Tea, Coffee and Comparisons

14 Jul

Just a quick lesson overview rather than a full plan etc today:  this is an idea for helping learners with comparisons / comparatives.

Basically it starts out with the activity “Tea or Coffee”, follows up with the language input stage, invites comparisons between learners’ home country and the UK / USA etc and finishes off with an oppostion debate based around the initial “Tea or Coffee” activity.  It’s materials light – in fact there aren’t any!

This lesson is also available to download as a pdf here: teflgeek – A lesson on Comparisons

A lesson on Comparisons…

(Acknowledgement:  I think it was Richard Venner who first introduced me to the “tea or coffee” activity as a warmer – thanks Richard!)

Tea or Coffee:

Learners draw two columns and head one of them with “ME” and the other with the name of someone else in the room – ideally learners should be paired or threed for this activity, preferably with someone on the other side of the room to them.

Dictate the following list of word pairs.  Learners write down their preference from each pair in their column and guess which they think their partner would prefer.

  • TEA / COFFEE
  • TOWN / COUNTRY
  • GOLD / SILVER
  • SPRING / AUTUMN
  • MORNING / EVENING
  • SWEET / SAVOURY
  • STAY IN / GO OUT
  • DOG / CAT
  • BEACH / MOUNTAINS
  • REAL MADRID / BARCELONA
  • PÃO DE LÓ / PASTEIS DE BELEM (two local (Portuguese) delicacies – suggest substituting these!
  • ORANGES / APPLES

Learners then find their partners and discuss the choices SAYING WHY.

Language Input:

Write Oranges / Apples on the board and ask learners which they prefer & why.

Elicit a comparative sentence / reformulate their sentence into a comparative structure e.g.

Apples are tastier than oranges.

Ask learners how much tastier?  And provide the qualifiers:  MUCH / A LOT / A LITTLE / SLIGHTLY

Then write:  Oranges are not as tasty as apples. And ask learners if this sentence is true.

Clarify the forms:

TO BE (QUALIFIER) COMPARATIVE THAN

TO BE NOT AS ADJECTIVE AS

Controlled Practice

In pairs – learners make sentences comparing their country to the UK (or USA or wherever) – OR their city to their nearest regional rival.

Monitor and as you spot grammatically accurate sentences (the more contentious the better) – ask the relevant learner to write it on the board.

Feedback on content – do we all agree? (and form if necessary).

Spoken (freer) Practice:

Ask learners to recreate, in two columns, the list from earlier.  Fill in the gaps as necessary.

Divide learners into two groups.  Group A is Column A / Group B is Column B.

Give each group five-ten minutes to come with reasons why their items are better than the oppositions and why the oppositions are worse than theirs.

Regroup learners from each group so they are facing each other AB AB AB AB etc down the middle of the room.  Run the opposition debate.

Monitor and feedback on language issues in a corrective feedback slot at the end.

A reminder – if you’d like to download a pdf copy, you can do so here: teflgeek – A lesson on Comparisons

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