If your teenage students are anything like mine, then they’re absolutely exhausted and in desperate need of a fun, festive lesson around this time of year! This low-prep lesson outline uses a task-based learning format to help students tackle a Cambridge FCE/CAE-style speaking task in the context of Christmas presents.
Level: B2 to C1 (Upper-Intermediate to Advanced)
Age: teenagers (preferably working towards FCE or CAE)
Time: 80 minutes
Materials: 1 question sheet per student (comment for files)
- By the end of the lesson, students will have practised FCE/CAE Speaking Part 3 in the context of Christmas presents.
- Students will also be better able to use phrases for … [e.g. turn-taking, negotiating, etc. – depending on what your students need to focus on]
1. Reading: Put students in A/B pairs. Give each student a question sheet. Individually, students number the questions from 1 to 8 (most to least interesting).
NOTE: Keep the time limit short so that students are forced to skim the questions. They’ll have plenty of time to read in more detail later.
2. Speaking: In pairs, students ask and answer their questions, starting with student A’s number 1 question, then student B’s number 1, then student A’s number 2, and so on.
NOTE: Tell students they have plenty of time to talk (10 to 15 minutes), so they should try to keep the conversation going as long as possible. This should really force them to push their conversation management strategies to the limit, giving you plenty to work with during feedback.
3. Response: In open class, students report back on what they talked about.
4. Feedback: Give some feedback on form. Here, students will need lexis associated with Christmas presents, as well as exponents for any aspects of conversation management that they found difficult. See my #ELTwhiteboard (or should I say #ELTblackboard?) below for some ideas:
5. Prediction: In pairs, students discuss the best and worst Christmas presents they’ve ever given or received. While monitoring, make a note of your favourite five or six ideas, and put these on the board:
6. Speaking: Explain to students that they’re going to practise a task in the style of FCE/CAE Speaking Part 3. In pairs, students have about 2 minutes to consider each present idea and decide: What types of people would like to receive presents like these? After 2 minutes, stop them, and now ask them to decide: Which present would your teacher like best?
7. Response: In open class, students report back on the present they chose.
8. Feedback: Give some feedback on form. Here, students will need some encouragement from you to really exploit the language that you provided during the earlier feedback stage. They might also need some more guidance on exam strategy, including time management and task achievement – particularly if this is the first time your students have ever done this task. (See my #ELTblackboard above for more examples!)
9. Speaking: Move students into different pairs, and have them repeat the same task, with the aim of using your feedback to upgrade their performance.
10. Response: In open class, students report back on the present they chose. You might also like to ask them to reflect on how they did, and whether the second attempt at the task was any better/worse than the first one.
Now all that’s left to do is to wish them a very merry Christmas, and send them off on their (hopefully homework-free) holidays!