Teaching English: basic concepts.

 

It´s been a long time since modern languages first entered school curricula in Europe and, fortunately, there has been a deep transformation  of educational systems when it comes to language teaching.  The birth of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) triggered the official  embrace of the Communicative Approach, which stated that students should learn two types of meaning:  notions (concepts) and functions (purposes). When we talk about The Communicative Approach we must necessarily  mention the term communicative competence, developed by Hymes (in oppsition to Chomsky´s linguistic competence), which refers not only to grammar but also to appropiateness in a particuar social setting or context.

In order to be a language teacher there are a few basic concepts we need to be familiar with, several teaching methods and techniques we should be able to apply and some very relevant aspects we need to take into account so as to plan, manage and self-assess our teaching practice.

Here you have a mind map concerning some of those key factors in second language learning.

 

 

 

 

Teaching English

5 simple tips to create a student-centred class

Traditionally, most class time has been spent with the teacher talking (lecturing) and directing all activities while the students just listened and worked individually . However, we now know that  communicate and collaborate are not only important skills in life but, in fact, how learning really occurs. Active learning means students need to debate, discuss, brainstorm or cooperate and, when it comes to foreign language learning, what would be better than actually engage in talking?

How can we implement student- centred teaching?

Let your students get to know each other!

Do not take for granted how a suitable ice-breaker  will help your students to feel at ease later on. According to Krashen´s affective filter hypothesis, (second language) performance is influenced by emotional variables. I´m pretty sure we all agree that when we feel uncomfortable in a group we are unlikely to take part, thus, playing a passive role during the lesson.

I´ve tried many activities to start off a class and “Find someone who” is one of my favourites . It is about the students finding out about each other which  means that, from the very beginning, they learn about the person behind the student. That shared information will create a special bound.

Make it personal:

Knowing our students interests, motivation or background can help us teachers to decide which is the most suitable teaching strategy or how to  relate class content to their lives but, above all, it establishes a necessary connection.Try to find time to talk to your students individually from time to time, ask them and make them feel like they matter to you. I usually  create myself a special template to add all relevant – not academical -information  about every single student: birthday, favourite colours, siblings, likes and dislikes, fears, short and long term goals… anything that makes the student be unique. Invest time on creating an emotional bond. Not only is it benetifial for learners but it will also feed your spirit.

Don´t take classroom desk arrangement for granted:

The way you arrange your desks says a lot about your teaching style. Traditional rows do not favour interaction so choose circles and horseshoes for a better communication among students. This chair arrangement gives the impression of the teacher being within the group and students usually feel more relaxed, concentrate better and feel are treated equally.

Choose pairwork!

Yes, the whole class is a perfect type of grouping but it actually means the teacher is the focus. Try not to overuse this classroom interaction as it limits “Student talking time”. If you think the students might have trouble understanding the procedure of an activity, demonstrate and then let them do the job. Working in pairs or small groups is not only the most frequent and natural interaction students may face in the future out of class but it also encourages interaction and participation since students don´t have the pressure of the whole class observing their perfomance.

Try peer instruction: 

One day, Harvard Professor Eriz Mazur, asked his students to discuss concepts he had just explained and which nobody seemed to have diffculty to understand or questions to set out. Surprisingly, the class erupted in chaos, students started to speak and, after some time, they all seemed to have a better understanding of the said concepts. “That’s the irony of becoming an expert in your field”, Mazur says. “It becomes not easier to teach, it becomes harder to teach because you’re unaware of the conceptual difficulties of a beginning learner.” Let the most advanced learners clarify concepts for you and, when working in pairs, encourage students to help each other. Playing the role of the teacher makes students take centre stage, helps to consolidate knowledge and creates a good team environment.

These are just a few of the most basic tips for making the shift to a more student-centred teaching style but there are tons of different ways for your students to be take the leading role.

What are more ideas that  you would add to the list?

Wrap up your lesson!

Since we have already discussed how important it is for both students and teachers to start off on the right foot (check out Ideas to kick off your lesson), today the post will focus on those last few moments of the lesson, which might turn out to be the most productive of the class period.

Having been students first, we know some language points can get harder to grasp than others and we have also experienced how repetitive  and boring certain structures and routines can be. As teachers, we must be aware of these difficulties and manage to think of practical activities to review the lesson content as well as to check student´s progress and comprehension.

For the last two years, I have been working as a support English teacher for a private institution, working with young learners and teenagers that have trouble understanding how the language works. Above all, I have two main challenges:  pay attention to the huge diverisity among students (different levels, different learning styles, different attitudes, different school books and, therefore, studying different language points, etc.) and, secondly, teach almost on the go, since I have to adapt my lesson to whatever they are doing at school.

Consequently, I have become obsessive about coming out with short, fun and practical activities that require neither previous preparation nor specific materials, engage students and wrap up the lesson.

The following activities may take around 15 minutes (less or more, according to difficulty, rhythm or how much time you decide to devote), adapted to more advanced students and used for any learner.

Guessing games (great for sentence structure and vocabulary practice):

  • “Pass the world“: based on a Spanish TV quiz, this is a great activity  for 8-10 students to revise vocabulary, especially if they  are auditory leaners (Visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner?). The students must guess words- whose definition is read out by the teacher-  that begin with each of the letters of the alphabet. If a student doesn´t know the answer or is not 100% sure, he or she will say “pass the word”. In order to turn the game into a collaborative activity and not an individual competition, I divide students into 2 grupos who have a different set of questions and take turns when one of the groups fails or says “pass the word” (remember to register students´guesses!). Rules can be changed if considered suitable. For example, when a teams says “pass the word”, the opposite team can give it a try or you can also create the same set of questions for both teams and when you read the definition, the first team answering, wins the point, you may decide to set a time limit (which is one of the rules in the original game, in fact), etc.
  • Taboo: write on 10-20 cards words you want your students to revise. Cards have the word on top of the card and the taboo words listed below it.  The class is divided up into two teams, cards are place on the table and one team selects a person in their group to be the clue-giver. He or she takes the card and must get their team to say the word without using one of the taboo words. If a taboo word is used then it´s the turn of  the opposite team. You can set a time limit or just let students try until they decide to give in. I change the rules depending on the group necessities (for example: after they guess the word, they have to use it in a sentence, make a question, find a synonym, students make the oppopsite team´s card,  etc). Check out this video to see how you shouldn´t and should play the game: Taboo dos & donts.
  • “Password”:  for this game, students have to guess words (the “passwords”) but in a different way. How? Students are put into two teams. The word to be conveyed is given to one player on each team who must give one-word clues from which team members attemp to guess (you can set a time limit or a specific number of clues). If they fail to guess, it´s the opposing team turn. This is an awesome exercise for language learning since it allows the learner to quickly pick up foreign words by association. Check out this video about Playing Password on TV.
  • “Yes/no game”: write on a piece of paper an everyday item, job, hobby or routine. Students must ask yes/no questions to guess (write on the board all the possible options so there are not too many possibilites and the game doesn´t last for too long). In order to make your lesson student-centred, the student who guesses chooses next.

Pronunciation/ grammar practice games:

  • Battle ship: remember this game? I first came across with this wonderful idea after checking brillian sites such as  EFL pronunciation and British Council resources. Ever since, I have practiced mispronounced words, words that are usually confused, common and useful collocations, question structure, etc. If you are not sure about the instructions, check out the rules here. Instead of calling letter-number as in the traditional game, students call words or ask questions replacing letter and numbers with a noun-noun, subject-verb or subject-adjective combination respectively (Have you got I.T. on Monday? Does your sister study French? Are you tired?).  It doesn´t take long to create and adapt the grid (use templates or tell students to draw them themselves)  to whatever suits your lesson and students. My students love it. Give it a go!.
  • Bingo: we have all played bingo once. Instructions are very easy, templates can be easily found or created and, when it comes to foreign language practice, it can serve different purposes. Give every student a bingo card. Write on the board words your students have asked during the lesson or that you have heard them pronounced incorrectly, write vocabulary related to a certain topic or that that you consider the class needs to go over again. Write common collocations, irregular verbs, adjectives + preposition… the options are endless. Students must decide themselves which words to copy on their bingo card and the teacher will then call the words out till one student covers all squares and claims BINGO!

Any other teaching ideas to finish off the lesson?

What makes a good language learner?

How many languages can you speak? When did you start learning? What has been your experience when it comes to English? How long have you been studying it? Did you study it at school? Do you often read, speak or write in English? Do you think you can get yourself across properly?

Provided they have a normal cognitive development, the suitable environment, adecuate acces and exposure to language, meaningful experiences or hours of interaction, every child is a good language learner who can develop their innate learning ability for language acquisition.

However, for adults, when it comes to second language acquisition, there are various theories which try to account for the ability we all have to learn, as well as to analyze how immensely relevant individual differences can be. We have all been in a class where some students made  significant progress while others struggled and had a hard time keeping up with others.

So…What makes a good language learner?

Here, some of the individual differences that can contribute to successful language learning:

Personality: some personality traits can greatly help SLL: being extrovert, communicative, self-confident, talkative or responsible. We have all met students who constantly tried to speak regardless of their mistakes. When we learn by doing we make the most of the lesson so make sure you spend in-class time creating the write atmosphere so that students can feel comfortable and do their best! Chech out these Ideas to kick off your lesson!

Attitude & motivation: Having a positive attitude towards the language (not being forced to learn or being willing to do it) and feeling motivated to learn, either because there are certain communicative needs, interest in the culture, professional ambitions or a relationship with speakers of the language, are key factors.

All students are motivated in one way or another. As teachers, we must try to enhance learner´s motivation towards our subjects  (a post on how to do so will be coming soon) since the benefits are worthy of consideration: directs behaviour, improves general performance and how information is processed, increases student effort, etc.

Linguistic intelligence: linguistic intelligence is one of eight intelligences introduced by Howard Gardner, in 1983. Linguistic intelligent  students are able to easily pick up on other languages in general, identify sounds better, understand grammatical rules, remember new words or use language successfully to get themselves acrros, regardless of whether in written or spoken form.

Learning style & expectations: are you a visual, kenaesthetic or aural learner? Every person processes, absorbs, retains or studies in a different way. Learners should be, then, encouraged to use all possible resources and means available since we apply all tree preferences to receive and learn new information and experiences (although one of them is usually dominant). On the other hand, previous learning experiences, teaching styles or methodological approaches have caused students to have a specific (not often shared) idea of what or how they should be instructed about: what is the best language teaching method? 

Can you name more characteristicis of a good language leaner?

We learn by teaching.

Ideas to kick off your lesson

A warm up session is not what teachers usually spend more time on. We´ve become obsessed with thorough planning when it comes to the grammar point or  language practice and forgot about how essential are the first few minutes of the lesson. In fact, an effective warm up will get students communicating (and thinking in English!) and increase student talking time.

This type of exercise has plenty of advantages: it helps students to focus on the class and eases them into the lesson,  it can be used to revise what has been previously seen in class, it is  way of introducing  what students will be learning, sets the tone, raises energy levels and creates a positive atmosphere!

If you are running out of warm ups to kick off the class, Voilà some ideas which might turn handy for a general English class and require no preparation. Adapt them according to the level of your class and try not to spend more than 10 minutes on them. Some of these exercises can be used both for writing and speaking practice.

 

Individually:

To practice adjectives, ask students to:

  • say the opposite of….
  • say examples of things that are…(-ing adjectives).
  • say what makes them feel (-ed adjectives).
  • describe a certain film / book / public figure / etc. in 2 words.

To practice verb tenses, ask students to tell you one of these:

  • Something they never do on Sundays
  • Something they have always loved to do but still have not find the time for.
  • Something they have not done this week yet but they will.
  • Something they did last week but didn´t tell anyone.
  • What they had for lunch yesterday.
  • Something they were doing from 15 to 21 two days ago.
  • What they were wearing yesterday.
  • Something they said they would do last year and they did it.
  • Something they are currently doing.
  • Something they might do the next month.
  • Something they will definitely do this year.
  • Something they used to do as a child and still do now.
  • Something they wish they had done yesterday.

In pairs:

  • Write on a card two things which can be compared. Allow 1 minute for students to make as many comparisons as possible. Share with the class.
  • Allow 3 minutes and tell students they have to make up and present 4 current events pretending to be news readers.
  • Give every pair a hilarious headline they have to make up information about.
  • Every pair is given a card with a noun they have to find adjectives for. Then, share with the class.
  • Give every pair a photograph of a person (the similar the look, the better). One of them must describe it, the other person listens. After a couple of minutes, collect the photographs and lay them over the table. Those who were listening must find the picture of the description they heard. The first person to find it wins.

In small groups:

  • Write a list of sentences and ask students to replace verbs with phrasal verbs (remember to use different verb tenses so students have to be aware of the changes).
  • Write a list of collocations and tell the students to add an adverb of manner (or you call the adverb and they suggest a suitable collocation).
  • Write a list of wrong sentences and ask students to correct them (try to include common mistakes from your students).
  • Write a list of  answers students have to find a suitable question for (in order to practice sentence structure and auxiliary verbs).
  • Write a list of sentences in your mother tongue (if shared with the class) and let students time to translate them into English.
  • Write a list of words you have been practising in class and ask students to use them in a sentence.

 

And remember:

We never get a second chance to make a first impression

Odd one out! (or how to spark student creativity)

Learning English vocabulary  (which means learning how  words are spelt and pronounced) and use it effectively has become a tedious, repetitive job for language learners who, erroneously, are proned to memorize word lists as a learning strategy.

Knowing a word implies knowing its grammatical behaviour, common collocations, its relation with other words or its semantic field. Therefore, the teaching of new words requires certain tecniques and strategies so that learners can better acquire new vocabulary. One of them is to select vocabulary from semantic sets, organized according to sense relations: synonyms, opposites, things they have in common, etc.

Have you ever played Odd one out? I´m sure you have but, just in case, here are the (simple) instructions: pick the one which doesn´t belong from a given series of words.

This is a great activity to get your class thinking while you revise vocabulary in a different way. I love it and try to use it as a warmup every now and then.

Since this game aims at fostering students´ divergent thinking, learners must know there is no right or wrong answer [I have made some lists of words in which any of them can be the odd one out depending on the logic used to work it out] so encourage them to reflect on why they choose a certain word as the odd one out.

Oddoneout_01

Oddoneout_02

Oddoneout_03

What is the best language teaching method?

Grammar-translation method,  the Direct Method, The Silent Way, Total Physical Response, Suggestopedia… Does it ring a bell?

These are all some of the most well-known methods which have been used throughout history to  teach English as a second language. The teaching of second languages has been subject to different needs and purposes (commercial or diplomatic relationships, certain professions, pure linguistic interest or in order to live in another country)  which have givenroom to different trends on how to teach and learn languages. Today, most teachers claim to have adopted any of the different methodologies classified under the so-called Communicative Approach, but how did the aforementioned methods contribute to the teaching of English as a second language? what features can be learnt and brought to our classes?

  1. Grammar-translation method: a method initially designed to learn classical languages, it prioritizes translation, learning lists of vocabulary by heart and mastering grammar rules. Only written skills  were practised (the class was taught in the mother tongue of both teacher and students).   Why not using important literary texts and teach our students how to translate? Translating is a way of learning about and presenting another culture. Not only classical texts can be used in the classroom but also film scripts (http://www.imsdb.com/), memes (http://9gag.com/) or a piece of news (http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/).
  2. Audio- aural Method:  this method came along in the XX century,  together with the new behaviourist theories on language acquisition, which explained learning by means of imitation, practice, reinforcement and habit formation.The principles of this theory were used to design this teaching method, which encourages students to “listen and repeat” in order to train native pronunciation and certain structures or sentences. Critized for creating robot-like learners who did not understand how the language really worked or communicate further, this method was widely used for decades. Routines are fixed expressions, frequent in spoken language (exclamations, swear words, greatings or polite responses) and  based on cultural conventions which means students must learn them by heart. These expressions are very important for language acquisition since they make it easier for learners to participate in a conversation so devote some time of your teaching  to “audio-aurally” explained how to use this  standard phrases.
  3. Total Physical Response:  TPR is based on language learning acquisition in very young children. In order to learn, students perform physical actions after a teacher´s instructions since, according to this method, this technique reinforces comprehension and enhances memory. The class focuses on listening and speaking skills first, since only L2 is spoken. Although this method can be suitable for children, it is difficult to apply with adults as the class would turn repetitious after some minutes of obeying the teacher´s rules. Use TPR at the beginning of the class as a warmup and adapt orders to students´level or age, making some room for creativity  by giving them a role according to which they must perform the teacher´s orders (Example: pretend that you are…; imagine that you have just seen /heard  a..). Let the orders (and fun) begin!
  4. Suggestopedia:  Suggestopedia stressed the importance of a suitable state for learning  as a powerful technique aiming at making learners more receptive and, thus, able to internalize the content unconsciously. The atmosphere (comfortable seats, relaxing music, small groups), is the key to this method which initially consisted on dialogues, vocabulary lists and grammatical points read aloud to the students. Have you ever thought about how your furniture is arranged? Do you think your students are comfortably seated in class? Do you ever use background music? Classroom space and decoration may facilitate or hamper students´learning so take your time to think how your classroom could be modified in order to fit your teaching style and purpose and your students´age or needs. Some quiet, relaxing music is also a very good idea when students are working in groups in a collaborative task.
  5. The Silent Way The Silent Way is a method which aims at making students responsible of their own learning  by discovering through physical objects, rather than by repeating. The teacher must, then, create situations in which words or structures are practiced in controlled and artificial contexts. In addition, teachers should be as silent as possible so learners produce as much language as possible As teachers, we should never forget our students are the protagonists of the lesson.  There are some techniques to help students get more involved in speaking, such as slowing speech, audio-visual aids, paraprhasing, modeling or simply talk about topics they know and can talk about. From The Silent Way we can learn that we must let our students talk as much as possible since a lesson which follows a communicative methodology has to present content, provide controlled practice and offer free practice.

Which method should I employ in my classroom? Nowadays, the key is in understanding and responding in communication, correctness has been replaced by appropiateness and real-life, meaningful situations should be used in the classroom through cooperative learning and gamification. However, every teacher must bear in mind some factors which influence second language learning such as age, attitude, learning style or students´needs and purposes. All these and other factors will have to be taken into account for a better teaching practice.

Top reads on creativity.

I try to devote some time to read about creativity, get inspired, be happier. Here you have some worthwhile reading I came across.

Get inspired!

  • 5 habits that will help spark the best ideas you´ve ever had

http://bit.ly/1DcTV6V

I remember a day I had to teach numbers (1-100) to a boy with ants in his pants. I had no idea how to do it in a different kinesthetic way and, voilà! Minutes before he came in I came up with an idea: I hid 1oo cards with numbers from 1 to 100 on them and I made a poster with the same numbers written on it. He had to look around my living room 100 cards and match them with the written numbers on the poster. He loved it! The frenzy state helped!

Yes. I have learnt that “unproductive” moments of our everyday lives actually lead us to better ideas. May your dopamine be released!

Totally agree with writing down ideas at any time. I always carry a pen with me and take notes: random ideas can be traslated into teaching strategies.

  • Creativity as a search of meaning

http://bit.ly/1umkIXX

I simply loved coming across this article about creativity being an inherent state. Creative people are in “a constant state of wondering why, asking what if, and looking for meaning. When meaning isn’t apparent, they have to find a way to create it. Creators are meaning makers.”

I personally decided to spend time on my own blog after a while of not feeling my job was as meaningful as I thought it would be.

  • Cultivate the soil of your creative brain

http://bit.ly/1EsitIk

A clear though deliciously beautiful metaphor of creativity and how your brain “can only produce what we put into it”. Plan the seed in your soil, fertilize your brain, let it rain, be creative!

  • Capture the learning: crafting the maker mindset

http://bit.ly/1rSNAv7

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

There is no doubt that we learn by doing. Check out this article for advice on how to plan a lesson (content, skills, restrictions) which involves students and helps them learn in a different way.

  • 10 stats on creativity that will change the way you think about content

http://bit.ly/15zJqhK

Is it all about being productive? looking for information and storing data? working faster? Creativity is widely valued by eveyrone: employers, employees, consumers or CEOS.

  • Why your brain needs more downtime

http://bit.ly/Rtkf9h

 A survey of 1,700 white collar workers in the U.S., China, South Africa, the U.K. and Australia revealed that on average employees spend more than half their workdays receiving and managing information rather than using it to do their jobs

I used to arrive earlier than anyone at work to brownse the Internet looking for the best activities and games to teach the content I had planned to explain and practice. It took me a long time to realize that, sometimes,  it is not about how much time we spend looking for information but about having a clear idea of what we need and time to think about how to do it.

 Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets.

Stop feeling guilty about not working late, overtime, at the weekends or on holidays. Happy employees mean better results. Leave some room for creativiy in you lifestyle.

Phonetics memory

Ever since the Communicative Approach replaced other grammar- based methods, teachers have known that, in order to learn a language sucessfully, students need to learn, among other aspects of any language, pronunciation.  For many English learners (even for many native speakers!), English spelling can get very tricky and teachers sometimes find it complicated to introduce phonetics in class in an enternatining way.

Picture-word memory games have been widely used in second language classes so I thought, why not creating a phonetics memory game instead of the traditional one? Opposite adjectives, everyday activities, food, common mispronounced words, etc.

Anything can be made into a phonetics game for your students to learn how to pronounce properly!

Here are some ideas that can be used as warmups or last-minute activities. They really work!

  1.  Start off the lesson by writing two columns of random words which rhyme so students have to match them.
  2. Write phonetic symbols on 4-5 cards.Place them face down and let your students take one and say as many words as possible containing that sound.
  3. Give students a short text (two or three sentences) of phonetic symbols and let them try to translate it into words.
  4. Make a list of words your students mispronounce, write them on the board and make your students read them at the beginning and at the end of the lesson.
  5. Make a list of words your students probably don´t know. In pairs or small groups, they have to bet on those words they think they will be able to pronounce properly. Phonetics auction!

And the phonetics memory game!

Have fun!

Personality adjectives= personalityadj_phoneticsmemory

Games to foster linguistic intelligence

I am sure you have heard about Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory , which was first published in 1983 in his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences and quickly became a tool for education, teaching and training communities.

Traditionally, schools have considered and applied a general method of teaching for everyone, classifying students according to IQ test  in which maths and verbal skills prevail and  one-off  individual exams measured learning. The Theory of Multiple Intelligences aims at identifying every child´s gift instead of focusing on problems and defends that we have multiple intelligences, all of them equally important, which should be fostered in class through collaborative learning and creativity, two decisive factors in today´s society.

 

Check out this video about Howard Gardner´s theory explained by himself

 

Today, we will focus on the linguistic intelligence, which involves sensitivity to spoken and written language, the ability to learn languages, and the capacity to use language to accomplish certain goals.

These games are ideas to finish up a lesson in a fun way, without hardly any preparation and in order to cultivate linguistic intelligence. I was inspired by Juegos para estimular las inteligencias múltiples, by Celso Antunes, from where these activities have been adapted.

 

1.Forbidden words:

I´m sure you have heard about (and play) Taboo, haven´ t you? Well, this game is also aimed at improving students´ oral fluency and it greatly helps developing vocabulary, it needs no preparation and can last as long as you want!

 

How to play?

  •  Choose a topic if there is a vocabulary unit you want to practice. Write it on the board together with the forbidden words (choose them yourself depending on what you need to practice)
  • Students have to discuss about a topic but they mustn´ t use the forbidden words!
  • Make sure they use expressions for agreeing, disagreeing and interrupting  (What’s your idea? What are your thoughts on all of this? How do you feel about that? Can I add something here? Is it okay if I jump in for a second? ) so you practice turn taking!

What else?

  • Students can be split into teams, prepare the other team´ s topics and forbidden words.
  • Prepare a pile of cards with random words. Put them upside-down and tell your students that they have to take cards as they talk and use these words!
  • Creativenglishly: come up with imaginary, absurb, crazy topics (problems that never occured, current events that are not happening, predictions that have never been said, etc) and make your students talk about as if they knew and had an opinion about it).

 

2. Can´ t say NO!

This activiy can be used to stimulate students´ imagination and think-outside-the-box-skills!

Instructions:

  • Students are split into teams.
  • Students prepare a list of yes/no questions (encourage your students to think creativenglishly!) they will ask to the other team.
  • Give each team 5-10 cards where students must write the questions.
  • Each team puts its cards on a pile.
  • In turns, one member of every team takes a card from the other team and must answer the questions on it.
  • Students can´ t say the word “no”!

Want some other ideas?:

Make this game a written activity if you think your students´ level is too low for the oral challenge or if you prefer to practice writing skills

  • Prepare yourself some questions related to the topic you are learning in class.
  • Prepare a pile of cards with random words. Put them upside-down and tell your students that they have to take cards as they answer and use these words!
  • Creativenglishly: suggest students to use imaginary verbs in the questions / answers.

 

 3. Word-dice

 Practise vocabulary and verbal fluency. You ´ll need a dice and an hourglass.

How to play:

  • Give each number on the dice a language point you want your students to revise (irregular verbs, adjectives for personality, adverbs,etc.) and put them into teams.
  • In turns, each team will have to throw the dice, turn the hourglass and say as many words as possible from the number-category which is uppermost when the dice comes to rest.

Want to make any harder?

  • Each teams plays a round. Next, tell them they have to use as many words as possible in a 100-word text
  • Each teams plays a round. Next, the members of the team have to improve a conversation using as many words as possible from those mentioned before (use the hourglass!)
  • Creativenglishly: play the game “the other way round”.
  1. One team throws the dice.
  2. Any member of the team turns the hourglass and start saying as many words as possible from the number-category on the dice.
  3. Once the time is up, the other team has the same time limit to try to remember the words that the first team said! With the new instructions, the wining team will be that which can recall the words (in any order) said by the opposite team.