The Best Pet – Would you rather have a fluffy cow or a plant with eyes?: Picture Prompt #2

The world is full of big, important issues that your students could be debating, but I don’t have an example of one for you today. Instead, I have this picture prompt:

Which is the best pet? A horse, a fluffy cow, a bear or a plant with eyes? List 10 reasons why.

 

This is a prompt for those days when your class just needs a silly, lighthearted debate. It’s a good way to help nervous language learners stop taking themselves so seriously and start brainstorming.

Here’s a little handful of ideas on using this picture prompt:

  • Divide your class into four groups, and assign each group to a different one of the pets. (I would recommend assigning the pets randomly. It’s more fun and more challenging when students have to defend an idea that they don’t actually believe.) Encourage them to (a) compare their pet to the other pets, and (b) Think of specific examples of activities that they could do with their pet.
  • After your students are finished writing down their ideas, it’s time to debate! My debates are usually somewhat informal. I give each group the chance to state one of their ideas at a time, and then I allow the other groups to argue against it. (If anyone has any ideas for a better organized debate, though, I’d love to hear them.)
  • This prompt works well after teaching comparative and superlative adjectives. (A bear is stronger than a horse, but a plant with eyes is cuter and less dangerous than a bear.)
  • Here is a simple, printable organizer that I created to help your students outline their ideas: The Best Pet: Graphic Organizer

Thoughts and Ideas:

How else could you use this prompt in your classes? Please share your ideas in the comment box!

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Questions About: Animals

  1. Do you like animals? Why or why not?
  2. What’s your favorite animal?
  3. What animals live in your hometown?
  4. What animals did you see in your current city?
  5. What animals are your afraid of?
  6. Which animals are the cutest? Which animals are the ugliest?
  7. Do you prefer big dogs or small dogs? Why?
  8. Did you ever ride a horse? How about a camel or an elephant? Where?
  9. Do you know any animals who are famous on the internet? Can you give an example?
  10. Did you ever see a bear, alligator or snake in nature? How did you feel?
  11. Do you like the zoo? Why or why not?
  12. Which animals are the most intelligent? Which animals are the least intelligent?
  13. Do you think animals can understand people? Why or why not?
  14. How do animals communicate with each other?
  15. How are animals different from people?
  16. Which country do you think has the most beautiful animals?
  17. Would you like to have a lion or tiger as a pet? Why or why not?
  18. Did you ever see a shark, dolphin or whale? Where were you? How did you feel?
  19. What are some movies about animals? Do you usually like movies about animals?
  20. Did you ever see a skunk? What happened?
  21. Did a wild animal ever come into your house? What happened?
  22. Did you hear any news stories about animals recently? What was the story about?

Free Printable Handout!

Want to print out this lesson so that you can carry it around with you forever? Click here: Questions about animals 

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Quirky Story: Sausages for Lunch

Today, I’ve got a super-adorable storyfor you about a couple of lost dogs who really like their Sunday routine. It’s written in the simple present tense, can be used with elementary, and lower intermediate classes, and is appropriate for students of all ages.

I’ve included a handy, printable handout at the bottom of the page so that you  easily share it with your students.

Sausages for Lunch

Liz and Graham Hampson love their dogs Charlie and Theo. They are a happy family. They take walks together every day. The Hampsons make barbecued sausages every Sunday. Then the family eats lunch together. Charlie and Theo love barbecued sausages!

One day the Hampsons take their dogs for a walk in the hills near their home. The dogs run ahead into the forest. It is a foggy day, and soon Liz and Graham cannot see their dogs.
“CHARLIE! THEO!” they call, but the dogs do not come back. They are lost.

The Hampsons are very sad. They call their friends and family for help. More than 120 people come to search for the dogs. They search the forest for four days. Nobody can find the dogs.

Then they have an idea. They bring a barbecue grill to the forest. They cook sausages and wait. Finally, they hear a bark. It is Charlie! Theo is right behind him. They smell the sausages, and they are ready for lunch.

Conversation Questions:

1. Do you have pets? What kinds of pets do you have?
What are their names? What do they look like?

2. Some people say that their pets are their children. Is it possible for pets to be part of a family? Why or why not?

3. Are you a dog person or a cat person? Why?

4. What types of animals are good pets? What types or animals are not good pets?

5. What are some ways to find a lost dog or cat?

Suggested Vocabulary:

  • take walks
  • sausages
  • hills
  • foggy
  • forest
  • lost
  • grill
  • search
  • find
  • wait
  • bark
  • ahead
  • behind

Yay! Handouts!

Click here to download a PDF printable handout of the story that you can share with your students: Sausages for Lunch

This ESL news story was based on a true story. You can read the actual story here, and share it with your more advanced classes: Lost Dogs Return Home for Breakfast

Take a look at this page for ideas on how to use my quirky news stories with your classes: Quirky News Stories

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