FCE Writing – Informal Letter/ Email Checklists

 

Informal Letter / Email Check lists 

As I have mentioned in my previous post on writing essays (FCE), check lists work really well with students as they helped them to stay focus and complete the task correctly. So, I have decided to make some more check lists. smiley Hope you find them useful.

 
How to use Check lists at home :
 
  • Ask students to have the check lists right in front of them when writing the tasks and  to make sure that they go through the check lists.
  • Collect essays and mark them.
  • When giving the essays back encourage students to add missing points from the check lists.
 
In the classroom:
  • Before correcting the essay get students to swap letters.
  • Hand-out a new check lists handout and get students to read and tick the points used in the task.
  • Students get their writings back and add any missing point.
  • Teacher collects writing and marks them.
FCE Writing – Informal letter/ Email

Check lists: 

  • Divide your letter into short paragraphs.
  • Write about a different idea in each paragraph.
  • 1st paragraph: Greet your friend in the introduction.
  • 2nd paragraph: Refer to your reason for writing.
  • 3rd paragraph: Focus on the exam questions (for example: describe the event and say  what people did).
  • 4thparagraph: Say why this event was important for your country.
  • 5thparagraph: Ask your friend to write back.
  • 5thparagraph: Finish your letter in an informal way.
 

Check list (Useful Phrases):

Introduction
Thanks for your letter/email.                                                                          
It’s really nice to hear from you.
I hope you are well.
I’d love to help you with/ tell you more about.
 
Body of letter/email
I thought you might be interested to hear….                         
I’m going to tell you about….
Did you know….
As far as I know…..
I think / believe……..
 
Conclusion:
I hope this information is useful.
Write soon and tell me (about) …
I hope to hear from you soon.
Take care.
Best wishes/ regards.
 
If you have found this blogpost useful make sure to download the checklist on the essay too.
Click here for the checklist. More substantial post are coming up soon and if you’d like to check them out you can follow the blog😊😊😀.
 
 

Best Friend’s Challenge


 

 

 BEST FRIEND'S CHALLENGE

 

I came up with the idea of using the 'Best Friends Challenge' (as seen in The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallow) with my teens as they are all friends and they hang out together. I have to say that it worked really well and we had quite a lot of fun too 😁😃💛So here's how it works:



 

How to play: write the following questions in different cards and cut them down. Place them in a box. Student A draws a questions and tries to guess how Student B would have answered the question. Student A and B write the answer down and show their answers with the count of 3. If the answers match they get a point. 
 
1.   What’s my favourite colour?
2.   What are the place I would like to visit?
3.   What’s my favourite food?
4.   What’s the food I hate the most?
5.   How many minutes do I take to get dressed?
6.   What are the things I carry with me all the time?
7.   What my favourite subject at school?
8.   What my worst subject at school?
9.   What annoys me the most?
10. What’s my favourite sport?
11. What’s the craziest thing I have done?
12. What do I usually have for breakfast?
13. What my favourite song at the moment?
14. Where am I going on holiday this Christmas/Easter?
15. What’s my favourite TV show?
16. What do I do in my free time?
17. What’s my favourite kind of sweet?
18. Which is my favourite type of film? Horror, Comedy, Action etc..
19. If I could meet anyone, who would it be?
20. What would I do if I won the lottery?
21. What's my favourite kind of sandwich?
22. What's my favourite hobby?
23. How do I spend my free time? 
 
After finishing the game we worked on fluency. So I asked my students to answer the questions, expand their answers and I recorded them.  In that way, I had the chance to listen to the audio again and correct some basic mistakes.  To avoid making them feel embarrassed I gave them the corrections in handouts and we practised again. This activity is great for students preparing for exams. 
   You can also get your students to come up with more questions and play the game again 🙂
   

   Click here to download the handout with the questions. 
 
Hope you like it, let me know how it goes 🙂 

 

 

Back to School : Getting to know your students.

So this is it! Back to school.. 🙂 I am pretty excited about it, let's be honest, educators have such a big break 😀 and I do miss teaching. So these are my top ideas/activities on getting back to school, mainly related to new groups, adults and teens.

1. Find someone who (A2 and above/Adults): love this, just because I get them to stand up, mingle, move around and get to know each other.

  • Hand out the sheets (attached below) and demonstrate the first example by asking  the question to a student. Ask students to fill up the information at the same time.

Teacher – Have you got a pet?
Student -Yes
Teacher -Is it a cat or a dog?
Student – Dog
Teacher – What's his/her name?
Student – Klio.

  • Ask students to think for a minute on how to formulate the questions and then elicit. 
  • Then, get them to stand up, mingle around the classroom to write as many names as possible. Also remind them to ask more question to fill up the 'more information' section.
  •  Elicit feedback with students telling you about their findings. Example: Yiannis speaks more than three languages. Persian, Greek, English and Spanish and his favorite language is Persian.
  • Adapt this game by making your own questions depending on the level and age group.

PRESS HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE HANDOUT 

2. True or False.

  • Write five statements about you on the whiteboard and tell students that 4 statements are True while one is False. 
  • Students make their guesses in an open class discussion. 
  • Get students to do the same by writing 4 true statements about themselves and one False. Then, get them to work in two's or three's and play the game.

3. About me (A2 above/works well with teenagers)

  • Write a set of questions on a handout or the whiteboard related to hobbies, interests, music, sports, holidays e.t.c.
  • Give out some empty pieces of papers and ask students to answer each question on a different paper and then folder it. 
  • Collect the paper, add it in a box or a jar and get students to pick and guess who's paper might be. If right then he/she gets a point.
  • Encourage students to ask a question to find more information and get an extra point. 

PRESS HERE FOR THE QUESTIONS I USE.  

A different way of practicing asking personal and getting to know your students is 'The Best Friend's Challenge'. This game however, can only be successful if your students already know each other really well. Here how it goes:

How to play: write the following questions in different cards and cut them down. Place them in a box. Student A draws a questions and tries to guess how Student B would have answered the question. Student A and B write the answer down and show their answers with the count of 3. If the answers match they get a point. 

 
1.   What’s my favourite colour?
2.   What are the place I would like to visit?
3.   What’s my favourite food?
4.   What’s the food I hate the most?
5.   How many minutes do I take to get dressed?
6.   What are the things I carry with me all the time?
7.   What my favourite subject at school?
8.   What my worst subject at school?
9.   What annoys me the most?
10. What’s my favourite sport?
11. What’s the craziest thing I have done?
12. What do I usually have for breakfast?
13. What my favourite song at the moment?
14. Where am I going on holiday this Christmas/Easter?
15. What’s my favourite TV show?
16. What do I do in my free time?
17. What’s my favourite kind of sweet?
18. Which is my favourite type of film? Horror, Comedy, Action etc..
19. If I could meet anyone, who would it be?
20. What would I do if I won the lottery?
21. What's my favourite kind of sandwich?
22. What's my favourite hobby?
23. How do I spend my free time? 
 
After finishing the game we worked on fluency. So I asked my students to answer the questions, expand their answers and I recorded them.  In that way, I had the chance to listen to the audio again and correct some basic mistakes.  To avoid making them feel embarrassed I gave them the corrections in handouts and we practised again. This activity is great for students preparing for exams. 
   You can also get your students to come up with more questions and play the game again 🙂


4. Jinx Challenge. (For all levels and ages.)
This can be played after getting to know your students to add a bit of fun. I've attached the YouTube video here that I get the inspiration from. Enjoy it!

 
 

 

Working with Phrasal verbs 2: Teenagers

When it comes to teenagers I have to admit that my ideas are more creative than my first posts ‘Working with Phrasal verbs 1’.

IDEA 1

  • I get them to use the phrasal verbs in shapes and graphics. Like this they have all gather in a handout with a definition and an example. They find that useful and memorable. It also works really well with visual learners.

This is an example a student of mine did last week. 

IDEA 2

  • I  ask them to use the phrasal verbs in comics. You will be amazed how much they enjoy that and how fast they learn to make comics online by themselves. For the first time I suggest doing one comic together so they can see how to go about it.

>

You can make your own comics online in these websites:

Make beliefs comix
Pixton
ToonDoo
Bitstrips

IDEA 3

Play Games: Mystery Reward Game!!!!

  • Teenagers are incredibly competitive. Games and competitions work really well with phrasal verbs and students love it!

One game that we usually play to revise vocabulary is the ‘Choose a symbol’. Each symbol means something else. Students however, don’t know what each symbol means and I think it what makes it fun and engaging.

Step 1: Divide students into two teams and give each team a copy.
Step 2: Ask the first team to choose a symbol. Then you could ask them to give you an ‘example sentence’ or a ‘definition’ of the phrasal verb. (Alternatively you could prepare some sentences and ask them to guess the missing word in the gap)
Step 3: Once they have answer tell them the prize of the symbol.
Step 4: Repeat steps 2-3.

DOWNLOAD THE GAME HERE!!!!!
Some ideas are:

  10+ points
-10 points

  Double points

Swap points

     No points

5+ points

Play again (no points)

3+ points

Swap points.

Hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to comment and share more ideas about teaching phrasal verbs to teens 🙂

Gaming: Clash Royale

 

Quite recently I've realised that the only way to get my students enjoy learning English outside the classroom is through gaming. Games like Minecraft, Clash Royale can get your students to learn and improve their vocabulary outside classroom. There are so many advantages to Gaming. When I first thought of this post I wanted to list so many benefits but I'm going to stick to the most important ones: 

Benefits of Virtual Gaming

  • Vocabulary learning can be significantly improved.
  • Writing skills can also increased significantly.
  • Gaming can help in motivating students to engaged in activities relating to the learning of a second language 
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY: LEARNERS LOVE IT!

In this posts I have also included an activity on Clash Royale. STEP 1: I think that you should first download the game yourself, just to get a general idea what is it like and you never know,  you just might like it 🙂 . If not you could also check this Youtuber playing instead.

 

STEP 2:  Get your students to change the game's language to English.
Step 3: Let them know that soon you'll have an activity on Clash Royale and they should learn the names of their cards (in English of course!)

DOWNLOAD THE WORKSHEET HERE

 Activity 1:
Before: Divide students into pairs. Ask them, to come up with as many cards as possible. Go through the cards and help them with pronunciation.
Activity 1: Give Ss two minutes to complete Activity 1 individually and then check in pairs.

Activity 2: 
Before: Check the meaning of the underlined words.

Activity 2: Allow 3-4 for students to complete the sentences and then ask them to check in pairs.

Activity 3: 
Before: Tell students that now they should think of their strategy and write few sentences about it. Then, they're going to present their strategy in the class. *if you are allowed to use mobiles you can get them to demonstrate their strategy. 
Activity 3: Allow 6-7 minutes and help students with vocabulary. Encourage them to use words and expression from Activity 2. 
After: Students take turns to present their strategy and vote for the best one at the end of the presentations.

 

Hope you enjoy this post 🙂