Category Archives: Activities

The Envelope Game – Topic – Jobs

Preparation: for this task you need an envelope for each student and small pieces of paper

Procedure: 

Brainstorm jobs that the students know or have heard of.  Try to get as many as possible written up on the board.  Encourage the students to come up with unusual examples.

Distribute the envelopes and the pieces of paper and ask the students to write their name on the envelope.  They then pass the envelope to the person on their right.

Each learner thinks about the ideal job for the person named on the envelope they have received, based on what they know about the person or what they feel they would be good at doing.  They write it on a piece of paper, put it into the envelope and pass it on to the next person.

The next person also decides which job would be good for the person whose envelope they have received – without looking inside – and writes the job on a piece of paper, adding it to the first one.

Continue in this way till the envelopes return to their original owners. (If the class is large you can divide students into two groups).

The owners of the envelopes then open them and look at the suggested jobs.  They categorise them into groups: jobs they would like to have, jobs they might like to try and jobs they wouldn’t want to do.

The students all tell the class which jobs were suggested for them, and which ones they would like or wouldn’t like to do.  They can also be encouraged to give reasons and also ask other students to offer reasons for their suggestions.

Finally, you can ask the students to write about their ideal job: why would they like that job? Why do they think they would be good at it? 

Taken from: ELT Professional (May 2013) original idea created by Majorie Rosenberg

Cool Speech is cool

In my continuing teacher development I have tried, not always successfully, to become familiar with the myriad of online applications promoting SLA from interactive self access sites to the endless variety of websites that we can access for ideas.  I have always been a bit wary of technology in the classroom (always putting myself firmly in the land of the luddites).  However, I am determined not to be defeated by progress and after attending an IATEFL PronSig event came across a great IPAD app that I have used lots of times.  The app is called ‘Cool Speech’ and was created by Richard Cauldwell.   As it is an IPAD app (and I have no idea how I could link this up to an IWB for example) I have only used it in one-to-one lessons as the small IPAD screen negates its use in a large classroom. At the conference I attended there was a particular emphasis on receptive pronunciation activities as opposed to productive pronunciation and I think that this app is ideal for providing good examples of authentic speech spoken spontaneously, with good listening exercises for learners of an intermediate level and above.

The last time I used this app in a lesson was with a French student of B2 level who said that wanted to practise his pronunciation. As he often misunderstood me (as he was unfamiliar with my northern accent) I thought that he would also benefit from a couple of lessons using the Cool Speech App as there is also an emphasis on comprehension. The student had the option of choosing a character who he wanted to listen to (there are 8 options) and then he listened to that character responding briefly to a question.  In itself this activity is no different to any listening activity available on a CD or tape, however the follow up tasks in which the learner can ‘explore’ each sentence is, I think quite unique. For example,  the character’s spoken response is then broken down into chunks providing tasks on different parts of the speech ie: word stress, prominent and non-prominent syllables, rthythm and intonation etc. It explores the elements of speech in more detail than any other listening activity that I have done in the past and gives the learner the opportunity to really listen to, and practise different components of the sentence at a comfortable speed. (The sentences in the listening tasks can be slowed down or speeded up by the learner). There is also a section on the individual vowel and consonant sounds within a sentence that can be repeated as many times as required by the learner. I think that the French learner I used this app with really enjoyed the exercises on the app and found them quite challenging even though he considered himself a competent speaker. Finally, another advantage of this app is that it can be used autonomously by the learner for further practice outside of the classroom.

Reflection app for PC : Show your iPad on your IWB screen

 

 

Shark Attack

This is a nice activity that I  picked up from fellow student T….from her edublog ‘Reflections from the whiteboard’, thank you T.

 Firstly, ask students to draw the picture below – you could do this as a picture dictation, or project the picture and ask them to copy it.  You can see me in the picture too (I’m eating an ice cream!).
Students also draw themselves in the picture and then do a mingle activity to add more detail to their picture.  For lower levels, this could be, “What are you doing?”  or for higher levels, “What were you doing when the shark attacked?”  Students draw their classmates onto the picture and can then compare drawings, write a news report or report back to the class in whole group feedback.
 
This is a highly adaptable activity as by changing the original picture, you could use it for a variety of different topics and grammar points, e.g…
Students also draw themselves in the picture and then do a mingle activity to add more detail to their picture.  For lower levels, this could be, “What are you doing?”  or for higher levels, “What were you doing when the shark attacked?”  Students draw their classmates onto the picture and can then compare drawings, write a news report or report back to the class in whole group feedback.
 
This is a highly adaptable activity as by changing the original picture, you could use it for a variety of different topics and grammar points, e.g…
  • Students draw the playground and pictures of what they can do (What can you do?  I can play tennis.)
  • Students drawa house and after the mingle activity, the teacher could say that someone was murdered in the living room, leading to modals of speculation (It can’t have been Tom – he was playing football in the garden.)
  • Studentscould draw an object in a classroom to practise prepositions (The ruler is under the chair.)
  • And many more…

Cutting down Texts

Forming new grammatical sentences by eliminating words or phrases from the original:

Procedure: Take a short text of up to about 30 words (it can be from your coursebook), and write it up on the board. Students suggest any section of one, two or three words that can be cut out, while still leaving a grammatically acceptable – though possibly silly sounding – text.  Sections are eliminated as long as it’s possible to do so.

For example:

The princess was awakened by the kiss of a handsome prince

The princess was awakened by the kiss of a prince

The princess was awakened by a prince

The princess was awakened

The princess

Princess!

Variation: The students then try to reconstruct the original text.

Penny Ur – 5 minute activities