Monday, 1 June 2015

I am no longer sharing posts on this website. I have moved everything to Wordpress (lesson plans as well).
My new website is

I hope I see you there :D


Sunday, 11 January 2015

Business English

I am no longer sharing posts on this website. I have moved everything to Wordpress (lesson plans as well).
My new website is

I hope I see you there :D

Article-based lesson 
                           for Business English students
In today's post I am using one article for two speaking lessons or conversational sessions. Before I move on, let me explain what I mean by a conversational session.  This is a lesson during which you share an article with your learner, and you just talk about the article. It is a freer type of lesson. If you see opportunities for linguistic development, seize them. If your learner asks questions about words or grammar points, go ahead and answer them. The main goal is to get the learner to talk though, have some sort of chit-chat session. This is for those days when your BE students are tired and want something more laid back. The fact that this is a lesson based on authentic material makes it more motivating for your learners.

You can use this material with your Business English students or even adult learners. It is more appropriate for learners who are B1+ and above. When I used it, we spent about 30-40 minutes reading and talking about it. The lesson is based on the BBC news article which can be found here

Lesson 1
Brief lesson description:
The lesson begins with some warmer questions and questions related to a picture. Students then move on to read the article in sections and answer the questions following each section.

Lesson 2 
Brief lesson description.
If you have two or more learners, why not try jigsaw reading? What you can do is cut the text in two pieces. Put your students in pairs. One student reads one part of the article and takes notes, the other student reads the other half of the article and then takes notes. Once both students have read and taken notes of their halves, you take away their articles and then tell them to summarise the whole text and tell it to you.

My experience  using this article:
This article got my learners talking initially about the Barbie doll and information related to this childhood toy (contoversial and non-controversial). We then talked about big companies making mistakes in marketing, the marketing of toys etc. We also discussed the Chinese market and the difference between the Chinese and European customer/ market.

The Lesson
Warmer questions:
1. When you think of childhood toys which ones come to your mind? Are there any you associate with girls?

2. Look at the picture. What do you think the article is about?
3. The title of the article is Can Barbie conquer China. Tell your teacher what you think the article is about.
4. What steps would you take in order to promote the Barbie doll in China?

Can Barbie conquer China article from BBC news (Business) link found here

At 36,000 sq ft it must have been the biggest Barbie house ever created.
In 2009 the world's largest toy maker, US firm Mattel, set its sights firmly on the Chinese market, opening a flagship store in Shanghai.It was using a toy that in her 50 years had conquered all before her.Created in 1959, Barbie is today sold in 150 countries and has won the hearts and minds of little girls as far afield as Mumbai and Buenos Aires.She has thrived almost everywhere, despite regular criticism from feminist groups who have decried her influence on young girls' body image and ambitions. Even in markets where she is triumphant Barbie continues to court controversy.But it is in China, arguably the most important consumer market in the world, where the all-conquering doll has stumbled on her kitten heels.
The Shanghai Barbie store closed in 2011, just two years after its grand opening.Now, as Barbie attempts to crack China once again, has Mattel learnt from its earlier failure?

1. When did Mattel first open a store in China?
2. Was the opening of the store successful?
3. Think of reasons why the launching of the store was not successful and tell your teacher.

Now read the next part of the text

Barbie's CV
  • On 9 March 1959 Barbie was unveiled at the New York Toy Fair; the date is her official birthday
  • Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts
  • Mattel claims she has had more than 150 careers
  • She became a business executive for the first time in 1985 and an astronaut in 1965
  • More than one billion Barbie dolls have been sold around the world
1. When’s Barbie’s birthday?

2. How many careers has she had? Can you name a few?
Now, read on.

Trouble in store
The 2009 opening of the Shanghai store was not done by half measures.It was not so much a shop as a lifestyle concept.A grand spiral staircase surrounded by more than 800 different Barbies climbed the building.And it was not just aimed at children.
                           The entrance to the spa at the now closed Shanghai Barbie store
Mattel was marketing the Barbie lifestyle to women in their 20s.Clothing lines for women as well as young girls were part of the key products. Real life brides-to-be were invited to coo over a Vera Wang Barbie wedding dress. "It was confusing," says Benjamin Cavender of China Market Research Group. "No-one knew what the brand stood for and so instead of going for cute they went towards sexy." As well as clothes and design-your-own dolls, shoppers could eat in the Barbie restaurant, relax in the Barbie Spa and drink in the Barbie cocktail lounge.
But the problem was not enough people knew who Barbie was. "It wasn't like in other countries where generations of women had grown up with Barbie," Mr Cavendar says.
"They created this massive experience but not enough people came to find out about it as the concept of Barbie wasn't a pre-existing draw in China."

1. What were some of the problems with the Barbie store?
Now, read on.

Don't think pink
The massive store was located on Huaihai Road, one of the most prestigious shopping streets in Shanghai.But on the ground floor it was not clear to anyone passing exactly what was inside - you had to enter the store and climb an escalator to feel the impact of the design.
Plus a pink light shone outside. In China, a pink light district is associated with a much more adult style of trade than selling toys and clothes.And despite the location being sought after, it wasn't easily accessible for shoppers."There was nowhere to park your car and it was not near a subway station," says Mr Cavender. "If you can't get to it and you don't already know about Barbie, you're just not going to go."

1. What was the problem with the colour of pink?

2. Are there any other problems regarding the location of the store mentioned in the article?
Now, read on.

Too frivolous?
"Joy and learning are like oil and water in China," a Mattel executive recently told the Wall Street Journal.
His point was that the first time round Barbie may have been too frivolous for the Chinese market.The toy market in China, however, is big - and growing.Between 2009 and 2013, it nearly doubled in size to be worth about £5.5bn (53.8bn yuan; $8.7bn), according to Euromonitor.Video games are far and away the biggest category in the market.
But Mattel has done well - as a company it is the fifth biggest toy maker in China with 1.4% of the overall market.Its most successful offering is the more learning-oriented Fisher Price brand, the 14th biggest toy brand in China, according to Euromonitor. And Barbie could be going the same way.

1. What do you understand by the phrase "Joy and learning are like oil and water in China"
a. oil and water mix well.
b. oil (learning) is heavier/ more important than water (joy)
c. learning and joy do not go together

2. What games are popular in China?
Now, read on.

Barbie's back
In 2013 Mattel brought Barbie back to the Chinese market. Only this time instead of clothes by Oscar De La Renta she had a violin and you could buy Barbie for the much more affordable price of $13 (£8.20).This year there was another launch - a "specialty" Barbie doll in the likeness of Chinese actress Fan Bingbing.
Heralding the launch of the doll Mattel declared: "[Fan Bingbing's] collaboration with Barbie will give purpose and meaning to play and help ignite the spark inside girls across China to 'Shine Your Way'."So it's clear that Barbie has learnt that to succeed in China today you have to have a sense of purpose, but then she didn't get the keys to the super-deluxe dreamhouse and the perfect boyfriend Ken by being just a pretty face. 
                                                                           Fan Bingbing, the face of Barbie in China in 2014
List the changes Mattel made to the launching of the Barbie doll in China

The article and pictures were taken from the BBC news website. The Questions are my own creation.

Enjoy the session and please let me know how it went : )

Till next time.....

Monday, 13 October 2014

Video-based session

I am no longer sharing posts on this website. I have moved everything to Wordpress (lesson plans as well).
My new website is

I hope I see you there :D

Lesson Plan 3
Video-based lesson-Story telling
I am sharing with you an adaptation of a lesson I did for my Delta. This is a video-based lesson which is appropriate for learners who are upper intermediate level and above. It was part of a Task based learner lesson but now I have made adaptations so it does not really follow the stages of TBL. It is great for upper-intermediate learners. I used this lesson with my Ielts class and a Business English class in order to jazz things up. The skill practiced is speaking/listening(story telling ). Lesson length: 45-50 minutes.

You will find a downloadable detailed lesson plan, a PPT and a handout. I have also embedded the video. The video is from the webpage and can also be found here

Sorry folks but my editing skills are not great + I am not aware of how you cut off codes which means that I was unable to cut the add off : (. On the bright side? The commercial only lasts for 14 seconds so keep that in mind when showing the video.

Let's have a quick look at this lesson:
Task 1: T shows key words and asks sts for quick guesses about this story.    (5 mins)
Task 2: In pairs, sts plan the story based on the prompts and report back to the rest of the class. Once stories have been reported back to the rest of the class, they watch the story.    (10mins+4 mins video)
Task 3: Ss watch video again and make notes of the features of telling a story. This is followed by input about what makes a good story.  (9 mins)
Task 4:  Ss plan and tell their own story- theme: an emergency.  (12 mins)
Task 5: Setting H/W

You can download the lesson plan here: TBL lesson plan.docx

You can download the tasks here:
Experimental session Task based learning.docx

You can download the PPT hereKindergarteners ABC’s helps save Dad’s life.pptx

I hope you enjoy this lesson. Please let me know how it went in the comments section below.

Till next time

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Make do Collocations

I am no longer sharing posts on this website. I have moved everything to Wordpress (lesson plans as well).
My new website is

I hope I see you there :D

Collocations: Make and Do

Today I am sharing a lesson plan that presents and practices make/do collocations. This lesson is for elementary level students (teens/adults but not for very young learners). What is the lesson about? It is about Jack and Maria's love story. In particular, what they do before the date, what they say during the date and notes about household chores once they are living together : ).
In this post you will find  a brief lesson plan for a 45 minute lesson (the role play and note writing can last longer) along with a downloadable detailed lesson plan, handouts and a PPT.
Skills practiced: speaking, writing (mostly).

I hope you like this lesson. I used it with adult learners and they had loads of fun.

Teaching idea: Add a theatrical vibe to the session: Bring in some props like champagne glasses, flowers and have a table with two seats in the middle of the class.
Picture found here

                                     Brief lesson plan
Lead in: T. shows picture of a couple and sts fill in a table about how men and women prepare before a date (4 mins).
Task 1: Ss read two diary entries (Maria and Jack's) and find the collocations in the texts (4 mins).
Task 2: Reading comprehension task based on diary entries (6 mins).
Task 3: Ss tick a collocation grid (4 mins).
Task 4: Ss match the collocations in task 3 to phrases in task 4 (4 mins).
Task 5: Brief speaking task about what ppl talk about during dates, followed by a presentation of new collocations which is then followed by a role play. Ss act as if they are Maria and Jack on a date. They use as many collocations as they can (16 mins).
Task 6: Ss write a note related to household chores as Maria and Jack now live together. Ss use the collocations they have learnt today (6 mins).

Download lesson plan here Lesson Plan frame.doc make and do collocations

Download handout here
Make - do handout.docx

Download PPT here
(Keep in mind that the picture of the couple should be slide three but somehow it has been moved to the end. Sorry for any inconvenience : )

Please let me know what you think of this lesson once you have tried it.
Have a fun class: )

Till next time........

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The 2nd Conditional

I am no longer sharing posts on this website. I have moved everything to Wordpress (lesson plans as well).
My new website is

I hope I see you there :D

    Lesson Plan: The 2nd Conditional
This is a grammar lesson which focuses on teaching the 2nd conditional to intermediate level students. What ties the lesson together is this grammatical structure. There are different themes and it practices listening, speaking and writing.

Youtube video of Jennifer Lopez's song "If you had my love".
Picture of a cave.
Pictures of random items that can ( or cannot) be used when stranded in a cave.
You may also want to download a very detailed lesson plan (adaption of one of my Delta lesson plans), the handouts, the PPT.

So, let's have a look at today's lesson plan.

Very brief lesson plan:

Level: intermediate/upper intermediate
Length of lesson: 45-50 minutes

Task 1: Teacher plays 40 seconds of Jennifer Lopez song  "If you had my love'"and asks students to fill in the missing gaps (time 4 minutes).
Task 2: Teacher shows students the lyrics of the song (2 minutes).
Task 3: Teacher gives students handout 2 and asks them to fill in the formation of the 2nd conditional based on the song (2 minutes).
Task 4: Students  say what they think the guy would say to JLo  and practice forming the affirmative and negative form of the 2nd conditional (5 -6 minutes).
Task 5: Teacher shows the formation of the 2nd conditional on PPT and elicits students' understanding of the meaning of the 2nd conditional (3 minutes).
Task 6: Teacher gives handout 3 which is a matching exercise that practices the 2nd condtional (3 minutes). Teacher shows answers on PPT.
Task  7: Students do a consequence chain task (10 minutes). Instructions+ example available on PPT. Teacher collects consequence chains and offers feedback in a following class.
Task 8:  Simulation activity: Students imagine they are stranded in a cave. Students use the picture cards the teacher has given them and say how they would use these items to get out of the cave or to survive in the cave (13-15 minutes).

Download PPT here:

Download the lesson plan here:
Lesson Aims.pdf

Download the tasks here:

Word cards with suggested items for the stranded in the cave task.

Let me know what you think of this 1st lesson plan, will you? Make suggestions for the next lesson plan if you wish.

Till next time.........

This blog

My new blaby* 
I have been blogging for about a year now and love it. My first blog is called myeltrambles and there I talk about different ELT issues. Since I really enjoy blogging, I thought,  "Why not start something new?" and I am. Here is my new blogventure. My ELT lesson plans. This blog provides you different lesson plans. I will be sharing free lesson plans for general English, EAP and Business English classes. The lesson plans will be accompanied by handouts and PPTs.
I will invite other bloggers to share lesson plans on this blog as well. I think that lesson ideas should be shared and this is me trying to do exactly that. If you want to learn more about me, press the Bio tab. If you want to ask for a lesson plan idea, let me know in the comments section.
I hope you enjoy my posts : )

* (blog+baby=blaby)

May the blogging begin