Unusual London Buildings. What do you think they are ?

6th September 2020

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:

 

Tate Modern

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

Globe Theatre

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.

Police Station

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

Lloyd’s Building

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

Carlton Hotel, London - Wikipedia
The old Carlton Hotel where Ho Chi Minh once worked

Activities

Young Learners

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.

IELTS

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

Low-frequency words

Opinion phrases

Idiomatic language

Anecdote or a personal review, giving reasons for their thoughts

Target Language:

Quite unusual / eye-catching / remarkable / innovative / quintessentially British / controversial / brilliant /

It’s not to my particular taste / / I have my heart set on visiting / a unique experience (now add an adverb) / a truly unique experience / a magnet for tourists /

17 Signs That You Probably Need A Break From London - Secret London

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: London, Part 2

6th March 2020

Guess the building

These are photos of real buildings in London. Can you guess what they were / are ?

Image result for Tate modern
Image result for London smalles police
Image result for London globe theatre
Image result for London lloyds building
Image result for London new zealand house ho chi minh
Image result for London new zealand house ho chi minh

Can you guess ?

ONE: Tate Modern art gallery – it used to be a power station, hence the large, imposing scale and tall chimney.

TWO: It was the smallest police station; it had a telephone and space for one officer. No longer in service. This is in a corner of Trafalgar Square.

THREE: Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. This is a reconstruction; the original building burnt down in the C17th.

FOUR: Lloyds Building. Lloyds of London are an insurance company, providing financial services.

FIVE: This is New Zealand House, near Trafalgar Square. The building itself is rather nondescript but, for my Vietnamese students, there is a feature of interest …

SIX: A Blue Plaque stating that Ho Chi Minh once worked at a hotel that stood on this site. There are many Blue Plaques around London saying where famous people lived or worked.

New vocabulary

imposing– powerful or scary-looking. Normally police stations or government buildings

reconstruction– rebuilding (in this example, made to look like the original The Globe Theatre)

nondescript – nothing special, ordinary, plain

stood on this site- a building WAS here but is now gone (demolished / torn down)

England doesn’t really manufacture – our wealth is derived (comes) from services such as banking, finance, insurance and teaching !

Synth pop 

(listening & British pop culture)

Image result for 80s synth pop

Electronic music from the early 1980s. The band is called Human League, the song, a chart-topper (was No. 1 in the music charts), is called ‘Don’t You Want Me.’ What do you think ? Is it up your street (you like it) or not your cup of tea (you don’t like it) ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPudE8nDog0

What do you think is meant by ‘synth’ pop ?

What is happening in this song ? 

How much do you understand ? 

Do you notice any phrasal verbs ?

REAL LIFE LISTENING

This is a British TV comedy show called ‘Only Fools and Horses.’

Have a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvsvnW49qRU

Image result for only fools and horses

Trigger You never know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

Jim Hey ? Yeah, I suppose you’re right there, Trigger.

Trigger I know how much it can hurt. I had a relationship break-up a few years ago. She worked in my council depot. (local government office)

Mike (barman) She was a lady roadsweeper ?

Trigger Oh, no, she was management … real high-flyer … you had to go to her when you wanted a a new broom ! Linda … nice girl, had a funny eye. Never knew if she was looking at me or seeing if the bus was coming. Anyway, she’d heard about this little hotel down Henley-on-Thames (outside London) and she said to me, “How about spending a weekend there ?”

Del-boy (on phone) What sort of money we talking about ? Well, I’ll have to pop down and see you, won’t I, eh ?

Mike Yeah ?

Trigger What ?

Mike What happened ?

Jim Was it a nice weekend ?

Trigger Yeah, at least I thought it was, but she didn’t wanna see me no more after it.

Jim Well, I don’t like to pry, Trig but …

Mike No, no, no … it’s a bit personal.

Del Hang on, Bronco … Trig ! What ‘appened ?

Trigger She got jealous ! I ‘eard later, through friends, that she wanted to go with me.

Jim I’ll have a large scotch, Mike !

What was wrong with the weekend ? What was Trigger’s mistake ?

Do you notice how in parts of London, native speakers drop the ‘h’ so we have “What ‘appened ?” instead of “What happened ?” “I ‘eard, ” instead of “I heard.”

Finally, a famous song about London: Ralph McTell ‘Streets of London.’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Z91n5Vskjg

Image result for streets of london ralph

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3.

17th January 2020

A collection of exercises and features aimed at the advanced student.

Contents

British culture (Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare)

Politics

Speaking games

Speaking practice

British culture

Image result for british culture

Charles Dickens

Related image

Here’s a little video about the famous short story, ‘A Christmas Carol’ by the British writer (start video at 1.27 – 1.55):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrYIMmUTFdo

Debtor’s prison = people were sent to prison if they couldn’t pay their debts.

Famous Shakespearean quotes:

Image result for shakespeare

Match the quote to the play !

To be or not to be // Romeo and Juliette

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears // Hamlet

Now is the winter of our discontent // A Midsummers’ Night Dream

A plague on both your houses // Julius Caesar

Lord, what fools these mortals be ! // Richard III

Watch an excerpt from a performance at Shakespeare’s Globe in London

Image result for globe theatre

How much can you understand ? : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WiVaQheUfE

Politics

In December 2019, The UK had a general election. USA have their election at the end of 2020.

Image result for british general election 2019
Image result for us election 2020

Idioms and collocations

campaign / victory / vote / party / voter 

It was a long and dirty election _________which divided the country. The Conservatives won a landslide _________ in the last general election. I usually cast my _________ for the candidate who is more business friendly. The problem with two _________systems like the USA’s, is not all views are represented. I’m a typical floating _________ , I never decide how to vote until the day of the election. 

If you elect me for President, I will make a difference. I will lower taxes for every citizen and I will make sure that every worker gets a fair deal. I will not stand by and watch the poor and the needy being downtrodden. 

Conversation:

How long is a political term in your country ? 

Do you think it’s important to vote? 

If you were elected leader of your country, what law would you change first? 

Watch this clip. Could this happen in your country ? (politicians attacked) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKdDnMwnV_o

Image result for politicians attacked
Protests in Hong Kong Parliament

Speaking game

Build a character

You will see some character information. Use this to create a character for yourself. 

Take some time to think. Put some effort into this by using the facts and incorporating them. 

EXAMPLE:

Lee Morgan 27 musician born Chicago resides Sai Gon not married

Likes music ! barbecue and spicy food cinema going to clubs and dancing

Dislikes early mornings 9 – 5 jobs Vietnamese food traffic no-smoking ban

Hi, my name’s Morgan, Lee Morgan. I’m 27 and I hail from Chicago, Illinois, which is a dynamic city, but pretty damn cold in winter; icy winds and snow. I’m currently living here, in HCM or Sai Gon, whatever. I’m still single, haven’t found the right girl yet but there are a heap of cute ladies in Vietnam, right ?

I’m a professional musician so, of course, I love music, it’s my passion. I also really love barbecue and hot, spicy food like chilli or gumbo. Yeah, what else … oh, I also enjoy taking in a movie, but at the cinema, not on DVD … no atmosphere at home. Because I finish work late, I often find myself going to clubs and dancing the night away. Great way to meet women, too !

What I’m not crazy about is getting up early. I never get up before noon, no way ! Oh, yeah, sorry to say, I really can’t find any Vietnamese food I like, hey, sorry. Some of it’s OK, but it’s just soup and noddles and bones ! The traffic is another pet hate, it’s hellish and absolutely dangerous. Lastly, I’m a smoker and I want to smoke where and when I want. I hate that I get told not to smoke.

If you have just met, what questions could you ask Lee ?

Remember – nothing too personal. When he answers, show interest, maybe add information about yourself.

BACKCHANNEL – say ‘yeah’, ‘oh, right’, ‘really ?’ etc

Example:

I was born in Hue but I grew up in Na Trang.

Really ? I’m from Na Trang. When did you move to HCMC ?

I like sports.

Me too. I play badminton every week and football every Sunday. 

We’ve been married for three years but no kids.

Why not ? What is wrong with you, or is your wife too lazy to have kids ?

(this is not considered a correct or polite thing to say. Instead, change the subject)

Kenjie Ozu 24 medical student born Tokyo resides Sai Gon engaged

Likes Jazz music / keep fit / karaoke / meeting friends / computer games

Dislikes noise and pollution / smoking / animal cruelty / fast food 

Rob Forster 31 lawyer born Sydney resides Sai Gon married, 2 children

Likes barbecue and beer / jogging / investing money / repairing cars / rugby

Dislikes lazy people / Vietnamese traffic / nagging wife / housework / liars

Vu Nugyun 43 security guard born HCMC resides HCMC married, 2 kids

Likes sitting / sleeping / smoking / beer / karaoke / gambling / shouting

Dislikes work / his boss / exercise / when his wife asks for money / foreigners

Hank Douglass 30 shop manager born San Francisco resides Ha Noi single

Likes investing / gambling / baseball driving / fast cars / action movies

Dislikes housework / romantic films / tipping / drunk people / police / recycling

Speaking practice:

Boz I don’t get much time to read, but I’d like to improve my English. Any tips ?

Pip Well, maybe you could give Dickens a go. Oh, some of his books are 1000 pages.

Boz Bloody hell ! Who has time or energy to read 1000 pages ! 

Pip Hold your horses, he also wrote short stories. ‘A Christmas Carol’ is very famous.

Boz Hang on … yes, I know … Ebenezer Scrooge, right ? I’ll download it later.

Pip Of course, the most famous writer is Shakespeare. ‘To be or not to be…’

Boz Not sure that’s my cup of tea. I prefer something a bit more modern.

Pip Conversely, watch a version. I went to see a play in London, at the Globe.

Boz The reconstructed theatre ? I saw it on the news. It looks really cool … and cold !