IELTS: Planning a day out

16th December 2020

17 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Beijing | PlanetWare
The Imperial Palace and the Forbidden City, Beijing, China

A compilation of exercises for students to plan a day out for visitors to their city.

Firstly, an example demonstrating an IELTS-style structure:

Where would you like to visit in Viet Nam (or your own country) and why ?

I show them a plan:

Introduction / First good point / second good point / something negative / conclusion

I choose Hoi An

Hoi An: Vietnam's most charming city - Exoticca Blog

Introduction: DON’T answer immediately but introduce the answer by rephrasing (paraphrasing) the question:

Vietnam has many beautiful places but my choice would be Hoi An.

First Good Point:

Firstly, Hoi An is a historical city with a wonderful Japanese bridge and lovely old shops. At night, the shops use romantic lanterns.

Second Good Point:

Hoi An is close to Da Nang, so I can fly there easily and quickly. There are many things to see and do in the local area.

Now, something negative

HoweverHoi An is very small and can be extremely crowded in summer. Maybe it will be difficult to find a hotel or a table at a good restaurant.

Conclusion

In my opinion, Hoi An is a very special place to visit because it is a town of Vietnamese culture.

How to build sentences:

Use adjectives to describe nouns (beautiful, historic, romantic)

adverbs to describe adjectives and verbs – give more information (very, easily)

opinion phrases (in my opinion)

linking words to connect positive to positive or positive to negative – discourse markers (however, furthermore, consequently, therefore)

reasons and examples why an action is being done (because) or such as

For IELTS students, ALWAYS think how you can use an idiom e.g.

I have been burning the candle at both ends, so I really need a break

I only take a holiday once in a blue moon

Travelling can be extremely expensive, but a bus ticket to Da Nang, although time-consuming, doesn’t cost and arm and a leg.

Now – your turn:

Where do you want to visit ? Where would you most like to visit ? This can be in Vietnam or anywhere … think BIG.

Women wearing Vietnamese ao dai granted an imperial favor
Hue
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Where to Celebrate Day of the Dead in Mexico
Day of the Dead, Mexico

Activity:

Present a holiday using a mixture of advertising slogans and practical information. Remember:

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it

Make your voice sound excited, as if this were the best holiday ever ! You have to use intonation and stress.

Holiday terms:

transfers / half-board / all -inclusive / amenities / package tour / itinerary /

Language:

breathtaking / visually – stunning / sensational / incredible / remarkable / exclusive /

once in a lifetime experience / never to be forgotten / unbeatable prices / book now to avoid disappointment / best decision you’ll ever make

holidays to suit all budgets , from 7* luxury to backpacking

Structure:

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

Demonstration with an advert for London:

Let's visit London - презентация онлайн

Now is the perfect time to visit London, England’s glorious capital.

To begin with, the weather is perfect for walking, so you can enjoy the lush parks, world-famous museums and incredible, unbelievable shops such as Harrods, Selfridges and so many more. 

Furthermore, there is something for everyone … and more ! Like sports ? Go to one of the many Premier League football games. Love shopping ?

The fact is, everything is here – shop till you drop !

Additionally, if you 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.

Therefore, don’t delay … book TODAY !

Sell a holiday

Advertising vocabulary and intonation

Prepare a presentation to market / sell a holiday.

Review: New vocabulary

sensational / once in a lifetime / luxury / all-inclusive / unforgettable experience / mysterious / majestic / breathtaking / visually-stunning

book now to avoid disappointment / exhilarating / world-famous

local food / new cultures / visit our website / worth every penny

fun for all the family/ the perfect getaway /

Plan a tour of your city for my friend

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My friend Ethan is coming to visit your hometown

It is his first time in your hometown. He likes history, traditional food, and he wants to buy souvenirs.

Think about:

What time to start

What to do first 

Logistics – how Ethan can get around the city (subway, bus, taxi, Grab or Uber)

Food – where to eat and what to choose. Remember, he only speaks English

Where to go (remember the heat OR the rain could be an issue / a problem).

Explain your choices

Try to incorporate (use) these adjectives:

interesting // historical // fascinating // authentic

typical // bustling // lively // thought-provoking

Mind map – Travel

I start by writing the word ‘travel’ on the board, and see how many avenues spread out from it. Start with the grammar; what type of word is it (noun) but it can be made into a verb (to travel, travelling) and the students should remember how to apply it to a person (traveller).

Then we have expressions such as ‘travel broadens the mind.’

We have this quote which introduces metaphor – the world as a book:

Then more pedestrian aspects of travel; how do we travel (transportation), preparation (booking tickets, hotels, visas etc), what do we bring with us (different clothes, sun cream, currency, sun glasses etc). How about culture shock ?

Next, what are the positive aspects of travelling (new cultures, fun, adventure, relaxation) and conversely, the negatives (delays, waiting in soulless airports, getting ripped off, tourist traps, bad hotels etc)

Pair work: students have to write a short passage using ‘although‘ and ‘despite‘ to encapsulate their travel experiences or wishes.

EXAMPLES: Although I absolutely love travelling, there are many drawbacks. Firstly, there is the cost; it can be incredibly expensive what with plane tickets and hotels not to mention having to eat out in restaurants. Despite these issues, travelling can be so relaxing or exciting, seeing new places and doing new things or simply as a break from our normal lives.

Vietnam has many beautiful towns and places of interest although I have only been to a few of them despite travel being relatively cheap in this country. We can fly everywhere within one or two hours, at very reasonable prices although some cheap airlines, such as Vietjet, are notorious for delays.

I have always wanted to visit Beijing in China which is not excessively far from Sai Gon. Despite that, I haven’t been because I am not sure about the visa and how expensive it would be to visit. Additionally, I hear some negative things such as terrible pollution and many tourist scams. Despite the drawbacks, I really want to see the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace and all the temples. Although Vietnam and China have a complicated relationship, most Vietnamese would agree that Chinese food is delicious.

These exercises help to increase vocabulary and confidence. Furthermore, the repetition helps to make the target language part of the students’ lexical resources.

As a break from the book work, I’ll show the class a vlog from YouTube, two tourists who come to Sai Gon and what they think of the city:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iw_K-1AmVk

How do the tourists feel about the city ? As residents, do you agree with the review ?

Students can discuss the video using the following language:

I agree totally // I agree to an extent // I disagree // I’m not entirely sure // No way ! They don’t know what they are talking about !

optimistic // uninformed // delusional // open-minded // enthusiastic

Group work: Prepare a guide to Sai Gon for tourists.

Allow students access to the class computer for Google images if required.

Include

What to see and do // where and what to eat // what to buy //

What they can do for entertainment

Travel tips

Safety and scams

Cultural differences – what should people do or NOT do in Vietnam ?

Use of interesting adjectives to describe the city centre.

Groups can then present to the class, with all students taking turns speaking. I shall be listening for relevance, pronunciation and use of expressions and discourse markers. Furthermore, I may learn some interesting tips.

 My friend Andy is coming to Sai Gon

Using ‘should’ to give advice or information, make suggestions for Andy.

He loves history … what should he visit or see ?

He loves traditional food … what should he eat ?

He can’t ride a motorbike … how should he travel ?

He likes a beer a night (!) … where should he go ?

My Thai friend is coming to Vietnam:

Image result for two thai ladies

Ms Namsum is young and energetic. She’s into (really enjoy) clubs, sightseeing and shopping.

I suggest she starts the day with a traditional bowl of pho then goes to Sai Gon centre. She can walk there from her hotel in District 1 or take a taxi (Vinasun or Malin ONLY). She will be out of the heat and has a lot of shopping choices and places to eat or grab a coffee. She could rest at her hotel in the afternoon, then go to Nguyen Hue walking street when it gets cooler in the evening. She has many restaurants in this area. Furthermore, there are many English-language menus. Finally, she can go to Bui Vien street where there are many clubs and bars, as well as many tourists speaking English.

What do they students think ? Is that a good plan ? Have I missed something important ?

Language to use:

I see your point

That’s a good idea but …

If I may make a suggestion …

I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.

For example – That’s a good idea but you haven’t thought about sightseeing.

Or

Bui Vien can be very noisy so I’m not sure that’s such a good idea for a young lady on her own.

Two of my friends, Tom and David who are both actors, are coming to Sai Gon. The students, in groups, have to arrange a fun day including sightseeing, shopping, eating and transportation. Then they have to compare their itineraries and exchange views and opinions. The students learn how to politely disagree with each and put forward their ideas and support their choices.

Image result for two english men
Tom and David

PLAN A DAY FOR TOM & DAVID

Where can they eat ?

What could they see or visit ?

How can they travel around ?

What can they buy as souvenirs ?

Where could they go at night ?

What safety advice would you give ?

What you need to know:

Both are 45-years old. They have good jobs and a good income. They like history and culture. They really enjoy good food and wine. Neither speaks any Vietnamese. They are too old for very loud clubs but they don’t mind having a few beers and maybe seeing some live music.

The students can make a presentation, and use the computer for images or maps to illustrate their plan. Then the other team can explain what they have organised, and the reasons why. I will decide which team has made the best choice.

Activity: Plan a day out for my friends.

Thay Paul with Tina and Michael.

I have two friends arriving in Sai Gon (or your city). They want a typical, authentic experience. Plan a day for them. It must include:

  • Breakfast
  • A museum
  • Somewhere for a snack
  • An interesting building or location
  • Lunch
  • Souvenir shopping
  • Something to do in the evening

Give tips and advice. 

How do they travel around ? 

What are their options and estimate the prices.

Try to use as much new vocabulary as possible, words and expressions.

Directions to Pham Ngo Lao Street District 1 // Directions to a city centre street.

Ask for help. Other must offer as much help – how to get there, the best way, the price, the dangers. Body language – distance, expression, intonation, eye contact etc

Is Sai Gon safe ?

Can you understand Vietnamese people speaking English ?

Do you agree with their points ?

Are there any words you didn’t understand ?

Do you have any bad experiences ? Tell the class your anecdote.

Hotels

Image result for hotel london

Word bomb– what do you think of when I say ‘hotel’ ?

Image result for hotel vocabulary

Checking in to a hotel

Vocabulary:

reception / lift or elevator / single or double room / king size bed or twins /

first floor / complimentary breakfast / key deposit / luggage storage / safe / mini bar

What would the conversation be ?

Reception: How may I help you / May I ask your name ? / Can I see your reservation code ? / That’s fine. You stay for three nights ? / May I have your passport, please ? / You’re in room 237. That’s on the second floor / Thank you. Sign here, please / Yes, the lift is just over there. / Naturally, as well as a hair dryer, coffee machine and mini bar. / Enjoy your stay.

Guest: Hello, we have a reservation / We booked a room online / My name’s ….. / Certainly, it’s on my phone. / Yes, that’s right. / Absolutely. / Correct. / Just a second; here you are./ Is there a lift ? / The second floor ? / Is there a safe in the room ? / Perfect. Thanks very much

Make a conversation. One student will be the reception, the other(s) a guest or guests.

Write your own conversation

You are in a hotel bar and you meet another guest. Start a polite conversation, but you have to use your English.

Image result for two people in a hotel bar

Greet each other

Why are you in this city ? (holiday or on business)

Offer to buy a drink (accept or decline – maybe you don’t drink alcohol)

How long are they staying ? What do they think of the hotel ? What can they do in the area around the hotel ?

Small group work

You are two married couples who meet on a tour and are staying at the same hotel OR you are on a business trip and meet some other business people.

Use the following sentences, as well as your own, to make a conversation. try to keep speaking for as long as possible by using small talk techniques (oh, really / that’s interesting / tell me more / what do you do exactly ? / where is that ? / Sounds interesting)

Image result for young people meeting in a hotel
Image result for people meeting in a hotel

My wife and I are delighted to meet you

Shall we go to the bar or cafe ?

Can offer name first (I’m Simon, what’s your name ?)

Would you fancy a drink … ?

Is there anywhere special to do here ?

Sorry, I have to get my head down, it’s been a long flight (I need to sleep).

My colleague and I were going out to eat.

I fancy a beer or something alcoholic 

Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t ask where you are from.

Reasonable (cheaper)

Would you like to join us ?

Peckish (little hungry)

What do you think of these hotel rooms ?

What do you think of the design ?

Would you like to stay in any of these ? Why, or why not ?

How much do you think they cost per night ?

Bangkok

Image result for cheap  hotel Bangkok

Ice hotel, Sweden

Image result for ice hotel sweden china

Backpacker hostel, Indonesia

Image result for overcrowded hostel

Young Learners, Level 2: Review … and Buster Keaton !

30th October 2020

A quick recap of recent language. Tell me what you like.

Example

I like playing guitar as well as playing with elephants.

I love playing loud music as well as playing with big grey intelligent elephants.

Elephants are very strong as well as very hungry.

Sometimes Mr Elephant is so clever, he can play piano

Elephant decides to give piano playing a try while listening to man play

What does he like ?

Estrellas de cine clásico pasando tiempo con sus mascotas
DVD Talk

NOW, who works in a:

hospital // a school // a restaurant // a bus ?

Does she work in an airport ?

Free Photo | Smiling asian doctor with stethoscope and folder

Does he work in a school ?

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Do they work in a school ?

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Do they work in a school ?

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What do you want ?

I want some delicious spaghetti

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Why ? Because I’m very hungry.

I want some delicious spaghetti because I’m very hungry.

What does he want ?

Vietnamese Food - The BEST Breakfast I Ate in Saigon (Bánh Mì Hòa Mã) -  YouTube
The Best Breakfast I Ate in Vietnam - Banh Mi Hoa Ma

He wants _______________ because he’s ______

What does she want ?

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She __________________ because she’s _______

Does he want salad ?

How to Eat Healthy When You Don't Like Vegetables

Does she want steak ?

Disgust Emotions: Woman Raw Meat Hater - Stock Picture I3875973 at  FeaturePics

What do you want to eat ?

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Full English breakfast – The Nosey Chef

What does Buster Keaton want to eat ?

What happens ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mH13qaKrsHQ

Start video at 1:21

Speaking Practice – warm up game

7th October 2020

An activity for all levels

Teaching speaking skills 1 | TeachingEnglish | British Council | BBC

A major problem for students is pronunciation and also, in some classes, it can be rather tricky to get the students talking. Obviously, many learners are scared of mispronouncing and ‘losing face’ by their mistake.

This activity helps with both issues.

Arrange the class in small groups and hand each member an card. The students have to read out the information, while the other write down what they hear. Many of my students feel that work is something to be done as quickly as possible, but that will not work in this situation.

Instead, the other team members will need to check what is being said. This encourages slow, clear and careful pronunciation. To assist, use expressions such as:

Can you speak slower, please.

Would you mind speaking slower, please.

How do you spell that ?

Could you repeat that, please.

Sorry, I didn’t catch the phone number.

Let me confirm …

Is that ‘b’ as in blue or ‘p’ as in pink ?

Teachers: adapt to suit the level of your class. Add email address, specific requests etc

Asian Women Are Not For You. Many years ago, at a tech/startup… | by J Li |  Medium

Hi, my name is Jane

I’m 22 and work as DJ

I’m really into dancing and parties

I don’t like reading or housework

I hang out with my best besties

We go to clubs and bars

I get there by motorbike or taxi

My email is jane98@aol.com

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Hi, I’m James

I’m 27 and I’m a football coach

I like to watch films. I’m a gamer

I’m not into shopping or dancing

I meet up with my brother

I go to the gym and the cinema

I have my own motorbike, Yamaha

My mobile is 098 724 5628

Beautiful Mexican Women And How To Date Them

Hello my name is Anna /

I have just turned 19

I’m studying chemistry

In my free time, I eat out I love hanging out with my friends

My blog is AnChem@wordpress

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Hello, I’m Carole

I’m 35 and a university lecturer

I’m really into reading

I hate playing sports I detest clubs and loud music

My fb page is CaroleCambridge.

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Hi, call me Sarah All right ?

I will be 24 next week

I work in a shopping mall

I go to work by bus

I love eating out. Chinese food.

My cell is 089 428 1015

Genomind Blog | teen girls

I’m Tammy

I’m sweet 16

Next year I go to university

I love sitting in the park, reading

I enjoy listening to music & singing

Email me on tam16@yahoo.com

Womens Soccer League / Soccer Girls USA

Hello everyone, I’m Jill

I’m 16 …. no, I’m actually 27

I play football in USA

I go to the park on foot

We eat at Mexican restaurants

My number is 555 207 8291

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Hi. You can call me Billie

I don’t want to say my age !

I am a professional dancer

My partner gives me a lift to work

I want to work in the theatre

Contact on billie09@gmail.com

Herr Deutschland is a Berliner - EXBERLINER.com

My name is Harry Brown,

I come from Berlin, Germany

I listen to music and play football

I love shopping with my girlfriend

I usually grab a taxi

My phone is 39 402 4951

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My name is Peter

I was born in France

I watch movies at home and read

I hate theatre, it is so boring

I always use Grabbike.

Facebook me Peter of Paris

Littératures internationales Littérature Livres en français African lady  Kenya crownhotel.com.vn

My name is Julie

I’m an actress and I’m 31

I love theatre more than cinema

I often hang out in the park

Call on 38 703 8946

Chinese Students Need Faith | Christian Reformed Church

My name is Eric

I am only 18

I love football and playing piano

I never read books or go shopping

My iPhone was stolen in the park

NB: all images are taken from Google searches, (including ‘royalty-free images’) and the information is purely fictitious. As I have readers from around the world, I wish to reflect this diversity in the photos.

These blogs are for education use, and are not monetised. No copyright infringement or personal offense is intended at all.

If I have included your image, please accept my sincere apologies, and I shall remove the picture.

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Describing people

27th May 2020

Adjectives to describe people

Bob Dylan Announces New Album Rough and Rowdy Ways, Shares New ...

What are your first impressions of the man above, Mr Bob Dylan. What do you think of first – his appearance or his personality ? Probably the way he looks.

First impressions count

Today we’re having an advanced class using new words and expressions to describe both the physical and personality attributes of famous musicians.

So, as a warm up, how would you describe Mr Bob Dylan ?

Start with his looks, which are more factual, though subjective (i.e. to some young people, he will look ancient, while to older people, he may look distinguished and wise).

Then, tell me what you think he is like. You probably don’t know Mr Dylan, personally, so you can’t say, “He is incredibly friendly,” or, “He is extremely stand-offish.”

Therefore, you must employ opinion phrases:

He seems to be …

In my opinion …

I don’t know him personally, but I would say he is …

However, would it surprise you to know that Mr Dylan won the Noble Prize for Literature in 2016, and that his music has been unbelievably influential all over the world ?

The many lives of Bob Dylan | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle ...
Mr Bob Dylan receiving an award from President Obama

Your Turn:

I will show you some photos of rock stars, and you will practice sentence building. tell me what they look like, and what you think they are like as people. Can you explain why ? Finally, to practice complex sentence, I will give you basic information, and you have to incorporate these facts into long sentences using discourse markers and relative pronouns.

New Vocabulary: Look up any words you don’t know

Negative

unreliable // aggressive // arrogant // dishonest // talkative // stingy // selfish // rude // nasty // lazy // over-rated

Very positive

inspirational // role-modal // intellectual // philosophical //down to earth // influential // under-rated

Adjectives to describe appearance

tall // giant // diminutive // medium height // average height //

fat // overweight // chubby // slim // thin // skinny // bony // anorexic-looking

blonde hair = fair // brown hair = brunette // red hair = redhead

hair – straight // curly // wavy // crew-cut (army, very short) // bald //

freckles // wrinkles // crow’s feet // scars // spots 

normal-looking // weird- looking // looks more dead than alive // bags under eyes

How would you describe these rock stars ?

David Bowie 1947 – 2016
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Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones born 1943
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Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead 1942 – 1995
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Dolly Parton born 1946
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Johnny Rotten (John Lydon) born 1956

Johnny Rotten, Real name John Lydon. Born 1956. Was in the Sex Pistols from 1975 – 1978. Formed band PIL. Changed name back to Lydon. Married Nora Forster in 1979. He was going to be on the Pan Am flight that crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland. He wrote a book, published in 2008.

John Lydon, who performed under the name Johnny Rotten while he was in the Sex Pistols from 1975 – 1978, is married to Nora Forster, and has been married since 1979. After leaving the Sex Pitols, he formed a new band, PIL, and had a book published in 2008. He escaped certain death by missing his flight on the doomed Pan Am flight that exploded over Lockerbie in Scotland.

Look at how much information I pack into the first, complex sentence:

Name – John Lydon

Stage name – Johnny Rotten

Band name – Sex Pistols

Time of band – 1975 – 1979

Marital status – married

Wife’s name – Nora Forster

How long married – since 1979

Now – how does he look ? Friendly ? Sweet and quiet ? What do you think ?

Make complex sentences:

David Bowie born 1947 and died 2016. Born in Brixton, south London. First big record was ‘Space Oddity’ in 1969. Record was in the Top 5. ‘Ziggy Stardust’ was released in 1972. It was incredibly influential. Many musicians say it is one of their favourite records. In 1976 he was in a film called ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth.’ In 1977 he moved to Berlin, Germany and made two important records, ‘Low’ and ‘Heroes.’ He was married to the super model Iman. She is Somali-American. Bowie made records up until his death in 2016. He died of Cancer.

Choose a musician; what do you think they are like ?

Which one would you like to meet, and why ?

Which one makes music you would like to hear ?

If these musicians are too old for you, tell the class about your favourite modern musician. Is it …

T-ARA sau 2 năm đóng băng hoạt động: người chăm chỉ đóng phim ...
CD9 (band) - Wikipedia
CD9 from Mexico
2
SANAM from India

Now, a last word from Neil Young:

KEEP ON ROCKIN' IN THE FREE WORLD Poster | Orange | Keep Calm-o-Matic

Young Learners, Level 3: Final Lesson

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:

Image result for viet flag
Image result for viet students

(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

Image result for uk flag

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOAtz8xWM0w

And now the Egyptian version:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yHbAhFnfrA

And then, time to hit the books. The workbook extends over three pages, so we’ll do a little, then check as a class. A fond farewell to a lovely class. Cam on 🙂