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.

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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!!

That’s it for today guys…Keep on learning! Xoxo

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Paper Fortune Tellers – Speaking Activity

 

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Do you remember those AWESOME paper fortune tellers that you used to play with in class instead of paying attention to what the teacher had to say?! Well you can definitely use them in your classroom (I even use them with adults, they love them!)

It is a super easy to make activity that can be used for regular speaking activities, exam preparation or even to check that your student know the format of their exam (which is extremely important!).

Here is a simple and easy to understand video I found on YouTube. It shows you how to make it and how to “move” it.

How to make a Paper Fortune Teller

Now you can create many different versions of that game. I created one to practice the speaking part 1 in the Cambridge exam for PET (b1) and FCE (b2).

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Here is one that I created to practice the conversation phase in the trinity ISE II (b2)  exam.

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This one was designed to check that my students had all the parts of the FCE exam memorised. It just has a bunch of questions about the papers of the exam, the length of some tasks or even the number of tasks per paper.

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And this is a general conversation example. I also have some topic based ones that I use in little workshops and have my students move from one little workshop to the other.

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And here are 2 ways you can “store” your materials.

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Let me know how this activity went in you class!

That’s it for today guys…Keep on learning! Xoxo

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

 


If you want to help me create more content more regularly, please consider helping me with just a coffee. Ko-fi is a website that gives you the possibility to power me with lots of energy by offering me a coffee. It’s easy, simple, no engagement is required…Just a bit of help, love and support from you to me.

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Gotta Learn them All…Pokémon!

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I was walking to work the other day, when I saw a group of Spanish people walking with their phone in front of them and their heads down. We all know what that means now…They were playing Pokémon!

I stayed behind that group for a bit (no…I am not a stalker) and heard bits and bobs of the conversations they were having. They were talking Spanglish. which is somehow understandable when you know that the Spanish version of the game is full of English words (gym, pokéstop, …).

And then I thought: “Why Spanglish? Let’s go full English!”. So I have come up with the 8 most useful words/expressions for when playing pokémon.

  1. To throw – This is what you do with the pokéball. It goes from your hand to the pokémon through the air (just like in baseball).
  2. To give up – This means to stop doing something after you have tried “hard”. For example, a super rare pokémon appears on your radar. You run and run and walk and circle the entire area. It is still on the radar…nobody has caught it yet but you have been looking for hours now and you are very tired, frustrated and thirsty. You then decide to go home. You give up on that pokémon.
  3. To catch/to capture – Both verbs have a similar meaning but capture is more formal while catch is more colloquial. To catch/capture a pokémon means to make it yours. When you throw the pokéball and the pokémon stays inside…you captured/caught (irregular verb of course…) it.
  4. To train – That’s basically what you do when you go to the gym (pokémon and real life).
  5. To revive – So you went to the gym for pokémons and red team has kicked your arse. Your favourite Pokémon is completely out (he has 0 hit points). In order to use this pokemon again, you need to revive it by giving a “revive stone”. You will bring him back to life with that.
  6. Back off, it’s mine – Use this expression if you REALLY want a pokémon you like because you could offend or make someone else angry by using it. It basically means “go away it’s mine”.
  7. Don’t you dare touch that pokémon – This has a similar meaning to back off it’s mine but has a little warning in it as well. I don’t know what will happen but something WILL happen if you touch it.
  8. To evolve – That’s what your pokémon does when he goes from squirtle to wartortle. It transform into something more advanced.

The Werewolf Game

What a great game! Like most games you played as a child, the werewolf game can be used in the classroom.

You can buy this deck of cards at pretty much any store that sells board games, but if, like me, you love crafts and a little challenge you can make your own!

Here is what mine looks like.

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I know the wolves look weird…wanted to try something different but it didn’t really work out as I wanted it to.

What you need:

  • cardboard
  • paper
  • scissors
  • pens, markers, pencils…
  • OPTIONAL-tracing paper

How to make it:

I didn’t make the simplest set of cards but this is the general idea of what you can do if you want something of a similar design.

The first thing you want to do is figure out how many cards you want to create. I decided to create 11 cards (plenty for my groups of students). I have 2 wolves, a cupid, a little girl, a witch and 6 villagers. You need to cut 11 cards, out of cardboard, of exactly the same size and shape. It is important that they are the same otherwise your students will be able to recognise what card is what. I used a stationery guillotine I got in the US because it has a cutter and ruler included.

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Once that’s done, cut 11 pieces of paper (I chose white) of the same shape but a little bit smaller. That’s where you will draw your characters. I decided to do mine faceless ‘cos it’s cool (but mostly about a million times easier). I also cut the corners to make it look a little bit more…refined? But that is totally optional (I also realised that the cards get less damaged if the corners are not so pointy).

Glue the drawings the the cards, add the name of each character on each card and you are pretty much done.

There is an optional step as well. On the back of the cards I wrote the word werewolf. Since this is the only side of the card the other players will see you must be extremely careful how you do that. This is when the construction paper comes into place. Draw or write whatever design you like on a piece of paper. Put the construction paper on top. Then go over the design with a pencil. Now if you flip the construction paper and outline the design (on the other side of the paper) you can transfer that design anywhere you want. It is a long and tedious process (you gotta do all the cards if you do one) but it looks so nice at the end. Do the finishing touches with a ticker marker and the set of cards is finished.

How to play:

First you need to inform the students what all the roles are.

  • the werewolves want to kill all the villagers
  • cupid forces 2 players (could be wolves, witch, villagers…doesn’t matter) to “fall in love” with each other and they MUST both remain alive until the end.
  • The little girl gets to peek and see who the wolves are. She wakes up with the wolves and pretends to be one of them.
  • the witch has 2 magic potions…one to save and one to kill.
  • the villagers roles are to debate who the wolves are and kill them before they get killed. You can give special abilities to some of the villagers as well. I created a “drunk” who is not allowed to defend himself when accused of being a wolf or the mayor whose vote count double.

Now the game is basically a story with little debate like interruptions.

Here is the story I tell my students:

“We are living in a beautiful little town. The birds sing all the time, people are friendly and the sun is always shining. Unfortunately, a plague has arrived. A hoard of hungry werewolves lives here disguised as villagers. And when the night comes…they must eat!

The night falls and everybody goes to sleep (tell your students to all close their eyes).

  • The werewolves, and the little girl awake (make sure they do open their eyes, if not circulate and have the werewolves open their eyes). They must agree upon who they will eat tonight (they must point at who their prey is). Now that the wolves have chosen their prey, they go to sleep again.
  • Cupid awakes (only during the first round) and designates who the two lovers are. Cupid goes back to the land of dreams.
  • I will now touch the two lovers on the shoulder and on the count of 3 they wake up and see the object of their undying love (make sure they wake up). The lovers go back to sleep.
  • The witch wakes up. She can now decide to use her magic and protect somebody, do nothing or execute anybody (use the thumb up or down like the Roman emperors did with gladiators).
  • The village awakes (everybody opens their eyes).

Somebody/Nobody died tonight (depending on who the witch saved or killed, you might have 2 dead sometimes). Villagers, you now have to possibility to kill the person you think is a werewolf (everybody debates). I see the village has made a decision. One by one the villagers vote (remember if, you have a mayor, you will have to count his vote as double, but only say the result once everybody has voted). Mr X, you have been voted guilty and you shall now be killed (the student can now reveal his card. He becomes a listener for the rest of the game. What I like to do is give the student that was just killed the role of story teller, that way the student gets to participate in the game a little longer).

And the night fall on the village again…”

Repeat the process until all the wolves or all the villagers are dead.

Extra tips:

Make sure that every student participate in the debates. This is really good to review suggestions, modal verbs and also conditionals (eg. If I was the wolf, why did I…).

Print the story on a paper so that the students that become the story teller know what to say. Once you have played this game a few times and that they have a better idea of what the story is, remove the sheet and have them improvise.

This is a great speaking activity that involves a lot of listening and even reading. Your students will work on improving all those skills while enjoying themselves.

 

 

That’s it for today guys…Keep on learning! Xoxo

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

 


If you want to help me create more content more regularly, please consider helping me with just a coffee. Ko-fi is a website that gives you the possibility to power me with lots of energy by offering me a coffee. It’s easy, simple, no engagement is required…Just a bit of help, love and support from you to me.

Here is the link to my ko-fi account: Ko-fi My little English Page

The Movie Club

I created a movie club, maybe 6 months to a year ago, with a few of my groups and it worked really well. We did it for about two months and it was really fun.  I will do it again next year but instead of doing a movie a week it will be one a month.

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The name movie club is probably not the most appropriate as it does not involve weekly meetings. At first it was just a way of getting my students to do more listening activities and ended up being a lot more than that.

How it works: 

This movie club is basically homework; every week, your students will watch a new movie as homework and talk about it. So far nothing new right?

Now is when the activity starts becoming interesting. The movie club should not just be “watch a movie and talk about it”. For the first movie I suggest that the teacher chooses the movie (I had my students watch About Time, it’s fairly easy to understand,  there is a mix of both British and American English and the plot usually pleases men and women).

But every week, before you send your students away for the weekend, take 15 minutes of the lesson to have your students present a movie they like.  They will be very happy to defend something they like and want to share with the class. Once everybody has presented a movie (no more than  2-3 min) the students vote which one sounds the best. The teacher must have the right to veto though. My adult groups are not allowed horror, gore or too “adult”. Remember, this should be something light and fun for the students to do at home.

As the teacher you also have to watch the movie so make sure you vote the same as everybody else. The next class, ask questions about the movie and your students will start talking about it naturally.

Activity extention:

I also have my students write about the movies. For example, my Cambridge FCE students could have a review, a letter or an essay to write in the exam.

Using the movie, tweak one of the exam tasks so as to involve the movie as part of the writing process. It is easy to write a review for a movie or you could also have your students write a letter to the movie director to talk about the movie. It is more fun for students and they are still working on preparing an exam task.

I do not forbid my students to use subtitles but I strongly suggest using English subtitles. I also recommend telling your students to write down 10 new words they heard in the movie and learning them.

 

That’s it for today guys…Keep on learning! Xoxo

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

 


If you want to help me create more content more regularly, please consider helping me with just a coffee. Ko-fi is a website that gives you the possibility to power me with lots of energy by offering me a coffee. It’s easy, simple, no engagement is required…Just a bit of help, love and support from you to me.

Here is the link to my ko-fi account: Ko-fi My little English Page

Idiom in D

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Devil’s advocate

This is one of my favourite idioms. I love playing devil’s advocate in my conversation classes.

What it means:

If you play devil’s advocate it means that you are giving arguments (that you don’t agree with) just for the sake of arguing. You are giving arguments that you don’t necessarily agree with to challenge the other person’s arguments.

When to use it:

I use it in my conversation classes during debates. Let’s say this is the topic of the debate: Women should stay at home.

I do NOT agree with that and because most of my students are women everybody disagrees with that statement too. It’s quite difficult to organise a debate when everybody agrees on the same topic.

That’s when I would take on the role of the devil’s advocate. I would throw arguments such as “women are better at taking care of children”, “who is going to clean the house then?” or “men earn more money anyway, so why should women bother working?”. Those arguments are obviously outrageously wrong. They go against what I think but it gets the debate going.

Use this idiom when talking with friends, when you are debating an interesting topic, if you want to challenge what your friend thinks and if his/her arguments are valid.

Now be careful who you play the devil’s advocate with… you could start a conversation you don’t want to finish!