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Instant Lesson

"American Dream"
Kim Bischof is entering the U.S. job market after she finishes college in May with a degree in special education and is confident that the "American Dream' is still alive for her, recession be dammed. Her optimism, echoed by other students in interviews, may reflect the fact that many young Americans today are indeed better off than their parents were at the same age. (American dream, reality of life for young Americans compared to parents, summarizing, verb forms.)
Advanced
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A Second Chance
Prisoners in the Philippines are learning how to make dresses. At a maximum security prison in the Philippines about 30 prisoners are learning how to make cocktail dresses, bags and belts which sell for hundreds of dollars. (Dress making, rehabilitation, crime, prisons, infinitive forms.)
Elementary
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The Gleaners
It's closing time at a market in Belleville, a working-class neighborhood in Paris, and a young woman in a black parka and white cap is rummaging through the abandoned crates. After a thorough inspection, she slips a cauliflower and some slightly squashed oranges into her shopping bag. "That's going to be my dinner," says the woman, who will only give her name as Yng. (Economic difficulty, scavenging for food, summarizing key points.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Swishing
Welcome to swishing--for people who want shopping, clothes and entertainment but don't want to spend any money. "Swishing dos" are parties where people swap second-hand clothes. (Swishing, clothes shopping in a recession, ordering a conversation, the present continuous.)
Pre-Intermediate
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New Year's Resolutions
Many consumers have decided to make this the year they whittle down their debts. That's good, because most people can help themselves to lower debts without calling in outside help. Here's how to attack that pile of bills....(Personal debt, giving advice, problem solving, role playing, going to and will.)
Intermediate
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King Bug
Animals such as lions, crocodiles or snakes thrive elsewhere on the planet, but Antarctica's most fearsome land predator is a reddish bug. The continent is best known for penguins, seals and whales, but all rely on the sea for food, unlike its Lilliputian land-based creatures and plants -- so far almost unaffected by humans. (Antarctica, ecosystems, climate change, answering true or false questions, adverbs.)
Advanced
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Grumpy
Some British hotels have grumpy staff, the government's tourism boss said on Thursday. Some guests do not get soft towels and fresh bars of soap. Grumpy staff may frighten away tourists from British hotels. (Hotels, service, tourism, after and before.)
Elementary
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Tightening Their Belts
China's office workers are tightening their belts, cutting back spending on everything from clothes to fast food, despite government efforts to boost consumption to stave off the worst effects of a global recession. Wang Hao, a 24-year-old Beijing office worker, has launched a campaign to curb weekly living expenses to 100 yuan ($14.60). (People and a global recession, China, shopping and habits, present continuous.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Being Hollywood's Super Couple
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie talk in separate interviews on their family and plans for the future. (Famous movie stars, families, fame, second conditional, essay.)
Intermediate
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The personal touch for survival
Many U.S. retailers, large and small, have good reason to envy Sue Opeka -- sales at her store have been up 15 percent for the past four months and she's up 5 percent for the year so far. Staring into the face of a possible recession as the holiday shopping season approaches, many small U.S. stores and boutiques catering to wealthier consumers are adjusting strategies and inventories. (Business, recessions, retailing.)
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Go Away ... Come Again Another Day
When you're feeling sick, don't come to work, British bosses say. The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) survey of 1,000 bosses shows 73% of bosses want sick staff to stay at home. (Business, health, signs and notices, negative instructions, don't.)
Elementary
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Work Dos
Almost a third of British office workers actively hate the annual office Christmas party, new research has suggested. The poll of 1,000 British office workers suggested that the biggest problem with the office Christmas bash was that it forces them to socialize with people that they have nothing in common with other than work. (Office social functions, brainstorming and problem solving, writing memos.)
Intermediate
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Try wrapping this!
Our annual look at the Neiman Marcus fantasy Christmas catalog. The 90th edition of this legendary book continues the Neiman Marcus tradition of offering its customers a selection of spectacular and unique holiday gifts sure to make even their wildest dreams come true. (Christmas, very expensive gifts, role play, vocabulary work, summarizing.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Getting Smashed
Welcome to Sarah's Smash Shack, where customers can relieve stress by throwing dinnerware and bric-a-brac against a wall, as hard as they can, day and night, seven days a week. (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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First Lady
What does it take to be first lady of the United States and what do you need to be and do as partner of a world leader? A bio of the new American first lady and views from Cherie Blair, wife of a former British Prime Minister, on being the wife of a world leader. (Politics, women, first ladies, relative clauses.)
Intermediate
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Madonna
The key to Madonna's enduring appeal has been to stay one step ahead of the game in the famously fickle world of pop...the performer announced on Wednesday that she and British film director Guy Ritchie were divorcing...But it is not just stamina and determination that have got the singer to where she is today. Perhaps more than anything else it is her ability to reinvent herself. (Madonna, entertainment.)
Advanced
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Germs Everywhere!
A study from Britain indicates people in the north of Britain are three times as likely to have hands contaminated with fecal bacteria than their compatriots in the south while two other articles look at the best ways to sterilize a sponge and keep a bathroom and kitchen clean. (Cleanliness, health and hygiene, imperatives and instructions.)
Intermediate
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Money Money Money Money Money
The credit crisis and tight student budgets hold no fears for a British teenager who won 7 million pounds ($12.68 million) on the Lottery. (Lottery jackpots, students, unreal situations, first and second conditional, discussion, comprehension, giving an opinion, sequencing.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Too Busy to Write
Ringo Starr, the drummer from the Beatles, is asking fans to stop writing to him. He doesn't want fans to send him letters and requests for autographs. (Ringo Starr, fans and fan mail, do/don't used for imperatives and emphasis.)
Elementary
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Web Life
Written references could become old hat for hiring managers with one in five saying they use social networking sites to research job candidates -- and a third of them dismissing the candidate after what they discover. (Job hiring processes, social networking websites, reading a job advertisement, discussion, first and second conditionals.)
Intermediate
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Fantasy Sport
Fantasy sports, where fans select real athletes for make-believe teams, are exploding onto new platforms like smart phones and social networking sites, grabbing the attention of advertisers and software companies. With a growing number of people playing casual games on the Internet and a largely untapped market outside the United States, analysts say the market for fantasy sports can only grow. (Fantasy sports, leisure, technology, conducting a survey, determining fact or opinion.)
Advanced
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Camels
This lesson was suggested by Raewyn Diggerman of Queensland, Australia who won our 'Most Wanted Resource Competition' in which contestants suggested an idea for a resource they wanted written.
Upper-Intermediate
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Alaska's Hotting Up
Welcome to Alaska, where the blow of climate change will fall harder than on any other U.S. state. Records indicate that Alaska has already experienced the largest regional warming of any U.S. state. (Global warming, droughts, forest fires, infestations of insects, True or False, understanding the main idea, scanning, finding synonyms).
Advanced
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World's Largest Lesson 2008
This lesson looks at two problems: the prevalence of landmines and the current global food crisis. Countries with landmines have problems rehabilitating victims and being able to use land for farming. Commodity prices have soared recently and poorer people in many places are going hungry because the basic things they need to survive have become so expensive. There are four different articles so if possible allocate each student in your class to read a different article.
Intermediate
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Romance Hits End of the Line
A modern-day love story of a man spotting the girl of his dreams across a New York subway train and tracking her down over the Internet has failed to have a fairytale ending with the relationship over. (Bizarre stories, romance, communication, expressions of quantity: how much/how many/ few, little, very few and very little, fairy tales.)
Intermediate
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Mind Your Manners
Smiling and friendly, Beijing's shop assistants, taxi drivers, doormen, restaurant staff and even the police are trying very hard to be polite to foreign visitors. (Shopping, politeness, China, present continuous, miming an action, discussion, manners.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Trim the grocery bill, not nutrition
Food prices, fuel costs and economic fears are growing, but that doesn't mean you can't eat healthfully while on a recession diet. Feeding yourself and your family on a budget can still include nutritious lean protein, fruits and vegetables in your diet every day... It just requires an open mind and a bit of extra time. (Nutrition, health, shopping and cooking, must/ must not/ should/ should not/ have to.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Kid Food
Most food products aimed specifically at children have poor nutritional content even though more than half of the products are marketed to the contrary. (Nutrition, food for children, consumer issues, will for future forms.)
Intermediate
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Ice Pops for Zoo Animals
A zoo in Rome is feeding its animals a treat of frozen fruits every day because of the very hot weather. (Weather, animals and zoos, present perfect simple, talking about the weather, describing a zoo.)
Elementary
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"Made in China?"
These days, many fashionistas are still confused over what is real, what is fake, and whether a product's country of origin says anything about its quality. Even a "Made in Italy" label no longer guarantees that a bag or a pair of shoes was hand crafted by artisans in a Tuscan workshop. (Luxury items, consumers, ethical consumerism.)
Advanced
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No Medals For Athletes' Families
The families of athletes heading to the Beijing Games can only hope that years of scheduling meals, holidays and finances around their loved ones' sporting lives will be made worthwhile by Olympic success. (Sport, families, the Olympics, present simple tense to describe habits)
Pre-Intermediate
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Wedding Tourists
Alan Chen and his fiancee Chan Mei-ling of Hong Kong are spending almost $3,000 plus travel expenses on a three-day visit to Taiwan for something they could have done at home: get their wedding photos taken. (Weddings, reading for the main idea, choosing the best answer, quantity words.)
Intermediate
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Running from the Pigs
A man, who was running away from the police, asked police for help when he ran into a family of wild boar. Two prisoners rescued a prison officer when a boar attacked him at a prison. (Bizarre stories, crime and rescues, infinitives of purpose.)
Elementary
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Environmentally friendly power sources
A corn-like plant that can grow as high as an elephant's eye on some of Earth's driest farmland shows promise as a "smart" biofuel that won't cut into world food supplies and wind power has been growing steadily for the past three years. (Alternative fuel and energy sources, the environment, climate change, pair reading, completing a table of information, discussion, zero, first and second conditionals).
Intermediate
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Slim Peace
There's the weekly weigh-in, the tips on healthy snacking and the chit-chat between women. But this is a slimming group with a difference: half its members are Palestinian, half are Israeli and the aim is to foster dialogue, through a common battle with weight. (Women and focus groups, Palestine and Israel, conflicts, brainstorming, completing a table of information, collocation and vocabulary exercises)
Advanced
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Top International Travel Destinations
The Greek island of Rhodes was voted on Thursday as the top European location in a survey of the world's 100 best travel destinations. New Zealand topped the international survey. (Best travel destinations, geography, tourism, travel questionnaire, reading for numbers and facts, explaining a headline.)
Upper-Intermediate
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No cake
Children in a New Zealand school must not bring birthday cakes to school because of rules for healthy eating. (Diet, children, birthdays, true or false questions, giving an opinion.)
Elementary
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Birthday Hell!
Welcome to the deepest inner circle of parenting hell - the kiddie birthday party. Who knew a simple celebration could generate so much anxiety and overindulgence? Most adults remember when kids' birthdays meant ice cream and a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. Today children have come to expect lavish orgies of gifts, gimmicks and goody bags. (Children, parenting, birthday parties, consumerism, brainstorming, planning a birthday party.)
Advanced
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A Model Citizen
Paris Hilton, the celebrity and hotel heiress who spent a stint in jail last year, said on Thursday she sees herself as a role model for young women as she prepared to judge a contest to crown Miss Turkey. (Movie stars, notoriety, role models, skimming and scanning, writing and conducting an interview, crossword.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Super Sushi
As Japanese sushi conquers restaurants and homes around the world, industry experts are fighting the side-effects of the raw fish boom: fake sushi bars, over-confident amateurs, poisoned consumers. (Seafood, consumers, answering true or false questions, sequencing, writing instructions, writing a recipe, will used for sudden decisions.)
Intermediate
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Bingo!
A cleaner won a record jackpot on Sunday but she says she still wants to be a cleaner. (Jackpots, winning, jobs, understanding the main idea, completing and conducting an interview, bingo, listening for numbers, listening to identify true or false statements.)
Elementary
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Beijing Driving Guide
Here are some tips about how to drive in Beijing, a city with three million vehicles on its roads. (Driving, road safety, Beijing, filling gaps, matching sentence halves, pairwork reading, discussion, language focus on the definite article.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Were you fooled?
This is all about April Fool's Day, with the history of the day, and some examples of strange stories in newspapers... some of which weren't April Fool's Day stories at all: They were true! (Jokes, news stories.)
Advanced
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Boxing On
Kazumi Izaki is 44 years old. She has two daughters. She loves boxing. She is a professional boxer in Japan. (Boxing, women, occupations, present simple tense, family words)
Elementary
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Restaurants Try E-menus
Restaurants in Europe, the United States and Japan are testing technology to let diners order their food direct from a screen at their table instead of depending on a fellow human being to note their choice, (Restaurants, technology, consumer trends, will and be going to for predictions.)
Intermediate
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Web Doctor
Dr. Howard Stark's office is quiet. Very quiet. No patients sit in his waiting room. Stark has moved most of his practice, based in Washington, onto the Internet and he couldn't be happier. (Doctors, the Internet, online study, medical vocabulary, finding information, finding advantages and disadvantages, may/might, might not to express possibility)
Upper-Intermediate
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Preserving Tongues
No one speaks a word of English. "I just use Cayuga with them," Jacobs said. "Mostly they can respond back in Cayuga, so it's pretty cool." The eight children of this kindergarten class carry on their shoulders the hopes for preserving the language of the Cayugas. (Languages, language learning policy and funding, attitude to language learning, indigenous peoples, giving an opinion, choosing the best answer, grammatical error correction.)
Advanced
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Tiger Kissing
A medical student on a visit to a zoo saved the life of a baby tiger by giving it the kiss of life. (Animals, amazing stories, actions, comprehension, making predictions, sequencing, present perfect simple, talking about past experiences.)
Elementary
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Smoking in the Movies
Young children may be influenced to start smoking through exposure to movie characters who smoke, researchers suggest.(Hollywood,children, movie stars as role models, smoking, marketing, predicting, choose the best answer, crossword, verb + to + infinitive or verb + -ing, 'what would you do?' quiz about lying, expressing opinions.)
Intermediate
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Copy Cat College Students
More than half of teachers in a British survey said they thought plagiarism from the Internet is a problem.(College students and lecturers, making excuses, comprehension, true, false and not given, role play, writing a letter to excuse yourself, prepositions.)
Upper-Intermediate
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