Tag Archives: TESOL

Infinitives pair work activity

Kitty:   What do you want to do?
Cow Boy:  I want to go to Tokyo to eat cakes

For this activity I have to thank mes English for this one.   They provide a perfect template for the game “Get 4” to practice many grammar points or for simple vocabulary practice.

The reason I am posting it today is that I have used it in my Elementary classes right up to my adult learners.  It has been a success every time.

Like any activity I change the rules to suit the abilities and needs of my students.

In the ideal classroom, all students behave perfectly and never cheat.   However, this is never the case, so I always look for the best ways to make this activity fool-proof.  Even this one can have it’s faults, but you have to try to trust your students a little sometimes.

Today I used it for practicing infinitives;


A:  What do you want to do?

B:  I want to go to Tokyo to eat cakes.


Infinitives GET 4

(image to follow)

Ingredients:
  • 1 worksheet per pair of students
  • an enlarged copy (I enlarged it to A1) to use to demonstrate the game to the class.
Directions:
  1. Split your class into pairs
  2. Give one worksheet per pair of students
  3. 1 student is X and the other is O
  4. Play RSP to decide who is A in the dialogue
  5. For the sake of explanation the student who is O starts by saying to X, ” What do you want to do?”
  6. Student X chooses the squares he/she wants, such as,  “I want to go to Tokyo to eat cake”
  7. Student O looks for that square then marks an X in that box for student X.
  8. The students switch roles.
  9. In short, X student marks Os square with an O
  10. O student marks X‘s sentence with an X

I find this variation of the rules cuts down the potential to cheat and encourages more listening and speaking.

I hope my directions were clear enough.  The students really get into this activity.  I found that even the slow learners participate well.  Success.  I just hope they can remember the structure for the next lesson without too much re-explanation.

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Cards with Activites

Making sentence pairs SNAP


This is a sentence building activity where students in a team of 2,3 or 4 race to make as many sentence pairs as they can.  When there are no more combinations they check how many pairs of cards they found.  1 point for every correct pair.

  1. Give 1 set of cards to each team
  2. Teams spread the cards out, face up on their table
  3. When the teacher shouts START or READY? GO! the students race to collect as many pairs of cards as they can find make a correct sentence.
  4. When there are no more combinations, students count how many pairs they managed to collect. 1 point for 1 correct sentence.

Another use for these cards is to play the very well-known SNAP game.

  1. After shuffling the cards, divide them equally between the students, face down.
  2. Starting from the left of the dealer, put the top card face up on the desk. Continue in the same way around the group of students, clockwise.
  3. When the cards make a pair, all students must race to slap all the cards saying “SNAP!” (this means pair)
  4. Only when the student says “SNAP”, he or she can take the cards, if the student doesn’t say “SNAP” when slapping the cards, the other students can steal the cards by slapping that students hand (which is on the cards) saying “SNAP”.
  5. If the sentence is wrong, then all cards go to the student on the right of the s who slapped on an incorrect pair.

My third use for these cards; (this is a variation on the ‘Whispers’ game)

  1. divide the students into teams of up to 8 students
  2. give a set of cards to each team
  3. spread them face down a desk at the front of the class (one desk per team)
  4. tell the students at the back of each team a sentence (from the cards)
  5. ss whisper their sentence down the line as quickly and clearly as they can.
  6. When the whisper comes to the ss at the front of the line that student must run to the front of the class and try to find the correct sentence combinations.
  7. Take note of the teams who finish in places 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc…
  8. When all teams have found 2 cards tell them the correct sentence pair, then give points to the first 3 teams who finish correctly.

Card game. My name is ~ and I’m ~

These set of cards were inspiration from the students interest in the very popular, well-known Mario Kart computer game.

I have used them in all grades in elementary school, simply changing the level of English in each grade.

Cards are perfect as you can use them for the entire lesson, but just changing the game.

For these cards, here is my first use;

  1. split the class into teams of 8 students each.
  2. Have them make a circle
  3. give one card to one student in each team
  4. Using the key phrases “My name is ~.  I’m ~” ss pass the card around the circle, with every s saying the same thing.
  5. When the card has reached the end the students in that team quickly sit down.
  6. The fastest team gains points.
  7. Play 2 or 3 times changing the card each time.

Game 2:

  1. In the same teams students stand in a line
  2. spread all cards out on a table set at the front of the class
  3. give the 1st student in each  team a balloon, which they have to hold between their knees.
  4. You then say the key sentences “my name is ~. I’m ~”
  5. Then the students with balloons have to race to get that card from the table at the front.  When a s has found the card, he/she has to race to the back of the line, still holding the balloon.
  6. If the balloon falls, that s has to return to where he/she started.
  7. If the s makes it to the finishing place, all team members sit down as quick as possible to gain a point.

3rd use:

Interview activity:

  1. Students walk around the class
  2. ss make pairs
  3. ss play Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who starts talking
  4. the winner says what is on the card
  5. the loser then says what’s on his/her card
  6. ss play RPS again.
  7. The loser gives the winner his/her card, then comes to collect a new card from the teacher.

Q & A then Pass that toy. Multiple Relay.

Teaching with limited resource games and activities are invaluable to ESL teachers.    When you are short on time to plan or when you have to come up with a filler to see you through the last five minutes of class, these games are perfect.

First on the list is a conversation relay game suitable for classes of up to 30 students, however it works best in classes of 10 – 15 students.

LEVEL:   starter – lower intermediate .

5 ~ 15 mins

Materials needed:  1 small soft toy per team

Aim:  Asking and answering Q based on any grammar point.  (The example below focuses on plurals)

  • First arrange the students in 3 teams or 5-7 students per team.
  • Give the student at the front of each row a soft toy.

s1 to s2 –  “Do you like tomatoes?” (this s passes the toy to s2)

s2 to s1 – ” Yes I do.”

s2 to s3 – “Do you like hamburgers?”(s2 passes the toy to s3)

s3 to s4 – “No I don’t.”

s4 to s5 – “Do you like pineapple?”

Ok, can you see a pattern forming here?

  • This continues until the last student in each row answers, who then has to call out YOUR name, saying “Susan, here you are” You must only respond when the student calls your name.
  • The s throws the toy to you.
  • You must stand still on a spot at the front of the class, and try to catch the toy from there.
  • Only if you catch the toy, award a point to that team.
  • The student at the back of the row must then run to the front.
  • Pass the toy quickly to the s who is now standing at the front for the game to continue.
  • This is a very repetitive game, which I have found practices the key sentences with success.
  • It’s a fast pace TPR (Total Physical Response) activity, which the ss of all levels respond to very well.

If you have a larger class, but still want to play this game, this is another perfect opportunity to get the JTE involved.

You can use this for elementary through Junior High, simply changing the grammar point or choice of vocabulary.

Variation:

Make this game a little more difficult by telling the students that everyone in the team has to ask a different question.