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! 😉

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Englishes or the mistakes we make

– How much watch?
– Six watch!
– Such much?
– To whom how.
– MGIMO finish?
– Ask!

Today I wanted to look at some of the common mistakes people from my country make in English.

Let’s start with something funny:

1) I feel myself tired.

I understand where this comes from since English is not my first language, but when you tell people that you feel yourself, they may take it the wrong way.

Feeling yourself

So the next time you want to say how you feel, say something like I feel tired instead.

2) How do you call it?

I heard this one from a lot of my students and my university teachers also asked me this question, but the right way to ask when you don’t know some word in English would be What do you call it?

Or, if you really want to use How: How do you say “something” in English?

3) There’s a bar near to my house.

This comes from the fact that near is often translated to my language as Рядом с, and the с is translated as to. But the right way to say this is: There’s a bar near my house.

4) I have everything what I need.

This is another example of translating from Russian, where what means что. You can say I have everything that I need but we usually don’t use that and say I have everything I need.

5) I don’t know nobody here.

Unlike Russian, English doesn’t use two negatives when you express a negative idea. (It’s like in math, where and give you +)

I would say I don’t know anybody here. You can also use I know nobody here.

6) Hometask

This is a direct translation of our Домашнее задание, but when your teacher gives you something to do at home, the right way to call it is homework.

I’d like you to fix the mistakes down below to avoid them in the future. 🙂

Which mistakes have you made in the past and how did you fix them?
Let us know in the comments section and see you next week! 🙂

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Always never sometimes

Today, let’s take a quick look at adverbs of frequency. We use them to say how often something happens.

The most common ones are:

Always

Usually

Often

Sometimes

Occasionally

Seldom

Rarely

Never

And that’s how I would grade them (Sorry for my terrible GIMP skills):

Adverbs of frequency

One thing you should know about them is that they always go after the verb be and before any other verbs.

I’m always tired in the morning. I always go to bed late.

But I’m sure you’re not here for the theory, so let’s jump into practice with the exercise below 🙂

When you’re done, I have a question for you: How often do you exercise? Are you an athletic or non-athletic person? Let us know in the comments section and see you next week! 🙂

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Feelings and emotions.

Let’s take a short break from grammar and have a quick look at some words related to feelings:

Anxiousworried and nervous
Calmquiet, not worried
Disappointedunhappy because of someone or something
Excitedvery happy and enthusiastic
ExhaustedExtremely tired
Guiltysad because you’ve done something wrong
Nervousworried
PleasedSatisfied, quite happy
Tenseworried and unable to relax
Upsetworried, unhappy or angry

These are some words you can use instead of just saying happy/sad/angry.

Instead of explaining them though, how about we practice them?

I hope you enjoyed the exercises and my depiction of these feelings. What about you, how do you feel right now? Send a picture via Imgur for us to guess in the comments section. 🙂

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Using An

Here’s a simple topic but one that is still confusing to many students.

A or an article?

We use an when the noun starts with a vowel sound, but that doesn’t mean that the nouns are written with a vowel letter (a, e, i, o, u).

Let’s look at a few examples:

I’ll meet you in an hour.

The letter H in the word Hour is silent, we pronounce the word as [‘aʊər] which is why we use an.

I want to make a unique gift for our anniversary.

Even though the first letter is U, we pronounce it as ju [juˈniːk] which is why we use a.

A European is staying at our hotel.

In this case, the letters Eu are pronounced as jʊ [jʊrəˈpiːən] and that’s why we use a.

He got an MBA degree last year.

When it comes to abbreviations, you should check which sound they start with. The letter M has the sound ɛm [”ɛmbieɪ] which is why we use an.

There’s no magic trick to figure out where to use an, just say the word and if the first sound is a vowel sound, then you should use an, otherwise, go for a. 🙂

How about practicing a/an right now?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

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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. 🙂

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Emphasizing your speech

One of the ways to point something out in English is by adding an auxiliary verb.

Let’s look at it with some examples.

– You don’t seem to like living in this city.
– But I like living in this city!

It’s a perfectly normal answer, but the person who thought I don’t like living in the city was wrong and if I’d like to point that out, I can do that by adding do.

Surprised lady

– But I DO like living in this city.

When I say this, I pronounce DO with a stress to indicate that he is wrong to think so.

We can also use did if we’re talking about the past:

People talking in a cafe

– You said you would call me when you got back to your hotel!
– But I DID call you! You just didn’t pick up the phone!

But this is just one case where we use these verbs and we only looked at do and did.

Let’s look at other cases when we use them:

1) In tag questions and when giving a short answer.

– You ARE tired, aren’t you?
– Yes, I AM.

You don’t like pizza, DO you?
– No, I don’t.

He IS happy to see me, isn’t he?
– Yes, he IS.

2) When we want to point out our strong feelings about something:

Sharply dressed man

He DOES look good in that suit.

Happy man

Your English really HAS improved a lot.
(I’m sure that’s how all students react when they hear these words) 🙂

PS4

You MUST check out this new racing game!

3) When we want to contrast two different ideas or things.

I can’t play basketball, but I CAN play tennis.

I don’t like milk, but I DO like cheese.

She didn’t study computer science at university, but she DID study informatics.

Take note that when you emphasize things in positive sentences, you don’t use contractions (I’m, I’ve, He’s)

We’ve just had a quick look at the following verbs which we can use to add emphasis:

DoDidAmHaveCanMust

Now, let’s put them to the test (And no, you don’t have to write them IN CAPS) 😉

I hope you enjoyed the exercises and my short video. 🙂

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Possessions

How many times have you heard and seen sentences like:

I went to my friend’s house last Friday

or

We can use my parents’ car

You may be thinking, why do we use friend’s and parents’ ? Is this a short form of is or is it something else?

Let’s find that out today.

When we want to show that something belongs to someone or something, we add ‘s or ‘ to a noun.

These are some other cases where and when we use ‘s:

1) When you’re talking about something that belongs to one person.

A photo

This is my father’s favorite photo.

2) With irregular plural nouns

Why should I worry about other people’s problems?

Restrooms

I’m sorry, I need to go to the men’s room.

3) When we talk about time or duration:

You can click on the words below to find the song they were taken from 🙂

Live today
There’s no time to lose
Cause when tomorrow comes
It’s all just yesterday’s news

Now, let’s look at when we use after the noun:

1) When you’re talking about something that belongs to more than one person.

We can use my parents’ car (My mom and dad’s car)

2) When your nouns end with s, it’s better to add after the noun instead of ‘s:

James’ hobby became his business. (Not James’s)

Dolores’ friends wanted to surprise her. (Not Dolores’s)

But you still read it as James’s [ˈdʒeɪmzɪz] or Dolores’s [dəˈlɔːrɪsɪz].

Let’s practice it now:

When you’re done practicing, I have a question for you. We make a lot of our decisions after getting advice from our friends and family. Have you ever done something unusual for you after hearing your friend’s ideas? Leave a comment for us to know and enjoy Autumn, as well as your weekend! 🙂

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Frankly speaking

Sometimes we want to share our attitudes to a topic we’re talking about. One way to do that is by using adverbs, which we can put in the beginning or ending of a sentence or before verbs.

Let’s look at some adverbs that describe our attitude:

Frankly

Basically

Actually

Definitely

Fortunately

Unfortunately

We use frankly when we say something directly and honestly.

Sometimes, it can be offensive and/or disappointing.

Frankly, I don’t give a f**k about your problems.

I use basically when I only want to say the most important thing without going into details.

– What did they want you to help them with?

– Well, basically, they wanted to buy a new phone.

or

His job is basically chatting with customers. It’s nothing special.

We can use actually in the following cases:

1) When giving surprising or unexpected information.

Say No!

Actually, I don’t drink at all.

2) When we want to share our own, different opinion in a polite way.

– Jim is good at fixing things.

Changing a light bulb

– Actually, he’s not. He can’t even change a light bulb.

3) When we want to correct what someone said.

– Isn’t Tom in the hospital?

– Actually, Bill, he was in the hospital on Tuesday.

We use definitely when we’re 100% sure about something.

Arguing

You know what he can do when he’s drunk. He is definitely not invited to our wedding.

Fortunately and unfortunately are used when you tell good or bad news.

Open sign

I needed to buy some tools so I took the bus to the city. Fortunately, I got to the store just before it closed.

Fixing a car

Unfortunately, his car broke down so he won’t pick us up from the airport.

Now, let’s practice these adverbs:

I’m working on my next video, but, unfortunately, the audio is very bad and I’ll have to rerecord it by Monday. Fortunately, I have an extra microphone so I don’t think it will be too hard for me to do (Fingers crossed).

What about you? What kind of news have you got to share with us? Feel free to leave a comment below. 🙂

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Why Norway Is Full Of Teslas

Tesla car

Today I’d like to share a lesson I’ve made with my fellow teachers. This lesson is about electric cars and how popular they’ve become in Norway. I hope this can help you in your class and give your students some extra economic-related vocabulary they could use. Thanks to Anton for suggesting the YouTube channel I took the video from.

So, let’s get started:

1) Ask your students some questions in the first slide to get them interested in the topic. Get feedback and find out what your students associate Tesla with. You can ask them if they would like to have a Tesla car.

2) Ask your class if electric cars are becoming more popular and if they think these cars have a future.

3) I divided the video into parts, so before your students watch the first part, give them a gist question:

How many electric cars were purchased in Norway last year compared to other cars?

When they’ve answered your question, you can ask them if they think Tesla cars will become more common in their own country.

4) The second part of the video deals with the reasons why Norway is full of Teslas so, before students watch the video, give them 2 questions:

1. Why do you think Norwegians are buying more electric cars?
2. What incentives can stimulate people to buy these kinds of cars?

And have them watch the second part of the video and compare their answers.

5) Give your students the true or false statements taken from the first 2 parts of the video and have them correct the ones that are false. Ask your students to compare their ideas in pairs before getting feedback.

6) Ask your students 3 questions:

1. How many charging stations do you think there are in Oslo?
2. How much do people pay to charge their electric cars?
3. How can the government fund the subsidies mentioned in the second part of the video and why do you think they’re doing it?

Then, have them watch the third part of the video and compare their answers.

7) The third part of the video raises an ethical issue, because Norway is selling fossil fuels but is also promoting going green. Ask your students how they think Norwegian people feel about burning and selling fossil fuels while promoting going green in the country?

Then, have them watch the fourth part of the video and ask your students if they agree with Tor’s opinion. You can ask them what other countries are promoting going green and ask them how important they think it is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

8) Give your students the next set of True or False statements based on parts 3 and 4 and have them correct the ones that are false. Ask your students to compare their ideas in pairs before getting feedback.

9) Give your students sentences taken from the video and ask them to match the words to the right sentences. Get feedback and ask your students to explain in a few words what they think the words mean.

10) To give your students extra practice using these words, ask them to work in groups and make questions using these words to ask the other group. The groups have to decide how to answer these questions together and reach an agreement.

11) Give your students some questions to discuss together in pairs and get feedback from them.

12) As a final activity, you can divide your students into 2 groups hold a debate whether the local government should motivate people to buy electric cars. Have each group think of the advantages and disadvantages of using electric cars. You can allow them to use the internet to find out more information about such cars and, possibly, situations where electric cars were useful or harmful to people (Accidents, success stories from countries like Norway). You can ask your students write their arguments on the board so they can reference them when speaking.

Once your students are done debating, you can hold a vote to choose 2 strongest arguments from each group and to see which group was more convincing.

I hope your students will enjoy this lesson, and I’d like to know what you think about electric cars. Will we see Teslas everywhere in the next decade or do you think that they won’t be able to substitute gasoline-powered cars?

Let us know in the comments section. 🙂

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