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Ten Conversation Lessons with Stories, Vocabulary Practice, Questions and Activities

Suggestions for Using the Lessons
The Story
Depending on the main objective(s) of the course, the teacher may choose to read the story aloud asking the students not to look at it or ask the students to read the story to themselves silently and as quickly as possible.
Vocabulary Practice
The teacher may ask the students to answer the vocabulary questions as soon as they are through with the story. Students should use the text in order to guess the meaning of each vocabulary item.
Questions for Discussion
The questions posed under this section are meant to stimulate spontaneous speech and class discussion. The teacher may ask several students to answer the same question for different possible opinions.
Activities
Here the teacher may ask students to pair up and tell each other the story in their own words and he himself may act as a co-communicator or a counselor. He can also ask one student to tell the whole class the story in his/her own words. Then the teacher may act as a model and pronounce the words under this section and ask the students to repeat the words several times. Finally, the teacher may use each word in a full sentence and ask the students to repeat for possible contextual effects.
Miscellany
A variety of statements such as proverbs and quotes can be found under this section. The statements are deliberately chosen to be provocative to spark off spontaneous debate and discussion. Thus, the teacher may choose each of these statements as a topic for class discussion.

Lesson 1 – A Soldier’s Lie
The Story
Once a soldier asked his commanding officer for a day’s leave to attend his sister’s wedding.
The officer asked him to wait outside the door for a few minutes while he considered the request.
The officer then called the soldier back in and said, “You are a liar. I’ve just phoned your sister and she told me she’s already married.”
“Well, sir, you’re an even bigger liar,” the soldier replied, “because I don’t even have a sister.”
Vocabulary Practice
Mark the best choice.

‘Leave’ here means ……
going out from a place
one part of a tree
permission to be absent from work
asking a person for some money
To ‘attend’ here means to …
take care of
pay for
be present at
look at

Questions for Discussion

Why did the soldier tell the officer a lie?
Why did the officer tell the soldier a lie?
Can you remember telling such lies?

Activities

Now you tell your friend(s) the story in your own words:
Pronounce the following words several times:
Command
Officer
Attend
Soldier
Already

A Related Proverb
One foot cannot stand on two boats.

Lesson 2 – In Pajamas
The Story
Staying at a hotel in Yarmauth, I couldn’t sleep because the television in the residents’ lounge was so loud. As I could see from the top of the stairs, the lounge was in total darkness, so I crept downstairs in my pajamas. I went to the TV and after some fumbling with the knobs I managed to switch it off.
As I turned to leave, I suddenly became aware of a semi-circle of people sitting in the dark who, up until that moment, had been enjoying a television program.
Vocabulary Practice
Mark the best choice.

‘Lounge’ is ……….
kind of taxi in the airport etc.
small room for workers
public sitting room in a hotel
special case for television
To ‘creep’ means to ………
run quickly
jump off
shout out
move quietly
To ‘…….’ means to move the hands awkwardly to do something or to find something.
fumble
manage
switch
reside
A ‘knob’ is a…..
hotel room
small TV
round handle
special table

Questions for Discussion

What is the main funny point in the story?
Why did the man go downstairs in pajamas?
What do you think will happen next?

Activities

Now you tell your friend(s) the story in your own words.
Pronounce the following words several times:
Lounge
Resident
Knob
Fumble
Aware
Semi-circle

A Related Proverb
Opportunity knocks once, and the neighbors the rest of the time.

Lesson 3 – Beggar Replacement
The Story
The doorbell rang, and the housewife answered it. She found two beggars outside. “So, you’re begging in twos now?!” she exclaimed.
” No, only for today,” one of them replied. “I’m showing my replacement the ropes before going on holiday.”
Vocabulary Practice
Mark the best choice.

A ‘beggar’ is a person who…….
sells food and clothes
has no money
asks for money
does the housework
To ‘exclaim’ means to……….
say something kindly
say suddenly and loudly
walk quickly
look angrily
A ….. is a person that you put in place of yourself or another.
beggar
rope
housewife
replacement
‘Ropes’ here means …….
the rules and customs in a place or activity
pieces of strong thick cord
people you probably meet in a special place
houses which are expensive

Questions for Discussion

This joke is telling us something about beggars’ life. What is it?
Do you know a joke or a true story about beggars?

Activities

Now you tell your friend(s) the story in your own words.
Pronounce the following words several times:
Beggar
Exclaim
Reply
Replacement
Ropes

A Related Proverb
A man is known by the company he keeps.

Lesson 4 – Wedding Gifts
The Story
Jack and his bride were opening their wedding gifts. After unwrapping each package, Lisa would exclaim enthusiastically, “We really need these towels” or “We’ll enjoy eating off these pretty plates.” Then she opened one very large box. It contained a vacuum cleaner.
“Jack,” Lisa said, “look what you’ve got.”
Vocabulary Practice
Mark the best choice

To ‘unwrap’ means to …..
fasten
break
open
write
‘Package’ means …….
plate
parcel
room
book
‘Enthusiastic’ means ……
quite angry
indifferent
with great interest
showing disliking
Another word for ‘vacuum cleaner’ is ……….
electric fan
cleaning machine
Hoover
electric machine

Questions for Discussion

What is funny about this story?
Who do you think should use the vacuum cleaner? Why?

Activities

Now you tell your friend(s) the story in your own words.
Pronounce the following words several times:
Unwrap
Package
Enthusiastically
Towel
Vacuum

A Related Proverb
Cut your coat according to your cloth.

Lesson 5 – Wedding Gown
The Story
When my sister got married, she wore my mother’s wedding dress. The day she
tried it on, the gown fitted her exactly and mother started to cry. “You’re not losing a
daughter,” I reminded her, putting my arm around her, “you’re gaining a son.”
“Oh, forget about that!” she said with a sob, “I used to fit into that dress.”
Vocabulary Practice

Mark the best choice.
A ‘gown’ is a ……..
building where people marry
dress worn at a special time
person who is married
meal served at wedding
To ‘fit’ means to ……….
find something out
live happily
see something sad
be the right size
A … is a noisy and irregular breath from crying.
gown
gain
sob
fit

Questions for Discussion

What is funny about this story?
Who do you think is telling the story?

Activities

Now you tell your friend(s) the story in your own words.
Pronounce the following words several times:
Gown
Marry
Gain
Wore

A Russian Proverb
One rotten egg spoils twenty fresh ones.

Lesson 6 – Rational Dispute
The Story
A young housewife told me: “My husband and I never argue, no matter how angry we may be. Instead we sit down and rationally discuss both sides of the dispute. Then I make a list of all the crockery I intend to smash.”
Vocabulary Practice
Mark the best choice.

‘Rationally’ means …….
silently
angrily
not foolishly
very quickly
‘Dispute’ means…..
fight
wife
list
talk
‘Crockery’ means …….
paper money
ice-cream
cups, plates, etc.
washing machine
To ‘smash’ means to ….
write something down
clean something in hot water
drop something and break it
put something back

Questions for Discussion

What do you think of the couple?
Why should the lady smash crockery?
Do you know a better way to settle a dispute?

Activities

Now you tell your friend(s) the story in your own words.
Pronounce the following words several times:
Rationally
Dispute
Crockery
Intend
Smash

A Related Proverb
Empty vessels make the most noise.

Lesson 7 – The Best Accountant
The Story
An accountant answered an advertisement for a job with a large firm. At the end of the interview the chairman said, “One last question– what is three times seven?” The accountant thought for a minute and replied, “Twenty-two”.
Outside he took his calculator and realized that he should have said twenty-one. He concluded that he had lost the job. A fortnight later, however, he was offered the post.
After a few weeks, he asked the chairman why he had been when he had given the wrong answer.
“You were the closest,” the chairman replied.
Vocabulary Practice
Mark the best choice.

An ‘accountant’ is a ……
person who wants a job
machine which adds, deletes, etc.
person who keeps money records
company manager
‘Firm’ here means ….
strong person
business company
shop manager
important decision
A ‘chairman’ is a person who …..
sells or buys chairs
controls a meeting
answers phone calls
says the latest news
A fortnight is ……
one month
one year
twenty days
two weeks
‘Appoint’ here means to ……
interview someone
choose a person for a job
call a person to come
let a person visit a place

Questions for Discussion

What did the chairman mean by the last sentence?
How true can such a story be?
Why do you think should an accountant make such a mistake?

Activities

Now you tell your friend(s) the story in your own words.
Pronounce the following words several times:
Accountant
Advertisement
Interview
Chairman
Calculator
Fortnight
Appoint
Close

A Related Proverb
A narrow mind has a broad tongue

Lesson 8 – Delicious Pie
The Story
We were two Australian student nurses training at an English hospital. During visiting hours, we would take a break in the ward kitchen and often a kindly visitor would slip us a cake or some chocolate.
One night a woman brought a pork pie to the kitchen and asked me, “Would you ‘eat this up, love?”
My friend and I ate every crumb and were delighted–until the woman returned and asked, “Is my ‘usband’s pie ‘ot yet, dear?”
Vocabulary Practice
Mark the best choice.

‘Ward’ here means …….
a kind of cooker
head nurse
a part in a hospital
temperature
To ‘Slip’ here means to ……
divide sth
give secretly
move slowly
d get worse
‘Pork’ means meat from ……
cow
sheep
hen
pig
‘Crumb’ means a ……
kind of fresh fruit
very big piece of pie
very small bit of bread, cake, etc.
person who works in a hospital
‘Delighted’ means …….
very angry
quite tired
pretty dark
very pleased

Questions for Discussion

The woman in the story cannot pronounce a sound. What is it? What can be the reason?
What do you think will happen next?

Activities

Now you tell your friend(s) the story in your own words.
Pronounce the following words several times:
ward
crumb
delighted
until
slip

An Italian Proverb
He who never fails never grows rich

Lesson 9 – My Modern Car
The Story
After lunch my friend and I paid the bill and made our way to my car. I took out my remote-control gadget and pressed the button which automatically unlocks the doors.
Not having noticed what I did, my friend looked puzzled and asked, “What was that clicking sound?”
“It was just the doors unlocking,” I answered.
He looked at me with astonishment and said, “The car recognizes you?!”
Vocabulary Practice
Mark the best choice.

‘Bill’ here means a ……..
part of a bird’s mouth
printed notice on a wall or fence
list of things bought and their price
piece of paper money
A ‘gadget’ is a ……..
kind of car
small machine
long key
piece of cloth
‘Puzzled’ means ……
very happy
in an angry manner
unable to understand
not suitable
To ‘click’ means to …..
try to understand something
make a short, sharp sound
drop something heavy
walk toward something
‘Astonishment’ means ……
happiness
friendly smile
grate surprise
indifference

Questions for Discussion

What is funny about this story?
How do like this kind of technology?

Activities

Now you tell your friend(s) the story in your own words.
Pronounce the following words several times:
Remote-control
Gadget
Automatically
Puzzled
Click
Astonishment
Recognize

A Saying
Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.

Lesson 10 – Poor Cat!
The Story
As a student I ate my meals at a seaside boarding-house. The landlady was a good cook and, as her husband was a fisherman, we always ate fish for dinner. Eventually I got tired of it, and took to slipping it under the sofa, where the family cat would find and devour it.
This worked very successfully until one day the landlady tiptoed up behind me and said, “Young man it’s high time I told you that our cat was run over by a lorry three weeks ago.”
Vocabulary Practice
Mark the best choice.

A ‘boarding-house’ is a ………..
building which is near the sea
kind of very expensive hotel
house giving room(s) and food
kind of school with a pool
A ‘landlady’ is a woman who ……..
is old and weak
keeps a boarding-house
has a lot of money
only looks after her family
‘Eventually’ means …..
naturally
in the end
meanwhile
happily
To ‘take to’ here means to….
carry something to somewhere
ask someone to do something
begin to do something as a habit
go away to some place to hide
To ‘devour’ here means to …..
look at something angrily
play with something
throw something away
eat something hungrily
To ‘tiptoe’ means to ……
walk quietly on the toes
say something softly
hit something by foot
run towards something
To ‘run over’ means to…..
hit something while running
drive over something
take something away
steal something from a place

Questions for Discussion

What point is funny in the story?
What would you do if you were the student?
What can probably be found under the sofa now?

Activities

Now you tell your friend(s) the story in your own words.
Pronounce the following words several times:
Eventually
Devour
Sofa
Tiptoe
Lorry

A Saying
The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one.

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