Ups and downs

Introduction: 

These are activities to introduce and practise happiness and sadness idioms. Students complete the idioms with the missing words, divide the idioms into ☺ and ☹ and do a Find someone who activity with their classmates.

Level: B2

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce happiness and sadness idioms.
  2. To complete the idioms with the missing words.
  3. To divide the idioms into ☺ and ☹.
  4. To interview other students.

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

  1. Ups and downs Worksheet,one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Write the following quote on the board and ask students to discuss it in pairs:

“Happiness is an inside job. Don’t assign anyone else that much power over your life.” Mandy Hale

  1. Hand the students Ups and downs Worksheet.
  2. Individually, students complete the idioms in Exercise 1 with the missing words.
  3. When the students have finished, they compare their answers with a partner.
  4. Check the answers as a class.
  5. Now, individually again, the students decide if the idioms are related to positive or negative feelings.
  6. When they have finished, ask them to compare with their partner and if they have any differences to give reasons for their choices.
  7. Elicit answers from students.
  8. Next, students complete the missing words in the idioms again. 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.
  9. Students now mingle and try to get affirmative answers from their classmates, e.g. find someone who cried their eyes out when they watched Titanic. If the other student says ‘yes’ they have to elaborate e.g. Of course I cried my eyes out when I watched Titanic. It was heartbreaking watching Jack die. Allow no more than 3 minutes for each interview. When the time is up ask students to switch partners.
  10. When the students have had a chance to ask everyone’s opinion, ask them which answers surprised them the most.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to briefly describe the happiest or the saddest day in their lives using at least 5 of the idioms studied.

Related posts:

Actions speak louder than words

Can’t stop dishing out idioms

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

P.S. Thank you Alex.

 

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.

Related posts:

Phrasal verbs can be put off, never forgotten

Brace yourselves. Phrasal verbs r bk

How do you …?

You talkin’ to me?

The old man and his grandson

Introduction:

This is a listening activity for advanced students to practise listening skills. Students discuss quotes and questions related with age and growing old, listen to a short fairy story by the Grimm Brothers, try to predict the ending and put the sentences from the story in the correct order.

Level: C1

Objectives:

  1. To discuss quotes and questions related with age.
  2. To listen and come up with three possible endings to a short fairy story by the Grimm Brothers.
  3. To put the sentences from the story in the correct order.

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

  1. The old man and his grandson Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Give students a copy of The old man and his grandson Worksheet.
  2. In pairs, ask students to discuss quotes and questions in Exercise 1.
  3. When the students have finished, ask them to share their opinions with the rest of the class.
  4. Tell students they are going to listen to a short fairy story by the Grimm Brothers. At this stage you could pre teach the vocabulary if you think your students might struggle with the text. I found the words my students struggled with were: dim, broth, stove, earthenware, to scold, to sigh, thus, trough, henceforth.
  5. Play the story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fdq8kZE62oQ and stop the recording at 1:25 (‘What are you doing there?’ asked the father).
  6. Ask the students to first summarize the story to each other and if necessary play the first part of the recording again.
  7. In pairs, ask the students to try and predict how the story ends and BRIEFLY write down their ideas (Exercise 2).
  8. Play the rest of the story and ask students to compare their ideas with the original ending. Elicit some answers from students and ask for their reactions to the ending. My students were both emotional and surprised when they heard the ending.
  9. In pairs again ask the students to order the sentences in Exercise 3. You can find the story here http://www.authorama.com/grimms-fairy-tales-27.html.
  10. Then play the recording again for students to check.

Fast finishers:

  1. I asked my students to translate the story into their own language (Spanish) and some pairs turned the story into a modern, updated version of the original text. It was a wonderful class.

P.S. “Seek the wisdom of the ages, but look at the world through the eyes of a child.” Ron Wild

Related posts:

Ir(regular) Xmas

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. 🙂

Related posts:

Can’t stop dishing out idioms

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

 

 

Random words (Getting personal)

Introduction: 

This is a creative writing activity inspired by a book by Edward de Bono called “Creativity Workout”. Students obtain random words and write down what they think happened either before or after an event given to them by the teacher. To increase curiosity and engagement, I used examples from my own life and it worked like a dream. Enjoy.

Level: B1 +

Time: 45 minutes

Objective:

  1. To recycle recently studied vocabulary in a new and memorable context.

Materials:  

  1. One die per pair or small group.

Procedure:

  1. Draw a 6 x 6 grid on the board.
  2. Ask the students to review recently studied vocabulary and provide a word for each square. Make sure the students know the meaning of all the words.
  3. When the grid is complete, put students in pairs or small groups. To obtain words for the activity students throw the die twice: the first throw indicates which column they are going to use and the second indicates which row they are going to use. Depending on the task, they must roll for the number of words and use them repetitively to complete the activity.
  4. Before the class think of some interesting things that happened to you and that your students might not know about you. Give them the first sentence (look at the examples below) and ask them to write down what they think happened BEFORE or AFTER that event using the random words. This activity proved very motivating for my students as they wanted to find out what actually happened. You can also make it more competitive by telling your students that the pair who gets closest to the truth will win/ get a point. I encourage you to come up with your own examples or even to ask students to prepare their own sentence(s) each before they begin the activity. If you want to use my examples and make it a creative activity less based on actual events, use my sentences and alter them according to the level of your class.

Examples:

  • Obtain four random words and guess what happened next: We have deleted each other’s contact details and decided to meet at the main train station in Milan in EXACTLY six month’s time.
  • Obtain four random words and guess what happened the night before: I woke up in the middle of the night completely soaked.
  • Obtain four random words and guess what happened next: On a cold December night, my mother was walking home from work when suddenly she was stopped by a stranger. He did his best to cover his face and my mother began to feel uneasy.
  • Obtain five random words and guess what happened next: I was getting ready to move to Zaragoza and was about to book my flight to Spain when my ex called. “Wait, don’t book anything, I will drive you to Spain”.
  • Obtain four random words and guess what happened the night before: I woke up and realised I had missed my flight. I was in Salamanca and had to be back at work, in England, the following day.
  • Obtain five random words and guess what happened before: I was drowning. My whole life was flashing before my eyes and I could see people looking at me and laughing. Cameramen, local journalists and my coworkers just kept staring and nobody moved.
  • Obtain five random words and guess what happened before: We were taken to a large room and told to wait. After a few minutes Pope John Paul II entered the room.

Related posts:

Random words

Random words return

Holiday heaven & hell

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

There is no place like…school

Introduction: 

These are activities for advanced students to introduce and practise idioms and phrases relating to school. Students match the sentence halves; complete the sentences with the missing expressions, decide if the statements are true for them and discuss the statements with their classmates.

Level: C1

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To match idiom halves to make idioms and phrases relating to school.
  2. To complete the sentences with the missing idioms.
  3. To decide if the sentences are true/ not true for the students themselves.
  4. To discuss the statements with a classmate.

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

  1. There is no place like…school Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Write the following questions on the board and ask students to briefly answer them in pairs: What’s your first memory of school? Do you think your school days are the best days of your life? What do you think students should be taught at school but aren’t?
  2. Hand students ‘There is no place like…school’ Worksheet.
  3. Individually, students match the idiom halves and then compare their answers with a classmate.
  4. Check the answers as a class – you can make this more competitive by asking each pair for their answer and awarding a point for the correct answer.
  5. Now, individually ask students to complete the sentences with the missing idioms before they compare them with their partner.
  6. Check the answers as a class.
  7. Ask students to read the sentences again and decide if there are or aren’t true for them.
  8. Put the students into pairs and ask them to compare how many things they have in common and to discuss the statements in more detail.
  9. At the end ask the students to describe one experience they have in common with their classmate and one that was different.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to come up with some ideas of what an ideal school should look like and write them down in bullet points using the expressions studied e.g. In a ideal school students should be allowed to skip class if they are bored out of their minds.

P.S. Encourage students to watch a great Ted talk about education: https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity

Related posts:

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

It’s all a numbers game