3 Şubat 2014 Pazartesi

Öğrencileriniz İngilizce Konuşması İçin Sınıf İçi Aktivite Örnekleri


Getting the whole class talking

Clare Lavery, British Council

The following activities are designed to get everyone talking. They can be used with all levels because the language required to communicate is determined by the students. Remember to set up and demonstrate these activities carefully before letting the class go ahead.
Jigsaw puzzle challenge
  • Take 3-4 large pictures/photos and stick them on card. Pictures can come from Sunday supplements, travel brochures, calendars, magazine adverts etc. Pictures specific to students’ interests will motivate them e.g. film stills, cartoons, news stories, famous paintings, famous people.
  • Draw puzzle shapes on the back of each picture (4-5 shapes) and cut out the picture pieces.
  • Give each student in the class a jigsaw piece. They must not show their piece to anyone.
  • Students then mingle and question each other about what is on their puzzle piece to try and find people with pieces of the same jigsaw.
  • The object of the game is to find all pieces and put together the jigsaw. The first complete picture puzzle wins.

    Something in common or 'give me five'
  • Explain that we can all find something in common with those around us. The object of this game is to discover as many things you have in common with fellow students. You can limit this to 5 things in common.
  • Brainstorm examples with the whole class, noting suggestions, e.g.
    • We both have long-haired cats
    • they both went to see Robbie Williams in concert
    • We all like Harry Potter
    • We both have a younger sister called Georgia
    • Our favourite colour is green
    • Our families go to the same supermarket, church, club, holiday place
    • We both believe in love at first sight, ghosts, god.
    • Give students a time limit to mingle and find out as many things they have in common. The one who finds the most is the winner.
    • Alternatively ask them to find five things and the first person to shout 'five' is the winner.
Create a biography
  • Take a biography of a famous person and write each detail on strips of paper.
  • Keep the identity secret so they have to guess, if appropriate.
  • Draw a table on the board for students to copy and make notes e.g. place of birth, early years, famous for..
  • Give out the strips (split the class in two if large and give out 2 sets)
  • Students mingle and ask each other questions until they have as many details as possible about the person.
  • Take away the strips and put students in pairs or small groups to use their table of notes to write the biography.
These activity ideas originally appeared on the British Council Language Assistant website


Improving discussion lessons
Clare Lavery, British Council
Have you ever felt you were asking all the questions about students’ opinions? Do you find you are doing more talking in a discussion than your class? Here are some tips to
  • shift the task focus from you talking to them (they have to talk to each other)
  • give them control of their own discussion
  • give them practice in formulating their opinions within a controlled framework.
Discussion envelopes
  • Make a list of issues or topics which your students might find interesting. Think of seven or eight statements on each issue which represent typical and widely opposing comments on the topic. For example:
    • Topic: Are boys and girls the same?
      • Girls naturally want to play with dolls
      • Boys are usually better at Science subjects than girls.
  • Photocopy each list of statements on different topics and put them in 3-4 envelopes.
  • Divide the class into small groups. Tell them the title of each topic.
  • Each group selects an envelope. They work through the topic in their group, taking turns to read aloud the statements found in the envelope and inviting comment and opinions.
  • You can ask each group to record their reactions to the issues for feedback at the end of the session.
  • Re-use the envelopes in another lesson. Each group chooses a new topic and envelope.
Listen and react
  • Put students in small groups of 3 all facing each other.
  • Act as conductor by reading aloud a statement on a list, one at a time.
  • After each statement students have one minute to react in their group to what they have heard, disagree, agree, comment etc.
  • Stop them talking after a minute (with gong, whistle, clap) and read the next statement on your list.
  • Students hear you but must look at each other and tell each other what they think!
Read and modify
  • Give a list of statements on a set topic to each group in the class
  • Students must work through the statements and modify them to reflect their views as a group. This involves discussion on how they will re word the sentence or add a further clause to justify their position. For example:
    • Topic: The school year
      • Statement: School holidays are too long
      • Students’ modified sentence: We think school holidays are not long enough
  • Use the feedback session at the end of the lesson to hear some of the “new” statements that each group has created.
These activity ideas originally appeared on the British Council Language Assistant website

Getting teenagers to talk

Clare Lavery, British Council
Here are some tips and three discussion ideas, all aimed at getting teenagers to speak.
  • Keep the conversation peer centred: plenty of pair or small group collaboration.
  • Avoid asking discussion questions around the class: this puts them in the spotlight and causes potential embarrassment in front of friends. You also risk dominating the talk.
  • Give them a concrete list of statements or opinions: help them to choose their own ideas. Don’t expect them to have fully formed opinions on all things teenage!
  • Keep to fairly short discussion activities (15 minutes): until you know what they like and they feel relaxed enough with you to talk freely.
  • Feedback on errors after speaking should be general: try to avoid drawing attention to individual students’ errors or they will be reluctant to speak next time.
Discussion activities
Here are some stimulating discussion topics which have worked well with teenagers. The main features of these topics are that they
a) draw on students’ personal experience
b) ask students to reflect on their own culture and attitudes
c) give students a concrete decision to make with their peers.
Teenage time capsule
Each group of students is going to bury a box in the ground for future generations to find. This box will contain 5 photos (or objects) which will tell young people in the future about life at the start of the third millennium in their country and/or school.
Students must choose their objects/photos together and each member of the group describes it to the rest of the class or another group. Explain why it is important and what it tells of life today.

Let the punishment fit the crime
Prepare a short description on cards (or board) of all the possible punishments in a UK school e.g. writing lines, detention, exclusion and ask students in pairs or groups to add anymore that are used in their own country.
Then give each group a list of wrong doings (5 or 6) and ask them to order each act according to how bad they think it is e.g. swearing at a teacher, not completing homework for 3 weeks running, fighting in the corridor, smoking in the toilet. Now each group can also discuss which type of punishment might suit the crime!
This generates lots of discussion on what exactly constitutes unacceptable behaviour but also what the students and their schools think is acceptable punishment.

The 10 day trip
A group of English teenagers are coming to stay in the country or region. They have only got 10 days to find out about your students’ culture and see what is on offer.
Each group of students must plan an itinerary. It does not have to include all the tourist sights, they could go to a concert to hear local music or have a meal with a family or visit a school. Each must agree on the best introduction to their country and region, bearing in mind the age of the visitors.
Stress that students do not have to plan anything they would find boring.
These activity ideas originally appeared on the British Council Language Assistant website

Clare Lavery, British Council
  • How do improvisations work?
    • Role play involves giving students role cards, instructions and time to prepare. Improvisations are more spontaneous. The teacher does not give details or language phrases to use.
    • Improvisations work best if students are given roles and situations and asked to react immediately.
    • Improvisations can be introduced very briefly with a ‘warm up’.
    • Improvisations encourage students to
      • use whatever language they have available to:communicate;
      • develop “thinking on your feet” skills and gain confidence in coping with the unexpected;
      • get practice in instigating communication from nothing;
      • focus on getting the message across rather than on repeating dialogues parrot fashion;
      • use their imagination;
      • imagine themselves using the language in real life situations;
      • be creative with language.
  • Classroom management
    • In a whole class, put students in a circle with an inner circle of students facing them.
    • After each spontaneous dialogue/situation students sitting in the outer circle move one place to find a new partner.
    • Then call out new roles or situations and say ”action”.
    • Keep to a non-judgemental director role and do not intervene to correct language or discuss content.
    • Hold feedback at the end. Allow students to feel free during the improvisation phase.
  • Ways to introduce improvisations
    • Use a song (just listened to, covered recently in class or very familiar to students). For example: She’s leaving home – The Beatles. Give pairs roles (the girl, the mother/father, the boyfriend) and give situations to try out (the night before she left, the parents talking on finding her leaving note, the boyfriend asking her to run away, the telephone call home after a week away).
    • Use a picture and photos of people speaking to each other: vary scenes and pass the pictures around. Focus on a theme, such as all pictures of people in different parts of an airport or social situations. Assign roles so students form a ‘tableau’ if there are a variety of interactions going on in the photo/picture.
    • Use a cartoon with no written dialogue. Students are the different characters and mimic the behaviour and imagine the conversation taking place.
    • Use a video with sound off. Select scenes from a favourite show or film e.g. Friends Students are assigned roles and act out what they think is taking place.
    • Use a piece of realia: a real object to spark conversation eg. A train timetable, a bit of English currency and a list of exchange rates, a hat or outfit, a musical instrument, a mobile phone, a menu (students must incorporate these object as part of their invented dialogue).
    • Use a prop (good with younger learners): a pair of finger puppets, a mask to wear or anything that makes them assume a new personality.
These activity ideas originally appeared on the British Council Language Assistant website

Find the murderer
Jacqueline Francois, France
Speaking and listening activity
Level: Intermediate or advanced
Target language: Past continuous
  • 1. Write on board: Mrs. McDonald was found dead in her house on Tuesday at eight in the morning, you have to find who killed her and why
  • 2. Explain to students they are going to prepare a play and perform it (split them in 2 or 3 groups) while one group performs the other watches them. The audience has to guess who the murderer is. (Here you have 2 options, depending on the level, although it works well with pre-intermediate students too)
  • 3. Preparation: give students enough time to prepare this and help them at this stage, if necessary, especially using the past continuous e.g. - what were you doing yesterday at 7 o'clock etc. (don't give them any help during the performance)
    • Option (a) Tell the students they are free to invent a story why she is dead, and how, they can choose their own personalities and alibis, and decide who will be the inspector as he or she has to prepare a few questions to ask the suspects. They work in groups and they decide who the murderer is amongst themselves. If you have a class of say, 8 or 10, divide them in two groups so that they don't know what the other group is planning. This is important when they are going to perform, as the other group who's watching them has to guess who the murderer is just before the end. They can also ask additional questions and clarification to the performers.
    • (b) or you can give them a few suggestions saying she was very rich, or famous, or whatever comes to your mind. Write on board a few relatives or friends e.g. her niece, her brother-in-law, her sister, husband, neighbour etc. Write on board some useful questions eg "what were you doing at .... where were you staying? etc. They prepare the play, but still let them decide who's who.
  • 4. When they are ready, the students perform while the other group or groups watch and listen carefully to decide who the murderer is.
  • 5. Just before the end of the play the performing group stops and ask their audience who they think the murderer is, inviting them to ask any additional questions or for clarification. (At the end I always start clapping for the others to do the same and thank them for their performance)
  • 6. If the audience guesses right, give them points or a round of applause.
  • 7. Change performers and repeat from point 3.
  • 8. Of course, teachers can use their own imagination or better still get the learners to invent the characters and alibis.
My personal comment: I always ask for feedback, up to now they have always really enjoyed it. I'm always amazed at their imagination, I think the best one was when one group had decided it was suicide! Enjoy and good luck!

Bingo mingle
Leonardo de Waal, Colombia
In the event you have students who are stressed out or just plain bored by the dull approach to teaching grammar, there's a game you can play that will lure students into a communication approach to what is being taught. I used this for teaching Present Perfect tense. It is just like bingo, but involves the students mingling and asking questions.
  • In a 4 or 5 by 5 grid write statements like 'Has never been to Colombia’, or ‘Has been to the cinema twice this month’ in each cell and so on until your grid is filled.
  • You might want to have different Bingo cards to create more variety.
  • Students will then mingle as a whole class and ask each other questions to try to fill the grid up.
  • Standard Bingo rules apply about winning the game. (Creating a row or column etc with answered questions)
You can of course adapt this for many different language points. It a a good way to introduce a game element in to the typical mingle or 'find someone who' activities. Good luck!
  • the topic is centred on the learners’ interests;
  • there is not any real need for extensive or time-consuming research;
  • students can present their work orally to the rest of the class.
One particularly successful format is based on our love of lists. Students in small groups work towards compiling a top five. Examples of top five topics are...
  • Our top five favourite English records/music videos (including a final presentation with their number one song or video or lyrics).
  • Our top five authors/books/poets (not just English speaking) – students can be encouraged to say why they like the author, give a description of the type of book or read an extract from a poem.
  • Our top five adverts (magazine or TV) with a final round up showing the ads and describing why they are effective. This works well with students studying business.
  • Our top five TV programmes (restrict to English/American ones if appropriate).
  • Our top five designers/painters /paintings/buildings– including an oral description of, for example, one painting.
  • Our top five discoveries/scientists/areas worthy of research – including discussion of the contributions made to the scientific field and to mankind.
  • Our top five teenage fashions/teenage status symbols (e.g mobile phone, moped).
  • Our top five websites – for students who use the internet a lot. This can include a description of the site, its users and the reasons why it is so good.
A short project can be presented in one lesson, prepared and researched and completed in the next lesson.
The main advantages are
  • It gives students controlled opportunities to provide their own content in language lessons.
  • It can be tailored to their school’s curriculum or their own specialisations.
  • The oral presentation of each group’s findings can take as much time as is appropriate, depending on the enthusiasm and language level of the class.
  • The final oral presentation stage gives excellent practice in extended speaking which is useful for higher levels. It can also be appropriate to the oral component of students’ exams and gives them extra practice in talking about topics close to their hearts.
Students often tell you about people and things related to their own culture which can be very informative and is a genuine information gap exercise. The project can be a good round up of a term or a school year.

This activity originally appeared on the British Council
Language Assistant internet site.

Superlative questions
Gareth Rees, Teacher and materials writer, London Metropolitan University
This activity practises the superlatives in questions, and generates a great deal of student speaking. It is a highly personalised activity, asking the students to talk about their own experiences and opinions.
  • Prepare individual questions on slips of paper. The questions should all use the superlative form. For example,
    • What's the most interesting country you have been to?
    • What subject are/were you worst at at school?
    • What is the tallest building you have been in?
    • Who is the strangest person you have met?
    • What is the greatest problem in the world today?
  • You can design the questions so that they suit your class well.
  • Give each student two or three questions
  • Put the students in pairs.
  • They interview each other - encourage them to talk extensively in response to the questions
  • After five to ten minutes minutes (depending upon the amount of conversation), call out 'STOP'
  • Now, swap the partners round
  • The students interview their new partner.
  • After a while, stop and swap
  • Depending on the size and energy of the class, keep stopping and swapping.
  • Once you think you have stopped and swapped enough, ask the students to return to their original seats.
  • To round off, they should tell their neighbour about some of the answers they received.
Recently, I did this activity with a class of 16 intermediate adult students. They swapped partners five times, and in total the activity lasted one hour - one hour of nearly non-stop student talking time.
I think the activity worked because although the students asked the same questions to each partner, they of course heard differing answers because the questions were so personalised. The variety in the question topics also generated interest. Every time you went to a new partner, you had no idea what you would be asked. So, all you need to do is think of enough questions for the students!

Summer destinations

Clare Lavery, Teacher trainer and materials writer, British Council
These are activities that encourage students to talk about their plans for the Summer
Practise descriptions of places using photos from travel brochures. Give each group a selection of 5-6 places. Ask them to take turns in describing the place in their picture: the climate, the location, the activities you can do there. Make sure you have a good contrast in climates/urban and rural/developed or very deserted places. Then either:
a. Ask each group to select their favourite destination from the pictures you have given them. Go round the class and ask them to say why they would like to visit the place in the picture.
b. Or ask them to use their pictures to pick a holiday for a honeymoon couple, a group of teenagers and a retired couple. Each group presents their choice to the class explaining why they have chosen this holiday, why it is suitable.
Focus on plans for the Summer (not just a holiday) and use them to preview the language needed to talk about plans. Ask students to note down key words while you are speaking: This July I’m planning to work in my Uncle’s shop and I’m going to do some reading for my university course next year. I would like to play a bit of tennis and spend some time with my friends. Ask students to do the same exercise in pairs. The note taking will help them listen carefully. Go round the class asking students to tell you about their partner’s plans.

Use a holiday song to introduce the topic e.g. Cliff Richard’s Summer holiday or Madonna’s Holiday.
This activity originally appeared on the British Council Language Assistant internet site.
Interview the Experts
Ken Wilson
Three students sit in a line at the front of the class. They are the experts, but they don't know what the are experts about. The rest of the class choose the area of expertise - eg cooking, car maintenance, trees. Ignore students who shout out 'sex' or 'kissing' or other unworkable topics.
The other students then ask the experts questions and the experts answer them. Each expert uses only one word at a time.
They are experts about fashion.
Question: What colour will be fashionable next year.,
Expert 1: I
Expert 2: think
Expert 3: that
Expert 1: blue
Expert 2: will
Expert 3: not (Expert 3 trying to hi-jack the answer - this is good!)
Expert 1: be
Expert: 2: unfashionable (Expert 2 trying to hi-jack the answer back)
A very simple and effective speaking activity which the rest of the class enjoys listening to. An important consideration.

Discussion Bingo
Peter Weston, Norway
I have an activity which I use with my intermediate / advanced students. It's called 'discussion bingo' and I use it to get students using set phrases.
  • Construct a 10 x 4 grid and in each square place a phrase often used in discussion ( Can you explain? Really!, Where was I?, Is that clear?, Can I ask a question? etc).You'll have to tailor the phrases to your group but I usually set a limit to how many have to be used.
  • The object is to get the students talking and using the phrases.
  • They have to listen as well - each time a phrase is used they tick it off. The first to tick them all (a pre-set number) shouts Bingo!
  • Modifying the rules so that they can only tick off the phrase if they use it themselves means that all have to speak.
It works at the end of a week, or when they need to be livened up a bit. Of course, you have to change the phrases frequently - but I've also modified it to accept any particular point I'm teaching - great for vocabulary of course, but also grammar.



Lucy Baylis, English teacher, PACE, Goldsmiths College, UK
This (diagnostic) activity is designed to give students freer speaking practice in the form of mini-talks. The teacher then focuses on accuracy in the next day follow-up activity and feedback sheet. It follows a Test-Teach-Test logic.
1. Day 1: Student A choosesa topic and talks for 3 to 4 minutes - students B, C and D then ask questions about the content, the teacher notes down problematic language
2. Day 2: The teacher inputs all the lexical items and phrases problematic for the students and feeds in any new items that would improve the task.
3. Students re-tell their improved version to a new group and are at the end given an individual feedback sheet which focuses both on problematic as well as good use of language and pronunciation.
This activity is suitable for any type of class and any age - students like it and it is a chance for freer speaking practice that is also developmental.

Erase the dialogue

Sadie, UK
If you have students that aren't very confident or happy about speaking this is a good idea that always works for me.
Make up a dialogue of say about six or eight lines, say, for example, a dialogue on making arrangements. So the dialogue would go something like this -

A 'What are you doing this evening?
B 'Nothing much, why?'
A 'Would you like to come and drink a cup of tea with me in the cafe?'
B 'Yes, I'd love to. What time?'
A 'Hmm, shall we say 6 o'clock?'
B 'That'll be great. See you then
A 'OK. See you later. Goodbye'
B 'See you later'
This is relatively simple English but the aim is to make it as lively and realistic and as natural as possible.
So, the first thing I would do is to write this dialogue on the blackboard and then I would drill it. I get the whole class to repeat each line after me a number of times until they sound very natural.
Then once we've been through this dialogue a few times I would begin to erase a few of the words from each line. For example, in the first line - 'What are you doing this evening?' - I would perhaps erase the words 'are' and 'doing' to focus on the grammar point.
Then we would go through the dialogue again, this time with the class trying to remember the complete lines without me prompting them and then we would drill it again without those words.
Then I will erase some more words, so this time the first line might be 'What ..',
Of course they're not allowed to write anything down during this - they're not allowed to cheat and it becomes a bit of a game.
Finally, you end up with more and more of it being rubbed off until you have the dialogue with just perhaps one or two words in each line as prompts. Then all the students try to say it all together and it's become fun and they're now concentrating on remembering and they're losing their inhibitions about speaking. The final practice could be done in pairs and the students should then write the dialogue down.
You can use any dialogue you want, for any situation. It could also be the beginning of a conversation, which the students practise in this way, and then have to continue from their imagination.


Fun discussion of controversial topics - the 'Tap-In Debate'
Paul Southan, New Zealand
The 'Tap-In Debate' is a fun way for students to discuss controversial topics. It is excellent for speaking and listening practice.
Basically, you need a controversial topic to start. Once you have established a controversial topic, divide your students into two groups; those who agree with the statement and those who disagree. They now prepare their arguments. Once you have done this, arrange your chairs so that there are two hot seats facing each other and then place chairs behind each of the two hot seats (enough for all of your students).

The idea is that two students start the topic of conversation, trying to defend their group's point of view. Once started, you then tap any two students on their shoulders during the conversation (Always one who is in a hot seat and one who isn't) Once they have been tapped on the shoulder they MUST stop the conversation and two new students must resume it exactly where the other two left it, even if this is in mid sentence (they change places with the person in the hot seat). They must make it coherent and follow the previous opinions and statements! They must continue the sentence of the previous speaker exactly where the previous student in the hot seat left it!

I like this activity especially because it involves all the students and they can't afford to sleep on the back seats because they know they will wreck the lesson if they do!
One other point: pre-teach some useful vocabulary they can use prior to doing it. For example, the vocabulary associated with the topic or which people use in debates e.g. I disagree, I think you are right, In my opinion, to be honest etc.

Motivating speaking activities
Sheryl Carvalho, Portugal

The students must be motivated to speak, or need to speak in order to complete the activity. For the last couple of years, I've specialised in teaching children aged 6-10 (mainly at beginner level), but I don't see why some of these basic principles can't be applied to learners of any age. At this age, the learners aren't motivated by new language, they're motivated by an activity. It can be very difficult to get them to speak if they really don't see the point. You can approach this by focussing on the following.
1. The function of the language and use an authenticor near authentic task (e.g. get them to sit back-to-back to practise speaking on the telephone).
2. A motivating task, which uses the language you want them to practise (e.g. students write questions on small squares of paper using the target language, then form the papers into a board game to be played using dice and counters. )
Here are some possible examples, which apply to one or a combination of the above.
A popular, well-known type of activity is the information gap. In this type of the activity, one group has half of the information required to complete the task and the other group has the other half (or pairs of students). The two groups need to exchange information to complete the task. Possible examples of tasks are:
  • Making an arrangement: each group has a diary, with appointments already filled in. They need to exchange information in order to agree when they can meet.
  • Giving/receiving directions: 2 sets of maps, each with information missing. 2 sets of directions for these missing places. The students again need to exchange information in order to complete their maps.
  • Crosswords: each group has some of the answers. They need to make up appropriate questions and then exchange, or ask appropriate questions. Hopefully, the students will be more concerned about completing the crossword, rather than worrying about speaking.
  • For a listening text, in which the students would normally listen to a tape in order to fill in the gaps. Why not give each group half of the answers? They are then given the opportunity to exchange information. They can listen to the tape afterwards as a final check.
Here are some examples of other activities I use with my younger learners.
  • Secretly put an object in a paper bag (or hide it behind me, or write the word, or draw a picture). I then get the students to guess what's in the bag, by asking an appropriate question. The student who guesses correctly takes over from me. Do this a couple of times, and then let the students take over. Group vs group, or in pairs.
  • Find your partner. Information is written on slips of paper, which can be matched in some way. Each student receives a paper, then the class mingle and exchange information in order to find their partner. Eg. for a group of 10 students, to practise colours. Colour in 5 slips of paper and write the words for these colours on the other slips. Students ask each other "What colour have you got?" in order to find their partner. (the point of this activity from the students perspective is finding their partner, not necessarily the practice of the language.)
  • The following example may be appropriate for more advanced students. I call this activity 'Find someone who'. Each student writes the end of the sentence on their own piece of paper. The students then mingle and hopefully conversations are started. (The students can also use questions for this activity e.g. When was the last time you….?)
I hope that the suggestions and examples given are useful and practical for your situation, or inspire you to invent others.

Third conditional guessing game

Nancy Osmand

This is a simple game for spoken practice of the third conditional.

Ask a student, a volunteer hopefully, to leave the room. While that person is out of the room you and the rest of the class decide on something very unusual that could have happened while they were out of the room. A good example is two students get married, the OHP explodes, basically whatever the students can suggest.
Then, the person who has left the room comes back in and asks each student in turn only one question and the full question is 'What would you have done if this had happened?'

And each student in turn answers in a full sentence for example, 'If this had happened, I would have bought some flowers'
Now, they mustn't mention the names of anyone involved because at the end the student who is guessing has to work out what happened to whom and, if they can't, you can go round again with new answers.
[As this is for speaking practice, the students should use the contracted form for the conditional grammar - 'If this'd happened, I'd 've bought some flowers.']

Preposition basketball

Elvin, Italy
This is a lively activity to practise prepositions of place: "Let's play basketball!"

Choose a spot in the classroom (a corner, the teacher's desk...) and place there several different objects (pens, rubbers, books etc) at random and a small box or a bag that represents the basket. Decide with your students how many points you will score if they send the ball (you can make a very simple ball with a piece of paper) into the basket (you could give 3 or 5 points, depending on how difficult it is).
What is fun is that each student, even if he doesn't succeed in throwing the ball into the basket, will score one point for every correct description of the final location of the ball that he/she can say: "The ball is behind the red pen", "It is under the teacher's desk", etc. In such a way, it often happens that a student scores more points when the ball doesn't go into the basket, depending on the student's ability to use the correct prepositions.

You can choose if you prefer to divide the class into teams or make an individual competition. Students have a lot of fun in practising this activity that is suitable for children and teenagers as well.

Running Dictation

This is a lively activity that practises, speaking, listening, writing, walking and remembering!
Choose a short passage or dialogue and make several copies. Put the copies up around the walls of the classroom (or even the school building).
Put the students in pairs or small groups. The aim is for one of the students in each pair to walk (or run!) to read the passage on the wall. They remember some of the passage and walk (or run!) back to their partner. They quietly dictate what they remembered to their partner, who writes it down. They then swap roles. Over several turns they will build the whole passage. This means they really do have to run back and forth because students will only remember three or four words at a time.
The winning pair is the team that finishes first - although you need to check for mistakes. If there are mistakes, they must keep walking to check!
A good idea is to teach them punctuation vocabulary beforehand if you want them to use the correct punctuation in English. It's a good way to check spelling and fabulous for pronunciation - and great memory training!
Some feedback from a teacher who tried this activity
Elaine, Perth Australia
I used this running dictation idea of yours with my lovely class of ESL adult beginners of all ages and nationalities. It worked a treat! The whole room was humming and the mission was accomplished with a deal of fun. It revealed quite a lot about the students, the generous souls, the class cheats and the people who'd really prefer to work alone, but for the greater good they co-operated with others of differing literacy levels. The main problem was stopping the slower pairs after 40 minutes! Thanks so much for the inspiration.
Simple picture activity
Richard Kearney, Germany
  • Divide the class into pairs
  • Give one learner a simple picture
  • Ask his or her partner to try and find out with questions what's on their picture
ARM exercises – speaking activity to wake up a sleepy class
Gillie Cunningham, Teacher/Teacher Trainer
This is a great way to start a lesson with a free speaking activity.
I call it ‘ARM exercises’ which is simply short for Accept, Reject or Modify statements.
Choose a controversial statement. For example:-
  • ‘Women are the best drivers’
  • ‘Mobile phones should be banned from public spaces’
  • ‘Homework should be optional’
  • ‘Burgers are better than pizzas’
Either dictate or write the statement on the board. Students decide if they accept, reject or modify this statement, according to their personal opinion. When they have made their decision, you would then say ‘OK go round the room and try to find somebody who has the opposite opinion to you’ or ‘Ok go round the room and find someone who has a similar opinion’. Alternatively, they could mingle in the class to find the range of opinions, like a small survey – how many students accepted, rejected, or modified the statement.

This activity can really stimulate discussion and the focus is very much on the students rather than the teacher.
To round of the activity, finish with a short whole class feedback stage.
Eliciting vocabulary before writing narratives
Brian Fowlis, Spain
This is an idea to help students with their writing of narratives. It gives all the students some essential (and some superfluous) vocabulary.
Before giving the students the title (or first line) of the story, play a game of word association.
  • The teacher gives one word and the student on the left must say the first word s/he can think of which is associated with it.
  • Then the studnet on her/his left says the first word which s/he can think of which is associated with the previous word.
  • This can be repeated around the class a few times.
  • The teacher writes all the words on the board as they appear.
  • Eventually you should have 20 or 30 words on the board, the latter ones bearing no relation to the original.
  • Here is a typical collection: tree, forest, countryside, city, buildings, offices, work, leisure, holidays, beach, sun, moon, night, dark, black, reggae, music, piano, jazz, etc.
  • The teacher then gives the students the first line of the story using some of the vocabulary on the board (eg, I'll never forget the night I went to my first reggae club while I was on holiday in a strange city.
  • The students (individually or in pairs) continue the story, drawing on the vocabulary on the board for ideas.
Improving paragraph writing

Baokham, Viet Nam
This activity can be used with students of English and also trainee teachers. It is a way to make your opinion or discursive essay writing lessons more interesting and learner-centred. The activity focuses on mistakes made at paragraph level in a text. I have tried this with my university students and they have found it useful.
First, ask your students to provide sample paragraphs (introduction, body paragraphs, or conclusion), or choose paragraphs from their last essay that they wrote for the class.
Second, study these samples carefully and try to give comments on two or three problems within one paragraph.
Next, design a handout in which there is a copy of the paragraph with a table including two columns, comments and examples. Leave the "examples" column blank. Put your comments for the chosen paragraphs in the comments column. For example, 'Wrong word - register' or 'use a conjunction here' or 'spelling' or 'poor topic sentence'…
In class give out the handouts and ask students to work in pairs to find examples to support the comments made by the teacher.
This activity aims to help students and trainee teachers to recognise their own problems with paragraph construction and to identify errors, which improves their own re-drafting skills.
It also helps them to practise the (teacher's) skill of giving comments and examples.

Songs and storytelling

Sueli, Brazil
I like using songs in the classroom as I know the students enjoy it a lot! This activity is really good and involves group work and the four main language skills. The students respond to music and write a story.
  • First, choose differents types of songs (rock, pop,country music..etc).
  • Divide the the class in groups (of 4,for example) and give each group a blank piece of paper.
  • Ask them to make a cross on it dividing the paper into four equal parts. Tell them to number the parts from 1 to 4 (in this case).
  • Explain that each student in the group will use one part of the paper.
  • Play the CD/tape with the first song and ask student number 1 to draw something on it according either to what he/she feels or something related to the lyrics.
  • Change the song and follow the same procedure with the others.
  • After they finish drawing, say that they are supposed to make up a story following the sequence of their drawings. Give them time to prepare it then ask everybody to present their story to the class. Explain that each student is going to tell his/her part of the story.
This activity can be used at all levels. The skills used are writing, speaking and reading. The grammar aim can be the present tense, present continuous or simple past. Try it! It will be great!

Freeze the writing - A way to make writing tasks a group activity
Gillie Cunningham. Teacher and Teacher Trainer
This activity would follow input work on writing in a particular style - for example, an informal letter inviting a friend to visit your home town for a holiday.
Set up the context for the letter, you might do a letter layout on the board to make sure that everyone knows how to lay out an informal letter.
Put the students in pairs or threes.
Give them a large piece of paper and say, 'Right, everyone I want you to write your address, write the opening greeting and then stop. And you do it immediately and you do it straight onto the paper.' And they do that. Then you say, 'OK now you're going to write the letter. But as you write it, at some point you'll hear me say 'Freeze!' and when I say 'Freeze!', I mean 'Freeze', even if you're in the middle of a word - you stop writing. If you're in the middle of a sentence you stop writing.'
The students begin to write. I check that everyone has written something before I say freeze for the first time. I try to hurry the ones along that are lagging behind a little.
When I say 'Freeze!', I transfer each paper to the next group so that everyone's working with another piece of paper with a letter on it. I give the following instruction which is to read, correct, improve and continue. So, they work on the letter that they've received and then they continue that letter.
A bit later I say 'Freeze!' and off we go again. Transfer letters, read, correct, improve and continue.
It's always good to get the paper back to the original group just before the ending and again the same instruction - read, correct and improve and this time you say 'close'. so they bring it to a finale.

Helping students organise argument essays
Cheron Verster, teacher trainer and materials developer, South Africa
Rosh Pillay is a South African teacher. She used action research to help her students organise their argument essays and so improve their writing. You might like to try the same solutions she used.
Once Rosh had decided on the problem of her students' poor performance when writing argument essays, she investigated this problem by analysing her students' writing. This analysis made her think that a possible cause of the problem was that students did not know how to organize argument essays or paragraphs in such essays. She decided to try the following solutions:
  • Explain the overall organisation of an argument essay to students.
  • Explain paragraph organisation.
  • Give students a list of connectives which they could use in their essays. Make sure that they understand the relationships that are implied by these connectives.
  • Give students a model argument essay. Once they have read it, ask them to draw a spider-diagram of the essay in the following way:
    • Firstly, identify the thesis. Write it in a circle in the middle of a blank piece of paper.
    • Next, identify the claims or statements that are made to support this thesis. Write these around the thesis.
    • Then identify and list the details and examples which are given to support each claim/statement.
    • Finally, write relevant connectors between the thesis and the claims/statements and between the claims/statements themselves.
  • Give students a topic. Once they have completed pre-writing activities, like discussing the topic or reading about it, ask them to write a statement of their point of view of the topic. Then ask them to develop a spider-diagram around this statement.
  • Ask students to use this spider diagram to write their essay.
Rosh used the essays which the students wrote as evidence of whether her solutions had worked or not. She observed that while both the overall structure, including paragraphing, and the use of connectives indicating ordering had improved, the use of connectors indicating reason had not. This will be her problem for her next action research cycle.
Here is a summary of the main stages of action research. Can you apply this approach to your teaching?
  • Identify the problem area.
  • Narrow it down so that it is manageable.
  • Investigate the problem.
  • Think about a solution and how to implement it.
  • Think about what evidence you will collect to decide whether your action is successful or not. How will you collect it? How will you analyze it?
  • Teach / act, observe and reflect
How to measure advanced level students' progress
Nina M. Koptyug, Ph.D., associate professor of English Lyceum # 130, Novosibirsk, Russia

No matter what textbook(s) you may use, you will need some special tasks for a lesson which is dedicated to measuring the progress of your advanced level students. These tasks should be different from the ones used regularly, and they should also differ from the customary tests. First of all, instead of a separate grammar or reading test, you offer a test which combines various aspects of language learning. Moreover, you may set a rather condensed time limit: while any exam presupposes a lot of time allotted for every aspect, and may even be conducted on various days, you may suggest that your students do all the four types of tasks on one day, usually within two standard periods of 45-50 minutes each.

Reading Skills
Tell your students that they are going to read a text from which several words have been removed. They should read the text and choose the necessary words from a list of 20. They should also change the form of the word where necessary. There are five words which they do not need to use. The score is 15 points.
If you wish, you may use Worksheet 1.

Writing Skills
Tell your students that they are going to read a letter and write their own reply to it. They should find the five 'hidden' questions which they must answer. Warn them that the total score for the letter is 25 points, five for the answers, and twenty for the letter. One point is lost if there is a mistake in spelling, grammar, etc.
If you wish, you may use Worksheet 2.

Finally, work out a system of points awarded for every task, and explain it to your students, so that they will be able to add up the score and see which one is really the best.
Repeat the testing in mid-term, or at the end of the term, using different tasks.
Note: this type of testing can be easily arranged in a class where you have one or two advanced level students only. You may give them worksheets while the class is engaged in some other activity.

Worksheet 1 - Reading
You are going to read a text about a town in Siberia, Russia. Several words have been removed from the text. Read the text, and choose the words from the list below. There are five words which you do not need to use. Use each word only once. Change the form of the word where necessary.
Akademgorodok was (1) ... in 1957. It is officially called the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science. This academic community is situated about thirty kilometers from the (2)... center, but it is considered to be part of Novosibirsk. It is well-planned, the architects even received (3) ... state award for their work. When you come into the town, first you see what's called the Builders District. It was decided that the very first blocks of (4) ... should be given to those who build the town, and it was a good (5)... Then you go on along several streets where most of the research institutes are (6)... At the beginning of Morskoy prospect, which is the (7)... street in town, you see the Presidium building. The people who live in Akademgorodok have a (8)... of imagination, and they loved building this new town. They gave all the streets and places unusual and colorful names. 'Morskoy' means 'Sea', the street goes all across town straight to the beach and (9)... Ob Sea, an artificial water reservoir. There are exotic names like The Golden Valley Street, which got its name (10)... autumn, or Pearly Street, which branches off Morskoy Prospect.
Novosibirsk State University (11)... also located in Akademgorodok. There are several museums, an English-speaking school, the House of Scientists, where various meetings and conferences are held, and the Botanical Garden. When building this town, the architects counted (12)... single tree and tried to preserve as much of the natural environment (13)... possible. For example, the English school, (14)... occupies 1,500 square meters, was built on a clearing in the woods. Not a single tree was cut down, and all the trees that now stand around the school grounds are the original forest plants.
Most visitors are charmed by the town's originality of design and (15)... unique natural environment.

find, decide, city, at, the, flat, which, many, situation, that, a, its, in, their, every, main, as, lots, be, found

1 - founded; 2 - city; 3 - a; 4 - flats; 5 - decision; 6 - situated; 7 - main; 8 - lot; 9 - the; 10 - in; 11 - is; 12 - every; 13 - as; 14 - which; 15 - its

Words you do not need to use: find; many; their; that; at

Worksheet 2 - Writing

Read the following letter. Find the five hidden questions which require answers, in addition to several direct questions asked in the letter. Then write your own reply to this letter. The reply should not be longer than 200 words.
Dear Friend,
We have finally obtained our visas, now is the time to plan! We'll book the tickets next week, and start packing. Since we're coming in winter, we'd appreciate your advice on some of the points. Do we take the warmest clothes and shoes? Is it necessary to bring our own skis, or can we rent them? How do we get to your place from the airport? We think that $100 is enough for two weeks. We are sure that there will be time to visit some places of interest, too.
Please do not hesitate to tell us if you want us to bring something special for you and your family.
Yours, ….

The five hidden questions suggested here are:
1. Do we need any other documents, besides the visas?
2. Are there any things we should not pack?
3. Are ski shoes rented together with the skis?
4. How much money does one need for two weeks?
5. Are there any places of interest?

If your students come up with some other "hidden questions", let them.
Be sure to tell them that the original letter contains 114 words, so that they should compose a letter which is about twice the length of this one.
Games for question practice 2
Clare Lavery, British Council

An essential skill in communicating and keeping up a conversation is the ability to ask questions. Students sometimes get lots of chances to answer questions but here is how you can get them to make some questions themselves! These activities can be used with a whole range of levels.
Guess the object
  • Divide class into groups. Each group makes a list of three or four objects. Focus on words recently studied, words for objects in the room or words for objects related to a topic e.g. home, studying, music etc.
  • One group must guess the objects of another group by asking questions e.g. 'Is it made of metal? Can you find one in this room? Is it bigger than this table?'
  • Set a limit to the number of questions possible for each object (e.g. six to eight questions).
  • Give a point to the team if the object is not guessed/guessed within the number of questions allowed.
  • Guide students by providing the lists of objects yourself or focussing on specific question types to suit your classes.
Question time challenges
This approach can be used as a regular lesson slot or filler to change pace.
  • Give one question jumbled up on slips of paper. The first pair or group to unscramble it correctly are the winners.
A longer version
  • Take four or five question types recently covered by students.
  • Jumble the words of the questions and write on one worksheet or on slips of paper in an envelope.
  • Challenge small groups or pairs to re order.
  • Run through the questions scoring two points for each correctly ordered question.
  • Then challenge students again to think of logical answers to the questions or to use a couple of the questions in a mini dialogue.
These activities originally appeared on the British Council Language Assistant internet site.


Games for question practice 1
Clare Lavery, British Council

An essential skill in communicating and keeping up a conversation is the ability to ask questions. Students sometimes get lots of chances to answer questions but here is how you can get them to make some questions themselves! These activities can be used with a whole range of levels.
FAQs challenge
Tell students that they are preparing information on a topic for a booklet or a website e.g. tourist information for their town, information about their school system, information about customs or music in their country.
1. Students in groups or pairs brainstorm a list of six to eight frequently asked questions on the subject.
2. The whole class pool their questions and discuss them.
3. Students prepare the answers in the next lesson.
Quiz question challenge
A quiz game based on recent vocabulary and topics covered can form the basis of this game with a twist. It has been played successfully with beginners!
1. Read aloud the answers from your quiz cards
2. In teams students must guess what the question is! Allow conferring between team members.
Award two points for getting the question exactly right and one point for providing a question which makes sense and gets the answer, e.g. if the answer is '21', the questions could be 'How many students are there in this class? (two points) and 'How old is the assistant?' (one point)
These activities originally appeared on the British Council Language Assistant internet site.


Buy and sell - a revision activity for younger learners

Ada Antipova, Protvino, Russia
This is a game that practises vocabulary and speaking skills in the context of buying and selling. It is a great revision activity for younger students. Basically, the students use vocabulary items, or standard sentences, as money. The teacher is a shopkeeper, the students are the customers. The students buy objects that they need to complete a drawing or plan. In order to buy the object they need , they have to produce the words which are the price of the item. For example, to buy a chair for a house, the student must answer correctly the question 'What time is it?', or, 'Can you count to ten?', or, 'Name three things you can find in a classroom.'
We often play it with my 10-12 years old pupils. It takes a lot of time to prepare for it, but it works very well.
My first lesson dealt with animals. Each student had a picture of the main body, without the limbs and and other body parts. I had drawings of paws, paws with claws, hooves, ears of different sizes and shapes, tails of different size, length and colour. All these items were cut out. I was the shop-assistant, the children were customers. The prices of the items varied - a long tail cost two words from their active vocabulary, an elephant's ear, let's say, cost a standard sentence, e.g. 'I'm sorry, I don't understand you.''Can you repeat it, please?'
When attending to a customer I asked a lot of questions: 'Would you like to buy this tail?' (showing on purpose the one the pupil didn't need), 'What colour?', 'Do you want a tail bigger than this one?'. So the number of questions that you can ask is just infinite. After buying an item the pupil had to glue it to the body on his card. Then coming back, he bought another item until the picture was complete.
So, you can sell the items necessary to build a house, to lay the table, clothes, vegetables to cook dinner, etc. If you don't want to waste your time on drawing, you just cut out pictures from anywhere. If a pupil does not know the necessary words -the cost of an item - he has to go and find and then come back.
In my groups (elementary) this activity works very well. They like it very much, even the queuing!

Vocabulary revision game

Edevania, Brazil
I have been teaching in Brazil for almost two years and I absolutely love what I do. Throughout these 19 months I have tried some activities with my groups, some were not very successful, but others worked out really well.
This is a revision activity.
  • Take the letters from the game of SCRABBLE, and use them for a new activity.
  • You can divide the class into groups, or make it an individual quiz. Personally, I need to make it individual as my classes are small.
  • Then, give around 15 letters to each group or student
  • Give each group eight minutes to try and make as many words as possible, but they also need to explain to the class the meaning of each word he makes up, which can be by giving opposites or synonyms.
  • Every correct word can be worth one point, and every correct explanation can also be another point.
This activity has always helped my students to remember words that they have not used for a while, as well as allowing peer teaching.

Fun revision quiz
Maria Jose Boga, Buenos Airies, Argentina
This activity is based on the format of most of the quiz shows currently shown on television. I have tried it with different ages and levels and it has proved to be a fun and challenging way of doing revision.
Prepare a set of questions on vocabulary areas, grammar points, verb patterns, etc. from recent lessons. The questions could go along the lines of:
  • "How do you spell "drought"?
  • Does "assault" mean "rob"?
  • What do you call the person who takes a plane by force?
  • Is this sentence right? "I have a friend who he lives in L.A"?
  • Is "famine" something good?
  • How do you spell "famine"?
The teacher will play the role of the quiz show host, and the participants, that is the students, will sit in a semi-circle and answer one after the other as fast as possible. As the students answer, you will say "correct" or "incorrect" accordingly.
This activity allows for all sorts of variations as regards scoring, timing, frequency and items to be evaluated. You can either hold just one quiz session or have a quiz session every Monday over a couple of months. You can also have a thematic quiz!
The winner is the student with the highest number of correct answers. Once they have relaxed, and as a follow up, you can work on all those questions which caused difficulty.
The prize? Well, this is up to the teacher, or even the school. It can range from a bar of chocolate or a book ... to just a round of applause!

Remember the last class - revision at the beginning of a lesson

Keith Ricketts, teacher
This is a simple way to start the lesson with revision that uses the board.
I often start off a lesson with a class by simply saying at the beginning of the class 'What do you remember from the last English lesson?' Now, perhaps that lesson was one or two days ago, perhaps it was last week, it may have been even two weeks ago, it doesn't matter. So, individually they have to stop and try to recall any words or phrases at all that they may remember.
Usually, they say 'Oh Sir, I don't remember', and you can say, 'Well, look, just for a few minutes I'm going to ask you to try and remember and write something down. I want two words or phrases from everybody in the class, it doesn't matter what it is, even if it's something very, very simple.' And, if really necessary, remind them of the topic of the lesson.
It's amazing what in fact they can remember. Next ask a few people to come out and write on the blackboard what they can remember. When you have your blackboard full of words and phrases, stop the class and ask everybody to look at it and check if the spellings are right and to remember the meanings or to try to use in an example sentence.
The final stage of using the board means there is a sense of shared memory in the class and a clear focus for the activity.
Slap the board - a fun vocabulary revision activity

Psyche Kennett, Director of an English Language Teacher Training Programme in Vietnam.
Slap the board is an energetic vocabulary activity - it can be used for revision, presentation and testing - which involves students running to and hitting the board.
You put the vocabulary items on the board in any order - sort of jumbled and sometimes a little bit higher than the tallest kid can reach, so that they'll have to jump.
Form groups. Give a mother tongue translation for one of the words on the board. The students have got to recognise the word which translates to that word. They then run to the board and slap the correct word. The first person in each group to slap the right word gets a point.
Alternatively, you can form teams and one person from the team runs to the board, as a representative. The first team to hit the correct word gets the point. The representative changes, ready for the next word….. This is a little calmer than if everyone is running to the board.
You can reverse the translation, by putting the mother tongue on the board. And of course, you could use definitions or opposites if you want to avoid using the mother tongue.
You can do it with pictures so you put the pictures on the board and call out the English word and the kids slap the picture.
The teacher doesn't have to call out the English, you can get other kids to call out so they're getting practice speaking too.
Using flash cards
Joanna Budden, Britsih Council, Spain
These activites relate to the Think article - Using flash cards with young learners. In the article there are more activity examples.
  • Memory Activities
    • Memory Tester
      • Place a selection of flash cards on the floor in a circle.
      • Students have one minute to memorise the cards.
      • In groups, they have two minutes to write as many of the names as they can remember.
  • Drilling Activities
    • A What?
      • Students sit in a circle.
      • You show a flash card to Student 1 and say "This is a hamster."
      • Student 1 looks at the flash cardand asks you "a what?"
      • The teacher replies "a hamster" and passes the flash card on.
      • Student 1 passes the flash card on to Student 2 and says "this is a hamster".
      • Student 2 asks Student 1 "a what?" and Student 1 asks the teacher "a what?" the teacher replies to Student 1 "a hamster" and Student 1 replies to Student 2 "a hamster" and so it goes on until the flash card travels full circle.
      • When the group has mastered it, 2 flash cards can go around the circle in opposite directions. They will cross over mid circle.
      • When students know the game, choose one of them to do the teacher's role.
  • Identification Activities
    • Fast Finger
      • Stick flash cards on the board or on the wall (for very little people who won't reach the board!) in a line.
      • Give a clue to indicate which flash card you are thinking of. When presenting a new lexical set for the first time, give the whole word, e.g "Say stop when the fast finger is above the cat". When revising, or with higher levels, you can just give a clue, e.g. "It's an animal that can't fly, but it can climb trees."
      • Ask students to shout STOP when your finger is above the required flash card.
      • Then bounce your finger along in a random fashion to a silly tune until they shout STOP at the right time.
      • When they get the idea, ask a student to be the Fast Finger.
      • You can also use the word cards instead of a finger. When the word is above the corresponding pictorial flash card students shout STOP!
  • TPR activities
    • Ladders
      • Students sit in 2 lines facing each other with legs out and feet touching.
      • Each facing pair is shown a flash card that they must remember. When you call out their card they stand up and run over the legs of the others, the ladder, around the back and back to their places.
      • The first one back wins a point for their line. If the students are very lively you can do it standing up to avoid trampled legs!
Think articles - Resources - Using flash cards with young learners
Video lesson 1

Topic: Animated stories
Global understanding of video
Presentation of language
To give learners an opportunity to use language from video in a creative context
Age: 5 - 10year olds
Level: Elementary
There are lots of animated videos for native speakers of English. Many will have an educational aspect as well as providing entertainment and will often aim to 'teach' children something. Common topics are; family, school, friends etc. These can be easily adapted for teaching language to non-native speakers.

Video - any animated story video: Spot, Spider, (I used the Eric Carle story The Very Hungry Caterpillar
5/6 Flashcards of story illustrating main points
  • Pre-viewing
    • Tell learners they're going to watch a story.
    • Show flashcards, invite children to use existing vocabulary to describe them.
    • Put them on board mixed up. Ask learners to predict the order and put them on board in that order. (There are no wrong answers at this stage.)
  • While-viewing
    • First viewing: Global understanding - Learners watch video and after it's finished check order of flashcards on board. Change if necessary.
    • Second viewing: Presentation of language - Identify a language point (probably vocabulary) from the story. Teacher stops video at relevant point and asks questions OR Tells learners to listen for words connected to topic and say STOP when they hear one.
  • Post-viewing
    • Learners make a story book based on video
    • Learners act out the story
    • Craft work -make something connected to story - picture, puppet etc
    • Learners do further work on language point presented.

Video lesson 2
Topic: Documentary programme
To provide information relevant to interests of students for use in post -video work
To present/reinforce language
To give learners an opportunity to use language from video
Age: 11 - 14 year olds
Level: Intermediate
This is the age when children are very interested in finding out about topics such as space, ancient history and dinosaurs.

Materials: Video - Any short factual programme or extract from one. There are lots on CBBC - Take a look at What's on? (I used the very beginning of the TV series Walking with Dinosaurs.)
  • Pre-viewing
    • Learners do True/ False quiz on topic
    • Learners have 3 minutes to write down words they know in English on topic.
  • While-viewing
    • Learners watch video and check answers to quiz.
    • Identify a language point from the video: - numbers, past tenses, comparatives. Ask learners to note down any they hear.
  • Post-viewing
    • Learners make posters on topic.
    • Learners do project work on topic using magazines/internet
    • Learners do further work on language point introduced.

Video lesson 3
Topic: TV Adverts
Listening for global comprehension
Speaking , language of description
Presentation of language
Age: 14 upwards
Level: Intermediate upwards
Jigsaw viewing
This is based on the idea that student partners are only given half the complete information i.e. one learner only watches the video and the partner only listens to it. In order to recreate the complete advert, they will need to share their information

Materials: Video - Any TV advert
  • Pre-viewing
    • Discussion about advertising. Are there too many adverts on TV. Would you rather pay than watch adverts? What do you do when the adverts come on? Have you ever wanted anything because you saw it on a an advert. Any favourite adverts on TV at the moment?
  • While-viewing
    • Divide class into 2 groups. 1 group will watch the video with the sound off and then the second group will listen to the advert with the picture covered. . Ideally the group that is not watching or listening should be sent out of the room. Where this is not possible however, students not watching or listening should turn their chairs round and face the back of the classroom.
      • Group 1.
        Watch the video with no sound. Note down ideas what the advert is for. Compare answers in pairs.
      • Group 2
        Listen to the advert with picture covered. Note down any information about the video .i.e. what's being advertised. Compare answers in pairs. (If Group 1 are still in the room they should at this stage be comparing answers and therefore not paying attention to the sound.)
      • Group 1
        Watch video for a second time trying to imagine what's being said. In pairs after the video has finished give learners 10 minutes to try and write a dialogue for the advert.
      • Group 2
        Listen to the advert for a second time. Try to visualise the images. In pairs, after the video has finished give learners 10 minutes to note down any images they think would fit what they heard either writing or drawing.
    • The learners now work in different pairs - 1 from group 1 and 1 from group 2. They explain what they visualised or the imagined dialogue. Their partner tells them if the ideas were similar to the advert.
    • Both groups watch advert with sound and pictures.
    • Identify language point from video - adjectives, superlatives.
      Learners note down any they hear.
  • Post-viewing
    • Learners make storyboard for an advert.
    • Do further work on language point e.g. make posters of positive /negative adjectives.

Guide to setting up an English Learning Circle
Karen Adams, Professional Development Manager
If you would like to set up an out-of-class English Learning Circle with your students, here are 8 things you need to consider:
  • Be realistic about your time
    It's very easy to be enthusiastic about a project at the beginning, and feel you can devote a lot of time to it. However, if you have too many meetings, some students might begin to feel they cannot attend. On the other hand, if meetings are too far apart, it is difficult to create the comfortable club atmosphere. Decide together on the best possible meeting times for the Learning Circle.
  • Find a place to meet
    The meeting place needs to be convenient and comfortable for all the members of your Learning Circle. If you have the opportunity to use a room in your school, this is ideal - everyone can share responsibility for making sure that the meeting room is tidy and comfortable.
  • Decide how large you want the Learning Circle to be
    A Learning Circle which draws together students who don't usually study together can provide a different - and better - environment for participants. Remember, however, that if the group is too large, it becomes more difficult to include everyone in discussions and activities. If the group has more members than your average class, think about creating 2 different groups. Perhaps some of your colleagues would be interested in helping out with this.
  • Think about regulations and routines
    Like normal classroom lessons, Learning Circles need to have some rules and routines to help them to be successful. However, the most successful clubs are those in which the members feel they have some say in setting these rules and routines. By asking the club members to discuss and decide what they feel the club rules should be, you make sure that everyone has responsibility for ensuring the success of the Learning Circle.
  • Provide guidance for decisions
    Your students will need guidance on how to choose the best and most interesting types of tasks for the Learning Circle, and on how to approach them. In the initial meetings, it's a good idea to ask the participants to try out some activities to decide which they like and which they don't. If you are setting up larger projects, take time to ensure that the Learning Circle members all recognise and understand the stages which they need to go through to ensure that the project is successful.
  • Share responsibilities
    The most successful Learning Circles are the ones in which all members feel they are valuable to the group. Sharing responsibilities for the group's activities is a good way of ensuring everyone feels included. Try to make sure that each member of the group has to take some responsibility for one group activity at each meeting.
  • Find out about English events in your town
    In many towns and cities, there are opportunities to become involved in English-language events such as talks and concerts. Encourage your students to make their Learning Circle a centre for English language information by identifying as many suitable English-language events as possible in their area. Your role could then be to help your students access these events.
  • Stop and think!
    How successful is your students' Learning Circle? What do the members enjoy most? What would they like more of? Has their English improved? Try to encourage them to include regular reviews of their Learning Circle activities - perhaps at the end of each month - so that you and they can keep the Learning Circle fresh and the members motivated to learn English.
Learning Circle ideas checklist
Karen Adams, Professional Development Manager

It's possible to adapt many classroom activities to make them suitable for a Learning Circle. Here are a few ideas:
  • Vocabulary quizzes
    Word search and crossword activities can be fun. Club members, in pairs or small groups, can devise quizzes for each other. Put the moist successful quizzes and puzzles on a poster.
  • Mini presentations
    Members of the group take turns to make a short presentation to the group. It could be on any topic - a hobby or interest, a BBC World Service programme they have heard, their favourite singer or actor - or even a point of English grammar! The only rules are that the presentation is kept short (around 5 minutes) and that there is an opportunity for other group members to ask questions.
  • Song groups
    Learning Circle members make a list of some of their favourite songs in English. Each song then becomes the responsibility of a member or pair of members. Their task is to find and learn the words - e.g. by listening to the song or looking on the internet - and to teach the words to the other members of the group.
  • Story competitions
    Composition writing is a favourite classroom activity. However, the focus is often on producing grammatically-correct English rather than on interesting stories. In the Learning Circle, why not ask members to tell their stories, all linked to a theme. For example, they could tell the scariest story they know (in English, of course) - and vote on which story was most frightening.
  • Video pals
    Writing to penpals has traditionally been a solitary activity. However, technology now allows us to communicate in many different ways. Video letters - where participants talk to their correspondent on film - is a fun and unusual way of helping students to communicate in English. If you have a friend or colleague teaching in another region or country, why not encourage him or her to set up a Learning Circle? Your groups could then correspond on video, telling the others about their lives, their interest, their town - and their Learning Circle.

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