Birthday Celebrations: a conversation lesson

I turn 35 today and I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate it by talking to my students about birthday traditions and how they like to celebrate their own birthdays.

This is aimed at adult students, particularly because the video from friends makes reference to being 30, but I believe it may interest adolescent students as well.

The vocabulary from the text is not particularly challenging, so you could use this lesson with Intermediate students onwards.

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Game Templates for ActivInspire Software

Since about 2007 I have worked with interactive whiteboards from a British company called Promethean. These whiteboards use a software called ActivStudio, which you can download here.

I often use this software, rather than PowerPoint, because it allows students to interact more with things by clicking on objects or dragging things across the board. It lends itself really well for games and competitions among students.

In this post, I’d like to share three game templates I use with my students when I want to revise the language they have worked with during the semester.

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Protests in Brazil: a conversation lesson

This is the second time in less than a year when I have prepared a lesson about protests in Brazil. My political bias aside, I think this is an important part of the nation’s zeitgeist.

This is undoubtedly a controversial topic. Much like the last few lessons I have posted, some sensitivity may be in order when choosing which groups to use it with.

Lastly, although some adolescents students  may not be old enough to vote, I believe this is a topic that will interest adults and teenagers alike.

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Susie Wolff and International Women’s Day: a conversation lesson

Being the unaware man that I am, I only remembered today was International Women’s Day when I checked Facebook this morning. As luck would have it, I was already planning to have a lesson about Susie Wolff, because of a quote I came across last week.

In a short interview, she said: “We are all defined by our strengths and character, not by our gender.” I thought that would strike a chord with my female students, but decided to expand the lesson a bit to generate more conversation.

I do realize she is now retired, but the point is women achieving things in a field dominated by man. She now runs the Dare to be Different initiative to showcase, inspire and celebrate women in motor sports.

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Oscars and Hollywood Whitewashing: a conversation lesson for adults

The Oscars usually provide good material for English lessons, as most students like talking about movies. This year was no different, even though the focus of this lesson is slightly different from the ones I have taught in the past.

Much has been said about the fact that there were no African-Americans among this year’s nominees and this issue was addressed both by John Oliver in his TV show and by Chris Rock in the opening monologue of the Oscar ceremony.

Disclaimer: although adolescents might enjoy talking about this topic, the first video does include swear words, so be mindful of your audience.

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