Can’t be bothered to read the post – Click here for the lesson on Writing Cards
Sending cards is an enourmous business in the UK and the USA with the average person spending way too much time and money on them. There’s also a lot of social pressure to send and receive them especially at Christmas time. Who hasn’t been presented with a card for someone who is leaving the office, sick or getting married, and thought ‘I don’t know what to write!’?
It’s also pretty difficult for ESOL/EFL and second language English learners to write them to. I used this lesson with a group of pre-intermediate learners.
Here are the lesson stages
1. Ask the students to tell you when they last recieved a card of any description. Write a list of the cards they tell you about on the board. It might look something like this. Anniversary, wedding, congratulations, birthday, valentines, get well soon, sorry, condolences…
2. Pass out the sheet and have the students correct the mistakes then match the card messages to the people they are for.
3. Now ask students to write their own messages in response to the prompts. You could ask them to work in pairs or alone and could check the answers by getting to write on the board.
4. There are some really good electronic greetings cards on the net. You might like to show these to your students if you have an interactive whiteboad or projector.
If you live in the UK or the USA, the end of October means more little kids dressed as skeletons knocking on your door and screaming ‘trick or treat’ before you dish out the sweets.
Here’s an old favourite that I’ve used on Hallowe’en for many years. If you don’t want to make the first worksheet too easy, then cut off the bottom section so they don’t have the names of the halloween creatures to help them. It’s worth remembering that these monsters play a very big part in UK and US culture, so this might be a really good lesson for higher level students, especially when they have to discuss what the various monsters do.
Chatting about superstitions in the second worksheets is also very interesting and whilst some are the same the world over, others are very strange.
Here’s the lesson https://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/halloween.doc
There’s another lesson on Vampires here:
and a lesson on Zombies here:
and if you like superheroes, there’s a lesson on them here:
Hapland is a very frustrating flash game. http://foon.uk/farcade/hapland/
Read the instructions below to complete it.
If you like video games, walkthroughs are great way to practise reading. Following complex instructions to complete a task will give you some INTERESTING reading practice.
Basically the idea of the game is to get the little man to safety byclicking on different parts of the picture in the right order.
a) Open all the windows and turn the red arrow around.
b) Open the hatch on the right, click the yellow arrow to get a man out.
c) Click on the man to fire one round in the low position to drop the bridge down.
d) Click the cannon to move it up. Fire the second round up at the bell and click the spear thing so it goes the other way JUST after the round hits the bell
e) Fire the next two rounds at the bridge, but click the bridge to as they hit it to knock them in the air and explode without causing damage.
f) Click the light bulb a few times next to the man at the bottom to get him to smash it.
g) Fire the last round in the low position, and the bottom man will pick it up and open the door with it.
h) Now click the man by the machine so he gets in it, and click the yellow arrow to get another guy out, get him to fire the other man up at the bell.
i) The man by the bell will move the tower over if you click him. Then click the spear thing. Now keep clicking the bell till it falls. No more land mine.
j) Click the door in the bottom left so the man comes out and JUST as he goes in the door on the right, click the man at the bottom. A dog tries to chase him, but the falling concrete stops it.
k) You did it!
For more of the same check out Richard L King’s great book below
A brilliant athlete, entertainer and role-model, Muhammad Ali used his language skill to attack, humiliate and make fun of his opponents even before they stepped into the ring.
Here’s a warmer/ filler/ cooler lesson on his quotes and life. This should take about half and hour and would be good for intermediate EFL / ESOL or ESL students and above.
1. Click the picture below to download the worksheet. Feel free to change it anyway you like.
2. Have students look at the picture and quote about Ali. Ask them to explain what it means? Students should come up with something like – ‘it means he’s fast’. If that’s what Ali wanted to say, then why didn’t he just say ‘I’m really fast’? The quote is funny and contains lots of images, it shows you that Ali is intelligent and witty. Elicit from student the idea that the way you say something is often as, if not more, important than what is said.
3. Now get students to tell each other what they know about Ali’s life (if anything) before you play the short bio on him. I’ve pasted this below but the URL is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIxbhA4su0g
4. Now get students to read through the quotes in pair or small groups. Get them to match them to the more simple explanations. Here are the answers – 1.c 2.f 3.a 4.d 5.h 6.b 7.e 8.g
5. Follow up. Have students look for more quotes from famous sportsmen or famous people that they like. Get students to share their quotes with their partners of the whole class. You could even print them off and stick them on the wall.
If you want to do well in the IELTS exams, invest in some good books. They may be expensive but, good quality books can always be resold on eBay or at your college or university. Better still – get one of these out of the library!
1. IELTS Trainer
- Brilliant step by step guide
- Answers clearly explained
- Quite difficult BUT the IELTS exam is DIFFICULT
- Expensive but worth it!
2. The IELTS series (1-10)
Probably the most famous IELTS books in the world!
- These books are full of exams and answers
- They don’t explain HOW or WHY about the answers
- A good way to start studying for IELTS exams
- Some nice samples of student writing at the back of each book.
3. Cambridge Official IELTS exams
- Step by step instructions on each part of the exam
- Lots of material and activities to do
- Great listening sections
- Quite DIFFICULT
4. Official IELTS practice materials
- IELTS exams that are on A4 paper!
- Authentic practise papers
- Not much help with technique here
- A great place to start your IELTS studies
5. Teach yourself IELTS reading – Richard L King
- Simple and valuable techniques to develop reading.
- Great value for money!
- Good synonym and antonym sections at the back
Know any more good books for IELTS. We’d love to hear from you!
Teaching IELTS? An old pro? A newbie? Here are my top five books for teaching IELTS.
1. Instant IELTS – Guy Brook Hart
- Great worksheets for different levels
- Activities for listening, reading, speaking and listening
- 2 complete exams
- Brilliant teacher’s notes – perfect for beginner IELTS tutors!
2. IELTS Resource Pack – Jon Marks
Really wonderful activities and worksheets that prevent students from getting bored.
- Interesting and engaging communicative activities
- Great listening section that uses information from the students themselves
- Great book to dip in and out of and support a bigger course
3. Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS
Broken into sections that deal with various topics, Cambridge Vocab for IELTS is an extremely useful book. You can use the worksheets in class but they’re a bit traditional, so they’re better for homework.
- Lots of focused vocab learning
- Great academic vocabulary section at the back.
4. Cambridge Objective IELTS
This is an intermediate course book that you could work through with your students. Some of the readings are a bit dull (but then IELTS readings generally are) and some of the activities aren’t very engaging BUT, there are some really good exam sections that explain how different parts of the exam work.
- Really good exam technique sections
- Lots of activities to keep students busy
5. Teach yourself IELTS: Reading – Richard L King
- Simple and valuable techniques to develop reading
- Great for homework or self study
- Simple and easy to use
What other IELTS resources do you use? Leave a comment!!
Giving a two minute presentation
It’s scary giving a presentation – even when you are sure about your subject and you have prepared well. In the IELTS speaking exam, you’ll be asked to speak for 2 minutes on a given topic (see some example cards on the opposite page). Here are some tips which will help you get the best in the exam.
Use your minute preparation time well. Spend your minute of preparation reading the questions card. Then…
Make notes – but not too many. Write down a few bullet points that come into your mind. You can write these on the question card. Be calm. If you run out of things to say during the presentation, look at what you wrote.
Use sequencing ideas and phrases – but not too much! During your presentation you might like to use a few phrases or words that let the examiner know how you have structured your presentation. Phrases such as ‘Firstly, secondly…’ will clearly explain where you are in your presentation and make you look more confident.
Develop your ideas. When you are speaking try to expand on the bullet point notes that you made in the first minute. Use complex sentences to explain the ideas and explore them as you speak, showcase your use of grammatical tenses and clever words.
Don’t overuse phrases. If you have any expressions you use too much such as ‘you know’ or ‘like..’ or ‘…you know what I mean’, stop using them. Using them once or twice is fine, but overusing such phrases will make you look nervous and stop you using good sentences will conjunctions or linking words. You don’t have much time, try not to waste it repeating set phrases.
Be formal. IELTS is a formal test of your English.
You’re not a rocket scientist. The phrase ‘It’s not rocket science’ is a common idiom meaning you shouldn’t think something simple is complex. As a student or an academic, you might actually be a rocket scientist or a biologist or a chemical engineer. If you are, you will know that in the world of academia, your facts and opinions need to be well thought out and backed up by formal arguments. In the IELTS speaking exam however, you don’t have to worry about your ideas being thought out exactly, so don’t worry if your presentation doesn’t have perfectly logical ideas. IELTS wants to test your knowledge of English, not how intelligent you are.
Body language. Sit up straight look confident, smile and speak loudly and clearly, this will help you feel better and more in control.
Don’t panic. You have spent a long time getting as good as you are at English. Now it’s time to show what you can do. Take a deep breath and do your best.
For more IELTS help, check out Richard King’s book below