Level: B2 upwards / Age: teenagers and adults
Let’s get creative! What would you do with the word formation cards posted below? How would you use them to practise language? Would you give students the cards or display them? What game would you play?
Here are my two ideas:
- Hot potato – Put the cards on the table face down. A student picks up a card with a suffix or a prefix. Students take turns to say a word including the suffix/prefix. To add an element of competition use an interval timer that generates various intervals (example). You can play it in teams or as a whole class.
- Make up a story – Ask students to tell a story. First brainstorm characters / places / problems that will have to be included in the story and put them on the board. Start the story by picking up a card and making a sentence and using the suffix/prefix from the card. Nominate the student who has to continue the story. If a card is used correctly the student gets to keep it as their point. If they cannot think of a word they must put away the card and they do not get a point for their sentence. Set a time limit or a card limit for the activity.
- ‘Jeopardy’ – Put students in teams. Stick the cards on the board in three columns according to their category. A team chooses a category and the number of points. Once the card is revealed they must say 3 words that contain the suffix/prefix. If they answer correctly they are awarded the points. If not, that card cannot be used any more.
What are your ideas? Please write in the comments below.
word formation cards
This is a nice communication activity from Keep Talking that can be done at any time of the academic year. There are several ways of doing it, but I tried the following procedure last week and it worked very well.
Level: B1/B2 Age: Teens/Adults Time: 15 to 30 minutes
1 Print/ Photocopy the activity sheet and give one to each student.
2 Tell the students to read all 20 sentences, choose 10 and complete them with something true/interesting.
3 When everyone has finished, ask one student to read out his/her completed answer to one sentence.
4 Then, looking at the rest of the class, he/she says, “How about you?”
5 Other students who have completed the same sentence read out their answers and the class votes for the ‘best’ one.
6 Continue until all the finished sentences have been heard and voted on.
This is a similar but shorter activity, also from Keep Talking.
Enjoy the activities!
by Judy Graham-Scott
Now is the time! To teach our students more than we normally expect them to know how to say. There is no reason why we shouldn’t raise the game for them. And best of all, they will appreciate it 🙂
I have noticed that my A2 students stick to the same safe expressions they learnt at A1 level and almost never risk saying something they formulated in their heads and cannot translate. They shouldn’t have to. We should provide some options for them to choose from and let them express themselves more precisely and naturally. The most common area, where this seems to be the case, is expressing opinion/ likes/ dislikes/ preferences.
Why not give our students a repertoire of expressions to learn now and see how they become more confident in using this language throughout the year? Below you will find a file with my choice of ‘opinion’ language. Feel free to download and adapt to your students’ needs.
- Select the language you want your students to use more freely, fluently and naturally.
- ‘Train’ them to use it in many different activities.
- Have visual aids they/you can always refer to when it’s needed (e.g. posters).
- Incorporate activities that involve the use of this particular language in each class for a few weeks.
- Add new expressions to the repertoire as required.
You can also play games using the language cards, e.g.:
- Have students make spidergrams on the board with a few categories (e.g. sports, food, TV programmes).
- Organise the cards into 3 types of answer: affirmative, undecided, negative (it helps if they are printed on different colour paper). On the table spread the reaction cards face down and stick the questions you want them to practise on the board.
- Students work in pairs. They take turns to ask their partner a question using the question prompt and an idea from the spidergrams. The other student decides what type of answers they want to give, pick a card from that group, flip it and answer with the expression on the card.
To help students memorize the new language you could play ‘disappearing sentences’ on the board (write a few expressions in a list, ask SS to close their eyes, wipe off a few words, ask SS to take turns and say what the missing words are).
It’s important to recycle new language in other activities, so make sure you keep it on the walls in the classroom and encourage students to use it when appropriate.
Below is a PDF file with the language. You can also find it in the Chelsea Online Resources folder on our Google Drive.
by Kasia Kepka
Got one or two students showing up to classes this week? Feeling a bit awkward about it? Here’s a ready-made activity you can use last-minute.
Following Ceri Jones’ interesting workshop we had last month on looking back I suggest doing some kind of questionnaire with your students to see how they feel about their English and their progress. You can find out interesting things about them and how they see their learning. No judgement, their evaluation can be completely different from the teacher’s – that’s why it’s often surprising and interesting to get to know their opinion. You can also find out where you could have pushed them a bit more and think about what to change in the future.
I did a few versions of this questionnaire with both my adults and teenagers (14-year-olds). It takes up about 20 minutes, depending on where the discussion takes you. I strongly suggest thinking beforehand about some tips for students on how to learn more effectively and what they can do at home (whether they will use your ideas is not in our power, but they will have been advised at least).
The procedure is very straightforward. Use the example to explain how they are supposed to complete the chart. Please emphasize that it’s the progress they are evaluating not their level (this means they need to think if their level in different skills and areas has improved over the year; don’t take it personally if it they feel it hasn’t – progress is rarely even and may depend on many factors). Give them some time to answer the questions. It’s essential that they tell you first how they are going to work on their English before you give them your suggestions. You can also have the group brainstorm without your help for a while and then join them in the discussion.
Feel free to adapt the questionnaire to your students’ needs.
Let me know how it went! And share your own questionnaires!
by Kasia Kepka
self-evaluation bar chart adults
I don’t think it needs any explanations 🙂 Just watch, enjoy and play!
P.S. good to revise question formation first 😉 Oh, and maybe voice recording the students playing the game could be fun!
by Kasia Kepka
I have recently come across a collection of reading activities I put together a few years ago and I thought I would share it here, hoping you will find them useful for your classes.
There are a few ideas on how to make reading a bit more exciting for the students and change the standard way of doing a reading class. You will find some ideas on how to approach exam reading tasks too. All of the activities can be successfully carried out in any group, both with adults and younger learners.
If you try any of them out or you have done before, or if you would like to share your own idea for a reading task please leave a comment below.
Here is the file:
Reading – alternative teachniques
by Kasia Kępka
songs by Gabriel Finn and class Personalised compositions are great for bringing to life books that perhaps don’t have the kind of song that reinforces the vocabulary that you want to teach.
Here is an example of two such compositions from my youtube site.