Sunday, May 29, 2011

Activity 25- Castaway

                                          picture credits:

This is a very fun speaking activity that involves using creativity. 

Level: advanced
Skill: speaking
Materials needed: common randomly chosen objects


  Set the scene by telling students that they are survivors from a shipwreck and that now they are lost in a desert island. Luckily, they were able to bring some objects with them. However, they will not be able to use these objects for what they were originally designed for. So, it means that they will have to find new uses for them in order to survive in the island. Give each student or each pair of students one object and give them some time for discussion and negotiation. Later, students report to the whole class what they can use the objects for. Suggested objects: a cd, a lipstick, a string, a pencil, a bread knife, a ball, etc.

Source:  Vinicius Lemos

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Activity 22- "The Slap" Video Activity

This short video activity can be used as a warmer for intermediate and advanced adult groups. It promotes interaction and exercises students`creativity.

Level: Intermediate and Advanced
Skill: Speaking
Material Needed: the video from Youtube


Set up the scene : a soldier, a colonel, a young lady and an old lady are on a train journey. Students watch the video up to the part the train enters a tunnel and all they can hear is a kiss and a slap. Pause the video when the train comes out of the tunnel, right before the students can listen to each of the passengers` thoughts. Divide students into small groups and give them some time to discuss what happened in the train. Tell them that they are expected to explain their version of the story in details. Elicit their ideas and show the end of the video so that they can compare their versions and check what really happened. 

Source: suggested by Laura Lewin (ABS)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Activity 21- What Do They Have in Common?

picture credits:
This is a great speaking activity to start the class and it involves a lot of critical thinking and creativity. 

Level: advanced
Skill: speaking
Materials needed: realia or pictures of objects

Divide students into small groups (3 or 4) and explain that they are going to see 3 objects or pictures of 3 objects and that the objective is to explain what they have in common. For example: a car, a tv and a can opener (they all have metal pieces, they are manufactured); a cellphone, a book and a dog (the three of them can entertain us, they are a good company when we are alone). Set a time limit for discussion and elicit their ideas. The activity is more fun and challenging when the 3 objects are very different from each other. You`ll be surprised by how creative students can get!

Source: unknown

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Activity 20- Señor Armonia Short Film

This is a short film that can be used for several different purposes in the classroom. It`s less than 4 minutes long and has no dialogues in it.

Level: basic 
Grammar Point: the simple past (regular and irregular verbs)
Skills: speaking,listening, writing, reading (depending on the activity)
Materials needed: the video, slips of paper


 Show students the whole video. Then, split students into small groups and give them a set of slips with verbs in the base form. Tell them they have to remember the actions from the short film and organize the slips according to the order in which those actions happened. Groups,then, report to the class how they organized the sequence of events by saying the sentences in the simple past. Finally show the video again to check which group has organized the sequence more precisely.

* Suggestions:
-Elicit and drill the past form of the verbs before showing the video (randomly in order not to spoil the activity)
-As a follow-up, you can ask the students to write a short paragraph describing Señor Armonia`s day.

1) If students don`t know the simple past, this activity can be done the same way but using verbs in the present focusing a typical day in Señor Armonia`s routine.
2) Students can watch the movie and later list down all the things Señor Armonia did (no slips). Then, students can compare their ideas and check who has written more sentences.
3) The teacher can do a dictation with the students after they have watched the short film. The teacher says a verb in the base form and students have to write a sentence in the affirmative or negative based on what happened. Ex: drive a car (students would write 'He didn`t drive a car'), play his triangle (students would write 'He played his triangle').

Source: Vinicius Lemos

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Activity 19- Release the Stress

This activity aims at exercising and checking students’ awareness on word stress.
The vocabulary for this activity can be taken from a text students have just finished reading or from a vocabulary list.

Level: any
Focus: word stress
Materials needed: a ball and slips with words

1. Model how to work with the ball: every time a word is said, the ball should be bounced against the floor at the moment the strongest syllable is pronounced.  Example:  in·ter·NA·tion·al 
    2. Divide class into 2 teams. 
    3. Display the slips containing the words on the table. Then, ask a volunteer from
    team A to pick a slip. Stick the slip on the board so that the whole class can see it.

    Tell the student to say the word out loud and bounce  the ball at the strongest syllable. If the stress is demonstrated correctly, the group gets a point. Repeat the procedure with a volunteer from team B. 

    Variation: Stress Dictation  

    In this activity the vocabulary can be taken, for instance, from a text.
    Write pairs of words on the board. These pairs of words should contain the same number of syllables but with the stress on different positions.  Use a ball that can be bounced against the floor. Explain that one of the words from the pair will be pronounced using the ball. For every syllable, give a gentle tap on the ball. Bounce it at the stressed syllable. Students, then, write down on their notebooks the word that has just been demonstrated according to the position of the stress.

      Source: Vinicius Lemos