How to ace the dreaded IELTS ‘matching headings’ reading task, even when the environment’s the topic!

Did you also think that the IELTS reading section was easy until you attempted a task in which you match headings to the paragraphs? Now you might be feeling demotivated but fear not, help is at hand. Just follow the steps shown in this activity so that from this point onward, you’ll be saying ‘IELTS reading: bring it on!’

In this activity you will

  • Look at the importance of prediction followed by gist reading the whole text.
  • Learn about the ‘traffic light’ rule for unknown vocabulary in a text.
  • Practice an IELTS type text in which you match headings to paragraphs.
  • investigate an important issue of our times.

How to survive the environment question in the IELTS exam!

Is the environment a topic you would feel confident dealing with in the IELTS exam. If the answer is ‘No!’ you are not alone.

Don’t worry, help is at hand. Try this activity and you’ll find the environment topic is far less scary than… well than some of the environmental problems we currently face.

 

You will:

  • Learn exam preparation techniques
  • learn environment vocabulary
  • watch an inspiring video with 2017 winners of the Global Youth Video Competition on Climate Change by http://biomovies.tve.org/

Are you ready? Click on the Sway below.

 

#PlasticFreeJuly

This month is #PlasticFreeJuly

barefoot beach blur break
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Learn about it and improve your English with this activity.

You will:

  • watch a video
  • look at vocabulary from the video
  • read the ingredients for plastic free products you can make
  • Create and share an advertising poster

#CleanSeas Break-Up

Try this activity, watch a great video and learn lots of vocabulary on a surprising topic! Just click through the Sway presentation (< and > symbols, bottom right) and enjoy the lesson, whether you are in your living room, a café or the classroom – just remember your re-usable cup! Note the lesson continues after the video.

What are you doing this Earth Hour?

What will you find here?

You will find out about Earth Hour which takes place on 24th March. You will match up expressions of strong intention which will make your speaking very persuasive if you use them, and you will come up with ideas of things to do for Earth Hour. Teachers:  a PowerPoint version for class: What are you doing this Earth Hour!

Preparation 

Starting as a symbolic lights out event in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour is now the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment, inspiring millions of people to take action for our planet and nature. What do you think people will do for Earth Hour and why? 

 

While you watch 

Watch the video. Are people doing the things you thought of in Preparation? Are some of them doing different things? Why are they doing them? 

Check your understanding 

After you’ve watched the video, decide if the following are true or false: 

  1. Earth Hour happens in countries all across the world. 
  2. Earth Hour is about governments and businesses doing things to protect the world. 
  3. According to Leonardo DiCaprio, we cannot reverse climate change. 
  4. In many cities, the lights are switched off from famous buildings. 

Continue reading “What are you doing this Earth Hour?”

What do rising sea levels have to do with gin & tonics?

pexels-photo-616836.jpegOutcomes

You will watch a video for specific information and learn vocabulary on the topic of sea levels and climate change.

Preparation

  1. Imagine you have a cool drink with ice. What happens to the drink as the ice melts – does it go up, go down or stay the same?
  2. Does the same thing happen if the ice in the ocean melts?

While you watch

Watch the video. Do the results of the experiment match what you thought? Do they match what the man in the pub said?

Continue reading “What do rising sea levels have to do with gin & tonics?”

The diet that helps fight climate change (level B2+)

Outcomes

You will look at a graph to check information, watch a video for specific information and learn vocabulary on the topic of food and climate change.

Preparation

They say the best way to save the planet is to change how we eat. What do  you think the following are true or false?

  1. Eating beef has a bigger impact than eating vegetables.
  2. Eating farmed fish has a bigger impact than eating beef.
  3. Farming chickens causes is a bigger cause of climate change than farming cows.

Now look at the graph to check. The answers are also in the key at the bottom of the page.

Continue reading “The diet that helps fight climate change (level B2+)”

I Like Clean Air

This lesson plan is based on the excellent campaign ‘I Like Clean Air’ in which London parents and kids  fight pollution. Students discuss air pollution, listen to a fantastic song created for the campaign, read and analyse a letter by a child requesting a change to improve air quality and learn how to write a letter asking for something to be done about an issue important to them.

clean air

Language level: Pre-Intermediate (A2) upwards

Learner type: Primary and Secondary Young Learners

Time: 90 minutes

Outcomes:

  • Language: Learners can differentiate between and use correctly complex and simple expressions for a transactional letter.
  • Skills: Learners write a letter requesting action to improve their cities air quality
  • Content: Learners explore the issue of air quality and become empowered to take action on it.

Materials:

  • PowerPoint Air Quality Lesson
  • 1 copy of the song lyrics I Like Clean Air for the teacher
  • 1 copy of I Like Clean Air worksheet per student.

Procedure:

  1. Ask students to discuss in groups what they love about their city and what they don’t love about it. Feedback to class and put ideas on the table in the PowerPoint.
  2. Tell learners that students in London produced a song about their city. Students Brainstorm 3 things they might love about London and 3 things they don’t love. Feedback to class and add ideas to the table on slide 2.
  3. Listen to the song. http://www.ilikecleanair.org.uk/clean-air-song/ What is it about?
  4. Give out the worksheet I Like Clean Air Students read it, predict what the missing words are. They listen to the song again to check.
  5. Students read the letter on the accompanying PowerPoint slide 4 and answer the following: Who is it from? Who is it to? What is it about? What is the format?
  6. Elicit from students what expressions the writer of the letter uses to ask someone to do something. Then go to slide 5 on the PowerPoint and students match up the simple and complex phrases according to function. Elicit the pros of more complex language (more precise meaning) and the cons (can be less clear).
  7. Ask what air quality issues there are in the students’ town or city. Who could they contact to do something about it? Complete the table on slide 6 and add ideas.
  8. Students write a letter to a person of their choice on an air quality issue of their choice. This can be displayed on the classroom walls for the other students to read and then hand in.

Downloadable materials:

lesson plan Air quality Lesson Plan

PowerPoint Air Quality lesson

Thank you to Shazia from I Like Clean Air for permission to use the materials on http://www.ilikecleanair.org.uk/

World Religions on Climate Change

How does religion view climate change? In this lesson based on a jigsaw reading, p_religion_world_violetlearners investigate what three of the world’s religions say about it. How will there view be different from that of the science academies? Prepare to be surprised when you find out. Students will also learn high level vocabulary on the topic and do a role-play. For C1 level and above.

Check out the lesson plan world-religions-on-climate-change

Download the PowerPoint slides world-religions-on-climate-change

Ordinary People who do Extraordinary Things

Prize-Winners 2014

Here is a lesson plan based on ordinary people who have done extraordinary things for the world we live in. It’s based on a jigsaw listening, and is suitable for teenagers and adults from B1/intermediate upwards. It is an updated revision of my previous lesson plan ‘Prizewinners’, which proved very popular.

Download the lesson plan:

 images         Prize-Winners 2014

Plastic Bags. To Ban or not to Ban

They make a mess in both town and country. Have you ever been to a beautiful place and seen rubbish everywhere? On the other hand, are they the biggest problem the environment faces? They don’t pollute the air or damage our lungs like car exhaust fumes, we can re-use them and recycle them. Whatever the truth, many places restrict their sale. This lesson is a role play debate. Should we ban their sale or not? Practice language for agreeing and disagreeing, and reaching consensus. For B1 level upwards.

Lesson plan:  plastic-bag-role-play

saturday no plastic bag

Writing a letter of complaint

anti chevron

All too often, course books make students write a letter of complaint using the same old contexts every time. An unsatisfactory hotel room, a faulty product or bad service in a restaurant. This time let’s breathe some fresh air into this genre of writing. And do some good for the world we live in at the same time!

Download the lesson plan: A letter of complaint

Reading Skills: Rewild the Child

Ideal for exam classes and teacher-training. This lesson practices skills common in exams like FCE, IELTs, and  Aptis; deducing meaning from context, and choosing the best heading for each paragraph.

Based around George Monbiot’s article ‘Rewild the Child’, which argues for a radical rethink in how we educate children by getting them out of the classroom and taking them outdoors.

The lesson consists of a lesson plan, the text, and a PowerPoint presentation.

 

Lesson plan: Rewild the child

PowerPoint: Rewild the childPhilip and white bird

Detox Fashion

detox fashionThey say you can tell next season’s hottest trend by looking at the colour of the rivers in Mexico and China. That’s because global fashion brands like Calvin Klein and GAP are using hazardous chemicals and dyes to make our clothes.

In this lesson students watch a fantastic mock anime film trailer in which our superheros expose the dark side of fashion. They also see how a  ‘people-powered’ campaign set up by Greenpeace is changing the fashion industry for the better.

Students also learn vocabulary for clothes and use the present continuous to describe what someone is wearing.

A lesson aimed at teenage learners. B1/intermediate level upwards.

The lesson plan: Detox Fashion is accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation: Detox Fashion.