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.

Getting itchy feet

IMG-20140629-WA0007

Introduction:

These are activities to introduce travel vocabulary and to encourage speaking about travelling. Students do a word search activity and then do the speaking activity with their classmates.

Level: B1 +

Objectives:

  1. To introduce travel vocabulary.
  2. To answer questions about travelling using the new vocabulary.

Materials:

  1. Getting itchy feet worksheet, one per student.
  2. Getting itchy feet board game, one per group of three.
  3. Getting itchy feet worksheet solutions

Procedure:

  1. Write down the following 18 letters on the board A, B, C, C, C, C, D, F, G, J, L, L, R, R, S, S, T and V. In pairs, ask students to write down ONE travel related word that begins with the letters above. Set a timer to make the activity more competitive, e.g. 5 minutes. When the time is up ask students to compare their answers with another pair.
  2. Check as a class and make sure students know the meaning of all the words that came up during the activity.
  3. Hand out a copy of Getting itchy feet worksheet and ask students to find 18 travel related words in the word search. Tell students the letters in bold are either the first or the last letters of the words they are searching for.
  4. When the students have finished, ask them to add the words found to the list they created at the beginning.
  5. Check together as a class to make sure students know the meaning of all the words.
  6. Put the students into pairs, or groups of 3, and give them a copy of Getting itchy feet board game and 3 dice.
  7. 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. The player who has rolled and obtained a question must then choose a word from the list of travel vocabulary without telling the others, and keep talking until they have naturally incorporated the word into their answer and have fully answered the question. Whilst the player is speaking, the role of the others is to listen for and identify the travel word. When it has been identified and the player has finished speaking, the word is crossed off the list and it is the turn of the next player.
  8. At the end, ask the students to name three words they have struggled to incorporate into their responses.

Related posts:

Hit the road

Random words return

Introduction: 

This is a creative speaking activity inspired by a great book by Edward de Bono called “Creativity Workout”.

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 speaking 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. The following are just examples of activities that can be done with random words. They could be done in one session or you could choose a few to do as a warmer or plenary :
  • Obtain four random words. Write down 4 questions you would like to ask someone you admire, e.g. your favourite actor, writer, politician, etc.
  • Obtain four random words. Describe your perfect day using the random words in any order you wish.
  • Obtain four random words. Use the words to tell your life story in as much detail as possible.
  • Obtain five random words. Design a short radio advert for one of your favourite brands.
  • Obtain four random words. You have won a million pounds. Using the random words explain why you decided not to accept the prize.
  • Obtain five random words. You have met an alien. Tell them 5 things they should know about the human race and our planet using the random words.
  • Obtain five random words. The zombie apocalypse is coming. Write down five things you think people should do in order to survive.
  • Obtain five random words. Write down a list of five interesting first date ideas.
  • Obtain three random words. Write down a list of three things that make you extremely happy.
  • Obtain five random words. Think of a country you have visited and using the words create a list of recommendations for someone who has never been to that country before.

Related posts:

Random words

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…!

Bookworms & Film Buffs

Introduction:

These are two activities to encourage discussion about books and films. Students divide adjectives into positives and negatives and think of a book and a film that could be described using these adjectives. After that, students play a board game with their classmates.

Level: B1 +

Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce adjectives used to describe books and films.
  2. To divide the adjectives into positives and negatives and provide an example of a book or a film that could be described using the adjective in question.
  3. To answer questions about books and films using the adjectives in question.

Materials:

  1. Bookworms & Film Buffs worksheet, one per student.
  2. Bookworms & Film Buffs board game, one per pair or group of three.

Procedure:

  1. Elicit some names of popular films and books from students, write them on the board and in pairs ask students to think of some adjectives that could be used to describe them. Alternatively, bring some images of famous book/film scenes into class and use them to elicit the adjectives.
  2. Hand out a copy of ‘Bookworms & Film Buffs’ Worksheet. Elicit the meanings of each of the adjectives using your own examples from films or books they may have seen.
  3. Students individually complete the table in Exercise 1.
  4. When the students have finished, ask them to compare their film and book titles with others as a mingling exercise.
  5. Put the students in pairs, or groups of 3, and give them a copy of ‘Bookworms & Film Buffs’ board game and a die.
  6. 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.
  7. The players must discuss the question in as much detail as possible and incorporate the new adjectives into their answers.
  8. At the end, ask the students if there are any films they would watch or books they would like to read having listened to their classmates’ answers.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to write a very brief review of a book or a film (70 words) and incorporate 7 new SCRAMBLED adjectives into their writing. When they have finished they swap their reviews with another student who must then unscramble the adjectives and guess the name of the book or film.

Related posts:

Lights, camera, action! Speaking activity

Lights, camera, action! Wordsearch

P.S. I really appreciate all your help Alex. Thank you.

Single and ready to mingle

Introduction:

These are two activities to talk about dating. Students define the phrasal verbs and tell each other what emotions they associate with them and then do the speaking activity with their classmates.

Level: B1+

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To increase familiarity and correct use of phrasal verbs related to dating.
  2. To provide definitions of the phrasal verbs.
  3. To answer questions about dating using the phrasal verbs in question.

Materials:

  1. Single and ready to mingle Worksheet, one per student.
  2. Single and ready to mingle board game, one per pair or a group of three.

Procedure:

  1. Elicit the best places to find a date from students and write them on the board, e.g. online, at a bar, in a park, in a fitness club, etc., and in pairs ask them to briefly discuss what are the advantages and disadvantages of meeting a potential date in those places.
  2. Hand out a copy of ‘Single and ready to mingle’ Worksheet and ask students to individually complete the table in Exercise 1.
  3. When the students have finished, ask them to mingle with other students to compare and check their answers, and compare the emotions they associate with each verb, e.g. asking someone out fills me with a sense of dread.
  4. Check together as a class.
  5. Put the students in pairs, or groups of 3, and give them a copy of ‘Single and ready to mingle’ board game and a die.
  6. 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.
  7. Both players must discuss the question in as much detail as possible.
  8. During the game the players must try and incorporate ALL the phrasal verbs into theirs answers.
  9. At the end, ask the students to name three things they have strongly agreed on, or disagreed on, with their classmates.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to think of a single friend they have and write down a list of 5 dating tips for that particular person, e.g. they should be more open- minded and go out more.

Related posts:

Lovers’ tiff