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Instant Lesson

Ground Zero
Today's lesson looks back to the events of September 11, 2001 and analyses an article giving an account of the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the ruins of the World Trade Center complex shortly after the event. (Vocabulary and style, scanning, text organization, synonyms, analyzing a text, expressive writing, human interest stories.)
Advanced
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Young Whale Looks For Family
A young female killer whale rescued near Seattle swam to freedom on Sunday to join her relatives in what scientists hope will be a permanent and groundbreaking reunion. (Killer whales, animals in captivity, scanning, zoos or aquariums, true, false or not given, summarizing, 'if + present simple, will + infinitive', listening gap fill.)
Intermediate
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Super Seal Saves Dog
A seal saved an elderly dog after it was swept away by a fast-flowing river in northern England. (Rescues, animal behavior, sequencing, comprehension, reading for detail, using the word 'after', word find, pair discussion.)
Elementary to Pre-Intermediate
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The Cost of Tying the Knot
New York is the most expensive city in the United States to get married and many couples will spend about $27,000 to tie the knot and that doesn't include the cost of the honeymoon. (Cost of a wedding, planning a wedding, finding the main idea, summarizing, find someone who..., persuasive essays.)
Intermediate
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Buskers Permitted Here
In the past, street performer Yasunori Koyama would be sent packing by police patrolling the streets and parks of Tokyo even as he performs his impressive juggling act to a visibly delighted crowd, but times have changed. (Street performers, city councils, predicting, true, false and not given, summarizing, relative pronouns (who, which, that), discussion.)
Intermediate
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Inauthentic Parmesan?
Italy has liberally sprinkled praise on a decision by Europe's highest court barring cheap imitations of Parmesan cheese. (Copies of products, Parmesan cheese, understanding the meaning, comprehension, guessing meanings of words by context, figurative language, discussion.)
Upper-Intermediate
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The Fuss About Fugu
One of Japan's most famous fish dinners could be a date with death. A meal of fugu, a poisonous blowfish, is famous throughout Japan. (Unusual meals, Japanese restaurants, scanning, matching information, true, false or not given, text organization, interviews, discussion, role play and word forms.)
Advanced
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Around The World In A Balloon
U.S. balloonist Steve Fossett ended his record-breaking solo round-the-world flight being dragged like a rag-doll through the dusty Australian outback. (World records, ballooning, ranking dangerous activities, comprehension, cloze listening, the structure 'by + -ing', planning a trip around the world.)
Intermediate
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Woman Remembers Three Centuries
The wrinkles in Hava Rexha's pale skin were carved by a life spanning three centuries, under Ottoman Turkish rule, Albanian monarchy, Italian occupation and Stalinist dictatorship. On August 14th 2002, surrounded by 120 offspring of four generations, she was 122 years old. (Longevity, biography, arranged marriages, crossword, listening and matching, debate, ranking, discussion.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Cyber Romance
A worldwide poll showed that 30% of web users regard the Internet as a good place to find a boyfriend or girlfriend. And despite the public perception that cyberspace is a shallow, hostile environment, lovers who meet through Internet chat rooms may actually end up forming strong relationships. (Internet chat room relationships, scanning, summarizing, 'despite', 'in spite of' and 'although', discourse markers, understanding a graph, writing an ad, interviews.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Lost Palace
Workers building a new town hall in Nicosia, Cyprus found the remains of an 800-year-old Lusigan palace whose whereabouts has been a mystery for centuries. (Medieval buildings and archaeological discoveries, Cyprus, reading for detail, discussion, time expressions with 'for', word find.)
Elementary
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Housework Bad For Health?
It's exhausting, time consuming and although it counts as physical activity, housework does not improve health or help to shed those excess pounds, British researchers say. (Housework versus exercise, true, false or not given, the suffix -ologist, discussion.)
Intermediate
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Amazon Destruction
The rate of forest destruction of Brazil's treasured Amazon jungle fell 13.4 percent last year from a five-year peak in 2000, but it is still at a pace that deeply troubles environmentalists. (Amazon jungle, scanning, comprehension, prefixes and suffixes, present participles.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Chimp Burglar
British police are looking for a chimpanzee who has stolen things from two London homes. (Chimpanzees, burglaries, predicting, mixed sentences, true or false, writing sentences using prompts, pair crossword.)
Elementary
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School Bullies Targeted
The largest U.S. doctors group has taken a stand against school bullies, urging a far-flung effort to change attitudes and asking colleagues to talk to younger patients who may be suffering in silence. (Bullying, predicting, scanning, true, false or not given, 'weak' and 'strong' adjectives.)
Intermediate
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Accent on Second Language Development
Hearing a second language spoken day-to-day will not translate into fluency but it may help children speak with a more convincing accent, results of a study suggest. (Second language development, self-evaluation of language learning, finding the main idea, true or false, pronunciation of past tense verbs.)
Advanced
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The Things They Get Up To In Europe
Europeans may love their television remote controls but most still don't use computers, a new poll showed. (Comparison of habits of Europeans (television, reading, computer use and music), map reading, pronunciation of names of countries and nationalities, conducting a survey, the word 'only'.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Europeans Get Slim
Guilt-ridden Europeans hoping to squeeze themselves into last year's swimsuits will spend a total of 96 billion euros (US$90.1 billion) annually on dieting products by 2006. (Dieting, scanning, true, false and not mentioned, summarizing, linking words: although, but, despite.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Can't Face the Stairs
Three elderly British holidaymakers who disappeared while traveling in France and started a huge manhunt have turned up safely, happily enjoying their holiday. (Strange stories, holidays, simple past tense verbs, crossword.)
Elementary
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Giraffe Gets New Leg
A young giraffe in Japan has gained a new lease on life thanks to his devoted keepers and an artificial leg. (Giraffes, artificial limbs, guessing words by context, sequencing, hyphens, the prefix 'fore'.)
Intermediate
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Mangrove Forest Under Threat
Bangladesh and India will work together under a UN plan to protect the Sundarban, the world's biggest mangrove forest. (Conservation, mangrove forests, endangered species, discussion, superlative adjectives, crossword.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Finders Keepers
Two Australian families are arguing over $10,000 in cash dug up by a gardener in a back garden. (Lost and found, sequencing, reading for overall understanding, the structure used to, crossword.)
Elementary
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Irukandji Sting
A US tourist has become the second foreign visitor to Australia to die after being stung by an irukandji, a tiny, translucent jellyfish for which there is no known antivenene. (Finding the main idea; true, false or not given; after +-ing; the prefix 'anti'.)
Intermediate
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Biological Bad Luck
Plain old bad luck plays a major role in determining who gets cancer and who does not, according to researchers. Another study sees lifestyle during the first 20 years of life is a more important factor than one's origin when defining the risk of cancer. (Lifestyle, genes, true or false, cause and effect language, writing a pamphlet, debating.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Concerns for Child Asthma Sufferers
Laughter is not always the best medicine -- at least not for children with asthma. (Causes of asthma, comprehension, summarizing, listening dictation, fractions, adverbs showing certainty.)
Intermediate
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Sun-Protected Students
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released new guidelines urging schools to try to protect children from excess sunlight to help prevent skin cancer later on in life. (The danger of the sun, scanning, use of the pattern 'urge + object + to + infinitive.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Blind as a Bat?
British scientists have created a cane inspired by bats to help blind and partially sighted people find their way around. (Equipment to help visually-impaired people, guessing words from context, giving descriptions, reference words.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Who Are You?
The need to prove identity in the world left changed by September 11, 2001 is driving technology designed to help people clear security checkpoints at airports and elsewhere. (Security identification systems, choosing appropriate verbs, listening, debate.)
Advanced
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Global Aging
More than half of babies born in rich nations today will live to be 100 years old if current life expectancy trends continue. Increasing numbers of very old people could bring major challenges for health and social systems, but the research showed that may be [lessened] by people not only living longer, but also staying healthier in their later years. (Life expectancy, aging, understanding statistical information.)
Intermediate
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Child Support
Italy's highest appeals court has decreed that fathers must carry on supporting adult children until they find a job to their liking. This was in the case of a son who is in his 30s, has a university law degree, lives in one of the smartest parts of the Naples, and has turned down several job offers. (Family, responsibility, supporting children, court cases, relative clauses.)
Upper-Intermediate
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World Cup 'Sickness'
Warning! Soccer could be dangerous to your health. This lesson looks at heart attacks induced by watching critical match points, a website offering fans a way of missing work and a survey showing what fans are willing to give up in order to have their teams win the Soccer World Cup.) (Soccer, fans and health, Football World Cup, taking 'sick' days, making excuses, dictionary skills, multi-word verbs.)
Intermediate
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Noisy Yoga
A trendy London yoga institute known as a haven of peace and relaxation has come under attack from local residents -- for being too noisy. (Yoga, neighbors, summarizing, word forms, letter of complaint.)
Intermediate
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Life Saving Computing
Scientists using the power of more than a million home computers, all cranking along as one, have come up with thousands of possible compounds that could be developed as a cure for anthrax. (Computers, networks, health, research, scanning, intensive reading, present participles.)
Advanced
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Karaoke
This is about new technology that could give even the most tone-deaf karaoke crooner perfect pitch. It adjusts sing-along music automatically to the pitch and tempo best-suited to an individual singer. Good news for singers and listeners! (Technology, music, entertainment, survey, role play, nouns used as adjectives.)
Intermediate
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Pacific Weather Patterns
Cutting edge world science has produced a sudden consensus that a feared El Nino weather pattern is likely to be developing in the Pacific. (Weather forecasting, El Nino, affect and effect, keeping a weather journal.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Sentimental Husbands
As married couples age, husbands appear to become more sentimental in talking about the relationship, while wives grow more reticent, according to a U.S. study of 20 long-term marriages: "The men were really excited about telling their stories... they were willing to show a wider range of emotions in terms of joy as well as sadness." (Relationships, emotion, men and women, pronouns, completing a story.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Lottery Court Case
A Canadian care worker who bought a lottery ticket that won C$11.4 million ($7.2 million) won't pocket a penny. She bought the ticket for an elderly client with whom, she said, she had a verbal agreement to share the jackpot if the ticket was a winner, but the client said she had made no such deal. The disagreement ended up in court. (Gambling, agreements, sharing, court cases, headlines, sequencing, use of superlative structure "One of the _____-est".)
Intermediate
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High on Music
Thailand has some new recruits for its war against the country's narcotics problem -- a team of convicts jailed for drug offenses have formed the country's first ever prison choir. (Talking about music and its effect on behavior, comparing things, debating.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Dead as a Dodo
Scientists at Oxford University have extracted DNA from a dodo, the famous flightless bird hunted to extinction in the 17th century. (DNA, endangered animals, summarizing, question words.)
Advanced
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A Longer Life
If you want to live to a healthy old age, head for Japan. The Japanese have the healthiest life expectancy among 191 countries in the world. (The World Health Organization (WHO), diet, life expectancy, international rankings, adjectives, superlatives.)
Intermediate
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Stuck!
A man squeezed into a garbage chute in an apartment building to retrieve a favorite old sweater thrown away by his wife, but got stuck between floors... (Rescue story, apartment buildings, garbage chutes, crossword puzzle.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Sorry About That!
Britain invades Spain! History? In fact, it was an accidental invasion by British troops in February 2002! (International relations, history, geography, errors, mistakes, diplomacy, Gibraltar, adjectives and adverbs, ordering events, guessing from context, negotiating.)
Intermediate
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Magic Butterflies
Forget confetti or rice -- guests at chic Australian weddings are casting live butterflies at the newlyweds. (Weddings, traditions, business, writing an advertisement, verb forms.)
Intermediate
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'Drink of the Gods'
Growing health concerns about kava have thrown a spanner in South Pacific plans to turn it into a big export crop, straining already frail island economies. Vanuatu's Finance Minister, Joe Baumol Carlo, said adverse medical reports were not the fault of kava, but of the derivatives added by pharmaceutical companies. (Herbal medicines, health, natural remedies, kava, trade, business, government controls on drugs, prepositions.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Work Internet Stopped
Major corporations are increasingly classifying employee email and Internet privileges as potential security hazards, distractions or worse, costly legal dangers in the making. As a result, companies are considering dramatically curtailing, or even abolishing completely the freedoms, on which employees have grown increasingly reliant over the past few years. (The Internet, business, employment, personal phone calls at work, adverbs, writing a memo.)
Advanced
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Dogs of war
A descendant of the San Francisco attack dog that went wild and mauled a young woman to death is being advertised for sale in a local newspaper as "bad to the bone, protective and stable,". The owners of the killer dog have now been found guilty of murder. Dogs in Europe have killed an elderly woman and a young boy. Who is responsible? (Dogs, controls on dogs, verb participles used as adjectives, debate, essay writing.) WARNING: The news content in this lesson may be upsetting to some students.
Upper-Intermediate  Lesson Updated: 4 April 2002
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Chew!
Can't remember life before mobiles? Chances are you'll also struggle to recall your home phone number and family birthdays, a 2007 survey found and a 2002 joint study found that chewing gum has a positive effect on cognitive tasks such as thinking and memory. Make sure your students chew gum while they do this lesson! (Chewing gum, habits, science, memory, research, adverbs, the modal verbs may, might and could.)
Intermediate
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Drummed Out
London's theater district could lose a popular musical because of local resident complaints that the show is too noisy. The show's producer first thought it was a joke. "Here we are in the middle of the West End playing a musical and they're saying it's too loud... But if anyone buys a place in the West End, they must understand they are not going to have peace, quiet and tranquillity." (Live performances, theater, conflicting rights, South Africa, London's West End, reviews, use of 'if'.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Wake Up, Doc!
Lack of sleep may make less-experienced doctors more likely to make mistakes, according to UK researchers. (Sleep, health, doctors, confidence, writing questions, doing a survey, using comparative sentence structures.)
Intermediate
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Caged In
A popular Indian film actor crammed himself into a tiny cage and asked for compassion for chickens as part of a "Compassion, Not Cages - Go Veg!" campaign by an international animal rights group. (Animal rights, vegetarians, protest, farming, 'so' linking two clauses.)
Elementary to Pre-Intermediate
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