The Impossible Burger

Today let’s take a look at a lesson I’ve done for my class based on something so groundbreaking that it’s hard to believe that it actually exists: the Impossible Burger.

The Impossible Burger

This lesson can help your students practice using the infinitive or gerund after some words, as well as give them a good topic to talk about. 🙂

Let’s get started:

1) Start the lesson by giving your students the following questions to discuss in pairs:

1. What kind of food do you enjoy eating?
2. What comes to mind when you think about meat?
3. How often do you eat meat in a week?
4. Have you ever considered giving up meat?
5. Do you think scientists will be able to create artificial meat?
6. What kind of benefits will creating artificial meat have for the world?

Get feedback by asking your students the fourth and last questions.

2) To prepare them for the video, ask your students the questions below:

1. How often do you eat fast food?
2. What’s the most popular kind of fast food in the world? What about your country?
3. Why do people often eat fast food?
4. Do you think fast food will ever be meat-free? Why/Why not?

3) Show your students the video below. Pause it at the intervals I’ve given and ask them extra questions to get their predictions and thoughts.

4) After students have finished watching the video, give them these 8 questions to answer. For a weaker class, I’d suggest having them watch the video one more time while looking for the answers to the questions.

5) After they’ve found all the answers, ask them to compare the answers in pairs. Then, get feedback from your students and ask them these two questions:
Would you like to try the Impossible Burger? Why/Why not?
Do you think this meat has the potential to replace real meat?

6) Give your students the opinions below and ask them to share if they agree or disagree with them with their partners:

1. I don’t mind having something like the Impossible Burger as an alternative, but I would prefer to eat real meat.
2. It’s no use trying to stop this and having plant meat could be useful for countries that suffer from hunger.
3. Scientists waste time and money working on something which will lose popularity in a few years.
4. I look forward to trying the Impossible Burger if it makes it outside of the USA.
5. I thought about trying this burger but I find it hard to believe that it tastes like the real deal.
6. 10 years from now, we might eat synthetic food and not be able to tell that it’s fake.
7. I want to have more energy, will eating this meat give me the protein I need for that?
8. How about creating a more tasty veggie burger instead? I’d prefer to eat that instead of fooling my four senses.

Get feedback from your students by asking them to raise their hands if they agree/disagree with each statement. Ask them why if you have the time and to get the other students engaged, ask them to add more points in favor or against the statements.

7) Ask them to turn their handouts around and tell them to try to remember what we used after the words below. The infinitive (With or without to) or the gerund (-ing)?

1. I like/love/enjoy/hate/don’t mind
2. It’s no use
3. Waste time/money
4. Look forward to, be used to, can’t help
5. Find it hard
6. Might/could/would/should
7. How about
8. I’d like/love/prefer

After they’ve written the answers, ask them to turn the handouts around again and look at the opinions one more time to find the answers.

8) Now, give your students the activity below to have them practice using gerunds and infinitives.

9) Illustrate to your students that in some cases, using the gerund or the infinitive changes the meaning of the sentence. Give them the exercise below and have them try to guess the difference between both sentences before explaining it. You can ask your students to come up with two examples for any verb using the infinitive and a gerund.

10) As a final activity, ask your students to think of any trending food right now and write what they think about it. Tell them that they have to use the words in 7) in their writing.
Tell your students to include some background information about the food they’ve chosen (You can allow them to use Google to find some basic info), as well as finish the writing with their predictions about its future.
Will people continue eating this food for years or is this just a temporary trend?

Depending on how much time you’ve got left, you can ask your students to read their answers or finish this assignment for the next lesson and begin your next lesson with them sharing their thoughts.

And there you have it!

Another way to practice grammar while talking about meat without meat. 🙂

Leave a comment if your class liked this lesson and also leave a comment whether you would want to try the Impossible Burger or not.

See you next Saturday! 😉

Bad service and how to deal with it

Today let’s look at a lesson I made after watching a reality show called Undercover Boss.

Similarly to the Youngblood lesson, I used it to practice modal verbs with stronger students.

The video will be paused to divide it into parts according to my plan.

Let’s get started:

1) Start the lesson by asking your students some questions:
1. What do you think of the saying “The customer is always right”?
2. Is it common in your country to complain about bad service?
3. What are some reasons why we might need to complain in a store or restaurant?
4. Have you ever gotten angry at a worker in a store or a restaurant?

Follow up the last question by asking what happened and whether your students complained to the manager.

2) Tell your students that there’s a show called Undercover Boss where CEOs of companies start working for their company and see how it works inside out. Show your students the first part of the video and ask them what their first impression of Brad is.

3) To check what they know about modal verbs, give them a handout with 6 sentences and ask them to complete them with their own ideas

1) He may be4) He could
2) He must5) He might
3) He can’t be6) He couldn’t

4) After getting feedback, ask your students if they think the first impression that John (The CEO) has of Brad is positive or negative and show them the second part to check their answers.

5) Show your students the third part and ask them how Brad handles his job. You can also ask them how they think the customer felt after she got his assistance.

6) Before showing them the fourth part, ask your students if they think that Brad can go too far in his job. After watching the video, ask them how they would react to Brad’s remarks if they were in the CEO’s place and whether they would punish him.

7) After watching the last part, tell your students that in the end of the show, the boss has to show the employees that he is the boss. Ask your students what they think happened to Brad after the show.

8) To clarify the meaning of the modal verbs, you can write the following on the board:

Must
Might, may, could
Can’t

And put a vertical line from 0 to 100% and ask your students to draw a line from the modal verbs to the vertical line to indicate how sure they are about something.

To check their understanding, you can also ask them:
Which modal verbs mean it’s possible?
Which modal verb means it’s very probable?
Which modal verb means it’s impossible?

9) Have your students match the sentence halves so they’d make sense.

10) Give them the following sentences to make a small list of ideas about what could happen to Brad:

1. Brad may
2. Brad could
3. John might
4. The customers might
5. Brad must
6. John can’t have
7. Brad may not have
8. His colleagues might

11) Ask your students to complete the sentences below and make them true about them. Ask them why if you have extra time and have the fast finishers think of 2 more sentences about them using the modal verbs.

12) As a final activity, ask your students to work in pairs.

Student A will be the CEO of a company who’s recently heard that one of their employees has been behaving badly at work. They must talk to the employee, make the employee admit his wrongdoing and warn the employee what may happen in case they’re caught at it again.

Student B is the employee of the company that was called to their CEO’s office. They can’t admit that they’ve done the things the Boss heard them do so they must speculate why people have been complaining about them using modals (e.g. “She must really hate me to say that”, “That could be anybody else”).

Once your students are done, ask them to switch roles.

13) Get feedback from each pair by asking what the CEOs told them and whether they’ve found a compromise. You can also ask if anybody’s been fired.

And there you have it. Another way to practice modal verbs which may be more suitable for your business classes.

Feel free to share any extra ideas in the comments section and see you next week! 🙂

Education and Ideology

I got the idea for this lesson after watching a short film called “Alternative Math”.

The description states “A well meaning math teacher finds herself trumped by a post-fact America”.
Let me show you how you can use it for your adult groups:

1) Start the lesson by having your students discuss the following questions:

1) What is the purpose of getting an education?
2) What kind of disadvantages can a school education give us?
3) How would you react if you were called to school because of your child?
4) Do you think schools have the right to talk about a child’s behavior in front of other parents?
5) Who do you think is to blame if a pupil can’t understand something: the pupil or the teacher?
6) Some teachers impose their political and moral views on their students. Do you support this?

2) After getting feedback, give students the following statements and ask them to share if they agree or disagree with them. Ask them to justify their opinions.

1) Schools teach people to be loyal citizens.
2) Schools kill creativity and focus on the grades.
3) Schools don’t teach the necessary skills for people to survive.
4) Once a school starts working, it will never change its ways of teaching.
5) Teachers are afraid to use technology for education.
6) Teachers shouldn’t focus on a student’s mistakes.

3) After the students have finished giving their opinions. Tell them that they’re going to watch a short film about a teacher and predict what’s going to happen.
Note: The movie is 8 minutes long and I’ve divided it into parts to make it easier for students to work with. The video will be paused when it’s time to ask questions or do some activities. Elicit the meaning of the words they’ve matched to give students a better understanding of them.

4) After your students have finished watching the video and did all the exercises. Give them the statements below and ask them to correct the false ones if they can.

5) After correcting the wrong statements, give your students the following questions to discuss in pairs. These questions use the words from the video:

1) How would you react if someone tried to prove to you that two plus two equals five?
2) Have you ever had an issue that you couldn’t handle well? If so, what happened after things got out of hand? Did you bring this on yourself or was it not your fault?
3) Do you think it would benefit the child if the teacher didn’t tell him about his mistake?
4) Do you consider yourself an open-minded person? What are you open to?
5) Do you think the information we read on the media is biased?
6) If you had to choose between keeping your integrity or your relationship with a person, what would you choose and why?
7) Have you ever been abused when you were at school or university?
8) Do you think the teacher was wrong to persist that she was doing the right thing?

6) After getting answers from the students, it’s time to focus on a bit of grammar. Tell your students to imagine that the video they’ve seen was a real event. Ask them which of the things below they think would happen in real life and why.

1) The teacher will have gotten $22000 from the principal.
2) The teacher will be looking for a new job.
3) The teacher won’t be teaching anybody again.
4) People will be talking about this for a long time.
5) The teacher will have moved to another country.
6) The teacher will have sued the principal of the school.
7) Danny will have become a successful person.
8) People will have proved that 2+2=22.

When they’re done, ask them whether we’re talking about the present, past or future and which tenses the statements are in.

7) Elicit what actions we use the Future Continuous for and when they take place. You can also point out that it’s also used for actions which will definitely happen in the future as a result of arrangements.

Tell your students that we also use the Future Continuous when we ask about someone’s plans for the near future politely (Especially if we want them to do something for us or if we want to offer to do something for them)

8) Ask your students to think about tomorrow and share with their partners what they will be doing at 6 AM, 9 AM, 12 PM, at 3 PM, at 6 PM, 8 PM, 10 PM and 12 AM? Get feedback by asking if each pair had the same answers for any period.

9) Tell your students that we use the Future Perfect for actions that will have finished before a stated time in the future. Ask them to choose which words and phrases are used with the Future Perfect. Elicit examples and focus on the form.

10) Give your students an activity to practice the Future Perfect.

11) Then, to give students a reason to talk about themselves using the tense, ask them to make predictions about themselves with the Future Perfect.
Ask them what they believe they will have achieved, done or completed. Get feedback from the students.

1) By 2021, I…
2) By next summer, I…
3) By the end of the year, my family…
4) By the time I’m 40, I…
5) By the end of next month, I…

12) Then, give them an activity to differentiate between the Future Continuous and the Future Perfect.

13) As a final activity, ask your students to work in pairs and think of what’s going to happen to education in the next 10-20 years. Tell them to give at least 5 changes that they expect to see. When getting feedback, ask them if they think these changes will benefit the students or not and ask them why they think so.

And there you have it! A motivating way to talk about education and practice or revise the two tenses.

If you’ve tried this lesson, leave a comment and share what your class thought of it!

And I have a question for you: Do you think the situation in the video could become a reality?

Leave a comment for us to know and have a good weekend! 🙂

Nothing to Declare

Let’s look at a lesson I’ve made to help a student talk to border control officers.

Customs officers

Note: I’ve shown these specific parts of the video to my students:
00:38 – 01:31
01:31 – 03:02
03:02 – 03:34
05:51 – 06:53
06:53 – 07:58
07:58 – 08:52

Here’s the video in question and below it you can find my lesson plan:

1) Start the lesson by asking some simple questions such as
Have you gone on vacation this year? Where have you been to?
What was your best and worst trip ever?
How many times have you traveled abroad?
What countries would you most like to visit?

2) When the students are done answering the questions, ask them if they’ve ever been stopped at the airport customs. If they answered yes, you can ask them why they were stopped, otherwise, ask them if they know anyone who’s had a problem at the customs. Ask them why customs officers question passengers at the airport and what kind of crimes they think passengers mostly commit.

3) Ask your students to work in two groups and think of as many questions they’d expect customs officers to ask as they can in 5 minutes. Tell them that they won’t get points if each group has the same questions.

4) Watch the first part of the video and ask your students what made the man suspicious.

5) Before watching the second part of the video, ask the students to predict where the man is from and what he will say to the officer. Then, have them watch the second part and see what the man says. After finishing watching the video, ask them which questions the officer asked the man before checking his bag.

6) Then, give the students the questions below and have them watch the second part again to find the answers for them
Which country did the plane come from?
Where did the passenger start his trip from?
What did the sniffer dog find out about the passenger?
Which items can you not bring to the UK?
Which board game did the passenger carry with him?
What is the passenger’s profession?
What suspicious object did the officers find in the man’s suitcase?
Why does Officer Fitts not trust the passenger?

7) Before watching the third part, have your students try to answer the questions below:
Why did the passenger carry the passport?
Will the officers carry any extra searches on the man?

Then, have them watch the video and compare their answers to the truth.

8) Before watching the fourth part, ask your students what Swab test means and explain it if needed. Also, ask your students what the officers meant when they said “He could be a swallower”. Then, ask your students a few more questions:

What did Officer Turney find out about the passport?
What did the officers find when they searched the passenger?
What did the officers swab test?
What did they find in the passenger’s clothes?

9) Before watching the last part of the video, ask your students what they think will happen to the passenger and what the officers will do with the passport. Then watch the last part and compare their answers to the facts. Ask them if they were surprised with what happened and explain what contamination means, if needed, using an example.

10) As a follow-up activity, give your students the following questions to discuss together and get their answers once they’re done:
1) Do you think the passenger knew that he shouldn’t carry someone else’s passport to another country?
2) Why do you think the officers questioned the man?
3) Do you think it was really difficult for the officers to communicate with the passenger?
4) Do you think the officers were unfair to the man based on his country?
5) What do you think customs officers pay attention to (e.g. body language, appearance) before they stop people at airports?

11) After the discussion, ask your students to work in small groups and think of which restrictions there are when people travel to a foreign country. You can give them a hint by writing the following things on the board:

• Alcohol
• Tobacco
• Medication
• Firearms
• Pets
• Food
• Money
• Gold

Ask your students to write down their ideas below each of the suggested questionable things.

12) When your students are done, you can make them role-play in pairs as a traveler and a customs inspector. Give them the questions below and tell them that one will ask the questions and the other will answer them. Tell your students that the customs officer suspects the traveler and has to choose one of the restrictions they’ve made note of before to ask additional questions to the travelers and that the customs officer must then choose whether to let go or arrest the traveler. Make your students swap roles (or partners). The questions you can give them for starters are as follows:

Welcome to our country. May I see your passport please?
Where are you coming from?
What is the nature of your visit?
How long are you planning to stay?
Where will you be staying?
Have you ever been to this country before?
Do you have anything to declare?
Do you have anything in your pockets – keys, cell phone, loose change?
Do you have any luggage, other than hand luggage?
Did you pack your bags yourself?
And have you left them unattended at any time before or since arriving at the airport?
Are you carrying any firearms, liquids or flammable materials?
I’m going to need to check your bags, could you open them for me, please?

13) Get feedback by asking the students what they were stopped for and what the end result was.

For homework, you could ask your students to choose one country that your students have traveled to or want to travel to, look for information online and make a list of things that people should know about when they go through customs inspection to share with the class on the following lesson.

That’s it for this week. I hope you and your students enjoy this idea and I’d love to know one thing:

Have you ever been stopped at a border control? If so, what happened to you?

Leave a comment below and see you next week! 🙂


The Wizard of Wikipedia

Often we, as teachers, make lessons about famous people. We focus on celebrities, entrepreneurs, people who inspire us to do better.

Today, I wanted to focus on a person who may not be saving lives or making tools that we rely on, but who has left an impact on many of us without us even knowing it. So let’s focus on a man who has edited over 30% of all the Wikipedia articles that we can find: Steven Pruitt!

Self-portrait by Steven Pruitt. License: CC BY-SA 4.0
Self-portrait by Steven Pruitt. License: CC BY-SA 4.0

Here’s what I’ve done and what you can do with your students:

1) Start the lesson by asking where they find out the latest news and any information that’s interesting for them. Write down their answers on the board. Ask them which of the sources they’ve given they trust the most and why. Then, ask them how this has changed over the years.

2) Give your students the following questions to discuss:

1) Which websites do you visit to read about different things?
2) What kind of random things do you like finding out more about?
3) What do you think about Wikipedia?
4) How often do you read articles on Wikipedia?
5) Do you trust the information you find there?
6) Who do you think contribute information to Wikipedia? Why?

3) After getting feedback from your students, tell them that they’re going to watch an interview with a person who contributes to Wikipedia. But before watching the video, print out these questions for your students to discuss. Ask them to make notes about their partner’s ideas.

1) What kind of people do you think contribute to Wikipedia?
2) What motivates these people to contribute to Wikipedia?
3) What do you think people earn when they add information to Wikipedia?
4) How many articles do you think the top contributor to Wikipedia could have written?
5) How much time in a day do you think people devote to editing Wikipedia?
6) If you’ve met a person who constantly edits Wikipedia, what would you think about this person?

4) Get feedback from your students by asking what they disagreed about and why.

Note: I would suggest cutting out the following parts of the video and my plan follows these edits:
00:00 – 00:31
01:31 – 01:58

04:14 – 04:20
04:29 – 04:42

5) Before playing the video, have your students look at the man pictured on the TV in it (Not the host) and ask them what they think about this person. Then, have them watch Steven’s interview with CBS and ask them to compare their answers to the 6 questions above to what they will hear.

5) After watching the video for the first time, get feedback on what the answers to the questions were and ask your students what surprised them the most about Steven. Ask them if their opinion of Steven has changed after watching his interview.

6) Give your students the 8 questions below to check their understanding of the video. Ask them to complete as many of the questions as they can. Then, have them watch the video for the second time to check their answers.

7) After completing the questions and watching the video twice, ask your students if they’d want to find out more about Steven. Give them the extract below and ask them to find facts which they haven’t seen or heard in the video.

During the workday, Pruitt is part of the records and information governance team at U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Washington, D.C. One thing his team does is help the agency’s offices transfer records to the National Archives. And while he does his Wikipedia work for free on a volunteer basis, Pruitt believes it helped get him the job three years ago.
Alla Pruitt says that her son would spend a lot of time around grownups when he was a child. “For some reason that I still don’t understand, wherever we lived, there were no kids of his age,” she says. “As I keep telling him, we ruined his life because we would always take him to museums and concerts and operas and different countries. Since the age of 1 or so, he’s been traveling all over the world.”
What does his mother think of his Wikipedia work?
“I have to confess, I’m wrong. At first we didn’t want the computer because I knew it’s addictive and time-consuming. Then his teacher said the child needs a computer.”
Steven was in third grade at the time. “I think I was the last kid in my class to get a computer,” he says.
“He did a lot of Photoshops and pictures and silly things. And then he started on Wikipedia. I said, ‘What is Wikipedia?’. My attitude always was, ‘Why do you waste all the time? Why don’t you read a book instead?’ But then, I realized he’s doing something valuable and important.”
Was she surprised when the Time magazine article came out?
“It was kind of unexpected. But it makes me very proud as a parent.”
Despite spending countless hours in front of a computer screen, Pruitt is far from antisocial. His friends describe him as outgoing, likeable and adventurous.

8) After getting answers from your students, ask them to discuss the questions below with their partners:

1) If you could ask Steven any question, what would you ask him and why?
2) Do you think what he is doing is changing the world? How so?
3) Which Wikipedia articles are your most favorite ones? Why?
4) Do you think the people who contribute over a million edits to Wikipedia are crazy?
5) Would you ever consider doing any free volunteer work? Why/Why not?
6) Wikipedia is considered as a bad source for any academic work. What are the reasons for that? Do you think this could change in the future?

9) While they’re discussing the questions. Write down 2 sentences from the article on the board:

Alla Pruitt says that her son would spend a lot of time around grownups when he was a child.
We would always take him to museums and concerts and operas and different countries.

If you don’t have the time to get feedback for each question you’ve given them. Focus on the first one and get ideas from each pair.

10) Tell your students to look at the sentences and ask them which sentence talks about a finished habit and which sentence describes typical past behavior. Ask CCQs about the topic, such as:
Are we talking about the past, present or future?
Does Steven often travel now?

11) Ask your students what they can use instead of would. Check what they know about used to and would by giving them these 3 questions.

12) Check their answers and focus on the fact that changing used to to would when you have a finished state gives the sentence a different meaning. You can give them an example, such as I used to like chocolate and ask them if we can change used to to would and what the second sentence would mean.

13) Give your students these facts about Steven Pruitt and ask them to rewrite these facts using would if it’s possible.

14) After they’re done and you’ve finished checking the answers, ask your students to make 6 sentences true for them about their past habits and typical behavior using used to and would. Ask them to share their sentences with their partners and ask extra questions about each fact. To get feedback from your students, ask them which fact about their partner surprised them the most and why?

15) Give your students a sheet of paper with the following task:
Think of how Wikipedia has changed our lives and our education using used to and would.
Write about how and where we looked for information, which sources we used, how accurate they were.
Do you think these changes are good or bad? Why?

You can ask your students to write an essay on the topic and collect them after the lesson or, alternatively, ask them to make notes to help them talk and then get feedback from each student.

I hope your students will love this lesson!

If you have any ideas on how to make it even better, leave a comment and have a good weekend! 🙂

YOUNGBLOOD

Recently, I was looking for a music video by a band called 5 Seconds of Summer when I stumbled upon a short video with the same name as the song I was looking for. I figured I could use it in my private practice and I would like to share my idea with you.

Here’s what you need to do:

1) Start the lesson by asking your students some simple questions
1. What do you think is the best age to be?
2. What age do you want to live to?
3. What things were you taught by your older family members? How have they been useful to you in your life?
4. Are there many things that the old can teach the young or are they out of touch by the time they reach a certain age?

Ask your students to give reasons for their opinions about age.

2) Ask your students to work in pairs and share a few things they liked before but don’t like now, as well as things they disliked before but now enjoy.
Get feedback by asking if they’ve had any common things that they like or dislike now.
As a conclusion, ask your students if they think that as the years go by, they’ve changed a lot and whether they see these changes as positive or negative ones.

3) To set your students up for the video, you should introduce them to the subtopic of it, which is chess. You can do that by asking them some questions like:
1. Do you like playing chess?
2. How often do you play it?
3. Do you consider yourself good at it?
4. What kind of benefits can playing chess give to people

4) After the discussion, print out pictures of the chess pieces and their names and have students match the names to the pictures. Get feedback from them.

5) To give them extra practice, have them write down the name of the chess piece next to the descriptions about them.

As an extension, you can ask your students which chess piece they like playing with the most and why.

6) Tell your students that they’re going to watch a video about chess and different generations. Pause the video at 0:17 and 3:00 and ask your students what they think is going to happen next. Pause the video at 3:11 and ask your students why they think the man asked Youngblood for money.

7) Once your students have finished watching the video, ask them what they think of both players’ behavior and how they would act if they were in Youngblood’s shoes.

8) Give your students statements based on what they’ve just seen and ask them to correct the ones that are false.

9) Once your students are done with the statements, you can have them discuss the following questions in groups:

1. What does a person’s age tell us?
2. Do you respect the elderly? How do you show your respect?
3. Are people from the older generation always wiser and right in their ways of thinking and choices? Why/Why not?
4. Are young people less polite than they used to be? Why/Why not?
5. Do you ever give advice to people who are younger than you? If so, what advice do you usually give them?
6. Do you think the difference in age allows the older generation to have more authority in their relationships with younger people?
7. Oscar Wilde said, “I’m not young enough to know everything”. What do you think he meant?

Get feedback from your students if you have enough time or, alternatively, ask them which questions they disagreed about and why.

10) After this activity I decided to elicit what students had already known about modals of deduction so I turned on the video again and paused it at specific times to ask them to choose the right verb. Print out the sentences below. Tell your students to watch the video and choose the right answers each time you pause the video. Ask them why they chose their answers.

0:23 – This man could / can’t be an experienced player.
0:32 – Youngblood must / can’t be good at chess.
1:07 – The man should / must have lost his confidence.
1:22 – The man can’t / may not want to admit that he lost.
1:34 – The man must / can’t be serious. That’s not how people play chess!
1:45 – The man can’t / must really hate losing.
2:00 – The man can’t / must know the rules of the game.
2:17 – Youngblood might / must be showing respect for the man.
2:42 – Everybody may / must be sure by now that the man doesn’t know how to play.
3:04 – Youngblood must / might be surprised that the man asked him for money.

11) Write down must, might, could, may and can’t on the board and tell your students that they can use these verbs to make deductions about what’s happening. Ask your students which modal verbs are used to:
• talk about something they believe is true.
• talk about something they think is possible.
• talk about something that they believe is not true.
Ask your students if they can make deductions with can or mustn’t.
Tell your students that when making deductions about states they need to use the modal verb with the bare infinitive, while when making deductions about something that’s happening at the moment they should use the modal verb with the verb “be” and a gerund. Write down the form on the board.

12) Give them a handout of the notes I’ve taken from the video. Ask them to choose which modal verb they’d use and explain why.

13) Give your students the situations below. Ask them to make deductions about the people in them and the reasons why they acted in a particular manner. Ask them to work in groups of 3, discuss the situations and tell their partners how they could make things better.

1) Your colleague listens to music popular in his youth and keeps complaining about the modern music that you listen to.
2) Your father just bought a new computer and you can tell from the specs that he paid too much for it.
3) You want to go to the cinema with your friends to watch a new movie but they ask you why you can’t just download it and watch it from home.
4) Your friend is telling his son to find a government job but his son wants to chase his dreams and make a job out of his hobby.
5) Your grandparents live far away from you. You want them to use an app to have video chats with them but they prefer talking on the phone.
6) You ordered a pizza and it was delivered to you 2 hours later. You left a negative review online and the owner of the pizzeria called you to apologize and sent you a free pizza. You tell your parents about the situation and they’re disappointed in you.

You can give them some examples of how to do the activity, e.g.

He must have special feelings about the music he listens to.
He
might ignore modern music and not even give it a chance.
We
may need to talk about the music we listen to.
We
might like the same songs.

Once your students have gone through all the situations, ask them which deductions they made for each situation and which solution for each situation they thought was the best one in their group and why.
You can have your class vote on the best solutions among all the groups.

And there you have it. A natural way for your students to learn the names of the chess pieces and practice using modal verbs for making deductions.

I hope you’ll find this lesson useful in your practice and feel free to share your ideas on how to make it even better. See you next Saturday! 🙂

The Origin Of Christmas

After a short holiday break, let’s look at this Christmas lesson I’ve had with my teens. 🙂

1) Start your lesson by asking them how they celebrated New Year and Christmas. Ask each student to share a fact about Christmas with the class.

2) Tell your students to take out their phones and download an app called Kahoot! In this app, students need to input a PIN code that the teacher will provide them with and will have to answer a series of questions about Christmas. The first one to answer each question correctly will get more points. You can use the quiz I’ve created or make your own one with the facts you consider interesting for your students. Once your students have answered all the questions, ask them which facts were surprising to them.

3) Tell your students that they’re going to watch a video about the origin of Christmas. Ask them to answer one question: was Christmas always a traditional holiday in the USA?

4) After getting feedback from your class, tell them that they’re going to watch the video once more and they’ll need to find the answer to the following questions in pairs

  1. What kind of activities did the Romans do on their holiday?
  2. What were Norse people celebrating?
  3. What did the families burn in this holiday?
  4. When was Jesus born?
  5. Why did Christians transform pagan holidays into Christmas?
  6. Which traditions did British people have for Christmas?
  7. Which holiday has a similar tradition of going to other people’s houses? Do you think it’s only a coincidence?
  8. What made Christmas popular again in the USA?

5) After getting feedback from your students, have them match the words from the video with their meanings. Elicit examples when you can (e.g. which pagan gods did people believe in before Christianity? Have you ever given money to a beggar? Could you part with your phone for a week? What if you were paid for that?)
You can have your students make up questions using the words in small groups and ask the other groups these questions. Then, you just have to ask your class which answers were the funniest ones they’ve heard.

HarvestWhat people collect from the fields in Autumn.
To ward offTry to keep someone or something away from you.
Mardi GrasThe last day of a Christian carnival when you can eat and drink anything.
BeggarA person who asks people for money.
To part withTo give up or let go of something.
PaganPeople who believe in gods other than the ones we believe in.
OriginThe beginning of something.
Civil compromiseMaking an agreement between people.

6. When they’re done, give them 6 questions to discuss in pairs. Ask them what they have in common with their partners and make notes of any errors if you’d like to do an error correction at the end of the lesson.

  1. Do you agree that people should celebrate Christmas the way they want to? Why?
  2. Do you celebrate Christmas? Do you have any special traditions that you follow?
  3. What do you think is the best thing about Christmas?
  4. Are there any Christmas traditions that are specific to Ukrainians?
  5. Do you get any presents at Christmas? What was the best present you’ve ever received in this holiday?
  6. Do you like Christmas songs? Which Christmas song do you find the most annoying?

7. As a final activity, I’ve held a debate. I wrote Christmas is too commercial on the board and asked the students to work in 2 teams: for and against this statement. You can give your students 5 minutes to brainstorm their arguments, give their opinion what the real value of Christmas is and ask the fast finishers to think of what the other team might say and what their counter-arguments could be.

It’s very important for a debate to be organized so when both teams are ready, tell them that they will have 3 minutes to present their arguments and the other team must not interrupt their speech. Instead, they should make notes about the arguments given and think of how they would counter them.

The next thing they should do is have an open debate where each team goes through the arguments given by the other teams while the other team defends their ideas.

Finally, ask each team to give a closing statement where they should note which arguments from the other team they agree with and if they changed their minds about Christmas.

8. As homework, ask your students to find 1 fact about how people celebrate Christmas in their country and prepare a short written report about it for the next lesson. You can then compile all the reports given, correct the students’ errors and print a newspaper with all their articles as a gift for them.

And there you have it! A fun way to find out more about the holiday and get your students talking.

On a side note, which Christmas tradition do you stick to with your family?

Let us know in the comments section and see you next week! 🙂

Online Job Interviews

Since I mostly teach English online, I’d like to share a lesson I’ve been working on for conducting job interviews via Skype. I hope it will be helpful to you and I would appreciate any of your suggestions on how to improve it even further. 🙂

So, let’s begin:

1. Start the lesson by asking your students some simple questions like:

How many job interviews have you had in the past 10 years?
How do you usually feel before a job interview?
What’s the longest job interview you’ve ever had? Why was it so long?
Were you asked any questions that you think were weird? What were they?
Is always telling the truth a good strategy for job interviews?

2. Have your students watch the video and say which question they thought was weird. Then, have them choose which questions were the job seekers asked.

3. After getting answers from your students and watching the video till the end, give them the following questions to discuss:

Are these questions common for most job interviews?
Which questions would you expect to be asked in your job interview?
If you were the HR manager, which employee would you hire? Why?
Have you ever had to lie at a job interview? If not, do you know anyone who did and got the job?
If you had to pick 1-2 things each person interviewed did well, what would you pick and why?
In some countries like the USA, talking about your salary is considered taboo. Is it common to talk about one another’s salary in your country?

4. While they’re discussing the questions write the following questions on the board:

  • How are you today?
  • Did you have any trouble finding us?
  • Isn’t this great weather we’re having?
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why are you interested in working for our company?

After getting feedback, have them look at the questions and answer 2 questions:

Why do HR managers ask these questions?
What’s the best way to respond to these questions?

5. Divide your students to groups and tell them to imagine that they’re applying for a job abroad or a remote job. They’re going to have an online interview. Which things should they think about before the interview?

6. Get feedback from each group and have them make notes of it on the board. Then, have them watch the video below and ask them to put a tick if they see any of their ideas in the video (Stop the video at the 3:24 mark).

If you’d like to use the video above in your meetings or events, click here.

7. Find out which of their ideas they’ve seen in the video and then share your ideas with your students. Ask them what they think of your ideas and why this advice is good or bad. I’ll put my ideas below:

Technical: Delivery:
Check your software for updates. Exchange Skype IDs beforehand.
Test your audio/video & connection. Don’t use unprofessional usernames.
Stop downloading anything. Be in the center of the video.
Buy a better mic & headset. Smile and look into the webcam.
Check your employer’s time-zone. Look and talk confidently.
Stay calm in case of technical issues. Dress appropriately.
Turn off all notifications on your PC/phone. Practice makes perfect.
Don’t wear glasses. Make sure you’re in a quiet room with no noise and interruptions.

In case you were wondering, wearing glasses can make your potential employer see what’s on your screen, so if you’re watching a movie while talking or looking for answers on Google, take off your glasses before you start the interview. 🙂

8. Since each student is different, you can’t have them go through a job interview with the same questions so ask your students which questions they’d expect to be asked at their job interviews. Give them time to think of and write down at least 5 general questions and 5 questions relevant to their careers.

9. Once your students are done, have them swap their questions and interview each other in pairs. Ideally, you can send each pair to a different room so they could hear each other better. Each student should make notes about their answers and any questions they’d like to ask each other. When they’ve gone through all their questions, have the “employers” become “employees” and vice versa.

10. Get feedback from your students by asking each pair what kind of questions they asked each other, what they made notes of during the interview and if they think their partners would hire them.

Because I’ve taught a similar lesson online, what I did was record the interview I’ve had with my students and e-mailed it to them to think of a few things they’d change during their future online interviews so here’s my question to you: if you taught this lesson, what would you give your students as homework? 🙂

Feel free to let us know in the comments section and see you next weekend!

Could It Be You Who Drew My Eyes?

Drawing

Today I wanted to share an activity I’ve done with my teens to practice could and the Past Simple tense.
You can use it as a warm-up activity for your lessons devoted to art or as a final activity.

Thank you to Margosha for the idea! 🙂

You will need as many A4 papers as you’ve got students in your class, a timer (You can use your phone) and something to stick the portraits to the board. If there is an odd number of students, you can join one of the groups.

Let’s get started:

1) Put the A4 papers on the table for each student.

2) Divide the class into 2 groups (I’ve divided them to Girls and Boys)

3) Have one of the groups stand up and give them pencils.

4) Tell your students that they have to draw parts of the face of the student sitting below them and start a 1 minute timer.

5) Once a minute is over, have the students drawing move to the next student’s portrait and continue where the other artist left from. When each artist has drawn on every student’s portrait, tell your artists to sit down and have the second group do the same activity.

6) Once the artists have finished their drawings, collect them, put them on the board and have them speculate in groups, which parts of their faces were drawn by which student. If you need to, model the question: “Could it be you who drew my nose?”.

7) Give each group 1 point for each correct guess, check which group had the most correct guesses and don’t forget to have fun. 🙂

Have a look at some of the portraits my students have drawn:

And, in case you’ve tried this activity with your students, leave a comment here and show us their creative side too! 😉

The “Not So” Glorious Life Of An Idol

It’s no secret that a career in show business is not as easy as it seems to be and artists spend a lot of time working on their appearance, singing and dancing.
I figured that some dark facts about pop stars’ lives would make an interesting lesson which I would like to share with you.

Let’s go:

1. Start by asking your students some simple questions, like:

1) Do you prefer listening to music from your country or from abroad?

2) Which countries do you think make the best music?

3) Do you listen to music which is not in English and your native language? What do you listen to?

2. Break your students into 2 groups and have them make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of being a star. Ask them if there are more advantages than disadvantages.

3. Ask them if they’ve heard of K-Pop and what it means (If they haven’t, what they think it means). Tell them that they are going to watch a K-Pop song and ask them to share how they feel about the song. Students should now watch a K-Pop song (Or a part of it if you don’t have a lot of time), for example, BTS’s Idol:

4. Write down

Slavery
Prostitution
Plastic Surgery
Crazy Fans
Health problems
Racism
Lack of creative freedom

on the board and ask your students which problems they think Korean celebrities don’t have to deal with. Don’t confirm any answers yet.

5. Tell your students that they’re going to watch a short video and check their answers. Once they’re done watching it, ask them which fact surprised them the most. Get feedback from each student. You can ask the students that saw more advantages than disadvantages in being a star whether they still think so or if they would like to become a K-Pop star.

6. Give them multiple-choice questions to check their understanding of the video.

7. Give your students a set of questions and have them watch the video again to find the answers to them.

8. Have your students discuss the following questions in pairs:

1) Which is better for you: working 20 hours a day and being famous or working up to 8 hours a day on a regular job? Why?

2) Do you think these facts are exclusive to Korean artists or are they common in other countries too?

3) What are some crazy examples of fan worship you have heard of?

4) How popular is racism and stereotypes about people from other countries in your country?

5) Which stereotypes did you use to believe to about people from other countries?

6) What would you want to ask a K-Pop idol?

Get their ideas.

9. Elicit what euphemism means or just tell them that they’re polite expressions we use instead of words or phrases that otherwise might be considered harsh or unpleasant to hear. Have your students match the euphemisms in the exercise and then ask your students to give more examples of euphemisms in English or their native language.

10. Have your students create a story using the euphemisms from the exercise and their ideas. To make this even more fun, have each student write one sentence using a euphemism and pass it to the next one. Then, have them read the “stories” they got.

11. To finish the lesson, ask your students why they think K-Pop has become popular outside of Korea and whether they think that this success could be achieved in their country. Ask them to point out the similarities between US/UK Pop music and K-Pop and have them write them on the board. Ask them if they’d like to listen to K-Pop music in the future.

12. As a homework activity, you can have them write a fan e-mail to a K-Pop band where they share 3-5 things they liked about their new music video and read the e-mail on the next lesson.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson, if you have any suggestions on how to make it better, feel free to leave them in the comments below. 🙂