7 Feb 2017

Let’s work on Cambridge English: First for Schools Paper 1 Part 2

Today, I’m sharing some ideas to work on a Cambridge English: First for Schools gap fill text.  I shared them at my seminar in Santander last Friday, when we considered the Assessment of Reading at different levels.


In my previous post, I shared some ideas for further work on a Cambridge English: Key for Schools Part 5 Gap fill text.
Let’s look at some similar activities, this time for a text from First for Schools, Paper 1, Part 2.

camel text

You can find this text in the Cambridge English: First for Schools Handbook, available to download here.
Like the text in the Key for Schools task in the previous post, the words that students have to put back into the text are mainly grammatical, or lexico-grammatical.
Let’s look at how we can do some useful, further activities on this text.  Perhaps as a direct follow-on, or maybe in the next class.
Find it!
Look at this text about camels. I’m going to ask you to find some things in this text.
First, write the line numbers down the side of the text.
1     The most distinctive feature of a camel is the hump, or humps, on it back. In these humps,
2     camels store fat which is used as energy when they don’t have access to food.  They can put
3     up with very difficult conditions, drinking only a little or no water for up to
4     seven days.  When they reach a place where they can drink, they soak up water like a
5     sponge – they can drink 135 litres in 13 minutes!  And their mouths are so tough that they
6     can eat most types of plant.

Repeated words
How many times is the word ‘hump’ in the text?
Are there any other repeated words?
Yes!  The words below appear several times in the text:
up – put up with, up to seven days, soak up
most –  most distinctive
        –   most types of
This is extremely useful for considering words that can have different functions or be different parts of speech (like ‘up’ here).  Or that can have different meanings.

Ask students to find different words in the text and tell you what they refer to.
For example:
Find the word ‘which’  Which line is it on?  (2)  What does ‘which’ refer to?  (fat)

Useful collocations
Who can find it first?
conditions    – (line 3, 5th word)  Which words does it appear with?  (very difficult)  Which other adjectives does ‘conditions’ often appear with?  (challenging, tough, (un)pleasant…)
access         – (line 2, 14th word)  Which words does it appear with? (have ……to food)  Which other phrases does access often appear in?  (be refused access to, give access to, gain access to)
Which other words in this text might it be useful to focus on in this way?  Which ones would you choose?


feature    – line 1  distinctive feature of  (feature also found with main, unique, striking)
used – line 2, 6th word  is used as
Add words
Another way of taking a step further with a text is to add words – either from different word classes, or from the same word class.  Anne O’Keefe mentioned at the Exams Catalunya conference that Spanish Advanced candidates’ writing often suffers from a shortage of adverbs, so I thought I’d design an activity to work on that area.
Download the document to see the activity and I hope you’ll use it with your students.

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