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2017 09-September activities- Back to school!

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Welcome back! As a teacher, we understand that September is one of the busiest months for you! Whether it’s setting up timetables, getting to know new students, meetings with parents, or creating lesson plans, you are probably up to your ears in work. But don’t worry, you are not alone! From Cambridge English, Ewa Skurczynska has created another set of teaching materials that you can use during your first weeks back in the classroom. This month’s activities include a vocabulary challenge, two interactive icebreaker games, a Creative Writing section which can be adapted to all levels, a reading activity about famous cities all over the world, and a beautiful song about September.

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2017 09-September activities- Back to school!

  1. 1. 1 September – Back to School! Welcome back! As a teacher, we understand that September is one of the busiest months for you! Whether it’s setting up timetables, getting to know new students, meetings with parents, or creating lesson plans, you are probably up to your ears in work. But don’t worry, you are not alone! From Cambridge English, Ewa Skurczynska has created another set of teaching materials that you can use during your first weeks back in the classroom. This month’s activities include a vocabulary challenge, two interactive icebreaker games, a Creative Writing section which can be adapted to all levels, a reading activity about famous cities all over the world, and a beautiful song about September. Contents 1. Back to School vocabulary challenge – A1....................................................................................................................2 2. Creative writing – Speaking → Writing – B1.................................................................................................................4 3. The world is not enough! – Speaking – B2+ → C1 ........................................................................................................6 4. “September morn” by Neil Diamond – Listening – A2 → B1......................................................................................10 5. Find someone who... All levels....................................................................................................................................12 6. Two truths and a lie – All levels ..................................................................................................................................13
  2. 2. 2 1. Back to School vocabulary challenge – A1 Match the word with the correct picture. 1. Blackboard 2. Bookshelf 3. Bicycle 4. Telephone 5. Briefcase 6. Crayons B. C. D. E. A. F.
  3. 3. 3 7. Uniform 8. Playground 9. Diary 10. Desk 11. Calendar L. H. I. J. K.
  4. 4. 4 2. Creative writing – Speaking → Writing – B1 Look at the pictures below. With a partner, discuss what might be happening in each one. Then, choose the picture you like most and write a short story about it in at least 100 words (or more, if you can1). Remember to use the story prompts under each picture (feel free to modify them if you think it necessary)! 1 There is no word limit for this activity. You can give one for your pupils, depending on their level, or just let them write as long a story as they want. Jenny was waiting for the train to arrive. She was really excited about travelling to London. All of a sudden, she realised she had forgotten (about)… David couldn’t believe what Sandy had just told him. “You have to promise not to tell anyone,” she said… The four friends were finally reunited for the summer, after spending many months apart. These following two weeks were going to be fantastic! Alison was feeling nervous. It was her first day at school and she didn’t know anybody. As she was looking out the school window, … It was very late and Howard was sitting on the sofa, ready for a quiet evening. Suddenly, a loud knock on the door disturbed him… Julian was playing his guitar in the town square when, without warning, a man dressed completely in black came running towards him… 21 3 4 5 6
  5. 5. 5 Before your students start this activity, do a short preparation session and brainstorm useful vocabulary and expressions for the main body and the ending. Write them on the board so that your students can see how to structure their story and what words to use in each section. Remind your students that their story should include:  A beginning where you briefly describe the main characters and setting  A middle in which the characters have to face a series of adventures, or solve a mystery  A suitable end describing how your main characters managed to solve the mystery, or come out of a difficult situation After brainstorming useful expressions and explaining to them the structure of a story, ask them to include the following sentences in the correct column: beginning, middle or end. It all began on a stormy night when… He/she never saw her/him again… One winter’s / summer’s / rainy day… Suddenly… It had been the perfect day! Once upon a time… It was the stupidest/scariest thing she/he had ever done… Life on Madison Avenue would never be the same again… Finally, the holidays had arrived… They hadn’t realised that… Katie / James woke up and realised it had all been a dream Unfortunately /Fortunately… The horrible day had finally come to an end The next day… The mystery seemed to be solved, for now… Beginning Middle End
  6. 6. 6 3. The world is not enough! – Speaking – B2+ → C1 People choose many destinations for their holidays. Your students have just come back from a long summer break. Ask them to talk about the following points in small groups, and then have them share their answers with you:  Do you prefer the city or the countryside to go on holiday? I prefer the countryside to the city, because… For me, it’s much more exciting/interesting to go on holiday to… If I had a choice, I would… In my opinion, the city/countryside has many more advantages, because… Taking a holiday in the city/countryside is more beneficial, because…  Talk with your partner about what you did during the summer break: the places you visited, the people you met, the family you stayed with. This summer, I had the opportunity to see… I had never seen/done/met… before. I had never been/gone to… before. It was the first time that I met/saw… I was amazed/upset/fascinated/disappointed by…  Look at the photos of different cities from all over the world on page 7. With a partner, talk about each picture and try to cover the following points:  Do you know any of these cities?  Where (on which continent, in what country) do you think each city is located?  Why do you think it attracts tourists?  How is each city different from where you live?  Which city would you like to travel to and why?
  7. 7. 7 7 8 9 4 1 2 5 6 3
  8. 8. 8 Read the excerpts from a travel magazine below and write the name of the city under the correct photograph on page 7. A. Kyoto (Japan) is a beautiful city situated on the island of Honshu. For over one thousand years it was the imperial capital of Japan, and there are many landmarks today that remind us of its past glory, such as the Golden Pavilion (made entirely of pure gold!), and the Imperial Palace. At the end of World War II, the United States considered targeting Kyoto with an atomic bomb, but finally decided against doing so. Click here to view a brief video about the main attractions of one of Japan’s largest cities! B. Toronto is Canada’s most populous city and is located on the shore of Lake Ontario, one of the five North American Great Lakes. The Toronto Islands are a popular tourist attraction. From there, you can see a spectacular view of the city, relax and take a walk or a bike ride along little alleyways and past cottages. One of Toronto’s most recognisable buildings is the CN Tower, the world’s third tallest tower. C. Gdansk (Poland) is a medieval city located on the coast of the Baltic Sea. In the Middle Ages, it was a part of the Hanseatic League (a commercial confederation of merchant settlements on the Baltic and North Seas). Its legacy can be found in the city’s spectacular Old Town with monumental brick buildings, such as St. Mary’s Church, the Gdansk Town Hall (Ratusz) and the wooden Crane. If you’re particularly interested in history, you can visit Westerplatte, a remote peninsula which has the dubious honour of being the place where World War II started on 1st September 1939. D. Cuzco (Peru). Situated in the very heart of the Sacred Valley of the Andes Mountains, this magnificent city is the ancient capital of the Incan Empire and marks the beginning of the Inca trail, which leads travellers to the famous city of Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The city of Cuzco is a fascinating mixture of Incan buildings and Spanish colonial architecture. Remember to visit the ruins of Saksaywaman, an Incan citadel on the outskirts of the city, which contains the ruins of the Temple of the Sun. E. San Francisco (USA) is one of the most famous cities in the United States, and the starting point for many tourists setting off to explore California. One of its iconic landmarks, the Golden Gate Bridge, links the northern point of the San Francisco Peninsula with the south of Marin County. San Francisco has some historical landmarks, such as the notorious Alcatraz prison, but if you go there, you should definitely focus on enjoying the food, taking a stroll through Chinatown and Little Italy, and taking a tram through the typical hilly streets. F. Nairobi (Kenya) is where many safari goers start their journey. The Nairobi National Park is the only National Park in the world which is adjacent to an urban area. If you choose to travel to this vibrant African city, make sure you don’t miss the Uhuru Park and downtown Nairobi!
  9. 9. 9 G. Marrakesh (Morocco) is one of the biggest cities in Morocco and attracts thousands of tourists every year. If you decide on travelling there, your first stop should be the colourful market on the Djemma El Fna square in the old Medina quarter, always bustling with activity from dawn to dusk. Other major attractions include the Koutoubia Mosque, the Islamic college Ben Madrasa Youssef, and the Majorelle Gardens. If you’re willing to range beyond the city, you can also visit Aït Ben Haddou where Hollywood motion pictures such as “The Mummy”, “Gladiator” and “Kingdom of Heaven” were filmed, as well as some episodes of the HBO TV series “Game of Thrones”. H. Bruges, Belgium was one of the most important commercial and artistic hubs of medieval Europe. Flemish wool artisans and sea merchants attracted wealth to the city, where to this day, one of the most beautiful medieval old towns is preserved. Goods were imported into the city via the canals, and were subsequently exchanged in the Grote Markt (the Main Square). You will definitely enjoy wandering around the medieval streets and tasting authentic Belgian chocolate! I. Isfahan (Iran) used to be the capital of the powerful Persian Empire and, for this reason, boasts many outstanding landmarks which you simply cannot miss. The impressive rectangular Naqsh-e Jahan Square is the centre of one of the biggest bazaars in the world and includes the Shah Mosque, which is unquestionably a masterpiece of Persian architecture. Make sure you don’t forget to see the Chehel Sotoun Palace with its forty columns and impressive ceiling artwork, as well as Si-o-se-pol, the enormous bridge which consists of two rows of 33 arches. Dictionary challenge – ask your students to look up the following terms in a dictionary. Then, have them write the definition in English in the table below. Landmark Target Alleyway Cottage Crane Dubious Outskirts Set off Notorious Vibrant Bustle
  10. 10. 10 Range Subsequently Wander Boast Ceiling 4. “September morn” by Neil Diamond – Listening – A2 → B1 Have your students listen to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVcDDIDbOAk Before handing them the lyrics, ask them to listen carefully and answer the following multiple-choice questions: 1. What does the person singing the song want the girl to do? a) Walk away b) Pray c) Stay with him a while 2. What does he want to do? a) Talk and walk b) Talk and look at her c) Stand in the doorway 3. What did the pair in the song do? a) Stand in the doorway all night b) Talk all night c) Dance all night 4. The person singing the song can still hear the girl a) Sighing b) Flying c) Crying 5. What do you think the expression brand new day means? 6. Listen to the song again. Explain to your partner, in your own words, why you think September morning is so important to the singer. 7. Now your teacher is going to give you the lyrics of the song. Listen to the song one last time and check your answers with a partner. Ask your teacher to help you understand the words you didn’t know.
  11. 11. 11 Stay for just a while Stay and let me look at you It's been so long, I hardly knew you Standing in the door Stay with me a while I only wanna talk to you We've travelled halfway 'round the world To find ourselves again September morn We danced until the night Became a brand new day Two lovers playing scenes From some romantic play September morning Still can make me feel that way Look at what you've done Why, you've become a grown-up girl I still can hear you crying In a corner of your room And look how far we've come So far from where we used to be But not so far that we've forgotten How it was before September morn Do you remember how we danced that night away? Two lovers playing scenes From some romantic play September morning Still can make me feel that way September morn We danced until the night Became a brand new day Two lovers playing scenes From some romantic play September morning Still can make me feel that way / X2
  12. 12. 12 5. Find someone who... All levels This is a great icebreaker where children can ask questions about one another and get to know each other better. Hand out the worksheet below to each student and ask them to walk around the classroom and talk to their classmates. Can they answer all the questions? Find someone who… 1 has never travelled by aeroplane before. 2 hasn’t got a pet. 3 has a baby brother or sister. 4 has an older brother or sister. 5 doesn’t like wearing jeans. 6 enjoys heavy metal music. 7 enjoys pop music. 8 enjoys classical music. 9 is left-handed. 10 speaks a foreign language (other than English). 11 has lived in a different country. 12 plays the piano. 13 can ride a horse. 14 draws beautiful pictures. 15 can sing very well. 16 likes playing board games. 17 plays the guitar. 18 is very good at sports. 19 likes taking photographs. 20 likes camping.
  13. 13. 13 6. Two truths and a lie – All levels Hand out small pieces of paper to your students and ask them to write down three to five sentences about themselves. Some of these sentences will be true, and others will be false. Give them a few minutes to think about what they want to write down. Then, ask them to read out loud their sentences and have the rest of the class guess which sentence is false. Variation: Ask your students to sit in a circle. Each student should tell the rest of the class what he/she did this summer. Can the class tell whether their description is true or false?

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