Young learners, level 6: Adjectives and grammar review

5th July 2022

First, let’s build a word bank of incredible, useful and unusual adjectives:

amazing / beautiful / Chinese / colourful / cute / dangerous / difficult / energetic / English / famous / fantastic / generous / greedy / great / hard-working / healthy / intelligent / interesting / Japanese / kind / lazy / loud / messy / naughty / nervous / outgoing / popular / quick / quiet / rich / rude / selfish / talkative / top cat / unhealthy / unusual / valuable / wealthy /

Game 1 – say are these adjectives positive (good) or negative (bad) or neutral (neither good nor bad)

Game 2 – make sentences using present continuous and two adjectives

EXAMPLE: She is reading a heavy, interesting book.

I ___ play ___________________ , ______________________ music.

You ___ watch a _______________ , ________________ film.

He ___ talk to a ____________ , _____________ film star.

She _____ study every day because she ___ __________ and ___________.

Ms H ____ smile because she is so _________ and ___________ .

The fat cat ___ not share her food because she is ______ and _________ .

We ___ learn ________ grammar but it is _____________ .

President __ wear a _________ dress. She ____ very _________ .

The boy ___ leave school because he was __________ and _____ to the teacher.

The teacher ___ laugh because the ________ , _________ student was sent home !

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

Teenage IELTS Challenge

21st June 2022

The Three Johns, a Rock band from the UK

Can a young teen class have better English than an IELTS class ? That is the challenge. Without pushing the students too far, and with realistic expectations, let’s introduce some low-frequency words (L-FW), phrases and idioms.

Furthermore, students will also be expected to speak in longer sentences, using connectives as well as a wide range of adjectives.

The subject of our current unit is very dear to my heart: music. Let’s rock !

First match the new words with the meaning

ubiquitous // over the moon // genre // extremely

kind of or type // to feel very, very happy // everywhere // an adverb that means very, very

Roll up your sleeves and practice: Fill in the gaps using the new words AND your own ideas.

Today, music is ______________ . We can hear music on our _______ and when we go to _______________.

Yoyoka, a Japanese drummer, is ____________ talented. She must ________ many hours, every day to be so skillful.

If I pass my English test with A+, I will be ___________________ . My parents will be so happy, they will _______________.

My favourite _______ of music is ____________ because it makes me feel ___________ and ____________ .

Genres (types) of music:

Jazz / rap / pop / rock / classical / electronic

Look at the photos. What genre are they ?

Why do you think so ?

Kraftwerk from Germany
T-ara from South Korea
Chloe Chua from Singapore
Miles Davis from USA
Rolling Stones from the UK
Cassper Nyovest from South Africa

Grammar exercise. Rewrite the following blog post in the Past Tense (verb 2)

EXAMPLE: Yesterday I go to school and I have a speaking test. I do very well and my parents are over the moon.

Yesterday I went to school and I had a speaking test. I did very well and my parents were over the moon.

Now … your turn

Last week I see a concert on TV. The group is Blackpink and they play for 30 minutes. They sing many songs and dance extremely well. It is so exciting I am over the moon. The next day I buy their music and decide to be a pop star too !

Watch this concert and write your own blog using Past Tense (verb 2) as well as adjectives and new words. Let me help you with the start:

This morning I watched a video from T-ara. The band … (what song did they play ? Did they all sing ? What else did they do ?

Did you like the music ? Why or why not ?

Were they alone on stage ? What did they wear ?

How did the audience feel ? Do you wish you were there ?

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

Young Teens: Three British Legends

13th May 2022

Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, UK

You have read about three famous people from British history.

Question 1: Who are they ?

Here is a short video about Robin Hood.

Watch it twice, the second time write down any words you don’t know. I want at least five words.

Question 2: Returning to our three famous people, who was real, who was based on a real ruler and who is maybe only a legend?

Question 3: Match the pictures with the legends. EXAMPLE:

Sir Lancelot is part of the King Arthur legend.

Now … Your turn

Picture 1 is Friar Tuck

Picture 2 is Black Bess

Picture 3 is the sword Excalibur

Picture 4 is Maid Marion

Picture 5 is the Green Man Pub in London

Picture 6 is Sherwood Forest, Nottingham

Picture 7 is Camelot Castle

Creative Time – which character do you like most ? Which one would YOU like to be ? Alternately, tell me about someone from YOUR country’s history.

Write a short story, and feel free to draw and colour. You may make a comic book, if you like. If you can’t draw, no problem, just write.

Vocabulary bank:

brave / cheerful / cruel / dangerous / disrespectful / greedy / honest / intelligent / legendary / loyal / punish / ruler / ubiquitous /

extremely / amazingly / unbelievably

I wish I could be … // In my dream, I would be …

Goodbye from Robin Hood

Answers

1 – King Arthur / Robin Hood / Dick Turpin

2 – King Arthur was based on a ruler but probably a Duke, not a King. Dick Turpin was real, while we are still not sure if Robin Hood was real.

3 – Robin Hood / Dick Turpin / King Arthur / Robin Hood / Dick Turpin / Robin Hood

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

Young Learners: Ancient Egyptian Gods

12th May 2022

An activity that combines listening & reading, collecting information, and allows for creative thinking, not to mention introducing students to different cultures and legends.

Today we are going to learn about some of the ancient Egyptian gods. First, where is Egypt ? In which continent is Egypt ?

Egypt is in the north – east of Africa.

What ancient buildings can you see in Egypt ?

The Pyramids, the largest one was built about 2,500 BC (about 4,500 years ago), and at 481 feet (146.6 metres) was the tallest building for 3,800 years (NOTE 1).

The creature in front is called the Sphinx. What kind of animal is the Sphinx ?

The Sphinx has the face of a woman, the body of a lion and the wings of a bird (maybe a falcon or eagle).

Ancient Egypt was thousands of years ago, from 3150 BC (BCE) to 332 BC (BCE). Animals were very important.

What animals can you see in this picture ?

We are going to focus on four Gods:

Thoth // Bastet // Ra // Anubis

Vocabulary

Pyramids

Sphinx

Tomb

Hieroglyphs

Let’s return to our four gods

Thoth // Bastet // Ra // Anubis

Watch this video, and write down information about the four gods.

What animals do they look like ?

What can they do ?

Which one do you think Mr Paul likes best … and why ?

What animal was Bastet ?

Bastet was a cat, and cats were very important in Ancient Egypt. Can you think why ? What do cats like to chase and eat ? Check your answers:

Now … be creative. Invent a God from your country. First, think what animals you have, then what they can do. Don’t forget to tell me why.

Use crayons, colour pencils. If you can’t draw, it’s OK; just write me a magnificent story. Don’t forget to use the amazing adjectives you have been taught.

Would you like some music to help you while you work ?

Bye Bye from Egypt

Note 1: The first buildings to be taller were cathedrals, in England. St Paul’s was in London, then the cathedral in Lincoln became the tallest building in the world.

Note 2: The British Council ‘LearnEnglishKids’ page has some excellent resources and free print-outs.

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

IELTS: Sisyphus as metaphor

10th May 2022

Last week I held an IELTS Speaking Test. Only one student hit 7.5 although, in fairness, I was probably on the generous side in awarding the student such an admirable score.

Or, to be precise, learn from their mistakes.

I can break them down into three main areas:

coherence

vocabulary

complex sentences

Kicking off with coherence; it doesn’t matter how fluent you are, unless you answer the question, you will loose marks.

The test allows us to assess your understanding of both question and task. An example: one question was

What is the most popular activity in your country ?

ASIDE: I’ve told students until I’m blue in the face, never repeat, “In (my) country,” but since when do teenage students ever actually listen ?

The question asks for ONE activity; several students talked about two or three. This is not answering the question.

Anyone who’s studied at University will know how imperative it is to follow instructions.

COMIC RELIEF: One student, from a previous test, replied that the most common activity, “In my country,” was brushing teeth, and that foreigners do this every day, but Vietnamese only do this once or twice a week. Said student had to continue for two minutes. Needless to say, there were no flying colours.

More disturbing was the lack of IELTS vocabulary. You have been told time and again what that means, and I can’t keep hitting my head against a brick wall.

And so to work … get out your notebooks (those that actually bother bringing notebooks to class), look up previous lessons and write down:

TEN L-FWs

FIVE less common idioms

FIVE everyday expressions

TEN phrasal verbs

TEN basic collocations

I have taught you these ad infinitum. If you are struggling with this exercise, you will probably only get a 5 for the Lexical Recourses section.

Lastly, the old chestnut, complex sentences.

I had nine students, each with about ten minutes of speaking time. How many complex sentences do you think I heard ?

Yes, Steve …
That’s right … ZERO

EXERCISES: Use at least two L-FWs, one idiom and other IELTS elements

(and if you think it’s funny to ask what I mean, after all this time, by ‘IELTS elements’, just get up and leave the class).

Speak for one minute about:

one of your cousins // your favourite gift // sports // your best memory from childhood // best films // problems in your city // typical local food.

Part Two: Critical Thinking

“Oh, teacher, I’m tired and feel lazy.”

Work in teams. Watch the following short clip about the ancient Greek king, Sisyphus:

Characters from Greek and Roman mythology permeate western culture, and references and allusions are ubiquitous.

You may watch the video again, writing down new words. There is a lot of background (in which you may encounter a character from ‘The Avengers’ movies), but the main feature starts around the 4:00 mark.

Your task is to relate this story to modern life. Choose a person you know, or something from your own experience. You may even project your thoughts about the future, once you have left education and joined the workforce.

To assist you, some pertinent L-FWs and idioms:

futile (adj) futility (noun) / absurd / pointless / meaningless / contemptable / repetitive / a metaphor

a total waste of time / flogging a dead horse

sick to the back teeth / day in, day out

cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear

talking until (pronoun) blue in the face / the grind

putting an old head on young shoulders

Look up the meanings yourself. Your teacher won’t be with you to give you the answers in life. Think for yourself.

Athene, Goddess of wisdom

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

IELTS: Vocabulary bank to help you ace the test.

4th May 2022

Let’s kick off with an adjective review. What adjectives have you been taught recently ? I’ll give you a clue with the first letter:

f (means to be cheeky, a little impolite but in a funny way)

u (not usual, someone acting unlike their normal self)

p (very relevant, of interest at this time)

This is a test to see who has been making notes in class, and who has been coasting.

Hhhmmmm … this is not going to be a piece of cake

The answers are facetious, uncharacteristically & pertinent. For those that didn’t know, you now have to use them in a sentence. It may be one complex sentence, which would really impress me, or three basic sentences. What are you waiting for ?

Now some vocabulary building:

computer literacy (noun) computer literate (adjective)

flexible / flexibility / flexi-hours

to adapt / adaptability / prospects / standard of living

networking / future skills / essential workplace skills

prosaic [cf with ‘run of the mill’]

cf is Latin for ‘compare’

e.g. is Latin meaning ‘for example’

i.e. is Latin for ‘that is’.

Now … let’s go to work !

The inimitable Buster Keaton

Complete the sentences:

If you learn English you will increase your job ____________

Nowadays, most young people are _____________ _________________ . They are able to use programs such as Word, ___________ & ________

When selecting a university, you may have to be ______________ in case you don’t get into your first choice.

Getting a great, well-paying job is essential if you want a high ________________________ .

One student moved to Boston where the temperature can drop to below freezing. He’s really having ________ to the new culture.

My actor friend is busy 24/7, attending parties, setting up meeting, pitching ideas and Tweeting. That guy is constantly ______________ .

Phew!. The last time I wrote it was so long… | by Vaibhav Sinha | How I  Learnt Piano | Medium
Phew ! Thay Paul is a Tiger Teacher

Class Game

Split class into two teams.

One team selects an idiom and the other team has to use it, correctly of course, in a sentence.

EXAMPLE:

Rickenbacker 330 Left-Handed, Jetglo at Gear4music

I would love this guitar, a left-handed Rickenbacker which is a famous American company with a very distinctive look and sound yet, to my dismay, it costs ______________________

Idioms from Semester 2

Another string to (your) bow – a new skill or learning experience

bear with me – please wait a very short time (usually spoken as opposed to written)

bit of a sore point – something that makes you sad or angry

down in the dumps – depressed, unhappy, feeling gloomy

hit the ground running – to start something immediately and with all your energy

like a madhouse – a place or area that is crazy, too noisy, too busy etc

run of the mill – ordinary, typical, normal, usual, boring

up in arms – to be very angry about something, to protest strongly

you take your life in your hands – doing something that is extremely dangerous

Idioms from Semester 1

Which you should all know by heart and be able to reel off at the drop of a hat.

it’s raining cats and dogs

it costs an arm and a leg

piece of cake

I’m burning the candle at both ends

once in a blue moon

pass with flying colours

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it! | Chynna Pope: The Beacon Hellion

Remember these old chestnuts ?

without further ado // tricks up your sleeve  // ace the test

pass with flying colours  // do yourself proud // 

you are in the driver seat (or you are in the driving seat)  // 

occur // inevitably // pertinent

This taxi has put me in the driver's seat of my life': Female taxi driver  shares inspiring story - it s viral - Hindustan Times
Guess who’s in the driver’s seat ?

For those who really want to expand their horizons, an extensive collection of idioms, expressions and collocations can be found on this blog: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/08/25/adult-speaking-class-level-3-ielts-english-expressions/

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

David Bowie by request

23rd April 2022

My Princess requested some extra help with reading and gleaning information from text. Therefore, I prepared this little exercise about a Truly unique musical icon, David Bowie.

Who Was David Bowie?

The following text is taken from this website: https://www.biography.com/musician/david-bowie

David Bowie was born David Robert Jones in Brixton, South London, England, on January 8, 1947. Bowie’s first hit was the song ‘Space Oddity’ in 1969. The original pop chameleon, Bowie became a fantastical sci-fi character for his breakout Ziggy Stardust album. He later co-wrote ‘Fame’ with Carlos Alomar and John Lennon, which became his first American No. 1 single in 1975. An accomplished actor, Bowie starred in The Man Who Fell to Earth in 1976. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Shortly after releasing his final album, ‘Black Star’, Bowie died from cancer on January 10, 2016. 

Black Star
Ziggy Stardust

Questions

1. When was David Bowie born ?

2. What was his first hit ?

3. What was the name of his breakout album (LP) ?

4. With whom did he co-write ‘Fame’ ?

5. What film did he star in ?

6. When was he inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame ?

7. When did David pass away ?

8. What was his last LP ?

Now … IELTS language

Your turn to be a chameleon. Change this run of the mill passage into a piece of text worthy of an IELTS student.

Today, David Bowie’s music is (everywhere) (but) this wasn’t always the case. When he was (beginning phrasal verb) he was not successful, and he felt (sad – use an idiom). People only heard his music on the radio (rarely – use an idiom). However, by (not giving up) he finally archived fame.

He worked incredibly hard (idiom) and played concerts across the USA. He (idiom) by acting in a big movie in 1976. Unfortunately, the Rock ‘n’ Roll lifestyle was (bad) to his health, so he decided to (idiom), stop his bad habits, and move to Berlin, Germany.

Today, Bowie memorabilia can (idiom); for example, a lock of his hair sells for over £12, 000. That is out of this world !

Bye bye from David Bowie

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

Young Teens: King Arthur & the sword in the stone

21st April 2022

Young Arthur pulls the sword from the stone

Word bank:

advise / brave / failed / knight / legend / loyal / respect / rule / wizard /

One of the most famous British legends is that of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

Arthur was the son of Uther Pendragon. When he was a boy, Arthur stayed with Merlin who was a wizard. Merlin knew magic, and was able to advise young Arthur.

Merlin the wizard

A famous legend is how Arthur became king. A sword was in a stone. If anyone could life the stone out, that person would be king and would rule the country.

Many people tried and many people failed. When the boy Arthur wanted to try, everybody laughed. He was too small and weak. However …

Arthur had some soldiers called knights around him. The knights had to be brave, loyal, show respect and protect women. Arthur and his Knights sat at a round table.

Arthur has many legends, that are very interesting and exciting. You can learn more in this short video:

Or you can read in many different books:

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

IELTS: tackling part 3

19th April 2022

Part 3 of the speaking test can be tremendously daunting. However, with some tricks up your sleeve, you will be able to ace the testpass with flying colours and do yourself proud.

I covered this in detail in a previous blog: 

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/09/15/ielts-speaking-test-part-3-how-to-nail-it/

Right off the bat, relax … be cool. You merely have to:

1) demonstrate you understand the question

2) demonstrate you have IELTS-standard language to respond

3) reply based on either your opinion or experience. YOU DECIDE

As per usual, let’s kick off with a killer introduction

Prepare some expressions so you can adapt them for the specific question. To refresh your memory:

Well, that’s a very complicated question …

What a hard question, I may have to think about this

I’m not sure I know how to answer that because I don’t have enough information, however …

Next stage is to explain how you’re going to answer:

in my experience

allow me to tell you what I do

I can’t speak about other people, but I …

Finally you answer, only now, YOU are in control, you are in the driver’s seat.

Respond in a way that will earn you points. We want to hear low-frequency words, idioms, phrasal verbs, vernacular (“big time !”).

Furthermore, frame your answers in complex sentences, use body language and intonation and stress.

If you can illustrate your response with an anecdote, all the better.

Examples

What do you think schools will be like in the future ?

This type of question invites you to give YOUR thoughts (“In my opinion,” etc)

Well, I’m currently in my last year of high school, so this is a very pertinent question for me. Naturally, I can’t foresee the future however, I could offer some predictions though, of course, this is just my opinion.

To start with, I can only speak about …… (say your country) as I don’t know enough about the educational systems in other countries.

For me, I feel that technology will play a greater part in schools, such as using the internet, working on tablets and joining online groups. Personally, I’m in a small Facebook group to help with learning English and I find it tremendously helpful and rewarding.

On the other hand, this can be extremely expensive. Providing tablets for a whole school will cost an arm and a leg, so maybe this will only occur in private schools. Furthermore, as the population increases, there will be many more students. This could lead, inevitably, to larger class sizes.

I really hope our system continues to improve although we have to be realistic; higher standards means higher costs … but I feel it will be worth the expense.

Now, that was quite a long reply but let’s break it down:

The first paragraph personalises the question, as well as adapting an introduction expression.

The second explains how you are going to answer.

The third states your main point. Moreover, it includes an anecdote (this doesn’t have to be true).

The fourth gives an opposing view – thus affording you the chance to use a discourse marker, to alter your body language and intonation, and to throw in an idiom for good measure. Also, some L-FWs, which are always impressive (if used correctly).

The final paragraph is to conclude and is, as you can clearly see, purely personal. Did you also notice the poetic repetition ? Allow me to point it out – “Higher standards means higher costs.”

Piece of cake, right ?

See you in the next blog

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

IELTS: a heart of gold (and other expressions)

18th April 2022

Apart from idioms, phrasal verbs and low-frequency words (LFW), IELTS students need a collection of expressions and collocations to spice up their English.

With that in mind, here are some notes from the previous lesson, along with revision exercises and a splattering of vibrant vocabulary.

As for speaking tests, I listened to eight students last week and only heard one complex sentence. Now, it wasn’t one of my classes; my students know exactly what I will do if they don’t speak in IELTS-style sentences:

I just jammed around with two key words: ‘heart’ & ‘gold’.

Exercise 1: define these expressions & idioms

HEART

a heart of gold

a heart to heart

hand on heart

heart-felt greetings

heartbreaking

a heart of stone

GOLD

King Midas
The bard of Stratford

a heart of gold (yes, again, it’s called practice)

as good as gold

the golden touch

golden handshake

silence is golden (especially when one works in Vietnam)

Exercise 2: use these expressions & idioms in an IELTS style, employing complex sentence(s).

EXAMPLE: My mother, who works incredibly long shifts at the hospital, has a heart of gold. Even when she is exhausted, she always finds time for me.

Now … your turn. Tell me about your:

younger sister // older brother // uncle // best friend // neighbour

New vocabulary

facetious // uncharacteristically // overheads // euphemism // lingua franca // prima donna

shaking in my boots // going to powder my nose // going to see a man about a dog // footloose and fancy free

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.