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Instant Lesson

The Retiring Emperor
When Japanese Emperor Akihito abdicates on April 30, he and Empress Michiko will fade into retirement after decades in the spotlight. Friends had hoped Akihito would have time to indulge his love of tennis, but that could be tough given his age. (Abdication and the Emperor of Japan, conducting an interview, the changing face of royalty.)
Upper-Intermediate
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You Make Me Feel Like Dancing ....
She is wearing yellow trousers, shiny platform shoes, red lipstick and headphones. 80-year-old “DJ Wika” is standing behind the decks. (Dj-ing, elderly people, music and dance.)
Elementary
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Clean Up
People around the world are working to clean up rivers and collect tonnes of old plastic bags, bottles and other rubbish. (The environment, recycling, diapers, nappies, essay writing, writing a letter of complaint, verb plus the infinitive or the '-ing' form.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Keep On Moving
Using a wheelchair in war-torn Yemen is not easy. To get to work each day, 26-year-old Yaarub Eissa rolls over dusty, bumpy roads and up and down steps. He then lifts himself onto the back of a passing motorbike and hooks his folded chair on the back. (Yemen, conflict, future dreams, disability, writing a message, identifying and using present perfect simple, present simple and past simple verb forms)
Intermediate
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Spiderman Lives
Alain Robert scales the world's tallest skyscrapers without a harness - for fun! (Strange hobbies, dangerous activities, superlatives, sentence reconstruction.)
Elementary
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Veganism on the Menu
Teenage London restaurant manager Abdul Muhaimen settled his first-year university bill by cashing in on a rising trend: veganism. The demand for plant-based foods is increasing with the global meat substitute market expected to reach $7.5 billion by 2025, a jump of 83 percent, from $4.1 billion in 2017, according to a study by Allied Market Research. (Veganism, restaurants, consumerism, restaurant vocabulary.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Get Smashing
It took Smash customer Qiu Siyu just a few sharp blows with a baseball bat to wreck what looked like an old car radio. Then two friends smashed audio speakers, rice cookers and even a mannequin. (Stress, smashing plates, setting up a business, verb patterns: like/love/dislike + infinitive or verb-ing and enjoy + verb-ing.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Dangerous Olive Oil
Who brings olive oil to Portugal? Police foil cocaine smuggler's plan. 1,000 litres of cooking oil laced with harmful chlorophyll and packaged as extra-virgin olive oil was seized in Italy. (Chlorophyll, olive oil, dangerous additives, modals - 'may' and 'might')
Intermediate
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Freedom!
Surviving sex trafficking, battling drug and alcohol addiction, struggling to get asylum in Britain: not the usual conversation topics one would expect from students at an adult college. This is not your average class, but a unique course which offers free education to survivors of modern slavery. (Education and survivors of modern slavery, Britain, trafficking, collocation, talking about your first day at high school.)
Advanced
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That Stinks!
Stinky but delicious durian and a bad-smelling sneaker contest. The smelliest things. (Superlatives, favorite and least favorite smells, a smelling contest, durian exports.)
Elementary
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Under Attack
Bullied online? Speak out, says Britain's Princess Beatrice. Whether it is through emails, instant messaging, cellphones, texting or web sites, cyberbullying is a growing problem. This lesson looks at cyberbullying. (Bullying, notetaking, Internet research, comprehension.)
Upper-Intermediate
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It's Raining Cats and Tourists...
Wanted: Cat chief. Location: Zelenogradsk, Russia: Duties: Tending to the town's approximately 70 stray cats. An army of feral cats rules a remote island in southern Japan. There are six cats for every person in the village. (Cats, collective nouns.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Turtle Refuge
In New York, finding a nice apartment to live in is all about who you know. For turtles, that person is Richard Ogust. In France, Philippe Gillet has amassed a collection of more than 400 rattlesnakes, tarantulas and lizards. Why?(Endangered species, turtles, wildlife organizations, scanning, true or false, where and which, information exchange)
Intermediate
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Entrepreneurial Buzz For Afghan Teen
Three years ago a schoolgirl in rural Afghanistan took out a small loan and bought two beehives. In her first year she made enough to repay the loan and leave her with a small profit. The position of women has improved significantly, but traditional practices continue to hold them back which is why Hand in Hand International - the UK-based charity that loaned Frozan the money to start her business - focuses on women. (Microfinance, Afghanistan, women and empowerment, small business.)
Advanced
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Crazy Rich Asians
‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is filmed in Singapore. Rich people from Singapore usually live a more conservative life than the rich of Hong Kong or Macau. Here are five ways to spend your cash in Singapore. (Wealth, ways to spend money, superlatives, Singapore.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Counting Swans
One, two, three...? How many swans? Every year three teams go up and down the River Thames for the 'Swan Upping'. They are catching, tagging and releasing families of swans. (Conservation, swans, English history and traditions, animal babies.)
Elementary
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Ice Pops for Zoo Animals
London Zoo is feeding its animals sugar-free ice pops every day because of the very hot weather. A zoo in Thailand uses sprinklers, pools and shade to help keep animals cool.(Weather, animals and zoos, present perfect simple, talking about the weather, describing a zoo.)
Elementary
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Slow and Steady
The race starter stood up and shouted: “Ready, steady, slow!” The crowd cheered, but the competitors remained stuck at the start line. Welcome to the world slowest racing championship? (Gambling, discussion, understanding text organization, question construction, true, false or not given, error recognition, crossword, questionnaire.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Santa's Off Season
The World Santa Claus Congress has taken place at the Bakken amusement park near Copenhagen since 1957 and always in the summer which is Santa's off season. (Santas, Christmas, may and may have to.)
Intermediate
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Psychic Cat
Like many soccer fans trying to predict the results of the World Cup, Achilles the cat is busy studying the teams heading to Russia this month for the sport’s biggest global showdown. But he has one advantage: cat sense. (FIFA World Cup, Soccer, psychics, animals.)
Intermediate
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Plastic Free Shopping
“Over the past 15 years clothing production has doubled, while the amount of time we wear those clothes before throwing them away – usually to be landfilled or incinerated – has fallen dramatically,” Souchet told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. (Sustainability, fashion industry, plastic free labels and plastic free packaging.)
Advanced
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Shadow Boxer
Behind the apartment’s curtain, a tough guy is boxing, throwing left and right hooks and jabs. But a Japanese apartment management company hopes that the image of the boxing man will help protect women living by themselves. (Being alone at home, security systems.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Old Timers
The world's oldest man lives in Japan. (Longevity, world records, scanning, making questions, discussion.)
Elementary
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Green Spaces
In a square in central Barcelona, families with young children perch at picnic tables as traffic thunders past and high-rise blocks loom above them. The concrete mecca that is Plaça de les Glòries Catalanese is having a major facelift that will create a new green public space. Cities are increasingly looking for ways to provide more greenery.
Intermediate
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Let's All Move To Finland
Finland is the world’s happiest country, according to an survey that also found Americans were getting less happy even as their country became richer. (United Nations, Finland, discrimination, discourse markers)
Upper-Intermediate
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Camels
This lesson is all about camels and their cousin, the alpaca. Camels are paraded down a dusty racetrack as judges rated the size of their lips, cheeks, heads and knees. Find out why.
Upper-Intermediate
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Welcome Back
A school told a girl to stay at home because of her pink hair, but now she can go back to school. Parents in Ginza, Tokyo are surprised because their children's school wants designer uniforms for students. (School uniforms, civil rights, hairstyles, using will to make future predictions, designing a school uniform).
Elementary
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Thinking of You!
London police are sending criminals birthday cards with a picture of their local police station. Estonian police are sending Christmas cards to the country's worst drivers. Do this lesson to discover why. (Police, crime, birthday cards, 'present continuous')
Pre-Intermediate
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Designing The Downhill
It’s the ninth time he’s designed the Olympic downhill ski course, but Bernhard Russi will still feel his nerves tauten when racing gets under way in South Korea next month. Further playing on his nerves, though, is the knowledge of the extreme risks faced by the men and women trying to conquer the course he has set. (Downhill skiing, Winter Olympics, safety.)
Advanced
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Surprise Trips
A seven-year-old girl caught a train to Geneva airport and boarded a plane although she did not have a ticket. A 9-year-old boy from Minneapolis caught a flight to Las Vegas without a ticket and three German children aged five, six and seven who said they were fed up with cold weather set off to Africa but only got as far as the local train station. (Children, transport, taxis, past simple and past continuous tenses, ordinal numbers, the prefix -un.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Growing Up During The War
In just a year, a small Bosnian museum dedicated to the experience of growing up during the Balkan wars has opened, won a best European museum prize and decided to go global. The War Childhood Museum in Sarajevo, full of memorabilia from Bosnians whose childhood was traumatized by the 1990s war, has started collecting personal items from children affected by other wars. (Children, wartime situations, memories.)
Upper-Intermediate
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The Great Green Wall
The Sahel area, straddling 27 countries, has now been mapped in detail showing where and how to create Africa’s Great Green Wall. Some 166 million hectares of land have been identified for restoration - nearly three times the size of Kenya or France. The Great Green Wall project was launched by the African Union to combat desertification. (Great Great Wall, Sahara, Africa, FAO, reversing desertification, sustainability.)
Advanced
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Bags to Boats
The beaches of Kenya’s idyllic Lamu island are dotted with traditional houses, mansions, the odd donkey and, increasingly, tidal lines of plastic trash. One man has decided to design traditional sailing boats from recycled plastic. (Plastic bags, Kenya, boat building, effects of plastic on environment, matching information, discussion.)
Intermediate
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A Lot On Your Plate
One in six U.S. parents say their teen has tried a diet that is vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan or paleo at some point in the last two years. “Parents should recognize that this is part of normal adolescent development toward becoming an independent adult; with that in mind, try to avoid seeing the situation as a challenge to parental authority,” a researcher said. (Teenagers, nutrition, diets, celebrations, Thanksgiving, shopping, pair crossword and conditionals.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Bikesharing: Way To Go!
There are orange, yellow and other brightly coloured rental bikes in cities in Asia. The bikes are outside train stations and condo gates. (prepositions of place)
Elementary
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Roof Farms
Farming on the rooftops of Paris has been such a success that the mayor is introducing more projects. By 2020, Paris will have more] than 100 hectares (0.39 square mile) of rooftop gardens and planted walls. (Gardens and cities, benefits of gardening, information exchange: sunflowers.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Rapping For The Party
In his baseball cap and baggy yellow t-shirt, the rap star Li Yijie - better known by his stage name “Pissy” - is an unlikely face of China’s strait-laced ruling Communist Party. is group, Tianfu Shibian, has won fans and the support of the party’s youth league with songs like “Force of Red” and “This is China” that chime with President Xi Jinping’s nationalist vision of China and its place in the world. (Music, millennials, politics, Communist Party.)
Advanced
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Chocolate!
Chocolate and um... chocolate. Chocolate festivals and eating chocolate mindfully at Halloween. (Festivals, food)
Upper-Intermediate
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Fence Them Out
Wildlife rangers in Australia’s outback have started building a 185 km (115 miles) electrified enclosure to protect native animals from pests such as feral cats, which are threatening some species with extinction. (Conservation, pests, endangered animals.)
Intermediate
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He's Over Roads
Benjamin David swims to work in Munich. He was tired of taking a bus or bike to work every day on congested streets. Now he gets into the River Isar and swims to work. (Transport, adjectives.)
Elementary
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Growing Well At School
Planting a successful school garden requires a lot more than just soil, seeds and water, say researchers who have come up with a planning tool that can help ensure school gardens thrive and endure.
Intermediate
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Waste Warriors
Naz is one of five Afghan refugee women who are not only battling traditional gender roles by going out to work, but who have also become unlikely warriors in the Indian capital's fight to curb plastic waste pollution. (Refugees, small businesses, dealing with plastic waste, India.)
Advanced
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Not Enough Room For More Fish In The Sea??
Lizzie Carr is on a mission. She recently became the first woman to cross the English Channel solo on a paddle-board to draw attention to the "global plastic crisis". From fishing lines to flip flops, there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world's oceans. (Global plastic crisis, oceans, working for a cause.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Bug Off?
Trying new foods. This lesson is centered around different articles about bugs as a food. Australians can buy chocolate-covered bugs and cricket lollipops. Germans bored with food crowded into a restaurant in Berlin to try insects, but people in Belgium aren't too sure.(Restaurants and unusual menus, reading in detail, true or false, discussion, some/any, much/many and ordering a hamburger.)
Elementary
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Working Dogs
Many California tech companies are encouraging employees to bring their dogs to the office, saying their presence can boost productivity, relieve stress and improve the work environment.
Intermediate
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We Used To Bath.....
A Tokyo bathhouse is offering classes on topics ranging from comedy to gaming. The bathhouse hopes to encourage younger bathers and reverse Japan's dying tradition of communal baths. (Bathhouses, Japan, traditions, used to + infinitive to talk about past actions and states that no longer occur, talking about traditions.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Allergies
Do pets in fact help kids to overcome allergies? Exposing babies to puppies and other furry pets might help them accumulate two types of bacteria in their gut that are associated with a lower risk of allergies and obesity (Health, pets, asthma, allergies)
Upper-Intermediate
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U.S. Makers Moving Homeward?
Why move production from the world's low-cost workshop back to a unionized U.S. factory where wages are six times higher than in China? Efficiency. Monster Moto's experience is an example of the obstacles American companies face as they, along with President Donald Trump, try to rebuild American manufacturing. (Business, China, the United States, brainstorming, despite and however.)
Advanced
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We Want To Learn
Iraqi girls are back at school in Mosul, Iraq after years of life under Islamic State. "We want to learn, we do not want to be ignorant," said one student.
Intermediate
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Memories ....
Tiny memory cards and fluffy teddy bears are among the most popular items for North Koreans shopping in Dandong, China's gateway city to its neighbor. (North Korea, souvenirs, television shows, influence of media.)
Upper-Intermediate
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