Idiom in X | X Marks the Spot

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So…As it seems, there aren’t many idioms that start with the letter X. I have only found 3 for this week´s idiom.

Don’t forget to check out last week´s Idiom in W – Water Under the Bridge

What it means:

It refers to the exact spot. Imagine a map on which someone has indicated a location with a cross, well X marks the spot!

When to use it:

  • When you point at something, whatever it is marks the spot.
  • If you see any type of landmark or use something you see as a way to indicate direction you can say also use that expression. Ex: Can you see that church on the hill over there? Well, X marks the spot!

Other interesting idioms:

X-factor – If someone has the X-factor they have an outstanding ability, or an ability that is so impressive that you ignore they bad qualities. The talent show (also called X-factor) was named that way in relation to the candidates´unique abilities.

X-rated – If something is x-rated, it is not suitable for children. Usually associated with sexual content.

 


 

Like I said guys, there aren’t many idioms in X that exist. Next week, we will cover more idioms…promise!

Keep on learning!

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The Synonym Race

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Hello teachers and students! This is a post that you can all benefit from.

I went to a training session with the Pearsons editors last year and they showed me this awesome ESL activity.

I have written an informal letter (similar to Cambridge PET Writing part 3) but throughout the text there is more than 1 option to choose from to complete the text. ALL the options are correct. It just shows how to diversify your vocabulary.

Here is the document:

The Synonym Race – B1 letter

How to play the activity

Each student should have their own copy. They read the text individually and choose one option each time. They should circle the ones they chose.

The students should be in pairs for the activity. Their goal is to guess and memorise their classmate´s words.

To do so student A starts reading and says the option they think student B chose. If B says it is correct, A continues reading. If it is incorrect, B starts reading and guessing from the beginning. Every time someone fails, the other student starts again form the beginning.

The students are NOT allowed to write down what their partner´s options are, they must remember them!

More Advanced

This activity can very easily be adapted to other levels. I have also created a connector race, but this one is for B2-C1 and it is in the shape of an essay on the environment.

I specifically chose that topic because my students who are preparing the Trinity ISE II examination need to study this topic. So this is three birds, one stone. They see an example of what an essay should look like, they practise varying their vocabulary and they learn more vocabulary related to a topic they have to study.

Here is the document:

The Synonym Race – B2/C1 Essay on the Environment

Alright, so if you are a student, just download the materials and practise the activity with a partner. It should help you memorise new vocabulary quickly.

If you are a teacher, download the materials and have your students practise. I strongly encourage you to create new documents like this one, but the best would be to focus them specifically on the vocabulary/register/type of writing your students need to practise.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on this activity! Comment down below how you would adapt it to you own students´ needs.

Keep on learning (and teaching)!

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3 Valentine’s Day Activities

Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner so I prepared 3 activities for the occasion!

One of them requires no preparation (just little papers) and the other two just to print and cut (and maybe a die).

Now, if you want more activities, feel free to check last years post Valentine’s Day – ESL Lesson

I. Guess who / Find your partner

You need a list of famous couples, just make sure your students know them. Here is mine:

  • Michelle Obama + Barack Obama
  • Kim Kardashian West + Kanye West
  • Shakira + Gerard Pique
  • Penelope Cruz + Javier Bardem
  • Beyonce + Jay Z
  • Victoria Beckham + David Beckham

Now give each of your students a different name from the list. Their objective is to find their famous partner.

Randomly pair students up. Give them one minute each to ask their partner as many questions about their famous self as they want (the original game requires yes/no questions but feel free to use WH ones).

Change the pairs until all the students have talked to each other. Then tell your students to stand next to who they think their famous partner is.

Activity Extention

If you want the activity to be longer and add more speaking, tell them to give their reasons why they think one person is their partner. It might also make some students change their mind and create more debate.

Level Tweak

To make it more advanced you can add more rules. For instance, tell the students that if someone calls them out on who their famous self is, they are eliminated. The students will have to be more careful with the information they provide and how they form their answers.

II. Relationship Dominoes

This activity is a different version of my Phrasal Dominos 2.0 and it focuses on collocations. Download this document (FREE of course), print it and cut it.

Love Hate dominoes

I recommend that you print more than one set if you have bigger groups of students. Roughly a set for 2 to 4 students is usually comfortable.

Tell the students to put the dominoes face down on the table and to randomly take the same amount of dominoes. Then one student places one face up in the middle of the table. The next student places a domino on either side of that one as long as it recreates a correct collocation.

If a student cannot form any collocation they have to pass. The first one out of dominoes wins!

III. Love-Vocabulary Boardgame

Just print and cut the cards in the PDF document down below.

Relationship Boardgame

As you can see in the document, there are 4 categories of cards that each represent a different task to do (each one is explained in the document).

I recommend that you put the students in pairs (or groups) for the activity. Each team has to successfully complete each task in order to win. If you have a small group of students you could tell them to do 2 or 3 of each card.

Activity Extension

If you want to make it even more fun/challenging, create more cards! Just add some in each category, or have the students add some themselves (great way to check what they know). You could even create a new category or two and include dice. Basically…there´s a million things you can do with this activity.

 

Keep on learning!

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Idiom in W – Water Under the Bridge

I am a bit late for this entry…My apologies! I have been extremely busy. For instance I started doing live videos on YouTube last Friday! It was quite fun and interactive. Here is the link in case you want to check it out!

 

Anyways…Are you ready for our weekly idiom?

What it means:

If something is water under the bridge it belongs to the past, is unimportant or not a problem anymore.

When to use it:

  • It is often used when someone has wronged you such a long time ago that it does not matter anymore.
  • Something could also be water under the bridge because you have forgiven the person.

Other interesting idioms:

Wake up and smell the coffee – When someone doesn’t realise what is really happening or is not paying attention to what is going on, you can tell them to wake up and smell the coffee.

Walk on eggshells – If you have to walk on eggshells with someone, you have to be very careful as they get angry or offended easily.

Well-oiled machine – Something that functions very well is a well-oiled machine. It does not necessarily refer to machines. A team of workers who work well together can be refered to as a well-oiled machine.

Whale of a time – If you have a whale of a time, you really have a good time.

 

 

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Idiom in V – Virgin Territory

Last week we covered idioms in U with Idiom in U – Upper Hand so this week it’s the letter V. Leave a comment below with your favourite idiom in this post!

What it means:

If something is virgin territory, it hasn’t been explored before. Ex: Before landing on the Moon, it was virgin territory.

How to use it:

  • It is more commonly used to talk about locations that are untouched by men.
  • On a different level, a new type of market could be considered virgin territory. For example, using A.I. for medical purposes is virgin territory.

Other interesting idioms:

Vicious circle – A vicious circle is a sequence of events that make each other worse- Poverty is a viscious circle. If someone is poor, they do not have enough money to feed themselves which means they get sick and need more money to get treated causing them to become even poorer and so on.

Volte-face –  (from French) If you do a volte-face on something, you make a sudden and complete change in your stance or position over an issue.

Vale of tears – This vale of tears is the world and the suffering that life brings. It is a general expression for harship and sorrow.

 

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Idiom in U – Upper Hand

Hello dear students! We are getting close to the end of this series with only 5 more weeks left.

And today we have a look at the letter U with Upper Hand.

What it means:

If you have the upper hand, you have the advantage.

How to use it:

  • One of the most common situations when this idiom is used is during a sporting even. If a team or player is in a winning position, they have the upper hand.
  • If a business has an advantage over another business, they also have the upper hand.

Other interesting idioms:

U-turn – It is when somebody changes their opinion on an issue radically, especially when they have promised not to do so.

Ugly duckling – An ugly duckling is a someone shows little promise, but who develops later into a real talent or beauty.

Under fire – If someone is being attacked and cricitised heavily, they are under fire.

Up for grabs – If something is up for grabs, it is available and whoever is first or is successful will get it.

 

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Idiom in T – Think Outside the Box

What it means:

If you think outside the box, you think in an imaginative and creative way.

How to use it:

People tend to use this idiom as a way to encourage others to be creative. It does not only refer to arts and crafts but anything that might be done in a non conventional way.

  • People who live in extremely small apartments have to think outside the box to make a comfortable living space.
  • You could be trying to solve a riddle and someone tells you to think outside the box. This means do not do what seems obvious, think further.

Other interesting idioms:

Take a nosedive – When things take a nosedive, they decline very quickly and head towards disaster.

Take by storm – To take by storm means to captivate- eg. A new play that took New York City by storm.

The ball’s in your court – If somebody says this to you, they mean that it’s up to you to decide or take the next step.

The grass is always greener – This idiom means that what other people have or do looks preferable to our life. The complete phrase is ‘The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence’.

 

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Idiom in S – Safety in Numbers

Welcome to 2018 first blog post! Christmas and New Year’s Eve are long gone and have left me with quite a few extra kilos on my hips…How bad is it for you?

Let’s tackle our weekly idiom!

What it means:

If a lot of people do something risky at the same time, the risk is reduced because there is safety in numbers.

When to use it:

Let’s have a look at some examples of when this idiom could be used.

  • It is commonly used with animals. Gazelles stay in packs as a defense mechanism against predators. Lions are less likely to attack an animal in a group, than one which is isolated. The groups can also come to the rescue of the lone animal. Safety in numbers…
  • Your parents probably used this idiom very often when you were a teenager. It still applies no matter what your age is though. When you go out, you should never have to walk alone outside in the street. Having someone, or even better a group, with you is the best protection as people are more likely to be intimidated and leave you alone.

Other interesting idioms:

Scaredy-cat – It is a person who gets scared easily by very little.

Safe and sound – If you are safe and sound, then nothing has harmed you.

Salt in a wound – If you rub salt in a wound, you make someone feel bad about something that is already a painful experience. (similar to add insult to injury)

Same old, same old – It means that something is the same, it does not change.

 

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Idiom in R – Red Carpet

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And here is the last post of the year.  Next one in 2018!

What it means:

If you give someone the red-carpet treatment, you give them a special welcome to show that they are important. You can roll out the red carpet too.

How to use it:

  • You might be invited somewhere and they treat you well.
  • Companies otfen give the red-carpet treatment to important clients

Other interesting idioms:

Rack your brain – If you rack your brain, you think very hard when trying to remember something or think hard to solve a problem, findf and answer and so on (‘Rack your brains’ is an alternative.)

Raise eyebrows – If something raises eyebrows, it shocks or surprises people.

Read between the lines – If you read between the lines, you find the real message in what you’re reading or hearing, a meaning that is not available from a literal interpretation of the words.

Recharge your batteries – If you recharge your batteries, you do something to regain your energy after working hard for a long time.

Red tape – This is a negative term for the official paperwork and bureaucracy that we have to deal with.

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

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Idiom in Q – Quiet as a Mouse

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We are so close to Christmas! Are you excited?

Tomorrow night, if you are as quiet as a mouse you might be able to hear the bells on Santa’s sledge.

What it means:

If somebody is as quiet as a mouse they make as little noise as possible.

When to use it:

  • In any situation when someone is trying to be unnoticeable. The person often acts a lot more quietly as well, avoiding rapid movement and sometimes remaining still.
  • It could be someone trying to hide to surprise a friend, a child trying to be forgoten after bringing home bad grades or even a shy person being very quiet.

Other interesting idioms:

Question of time – If something’s a question of time, it’s definitely going to happen but you just don’t know when.

Quick fix – A quick fix is an easy (usually temporary)  solution.

Quiet before the Storm – It is when you know that something is about to go horribly wrong, but hasn’t just yet.

 

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

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