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Speaking activity: Putin’s brainy quotes

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Автор: Empire-of-English | Категория: Speaking games & activities | Дата: 20-01-2017

It often happens when teachers run out of their activities at the end of the lesson. It happened to me a lot of times and I had to switch to my improvisation. Sometimes it worked out very well but sometimes I remained unsatisfied with how I finished the lesson. Finally I started creating special activities which are called «time-fillers» in the world of teaching, and every time I go to my classes I put 1-2 time-fillers in my folder and use them in case of «emergency». One of such  activities is «Putin’s brainy quotes». It’s based on speaking and will trigger your students to express their thoughts. 15 minutes of speaking for students is great practice. Please, find attached the PDF file with the time-filler under the description.

Classroom activity: work in pairs
Language Level: pre-intermediate, intermediate, upper-intermediate, advanced
Age: 16+
Time: 30 minutes
Target: speaking practice, expressing thoughts on the topic, time-filler
Anticipated problems: The students might not get enough ideas about the given topic, but if presented right the activity can go well and even make them interested in expressing thoughts about such a controversial thing as politics.
Procedure: Divide the students into pairs and give each pair two cards for discussion. Then you can mix the pairs and make them share their ideas with each other about different quotes. But before you start giving instructions it will be better to make a nice and interesting presentation of the topic to prepare the ground, so to say.

Putin’s brainy quotes — speaking activity

Speaking game: Empire of English

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Автор: Empire-of-English | Категория: Speaking games & activities | Дата: 17-01-2017

Another speaking game to ring the changes on your lessons. You can alter it according to your students’ needs and use it to the best advantage in your teaching process. Please find attached the PDF file with the materials under the description of the game.

Classroom activity: whole class interaction
Language level: upper-intermediate, advanced
Age: 15+
Time: 40-50 minutes
Target: speaking practice, learning the words describing people, training skills of convincing people
Anticipated problems: As far as the activity involves the whole class at a time the teacher might be short of time to follow all the mistakes the students might be making during the discussion. Therefore, it is advisable that the teacher should take notes while listening to what the students say.
Procedure: The game is called «Empire of English». Here is the description: «Empire of English» is a (fictional) famous and one of the biggest language centers in the world which is located in New York. The company has advertised the position of the General Manager with the right for teaching English, and all the students are candidates who badly want to work for this company. Each student gets a card which describes the character which the student is going to impersonate in the activity. All students, one by one, read out loud the information about themselves and start discussing who deserves to work for «Empire of English» trying to persuade each other. When every character has been discussed the teacher reveals some secret information about some characters which gives a new ground for discussion.

Empire of English — speaking game — PDF VERSION

Make: causative structures

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Автор: Empire-of-English | Категория: Grammar for Students | Дата: 14-01-2017

The term «causative form» sounds too scary for students, but once they understand the rule it becomes clear and not frightening at all. If you are a learner of English and you are reading this article, it means that you are a very purposeful and autonomous learner, you want to know more and you are keen to understand everything clearly even though you are outside of your classroom. So, let’s have a look at the rule itself.

Object + Infinitive 

After make + object, we use the infinitive without «to».

Example: I made her cry. (NOT I mader her to cry. OR I made her crying.)

Note that the infinitive must follow the object.

Example: I can’t make the washing machine work. (NOT I can’t make work the washing machine.)

In passive structures the infinitive with «to» is used.

Example: She was made to repeat the whole story. 


Make oneself understood, etc. 

In a few cases make can be followed by myself, yourself, etc and a past participle. The structure is common with understood and heard.

Example: I don’t speak good French, but I can make myself understood. (NOT …make myself understand.)

She had to shout to make herself heard. 


With object + object complement: make people welcome, etc.

We can talk about an effect or change with make + object + adjective/noun.

Example: She made everybody welcome.

The rain made the grass wet. (NOT The rain made wet the grass.)

We do not use make ….. be  in this structure:

Example: You have made me a happy man. (NOT You have made me be a happy man.)

«Need For Speed» game — revision of the Present Continuous Tense

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Автор: Empire-of-English | Категория: Boardgames | Дата: 13-01-2017

It is no surprise that both kids and adults like learning the language with fun. The modern world is the world where everything turns around every day and people are used to getting information visually, by listening, always being involved in some action. In the process of English Learning the best thing to do for making students remember things is to create something memorable, something that would be unusual for them that they haven’t done before in the context of English Learning. Here I would like to suggest you a fun boardgame with the help of which your students will have a fun-chance to revise the Present Continuous forms.

The rules of the game are as simple as that. Divide your class into two teams and assign each team to their own car (cut them out and stick to some cardboard to make them firm). Students decide which team is going to make the first move. Each move is marked with a red or yellow card.  If a team gets the card with the question — they are supposed to answer the question by making the correct sentence in Present Continuous. If a team gets the card with a rule, they are supposed to make a sentence using the given rule. If the teams give the correct answers, their cars make a move. The first team who gets to FINISH is the winner. As a teacher you can prepare a little present for the winner  and you can inform them before the game starts. It will help to boost their interest and desire to participate and compete with each other. You can also try this game out not with two teams, but by pairing your students up and they will have one-to-one competitions, which means they will practise the grammar tense more than if they do it in a group of students.

Please find attached the PDF files with the game and the cards below:

Need for Speed — boardgame — Present Continuous

Red Cards — Need for Speed game

Yellow cards — Need for Speed game

Present Perfect (grammar reference)

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Автор: Empire-of-English | Категория: Grammar for Students | Дата: 10-01-2017

The Present Perfect Tense is considered to be the most difficult one in English, but if you are a learner of English and you badly want to understand the rules of Present Perfect, you would probably prefer to get the clearest explanation of it. This is what I intend to do in this article. First of all, let me get you familiar with the form:

Subject + HAVE/HAS + Past Participle 

Examples:

They have broken my glasses and I can’t see without them. She has brought her puppy to school.

They haven’t broken my glasses, so I can see everything clearly. She hasn’t brought her puppy to school.

Have they broken my glasses? Has she brought her puppy to school?

  1. We use The Present Perfect to speak about finished events which are connected with the present in some way. Such actions which were completed in the past usually have some result at present (we can see or feel it). Example: I can’t go on holiday because I have broken my leg. (It happened in the past. We don’t know when it happened, but you can see the result at present — my leg is broken, and this is the reason why I can’t go on holiday).   —> We can often change a present perfect sentence into a present sentence with a similar meaning. Have a look: 1) I’ve broken my leg. —> My leg is broken now. 2) Have you read the Bible? —> Do you know the Bible? 3) Our dog has died. —> Our dog is dead.
  2. The Present Perfect is often used to express the idea of completion or achievement. Examples: Finally I have finished! Have you done all the homework? 
  3. We do not use the Present Perfect if we are not thinking about the present. Examples: I have travelled in Italy a lot. (= I know Italy quite well.) Some people think that Shakespeare travelled a lot in Germany. (We can’t use the Present Perfect here because we know that Shakespeare is no longer alive and the completed action cannot be connected with the present. So we change it for the Past Simple.)
  4. We normally use the Present Perfect to announce news of recent events. Examples: Andrew has bought a new house!  Have you heard? Uncle Steve has crashed the car again. (We don’t know when it happened. This information is brand new for us.) After announcing news, we usually use the Past Simple form to give more details of the situation. Example: Uncle Steve has crashed the car again. He ran into a tree in Wilson Street. 
  5. The Present Perfect often has its time indicators, such as: ever, before, recently, yet, already, never, lately. Examples: Have you ever seen an alien? I am quite sure I have met this girl before. Has the delivery man come yet? They have already finished writing the test. 
  6. We also use the Present Perfect when we talk about events which have finished during the period of time which is not over yet: today, this week, this month, this year, this January, this winter, in the morning (if it is still morning), etc. Examples: I have drunk two cups of coffee in the morning. (It’s still 10 a.m.) Have you worked a lot this summer? (It is still summer now.) Today I have met Billy in the supermarket. (It’s still today.)
  7. There are some adverbs of frequency which are quite common with the Present Perfect. These are: simetimes, often, occasionally, never. Examples: How often have you been in love in your life? I have sometimes thought of moving to New York. She has never tried dancing! 
  8. We use the Present Perfect when we talk about events but do not mention the time when they happened. Examples: Have you seen ‘Romeo and Juliet’? She has done a lot for me. 
  9. Another use of the Present Perfect is when we talk about actions which started in the past and continue up to now. Example: She has worked as a lawyer in this company for five years. (It means that she came to this company 5 years ago and she is still there at the position of  lawyer.) In this case we always have a time indicator «for + period of time».)
  10. In American English the Past Simple is often used instead of the Present Perfect when you want to give some news. Examples: Did you hear? Our boss decided to cut our salaries! (AmE) vs. Have you heard? Our boss has decided to cut our salaries! (BrE) 
  11. One more rule to remember is the difference between these three types of sentences: She has gone to Madrid. (= She is on her way to Madrid or she’s there. She hasn’t come back yet.) She has been to Paris once. (= She has visited Paris; she is not there now. She has come back.) She has been in Berlin for two years. (=She lives in Berlin now. She came there two years ago and she is still there.)

To practise the Present Perfect vs. Past Simple, please print out the following PDF document and do the exercise.

Present Perfect or Past Simple — exercise to practise the two tenses

Speaking game «Babysitter wanted»

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Автор: Empire-of-English | Категория: Speaking games & activities | Дата: 08-01-2017

To boost students’ desire to learn the language you always have to find new ways of teaching vocabulary or developing their speaking skills. The best way to do it is to put them into a real-life situation where they can solve the problem together, discuss something and come to a common conclusion. That is why I would like to introduce you another speaking game which is called «Babysitter wanted» where students have to choose the best candidate for the position of a babysitter in a house of a wealthy family. Please find attached the PDF file with the game under the description.

Classroom activity: whole class interaction
Language level: upper-intermediate, advanced
Age: 15+
Time: 40-50 minutes
Target: speaking practice, learning the words describing people, training skills of convincing people
Anticipated problems: As far as the activity involves the whole class at a time the teacher might be short of time to follow all the mistakes the students might be making during the discussion. Therefore, it is advisable that the teacher should take notes while listening to what the students say.
Procedure: The game is called «Babysitter wanted». Here is the description: A wealthy family is looking for a babysitter for their three children: two boys and one girl. They don’t have time to interview candidates, so they asked all the candidates to decide themselves who is going to take this position. Each student gets a card which describes the character (the candidate for being a babysitter) which the student is going to impersonate in the activity. All students, one by one, read out loud the information about themselves and start discussing who should become a babysitter trying to persuade each other. When every character has been discussed the teacher reveals some secret information about some characters which gives a new ground for discussion.

Babysitter Wanted — speaking game — PDF VERSION

Speaking activity «Expressing regrets about the past»

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Автор: Empire-of-English | Категория: Speaking games & activities | Дата: 07-01-2017

Nobody likes to regret, but in fact lots of people every day express their regrets about something they did or did not do in the past. This activity will help your students to learn some constructions with the help of which they can speak about their regrets.  Please find attached the PDF file with the activity and the link to the video on youtube channel «Empire of English» under the description.

Classroom activity: pair-work

Language level: intermediate, upper-intermediate, advanced

Age: 10+

Time: 20 minutes

Target: speaking practice, expressing regrets (I wish I + Past Perfect, If only I + Past Perfect, I should have + V3/ed)

Anticipated problems: If Past Perfect had not been explained to students before this lesson it might be hard for them to use its form.

Procedure: Draw a map of Australia with Great Victoria Desert. Next to this map draw a person whose name is Richard. Tell your students that he is going to drive across Great Victoria Desert from the east to the west by his car. Ask them to think of things which Richard should take with him or do to make his trip more comfortable and interesting and write them down on the board. Tell them to use more options when they start speaking. For example: a map, a spare wheel, lots of water, a travelling companion, food, a first aid kit etc. Then tell your students that a week has passed, Richard has finished his trip, but his trip was terrible because he had made NO preparations from the list. Draw unhappy Richard on the board. The students are supposed to work in pairs and make sentences using the target constructions to express Richard’s regrets. For example: I should have taken a spare wheel. If only I had invited my friend to go with me. I wish I had made more sandwiches. Etc. The students do this activity orally, but when it’s over you can randomly ask some students to share their possible answers with the class. Do plenary check.

Expressing Regrets about the past — PDF VERSION

Watch the video on youtube channel «Empire of English» on the given topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cGTp-RaolE

Speaking game «Discovering a new planet»

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Автор: Empire-of-English | Категория: Speaking games & activities | Дата: 07-01-2017

Everyone knows that the most important part of learning English is speaking — the more your students speak, the better for them. If the task is boring, it won’t trigger your students to speak a lot, but if you make it fun, they will be more than enthusiastic about getting involved in the conversation. Here I would like introduce you one of my speaking games which is related to a category of survival games. Enjoy! I hope your students will like it! Please find attached the PDF file with the game under the description of the game.

Classroom activity: whole class interaction
Language level: upper-intermediate, advanced
Age: 15+
Time: 40-50 minutes
Target: speaking practice, learning the words describing people, training skills of convincing people
Anticipated problems: As far as the activity involves the whole class at a time the teacher might be short of time to follow all the mistakes the students might be making during the discussion. Therefore, it is advisable that the teacher should take notes while listening to what the students say.
Procedure: The game is called «Discovering a new planet». Here is the description: The Earth is about to die. The government of the USA decides to choose a team of six people with best characteristics who would agree to fly to space in order to discover a new planet which would be viable for humans’ life in the near future. There are 10 candidates who want to be in this team, but only 6 of them will get the chance to fly to space. Each student gets a card which describes the character which the student is going to impersonate in the activity. All students, one by one, read out loud the information about themselves and start discussing who is going to take part in this mission trying to persuade each other. When every character has been discussed the teacher reveals some secret information about some characters which gives a new ground for discussion.

Discovering a new planet — speaking game — PDF version