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 2: Going shopping, looking for a bargain.

7th April 2020

A Guide For Shopping In Macau For All Shopaholics In 2020!
Shopping in Macau

This lesson aims to introduce students to a wider range of vocabulary, phrases and expressions, and then gives them an opportunity to role play and act out the language.

A plan such as this only works with motivated students, and can be very fun for both learners and the teacher.

Print outs or photos of various consumer items will enhance the lesson, but first:

vocabulary

SHOPPING

Which shops do you like and why ?

Use these words and phrases to help you write your answer: 

big, small, fresh, clean, cheap, expensive, near my house, convenient 

range of choice, quality, cost, location, crowded

store layout (what does it look like ? Is it easy to find things ?)

staff helpfulness: average (normal), exceptional, non-existant !

value for money (good quality at a good price)

bargains (good quality and great price)

waitrose-little-wimbledon-convenience-store-interior.gif 700×450 ...
Interior of a Waitrose supermarket in the UK
19 Things You Need To Stop Doing To Grocery Store Workers In The ...
Food shopping is not always a pleasant experience

Haggling

This is the practice of trying to get a better or lower price for an item. This doesn’t happen in shops, which have a fixed price, but is common, indeed even expected, in markets, depending on the location and culture. Be careful – too much haggling can upset the trader.

7 Tips on Haggling in the Arabic World | TravelGeekery
haggling can be an art – there are many guides online

Vocabulary: fixed price / negotiate / bargain / rip-off / no deal !

Expressions: I wasn’t born yesterday / you’re having a laugh !

[I will pre-teach these expressions in a class, but online students will have to look them up. If you ever need help, just leave a message]

Legian, Bali, Indonesia - August 13, 2018: Indonesian Souvenir ...
What do you think is meant by ‘GENUINE FAKE’ ?

Make a conversation:

One is a market-trader, the other a customer.

You can choose the item(s): watch, phone, T-shirt, food etc.

The language is informal, intonation can be strong but still be polite.

EXAMPLE:

Here, the trader sells ‘genuine fake’ sunglasses

Customer: How much are these sunglasses, please ?

Trader: Oh, those are genuine Gucci, made in France. I can let you have for the special price.

Customer: Gucci … really ?

Trader: Absolutely, look … it says ‘Guchi’ here. Try them on … they are perfect for you.

Customer: Hhhmmmm, ‘Guchi’ … OK, how much are they ?

Trader: To you, my first customer, special price. Only $50

Customer: Are you having a laugh ! I’ll give you $5 tops, no more.

Trader: These are genuine Gucci … OK, OK, just for you, $45. They come from France.

Customer: Gucci are ITALIAN ! What a rip-off. I’m out of here.

Amazon.com: Gucci Sunglasses GG 0448 S- 001 Black/Grey: Clothing
Genuine Gucci sunglasses

With a larger class, have three students selling the same type of item but in different setting, for example:

a department store,

Selfridges has just opened its Christmas shop 145 days early

a shop having a sale

Japanese department store makes grovelling apology after ...

and a street market

Brick Lane Market | London Guide | Qbic Hotel

To make it more realistic, the students have to alter their vocabulary to suit the store, that is, polite standard English for the department store, everyday English for the shop and more slang and idioms for the street market.

The items could include:

Handbags:

Beautiful weaved dried water hyacinth lady handbag for sale on the ...
Branded Luxury Handbag Women Bags Designer Handbag Logos Designer ...
Mumu Korean Back Pack Mini Sling Bag Sale Cute Bags Women Ladies ...

Set your own prices to reflect the realities of where you live.

Watches:

Street markets | Xian china | pbruch | Flickr
Mens Wooden Watches for Sale | COBB & Co. USA
Rolex 16233 - Buy and Sell used Rolex Watches and Jewellery in ...
A genuine Rolex

Young Learners, level 3: What’s the matter ?

12th August for Saturday 17th August. Everybody Up U3 L4

Lesson Plan:

Warm Up: Run ‘n’ write

Class into two teams, one has a red marker, the other a blue. One member from each team has to run to the board and write the name of a job, then the whole team has to say the complete sentence, e.g. Who fights fires ?

Students run to the board and write ‘fire fighter’, then their team has to say, “A fire fighter fights fires.”

Who … helps sick animals ? // makes food ? // sells things ? // flies planes ? // drives a bus ? //

Shop role play

To review recent vocabulary and to introduce some new words and expressions. Divide class into two, then sub-divide into three. Half of the class will be shoppers. They have to buy four items with a total cost of under $100. The other half will be

  1. A Department store
  2. A shop having a big sale
  3. A street market

To illustrate the difference:

Harrods of London. One of the most famous department stores in the world.
A Chinatown street market

The first students have to buy four items: a pair of shoes, a shirt, a dress and some sneakers or trainers. The prices in the three different outlets are:

Department store // On Sale // Street market

Shoes $75 // $25 // $15

Shirt $40 // $20 // $5

Dress $120 // $30 // $10

Sneakers $80 // $50 // $20

Some high-end items are:

The students take a board and go to the three outlets and ask the price of the items, “Excuse me, how much are the shoes, please ?” Upon being told they respond with, “Oh, no !”, “OK,” “Sorry, that’s too much,” or “Wow ! That’s a bargain.”

They return to the desks and report what they bought and where. Remember, they have to buy all four items and spend under $100.

Then the roles are reversed. The sellers become buyers, this time looking for:

Watch $5000 // $70 // $10

Backpack $70 // $30 // $15

Pen $120 // $20 // $1

Keyring $ 50 // $10 // $5

Target Language: What’s the matter ?

Here’s a linking song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olpHW1P43rg

How to be healthy – ask the students what people can do to stay healthy – such as eat healthy food, do exercise, not smoke, not eat junk food. Then show this famous clip. Ask what the man is doing and what will happen to him (start clip at 01.00 when he folds up the umbrella, and end around 01.46 on the Close-Up )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1ZYhVpdXbQ

What was the name of the song ?

What lyrics did they understand ?

It is now rainy season in Vietnam, so if we did this we would catch a cold.

What would happen if we … ?

were bitten by a mosquito ?
ate too much junk food ?
listen to loud and terrible karaoke !

The four illnesses are: cold // fever // stomachache // headache //

Choose four students and give them a a flashcard. They quickly show their card to the class, then the class have to say which student has which illness.

Then we can review language from a previous level. I will tell a student to act an injury. One student will say, “What’s the matter with him or her ?” Class has to shout out the answer.

The injuries can include hurt leg, hurt arm hurt foot or hurt hand.

Then book work, work books and work sheets. Then I check my street-market ‘Rolex’ watch, and the lesson should be over.