Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Grammar Review

20th May 2020

I usually start a class with a review or warm up exercise, so here’s a selection of short activities.

English School EC London - English Courses for all Ages

Subject:

Adverbs (frequency & probability)

For / since / ago / already

Past Perfect & Past Perfect Continuous

Phrasal verbs

Re-writing sentences

Quick-fire corrections

Verbs into nouns

Vocabulary booster

Adverbs

Notice how a native speaker will alter the sound of the adverb, from a high ‘always’ to a deep ‘never’.

Encourage the construction of sentences with this exercise

always

usually / often

sometimes

rarely

never

Subject + adverb + verb + object …. when ?

I always drink coffee … in the morning

I usually read books … after work

I sometimes go swimming … in the afternoon

I rarely study Vietnamese … ever

I never play music … late at night (OK, maybe sometimes)

NOW … Your turn

Have students work in pairs, making their own sentences. Weaker students can copy the examples, but stronger ones are expected to introduce different vocabulary.

Listen out for the final -s sound, notably in sometimes

Similarly, introduce adverbs of probability

definitely

probably

possibly

unlikely

definitely not !

It will definitely rain soon

He will probably be late tonight

I will possibly go shopping after class

It’s unlikely that he will play for Barcelona, ever OR He is unlikely to play for Barcelona, ever.

I will never go back to that terrible restaurant.

Past perfect simple

Past <____X________X__________Present_________>Future

Something happened before another action BOTH in the past

Sub + had + past participle : I had seen the film before I read the book

She had finished the test before I was even half way through it !

Had you visited the museum before Jane arrived ?

BUT there is a time gap

past perfect continuous

something was happening when another thing started

Sub + had + been + verbing // I had been playing games when he called

How do you Find the Best Video Games for your Child to Play
I was playing games AND THEN the phone rang.

You had been laughing until she stopped you.

No laughing matter: Critics and audiences debate whether Joker and ...

Had you been waiting long when she emailed you ?

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NOW … Your turn

Write sentences using the past perfect continuous for these photos:

Kids crash their parent's teleconference call - YouTube

Man on Skype … then his daughter walks in

SEAGULL ATTACK: Fury as angry seagull targets man because he's ...

Just looking at the church … then a bird attacked

for / since / ago / already

I have lived in HCM … 4 years // She has been here … 2014

We came here 7 hours … // They have … seen the film

Students – make four sentences, using the four words

Quick fire corrections

Maths is / are very exciting and beautiful. History is / are fascinating

There is not many / much space in my car. Mr James has much / many fb friends

Can you buy a few / some milk  and a few / some oranges ?

Rewriting sentences

Tony started in 2010. will By 2025, Tony will have been working here for 15 years.

Pam went to Japan and is returning in June. the It’s the second time that Pam’s been to Japan

I woke at 10am and have worked all day. will

By 6 pm, I …………………. for 8 hours

Julie has never seen Star Wars before.   the

It’s ………………… she’s seen Star Wars

Verbs into nouns

Assist / reside / help / inspire / exhaust / attract / repute / inhabit / enthusiastic 

One verb doesn’t change its form

Phrasal Verbs

Call in sick   //  call off // call back //   call out // calm down // take under consideration //     bottle up

Live up to //  look down on //  move out // move on up //   settle in // settle down // settle up //  start off

Students – use as many of these phrasal verbs as you can.

Alternately, hold a contest. Put class into teams. Give them a minute or two to do the activity.

Vocabulary booster

Students confused over Japanese school banning ponytails for ...
Is she about to fly soon ?

Anxiety   // eagerness  // enthusiasm // fear  // joy // optimism

The students are sure they will pass. There is a lot of …………

Flying can cause ……….

Horror films use people’s love of …..  to entertain

Can you remember the ……………… we had for collecting comics ?

Character or personality ?

Are they real people or characters in a film or book ?

Brad Pitt / Iron Man / Hamlet / Donald Trump / Ronaldo / James Bond

What Happens When an Assignment Is Unclear? | The Teaching Professor

Adult Speaking Class Level 2: Tell what you see.

21st April 2020

This blog is designed to help you with building longer sentences, and to promote the use of adjectives and adverbs. You will have to describe photos, explaining what you see, what is happening and how you react to them.

Photo ops

What is happening here ?

Try to write / say a paragraph about this photo.

What is happening ? Why ? What reasons do the police have ?

What is the phrasal verb? What is the police officer doing ?

Answer at bottom of blog

To extend your answer, describe what the people are wearing, how they look, the location, time of day etc. Give as much information as you can. You can arrange these in a complex sentence (two or more bits of information in one sentence).

EXAMPLE: The police officer, dressed in a light brown uniform, is stopping a motorbike which has three people on it of which only one, the driver, is wearing a helmet.


How would you describe the activity in this photo ?

What is the setting ? What is happening ? Who are the people ? What could they be discussing ?

In my opinion // I believe // I feel // (It) seems to me // I assume 

They look like // In my view // (He / it) appears to me // I imagine 

bring and buy sale

These are quite common in the UK. People try to sell unwanted items, and sometimes the money goes to a school, hospital or local charity. It is possible to pick up a bargain. Conversely, you can end up with a piece of old junk !

I picked it up at a bring and buy sale. 

I saw an old camera and thought it would work. However, when I tried it, nothing happened. I spent $5 and ended up with a piece of junk.

Have you ever been to a sale like this ? What do you have in your country ?

Pretend you have to tell a blind person about this photo – how would you describe it. Remember, also try to describe the atmosphere … it is quiet or lively, boring or exciting ? How do you think the people feel ?

Describe these scenes

The phrasal verb was ‘pull over’ – this is when a traffic cop (police officer) stops a vehicle in order to ask questions, or tell them they are doing something wrong.

In Vietnam, helmets are compulsory, furthermore, only two adults are allowed on a motorbike. Additionally, the driver will have to produce paperwork to show that she is allowed to ride a motorbike in Viet Nam … or she will be in deep water (a lot of trouble).

Adult Class, Level 3: Sentence building

15th December for 17 – 19th December 2019

Warm up. Describe what happens in this video.

How to ride a motorbike (?):

New expressions:

under the table (giving money to get something done quickly) / over the top (something that is too much or a person behaving too loudly).

In Asia, giving money under the table is, sometimes, the only way to get something done.

In USA many TV presenters are so loud, they are completely over the top.

Building longer sentences:

Make these simple sentences into a longer piece by using discourse markers, adjectives and adverbs and opinion phrases:

I work at ATS. My job make me tired. I have many projects to do. My co-workers are nice.

Relative pronouns– who (person), which (thing), where (place). 

Adverbs– add information

Opinions– I feel, I believe, in my opinion, from my point of view. 

Discourse markers – although, despite, however …

ATS, where I work, can be extremely tiring because there are many projects which, I feel, are very challenging. Having said that, there are many wonderfully friendly colleagues who make me feel happy.

Write a short piece about your school, university or work:

Sentence building:

although / despite / albeit

Can be used like ‘but’ and ‘however’. .. sentence structure may need to change:

Peter likes driving although he hates traffic. ONE sentence

Although he hates traffic, Peter loves driving. TWO clauses

King BBQ is very good albeit very busy NEVER starts a sentence

Despite being very busy, King BBQ is great. NOTE despite + verbing

King BBQ is great despite being very busy (or costing very much / having no beer.)

We love our jobs despite the fact that we have to work long hours.

Write longer sentences using albeit, although or despite.

T_ara are adorable. Their music is nothing special.

Vietjet is cheap. The flights are frequently delayed.

Korea is beautiful. The weather can be cold. (Also add adverbs)

Rolex watches are astronomical. They are good quality

Image result for vietjet advery girl"

Music vocabulary:

Image result for types of music"

rhythm / beat / melody / production / arrangement / vocals / lyrics / solo

singer / vocalist /lead guitarist / rhythm guitarist / bass / drummer / keyboards backing singer / orchestration

Genres (types of music): pop / rock / country and western / punk / classical / jazz blues / opera / R ‘n’ B / techno / rap

What kind of music do you like ? Ask your classmates, and try to keep the conversation alive for as long as possible. You can say what genres you like, then give examples of artists and special CDs or records. How do you buy music, how do you listen to it (computer, CD, iPhone, MP3 player ?) Do you play an instrument ? Would you like to play something ? Do you ever go to concerts ?

Phrasal verbs:

give in / turn off / start off / put out / cut down/ cut out/ put up with

1 I’m working too much, therefore I must _________ on my hours.

2 You can’t smoke here ! ____________ that cigarette.

3 We have to _________ so much noise and dirt here in Cat Lai (industrial area).

4 I always __________ to my wife when she demands something; it is easier !

5 Time to knock off. Before you go, make sure to _________ your computers.

6 For health reasons, my doctor advised me to _________ fatty food.

7 The film ___________ great, but soon became too complicated.

Speaking practice:

Image result for job interview in cairo"

You are at a job interview and have to introduce yourself. Start by giving some facts, your educational background and how long you have worked in your current/ present job. Describe your personality and finish by saying what you like to do in your spare time.

Example:

I was born in …. and I graduated from …. University in 2019 with a major in Business Administration. Since then I’ve had two year’s experience in administrative work at ATHA and followed that with a stint in SLH Corporation.

I’m a very organised person, well-balanced and efficient. I’m hard-working and dedicated.

In my free time, I like to travel and I love to paint. In addition, I enjoy going out and having coffee with friends. I also support Barcelona and enjoy playing badminton after work.

Vocabulary booster:

I live in a:

 quiet, residential street. Peaceful at night.

lively and busy commercial area, many shops

dirty and dusty industrial part of town. Very noisy.

My home is a / an:

apartment and I live alone

rented room share with friends

house live with family

pros and cons – advantages and disadvantages

adverbs of degree (very, extremely, incredibly, remarkably, unbelievably) 

I travel to work by:

Motorbike. It’s quite / rather far and extremely stressful.

Use Grabbike. It’s very convenient albeit rather expensive.

On the bus. Although it’s incredibly cheap, it’s not very pleasant.

Idioms and expressions

At work I find myself doing the same thing day in day out. It’s tedious.

Learning English is, for me, easy, a piece of cake. It’s very important and fun.

In my free time:

I enjoy watching films and playing sports. I am competitive !

adore hanging out with my friends and family.

love shopping. I can spot a bargain and I hate being ripped off !

Learning English:

in my opinion, is vital for the future. It’s imperative we learn.

is a necessary task. It’s awkward and frustrating, but I need it.

is highly enjoyable and relaxing. I love to improve my mind.

The War Remnants Museum is

Image result for war museum saigon"

extremely popular with tourists, a major attraction in the city.

well laid-out and organised. The exhibits are fascinating.

very sombre and thought-provoking. Well worth a visit.

educational and essential. We can discover much there.

not suitable for children, though I would recommend it to adults.

Increase your word power

Part 1: Match the basic words with others of similar meaning

For example boring = tedious

interesting / on time / forgetful / live (I live in) / smart (clever) / get (by hard work) attain / absent-minded /fascinating / punctual / intelligent / reside

Part 2

unhappy / honest / not often / tired / place / reliable // exhausted / seldom / miserable / trustworthy / dependable / environment

Part 3

small or unimportant / try / make / great / happy / not nice / / endeavour / jovial / prepare / insignificant / nasty / brilliant

Practice:

John is so forgetful; he is _______________

German manufacturers are reliable; they are ____________

The increase is very small; it is _______________

The plane was on time; the service is very _____________

She is so clever; she is very ______________

Now make sentences with the new words. Put class into teams and they have to make sentences with five new words e.g. (for example):

After studying for three years, John attained his BA Degree.

Use these phrasal verbs in new sentences – BUT in the past or continuous tense.

give in / give up / put up with / put off / take off / start off

New Vocabulary

passive smoking 

nightmare situation 

how can I put it ? 

a fair comment ? 

peer pressure ? 

emulate

inconsistent

willing = happy to do something

luke-warm

concise = short and to the point.

sneaky = crafty, cheeky 

I am __________ to help you with your homework.

Please be short and _________ when you give a speech.

The audience was only _____________ after the band played.

People can get cancer just by _________________ .

I have so much work to do and have a meeting with my boss; it’s a ______________

Speaking skills:

Image result for london metro newspaper"

Discuss a news story from today’s ‘London Metro’ http://metro.co.uk/

The ‘Metro’ is a free newspaper, available at stations and main streets in many cities over the world.

Adult Class, Level 2: Making your mind up !

27th May 2019

Tonight is a new class, a block of four lessons, and phrasal verbs dominate the session – they almost take over. These, like idioms, can be very confusing for a learner, yet are an integral part of everyday English. Don’t give up, keep on trying and you’ll pick it up in next to no time.

First, as a warm up, we’ll go over some recent lessons and see how much of the lingo (slang for language), the students have picked up. They recently had a lesson about choice, confusion and making decisions … or not making decisions. Being unable to act, or to decide is known as procrastination … and is a flaw in one of Literature’s most famous characters, the prince of Denmark; I’m referring to none other than Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This quote may be familiar …

Shakespeare is a world-famous writer, and a great example of British culture … but what about Vietnam ? If I wanted to read some classic Vietnamese texts, what would the students suggest ?

The task is for the students, in small groups, to decide upon one suggestion for each of the following.

To begin with, the Great British seaside. the sun rarely peeks out so when it does, we rush off to the seaside. What can you see here:

Blackpool, a famous seaside town in north England.

The seaside is associated with building sandcastles, donkey rides, deck chairs, paddling, pier, sun cream and ice cream. I want to visit a typical Vietnamese beach town. Where is the best … and why ?

Now, seasides and travelling help us build up an appetite … so what to eat ? What do the students think of a traditional British breakfast (not that I’ve ever eaten one ! It’s not exactly vegetarian-friendly) ?

Again, I want to try a traditional Vietnamese breakfast. What should I eat, where should I go, what should I drink ?

Now, being British, and a teacher to boot (as well), I enjoy a beer (or two …). Here’s a typical British pub:

I’m not sure such places exist in Vietnam, but what do I know ? Maybe the students can help me ? Where could I go to drink beer and which is the best Vietnam brand ?

This is just a quick game to occupy the first part of the lesson (while students are still arriving). Let’s keep the theme of being decisive, tied in with phrasal verbs. We’ve had Shakespeare and ‘high’ culture; now it’s time to be more ‘popular’. British people over a certain age and yes, that includes me, will recognise this number (slang for a song): The music doesn’t start until around the 0:30 mark.

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

This is a famous song that won a contest back in the day (when I was younger). See how many phrasal verbs there are in the lyrics (words of a song).

Then we can go to the desert survival game :

Desert survival

You need to select five items below to help you survive in the desert.

Factors to consider:

food, drink, heat, cold, injuries, attracting attention, wildlife

First aid kit / matches / rope / knife / compass 

cigarettes / blankets / barrel of water / flare gun / torch

magnifying glass / Beatles CD / make up set / dried food 

grammar study book / Angry Birds game / air rifle / sun block

Negotiation language

I see your point but … that’s interesting, however …

I’m not sure about that I can’t go along with that 

I don’t feel that is entirely right / I fail to see the merits

I respectfully disagree / I find your contention somewhat flawed

The students, first in small groups, then as a class, have to decide upon five items to help them survive in the desert. Some items are multi-purpose, for example, a CD is useless in terms of listening to music, but the reverse could be used as a mirror, to reflect the sun, while the sides are sharp and could be used for cutting. Cigarettes are loathsome and not usually associated with long life … however … in the desert, they could save your life. Snakes hate cigarette ash so, at night, light the tobacco and sprinkle the ash in a large circle, then you can safely sleep inside.

And then time to hit the books.

The early bird catches the worm … do the students understand this saying ? What do they think it means ?

To end the lesson, we could try a Family Fortunes game … in small groups, I ask questions and require four answers. They will usually be about me, for example, what four instruments can I play, what four sports do I do ? which four places have I been to in Vietnam, what do I like most about Vietnam, etc ….

And … not forgetting … what quote from Shakespeare do they know ? And they’re not going home until they say it.