Young Learners, level 6: Collecting information, making a presentation.

6th January 2021

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Objectives: encourage team work, and the completion of a small project by collecting information. Class arranged in four team, named after one of the above countries. They have to fill out a form such as this:

Flag of Spain with the "correct" Coat of Arms : vexillology

Language spoken:

Capital city:



Famous for …

BONUS: can they count to ‘3’ in that language (for Canada we shall use French) ?

Uno Dos Tres: Recipes Book | 118 Pages Blank Recipe Notebook to Write in  for Women, Document all Your Special Recipes and Notes, Spanish Food  Cookbook ... Cover Spanish Flag (spain) (Spanish
Visual Number Line Posters 0-20 French (teacher made)
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How To Master Korean Numbers? Top 10 Ways To Learn Numbers In Korean -  Learn Korean

Korean uses two systems, Sino-Korean & Pure; the above version is the Pure system. What’s interesting for me, as a student of linguistics, is the similarity between some Sino-Korean numbers, and those of Thai, namely 3, 4, 9 & 10. take a look:

Thai Language pdf
하나, 돌, 셋... (Let's Learn Korean!) | ARMY's Amino

Anyway, back to the activity:

The answers and extra information and photos may be found on this blog:

Teams will be given a variety of tasks (especially reviewing weaker areas, such as writing). Successful completion will result in one member of the team coming up the board and reading an information card. The student is not allowed to write down the fact, but has to memorise it, then report to another team-mate who will write it down.

And so, without further ado, the tasks:

Write down three positive adjectives, then use them in this sentence: Ms Jenny is _________ , __________ as well as _______.

Write down three negative adjectives, then use them in this sentence: Mr Mark is ________ , ________ as well as _________ .

What are the three biggest countries in the world ?

Brazil is famous for … (tell me two things).

Tell me two types of food people eat in Korea.

(Based on flash cards for units 1 – 3) To get to the shop, I must walk ——– the bridge and ——— the train tracks.

To get to the school, I must walk ——– the fountain and ——– the river.

To get to the dentist, I must walk ——– the street then go —— the stairs.

Put all six cards on the floor. Have two students stand at either end. They have to say, correctly, the directions on the card. Winner is allowed to gather some information.

Write down three buildings to visit in a city. What is best ? Must start answer: I reckon ________ is best because ________.

EXAMPLE: I reckon a school is best because you can meet Mr Paul 🙂

What is good about a department store ? Must start answer: In my opinion a department store is great for _______ as well as _______ , however __________ .

EXAMPLE: In my opinion a library is great for borrowing books as well as using computers, however we have to be very quiet.

What did Mr Paul & Mr Khoa do yesterday ? Show flashcards and add a location. Students have to write down the method of transport, with the correct PAST TENSE verb.

EXAMPLE: They drove a car to the zoo.

If you are late or slow, you have to c______ u__

If you think a film will be great but it is boring, you are d_____________ .

If you do charity work for no money, you v__________

She’s b___________ to a judo club _____ 2018.

He’s o______ a laptop _____ three years.

Olivia’s been c_______ p_____ _______ 1 year.

Can you dance or sing Flamenco ?

Write down three items you want.

Write down three items you need.

Mime: A team member has to mime using a product; team has to guess which one.

Quick Fire Round:

Name an instrument // something people collect // a sport that uses a ball // a sport that doesn’t use a ball //

What happens next :



Listening: real-world clips.

20th April 2020

The following clips are provided not only for listening practice but also for speaking: try to copy, to imitate, the speakers. Listen out for the intonation, stress and rhythm of these native-speakers.

And now, without further ado, the first clip:

The Queen

Every Christmas, The Queen addresses the nation (make a ten-minute TV appearance). This clip has subtitles so you will be able to follow what Her Majesty says, looking up any new words.

For pronunciation practice, I suggest listening to very short extracts and trying to copy the voice. The Queen, naturally, speaks Queen’s English (the most prestigious form of standard English).

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch

Do you know this actor ? How much can you understand ?

Shakespearean pronunciation:

This includes the famous opening lines from Richard III

Now is the winter of our discontent

Made glorious summer by this son of York

The phrase ‘winter of our discontent’ or ‘winter of discontent’ has entered the language and is frequently quoted in newspapers, blogs and everyday conversation.

In the quote, Richard is referring to the new king, Edward IV, from the York dynasty. He plays with the words ‘son’ and ‘sun’, comparing the new king with the spring sun chasing away the misery and despair of an English winter.

For more real-life clips, and listening exercises, click on this link:

Young Teens: Unesco Sites.

31st January 2019

Lesson Plan

What happens next: Show four clips and ask students to guess what will happen next. Introduce the word ‘predict’, model, then encourage the use in sentences (I predict the man will ….).

Following the clips and slides about fortune telling, the students can interview each other:

What are you going to do for Tet Holiday ?
Do you believe in fortune telling ? Why ?
Have you had your fortune told ? Why not ?
Do you have any superstitions ?
Do you think you are going to pass your English test ?
What special things are you going to do at Tet ?

The students must ask two classmates the same question and then record the response. If needed, prompt with questions about special Tet customs.

With the video clips, what better way to start than with former President G.W. Bush: The clip I want starts at 7:14

The following should please my students as it involves some fighting). 

Finally, this clip can start at 0:05 

On the board I’ll write some collocations – reading palms, telling fortunes, predicting the future.

Role-playing: the students can pretend to tell their partner’s fortune. The subjects, more appropriate to this age, can be: school, future job, university, holiday, a surprise, travel, making a new friend.

Before the book work, featuring World Heritage Sites, a short video. Students must try to remember as much information as possible

Real-world examples are a great way to introduce new vocabulary and phrases. In this clip, I can focus on: former / iconic / sparking interest / pass up the opportunity.

On slips of paper, I’ll write the ten sites, while on the board, I’ll write ten countries. The students, in pairs and as a race, will have to find the site associated with the country and stick it on the board. A chance to burn off some energy before the book work. If the class is too rowdy after a fun game (which can happen, a victim of its own success), I’ll do a quick Hangman game using vocabulary from a previous lesson (sonnet, conscious, reporter, lawyer, suddenly, meanwhile …)

After the bookwork, I can do some more run ‘n’ write games. I’ll write an incorrect sentence on the board and a student from each team must rewrite. First one to finish, including punctuation, wins.

I’m not expecting a lot of motivation so close to a major holiday, so we can end with a video of their choice. As long as it’s in English … teaching without teaching, and letting them leave with a smile … hopefully.

Adult Class Level 1. Cross my palm with silver …

30th January 2019

The theme of tonight’s class ?

It doesn’t take a fortune teller to predict tonight’s lesson is about … fortune telling, predictions and the use of the future tense phrase ‘going to.’ Firstly, I will make some predictions about tonight’s class:

  1. Most students will be late
  2. I shall ask students to work together and speak English; they shall speak in Vietnamese
  3. At least one student will fall asleep
  4. During the reading and listening section, there will be sighs, yawns and clicking of pens
  5. I shall encourage students to get up, move around, speak with different partners; nobody will move.

And now, without further ado, the lesson plan

I’ll show a slide of the above five images and elicit feedback. This will lead into the first speaking activity, where I want to combine the theme with practising ‘going to’, as well as getting the students up and talking. To this end, I’ll prepare a questionnaire. The students have to interview each other.

What are you going to do for Tet Holiday ?

Do you believe in fortune telling ? Why ?

Have you had your fortune told ? Why not ?

Do you have any superstitions ?

Do you think you are going to pass your English test ?

What special things are you going to do at Tet ?

The students must ask two classmates the same question and then record the response. If they need some prompting about special Tet customs, I can show the following webpage and ask them if they agree:

As it’s Tet next week, and this is the last lesson of the short teaching block, I want to make the lesson more entertaining. Tying in with the theme of predicting future actions, I’ll show some funny clips. I’m sure you can guess the task; the students watch a normal situation, then have to predict what happens. What better way to start than with former President G.W. Bush: The clip I want starts at 7:14

Next one is the elephant clip at 1:54

The following should please my students as it involves some Chinese (the Vietnamese have certain views on the Chinese, but this is not an appropriate forum to discuss that).

Finally, this clip can start at 0:05

And so … to books. My classes generally focus on the passive activities of reading and listening, hence my desire to promote as much speaking as possible. After the books, there will be some role-playing games where the students will be given some cards (depicting money, travel, luck etc) and they have to ‘read’ their partners fortune. We could see who can make the most outlandish predictions. New vocabulary can be generated by a ‘word bomb’ game, using the word ‘luck’, for example how to form the adjective from the noun and vice versa (success and successful), as well as encouraging the use of adverbs; he will be tremendously successful, she will be incredibly famous, they will marry and be unbelievably happy.

If time allows, I can do an exercise where students practise opinion phrases. I can play some English-language music, maybe three excerpts from three different genres, and ask what they think of them; which are their favourites and why.

After Tet, the students have some English tests. I will offer to help, ask the students if they want to revise any subject, if they want me to go over any grammar. I think we can all predict the answer to that one.

Teen Team Project: Tourism in HCM.

20th January 2019

This three-hour lesson was totally devoted to planning, preparing and presenting a project about tourism.

Thailand is very close and there, tourism accounts for 9.4% of their economy, a figure which is expected to rise to 12.8 % by 2028 (source: World Travel & Tourism Council).

This affords the teacher an opportunity to add other elements to the lesson; in addition to new vocabulary and collocations, we have, in the first two paragraphs, examples of alliteration and quoting sources to make a report more official; an opinion supported by facts.

Alliteration is a poetic devise, using words that begin with the same letter. Source quoting – stating where information is found – is a vital aspect of academic writing, so to learn it before university will be very beneficial. However, it is important to use books, newspapers or websites that are official and respected, as opposed to Wiki sites or blogs.

Tonight, I would focus on presentation skills, vocabulary used in travel promotion, and fixed expressions. The later is a great addition to the students’ repertoire, allowing them to sound more like a native-speaker. We use fixed expressions all the time. So, without further ado, into the notes.

Firstly, as a warmer, we talked about HCM / Sai Gon; what does it have to offer the tourist ?

“Trash, garbage,”

Thank you, Sir, but I don’t think you’re getting the point of the exercise. Walking around the room, various answers were put forth: history, mystery, great food, cheap (dirt cheap as we would say in the UK), interesting buildings, friendly people.

Conversely, what were the problems or issues that were keeping tourists away ? Traffic was an immediate response, pollution, petty crime, scams. Perhaps the biggest problem is simply lack of knowledge. When most westerners hear about Vietnam, they think about war, boat people, refugees … the unspeakably horrific photo of Kim Phuc, running away from a burning village. So what could be done to encourage tourism ? That was the project.

I wanted to illustrate the difference between a scam and petty crime. The latter includes bag-snatching and pickpocketing, the former is tricking people out of money, for example fake taxis, over-charging, giving people incorrect change etc. We then watched a short video, highlighting some issues, as well as listening to English being spoken by some young Vietnamese. A good way to learn is to check for mistakes. What grammar or pronunciations errors can you find here?

At one stage, the presenter is walking past a group of tourists, some of whom wave to the camera and make various gestures. This allowed me to introduce a neologism, a new word or phrase that has evolved out of modern technology: photo-bombing. Here is a famous example of the British actor Benedict Cumberbatch with the rock group U2:

Now was a chance for some new vocabulary, words and phrases associated with holidays and travel.

breathtaking / stunning/ sensational / incredible / remarkable/ exclusive / inspiring / spectacular /

once in a lifetime experience/ never to be forgotten / unbeatable prices

book now to avoid disappointment/ best decision you’ll ever make

Structure: To begin with / furthermore … additionally / the fact is … / therefore

As an Example, I showed a short file about London:



Buckingham Palace Tower Bridge

British Museum Wembley Stadium

Shops, parks, theatres, restaurants

London – one of the world’s GREAT cities

A holiday of a lifetime ! Book early !

Mr Paul Tours – visit our website for more information.

From this, I made a short presentation:

Now is the perfect time to visit London, England’s glorious capital. The weather is perfect for walking, so you can enjoy the lush parks, world-famous museums and incredible, unbelievable shops. There is something for everyone … and more ! Like sports ? Go to one of the many Premier League football games. Love shopping ? Everything is here – shop till you drop ! Adore culture – soak up hundreds of years of history.

Flights from TSN airport daily. Seven-day all-inclusive package tour starting from only 50m VND ! All transfers and transport included. Air-conditioned mini bus with Vietnamese-speaking guide.

So what makes a good presentation ?

Volume – not too loud, but not too soft.

Intonation – sound enthusiastic, but again, not overly so. If you sound bored, the listeners will be.

Pace – not too fast, or too slow

Eye contact – look at the audience, engage with them but don’t stare at anyone.

Walk around – this can be energising, but too much will be distracting.

Stick to the point. Avoid repetition or deviating from the subject.

Keep slides simple and basic; too much text and the audience will be too busy reading to listen to you (I got that tip from a former student, a marketing executive).

Gestures, and body language. Look professional and people will take you seriously. Open hand signs indicate honesty. Cross-armed seems hostile.

And then it was time for the teacher to pipe down (stop talking) and let the students work. Most classes have mixed abilities, confidence levels, introverts and extroverts. I wanted each of the four groups to have at least one confident student, so I asked some of the students quietly, explaining my rationale, and they agreed (one deferred, but promised to move next class … right, Ms Uyen ?)

I gave them a set time, after which they had to present. Then came the issue of who would go first; here’s where a pack of playing cards comes in handy. I picked an Ace, 2, 3 & 4 and let the students choose. You can’t argue with the cards !

The work was very impressive, some groups quoted their source material, others had very gifted public speakers. We’ll build on this in the next lesson, when they can practise using fixed expressions and travel adjectives (and the accompanying intonation).

A special thanks must go to my TA, the wonderful Ms Vy, who assisted and co-taught with me. I’ll be writing about my experience with TAs at various schools … but that is for another day.