Phrasal Battleship

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Here we go again…Those stupid phrasal verbs that we all hate! This time, I have created the phrasal battleship for one of my Skype students. After 2-3 hours straight of planning, my brain was completely out of ideas. So I asked myself…What can two people play that doesn’t require face to face interaction? Battleship is the first thing that came to mind. But this game can be played perfectly in class as well (that’s the version I will explain in this post).

Here are the 3 boards I created:

battleship-board-1

battleship-board-2

battleship-board-3

How to play it:

I suggest you use this game to reinforce the phrasal verbs you have already taught your students. Here is a list of all the phrasal verbs covered in this game: phrasal-verb-list

Pair up your students. Give a board to each student (make sure they don’t get the same one). The students have to hide their board from their partner. Then have them take turns creating phrasal verbs using a verb from the vertical line and an adverbial particle for the horizontal line. They must form a sentence with the verb each time. The partner looks through his board and crosses out the verb on his board. If it is  box that has a boat on it, the student informs his partner by saying “hit”, otherwise he says “miss”.

If an entire boat has been hit, the student should say “you´ve sunk my battleship”. There are 4 boats to sink on each board. I suggest you have your students use the list of phrasal verb from above to make sure they don’t “invent” new phrasal verbs.

It took me quite a while to create the game and several drafts to make sure the combinations worked. So I hope your students enjoy this activity and stop hating phrasal verbs (we are all dreamers right?!).

 

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The Best Way to Improve Your Pronunciation Alone!

It can be quite difficult to learn and practice English on your own, and even more if you are studying at home and not in a school or an academy. And I would say that the most difficult thing to improve on your own is pronunciation!

But there is a solution that I think you will like because it’s easy and convenient!

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What you need:

  • A smartphone
  • words/sentences to practice pronunciation with (tongue twisters for example)

How to do it:

Basically you need Siri or the alternative versions that you find for Microsoft or Android phones. You have to set it to English though, otherwise it just doesn’t work.

Once it is set in English, just practice reading and saying things to Siri. The advantage is that it shows what you said on the screen and if you say it incorrectly Siri will tell you that he/she didn’t understand and you will be able to see what words are problematic for you when it comes to pronunciation.

And that’s it! Of course, a proper teacher that can personally correct your mistakes is always better but this is the closest alternative I have found so far.

 

You should also check this Youtube channel English With Lucy. It’s run by a friend of mine, who is also a teacher and she creates great videos for English learners. The videos are short, funny and you can usually add subtitles! Go check out her channel and tell her I sent you.

Here is one of her videos on pronunciation (I though that would be pretty appropriate right!?).

 

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Intermediate Crossword on Food

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I created an intermediate crossword for you all today!

Here is the crossword itself: food-vocabulary

And here are the answers: food-vocabulary-answer-key

There is a little hidden word in the exercise. Actually it is two hidden words. Once you have finished the crossword, take the first letter of all the words you wrote. Those letters need to be organised in the correct order to create 2 words. Those words are what I like doing best on Friday night!

 

Let’s see who gets it…

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Original things to do in Seville

If like me, you are an expat that has been living in Seville for a bit, you have done all of the touristy-typical things to do in Seville. The Cathedral, the Jardines de Murillo, the Real Alcázar, parque Maria Luisa or Plaza de España are things you must visit or see if you live in Seville.

Which I did. But then, whenever you look for new ideas of things to do in Seville, it’s always the same that is suggested.

So I have come up with a little list of nice/fun/cheap/expensive/romantic/original things to do in Seville. Oh, and by the way. Nothing in this post is sponsored, I just loved those activities so much that I decided to share them with you.

1 – Cubiqum – Do you know escape games? There is a place in Seville (very close to Nervion Plaza) that has 2 escape games waiting for you! I tried it last  weekend and it was really fun. Basically you accept to be locked inside a room for exactly 1 hour. The goal is to escape and accomplish your mission at the same time. You have to act like a true detective, follow clues and rely on team work. This really is a fun activity to do with friends but also family as kids as young as 9 can participate. It is not scary and everything is designed to require only brain power (vs physical). It’s 50 euros for the hour but it’s worth it!

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2 – Regina – This cookie place on calle Regina near the Setas is definitely somewhere you need to go if you haven’t been there yet. The shop assistant is nice and foreigner friendly but even more, the cookies are to die for. And even more is they are right out of the oven.

3 – Aire Sevilla – Arab baths…sounds relaxing right? Well it is. It’s situated in a little street near the cathedral. They have many treatments you can book with the regular baths circuit. You can enjoy different bath temperatures, Jacuzzi and salty water while appreciating the atypical interior of the place. It is VERY clean (they provide showers, little slippers, bath robes and hairdryers!). It’s also mixed so you can go with a group of friends, you partner or even your parents when they are visiting (did that). I strongly recommend the 30 minute massage as it comes with an additional bath stop on the rooftop of the building with amazing view of the Giralda.

4 – La Torre de los Perdigones – A little bit of culture is nice too…even more when it is cheap. This is situated in Macarena, not too far from the river. It used to be a pellet factory but it is now a darkroom. It is 4 euros and you get to see the city in a way you never have before. The dark room mechanism (which is manual by the way) is explained to you before the guide takes you on a “virtual” tour of the city. And there is a bar at the bottom of the tower in case you need to wait 30 minutes for the next session.

5 – Moon Korean Restaurant – That’s quite yummy! We usually think of Chinese or Japanese restaurants but Korean should definitely be an option to consider. Moon is situated in Avenida Mendez Pelayo, near the Jardines de Muriño. First, the food was just great. Second the staff were very nice and helpful when it came to explaining how to eat certain dishes. And finally the price is absolutely decent.

6 – ARCA Sevilla – Let’s give back to the world through puppy love! This is an animal rescue centre that welcomes volunteers everyday. A lot of the work consists of playing with puppies and kittens. They also need host families for short periods of time, while the animals wait to be sent to their final family (usually in Germany). You can just say how long you can host the little fur ball and host it for that period of time. It’s win-win right? You get puppy love and it gets human love, food and shelter.

7 – No Veas – That was great. It’s a restaurant where you eat in total darkness. You cannot see a thing and therefore have to guess what you are eating and drinking. The waiters and the chefs are blind so they really know how to guide you and give nice little tips to manoevre in the dark. The staff are also very foreigner friendly. There are 3 different menu options ranging from 35 to 75 euros, depending on how adventurous you are. It is indeed a little pricey but the experience really is unique and fun. I won’t tell you anymore than that because the fun part is to discover it yourself.

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8 – Tiger – Not as thrilling as the other suggestions, Tiger is still a great shop to have a look at when you are bored. I know of 2 shops, one in calle San Eloy in the centre and one in Nervion Plaza. You can find everything and anything in there. I found many little presents to fill my Christmas stockings and materials to use in class at Tiger. And also…it’s super cheap!

9 – Re-read library – Situated on calle Amor de Dios, that library sells second hand books for peanuts. You can find books in Spanish, English, French, German, Italian as well as a few other languages. The Re-read library is a nice place to kill time.

10 – “The cheese place” (is what I call it) – Unfortunately I do not remember what it is called but it is situated on Calle Arrayan. It’s a fairly small shop that sells French cheese as well as a nice selection of other French specialties. You can either buy the cheese to take it home or accompany your cheese with a nice glass of French wine while sitting in one of the booths. And the staff are really nice despite (I am French so I am allowed to say it!) being French!

 

I have tried all of those activities except from the animal rescue centre which was mentioned to me by a friend of mine.

Tell me which of those 10 ideas you have tried and which ones you preferred!

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Idiom in I – Icing on the Cake

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This is a cute little idiom that has a similar meaning to the “cherry on the cake”.

What it means:

The icing on the cake refers to that little extra that makes the whole thing even better than it already was.

When to use it:

I sometimes use it to encourage my students during the speaking for example. Imagine Fulanito did a little presentation and there were very few mistakes. I could say “well done, almost no mistakes, and the icing on the cake…you used connectors!”.

Other interesting idioms in I:

In a flash – very quickly, immediately

In cahoots – This means that you are in an alliance or partnership…but that you probably are up to no good!

In the red – when your bank account is empty or under 0…like at the end of every month for example.

Idiom in H – Hit the Nail on the Head

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Here is a new idiom that could come in handy.

What it means:

It means to do something correctly and efficiently.

When to use it:

Use it whenever you want to point out that somebody did something right or made a relevant, funny comment. For example, imagine that you are learning how to play chess. You make a very good move. Your chess partner could say that you hit the nail on the head with that move.

Other idioms in H:

To have a go – to try something

To hit the road – to leave a place to go somewhere else

Hot potato – a controversial topic that nobody wants to deal with

High Basic Reading Activity – The Afterlife

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Photo taken at TEFL International Seville

Hello students and teachers!

Here is a quick reading exercise that will help you (or your students, if you are a teacher) improve your reading skills.

Firs read the text: afterlife-text

Now have a look at the vocabulary list and learn the words you didn’t know : afterlife-vocab

And here is a little quiz to test your understanding of the text: afterlife-quiz

Good luck!

 

1 Hour Basic Lesson – Technology

Hi guys! Today, I am sharing a lesson I created while I was getting certified at TEFL International Seville. It was designed as a one-on-one lesson but it can of course be tweaked and adapted to  bigger groups.

(Here is a photo of me teaching that exact lesson 2 years ago! Once again I have a weird face…)

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This lesson is topic based (technology) and might require a tiny bit of preparation but then it is reusable!

Some of the activities could be done separately and I suggest you have your students watch The Matrix (do it like I suggested in my Movie Club post, it’s a nice little intro to the class).

Here is the lesson plan you can download and another document that you could use for the lesson.

technology-lesson-plan

tablet-template

Please don’t hesitate to comment and like the blog but also My Little English Page on Facebook and Instagram!

 

10 Great Speaking Activities

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Photo taken at TEFL International Seville

Here are some of the activities that I play with my students in conversation class. Most are originally intended for my upper intermediate-advanced students but they can all be easily tweaked down.

  • The Expert Game

T writes original job titles on pieces of paper (sushi expert, horse jockey, flight instructor, broker…).

One student picks a paper. Then he sits in front of the classroom. The other students have to ask that first student questions. He must answer as if he was an actual expert. The student has to last 3 full minutes. All students get to go and at the end they should all vote who they thought sounded the most like an expert.

  • Prioritise

Teacher writes the following things on the board:

-splits the bill

-talks about his mom

-keeps looking at his cell phone

-talks a lot about ex-partner

-keeps sunglasses on inside the restaurant

-is rude to the waiters

-doesn’t leave a tip

-shows a photo of his collection of figurines.

-has salad in his teeth all night

-had stains on his clothes when arrived.

Now tell your students that those are some of the things that can repel a woman on the first date (you probably have some students in the class that are male so tell them to either think of the worst things they could do or to step in a woman’s shoes). The students will individually organise those things from bad to the worst.

Then students pair up and have to come up with a new list that they both agree on (there will be a lot of debating going on). Then put 2 pairs together and so on until the whole class agrees on the same list.

  • Dinner Table

T writes the following job on the board:

-pet psychologist

-pet food taster

-hunter

-housekeeper

-broker

-golf ball diver

-Bed warmer

-professional queuer

The students now have to debate how to seat those people at the table. The students work in pairs and then discuss what each pair did.

  • Question Tic Tac Toe

Teacher draws a tic tac toe board and writes a number on each of the boxes. Each number is then given a word to form questions (1-what/2-where/3-why/4-how often/5- who/6-when/7-whose/8-how/9-do)

The students work in pairs and every time a student draws a cross or a circle, he/she has to ask their partner a question that starts with the corresponding word.

Review how to form questions if necessary.

  • Tell Me How to Draw it

Each student needs to draw a little drawing. Teacher pairs the students up. They are now going to instruct their partner on how to draw their picture without showing it. The students are only allowed to use geometric shapes to describe, no normal words allowed.

  • The Time Capsule

This can actually be done as a real project (probably with kids though). Teacher tells the students that they are going to bury a time capsule. 5 items will be placed in that capsule and it will not be opened for 20 years. In pairs, the students have to come up with 3 items they think represent the beginning of the 21st century best. Each pair should have a go at presenting what they would choose and explain why. Everybody then gets to vote the 5 best items.

  • The Definition Game

Teacher tells the students to look for an interesting word (they can use phones or dictionaries if necessary). They write the definition on a paper as well as 2 other invented definitions. Then they present to the class and the rest of the students get to guess what they think is the real definition.

  • Crazy Inventions

Teacher shows the crazy invention pictures. In pairs, the students choose one to present as if they had designed that product (if your students are more advanced, don’t let them choose…randomly give them one). They must invent a slogan, a name and a little advertising blurb. Then the students come to the front of the class and present. At the end, the whole class votes which one was the best.

Here are some examples of crazy inventions that I found on the internet.

  • The Movie Scenario

Teacher needs to give each student 3 little papers.

On paper 1 they write a number, an adjective on paper 2 and a noun on paper 3. The put all the paper 1 together, all the papers 2 together and the 3 together.

Teacher now puts the students in pairs. They are going to take a paper from each pile. Whatever they picked up is the title of their latest movie. They must write the plot of their movie and then present it to the class. The students can vote whether they would like to watch that movie or not.

  • Whose is it?

Teacher gives each of the students 2 little papers. On one of the papers, they write the thing they like the most in the world. On the other paper, the thing they hate the most. Teacher collects all the little papers in a box/hat/container (I have seen other teachers do a paper fight instead, could work nicely with kids). Each student randomly takes 2 new papers.

The activity can be done 2 different ways. The longer version would be to tell the students to ask each other questions and then to take a guess. The shorter version would be to jump straight onto the guessing part (probably better if your students know each other very well, like at the end of the year).

Try those activities out and tell me how they went!!

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Idiom in G – Go Nuts

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What it means:

This idiom can be interpreted in 2 different ways. The most common use of this idiom is the same as to go crazy, which means to become crazy, disoriented, frustrated, annoyed…

The other meaning of this idiom is that of getting excited over something. If I say that I go nuts for chocolate, it means that I cannot resist chocolate…I REALLY like it.

When to use it:

No limitations for the second meaning. You could go nuts for kittens, new fashion, films, AC-DC, apples, milkshake flavours…Anything basically.

There are a few other little variations for the first meaning such as to be nuts or to look nuts. Use it anytime you see someone who looks scary or maybe extremely angry.

Other interesting idioms in G:

To go Dutch – To split the bill in half.

To get away with murder – To do something bad but not be punished for it.