IELTS, Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Warm up conversation starters

9th October 2020

Sometimes students arrive at class after a long day, bereft of energy and motivation. In such situations, it’s best to hit the ground running, get them talking and ready for a lesson. This needs to be done before they pull out their mobiles and start concentrating on their cyberlife … after which time, they are lost to reality.

adults-casual-cellphone-1413653 - Study Finds

Therefore, before they can hit that ‘Post’ button, pair them up and make them ask each other various questions, demanding that the answers be as complex as possible, incorporating big words (‘Low-Frequency Words’), discourse markers and relative pronouns, along with appropriate expressions.

Example: Where would you most like to visit ?

Bad answer: Nowhere. Bad answer: New York.

Better answer:

Introduce your answer THEN state the location THEN explain why.

Ah, that’s an interesting question because I really need a holiday. However travelling now is not a good idea because of the COVID 19 which is an extremely serious pandemic. So, I have to think about after, when it is safe to go on holiday.

I have always wanted to visit Singapore, because it looks so clean and modern and, not forgetting, so many shopping malls. I love shopping, it is my passion. I would buy so many things such as clothes, makeup and presents for my family.

IELTS students should be able to add a number of idiomatic language to really spice up their presentation. I would expect to hear:

cost(s) an arm and a leg / prices (can be \ are) sky high / mouth-watering / world famous / ubiquitous / pristine / that’s a bit of a sore point (because we CAN’T travel) / such a wide array / shop till (I \ you) drop / overwhelming / spoilt for choice / retail therapy

Cheap Shopping Place in Singapore - Buy Souvenirs in the Bugis Street Area
Remember … there are some affordable shopping areas in Singapore although they tend to be away from the city centre but well worth a visit.

NOW … your turn

Questionnaire / Discussion

What kind of music do you like ? (do you play or listen ?)

Can you name any plays by Shakespeare ? (if not what writer do you like ?)

What time do you usually get up ? (weekdays and weekends)

How do you relax ? (do you have time or do you study, have family, work overtime ?)

Can you play a musical instrument ? (would you like to ? Why ?)

What skill(s) would you like to acquire ? (be creative here – what stops you learning ?)

What is the best thing about Sai Gon ? (or YOUR city)

However, this is not a one-way street. The person asking is expected to make small talk, to elicit – to encourage – the speaker to open up and expand on their answers.

Use small talk phrases such as:

Really ? That’s interesting // Tell me more // Why do you say that ? // Oh, me too // What do (did) you like best // Where is that (exactly) ? // I’ve heard about that // I haven’t heard about that, can you explain // Why do you say that ? // Oh, I get it // I’m not sure I follow.

And if your partner is stonewalling you (not talking), here’s a great idiom:

IDIOM OF THE WEEK: Cat Got Your Tongue... - Cairns Language Centre |  Facebook

Where shall we go ? Young Learners & Adult Speaking Class, Level 1

8th October 2020

Here are five famous sites from around the world.

What do you know about them ?

Taj Mahal reopens after three-month lockdown
Taj Mahal, India

7 different ways to see the incredible fjords in Norway
Fjord in Norway, north Europe
10 Best Malls in Singapore for an Ultimate Shopping Experience |  TheBestSingapore
Shopping mall in Singapore
How To Survive (And Enjoy) #Disneyland #california With A Toddler #usa  #disney via brunchwithmybaby.com | Disneyland trip, Disneyland tickets,  Disneyland rides
Disneyland, USA
Worldchefs Congress & Expo 2020 will take place in Sankt Petersburg, Russia
St Petersburg, Russia
Name
Which site do you want to visit most
Why ?
What is the weather like there (use adverbs)
What can you do there ?
What could be a problem ?

I would like to visit all the sites. However, if I have to choose one, I will visit St Petersburg in Russia.

St Petersburg is a very beautiful city, with many amazing buildings. The city is very famous, and I have read about it in many books.

I think the weather is quite hot in summer, and also it stays very light, even at night. However, it can be extremely cold in winter.

St Petersburg has so many museums and galleries. I want to see all of them. Also it would be fun to walk around and take many photos.

I don’t speak Russian so that could be a problem if people can’t speak English. Also, it may be extremely cold, so I will need a lot of thick clothes. Finally, I will need to buy some Russian money.

Beginners’ English Part 3

14th January 2020

Contents

Corrections

Introductions

Student questionnaire : What do you like, What does he like, she like ?

Vocabulary booster: likes and dislikes

What are they doing ?

Corrections

Correct all the mistakes in this piece of writing:

Every days I wokes up at between 6.00 am and 6.15 am. I always usually do the same thing namely get up, brush my tooth, put the kettle in and make coffee. Nowever, on last yesterday I getted up at 5.00 because I must to go to the airport to meeting my friend.

I had a hard time get a taxi because it was cats and dogs raining. On the airport there was so much people, all looking exhausted and depressed by the weather bad. I have never come on a plane without one time when I flyed to Ha Noi.

I seemed to wait forever for my friend. Maybe she had a problem immigration. But no I seed her and she looked very cute but also exhausted and also a little smelly.

She needed to freshen up after her long flight.

Instead of wenting to home, we came to a nice coffee shop with great coffees and good music and also so many people so we having to waited for a sit. The coffee made us to wake up so then we came to home but first she wants to doing some shop. 

I taked her to Diamond plaza and we saw many shops, a whole multitude of things to see and do. We saw beatiful ao dai from silk made but it was too very expensive; it cost a leg and an arm. So instead we did window shopper which is more cheaper.

It costs an arm and a leg = an idiom that means very expensive.

Introductions:

What is your name / What’s your name ?

What is your job ? What do you do (for a living) ?

Are you married ? Do you have any children ?

[Culture note – in English, we don’t ask people’s age. It is impolite.]

How are you ?

I’m very well, thank you

I’m great / I’m good

I’m so so / I’m OK / I’m not bad = depends on intonation

I’m under the weather (this is an idiom which means a little bit unwell)

[Culture note – in English, we always say ‘please’, ‘thank you’ & ‘sorry’]

Student Questionnaire

do / have / like / love

What does he / she do ? What does she / he love but doesn’t like ?

On Mondays I have / On Mondays he has / She has …

For lunch I eat / He eats / She eats …

What do I like to do ? He likes to / She likes to …

Lessons – I love / He loves / She loves …

I don’t like / He doesn’t like / She doesn’t like …

What do I do after school or work ? What does he do ? What does she do ?

Can I juggle 3 balls ?/ Can he ? / Can she ?

Can I sing a song in English ? Can he ? Can she ?

Which songs can you sing in English ?

Vocabulary builder:

Like – love / adore

dislike – hate / detest 

Note: hate & detest are very strong !

What do you like ?

Give me two examples of things you like, and two you don’t like.

Example: I adore dogs. I detest cold weather.

He loves … He hates …. They adore …

Use adverbs to make sentences stronger: 

I really like films OR I like films very much. I really hate karaoke !

NOT: I very much like films

Negative: I don’t like Karaoke very much. They don’t enjoy karaoke.

What are they doing ?

Try to build long sentences using the continuous verb (verb + ing)

Example: What is he doing ?

He is reading

The dog is reading

The small black and white dog is reading an orange book and smiling.

Now your turn. Match the picture with the sentences then add more information:

eating and talking / singing / playing / sleeping NOT working / drinking / walking / laughing

Adult Class, Level 3 (class 2): She said, she said.

7th October for 8th October 2019. AEF 8A (1, 5 & 6), pp. 74-75, 77

Sentence building – becoming fluent and coherent

Use

  • adverbs
  • adjectives
  • opinion phrases
  • linking words and discourse markers
  • new vocabulary

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

Ask

  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 Tap 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.

Image result for damn fine coffee

Before the exercise, elicit and board as many relevant words and phrases as required. The students have a discourse marker list, so I could insist that they use certain words (moreover, therefore, consequently etc). Additionally, I’ll need to explain vernacular phrases such as ‘kick back’ and ‘put my feet up’.

IF a student doesn’t like coffee, then they can say where they go and what they drink. IF they don’t go anywhere or like anything (yes, I have had that in a class), then they can explain WHY NOT!

Key vocabulary: ambience // aroma //atmosphere

Now, their turn; after this model, they must tell me about their favourite app on their phone. Give them five minutes to write a short piece.

Image result for iphone apps

After, the students can read to each other, and we can incorporate their answers into tonight’s grammar: reported speech.

For example, Ms Jane is speaking with Mr Tony:

Jane, “I really love the iTunes app.”

Tony, “Oh, for me, I prefer YouTube because I can watch music videos. I will send you a link to The Beatles.”

This is called direct speech. If I want to repeat what they said, I use indirect or reported speech. Look what happens to the subject and the verb:

Jane said that she really loved the iTunes app. (or She said she really loved …)

The subject changes from 1st person (I) to third person (she), while the verb alters from simple present to simple past.

What happens with Tony ? Look for the verb(s) then put them into simple past. Change pronouns to the 3rd person.

Now – changing reported speech back to direct speech.

He said the egg was perfect

(Change the past simple verb to simple present)

Now, here’s the actual quote (around the 2:28 mark):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crPVJ3CXs1g

This is one of my favourite clips about Sai Gon: Mark Weins eating a fairly typical Viet breakfast … but enjoying it SO MUCH !

Image result for mark wiens face

Student Survey

Student must ask three people, what they usually eat for breakfast, and drink, as well as where they eat; do they go out, or cook at home ? Following that, they have to report to the class on their findings, using reported speech e.g.

She said (that) she usually cooked at home, but occasionally ate out when she felt too tired.

Then we have the book work and grammar practice. To end, we can have an eyewitness game. Students work in pairs, one having their backs to the board. On the screen, I show a man or lady. The first student has to describe, in as much detail, what is happening and how the person looks. Give them a minute or two. Then, the second student must report to me what they have learnt. Finally, they are allowed to see the picture, to compare the reported speech with the actuality. Photos could include:

Image result for Hari won singing
Related image
Image result for boy eating chocolate cake
Image result for egyptian lady
Image result for laughing rabbi
Image result for sir alex screaming

Young Learners, level 2: Hello Dolly, this is Louis …

26th April 2019

A lesson plan for a very active, very loud young learners’ class. They are certainly a handful, but they are good at English; there is simply no way to control them for two hours. Just have to use their energy and make very kinetic lesson plans to keep the class occupied.

After break, we focus on book work and workbooks (though some students complete these at home, and I’m faced with ‘Teacher, finished !’). I insist on fast – finishers to say ‘Dear Teacher, I believe I have finished,’ while having a stack of worksheets at hand so they have something fun but educational to do while I check individual work.

This is for tomorrow afternoon:

Warm-up: Magic Bag. I’ll pretend to have various items of clothing in my bag. I’ll mime putting them on and the students have to shout out the answer. This reviews vocabulary from a previous unit.

Yes / No game. Can be very fun – I just ask the students questions and they have to answer within five seconds BUT are not allowed to say ‘yes’, ‘no’, shake or nod their heads and make any other yes/no word (yeah, naw etc).

Hello Dolly. For fun, and to expose them to some REAL music, they can listen to Louis Armstrong and try to imitate his unique voice. Points for the best version (s):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7N2wssse14

Run ‘n’ Write. The last weeks have focused on rooms in the house. I will ask in what room do we …

sleep

cook

watch TV

wash

Then, with the class in two or three teams, one member must run to the board and write the correct room. It can be made lively by assigned a colour marker to each team and hiding them around the room, or even outside the classroom (though security probably won’t care much for that).

Who has what ? Here I choose six students and give each a flash card which they show quickly to the class, then hide behind their backs. The class must answer but using the correct form of ‘to have’, i.e. He has a sofa, she has a computer. This is a fun memory game but also drills the third-person verb form.

Picture Description. I’ll show a picture and ask the class to tell me what they see, especially asking about relative positions, looking for ‘next to’, ‘behind’ and ‘in front of’. This is from the famous toy shop, Hamleys, in London.

Vocabulary boost. A quick game to review some recent words and their antonyms. I’ll board these words, the students have to write the opposite. For this, I’ll hand out small writing boards and they can work in small teams.

clean

quiet

polite

friendly

The class probably won’t know the last two, so it’s a chance to show how we form opposite words. I can follow this up by asking the opposite of happy, well, tidy etc.

Student Survey. These are a great way to get the students talking to each other. I prepare a short questionnaire, and they have to ask three other students the questions. These are based on today’s lesson of counting, and recycled vocabulary.

How many …. do you have ?

pens / books / brothers / sisters / pets / computers

After that, it’ll be break time, then book work … and then my day will be over !