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.

 

#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.

If you’re a kid… What are you doing for Earth Day?

Parents: If you are a parent and would like your child to learn English and learn about being sustainable, sit them down here and they will gain the following:

  • Learners find out about Earth day and how it is relevant to them.
  • Learn vocabulary related to being green.
  • Practice listening with a great song about being green.

Teachers: here is a slideshow for classroom use, a lesson plan here, and worksheets here!

Children: If you want to dance and sing along to this song while you do the exercises, please do! 🙂

Before the Song:

April 22nd is Earth Day. On this day people do things that are good for the Earth, such as plant trees or recycle plastic. What other things do you think they do? Make a list of 4 or 5 things.

While you listen to the song:

Are any of the things on your list in the song? Listen, and find out (by all means sing along and dance too!)

Language Learning:

Read these phrases. Listen to the song again. Which phrases are in the song and which are not? Put a tick or a cross.

Continue reading “If you’re a kid… What are you doing for Earth Day?”

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?”

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/

Eco Prize-winners

Albena Simeonova and Ruth Buendía both won a prestigious prize for their dedicated work against all odds protecting the environment and the people living in it from ruthless exploitation. In this jigsaw reading lesson we honour their achievements, discover how ordinary people achieve great things and focus on environment-themed vocabulary and talk about people we admire. This lesson can be used with B1 and above, adults and teenagers.

Download the lesson plan: Eco prize-winnersnuke power station

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

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.

Take action!

Take Action!

In this lesson we are encouraged to take action over an important issue; the threat of oil companies like Shell moving into the Arctic to drill for oil with potentially devastating consequences.

The outcome of the lesson is students write a short text persuading people to take action on the course of their choosing. They use language for persuasion which is the language focus of this lesson. Suitable for B1 level and above, teenagers or adults.

A radical, unapologetic eco-lesson, encouraging active citizenship. Use it at an in-company class with the oil industry at your discretion!

Click link for lesson plan document: Taking action over an important issue

Eco Achievers

It’s great to hear about people who have done great things. All to often high achievers in language course-books are the same business people, sports personalities and pop stars. Here is a lesson about high achievers in another field, conservation.

I worked in Morocco and Bulgaria, and tried to localise the topic. Try to find out about someone in your country and include them as it is more relevant to students if the topic is localised.

eco achievers