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Instant Lesson

More Bark Than Bite
Dogs are probably much cleverer than most people think, according to a new study. Scientists are convinced that dogs can count and researchers at the University of California Davis say they try to convey different messages through the pitch and pace of their barks. (Intelligent animals, dogs, true or false, scanning, fill the gaps, error recognition, guessing by context, comparative and superlative adjectives.)
Intermediate
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No excuses!
"The dog ate my homework." If students at a Houston middle school say this to their teachers, their parents may be asked to go to court. (Schools, parents and students, understanding the main idea, multiple choice, matching information, true or false, discussion, making excuses, crossword.)
Elementary
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Chimney Sweep?
It may work for Santa Claus but two people found that going down a chimney may not be such a good idea unless you want to get stuck. (Bizarre stories, rescues, matching pictures and information, predicting, gap fill, reading for detail, comprehension, try + infinitive + to, role play, pair crossword.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Australians Slip Slop Slap
Helen Lawton-French remembers her childhood in Australia as a haze of sunshine, with weekends spent basking in the sun to get the perfect tan. But 20 years later, she's paying the price for her years of sun worship, joining the 280,000 Australians diagnosed with skin cancer each year. (Skin cancer and ways to avoid it, fill the gaps, matching information, true or false, reading for detail, listening and ordering information, prepositions, role play.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Never Too Late
A 92-year-old Australian woman has become the nation's oldest first-time home buyer after getting a housing loan she does not have to pay off for another 30 years. (First home buyers, banking and housing vocabulary, discussion, predicting, gap fill, true or false, reading for information, 'have to' / 'don't have to', pair crossword, group discussion.)
Intermediate
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Lawyers Want Government Jobs
Today, the Enron and WorldCom stories have transformed corporate crime fighting into a top choice for law students who, only two years ago, might have looked down their noses at a career in government. (Legal graduates and government law, listening comprehension, discussing pros and cons, true, false or not given, comprehension, completing statements, verbs that take the infinitive, role play.)
Advanced
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Aussie Thieves Steal Water
Thieves are stealing water from rivers and selling it to Australian farmers. The farmers are fighting one of the worst droughts in a century. (Drought and its effect on crop farming, prediction, reading for gist, comprehension, categorizing words, true or false, reading for detail, word find puzzle, discussion.)
Elementary to Pre-Intermediate
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No Driver's License
A German motorist who was sentenced to prison for repeatedly driving without a license was caught driving just moments after leaving the court, police said. (Careless driving, matching pictures and words, prepositions, word find, sequencing, comprehension, true or false, discussion, role-play.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Homeless Problem
Faced with the worst homeless crisis in New York's history, officials are considering whether cruise ships tied up at city docks could be used as temporary housing. (Accommodation for the homeless, complete the headline, ordering ideas, scanning, true or false, meanings in context, -ed clauses, discussion.)
Upper-Intermediate
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I'm From Got Milk?
Biggs, California is not "Got Milk?"... After a week which saw the small community catapulted into the international spotlight after it considered changing its name to "Got Milk?" to mark the 10th anniversary of a milk marketing campaign, city elders turned down the proposal. (Changing the name of a town for marketing purposes, listening gap fill, scanning, checking for details, true or false, meanings from context, direct and reported speech, discussion.)
Intermediate
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Madonna sings for her supper
Multimillionaire pop singer Madonna had to borrow money in a London restaurant after finding she didn't have enough money to buy a slice of cake for her son, a British newspaper reported. (Madonna biography, information exchange, question formation, comprehension, reading for gist, reading for detail, word find puzzle, test your memory.
Elementary to Pre-Intermediate
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TV Violence
Watching lots of violence on television and playing violent video games not only makes kids more physically aggressive, it makes them meaner and more distrustful, researchers said. (Effect of television and video game violence on young viewers, survey, writing a headline, comprehension, completing a table, vocabulary, prepositions, making rules for TV watching, evaluating different TV shows or computer games, interviews.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Housework After a Baby
After the arrival of baby, new fathers can help hold on to marital harmony by picking up a broom more often, according to new research. (Discussion, understanding a headline, true or false, matching information, multiple choice questions, summarizing, -ing clauses, negotiating.)
Intermediate
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Heady Scents
It's cocktail hour in Rome's posh shopping district, but women at one trendy bar are trying a new kind of aperitif: perfume. (Perfume bars, perfume vocabulary and attitudes to perfume, survey, categorizing words, prediction, finding the main idea, fill the gaps, reading carefully, true, false or not given, interpreting information, language: preposition 'of', discussion.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Gum Law May Change
Chewing gum has been banned in Singapore since 1992. The law said that Singaporeans could not import, sell or make it. But now Singapore may change the law. (Chewing gum ban in Singapore, understanding the main idea, comprehension, true or false, matching ideas with pictures, discussion, group project imperatives.)
Elementary
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Pregnant Advice
Children of women who drank while pregnant show the effects as long as 14 years later in the form of stunted growth, US researchers said. (Effects of alcohol on physical development of fetuses, brainstorming, predicting from a headline, matching information, true or false, scanning, complete the sentences, role play, summarizing.)
Intermediate to Upper-Intermediate
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Inventing the Future
Three years ago, few people stopped to consider that a $70 or $80 monthly charge might deter the typical American consumer from buying online music, video and games. The actual product being peddled was broadband Internet access, and it was supposed to be an easy sell at any price. (Broadband access and the fate of companies promoting it, making predictions, understanding the main idea, true or false, comprehension, inventions through history, prepositions, discussion.)
Advanced
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Tired Bank Robber
A man went to rob a bank in the Austrian city of Graz. However, before he robbed the bank, he fell asleep in his car... then the police found him! (Bizarre crimes, reading for overall understanding, answering questions, sequencing, reading for detail, gap fill, infinitives of purpose, describing where something is, finding differences in two pictures.)
Elementary
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Free To Speed
A computer game company's offer to pay the speeding fines of all British drivers as part of an advertising promotion for a new motor racing game has been branded irresponsible and dangerous by the government. (Dangerous driving and speeding, scanning, true or false, direct and reported speech, the prefix 'ir-', discussion, writing a radio advertisement.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Do You Want To Save The Planet?
Some campaigners insisted on going overland to Marrakesh's U.N. conference on climate change, not because they are scared of flying, but because they are worried about what airplanes do to the planet. (Airplane emissions and their effect on the environment, avoiding flying because of environmental impact, discussion, true, false or not given, prepositions 'by' and 'or' and methods of travel, dialogue, fluency practice, crossword - environmental words.)
Intermediate
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Smiling Bank Robber
A man had his two gold teeth knocked out as he ran into traffic and was hit by a van after robbing a bank, FBI agents said. (Understanding a headline, matching words and pictures, gap fill, comprehension, reference words, past simple and base verb forms, word find puzzle.)
Elementary
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Redheads Feel More Pain
Redheads may actually have another trait that makes them stand out - sensitivity to pain, specialists reported. (Redheads, pain and anesthesia, discussion, gap fill, true or false, matching statements, reference words, comprehension, word families.)
Upper-Intermediate to Advanced
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Shopping Switch
Employers beware: Fruitless weekend shopping trips into stores this shortened holiday shopping season may mean less is getting done back at the office as many workers flock to the Web in search of bargains. (Internet shopping and shopping trends, matching information, gap fill, comprehension, check your understanding, discussion, 'in fact', 'in most cases' and 'for example'.)
Intermediate
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Cat Saves Family
A cat saved its family by raising the alarm after it started a fire, German police said. (True animal stories, understanding a headline, reading for overall understanding, putting pictures in the correct order using a text, vocabulary: animal sounds, continuing a story, memory recall and listening, word find puzzle, role play.)
Elementary
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Emerald Discovered in Shell
A diver has discovered a large emerald in a conch shell while diving at the site of a 380-year-old wrecked Spanish galleon. (Describing a picture, understanding a picture sequence, matching information and pictures, summarizing, listening for correct information, while with past simple and past continuous tenses, word find puzzle, discussion.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Don't Fence Me In
Elephants should not be kept in zoos or safari parks because they suffer stress and die early, a British animal charity said. (Elephants in captivity, discussion, comprehension, reading gap fill, matching information, true, false or not given, role play, 'often'.)
Intermediate
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The Harmful Effects of Scolding
When parents are driven mad by badly behaved children, most do not smack them and instead give them a telling-off. But verbal abuse could be as harmful as beating, according to new Danish research. (Discipline and children, listening for key points, listening and note-taking, understanding the main idea, scanning, reading gap fill, finding evidence, discussion, difference in meaning between shout at and shout to, role play.)
Upper-Intermediate to Advanced
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Landmine Danger
2002's WLL builds on last year's in continuing to educate people about landmines. The widespread use of these antipersonnel landmines has continued, making it even more difficult to eliminate a weapon that kills or maims thousands of people every year. The lesson is able to be done by students from Pre-Intermediate to Advanced levels. (Landmines, things that endanger people's lives, understanding the main idea, information gap fill, true or false, multiple choice, and 'still' used as an adverb.)
Intermediate
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Ecstasy Warning
Ecstasy, the popular "club drug" favored by young partygoers, may damage the same brain cells hurt in Parkinson's disease, U.S. researchers said. (Effects of using Ecstasy, ordering ideas, information gap fill, inference, true or false, word families, discussion, persuasive essay topic, role play.)
Advanced
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You Can't Copy That!
A copyright dispute over two pieces of silence, one by American avant-garde composer John Cage and the other by a composer best known for novelty tunes, has been settled. (Plagiarism and copyright, music, scanning, guessing words in context, true or false, headlines, the expression: It was one of the most...I've ever..., discussion.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Checking Up on Supplies
The counting of toilet roll paper was successful for a British worker who won his employer thousands of pounds in compensation after he discovered that some rolls were not as long as they should be. (Consumer issues, information recall and exchange, working in pairs to reconstruct main points of a text, comprehension, too + adverb or adjective, word find puzzle, discussion and research activity.)
Pre-Intermediate
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A Different Taste in Music
Two brothers who perform all kinds of music using vegetable instruments and a vegetable orchestra. (Music, vegetables, puns, common suffixes, China, Austria.)
Intermediate
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Stop That Train!
A British train driver had to run 100 yards along the station platform to catch his train after it decided to start its journey without him. (Train travel, matching information and pictures, train vocabulary, comprehension, sequencing, writing a headline, the structure ...as+adverb+as I can, word find puzzle.)
Elementary
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Too Much TV Bad For Kids?
Kids who spend more time watching TV--regardless of the content of the programming--are more likely to behave aggressively and have other types of social problems, a study has found. (Television watching and children, True, False or Not Given, writing questions, main idea, past simple, role-play, crossword.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Long Hours
British employees work more hours per week than workers in Europe. Managers and professionals worked the longest hours. About half said that they were working longer hours to deal with excessive workloads. By contrast, 70 percent of skilled and manual workers said they put in extra hours to earn overtime pay. (The working week, hours of work, graph analysis, writing memos, using markers to show surprising ideas or contrast.)
Upper-Intermediate to Advanced
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New Stoves Could Mark End of Indoor Cooking Fires
Eritrea is hoping a new stove design will do its part to fight the deforestation and lung problems caused by cooking fires used by an estimated 2.5 billion people in the developing world. (Scanning, choosing the best headline, completing the table of information, matching sentences, crossword, finding grammatical errors.)
Upper-Intermediate to Advanced
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A Very Long Ride
An American teacher has ridden a roller coaster for ten hours a day for the past three months to try to get a world record. (World records, listening for correct information, comprehension, collocations, irregular verbs, word find puzzle.)
Elementary
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That's My Kind of Music
Boston transit police have enlisted the late American composers George Gershwin and John Philip Sousa in their fight against crime. (Using music as a deterrent, classifying words, guessing meanings in context, scanning, using the verb 'have' in the continuous tense.)
Intermediate
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Alive or Dead?
An Austrian woman has had to convince her electricity supplier that she is alive after the company wrote to her asking for information about her contract following her "passing away." (Clerical errors and bureaucracy, reading for overall understanding, reading for details, sequencing, adding extra information to sentences, crossword.)
Intermediate
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Bring Your Parents
British pensioner Joseph Dickinson, 103, had a shock when his local hospital phoned him to ask him to come in for an eye test... and told him to bring his parents! (Making and answering questions, memorizing a short text, word find, discussion, simple past tense forms.)
Elementary
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Let's Close The Town
Residents of a remote Quebec mining community have voted to shut down the town following the closing of a local copper smelter, the area's main employer. (Small towns and employment, comprehension, true, false or not given, before +- ing, role play, essay topic, discussion.)
Intermediate to Upper-Intermediate
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Child Tracking Devices May Be Next
A British scientist said he received many requests from worried parents asking him to implant a tracking microchip into their children after the murders of two 10-year-olds in a quiet English town. (Tracking devices and children's safety, understanding the main idea, matching words and meanings, choose the best answer, reading carefully, 'say' and 'tell'.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Divorce Research
Unhappily married couples often get lots of advice and a new report offers some more: don't divorce, stick it out. (Divorce, giving an opinion, predicting before reading, reading and listening gap fills, a lot of / lots of / plenty of / much / many / few / little, making a speech, word find puzzle.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Batter Up!
Baseball managers should forget the traditional batting lineup and put the strongest hitter up second, instead of fourth, to improve the team's performance. (Baseball, baseball trivia and slang, comprehension, true or false, guessing idioms by context, third conditional, word find puzzle, discussion.)
Intermediate
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A Baby's Name
An angry Italian mother has gone to court after her husband secretly named their newborn son after a prize-winning horse. (Naming children, sequencing, reading for detail, a / an / the, word search puzzle, discussion.)
Elementary
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Sea Refugees
Nations must make plans to help tens of millions of "sea level refugees" if climate change continues to ravage the world's oceans. (Climate change, global warming, comprehension, true, false or not given, discussion, reported speech and direct speech.)
Upper-Intermediate
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I Want To Be Alone
More than 200 years after they went out of fashion in Britain, professional hermits are back in the job market. (Hermits, the advantages and disadvantages of living alone, predicting from the headline, comprehension, true, false or not given, discussion, present perfect and simple past tenses.)
Intermediate
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eBay Watch
Few would question that auction enterprise eBay has become one of the most important companies on the Internet. But what was it about eBay that not only allowed it to survive, but thrive in a nascent industry where success became the exception rather than the rule? (The auction website eBay, guessing words from context, sequencing, role play, discussion, spot the mistake - grammatical errors.)
Advanced
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No More Recorders!
The humble recorder, played by generations of schoolchildren, has received an unwelcome blow when researchers revealed the average child hates it. (The recorder and other musical instruments, musical preferences, finding the main idea, synonyms, writing questions, expository essays, role play--making excuses, finding grammatical mistakes.)
Intermediate
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Get the Most out of your E-mails
When it comes to sending e-mails, the personal touch is best because the more people the message is copied to, the less likely the recipients will reply. (E-mails and communication, understanding the main idea, scanning, guessing unfamiliar words, sequencing, a / an, analogies, discussion and problem solving.)
Upper-Intermediate
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