Sunday, January 30, 2011

Activity 7- Continue the Story

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 Level: from Basic to Advanced
Skill: Speaking 
Materials needed: randomly chosen props/objects and a big bag. 

That’s a warmer that can be used with any group, from basic to more advanced ones. It exercises spontaneity, fluency and creativity. Be ready for some laughs!


The teacher brings different objects to class ( pen, knife, ball, teddy bear, cell phone, etc) and puts them inside a big bag or box. The students have to continue the story the teacher is going to start. The teacher says “One day I had a very strange dream. I was walking down the street when…Then the teacher shows the first student an object and asks him/her to continue the story and somehow include this object in the story. The student has to continue telling the story until the teacher shows another object to the next student. The class should go on with the story until all students have had a chance to speak.

Tip: Use flashcards or pictures if you don`t have any props available. Another possibility is to use students` own objects.

Source: Vinicius Lemos

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Activity 6- Hotel Receptionist Game

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Level: from Low-Intermediate to Advanced
Skill: speaking
Material needed: slips with sentences

This is a fun game to be played in the beginning or end of a class, specially if the lesson is related to hotels or traveling. Through mimes, students have to communicate a message to their groups.

In class, explain to the students that they have to imagine they are in a hotel at the receptionist’s desk. Unfortunately the hotel receptionist does not understand them when they speak and so they have to mime to him/her. Tell them that they are going to try to mime what is on the piece of paper. All of the sentences on the strips are problems related to staying in a hotel. The class is going to guess what is being mimed and write the sentence on their notebooks. Explain that they can speak but the student who is miming cannot; he or she can only act. Problems:

There isn’t any hot water in my bathroom.
There are mosquitoes in my room.
The toilet is broken.
We asked for a double bed but there is only a single bed in our room.
There’s loud music coming from the disco below.
Our room is very, very cold.
The telephone doesn’t work.
The people in the next room are very noisy.
I need a wake-up call for 6 am.
Can I use the fitness center?
Where is the swimming pool?
My room key does not work.
I cannot turn on the television in my room.

tip: the teacher can be flexible when playing it with the students and accept sentences that are not 100% identical to the ones written on the slips but very close in meaning. The main goal of the activity is to get the messages across.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Activity 5- Survivor Spelling Game

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This is a fun game for young learners and a creative way to work with spelling! 


Make a list of words covered in previous lessons and ask students to stand up. Call out a word. The first student gives the first letter, the second student gives the second letter, and so on. If a student makes a mistake, he/she should sit down, and the next one should continue spelling the word. Then, you should pick another word and start the game with a student who was waiting for his turn. In the end, the student who is left out standing is the “survivor”and winner of the game.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Activity 4- Last Word Stories

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This is a nice writing activity that explores creativity and fluency as well. It is appropriate for intermediate and advanced levels, but the teacher can adapt it to more basic levels.


In this activity students can work individually, in pairs, or in groups. Dictate the following words (ask them to write the words at the end of the lines).

 a) ___________________________________________________________blood.
b) ___________________________________________________________police.
c) ___________________________________________________________angry.
d) _________________________________________________________finished.
e) ___________________________________________________________guilty.
f) __________________________________________________________suicide.
g) _________________________________________________happily ever after.

Tell them that they have to write a connecting set of sentences that end with the words dictated. The final word should not be modified and students can’t add more sentences. They must be connected to form a mini story.

*Adaptation/variation: Use random words taken from the coursebook. It`s a great way to review vocabulary and give students an opportunity to use learned vocabulary in a contextualized way. 


Friday, January 14, 2011

Activity 3- Name Six

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  This is a fun challenging game to review vocabulary that requires very little preparation and can be adapted to different levels and lessons. It is very successful among young learners.

            In a circle, give one student a stuffed animal or object. The teacher says what the student holding the stuffed animal/object has to name six of. The teacher says “GO!” and students pass it around. The student must say the six words before the stuffed animal gets back to him or her.(example: name six animals, six irregular verbs, six phrasal verbs, six sports, six adjectives to describe someone’s mood, etc)
            Tip: Depending on the size of the group or level of difficulty, the teacher may change the number of vocabulary words the student has to say.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Activity 2- Jump to the Right, Jump to the Left

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  This is a kinesthetic correction activity in which students have to jump to the left (if the sentence is correct) or to the right (if the sentence is incorrect).


            Ask students to stay in a line, one behind the other. Tell them that you are going to say a sentence and they have to decide if the sentence is grammatically correct or incorrect. They should jump to the left or right side immediately after you say “Jump!”
            Display sentence on the board and elicit the mistake. Have students correct it.
            * This activity can be adapted to any kind of content being taught.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Activity 1- Ameriquest Videos to Practice the Simple Past

The videos used in this activity are from the AMERIQUEST  campaign entitled “Don’t judge too quickly”.  They are very short videos with a simple story line and all of them have a fun and surprising element.  There are several  videos and all of them can be easily found on YouTube.
Pair up students and name them A and B. Student A watches the short video and student B closes his/her eyes or turns his/her back to the screen.  When the video is over, student A reports the story to student B using the SIMPLE PAST and as many details as possible.  Later, student A and B change roles and do the same activity using another video from Ameriquest.
As a follow-up, students can watch both videos again and together work on vocabulary and additional details. Also, they can write a short paragraph reporting the story from one of the videos.