A lesson for all ages and all levels, just adapt to suit your students’ ability. First, show the photos and try to elicit what the buildings are for, or their original function.
For Speaking Level 3 or IELTS-standard students, they can explain their reasons and use target language, adjectives, adverbs and LFW (low-frequency words). Furthermore, it shows students a different aspect of London (it’s not just Big Ben, London Eye and Tower Bridge).
Now, without further ado, the photos:
Was built 1947 – 1963 to be used as a power station (designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott who also designed Battersea Power Station and the iconic red phone boxes).
Gallery opened in 2000 by the Queen
Shows British and international art
One of the largest museums in the world
in 2018, there were 5.8 million visitors
Was built 1599, burnt down 1613.
Rebuilt and opened in 1997
Has plays by Shakespeare, as well as modern plays.
Has 857 seats and 700 standing spaces. People who stand are known as ‘groundlings.’
“To be or not to be,” is from Hamlet.
Was built in the 1920s
Only big enough for two people
Has a telephone inside
Made from an old lamppost
Now used for storing brooms
Completed in 1986
Architect was Richard Rogers
Lloyds are a world famous insurance company.
The lifts are on the outside to make more space inside.
It is 95.1 m tall or 312 ft.
New Zealand House
The building was opened by the Queen in 1963
It is the only tall building in the area.
The House has 18 floors.
However … there is something very special for Vietnamese … can you see the blue circle ?
There used to be the Carlton Hotel here, but is was destroyed in World War II
Ho Chi Minh worked in the kitchen at the hotel
Stick fact sheets around the classroom. Students, in groups, have to collect information about basic facts such as when the building was opened, and an interesting fact, then present to the class.
Adult Speaking Classes
Elicit uses of bulidings, then ask them if there are any similar buildings in their city. What interesting buildings would they show tourists ? A student has to describe one of the buildings and the other have to guess which one.
Students are assigned a building and they have to make a presentation of up to two-minutes in length (to practise for the speaking test). They may be allowed to use the internet for additional information but they are NOT allowed to merely read verbatim from Wikipedia !
As this is an IELTS exercise, we are looking for;
Good, strong introduction
Creative use of adverbs + adjectives
Anecdote or a personal review, giving reasons for their thoughts
4th December for 7th December 2019 E Up 4 pp. 80 – 81
This is my final lesson with this relatively ‘easy’ class. There are only 13 students, and the class is well-behaved compared to many others. Today, there is a final checkup and a creative project. To keep the festivities going, I’m going to prepare an activity list, covering various subject. These can be done in small teams, maybe pairs or threes.
Name three things we can have for lunch
2. What did this man eat and drink ?
I need the whole sentence using the past tense for ‘eat’ & ‘drink’ and a linking word.
3. Make a sentence: Jane – models 😡 cloths 😀
Jane likes to design clothes but she doesn’t like to make models
Peter – songs 😡 movies 😀 // Tina – pictures 😡 stories 😀
4. Draw a picture of Dali !
5. Tell me four types of art.
6. What are you going to do this afternoon ?
7. Tell me three things we can make.
8. What does Teacher Paul like ? Two thing …
9. Someone who plays guitar is a … // someone who tells the news is a …
10. This is my friend Mark:
He works in films and in plays. What is his job ?
11. Where does he live ?
12. How does Mark go home ?
13. If I go to Nha Trang, what do I need to take with me ? Three things …
14. Space – What is the biggest planet ? // What is the sun ? // Can we hear in space ?
15. Watch Mr Mark. What did he eat for breakfast ? What words did Mr Mark use ? Can you smile like him ?
15th November for Saturday 16th November 2019 E Up 4 U7 L4 (edited from June 8th 2019)
Today’s lesson is about space, astronauts and basic science. It is a mighty theme and so, to paraphrase Melville, we need a mighty beginning … for cinema fans, there really is no other choice … the opening of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.
So what do the students know about the solar system ? I’ll let them tell me, after boarding some key words:
planet (Earth, gas giant, rock)
moon (the Moon)
I’ll put a flash card of planet Earth on the board, towards the right-hand side. The students can them fill in the gaps … what planets do they know ? How big is the sun relative to the planets ? What exactly is the sun ? Where does light come from in space ? What exists in space ?
The speed of sound is 343 metres per second (usually given as 330 m p s)
The speed of light is 299 792 458 metres per second or approximately 300 000 000 m p s or 300 000 km per second.
Sound cannot travel through a vacuum
To demonstrate the last point, show NOT tell; here’s a good example (start around the 0:24 second mark): An iPhone not making sound in a vacuum.
What would be the pros and cons ? In small groups, discuss the question, trying to use some of the recent vocabulary.
Song time: A British classic, and the first hit for David Bowie, an artist with a deep connection with space. This video has lyrics, but how many words can they recognise ? They can shout them out as they hear them.
‘Space Oddity’; lyrics start around the 0:30 second mark
Board any new words or phrases such as ignition / made the grade / peculiar /
This is based on the UK children’s show from the 1970s. The class will be split into small groups. One member from each has to stand in front of the board. I will read a question and then give three answers. The students have to run to the correct number. They then have three seconds to change their minds.
Who was the first man on the moon ? Buzz Aldrin / Michael Collins / Neil Armstrong
What is the biggest planet ? Jupiter / Saturn / Mars
The sun is a: planet / star / moon
What is faster ? light / sound / Ms Bao Tran speaking (just give the name of any talkative students, and then elicit the adjective talkative).
In space, people are: heavier / lighter / weigh the same ?
The first animal in space was a: monkey / elephant / dog
(Last one could seem to be a trick question. The answer is Laika, the Russian dog. Monkeys were first put into rockets but they didn’t go high enough to officially enter space).
Bookwork. Today there is a fair amount of reading. I’ll use the passages to show a little grammar, introduce the students to adverbs.
The princess was very beautiful (very = adverb, beautiful is an adjective)
Here, the adverb ‘very‘ goes before the adjective. For concept checking (do the students understand and can use this formula ?) some quick questions:
Correct these sentences:
The very student was clever
Laika, the dog, was scared very
Very David talented is
During the reading, I’ll be asking the students to point out the adjectives and adverbs in the short pieces of text.
Then the students complete a workbook with more concept checking exercises. Those who are fast finishers, rising stars, will get a worksheet, a word-search and comprehension questions about space. Then it’s back down to Earth … and next week the subject is …
7th Nov for 1oth November 2019 E Up 5, U7, L 4 pp. 70 – 71
George Mallory was a British explorer who wanted to climb Mount Everest. This is such a dangerous activity, a journalist asked him why … to which, Mallory is said to have responded, “Because it’s there.”
Warm up: Runaround.
Class in three teams, named Polo, Cook and Buzz
General knowledge questions about the world:
A – Mount Everest is the tallest mountain … where is it ?
1 – Tibet and Nepal // 2 – France and Germany // 3 – Kenya and Tanzania
B – The longest river is … ?
1 – Yellow in China // 2 – Amazon in South America // 3 – Nile in Africa
C – The largest city – most people living there – is … ?
1 – Delhi, India // 2 – Tokyo, Japan // 3 – Shanghai, China
The story happened in 1605 when the king was James I. A group of men wanted a new king so they planned to kill James.
One of those men was Guy Fawkes. He knew a lot about bombs and gunpowder. the plan was to put 36 barrels of gunpowder under the building where the powerful people would be waiting for the King. Maybe you know Guy Fawkes … ?
Guy Fawkes was waiting at night, under the building …
However, guards and soldiers discovered him.
The King was so grateful, he told people to make huge bonfires all over the country. We still do this today, and have fireworks as well as making a dummy we call ‘Guy’, from old clothes and old material. We put a mask on him to look like Guy Fawkes. Children take this ‘Guy’ around and ask people to give them some money:
Now book work … reading about climbing Everest.
How tall is Everest ?
Who tried to climb it in 1924 ?
Who were the first people to climb it ?
When did they achieve it ?
Who was the first woman to reach the top ?
Where would YOU most like to explore ?
The Great Wall of China … like Marco Polo ?
Australia and New Zealand like Captain James Cook ?
26th October for 27th October 2019. E Up 5 U 7 L 1 Countries pp. 64 – 65
Today’s theme is travel, and we will focus on six countries from five different continents. As a warm up, the students can be put in teams (this is a large class in a small room so activities have to carefully planned to prevent chaos and injury). Each team is given a small board and has to write:
24th October for Saturday 26th October 2019. E Up U 6, L 4 pp. 58 – 59
Warm up: Student description
In a previous lesson, the class learnt about basic adjectives to describe appearance. I will therefore choose a student and describe the physical characteristics, e.g. this student has long straight hair, is not very tall, and wears black glasses. The students must guess the student I am describing.
To make it more fun and engaging, it’s a good idea to put the class into teams for a bit of competitive spirit.
This is my friend, Ms Quynh. She has long straight black hair.
We can extend their vocabulary by including clothes: Ms Quynh is wearing a white top and a colourful skirt.
I will choose some students and give them a student to describe, while promoting the value ‘be polite‘. They can describe their hair, whether or not they wear glasses, and if that isn’t enough, they can identify them by their clothes.
To continue the theme of Art and creativity, I think it’s time they met Dali !
Dali normally gets a reaction (especially when we have fun elongating his name as long as possible). It’s also a chance to learn a few new words:
creative / genius / unusual / surreal
The last word maybe a little advanced, but it’s a good way to introduce new words; inside the word is ‘real’ so surreal has something to do with reality … but what ? Here’s a clue:
This is a mixture of reality and fantasy. The students can say which is which … and why does Dali give the elephants tuba faces … is there a reason or is it just crazy ?
I will then expect the student to form basic sentences using these new words, and not forgetting new vocabulary from previous lessons, for example,
“Dali’s paintings are very unusual.”
Next up, is a scene from the popular Children’s classic, ‘Alice in Wonderland’.
What is happening ?
Again, a mix of reality and fantasy. How would the students describe this ? It could be turned into a game … students put into small groups and given boards and markers. Points for the best vocabulary.
Key words: tea-party / young girl / bow tie / sleeping / garden
Now, to continue the theme and introduce some listening and reading skills, a video. This is the singer-songwriter Don McLean with ‘Vincent’, about the artist Vincent Van Gogh: This can be played in the background as the students do a writing project today.
This version also has the lyrics, as well as various paintings by the artist.
A useful lesson will be the subjectivity of art – it is a chance for the student to think and to give their views, and to try to develop the English skills to express their thoughts. Clearly, this is a perfect opportunity to introduce some fixed expressions to express opinions:
In my opinion …
I feel that …
For me …
And even an idiom – it’s not my cup of tea !
What kind of art are these and what do they think of them ?
Then, with time against us, and a lot to get through, we’ll turn to the book work. They will watch a video which also shows sculpture, mosaic and photographs. The book also mentions Van Gogh, and a sculpture based on the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party from ‘Alice’.
Finally, to wrap up after the project, a little bit of fun. Who better than Dali (or at least a great actor playing Dali) ?
An Introduction to Greece: location, history, lifestyle.
I shall also bring a globe to the class, as this is more visceral than internet images. The students, in small groups (or else the globe will be destroyed) have to find Greece. Now, to review recent vocabulary, what do the students think of these lifestyles ?
First, the food: Does it look healthy ? What other adjectives can the students add ?
Some typical Greek food: olives, cheese,vegetables, fish, meat and bread. Also, we have some sweet food:
Next, lifestyles – what about these photos:
How about this Greek dance ? Maybe some of the more active students would like to try !
Now, Greek history and myth. On the island of Crete, there lived the Minotaur, half-man, half-bull. He lived underground in a big maze called the labyrinth. Every year, the King of Athens had to send 14 children for the Minotaur to eat.
The king had a son called Theseus. He was a hero. He decided to go and kill the Minotaur.
The King of Crete had a daughter called Ariadne. When she saw Theseus, she decided to help him. She gave Theseus a big ball of string. He tied it to the door of the labyrinth, then used it so he wouldn’t get lost (it would be a good idea to get some string and tie it to the door handle, or at least act out the motion).
Theseus found the Minotaur and killed him. Then he sailed back to Athens with Ariadne (I’m being economical with the legend here; the students are aged ten and eleven).
The students will be learning about the Parthenon in the next lessons, so this is a way of introducing them to Greece and its history. I’ll board words such as ‘bull’, ‘labyrinth’, ‘sailed’, ‘hero’ and ‘decided’. Then, after the students have written them down, they can watch this Lego version and tell me what is happening- start at 0:23.
Many children will know superheroes such as Spiderman, Iron Man etc. How does Theseus compare ? Whom do they like best ?
Then, onto the lesson. Today it’s about measurements, so although its important, it will not be as exciting as Theseus and the Minotaur.
The class is rather large, (twenty-one students) the room is rather small, which limits the scope for kinetic activities. Remember, these are still young children, some of whom will not really want to be in class on a weekend, so anything to vary the lesson and maintain their interest is worth trying.
I often put the class into small groups and then hand out a board and marker. The teams race to be first to write a sentence or key words from the lesson.
Another activity is to put two sets of flash cards on the floor and choose two students. They have to walk or hop from card to card, saying the phrase on the card. To make it more challenging, they have to hop with both hands on their heads (or some such variation). Quickly, two more students
Finally, to make the lesson more inter-active, one student per team can ask another student from another team to say what is on a flash-card and the answer has to be within five seconds. Points should be awarded to encourage the competition.
And what better way to end the lesson than with the theme from the film ‘Zorba the Greek’.
4th September for 7th September 2019. E Up 3 pp. 40 – 41 Final Lesson 1 – 4 review.
Today is the last lesson, so a lot more writing and work books for the students. There’s also a special Autumn Festival event at the end of the class, so my planning can be quite short. I’d like to make the first part active and interesting, but also reinforcing language and grammar from the recent lessons.
Warm Up: Small groups with boards and markers. Write four things people use for eating (fork, knife, spoon, chopsticks).
Pass around four flashcards (fork, knife, spoon & cup). Student has to say:
“This fork is mine.”
Then pass it on … meanwhile, give the first student a second card:
“This knife is mine.”
Suddenly I say STOP !
I say ‘me’.
The class has to say “This is my spoon – it is mine.”
I will need my TA to explain this procedure . I will board: me – mine / you – yours etc.
I repeat with ‘you’, ‘his’, ‘her’.
Run ‘n’ write: where can I buy a shirt ? Eat soup and salad ? Watch a movie ? Play football ? Students, in pairs, must run to the board and write the word.
Mime: I take a student aside and show a card of an illness. Student then mimes the condition (headache, stomachache, fever, cold). Answer must be in the form of a sentence: “He has a headache“, etc.
Next, to review four countries about which they read last lesson. Mix up the countries:
yektyru // anapj // sirusa // omixce
Bring a globe to the class. Two students must find the four countries. Next, tell me about Vietnam:
(Stock photo from Google. NOT my students.)
Follow the pattern in the book and tell me about Vietnam
[We’re from Mexico. This is our flag. It’s ours. It’s green, white and red.]
Now … tell me about Teacher Paul
He’s from … // This is …… // It’s ….. (possessive) // It’s ….. (colours) .
Finally, role-playing, asking prices and identifying cultural items. Students can decide their own prices. They can work in small groups or in pairs, to make sure everyone has a chance to speak.
Excuse me, how much is this, please ?
Oh, no … that is too much // OK, I’ll take it.
Then they must conclude by saying, “It’s a present for my ….” and I quickly show a family card (grandparents / parents / aunt / uncle / cousin or cousins).
To end on a bum note (or notes) … let’s hear the Russian National Anthem … and then played by an Egyptian orchestra.