Sunday, September 25, 2011

Activity 41- What`s the Story?

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Do you have some English language magazines and you don`t know what to do with them? Here is a great tip for you!

Level: upper intermediate or advanced
Skills: reading,speaking, listening and writing
Materials needed: a magazine and writing paper

Bring a magazine to class and show the students the picture of an article. Tell them that the objective of the activity is to guess the content of the article. Split the students into small groups. Display on the board some key questions to trigger their creativity (the teacher needs to prepare some interesting questions beforehand to help students give some direction to their stories). Give them some minutes to brainstorm all the ideas. Later, have groups report their ideas to the whole class. Provide students with a copy of the article and have them read it. As a follow-up, the class can briefly discuss the similarities and differences between their versions of the story and the actual one.
* If time allows, students can write their version of the story before they actually get to read the original story.

* Variation: instead of using a magazine, visit a news website and print a recent article or story.

Source: Vinicius Lemos

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Activity 40- Slave of Fashion

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 Are you teaching vocabulary related to clothes? He is a very meaningful way to practice it!

Level: Beginners
Skills: Speaking + writing
Materials: Clothes of all styles such as dresses, bellbottoms, jackets, shorts, coats, skirts of all patterns and colors. It would also be good to bring some personal accessories such as rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, hats and caps. 


  1. The teacher places the clothes on the wall or table. He/she asks students to choose clothes which would fit the following styles:
a)    Hippie
b)    Gypsy
c)    Skater
d)    Surfer
e)    Conservative
f)     Fancy
And so on.
  1. The teacher should have cards with family members and verbs such as like, wear, hate, dislike, go, and put on.  
  2. Then, the teacher places the cards on the board and asks students to come up with conversations, using the Simple Present tense.
E.g.:  Do you always wear baggy pants?
         Yes, I do. I like to wear… every time I… or No, I don’t I sometimes wear…

Does your mother wear jeans and a jacket?
Yes, she does. // No, she doesn’t.

Source: Vânia Rodrigues- Adapted from “Virando a Página” – SBS.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Activity 39- M&M`s Make Students Talk

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Here is a very fun strategy that is very effective with kids and teenagers. The best thing about it: it can be adapted to several different grammar points!

Level: Any Level

Skills: Speaking

Materials: A bowl of small candies


  1. Pass a bowl of candies around.
  2. Ask students to get as many pieces of candy as they would like, but don’t let students eat them yet.
  3. Ask students to say something about themselves in English for every piece of candy that they have taken.

Variation: The teacher should also say something about herself/himself for every piece of candy left.

Source: Vânia Rodrigues

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Activity 38- Site Words

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Level: Intermediate-Advanced

Skills: Speaking and Writing

Materials: Laminated folders with double grids, vis-à-vis markers or a copy of two identical grids for each player.

OBJECT OF THE GAME: To be the first player to identify all three of the opponent’s words.


  1. Using the markers or pens to be used on the photocopied grids, each player writes one 3-letter word, one 4-letter word and one 5-letter word (they are the secret words) on top grid folder (horizontally and vertically only – not reversed or diagonally).
  2. First player names a letter-number combination to specify a square on the grid.
  3. The opponent repeats that letter and number (to clarify location) and must tell what letter is in that square or reply with a negative response. The first player then fills in the letter or, if no letter is in the location, draws a small dot to indicate that the space has been called out.
  4. The players continue to alternate guessing locations until one player is able to identify all three of the opponent’s words.


  1. Two identical grids are glued inside of a file folder. Numbers and letters are written across the top and side of the grid so that locations can be pinpointed.
  2. The folders are laminated so that students can write on them and erase after the game (optional if you are using a photocopied sheet of paper with the grids).


  1. Use any letter-number combinations that you want for the pairs of folders.
  2. Players must choose words that the opponents will know. This is a good activity to review the target vocabulary of a Unit (a glossary of a picture dictionary can also be used to help students locate the words). The teacher should also check spelling before the game begins.
  3. The teacher should advise students that proper nouns should not be used.

Source: Vânia Rodrigues