words home or house. When they are finished ask them to compare with their classmate(s). Always encourage them to justify their answers to each other and if they are sure of their answer, to try and convince others they are correct. 
  3. Check together as a class.
  4. Ask the students to match the expressions to their definitions. The students could first work individually and then compare with their partners, but once they get into groups or pairs they must agree on the answers. It encourages discussions and forces students to engage and defend their answers rather than mindlessly / distractedly doing the task before moving on to the next one. 
  5. Check together as a class.
  6. After the first exercise and depending on how quickly the students complete the first two tasks you could ask them to mime the expressions they have learnt. The other students try to guess the correct expressions and receive a point for each correct guess. You can skip this stage if you are pressed for time, but I find that students love this stage and are always eager to compete and have a laugh 🙂
  7. When the students have finished, ask them to complete the questions in Exercise 2 with the missing words. I usually ask students to fold the paper in half at this stage to try and encourage them to do it from memory which makes the task more challenging. If you are using Zoom simply display page 2 and go back to page 1 when students are finished.
  8. When they have finished, go back to Exercise 1 and ask them to self correct before you check as a class.
  9. Next students answer the questions in pairs or small groups.
  10. At the end of the class ask students to choose two questions and answer them in writing at home. Oops they are probably already home 🙂

Related posts:

All talk and no cider

Cats & Dogs

4 elements

What a zoo

I spy with my little eye

All hands on deck, kids

Money Money Money

Half full or half empty?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

All rise please

Stop beating around the bush

How well do you know your folks?

IMG_20200323_184632

Introduction: 

This is a board game for A2+ students to review present simple and see how much they really know about their parents. You could send the game to the students beforehand to give them a chance to gather some information about their parents before the class. Students answer questions about BOTH parents and move around the board based on the grammatically correct answers they give.

 

Level: A2+

Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To review present simple affirmative and negative forms.
  2. To answer questions about students parents.
  3. To beat other players, of course, by reaching the end of the game first.

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

  1. How well do you know your folks board game

Procedure:

  1. How well do you know your folks? is played by 2 to 4 players.
  2. Give students a copy of How well do you know your folks board game or display it on the screen if you are using Zoom.
  3. To see who starts do rock, paper, scissors.  If you have more than three players do rock, paper, scissors until there is only one person left. Whoever wins answers the first question first: Do they often arrive home late? Example answer: My mother never arrives home late. She arrives home at the same time every day. My father arrives home at different times, sometimes at 6 and sometimes at 8. All the players must answer the question from that square but DO NOT correct any sentences until all the players have finished. The players get one point for each correct sentence (one about the mother, one about the father). If the player receives two points they move 2 spaces, if they receive 1 point they move one space only, but if they have made mistakes in two sentences they stay on the same square and answer the same question in the next round. Encourage learners to give you a slightly different answer to the same question to avoid mindless repetition e.g. She arrives home  just after lunch, whereas my father doesn’t arrive until 8. The only requirement is for the learner to use the verbs in affirmative and negative sentences correctly. Of course take this opportunity to correct other mistakes too and “feed” students new vocabulary. When I did this activity with my students, I introduced some compare & contrast linking expressions e.g. as well as, too, also; but, however, while. You could give students an extra point for using one of the linking expressions correctly e.g. My mother arrives home after lunch , but my father doesn’t arrive home until 8.
  4. The winner is the player who reaches “End” first.
  5. At the end, ask the students to choose three questions and elaborate on them in writing.

Related posts:

Triple Treat

Zooming it

Brace yourselves. Phrasal verbs r bk

Single and ready to mingle

And the Oscar goes to…(Joaquin Phoenix pretty please)

Triple treat makes a comeback

Time to keep up with the times

So, what brings you here?

Also have a look at one of my activities that has recently been published on onestopenglish 😉

http://www.onestopenglish.com/community/lesson-share/pdf-content/lesson-share-my-bucket-list-worksheet/558308.article

http://www.onestopenglish.com/community/lesson-share/pdf-content/lesson-share-my-bucket-list-teachers-notes/558307.article

P.S. This post is dedicated to my mother Bogumiła and my father Robert. Kocham Was.

 

Zooming it

Introduction:

This is a board game to get to know your classmates better, disconnect and have some fun. Students ask and answer some interesting questions and if they happen to land on a green field they can either answer a question or perform a dare.

I have given you some dare ideas but please feel free to come up with your own or change them to make them appropriate for your groups or even ask the students to invent some dares, although that could potentially turn ugly very quickly :). I have deliberately chosen the questions that hopefully only evoke positive 🙂emotions from learners to make them feel good throughout the activity and take their minds off things. If you are using Zoom ( which I am guessing you probably are) just display the board on the screen for everyone to see or send it to your students before the class. Also when I use my games on Zoom these days I am the one in charge of the dice:) Hope you enjoy the activity.

Level: B1+

Objectives:

  1. To ask and answer interesting questions and perform challenging dares to inject some fun into our Zoom lessons

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

  1. Zooming it board game
  2. 20 dare ideas

Procedure:

  1. Give students a copy of Zooming it board game or display it on the screen if you are using Zoom or any other platform. If you are not currently using Zoom just follow the instructions of my other board games as the idea is pretty much the same although I have added a few twists this time.
  2. The teacher throws the dice twice – the first throw indicates which column they should use, and the second throw indicates which row, to obtain the question. You could indicate who starts and then players continue clockwise or anticlockwise.
  3. If a player lands on a green field they can choose either to answer a question or perform a dare. I have given you some ideas but feel free to make changes. If a player lands on an orange field they answer the question themselves and if they land on a blue one they nominate someone to answer it.
  4. At the end, ask the students to give you three new things they have learnt about their classmates and three funniest dares they have seen their classmates perform during the lesson.

Related posts:

So, what brings you here?

Go Get ‘em tiger!

Know thyself

Triple treat makes a comeback

Also have a look at one of my activities that has recently been published on onestopenglish 😉

http://www.onestopenglish.com/community/lesson-share/pdf-content/lesson-share-my-bucket-list-worksheet/558308.article

http://www.onestopenglish.com/community/lesson-share/pdf-content/lesson-share-my-bucket-list-teachers-notes/558307.article