IELTS, Theme: Shopping

5th August 2020

A compilation of shopping activities to promote longer sentences, idiomatic language and fluency.

Exercise 1: compound nouns

Exercise 2: devil’s advocate

Exercise 3: role-play

Exercise 4: coffee in Saigon

Exercise 1: compound nouns to do with shopping

window shopping

binge shopping

bulk shopping

impulse shopping

dumpster diving

Match the compound noun with the photos:

Did the lady go out to buy this top or did she decide only when she was in the store ?

Vocabulary:

Prices are sky-high / It cost an arm and a leg /

marked down / on sale / discount / what a bargain !

I couldn’t resist it / I simply had to have it / retail therapy

Make sentences using some of the above language.

Talk about shops in your city:

Do people go dumpster diving ? Why or why not ?

Have you ever used retail therapy (buying something to make you feel happy) ?

Have you ever gone out to buy just one thing and come back with many items !

Does your husband/ wife / partner like shopping ?

Exercise 2: Devil’s advocate.

This is to develop argument skills, how to politely disagree with someone.

Example: one student wants to buy a beautiful, luxurious Rolex watch. It really is an outstanding timepiece:

Image result for Rolex

Without doubt, this is a luxury item. The pros

It is gorgeous and so elegant. I will feel so special wearing it. People will admire and look up to me. They will think I am wealthy and have a great career. I will attract many cute women (or handsome men). I may feel superior to other people who only have cheap watches or nasty fake knock-offs.

Now play Devil’s advocate. Say what are the cons of owning such an item.

Firstly, agree with the first student – it is without question a luxury item. Having said that …

It will attract attention … but maybe from thieves or pickpockets. It is a lot of money, maybe an obscene amount of money when so many people are poor. Can you justify owning such a materialistic item ? Will it make you arrogant ? Will you think you are better than other people BECAUSE of a thing ? Finally … what does it DO ? Fundamentally, it tells the time. My fake Rolex will tell the same time … but it cost $20 NOT $ 5 000 !

Now students’ turn. Similar concept but this time, the latest iPhone:

Image result for iphone 11

The iphone 11 (woooooowwwwwwww !)

One student wants to buy it, the other must give reasons why it is not such a good idea.

Useful phrases: 

a waste of money / not necessary // a fashion accessory // you can’t afford it //

How to Hire and Keep Quality Retail Staff - SBIA

Exercise 3 Role play game:

Three students will act out working in a department store, a shop with a sale on, and a street market. Other students have a set budget (say £100) and have to buy three items.

They can practice with the following language:

How much is this, please ? // Could you bring the price down for cash ? // Do you take plastic (credit cards) ? // If I smile, can you take off 10% ?

Wow, that’s a bargain ! // Sorry, that’s too much // Is that your best price ?

I’ll take it ! // Wrap it up ! // Let me think about it and come back // Sorry, that’s too much.

The items can be T-shirts, pens, bags, shoes, watches etc and the teacher can print out photos and hand them out.

Image result for van heusen shirts store
A department store selling expensive designer shirts
Image result for clothes on sale
Image result for london street market
London street market.

Exercise 4: Coffee in Sai Gon

Describe this picture; use adjectives and opinions.

Highlands Coffee has great coffee, air-con and free wifi. Having said that, the service is a little slow, there are no waiters and the cost is unbelievably expensive !

Vietnam is famous for coffee; coffee shops are ubiquitous. In fact, there are so many, it’s hard to see (difficult to understand) how they stay in business let alone turn a profit.

Be that as it may, let’s use this as a learning opportunity. To practice making longer sentences, and as a warm up exercise, the students can ask each other, “Where do you go for coffee ?”

Tips:

Don’t answer the question directly and immediately; Begin with a short introduction:

Sai Gon has so many coffee shops, some are cheap while others can be quite expensive although they have a wide range of delicious coffee. Personally, I like going to …

Then

Explain:

  1. How MUCH do you like it (adverbs) ?
  2. What kind of coffee (adjectives) ?
  3. What do you think about this ? (opinions)
  4. WHY do you like it (give reasons)
  5. Interesting words, phrases, idioms

Personally, I like Happy Coffee which is an independent shop where I live. I enjoy going there so much because the owner is very friendly and tries to speak English with me. There isn’t a lot of choice, so I order cappuccino with hot, fresh milk. In my opinion, it is good value and tastes delicious. What I like about the shop is the free wifi, the comfortable chairs and the atmosphere. Furthermore, it is usually very quiet and it therefore a good place to read. I love to put my feet up, kick back and sip my damn fine coffee.

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Leaving on a jet plane.

31st May 2020

Airport Dialogue Practice

A chance to get away, and practice everyday informal conversation at an airport.

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Grammar: I want to go on a holiday // I need to stop working for a while

subject + modal verb + infinite verb …

I + want / need + to go / to stop / to relax etc

Questions I've always wanted to ask a black person | tdhurst
Steve and Vic (Victor)

Steve and Vic are going on holiday. They are waiting for their plane (airplane / aeroplane)

Steve Finally, a holiday ! I need to get away from the city.

Vic City life is so stressful. So much hustle and bustle.

Steve I want to relax. Peace and quiet. No work, no traffic.

Vic What time is the flight ?

Steve Quarter past four. Gate B21.

Vic Where is the Duty-Free ? I want to buy some whisky.

Steve We can buy some after we’ve gone through security.

Vic Ok but first I need to find an ATM. There’s one over there.

File:Phuket-Thailand Internationaler-Airport-ATM-01.jpg ...
Colourful ATMs at Phuket Airport, Thailand

After they go through security they wait in the departure lounge.

Steve What kind of holiday do you prefer ?

Vic I enjoy activity holidays, but I prefer the beach.

Steve Swimming is great. I need to keep fit. Too much beer !

Vic What time can we board ?

Steve Let me see … We can board at quarter to four. Do you need sun cream?

Vic No, I have some in my luggage. Where’s the guide book ?

Steve In my carry on bag. Here. Singapore is going to be a big culture shock !

Vic The food, the language, the weather. How do we get to our hotel ?

Steve The taxis are outside the baggage claim, after we go through customs.

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The Merlion, symbol of Singapore

Adult Class, Level 3: Can’t buy me love.

14th November 2019 AEF 2A pp. 14 – 15.

Tonight, attitudes to money: What does the first singer think about money ? What is important in his life ?

Image result for beatles can't buy me love

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKfALmKL0VU

Now, compare with this attitude:

Image result for flying lizards money

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-P2qL3qkzk

The first song is romantic; the man doesn’t care about money, he wants love. However, the lady sings, “I want your money !” This is called being materialistic, wanting expensive things and money.

Vocabulary – p. 154. Verbs pertaining to money.

Activity. You inherit a small fortune and want to splurge out (spend a lot of money). Working in small groups, tell what how you would spend your luxury day.

Plan a luxury day

To develop narrative writing and speaking skills, use words or phrases such as:

Firstly // Initially // I would start // It would kick off with …

secondly, thirdly etc

after that // afterwards // following that // and then …

for a change // as a contrast// for a break // to take a break from all the …

lastly // I’d end up // I’d round the day off with

You could:

luxury breakfast // luxury spa treatment // horse-carriage ride

shopping // luxury yacht

See Barcelona play // Attend a play at a London theatre

OR add your own ideas

Where would you go ? What would you do ? What would you buy ?

Activity: Devil’s advocate.

This is to develop argument skills, how to politely disagree with someone.

Example: one student wants to buy a beautiful, luxurious Rolex watch. It really is an outstanding timepiece:

Image result for Rolex

Without doubt, this is a luxury item. The pros …

It is gorgeous and so elegant. I will feel so special wearing it. People will admire and look up to me. They will think I am wealthy and have a great career. I will attract many cute women (or handsome men, whatever !). I may feel superior to other people who only have cheap watches or nasty fake knock-offs – like Thay Paul 🙂

Now play Devil’s advocate. Say what are the cons of owning such an item. Firstly, agree with the first student – it is without question a luxury item. Having said that

It will attract attention … but maybe from thieves or pickpockets. It is a lot of money, maybe an obscene amount of money when so many people are poor. Can you justify living in a Socialist country and owning such a materialistic item ? Will it make you arrogant ? Will you think you are better than other people BECAUSE of a thing ? Finally … what does it DO ? Fundamentally, it tells the time. My fake Rolex will tell the same time … but it cost $20 NOT $ 5 000 !

Now students’ turn. Similar concept but this time, the latest iPhone:

Image result for iphone 11

The iphone 11 (woooooowwwwwwww !)

One student wants to buy it, the other must give reasons why it is not such a good idea.

Useful phrases: a waste of money / not necessary // a fashion accessory // you can’t afford it //

Image result for neither a borrower nor a lender be

Role play game:

Three students will act out working in a department store, a shop with a sale on, and a street market. Other students have a set budget (say £100) and have to buy three items.

They can practice with the following language:

How much is this, please ? // Could you bring the price down for cash ? // Do you take plastic (credit cards) ? // If I smile, can you take off 10% ?

Wow, that’s a bargain ! // Sorry, that’s too much // Is that your best price ?

I’ll take it ! // Wrap it up ! // Let me think about it and come back // Sorry, that’s too much.

Image result for van heusen shirts store
A department store selling expensive designer shirts
Image result for clothes on sale
Clothes on sale – ‘to clear’
Image result for london street market
London street market.

NOW – to make it more animated – the people working in the shops will no doubt be using different varieties of English. Let’s see if the students can alter their voices to portray an upper-class, well-spoken salesperson; a basic shop worker and a working-class street trader. I (old ham actor that I am) shall demonstrate. Yes, it’s not a conventional lesson but maybe the students will appreciate something different (even if the management don’t).

To end, I really want the students to gain confidence in speaking, so a lot of talking in small groups. I have various talking points they can discuss, and once they feel relaxed, we can play:

Just a Minute: students are given an open subject and must speak for one minute without deviation, hesitation or repetition. Other students time them and judge their performance.

Language review: students must give the correct word to a definition pertaining to tonight’s theme.

And then … take care, see you next week, later, dude !

Image result for lighting cigar with money

Adult Class, level 3 (class 2): expanding vocabulary.

30th August for 5th September 2019. AEF listening and grammar review.

Last week saw a lot of new vocabulary and some opportunities to practise using then in sentences. Now we need to reinforce these words, make them a part of their everyday lexicon.

From the warm up exercise, we used:

charismatic / contestants / convinced / empty-handed / entrepreneur / I’m out / in return / intimidating / represent / stain

Related image
From ‘The Social Network’.

From watching the Vietnamese beer review, we learnt more expressions:

Let’s dive in = let’s go, let’s start !

more than likely = everyday expression meaning very possible

whatsoever – used to strengthen a sentence (“The beer has no taste whatsoever.”)

head = the white foam on top of a beer

aroma – the smell, usually for wine or coffee

Quick warm up game: use those words in a sentence. Try to use extended sentences including clauses.

For example: As it’s the rainy season, it will more than likely rain tomorrow.

Now for a relative pronoun and supporting clause:

The young blonde entrepreneur, who was convinced his idea was genius, left the meeting empty-handed.

Students can work together to come up with three sentences including one with a supporting clause.

Quick grammar review – there were some concerns about using past simple and present continuous n the same sentence:

Were you wearing the new tie when you met the manager ?

Here, everything is in the past tense (were / met) BUT we use the continuous ‘wearing’ because we were doing something at that time. Furthermore, we only use one past tense verb (here ‘were’ serves as the first past tense verb).

Try these:

Did you go (swim) this morning ?

We ate pancakes and John was (talk) all the time

I saw a film and my girlfriend went (shop)

When did you start (learn) Mandarin ?

Then we covered some personality adjectives in an activity but time was against us, and we’ll carry on at the start of this lesson. I have five friends and the students have to guess their personality and occupation. Naturally, they don’t know them, so they have to use phrases such as:

In my opinion / for me / I feel that / he appears to be / I get the impression that he … / he looks like

Mark
David
Gavin
Richard
Simon

Personality adjectives: Positive – mature / reliable / dependable / confident / life and soul (of the party) / generous

Negative – over -confident (hubris) / aloof / arrogant / mean (nasty or not generous) / awkward / bossy.

Occupations: estate agent

Image result for estate agent

consultant (here the lady, who is of Asian origin, is a recruitment consultant).

Image result for consultant

plumber

Image result for plumber

therapist

Related image

bouncer

Image result for bouncer

Speaking practice. The handout is dialogue used in a coffee shop, which means I get to use one of my favourite clips, from ‘Twin Peaks’ :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxwcQ1dapw8

Related image
Agent Cooper in ‘Twin Peaks’.

To, to set the scene, maybe we need some background ambience. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOdLmxy06H0

Here’s a great chance to use words such as ‘aroma’, atmosphere’, ‘crowded’, ‘comfortable’, ‘free wifi’, and then types of coffee

And them onto today’s set lesson. If time allows, we can use some left-over activities from last week, namely the desert survivial:

Two teams, both have a number of items to help them survive in the desert after a plane crash. From the list of 18, they have to choose just 5. They must learn and practice negotiation language such as:

I see your point

I respectfully disagree

That’s an interesting choice, however …

You’re argument is not without value, having said that …

Activity – small talk. A list of general topics and the students have to try to keep the conversation going as long as possible. As with all speaking exercises, give examples or models first:

What do you do ? // I’m a student . // Really ? Where do you study ? What do you study ? How do you find you class ? What do you like best about your university ? What are the biggest challenges ?

To break up the speaking, we can use so real life listening. One popular clip is the foodie Mark Wiens eating eggs in HCM City: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crPVJ3CXs1g&list=PL97HViQblvdEM3zsauRxnIg1baFTNmsDM&index=20&t=1s

Or how to stay safe in HCM – advise from locals (in English but with accents and some grammatical errors) 

Image result for petty crime in hcm
Back of the bike tours – advise for travellers in Viet Nam

And that more than likely, should be enough work in spades !

Young Learners, Level 3: Let’s Work !

For Saturday 3rd August 2019. Everybody Up U3 L1.

WARM UP

Jobs song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nesqKP9-5c

This can be used to give some energy to the class (it starts at 7.40 am) as well as demonstrating how simple sentences are linked together. Students can practice:

who doyou see ?” as opposed to the general robotic, mono-toned, “Who do you see ?”

Five jobs were mentioned – which ones ? (students will be in small groups and given a writing board and marker). Then they will have to write where those people work – on the board I will write ‘airport’, ‘ship’, ‘school’, ‘fire station’ & ‘hospital’. Two people will run to the board and write where a pilot, a doctor etc works.

SHOP WORK – role play

In this activity, half the students are shoppers, the other are shop-keepers.

The shoppers will need to buy some three items: They can go to as many of the ‘sellers’ as they wish and ask for the food (this will be food from Unit 1, as well as stables such as rice, bread, cheese, eggs and milk.) If the seller doesn’t have the item they ask for, they have to move on to another ‘store’. The winner is the first team to complete their list. No doubt, the students will want to change roles.

In terms of language being produced, the students have to ask, “Do you have some or any …?” or “I would like (two) eggs, please.”

The sellers must answer, “Yes, we do, how much or many would you like ?” or “Sorry, we have sold out.”

REVIEW

How do I make soup ? First, I go to the shops and buy ingredients, next go home and clean them, then cook them and finally eat !

I want to study Vietnamese; what should I do ? First …

The man selling eggs is a little big. He needs to loose weight. What should he do ?

EXTRA VOCABULARY

Before the bookwork, pre-teach some adjectives that one would associate with various professions, such as:

busy

patient

intelligent

strong

hard-working

Five adjectives should be enough, and then repeated all lesson and over the coming lessons in order to help the students develop more colourful and interesting language (as opposed to an IELTS speaking test I recently monitored, where the only adjectives were ‘big’ and ‘nice’ despite the question asking the students to describe … but that is for another blog !)

And then we let the assigned book work take over, work book correction and handouts for fast finishers.