Have you ever watched Mad Lib Theatre?
Fancy trying it with your students? It’s pretty easy. Google it or visit this page for scripts of some popular stories. Get students to fill in the missing words and then act out the scene.
Best not rehearsed and with exaggerated acting 🙂
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
This post originally comes from my blog where you can find more ideas on how to use the material presented below. Here is a fragment taken from the post.
Level: B1-B2 / Age: teens, adults / Time: 20 mins
This material works very well with groups preparing for PET or FCE exams where students are assessed on using turn taking language as well as for discussions on general courses.
- Revise or pre-teach phrases for agreeing, disagreeing, expressing and asking for opinion. I normally project a slide with a collection of expressions and check with the students the meaning of unfamiliar phrases. You may also first practise them with your students using Quizlet.
- Go through the exam task (PET speaking part 2, FCE speaking part 3) and make sure students know what to do. Alternatively, you could have a list of questions/topic for students to discuss (I would give them one topic at a time).
- Put students into pairs or threes. Give each team a set of cards with the turn taking expressions written on the them (see the pdf file below), which they then spread face up on their table.
- Set a 3min limit for the discussion. Tell students to discuss the topic using the expressions on the cards. Every time they use one of the expressions they take away the card and keep it. The object of the game is to collect as many cards as possible in one round. (Some useful rules are: you cannot use two or more expressions one after the other, but you can use up to 3 expressions in one turn.)
- In the next rounds students continue collecting cards without returning them to the table. They keep playing until they use up all the cards (in this way you will ensure they have practised using all the expressions).
For more games with the turn taking cards and downloadable material visit my blog
by Kasia Kępka