This is an activity for PET students to practise Part 1 of the Writing Exam in a fun and competitive way. Students complete the second sentences in bold so that they mean the same as the first. The examples for this exercise are similar to the ones students could find in the PET exams (Writing Part 1).
Time: 45 minutes
- To complete the second sentences so that they mean the same as the first.
- To get a winning line of four Noughts or four Crosses in either a horizontal, vertical or diagonal row.
- Noughts and Crosses Worksheet, one per pair.
- Divide the students into pairs and hand out a Noughts and Crosses Worksheet to each pair.
- Each player takes a turn to complete one of the second sentences in bold to mean the same as the first sentence using no more than three words. If they manage to do it correctly, they add either an O or an X to the board. The first player to line up 4 of their symbols in a row wins.
- Monitor at all times and go through some of the most problematic sentences together at the end of the class.
- Write 4 sentences about yourself using the structures from the sentences in bold, e.g. I prefer working alone to working with other people. I have eaten a grasshopper before.
This is a fun creative writing activity to practise making predictions. Students come up with a short crime story, write a description of a crime scene and try to predict who the murderer is in the short stories written by other students.
Time: 60 minutes
- To develop speaking confidence and come up with a short story.
- To write a detailed description of a crime scene.
- To confidently and correctly use prediction language to guess who the murderer is based on other students’ descriptions of a crime scene.
- Whodunit worksheet, one per pair.
- In pairs, ask students to discuss and describe their favourite crime series or a detective story.
- Write who, why, what, where, when, and how on the board.
- In the same pairs ask students to orally come up with a short crime story making sure they answer AT MINIMUM the following questions: Who was killed and why? What happened? Where and when the crime took place and how did the victim die? Encourage students to enrich their story with as many details as possible. You could also brainstorm crime vocabulary at this stage.
- When the students have finished, hand each pair a Whodunit worksheet. Still in the same pairs ask the students to describe JUST the crime scene but without revealing who the murderer is and why they committed the crime.
- Once the students have finished they swap Whodunit worksheets with another pair.
- Students now read the description of the crime scene written by their classmates, and using the expressions given, try to predict who the murderer is and why they committed the crime, e.g. The chances are that Dorothy was killed by her lover’s jealous ex-girlfriend. There is no doubt that Stu killed his business partner over financial differences. Tell students to underline the expressions to make them more visible.
- Students then pass the Whodunit worksheet to the next pair who, without reading what the previous pair wrote, continue making predictions, e.g. It’s likely that Stu poisoned Karolina to claim her life insurance.
- Students continue passing their Whodunit worksheet round until each pair in the class have made their predictions.
- At the end of the activity, students read the predictions made by other students about their case and decide who came closest to their story.
- Ask students to briefly tell the whole story to the rest of the class.
P.S. To a very special Coroner’s Officer who inspired this post. Thank you.
This is a short writing activity for intermediate students to revise the second conditional. The students answer the questions individually, read and match their classmate’s answers and further discuss the responses that caught their attention.
Time: 45 minutes
- To answer questions using the second conditional.
- To match their classmates’ responses to the questions.
- To discuss the questions that caught students’ attention using the second conditional.
- Hypothetically speaking worksheet, one per student
- Give each student a Hypothetically speaking worksheet and ask them to answer the questions in random order, e.g. write the answer to question 1 next to letter d etc.
- Put students in pairs, or groups of 3, and ask them to swap papers. The students now read each other’s answers and match the responses to the questions. Encourage students to correct any mistakes they might come across when they go through their classmate’s sentences and ask them to underline the responses that catch their attention.
- Monitor throughout the activity.
- Now ask the students to swap the papers and check if their classmates matched the responses correctly.
- Elicit some answers from the students. When I did this activity for the first time I couldn’t believe how many original responses the students came up with.
- In the same pairs or groups of 3 now ask the students to explain in detail the underlined answers using the second conditional.
- Ask students to take 4 of their responses and use them as beginnings of new sentences, e.g. If everyone in the world was madly in love with me, I would be over the moon. I would be over the moon, if I could speak English with an Irish accent.
This is an activity for intermediate students to review vocabulary related to ‘household chores’. Students divide the chores into three categories, come up with a cleaning schedule in a house they have just moved into and write a short advert for a new housemate. They seem to need help with the bills. ☺
Time: 45 minutes
- To review vocabulary related to household chores.
- To come up with an effective cleaning schedule.
- To write a short advertisement for a new housemate.
- Flying the Nest Worksheet – one per student.
- Write the names of various rooms on the board, such as kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc. In pairs, ask the students to name two chores they perform in each of those areas of the house; monitor, and when they have some suggestions, nominate students to write them on the board by the room names. Clarify meaning and check spelling.
- Hand each student a Flying the Nest Worksheet and ask them, individually, to separate the household chores into 3 separate categories (Exercise 1).
- When the students have finished, they compare their tables with their partner’s and explain their choices.
- In their pairs, ask them to think about what they find most difficult when sharing a flat/house with other people, such as their parents, a partner, friends, a housemate, e.g. having a curfew, finding dirty dishes in the sink, etc.
- Put students in small groups of three and tell them they have just moved into a beautiful new house with a garden and they are now sitting in the kitchen, trying to decide how to divide the chores (Exercise 2). They must negotiate with their housemates and try to agree only to do chores they like or don’t mind doing around the house. Encourage negotiation and compromise.
- When the students have reached an agreement, ask them to compare their cleaning schedule with the other groups.
- In the same groups, students now move on to Exercise 3. They must write a short description of an ideal new housemate.
- When the students have finished, ask them to read their description to the other groups.
- Ask students to choose 8 chores from the list and decide how much they think it would cost in their country to have them done, e.g. your shirts ironed, your windows cleaned, etc.
Flying the Nest Worksheet
This is a great activity I’ve taken part in at acting classes. It allows intermediate students to practise used to in a really entertaining way.
Level: B 1
- To write a short dialogue about students’ past habits using used to.
- To act out another pair’s dialogue.
- In pairs, ask students about some of the activities they used to do regularly when they were younger, e.g. in primary school, they used to go the beach every summer and they used to go round their friends’ house every weekend, etc.
- In the same pairs, students must imagine they are two childhood friends who have just bumped into each other and start talking about all the fun things they did together when they were younger.
- In pairs, students write a dialogue between the two friends giving specific examples of the things they did using the USED TO structure, e.g. Student A: Do you remember when we used to go to that body blitz dancing class? We used to have so much fun trying to follow the teacher’s instructions. She used to get very annoyed if I made a mistake and used to tell me to repeat the steps over and over again. Student B: Yes! That was so much fun. I used to be really scared of her. Oh, and do you remember when after class we always used to get fish and chips, we were so hungry. We used to sit on the grass, eat and just chat for hours.
- Once the students have described at least 5 activities that they used to do together, ask the first two pairs to sit in front of the whole class. Try to create some space for students to perform this next activity.
- Ask the first pair (Student A and B) to read out the dialogue. While they read, the second pair (Student A and B) must listen carefully and act out all the actions the first pair describe (Student A from the second pair acts out the actions mentioned by Student A in the first pair, Student B from the second pair acts out the actions mentioned by Student B in the first pair).
- Encourage the other students to pay close attention to both pairs and check that all the actions have been “correctly“acted out.
- Continue until all the pairs have read their dialogues and have had a chance to act out another pair’s dialogue.
P.S. Thank you again for all your help Alex.
These are activities for intermediate students to introduce vocabulary describing body, face and hair. Students categorise words into groups, draw a picture of their classmate and write a brief description of themselves for comparison.
Time: 55 minutes
- To introduce vocabulary describing body, face and hair.
- To draw a picture of a classmate.
- To write a brief description of a student’s own physical appearance.
- To find similarities between the students’ drawings of their classmates and the classmates’ description of themselves.
- Mirror Mirror on the wall…Worksheet A, one per student.
- Mirror Mirror on the wall…Worksheet B, one per student.
- Show students several images of celebrities and elicit some words to describe their physical appearance and write them on the board e.g. short, tall etc.
- Put students into pairs and hand each student Mirror Mirror on the wall… Worksheet A.
- Go through the words as a class to make sure the students understand meaning and pronunciation.
- In pairs, students complete Exercise 1.
- Monitor and provide feedback.
- When the students have finished, hand out Mirror Mirror on the wall…Worksheet B. In pairs, students must draw each other in the frame provided. Make sure the students don’t look at their partner’s pictures until you tell them so.
- When the students have finished, they now briefly describe their physical appearance using at least 7 new words from Exercise 1 of Mirror Mirror on the wall…Worksheet A.
- When the students have finished, they must compare their description of themselves with the drawing made by their partner and try to find 3 similarities and 3 differences. For example, In your drawing I have a round face but in my description I wrote that my face was oval. I have long wavy hair in both the drawing and the description.
- Ask students to share with the group how many similarities and differences they managed to find.
Fast finishers / homework:
- Individually, students complete Exercise 2 of Mirror Mirror on the wall…Worksheet A. When finished, they compare their answers with another classmate.
Mirror Mirror on the wall…Worksheet A
Mirror Mirror on the wall…Worksheet B
This is a lesson plan for intermediate + students. Students look at relationship related vocabulary, create a short love story and write an informal letter to a friend asking for advice.
- To introduce relationship related vocabulary.
- To use new vocabulary in context to create a short love story.
- To write an informal letter to a friend asking for advice.
- Give each student worksheet A with relationship related vocabulary.
- Go through the vocabulary together to make sure the students understand all the expressions.
- Working individually, the students divide the expressions into ones they have positive and negative associations with and then discuss it with their partner.
- In pairs, the students must now create a short love story using as many expressions from the previous stage as possible.
- Monitor the use and repetition of the target language.
- Still in pairs, the students describe in detail one of the couple’s conflicts or arguments.
- When the discussion is over, students now become the main characters in their stories (student A represents one character and student B his or her partner) who are unable to resolve their issues without help. Individually, they must write an informal letter (Worksheet B) to a mutual friend (140- 190 words), in which they present their version of events and ask for some advice. The students must use at least 6 new relationship expressions in their letter.
- When the students have finished, they swap their two versions of events with another pair who then must discuss and decide the best course of action for the couple in question.