Thursday, 11 February 2010

Reading/ Writing - Secret London




One of my students in Buenos Aires was planning a trip to London so I found this list of things to do in London on the Timeout website. The list is a bit different from the normal touristy ideas - it feels more like a guide to 'Secret London' which gets the students interest. Endless vocab to explore too.

It's perfect for a skim reading exercise. Get your students to just read the titles and then to pick the ones that catch their eye. They can then read these in more detail and explain them to their group or the class.

For a follow-up you could get the students to write a secret guide to their city - get them to pick 5 things that you wouldn't find in the tourist guides.

More London lesson ideas to follow soon.

Things to do in London

1. Pre-brunch Bloody Mary

Start the day with a well-made Essex breakfast. Hotel bars are often a better bet as they’re usually quieter than your local boozer and house some of the city’s most artful cocktail makers. Try Claridges or the Coburg Bar at the Connaught for its relaxed vibe and comfy leather and velvet interior. Or for a more hardcore prescription, head to the excellent Providores & Tapa Room where the Bloody Marys are made with lemon, coriander and a devilish lump of wasabi. You have been warned.

2. Sun spotting in Hampstead

Nothing will make you feel better about crawling out from under the duvet than watching the sunrise over London, and there’s no better place to do it than Parliament Hill (although south Londoners will inevitably put in a claim for Greenwich). Once you’ve basked in its splendour – and if you’re feeling adventurous – it’s a short hop to Hampstead ponds for an invigorating dip.


3. Junk shopping in Holloway


Nag’s Head Covered Market on Seven Sisters Road (next to Morrisons) is a proper, rough-round-the-edges retail experience. It specialises in secondhand goods, so if you get there early, you can pick up bargains ranging from old vinyl to mostly working toasters.

4. Sunday service at St Martin-in-the-Fields

If you want to inject a little atmospheric worship into the proceedings, experience Holy Communion in the spectacular St Martin-in-the-Fields. Or for a reminder of London’s multiculturalism, visit one of the afternoon services for the Chinese community: at 1.15pm there’s a service in Mandarin, and at 2.15pm there’s one in Cantonese.

5. Get your heart racing on the river

The Nike Bridges Run is an informal group run around Battersea Park and Chelsea Embankment, suitable for all standards, with three- or five-mile routes. It’s a great way to train up to one of the regular 5k or 10k races held in the capital, or just to get your heart pumping so you’re ready to tackle the rest of the day. Run starts at 9am.

6. Instant karma in Holland Park

Head to the serene milieu of Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park. The bridge at the foot of a waterfall is one of the city’s most peaceful spots; the perfect place to atone for the night before.

7. Disco roast in Shoreditch

If you like your Sunday lunch with a side order of electronic music then head upstairs at the newly opened East Village where local DJs spin house, breaks, hip hop and funk tracks while hungry ravers tuck into fairly priced roasts.

8. Get steamed up in the city

Ironmonger Row Baths is a superb choice for those with a hangover. Inside, you’ll find a huge pool, Turkish baths, plus bodyscrubs and massages from £5 (Turkish baths and bodycrubs women only on Sundays).

9. Time travel in Kensington

Linley Sambourne House in Kensington, where from 1875 Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne lived with his wife and two children, provides a chance to visit a late-Victorian, middle-class home that has survived largely unchanged. Get down there and see how they used to do Sundays.

10. Art house cinema in Soho

Skip the latest Hollywood mush by taking in a double bill at the arty Curzon in Soho. On Sundays, talks and Q&As often follow films while swish snacks and continental lagers are served at the downstairs bar.

11. Get political in Westminster

The People’s Picnic is a weekly gathering in Parliament Square to demonstrate against the provisions of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 that restrict protest within 1km of the Houses of Parliament. Expect a diverse range of protesters singing songs, playing guitars and debating politics – and eating. It’s free to join in, so make yourself some cheese sandwiches, fill the Thermos with hot tea and get down there.

12. Take a climb in the Square Mile

The Monument is one of London’s most overlooked tourist attractions – a big advantage on Sundays when everyone else is cramming into the obvious museums. Nip into Sir Christopher Wren’s tribute to the Great Fire just before it closes, clamber up the 311 steps, and be rewarded with a giddying view across London.

13. Roller stroll on the Serpentine

Their team mantra is to put the ‘ha ha’ back into group skating. Sunday Roller Stroll sees up to 100 skaters meet on the east side of Serpentine Road and set off on a six- to eight-mile supervised roller hike around the capital. A new route is planned each week and can be viewed on their website. All welcome.

14. Ride London’s only steam railway

The museum is housed in a nineteenth-century pumping station and contains the famous Cornish beam engines, which used to pump west London's water supply. On Sundays you can ride the Hunslet steam locomotive ‘Cloister’.

15. Pay your respects at Kensal Green

Every Sunday you can join a fascinating tour of the first great London Cemetery at Kensal Green, final resting place of Blondin, Trollope, Thackeray, the Brunels and two children of George III. Tours on the first and third Sunday of the month include an exploration of the catacomb (under-12s not admitted).

16. Nose around a Georgian house in the East End


The special tours of Dennis Severs’ House immerse visitors in a unique form of theatre. Guests are escorted, in total silence, into candlelit chambers from which, apparently, their eighteenth- and nineteenth-century inhabitants have only just withdrawn. Powerful historical sensations and a family saga add up to a magical journey through time. Unsuitable for children.

17. Visit the Hoxton Pony about tea time

Cocktails in china cups? No this isn't Prohibition-era Harlem, it's just the way folk round these parts drink tea. As well as the self-cooling infusion jars dispensing 'tea', you'll find berry muffins, cinnamon cherry cake and, of course, an assortment of sandwiches. Served for groups of 4, 8 or 12, prices work out at £10 per head. Booking ahead recommended.

18. Play an indoor par four in Soho

If you don’t fancy trekking out to the suburbs for a game, Urban Golf in Soho may just be the future of city golf. Its hi-tech simulators let you play 50 of the world’s most famous courses without leaving W1. There are also lessons on offer, as well as food and drink, served in the ‘clubhouse’ bar.

19. Meet the folks in Clerkenwell

Live acts play a mix of country, Americana, bluegrass and bluesat this unashamedly folk-oriented Clerkenwell pub which hosts a folk night on the second and last Sunday of every month.

20. Heckle comedy legends at Picadilly

They may not be new to the London scene, but the Comedy Store Players are reliable friends when it comes to Sunday night entertainment. You’re guaranteed a beer-splutteringly hilarious demonstration of wit, improvisation and sheer silliness, featuring such towering figures as Paul Merton, Josie Lawrence, Neil Mullarkey and Richard Vranch (who may or may not be on piano). Best of all, the audience are positively encouraged to get involved (although if you decide to be rude, be prepared for some of the most ruthless heckle-repellers in the business).

21. Come down in Camden

Skinny-jeaned students descend upon the Lock Tavern en masse on Sundays, lured by the cosy black couches, warm wood panelling downstairs, the open-air terrace, decent hodge and the unpredictable after-party vibe.

22. Wet Yourself in EC1

Weekly after-party of dirrrrty electro, minimal and booty-shakin' bootlegs for the capital’s chemically inclined job seekers and footloose students.

23. Jazz on the Thames

Take in famous London landmarks on this atmospheric river jaunt where a three-course meal is served to the sound of old jazz hands playing Frank Sinatra and George Benson classics.

24. Find Jesus at Soho’s church of rock

Everyone is welcome to this weekly meet-up of God-botherers with the tortured souls of the capital’s goth, metal, doom and punk rock scene. Asylum Weekly Fellowship meeting has a strict no-preach policy and instead provides a forum to discus current affairs in a biblical context while occasionally throwing in some free (fair trade) scran, film screenings and live music.

25. Canal boat trip in Little Venice

Jason's Trip navigates the picturesque route along Regent's Canal from Little Venice, through Regent's Park, on to Camden Lock and back again. The boat is more than 100 years old and the trip, which includes a live historical commentary, has been a feature on the canal since 1951.

26. Picnic at Morden Hall Park

This beautiful former deer park and ancient hay meadow with an extensive network of waterways and impressive avenues of trees is perfect for family picnics. The old estate buildings house a National Trust information centre, a garden centre, and the Snuff Mill Environmental Eduction Centre (open Apr-Oct on the first Sunday of each month, with free family explorer packs available for loan).

27. Guided gallery hopping in the East End

Weekly walks providing guided tours of six to ten current exhibitions showing at the many galleries in the area. Saturday's walk starts at Contemporary Art Projects, 20 Rivington Street, EC2; Sunday's meeting point is VINEspace, 25a Vyner Street, E2. Organised by CommentArt.

28. Harrangue the masses in Hyde Park

A bastion of free speech and one of the capital’s most revered and eccentric attractions, Speakers' Corner is at its busiest on Sundays. Everyone from creationist despots, religious militants and emboldened socialists aim talk of revolutions and damnations at thousands of unengaged tourists.

29. Volunteer for The Food Chain

Started on Christmas Day in 1988, The Food Chain’s Sunday Meal service relies on up to 1000 volunteers to help provide free nutrition to house-bound people living with HIV in London. Help out as a cook, kitchen assistant or use your own car to deliver meals (expenses paid).

30. Organic food shopping at Farmers’ markets across town

Spend the day scouting for well-sourced organic produce at one of the capital’s handful of Sunday-opening food markets. Winner of a Time Out Eating & Drinking award 2008, Alexandra Palace Farmers Market has a mix of hot and cold food; try a juicy grilled sausage from the sizzling pig or coconut milk-basted Mozambican chicken from stallholder Zambeziana.

31. Play bingo with backpackers

Proper old fashioned no nonsense bingo night at a lively north London pub just off Edgware Road. Above the pub is a youth hostel popular with young travellers lured by the 20 per cent student discount on all drinks.

32. Bike Polo on Brick Lane

Take wry satisfaction from hacking the legs of Nathan Barley-type Hoxtonites every week at this urban bike polo meet-up at the top of Brick Lane from 1pm-7pm. Mallets and balls are provided so beginners need only bring a bike –although a heightened sense of irony is also recommended.

33. See world-class theatre on the South Bank

After some grappling with the actors’ union Equity, The National Theatre is piloting a season of seven-day programming from September to January 2009. Performances start at 3pm, but the building opens at midday, offering ample time to take a brunch of buttermilk pancakes, blueberries, roasted banana and maple syrup or eggs Benedict at the often impressive Mezzanine. Plus, £10 day tickets go on sale at 12pm, get there early for the sold-out shows.

34. Slurp oysters in E2

Start the day with a few well-sourced rock oysters served with fresh bread, Tabasco sauce and lemon juice, just a short walk from the bustling flower market on Columbia Road. This quaint back-garden set up can be found in the alley that connects Ezra Street and Shipton Street next to Jones’s equally inviting dairy store.

35. De-junk your house at a car boot sale

Join the scrum for a pitch or have a rummage around one of the capital’s handful of car boot sales. Battersea, Cuffley, Hatfield, Hewitts and Farm and Holloway are all open on Sundays and sell a mix of clothes, antiques, crockery and furniture.

36. Knitting in the West End

Sunday Knit Roast, a new weekly event from the folk at the well-established knitting club 'I Knit London' finds the capital’s glittering kniterati meeting at 12noon at different boozer each week for a sleepy afternoon of drinking, eating and, of course, knitting.

37. Free Brazilian dance lessons on Drury Lane

A Sunday institution named after northeastern Brazil's Euro-Afro indigenous rhythm and its distinctive, sexy dance moves. Get your grind on as Zeu Azevedo and Forrodaki band play live too. Get there early for free Forro lessons.

38. Get your skates on in Brentford

Take up inline skating in Brentford. The four-week beginners’ course will take you from the basics to expert moves. Private tuition is available or join one of their group meetings.

39. Play it square in Kennington
If it’s not raining, you should find a game of boules going on in Kennington’s picturesque Cleaver Square – an easy way to lose a few hours before dinner. The homely Prince of Wales pub provides refreshment for the athletes, with a great range of Shepherd Neame beers (Best and Spitfire among them) and a 16-bottle wine list.

40. Have you picture taken by a professional photographer for free

Prolific London-based photographer Seamus Ryan opens up his east London studio every Sunday and invites the nearby flower market revellers to participate in his ongoing art project, Sunday Shoots. All welcome and pictures of all participants can be viewed on his website.

Reading/ Writing/ Speaking - In Fashion



I found this article on the Guardian website and it works perfectly for a fun lesson. It's a fashion article about Topshop but written in the style of a break-up letter.

So you can take it in two ways. You can use the vocabulary from the 'letter' and get your students to write break-up letters. Keep it light-hearted - we don't want the class in floods of tears.

Or you can concentrate more on fashion. Below you'll find some key fashion voacb, some discussion questions and an idiom quiz based on phrases we use with items of clothing.

Reading Text

Sorry Topshop, there's someone else.

Dear Topshop,

I don't know how to say this. I can't believe I'm writing this letter. But, um, we need to talk. This is going to come as a bit of a shock – after all, we've been in love for five years, and since fashion years are like dog years – that means we were getting on for our golden wedding anniversary. But although I still love you, it feels like the spark has gone.

Also, please don't be upset, but there's someone else. Actually, it's a bit more complicated than that. For a long time, me and you – well, we've had something special. There were other labels on the high street I went to for other reasons – I could never resist Whistles and Reiss for sophisticated treats, or Cos and Gap for trousers and swish T-shirts – but when it came to the real pump-up-your-heartrate kind of shopping, the have-to-have-it-now fashion treasures that lift your mood faster than a tequila shot, I never had eyes for anyone else.

Then one day, I found myself in River Island. And then it was Asos.com, when no one was looking. And then New Look. And now Oasis.
I can't live a lie any more.

Looking back, I think perhaps the passion went out of our relationship when everyone found out about us. I remember when shopping at Topshop was a guilty pleasure, a secret that most people wouldn't understand. But all that changed when Kate Moss came on the scene. These days everyone knows, and all that excitement seems like another lifetime. I'm not blaming Kate, but if it hadn't been for her, who knows how differently things would have turned out?

Also, a girl needs to feel special, and it's hard to keep up a meaningful relationship when every shopping date is shared with approximately half of all the female tourists under 40 in the city at that time.

This doesn't have to be for ever. We could be like Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, and fall in love again. (Actually, reconciliations are going to be very 2010 – look at Jude and Sienna.)

I'm going to go now. I can feel I'm welling up, and I don't want to get tearstains on my new Oasis top.

xxx

Questions

What reasons does the writer give for falling out of love with Topshop?
What style is this letter written in? Consider the following phrases. When would you use them?

- I don't know how to say this.
- We need to talk
- It feels like the spark has gone
- There's someone else
- I never had eyes for anyone else
- The passion went out of our relationship
- I can't live a lie anymore
- A girl needs to feel special


Your Turn

Imagine you need to write a letter to your boyfriend/ girlfriend, explaining why you want to break up with them. Try and use some of the phrases from the text and consider some of the following points:

- Why are you breaking up with this person?
- Have they done something wrong?
- Have you done something wrong?
- Do they have any annoying habits?
- Is there someone else?
- Do you still want to be friends?
- Are there things you will miss about them?

Fashion/ Clothes Discussion

- Do you like shopping? If so, why? If no, why not?
- Who do you usually like to go shopping with? Why do you like to go shopping with him/her/them?
- How do you decide what clothes to buy?
- Have you ever bought something because it was fashionable? If so, what?
- What clothes are in fashion at the moment in your country?
- What do you wear for special occasions?
- Why are most of the models on the catwalks very skinny? Do you think fashion designers should use more 'natural looking models?
- Which countries have the best and worst fashions in clothes?

Fashion vocabulary

- Cutting edge design
- This season's look
- Up to date
- In fashion
- Out of fashion
- Fashion conscious
- Fashion victim
- Tight fitting
- Figure hugging
- Trendy
- Designer fashion
- High street fashion
- Haute couture
- Cut a dash
- Look the part
- Dressed to the nines/ to kill
- Mutton dressed as lamb
- Cat walk
- Supermodel


English Idioms Quiz - Clothing

Choose one phrase from group A and one from Group B to make a common English idiom. Then choose the correct meaning from Group C.

The first is done for you. To have ants in your pants is to be nervous or restless.

Group A
to have ants
to do something at
to hit below
to buckle
to be dressed
to fit like
to lose
to say or do something
to pull something
to tighten

Group B
in your pants
the belt
out of a hat
the drop of a hat
your shirt
to kill
down
off the cuff
your belt
like a glove

Group C
be nervous or resltless
lose all or most of your money
get something as if by magic or without any effort
insult someone in an unfair way
say or do something without preparation or impulsively
wear your best, most fashionable clothes
do something without waiting, immediately
live on less money, try to live spending less money
clothing that fits perfectly
give complete attention to doing something

Answers

to have ants in your pants
- be nervous or resltless

to do something at the drop of a hat
- do something without waiting, immediately

to hit below the belt
- insult someone in an unfair way

to buckle down
- give complete attention to doing something

to be dressed to kill
- wear your best, most fashionable clothes

to fit like a glove
- clothing that fits perfectly

to lose your shirt
- lose all or most of your money

to say or do something off the cuff
- say or do something without preparation or impulsively

to pull something out of a hat
- get something as if by magic or without any effort

to tighten your belt
- live on less money, try to live spending less money

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Listening/ Speaking - Bank Robbery



Ok time for a bit of fun with your students. I've used this with beginners and more advanced students and it works equally as well. They are going to enter the world of crime and plan a bank robbery! I find that they often come up with some very elaborate plans and it's great for teaching a wealth of vocabulary.

And what could be a more perfect set-up than using The Clash's classic track, Bankrobber as a listening exercise? Gap fill is below followed by the full lyrics and the role play.

Alternatively you can ask your students to come up with as many crimes as they can think of, board them and then ask them to put them in order of seriousness. An initial list is at the bottom of the posting.


Bankrobber - The Clash. Gap Fill

My Daddy was a __________
But he never hurt ____________
He just loved to live that way
And he loved to steal your ___________

Some is ________ and some is __________
And that's the way the world is
And I don't believe in lying back
And saying how bad your luck is

So we came to jazz it up
Never loved a _________
Break your back to earn your ________
And don't forget to _________

Daddy was a ___________
But he never hurt __________
He just loved to live that way
And he loved to take your __________

The old man spoke up in a _________
Said I never been in ___________
A lifetime serving one machine
Is ten times worse than prison

Imagine if all the boys in _______
Could get out now together
What do you think they want to say to us
While we were being clever?

Someday you'll meet your __________
Cause that's where we're spinning
There's no point to want to comb your hair
When its grey and thinning

Daddy was a __________
But he never hurt ____________
He just loved to live that way
And he loved to steal your ____________

So we came to jazz it up
We never loved a ________
Break your back to earn your ___________
And don't forget to __________

Get away, get away
Get away, get away
Get away, get away
Get away

Daddy was a _________
But he never hurt __________
He just loved to live that way
And he loved to steal your ___________

Run, rabbit, run

Strike out boy
For the hills
I can't find that hole in the wall
I know that they never will

Bankrobber - The Clash. Full Lyrics

My Daddy was a bankrobber
But he never hurt nobody
He just loved to live that way
And he loved to steal your money

Some is rich and some is poor
And that's the way the world is
And I don't believe in lying back
And saying how bad your luck is

So we came to jazz it up
Never loved a shovel
Break your back to earn your pay
And don't forget to grovel

Daddy was a bankrobber
But he never hurt nobody
He just loved to live that way
And he loved to take your money

The old man spoke up in a bar
Said I never been in prison
A lifetime serving one machine
Is ten times worse than prison

Imagine if all the boys in jail
Could get out now together
What do you think they want to say to us
While we were being clever?

Someday you'll meet your rockin chair
Cause that's where we're spinning
There's no point to want to comb your hair
When its grey and thinning

Daddy was a bankrobber
But he never hurt nobody
He just loved to live that way
And he loved to steal your money

So we came to jazz it up
We never loved a shovel
Break your back to earn your pay
And don't forget to grovel

Get away, get away
Get away, get away
Get away, get away
Get away

Daddy was a bankrobber
But he never hurt nobody
He just loved to live that way
And he loved to steal your money

Run, rabbit, run

Strike out boy
For the hills
I can't find that hole in the wall
I know that they never will


Role Play - Bank Robbery

You are going to plan a bank robbery! Discuss the following points in groups and make your plan:

- What roles which each member of the team fulfil?
- Where is the bank?
- How much money do you plan to take?
- What time of day will you rob the bank?
- How will you get into the bank? Is there a lot of security?
- Will you be armed?
- How will you make sure nobody gets hurt?
- How will you make sure you don't get caught? Will you wear a disguise?
- How long will it take?
- How will you make your get-away? Will you have a get-away car? Who will drive?
- Where will you go after the robbery?
- What will you do with the money?

Role Play - Some Useful Vocabulary

- Alarm
- Arrest
- Break-in
- Crowd control
- Diversion tactics
- Get-away
- Have-a-go hero
- Hostage
- Hold-up
- CCTV cameras
- Safe
- Security guard
- Weapon


Vocabulary - Crimes

Arson
Assault
Blackmail
Bribery
Burglary
Drug smuggling
Fraud
Kidnapping
Manslaughter
Mugging
Murder
Pick-pocketing
Robbery
Shoplifting
Terrorism
Theft
Treason
Vandalism

Reading/ Speaking - The World's Tallest Building




A lesson idea here using an article from the BBC about the opening of the world's tallest building. Lends itself well to a scan reading exercise before some more detailed questions and discussion points. All are below.

Then you've set the scene perfectly for the extended speaking follow-up where students have to set up a new society, build a monument, organise an opening ceremony and decide the laws of this new country. Never fails to get students talking.


World's tallest building opens in Dubai

The world's tallest building has been opened with a dramatic fireworks ceremony in the Gulf emirate of Dubai

The Burj Khalifa was revealed to be 828m (2,716ft) high, far taller than the previous record holder, Taipei 101.

Known as the Burj Dubai during construction, the tower has been renamed after the leader of Dubai's oil-rich neighbour, Abu Dhabi.
Last month, Abu Dhabi gave Dubai a $10bn (£6.13bn) bail-out to help it pay off its debts.

Construction of the Burj Dubai began in 2004, at the height of an economic boom.

Clad in 28,000 glass panels, the tower has 160 floors and more than 500,000 sq m of space for offices and flats.

The tower also lays claim to the highest occupied floor, the tallest service lift, and the world's highest observation deck - on the 124th floor.
The world's highest mosque and swimming pool will meanwhile be located on the 158th and 76th floors.

Technical challenges

The opening ceremony, held 1,325 days after excavation work started, was attended by some 6,000 guests.

Though not complete on the inside, it was officially opened by Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

In a surprise move he renamed it Burj Khalifa - after the president of the United Arab Emirates and emir of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan.

Sheikh Mohammed described the tower as "the tallest building ever created by the hand of man".

"This great project deserves to carry the name of a great man. Today I inaugurate Burj Khalifa," he said.

Sheikh Mohammed also unveiled a plaque inside the tower bearing the new name.

A dramatic fireworks and lights show took place around the tower while a screen displayed its exact height, which had previously been kept secret.
At 828m, Burj Khalifa dwarfs the 508m Taipei 101 and the 629m KVLY-TV mast in the US, the tallest man-made structure. Its spire can been seen 95km (60 miles) away.

"We weren't sure how high we could go," said Bill Baker of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the building's structural engineer. "It was kind of an exploration... a learning experience."

Mohamed Ali Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, the developer behind Burj Khalifa, told the BBC that the building's design had posed unprecedented technical and logistical challenges, not just because of its height, but also because Dubai was susceptible to high winds and was close to a geological fault line.

"We have been hit with lightning twice, there was a big earthquake last year that came across from Iran, and we have had all types of wind which has hit us when we were building. The results have been good and I salute the designers and professionals who helped build it," he said.

The design incorporates ideas from traditional Islamic architecture, while the open petals of a desert flower were the inspiration for the tower's base.
Burj Khalifa will be home to 1,044 luxury apartments, 49 floors of offices and eventually a 160-room Armani-branded hotel. Around 12,000 people are expected to live and work in the tower, which is part of a 500-acre development.

However, investors are facing losses even before the tower is completed because property prices in Dubai have slumped amid the global economic crisis.

Quick questions - scan reading. Only give your students a few minutes to find these answers before moving on to the comprehension questions

How tall is the tower?
When did they start building the tower?
How many floors does it have?
Which floor is the swimming pool on?
How many people were at the opening ceremony?

Comprehension questions

What is unique about this building? (give at least 3 examples)
What two things were revealed during the opening ceremony?
What problems have there been during the building of the tower?
What else has changed since construction work first began?

Discussion questions

Why do you think they have built the world´s tallest building?
Is it a waste of money or is it important that we have buildings like this?
Would you like to see the building?
Would you like to work or live in the building?

Creating a new society

This can work equally well with in groups or with just with one student. If you have a class then split them into groups and then they can present their ideas to the rest of the class. Each student gets a turn to speak as they need to explain what their role is in the new society.

The United Nations have decided to create a new country of 10,000 people. You have been chosen to organise this new society.You need to build a monument or landmark and decide the laws of this new country. Consider the following points:

- What is the name of this new country and where is it?
- You need to build a landmark or monument as a symbol of your new country - what will it be? What will it be called?
- You need to organise the opening ceremony. What will happen? What message do you want to send to the rest of the world?
- Who will be the President? What other roles do you need to assign?
- What will the official language(s) be?
- What jobs will there be for the new residents of the country?
- Will you encourage tourists to visit your new country?
- Will citizens be allowed to carry a gun?
- Will you have the death penalty?

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Listening/ Speaking/ Writing - Appraisals



A follow up here to the last posting on job interviews. If you want to carry on the theme you could look at job appraisals.

So instead of interviewing each other they are now reviewing each others' performance in their new roles.

Great way to start is with this clip from The Office, Keith's appraisal. Comedy gold but also useful as you can use David's template to get students to write their own appraisal forms.


As a listening exercise students must write down the three questions that David asks Keith, with the four possible answers.

Then in groups students can brainstorm some more - a few ideas below.

David Brent's multiple choice questions to Keith

To what extent do you believe you have the skills and knowledge to perform your job effectively?

Not at all
To some extent
Very much so
Don't know

Do you feel you have received adequate training to use your computer effectively?

Not at all
To some extent
Very much so
Don't know

Do you feel you are given the flexibility to decide how best to accomplish your goals?

Not at all
To some extent
Very much so
Don't know

Additional questions

To what extent do you feel you have good time management skills?

Do you feel you have achieved your objectives in the past year?

Do you think you have worked well in your team this year?

Do you feel you have improved your communication skills?

Do you think you have met your deadlines?

Have you always been on time for work?

Is your physical appearance in work satisfactory?

Do you feel your knowledge of your role has improved?

Have you improved your administration skills?


Role Play - Appraisal Time

- Split the class into 2 groups
- Students must remember/ write down again the jobs they were interviewed for in the last lesson
- Give Group A's jobs to Group B and vice versa
- Both groups need to write an appraisal form using the questions that they brainstormed earlier. Encourage them to also include some open-ended questions
- Once the forms are ready appraisals can begin with each student from Group A reviewing their counterpart in Group B
- At the end of the exercise switch the students around so they get a chance to fulfil both roles

NB Remind students that they can't take the Keith approach and say 'Don't know' to every question!
The students who are being reviewed must give examples to support their answers in the multiple choice questions.

Speaking - Job Interviews




Getting students doing job interviews in class is always a great lesson - organise it right and the students will get a lot out of it.

For an intro you can ask your students to brainstorm examples of the best and worst jobs.

Then you can elicit some typical job interview questions and answers. Some examples below - of course these are just a selection and are very generic. Clearly if you have students who are about to enter the world of work or who are thinking about changing roles you can go into more specifics about them and their strengths and goals.

Once you've done this you're ready to go and you can get the students interviewing each other for their dream jobs. Ideas for setting this role play up are below the Interview Q&A.


Typical Interview Questions and Some Possible Answers

Why do you want this job?

I feel that I could fulfil this role with distinction

I'm clearly the best person for the job

My experiences and qualifications make me the ideal candidate for the job

I've always been an ambitious person throughout my career and at this stage of my life I'm looking for a new challenge.

I've enjoyed my time at X company but now is the right time to move on

This seems like the logical next step

I'm ready to take on more responsibility


How long do you plan to stay in this position if you got the job?

I'm not looking to put a time-frame on it but I certainly see myself committing to this role for the next 3-5 years, maybe longer.

I'm keen to continue my career progression and I hope to do this within this company when the next opportunity arises.

Where do you see yourself in five years?/ What are your goals?

I see myself continuing to make strides within the company, enjoying further success, and further improving my professional development.

I'd like to have greater responsibility and become an integral part of the team.

I want to keep improving and learning and to maintain the progress that I've already made.

Outside of work I would like to run a marathon this year.


Are you a team player?

I've always enjoyed working in teams. For me job satisfaction is often about sharing success with your team. At the same time there are moments when I like to work on my own if I have a pressing task to complete.

Outside of work I have always enjoyed playing football and this has given me a strong appreciation of the need for a settled and balanced team.

Why are you leaving your current job?/ What will you do if you don't get this job?

I'm not unhappy in my current position and I'd be happy to continue what I'm doing for the time being. But after X years in this role I'm certainly ready to take the next step so I will be looking for further opportunities to ensure my career objectives are met.

The time is right to make a change. As you can see from my CV I have always been loyal to my employers but there are moments when you have to be selfish and do what's right for you.


What are your greatest strengths?


My time management skills are excellent. I'm organized, efficient, and take pride in excelling at my work

I have always hit my targets in work and exceeded the expectations of my manager.

I enjoy my work and when I walk through the door in the morning I always make sure I am focused, alert and in the right frame of mind. I've never had a problem with putting in the hours and

I find I can always find creative solutions to problems and to implement these solutions quickly and effectively.

And weaknesses?

I think I'm pretty self-aware and if I recognise that there is a part of my work that needs improving I am quick to address it. For example last year I felt my organisation skills could be improved so I devised a time management system which enabled me to work smarter and more efficiently.

Sometimes I can be too hands on during a project as I'm so keen to ensure it goes well. I have learnt over the past year to delegate more effectively and to trust my colleagues.


What motivates you?

I am motivated both by the challenge of finishing projects ahead of schedule and by managing the teams that achieve our goals.

I've always been motivated by the desire to do a good job at whatever position I'm in. I want to excel and to be successful in my job, both for my own personal satisfaction and for my employer.


How do you handle stress and pressure?


Stress is very important to me. With stress, I do the best possible job. The appropriate way to deal with stress is to make sure I have the correct balance between good stress and bad stress. I need good stress to stay motivated and productive.

I react to situations, rather than to stress. That way, the situation is handled and doesn't become stressful.

I actually work better under pressure and I've found that I enjoy working in a challenging environment.

Prioritizing my responsibilities so I have a clear idea of what needs to be done when, has helped me effectively manage pressure on the job.

How do you evaluate success?


Success for me is about setting short term and long term goals and achieving them.

It's also the personal satisfaction of knowing that a job has been done well. It's important to me that the whole team shares in this success.


Do you have any questions for me?


How will my performance be measured?

What are the career opportunities for me at this company?

Where do you see the company in 5 years time?


Job Interview Role Play

- Divide the group into two (preferably 2 equal sized groups)
- Students must then think of their ideal job and write it down on a piece of paper.
- Collect all the pieces of paper and then get students in Group A to pick one piece of paper from Group B and vice versa.
- All students now have someone else's job. Students in Group A will be interviewing first. So they must think up specific questions that they can ask during the interview (obviously there are different questions you would ask to a fireman than to a secretary) This is in addition to the generic questions you've already been through.
- Students in Group B will be interviewed for their dream job so they must think about the skills that are needed for this role so they are prepared.
- Once the prep is done the interviewing can commence. Important to monitor here to pick up on great examples of questioning or answering and to note any mistakes.
- You can then switch the groups so all students have practice interviewing and being interviewed.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Speaking - Do people resemble their pets? Part 2

Part 2 of the dog/ people look-a-like classroom exercise as promised. Say what you see folks.

You'd be barking not to use it...





Speaking - Do people resemble their pets? Part 1

Well they say that people look like their pets...and these photos definitely prove that!

This is a great filler exercise and perfect to get your students talking about physical descriptions/ facial expressions/ moods.

If you want to go more in depth then you can ask them what they think these people do/ their personalities/ what they like and dislike/ their relationships with their dogs etc etc

Part 2 to follow shortly...






Listening/ Speaking - Goooooooooooaaallllll!




A lesson idea here to whet the appetite before this summer's football World Cup in South Africa.

First up is a gap fill exercise using the video and commentary of the top 10 goals from the 2006 World Cup. This introduces them to the vocabulary you're going to get them to use later in the lesson. Video link is here

Then you can go through the vocabulary.

Finally there's the freer practice where they have to use this new vocabulary to describe some more famous World Cup goals.

Stay tuned for more sporting lessons.


Top 10 Goals Commentary - Gap Fill

1. Philipp Lahm

- And this is Lahm. Schweinsteiger outside him but Lahm here...ohhh what an __________!

- This is a _____________ opening goal of the World Cup.

2. Torsten Frings

- This is Frings who could try one from here. Ohhhh what a __________!

- Look at the way that ball moves

3. Tomas Rosicky

In towards Kohler...Rosicky...what a _______________ goal! There won't be many better than that in the World Cup!

4. Fernando Torres

- Puyol...it will fall back to him here and he looks for Fernando Torres...ohhh what a ___________ goal!

- That's just a __________ finish.

5. Steven Gerrard

- Gerrard...Ohhh...it's number 2. Steven Gerrard with a _________!

- _______________

6. Esteban Cambiasso

- And Riquelme...Maxi Rodriguez. Sorrin...Mascarano...Riquelme. Here's Ayala...they used to call him el Raton, the mouse or the rat because he was a speedy player. Passing like that of Passarella, what a good player he was. Ayala may have slowed a little bit, he's now 33, but he's still a massive world force. Cambiasso to Riquelme...here's Mascerano again, perhaps a fetcher and carrier in midfield, I'll be doing him a disservice though if I use that description. This is Saviola...______________ by Cambiasso...gets it back...and that's a ______________ worked second goal for Argentina!

- _____________, _________ goal.

7. Baxary Kone IC

- Baxary Kone...that's a very, very good _______...ohhhh...what a goal by Baxary Kone!

8. Deco

- That was a good ball to Figo...he has Nuno Valente in support with the dummy run...Figo's found Deco...and Deco has scored a ___________! That is ____________.

9. Joe Cole

- Crouch waiting far post...back across. Ohhh and Lampard was closing in there in the six yard box. It's come out to Joe Cole...there's the volley...ohhhh it's a ____________ goal for England!

- Well this is a moment that England supporters will look back on and say, 'I was there.'

10. Maxi Rodriguez

- Sorrin. That's a great goal! That is a __________ goal by Maxi Rodriguez! What a _________!

Top 10 Goals Commentary - Full Text

1. Philipp Lahm

- And this is Lahm. Schweinsteiger outside him but Lahm here...ohhh what an effort!

- This is a sensational opening goal of the World Cup.

2. Torsten Frings

- This is Frings who could try one from here. Ohhhh what a bullet!

- Look at the way that ball moves

3. Tomas Rosicky

In towards Kohler...Rosicky...what a scorching goal! There won't be many better than that in the World Cup!

4. Fernando Torres

- Puyol...it will fall back to him here and he looks for Fernando Torres...ohhh what a splendid goal!

- That's just a fabulous finish.

5. Steven Gerrard

- Gerrard...Ohhh...it's number 2. Steven Gerrard with a belter

- Unstoppable

6. Esteban Cambiasso

- And Riquelme...Maxi Rodriguez. Sorrin...Mascarano...Riquelme. Here's Ayala...they used to call him el Raton, the mouse or the rat because he was a speedy player. Passing like that of Passarella, what a good player he was. Ayala may have slowed a little bit, he's now 33, but he's still a massive world force. Cambiasso to Riquelme...here's Mascerano again, perhaps a fetcher and carrier in midfield, I'll be doing him a disservice though if I use that description. This is Saviola...flicked on by Cambiasso...gets it back...and that's a beautifully worked second goal for Argentina!

- Wonderful, wonderful goal.

7. Baxary Kone IC

- Baxary Kone...that's a very, very good run...ohhhh...what a goal by Baxary Kone!

8. Deco

- That was a good ball to Figo...he has Nuno Valente in support with the dummy run...Figo's found Deco...and Deco has scored a screamer! That is glorious.

9. Joe Cole

- Crouch waiting far post...back across. Ohhh and Lampard was closing in there in the six yard box. It's come out to Joe Cole...there's the volley...ohhhh it's a terrific goal for England!

- Well this is a moment that England supporters will look back on and say, 'I was there.'

10. Maxi Rodriguez

- Sorrin. That's a great goal! That is a fantastic goal by Maxi Rodriguez! What a hit!


Speaking - Be the commentator!

As an extended exercise, now the students have the new vocabulary (full list below), they can take it in turns to commentate on a game. Any game will do but I've found the BBC top 10 World Cup goals of all time. Make sure they deliver the commentary with enthusiasm and excitement - especially when the ball hits the back of the net!

Best ever World Cup Goals

Football vocabulary

Describing the action

Hit the back of the net
Put it in the back of the net
Net-buster
Great/ clinical finish
That is a sensational/ fantastic/ fabulous/ wonderful/ splendid/ terrific/ great goal/ hit/ shot
What a screamer/ belter/ scorcher/ bullet
Unstoppable (shot)
Hit the woodwork/ post/ crossbar
Well-worked
Send the keeper the wrong way
Wonderful/ flowing passing move
Mazy dribble
Left him for dead
Run the defence ragged
Pull off a save

Positions

Goalkeeper/ keeper/ goalie/ shot stopper/ between the sticks
Defence
Midfield
Up front
Left back
Right back
Wing back
Sweeper
Stopper
Centre Midfield
Holding midfielder
Attacking midfielder
Winger
Striker
Forward
In the hole
Poacher
Fox in the box
Substitute/ sub

Areas on the pitch

Centre circle
Half-way line
Penalty Area
6 yard line
Touchline
During the game

The game

Kick-off
Corner
Throw-in
Goal-kick
Penalty
Free-kick (direct/ indirect)
Half-time
Injury/ stoppage time
Full-time
The final whistle
Yellow card/ booking
Red card/ sending off

Pass
Through ball
One-two
Cross
Clearance
One touch football
Long ball game
Possession football
Counter attack
Put 11 men behind the ball

Shot
Strike
Goal
Own goal
Equaliser
(Finger-tip/ one handed) Save
Punch
(Diving) Header
Back-heel
Nutmeg
Flick
Tackle (clean, dirty, from behind)
Challenge (strong)
Clearance
Dribble
Hand-ball
Foul
Off-side
Obstruction

Reading/ Speaking - A Disappearing Act

Below is an article from the BBC about John Darwin - the man who faked his own death for the insurance pay outs - and how to disappear. Questions follow and then it's all set up for an extended discussion about what your students would do if they had to vanish without trace...

For an intro you could quickly ask your students for 5 things they would need to do if they wanted to disappear. Then they can check if their answers are included in the text (answers below). You could also pre-teach/ check some of the key vocabulary from the article...


Key Vocabulary

to fake
to vanish (without trace)
fradulently
incriminating
to make the headlines
hallmarks
elaborate
to track down
to trip up
money laundering
pay-as-you-go

Text

How to disappear without a trace


John Darwin and his wife Anne have been jailed after faking his death for £250,000 in insurance pay-outs. How and why do people go about vanishing?

John Darwin thought he could get away with apparently drowning in a canoeing accident, and starting a new life in a tropical paradise. A new life funded by a fraudulently obtained insurance payout.

He eventually admitted his deception after an incriminating photograph - which showed him very much alive and house-hunting in Panama - surfaced on the internet.

The man who came to be dubbed Mr Canoe isn't the first to fake a suicide in the hope of leaving his troubles behind him; former Labour Cabinet minister John Stonehouse's staged drowning in Miami made the headlines in 1974.

Others seek to wipe any trace of their whereabouts for their own safety, such as protected witnesses or battered women.

And the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic changed his name, occupation and appearance to avoid extradition for suspected war crimes.

He was captured in Belgrade after more than a decade in hiding.

Outside the system

Faking one's death is known as pseudocide. And a score of websites offer tips and hints on how best to vanish successfully - providing advice on how to cut family ties, sell possessions and start up a new business under an new identity.

But for Darwin to disappear for five-and-a-half years takes some doing, says Frank M Ahearn, an expert in the art of vanishing. A United States-based privacy consultant and "skip-tracer", he has tracked people down for more than 20 years.

The hidden room into which he would disappear when friends and family visited, the beard disguise and the false documentation are all hallmarks of an elaborate pseudocide.

But Mr Ahern says that Darwin tripped up by allowing his photo to be taken and posted online by a Panama real estate agent, and by acquiring a girlfriend.

"This may have put strain on the relationship between him and his wife. Therefore, his straying was a balloon waiting to bust."

Anne Darwin, who has been jailed for fraud and money laundering, told the court that she forgave her husband for having an affair.

But Nick Rosen, who runs the website Off-Grid to help people legitimately live outside the system, is amazed that Darwin wasn't caught earlier. His mistakes included returning home, and joining a local library - albeit under a different name.

"The one thing he did that was the right move, when he first disappeared he went to live rough in Cumbria for the first few weeks. Well away from CCTV cameras, using cash, not using cards."

Homeless helper

While what Darwin did was illegal, there are people who want to disappear for legitimate reasons, such as women fleeing abusive partners, business people in fear of kidnapping, and celebrities who want to avoid the media.

"Disappearing is quite different to announcing your death," says Mr Rosen.

As most people need a phone, the first step is to get a pay-as-you-go mobile - but acquiring one can be a giveaway.

"Go to a town you've never been to before, find a homeless person and get them to buy a pay-as-you-go phone so you're not caught on CCTV.

"The other thing is not to have anything to do with places where records are kept - so [pay by] cash, or barter. And if you have a laptop, use it outside places with wi-fi access that don't have passwords.

Mr Ahern adds that the internet has made disappearing easier.

"The internet can make a person virtual. You can open an IBC (international business corporation) and operate out of that."

This means no addresses for shareholders and directors need to be publicly listed, as required for a British-registered company.

"You can use 'black' credit cards that list no transactions, have a cell phone billed to anywhere in the world, own a virtual fax number that goes to an e-mail address and own property under a corporation."


Questions

How did John Darwin disappear?
Why was he eventually found?
What mistakes did John Darwin make?
Why is his affair described as a 'balloon waiting to bust'?
What advice is given in the text about how to disappear? Check them against your original ideas.

Advice given in the text about how to disappear

Don't have an affair
Don't return home
Don't let people take photographs of you
Don't join a library
Always use cash not credit cards
Go somewhere quiet that you've never been to before
Buy a pay-as-you-go phone (or get a homeless person to buy it for you)
Use 'black' credit cards
Get a virtual fax number


Discussion

Next week you have to disappear without a trace. You need an elaborate escape plan so that no-one ever finds you. Think about some of the following:

Why do you need to vanish?
Where will you go?
Will you change your appearance?
What will you need? How will you survive?
Will you tell anyone where you're going?
What will you do when you get to your destination?
Will anyone try to track you down? How will they do it?
How will you stop them finding you? What will you do to make you don't trip up?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of disappearing?

Speaking/ Writing - The Illusive Banksy

Pictures are a great conversation starter and these images of Banksy's street art work a treat in the classroom.

See below for the images and some suggested questions.

Aerosol cans at the ready...







Look at these images by the infamous and secretive street artist Banksy.

Describe what you can see in each of them.

What do you think about them? Do you like them? Are they funny/ offensive/ political?

Do you think there are any political or social messages that Banksy is trying to convey?

Some people have described Banksy's work as vandalism? Do you agree? Does his work encourage crime? Should this kind of art be banned?

Banksy has been able to keep his identity a secret. How do you think he has done this? Who do you think he is?

Can you think of examples of street art in your city or places you have visited? Describe them to your partner/ your teacher.

Writing exercise

Look at the image of the man hanging from the window. Make up a story about what happened before and what happens next.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Writing/ Speaking - Opening Lines

Ok time to talk books. See this link for the 100 best first lines of novels, as chosen by the American Book Review. I've picked out five of my favourites below for a very quick and easy lesson but with lots of legs. Choose these, choose your own...go for your life.

For an intro you can ask the students about the last book they read and what kind of books they like to read. You can elicit different genres of books - eg science fiction, thriller, romance etc - and talk about what qualities are specific to each genre.

Opening Lines

1. It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not. (Paul Auster, City of Glass)

2. If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. (J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye)

3.Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. (Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitutude)

4. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. (Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities)

5. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. (George Orwell, 1984)

Discussion questions

Do you know any of these famous opening lines?
Do you like them? Why/ why not?
Describe to your teacher/ partner what is happening in each of them in your own words
Is there anything unusual about any of them?
A good opening to a book makes us want to read on. What do we want to know/ find out after these opening lines?
What makes a good start to a book?
What makes a good end to a book? Do you like happy endings?


Follow-up activity

A variety of choices here for writing/ speaking exercises

Writing

Choose one of the openings above and write a short story about what happens next, including the ending

(If it's a group) Choose one of the openings above and then write down the next line of the novel and then pass your creation to the person next to you. Continue doing this until you have your original piece of paper again. Read out your story to your teacher

Write the first line of your new novel...then the last line...your partner has to guess what happens in between. The most interesting wins.

Speaking

Choose one of the openings above and tell your teacher/ partner what's going to happen next

(If it's a group) Everyone takes it in turn to say what happens next in the story until you have a complete story with an ending. Students can leave the sentence open for the next person to complete. eg 'He walked into the living room and he saw a...' etc

You get the idea, endless opportunities...alternatively you can use this exercise to practice specific grammar points...the choice is yours.

Speaking - Dragons' Den




Dragons' Den is now a popular TV show all over the world. And guess what? You can use the format for a winning lesson - I always find that it's great fun and the students really get into it.

So what do you need? Below is a brief explanation of the show, followed by a role play activity and the typical questions the dragons ask. Students take it in turns to be the dragons or the people pitching to the dragons.

Alternatively you can show them the 2 minute introduction to the show to establish the context. Video here. Full text below.

If you want a lead-in you can get the students to discuss in groups the best inventions of the 20th Century. Then they can compare their list with the British Science Association's one at the bottom of this posting.

Dragons' Den Introduction Video - Full Text

These are the dragons. The multi-millionaire investors on their way to the den. There tonight they will make or break the dreams of dozens of budding entrepreneurs and inventors.

- You don't have a business plan at all

- You need to close this down fast

- I'm lost for words, I really am

- Everybody's got the right to be a little wacky but I thinking you're abusing that right now

Together the dragons are worth over half a billion pounds. They're powerful individuals who've built up their own business empires from scratch.

So how did they make their fortunes?

Peter Jones' remarkable business career began when he was just 16 and set up his own tennis academy. Today his £250 million empire includes leisure, telecoms and media businesses.

Deborah Meaden made her fortune in the holiday and leisure industry in the West Country, where she's just sold a stake in one of her companies in a £30 million deal.

Glaswegian entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne is worth over £170 million and currently owns Bannatyne's health clubs, casinos and hotels.

Theo Paphitis made his fortune by buying failing companies and transforming them into thriving businesses, including La Senza lingerie, Partners and Ryman's the high street stationers.

Australian born Richard Farleigh made millions as an investment banker and hedge fund manager and is now renowned as a prolific investor in UK start up companies.

In the den the dragons are ready to back the right business with their own money but tonight will anyone persuade them to invest?

Explanation of show

People who come on the show 'pitch' their businesses ideas or inventions to five wealthy entrepreneurs - the Dragons.

They must state how much money they want from the Dragons.

In exchange they offer 'equity' in their business - a percentage which they can negotiate with the Dragons.

The Dragons ask them questions to decide if they want to invest

If the Dragons want to invest they make an offer. If they don't they say, 'I'm out''

Role play

Divide the class. How you do this depends on the number of students. You could have 2 groups - one group of dragons and one group of pitchers. Alternatively in a bigger class you could have 3/4/5 dragons and then have the remainder of the class in groups of 2. They can then take turns to pitch their ideas to the dragons and the dragons can decide on the best one. See below for more detail and some typical questions that the Dragons ask on the show.

NB Don't give the Dragons the questions straight away - let them brainstorm their own ideas first. Then you can prompt them if necessary.

Group A

- You need investment for your new business idea
- You need to come up with a business or invention that you will 'pitch' to the dragons
- You need to decide how much investment you need and how much equity (percentage of your business) you are prepared to give away
- You need to think about your idea - think about how you would answer some of the questions below
- At the end of the question session you need to decide if you want to accept any of the offers
- You can negotiate the equity you are prepared to give away with the dragons
- If you agree on a deal with a dragon, shake their hand

Group B

- You are the Dragons
- The other group will pitch their idea or invention to you
- You have to ask them questions about their product to check if it is a good investment for you
- Brainstorm some questions so you are prepared for the pitch
- At the end of the pitch each dragon decides whether to invest or not
- If you want to invest you can try and negotiate the equity (percentage of the business that you want for your money)
- If you agree on a deal say 'Congratulations' and shake them by the hand
- If you don't want to invest say 'I'm out' and give a reason why

Typical Dragon Questions

Why do people need your product?
What will you use the money for?
What is your target market? / Who are your customers?
Where will you sell your product? Will you sell it online?
How much will it cost to make?
How much will you sell it for?
How much money do you expect to make?
How will you market your product - advertising/ publicity stunt?
Do you have any competitors?
When will I get my money back?
Tell me about your background

British Science Association's top 10 inventions that changed the world

1. GPS Technology
2. The Sony Walkman
3. The Bar code
4. TV Dinners
5. PlayStation
6. Social Networking
7. Text messages
8. Electronic Money
9. Microwaves (not the ovens)
10. Trainers

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Reading/ Vocabulary - What's the weather like?

What would we talk about if it wasn't for the weather? I've always found that students love lessons on this topic and you can introduce them to a wealth of vocab and phrases.

So what have we got? For starters a compilation of articles about recent extreme weather around the world, taken from AFP, The Australian, The Guardian and the BBC. Comprehension questions follow.

Then there's the all important vocabulary...

...which you can test with the gap-fill at the bottom of the posting

Always take the weather with you...

Reading - Extreme Weather Articles

1. Cyclone Laurence lashes western Australia/ Raging bushfire in South Australia


SYDNEY — Tropical Cyclone Laurence ripped up trees and damaged buildings as winds of up to 215 kilometres (133 miles) an hour tore into the Western Australian coast, according to officials.

The storm had been at the highest rating of Category 5 when it smashed inland late Monday, battering the small communities of Eighty Mile Beach and Wallal in the resource-rich Pilbara and Kimberley region.

Sarah Edmunds, who lives on a cattle station south of the coastal resort town of Broome, described the overnight storm as "nerve-racking".

Bushfire

Chaotic scenes have erupted on the roads as residents battle to escape the approaching fire and sightseers clog the highway against advice from the Country Fire Service.

The fire has already burnt 509 hectareas of land, strengthened by 43 degree temperatures and strong winds.

The Country Fire Service (CFS) said there were unconfirmed reports that one house and one shed had been destroyed.

It said the fire was travelling in a southeasterly direction and warned local residents still in the area to stay inside their homes.

CFS crews are on standby across South Australia, facing hot, windy conditions with possible lightening before a trough from Tropical Cyclone Laurence moves through this evening, generating isolated showers and thunderstorms.

2. European weather deaths pass 100

More than 100 people have been killed in the cold snap across Europe, with temperatures plummeting and snowfall causing chaos from Moscow to Milan.

In Poland, where temperatures have dropped to as low as -20C in some areas, police appealed for tip-offs about people spotted lying around outside. At least 42 people, most of them homeless, died over the weekend.

In Ukraine 27 people have frozen to death since the thermometer dropped last week. In Germany, where temperatures have fallen to -33C in certain parts, at least seven people are known to have lost their lives in the freezing weather.

For millions of others across the continent, the cold snap has brought severe disruption, with flight cancellations and traffic jams thwarting pre-Christmas travel plans.

Airports were struggling to cope with icy runways, with Ryanair and Easyjet among several airlines to cancel some flights.

Roads were not exempt from the chaos. After a weekend that brought the heaviest snowfall in about 100 years, Moscow was gridlocked, with tailbacks snailing around the Russian capital.

Heavy snow and icy roads are causing chaos across most of the UK, where Met Office severe weather warnings are in place as the "deep freeze" continues.

Thames Valley Police said abandoned cars were causing an obstruction in the High Wycombe area.

All vehicles left on motorways overnight had been removed and owners must pay to get them back, the force said.

Reading Comprehension Questions

1. Why did Sarah Edmunds describe the cyclone as 'nerve-racking'?
2. What was the advice given by the Country Fire Service? Did people follow the advice?
3. Were the house and shed destroyed?
4. What have been the main consequences of the cold weather in Europe?
5. Why are the police appealing for 'tip-offs' in Poland?
6. Why do people need to pay to get their cars back in the UK?

Language analysis

1. Identify 3 verbs in the first text that describe the destruction of Cyclone Laurence
2. Identify 3 different ways of describing cold weather in the second text

Language Analysis Answers

1. lash/ rip/ damage/ tear/ smash/ batter
2. cold snap/ temperatures plummeting/ temperatures have dropped/ thermometer dropped/ temperatures have fallen/ deep freeze

Weather exercises - gap-fill for students

Use the following word and phrases to fill in the gaps (sometimes more than one answer is possible)

wintry
snowfall
biting
snowstorms
blizzards
sub-zero
cold snap
icy
freezing
white stuff
plummet

The Big Chill continues in Europe, with __________ temperatures and heavy __________.

The __________ temperatures and _________ conditions are causing chaos for people trying to get to work.

Many trains have been cancelled and buses are struggling to negotiate the ______ roads.

Weather forecasters are warning that the _________ will continue with further ____________ and ___________.

Tonight temperatures are set to ________ once again with ________winds.

But some people are enjoying the ___________. For children it means time off school and sledging and snowball fights.

Use the following word and phrases to fill in the gaps (sometimes more than one answer is possible)

umbrellas
heavens
drenched
claps
torrential
showers
thunderstorm
flashes
soaking
floods
rainfall

The _________ opened in Buenos Aires today as the city witnessed some of the heaviest _________ for years. Flash _________ were witnessed all over the city.

The ________ rain meant sales of __________ were booming, as people desperately tried to avoid getting ____________.

One ___________ wet woman described the scene as being like a 'monsoon'.

There were also reports of __________ of lightning and _______ of thunder during the ___________. Thankfully the forecast for tomorrow is for ____________ rather than more heavy rain.

Use the following word and phrases to fill in the gaps (sometimes more than one answer is possible)

sweltering
air-con
roasting
humid
milder
cool down
heatwave
burnt
beating down
hottest
sunbathers

Sydney is currently experiencing one of the ____________ summers in living memory.

The __________ conditions mean that people are staying indoors with the __________ turned to the highest setting.

The ___________shows no signs of abating and the situation on public transport has been described as 'unbearable'.

On the beaches the sun was __________ on the brave _____________, who were trying not to get _________

One resident of the city commented, 'It's absolutely __________...boiling hot every day and it doesn't even ______________ at night. We are all praying for some _________, less _________weather.'


Weather Exercises - Full texts

The Big Chill continues in Europe, with freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall.

The sub-zero temperatures and wintry conditions are causing chaos for people trying to get to work.

Many trains have been cancelled and buses are struggling to negotiate the icy roads.

Weather forecasters are warning that the cold snap will continue with further snowstorms or blizzards.

Tonight temperatures are set to plummet once again with biting winds.

But some people are enjoying the white stuff. For children it means time off school and sledging and snowball fights.


The heavens opened in Buenos Aires today as the city witnessed some of the heaviest rainfall for years. Flash floods were witnessed all over the city.

The torrential rain meant sales of umbrellas were booming, as people desperately tried to avoid getting drenched.

One soaking wet woman described the scene as being like a 'monsoon'.

There were also reports of flashes of lightning and claps of thunder during the thunderstorm. Thankfully the forecast for tomorrow is for showers rather than heavy rain.


Sydney is currently experiencing one of the hottest summers in living memory.

The sweltering weather means that people are staying indoors with the air-con turned to the highest setting.

The heatwave shows no signs of abating and conditions on public transport have been described as 'unbearable'.

One resident of the city commented, 'It's absolutely roasting...boiling hot every day and it doesn't even cool down at night. We are all praying for some milder, less humid weather.'


The Weather

Vocabulary and phrases

Hot/ Sunny

Mild
Humid
Warm
Boiling (hot)
Roasting
Searing
Scorching
Scorcher
Sweltering
The sun's shining
The sun's beating down

Cold/ Snow

Frost
Snow
Snowstorm
Snowfall
White stuff
Blizzard
Hailstone
Sub-zero temperatures
Below freezing
Chilly
Freezing (cold)
Wintry conditions
Temperatures plummeting/ dropping
Thermometer plummeting/ dropping
Cold Snap
The deep/ big freeze
The big chill

Wind

Light/ strong/ biting/ swirling wind
Blustery
Breeze
Gale
Hurricane
Tornado
Cyclone
Twister
It's blowing a gale
I got blown off my feet

Rain/ storms

(Light/ heavy) shower
Sunshine and showers
Drizzle
Torrential rain
Monsoon
Pouring down
Pissing down
Chucking it down
Hammering down
Raining cats and dogs
The heavens opened
Thunderstorm
Electrical storm
Lightning (flash/ bolt)
Thunder (clap)

General conditions

Bright
Clear
Cloudy
Overcast
Dull
Fog
Smog
Mist

Speaking - Hey how's it going?

Do you find that your students always greet you and each other in the same way? Something along the lines of, 'How are you?' 'Fine, and you?'

Well it's time to build up their repertoire and introduce them to the greetings people actually use in everyday English.

Below is a vocabulary list with some of the most common ones. See how many greetings and questions your students know first and then get them to match the answers to the right questions. Pronunciation is key here so keep an ear out. eg 'How have you been?' soon becomes 'Howya been?' in a normal conversation. [NB In subsequent lessons make sure you greet your students in a different way every time and encourage them to do the same.]

They can then practice having short conversations, using as many different openings as possible.

You could give them these short scenarios to help them along. Once they have perfected them they can say them in front of the class. The most creative and imaginative wins.

Conversation scenarios

1. Imagine you're two friends meeting each other in a bar. Say hi and have a quick chat about one or more of the following - last night's football match/ a programme on TV/ a film you saw/ a book you're reading/ a new band or song you love

2. Student A you have some big news to tell your friend - you're getting married!
Student B you need to offer your congratulations but you also want to make sure that your friend is making the right decision

3. Student A you have some gossip to tell your friend - you've seen two people in your office (who are both married) leaving work together a few times and last night you saw them in a pub together, laughing and joking and generally looking very intimate
Student B you work with Student A and you've noticed some flirting in the office but didn't want to say anything. But yesterday you 'accidentally' read an email between the couple that you can now tell your friend about

4. Student A - you've just returned from holiday. The weather was great but the holiday was a bit of a nightmare. It started when the flight was delayed and then it got steadily worse. Tell your friend what happened
Student B - ask the right questions and be sympathetic


Greetings

Hi
Hi there
Hiya
Hey
Hey there
Hello
Hello there
Alright (mate/ pal)
Morning
Afternoon
Evening
Top of the morning to you
Put it there
Good/ great to meet you
Good/ great to see you again
Long time no see
It's been too long

Questions

(You) alright?
What's up?
What are you up to?
What you doing?
How are you?
How have you been?
How's it going?
How goes it?
How you going?
How you doing?
How's things?
How's everything?
What's new?
What news?
What's happening?
How do you do?
How's your day?
All good?
What's cookin? (good lookin)
What's going down?

Answers

Good, thanks
Fine, thanks
Not (too) bad (not bad)
Alright, thanks
I'm ok
Doing ok cheers
This and that
Not a lot
No good
Same old (same old)
Pretty good
Not great
Can't complain
Couldn't be better
Could be better
This and that
How do you do?
Same (old) shit (different day)
I feel on top of the world
Fighting fit


Goodbyes

(Good) bye
Catch you later
See you
See you later
See you soon
See you tomorrow
Cheers for now
Til the next time
Take it easy

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Listening - Friday I'm in Love

A song is a sure-fire winner in the classroom and what could be better than introducing your students to the all time classic, Friday I'm in Love by The Cure.

Even better news is that the lyrics are clear enough for a gap fill exercise.

Surely you've got it on your iPod. If not get it here Youtube

Gap fill + full lyrics below.

And at the bottom of the posting is a fun exercise testing your students' knowledge of love collocations, followed by a discussion about chat-up lines.

All yours. Maybe do it on a Friday. Just a thought.


The Cure - Friday I'm in Love. Gap Fill


I don't care if Monday's ________
Tuesday's _________ and Wednesday ___________
Thursday I don't ________ about you
It's Friday I'm in love

Monday you can ____________
Tuesday, Wednesday break my ___________
Thursday doesn't even _________
It's Friday I'm in love

Saturday _________
Sunday always comes too __________
But Friday never __________...

I don't care if Monday's __________
Tuesday, Wednesday _________________
Thursday never ______________
It's Friday I'm in love

Monday you can hold your ________
Tuesday, Wednesday stay in ____________
Or Thursday watch the _________instead
It's Friday I'm in love

Saturday ________
Sunday always comes too _________
But Friday never ___________...

Dressed up to the _________
It's a wonderful ____________
To see your shoes and your spirits rise
Throwing out your frown
And just smiling at the __________
Sleek as a shriek
Spinning _____________ and ___________
Always take a big __________
It's such a gorgeous ____________
To see you eat in the middle of the ___________
You can never get ________________
Enough of this ____________
It's Friday I'm in love

I don't care if Monday's ________
Tuesday's _________ and Wednesday ___________
Thursday I don't ________ about you
It's Friday I'm in love

Monday you can ____________
Tuesday, Wednesday break my ___________
Thursday doesn't even _________
It's Friday I'm in love


The Cure - Friday I'm in Love. Complete lyrics

I don't care if Monday's blue
Tuesday's grey and Wednesday too
Thursday I don't care about you
It's Friday I'm in love

Monday you can fall apart
Tuesday, Wednesday break my heart
Thursday doesn't even start
It's Friday I'm in love

Saturday wait
Sunday always comes too late
But Friday never hesitate...

I don't care if Monday's black
Tuesday, Wednesday heart attack
Thursday never looking back
It's Friday I'm in love

Monday you can hold your head
Tuesday, Wednesday stay in bed
Or Thursday watch the walls instead
It's Friday I'm in love

Saturday wait
Sunday always comes too late
But Friday never hesitate...

Dressed up to the eyes
It's a wonderful surprise
To see your shoes and your spirits rise
Throwing out your frown
And just smiling at the sound
Sleek as a shriek
Spinning round and round
Always take a big bite
It's such a gorgeous sight
To see you eat in the middle of the night
You can never get enough
Enough of this stuff
It's Friday I'm in love

I don't care if Monday's blue
Tuesday's grey and Wednesday too
Thursday I don't care about you
It's Friday I'm in love

Monday you can fall apart
Tuesday, Wednesday break my heart
Thursday doesn't even start
It's Friday I'm in love

Love Collocations

Fill in the gaps with the words and phrases below:


has a crush
holiday romance
lovebirds
fall in love
unrequited love
love at first sight
love triangle
made for each other
love hurts
true love
Mr Right

1. Their eyes met across the dance floor. It was ______________

2. It hurts when the person you’re in love with doesn’t love you. _____________ can be so cruel!

3. He dated many girls, but he never found his ________________

4. Sarah and Paul are the perfect couple. They are just __________________.

5. Breaking up with someone can be painful. ____________

6. Veronica has finally met the man of her dreams. She is sure he’s ______________________!

7. They were like two _________________________ constantly holding hands and whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears.

8. It's a complicated situation. Mel is seeing Steve who is also dating her best girlfriend. It's a _____________

9. They met in Ibiza. They were only together for 2 weeks and then she had to go home. I guess you could say it was a __________________

10. They met one summer, ______________ and were married 2 months later.


Chat up lines

Discuss


Have you ever been chatted up in a bar or nightclub? What happened?
Do chat-up lines work?
Have you ever used chat-up lines? If so which ones?
What are the funniest/ best chat-up lines in your language? Translate them into English

Chat-up Lines

Read the following chat-up lines and discuss with a partner which ones you like and which ones you don't like. Practice saying them to each other (and how you would respond!)

If I said you had a beautiful body would you hold it against me?

Get your coat. You've pulled!

Is it hot in here or is it you?

Is your father a thief? Because someone stole the stars from the sky and put them in your eyes.

Do you have some change? I told my mum I would call her when I fell in love.

Did it hurt when you fell out of heaven?

Are you Jamaican? [No, why?] Because jer-makin-me-crazy

I seemed to have lost my number, any chance i could have yours?

Do you believe in love at first sight? Or do you think i should walk past again?

Excuse me do you know how much a polar bear weighs? [NO!] Me Neither but it broke the ice.