Sunday, March 27, 2011

Activity 14- Making Contextualized Sentences

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 Do your students have a hard time using new vocabulary learned? Do they easily forget words just taught in recent lessons? Here is an effective idea that involves writing and at the same time helps them keep the new vocabulary active in their minds. This activity can be frequently used in class. 

Level: all
Skill: writing
Material needed: a notebook


From time to time ask students to pick 3 words in their books that they haven’t been using frequently and could easily forget the meaning. Have them create sentences in which those words are used. They could write 3 independent sentences or a short paragraph in which the 3 words are used in the same context.  Variation: Students may get their classmates’ notebooks and assign them three different words picked randomly. Also, the teacher can assign specific words that he or she considers important.

Tip: You can take advantage of this activity and work on grammar structures they have been learning. You can ask students to write their sentences in the present, in the past, in the future, using conditional clauses or any other grammar point that can fit this kind of activity.

Source: Vinicius Lemos

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Activity 13- I Predict, You Predict

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Here is a fun activity to practice predictions with WILL. It requires little preparation and it is definitely going to get your students involved!

 Level: basic and intermediate
Grammar point: future with WILL
Skills: writing, reading and speaking
Materials needed: 1 sheet of paper per student, pencils and adhesive tape


Give each student a blank sheet of paper and ask them to write their names at the top. Tell them to fold the upper side of the sheet in order to hide their names. Make sure nobody can read any names! Then, collect all sheets, scramble them and hang them around the classroom. Explain to students that they are going to stand up and walk around the room. When the teacher claps hands, they are going to stop walking around and stand in front of a sheet. Tell them that they are going to write a predicition for that classmate using WILL based on the topic given by the teacher. Then, have students walk around again and repeat the same procedure until they have written in about 5 or 6 different sheets. Finally, collect all sheets, give them back to their owners and tell them to read the predictions made for them in silence. Ask the students to pair up or form small groups and read what is on their sheets. Allow them some time to discuss the predictions with their classmates. As a follow-up, have them read some of their predictions to the whole group and say which predictions they liked and disliked and why.
Suggestions of topics to be used each time they have to write a prediction: vacations, job, family, school, home, love, friends, money, next year, etc.

* Variation: for more advanced levels, students can write predicitions using the Future Perfect Tense. The topics can be the same and the teacher can even add an adverbial phrase for each (by the end of next year, by 2015, etc)

Source: Vinicius Lemos

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Activity 12- Person, Country or Things – You Name It!

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 Here`s a creative idea to work with vocabulary!

 Level : Basic
Skills: Reading and Speaking
Materials needed: slips, envelope, eraser


  • Write a list of nouns in three categories (or many as you wish to work with) – person, country or things.
  • Photocopy the list, so that there is one list for each group of 4 students.
  • Cut up the list into small slips, so there is one word on each slips. Then, put each set of slips in an envelope, so that there is an envelope for each group.
  • Put an eraser in each envelope.
  • In groups, students take turns pulling a slip out of the envelope.
  • They read the word and say whether it is a person, country, fruit or thing.
  • If they get it right, they keep the slip and the game moves on to the next student.
  • If they get it wrong and another student catches them, that student has to grab the eraser from the envelope and make the correction.
  • The student who has made the mistake has to put back all his/her slips in the envelope.
  • It’s good to establish some time with your students for them to play the game. Then review all the words with the entire class.

* Variation: This game can be used with any set of categories. Examples: rivers, cities, countries; complete sentences, verbs, adjectives, adverbs; clothes, toys, food; you name it!*
This game can be used with any level, and not only reviews whichever category you want to work with, but also motivates students to speak English. 

Source: Adapted from Hess, N. (2001). Teaching Large Multilevel Classes. CUP,  Cambridge.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Activity 11- Where is my half?

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Here is a nice idea to review vocabulary or a reading passage or even to mingle students in class.

Level: all
Skills: speaking, reading and listening
Material needed: slips of papers with sentences


  • Choose a few sentences from a reading passage you have already worked with your students.
  • Write them on slips of paper and cut each sentence into two halves. Make sure you have enough sentences for the entire group.
  • Have students stand and mingle.
  • They read their half sentences to one another until they find the second half of their sentence. All sentences are read out loud.
  • Students form a line in the order of how the sentences appeared in the text.
  • Teacher (or a student) reads the original text, and students re-arrange themselves to correct any mistakes in order.

 *Tip: This activity can also be used with beginners and with small texts. It can take from 5 to 15 minutes depending on the number of students one has in the group. It aims the speaking, reading, and listening skills.
Source: adapted from Dörnyei, Z. (2001). Motivational Strategies in the Language  Classroom.    CUP, Cambridge.