A match made in heaven

Introduction:

This is a short writing/speaking activity for CAE students to practise some expressions I have found in Part 4 of the Reading and Use of English CAE exam and that my students struggled with. The students complete the sentences individually in random order, read and match their classmate’s answers and further discuss the responses that caught their attention. Make sure the students complete the sentences TRUTHFULLY which makes the activity more personal. Ask them to think of examples that produce an emotional response which will hopefully help with memorising the words.

Level: C1

Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To complete sentences with students’ own ideas.
  2. To match their classmates’ sentence halves.
  3. To discuss the responses that caught students’ attention using the underlined expressions.

Materials:

  1. A match made in heaven Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Give each student ‘A match made in heaven’ Worksheet and ask them to complete the sentences in random order, e.g. write the answer to question 2 next to letter d etc. I am often in the mood for a glass of champagne and a slice of carrot cake.
  2. Put students in pairs, or groups of 3, and ask them to swap papers. The students now read each other’s answers and match the sentence halves. Ask students to underline the responses that catch their attention.
  3. Monitor throughout the activity.
  4. Now ask the students to swap the papers and check if their classmates matched the responses correctly.
  5. In the same pairs or groups of 3, now ask the students to explain in detail the underlined answers using the underlined expressions from the first column.
  6. Elicit some answers from the students and ask if any of their responses were identical to their partners’.

A good old chin wag

Introduction: 

This is a starter you can use with any new group, or at the beginning of any class, really. Students complete the sentences individually and look for the students whose strips of paper they have selected, to interview them further. I have purposefully chosen sentences that hopefully will encourage students to respond in a positive way to make them feel good throughout the activity, especially if it is their first class and they don’t know the teacher and/or the classmates.

Note: This activity could be adapted if you want to use a warmer related to a specific topic, e.g. describing personalities. I have created an example worksheet for you called ‘It’s all me, me, me…’

Level: B1+

Time: 30 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To complete the sentences with students’ own ideas.
  2. To get to know other students better.

Materials (Click on the worksheet below to download the PDF file):

  1. A good old chin wag Worksheet
  2. It_s all me, me, me Worksheet ( Topic related warmer)

Procedure:

  1. Print one or two copies of A good old chin wag worksheet and cut the paper into strips.
  2. Hand each student two or three strips of paper and ask them to complete them individually with their answers, making sure they put their names on each piece.
  3. When the students have finished, put the strips in a container, e.g. a hat, and mix them up.
  4. Go round the classroom and ask students to pick two or three pieces of paper from the hat. If they pick one of their own, ask them to choose another one.
  5. Next, students walk around the classroom, find and speak to the students who completed the sentences on their pieces of paper. Students chat to each other and try to get more information from each other, e.g. I get great pleasure from drinking coffee. Oh really? How many coffees do you drink a day? Do you like it black or white? Etc.
  6. At the end ask students to share what they found out about their classmates.

P.S. Thank you Alex.

So, what brings you here?

Introduction: 

This is a board game that could be used to assess your learners’ needs or to simply do a review of tenses. Students answer questions in pairs or small groups of three and the teacher closely monitors to determine what the learners are struggling with. I have deliberately chosen the questions that hopefully only evoke positive 🙂 emotions from learners to make them feel good throughout the activity especially if is their first class and they don’t know the teacher and/or the classmates.

Level: B1+

Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To assess the learners’ needs.
  2. To review past, present and future tenses etc.
  3. To answer questions containing the target language whilst playing a board game.

Materials (Click on the worksheet below to download the PDF file):

  1. So, what brings you here board game and one die per group of 3.

Procedure:

  1. Put the students in groups of 2 or 3, and give them a copy of So, what brings you here? board game and a die.
  2. Players take it in turns to throw the die twice – the first throw indicates which column they should use, and the second throw indicates which row, to obtain the question.
  3. When a player lands on a square all three players must answer the question from that square in as much detail as possible. Encourage students to ask each other additional questions to obtain more information.
  4. The game continues in the circle going left.
  5. At the end, write down the mistakes students made during the activity and ask them to correct them in their teams.
  6. Check together as a class.
  7. Ask students what they found out about their classmates.

Recommended reading:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/amberjohnson-jimludema/2018/03/29/for-a-high-performing-team-ask-positive-questions/#46af16781ddf

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Cold reading

Introduction:

This is a great reading activity I have done with my advanced and proficient students and without a doubt one of my most memorable activities. Unfortunately the activity doesn’t work with just any class. You have to make sure the group is just right; ideally the students are relatively new and aged 15-24.

Level: C1

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To read a description of one’s personality and decide how accurate the description is.
  2. To read a description of another student’s personality and try to identify who the student is.

Materials:

  1. Personality reading PDF (adapted), one per student (Source: https://www.secrets-explained.com/derren-brown/cold-reading)
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6uj1ruTmGQ

Procedure:

Stage 1:

  1. A week or two before the class tell students you would like to try something different with them. It works better if you revise personality adjectives before the class too.
  2. Ask each student to take a piece of paper and draw an outline of their hand, write their date and time of birth at the top of the page and a name of an object that is not immediately recognized as theirs.  When the students have finished ask them to fold the papers, mix them up and hand them to you.
  3. Tell students you are now going to try and write a description of their personality based solely on the information they have provided. Tell students you will try and be as specific as possible and that it will take quite a long time for you to finish all the descriptions so they must be patient. The first time I did this activity my students waited a month for me to “complete” the descriptions and couldn’t wait for me to finish.

Stage 2:

  1. Print Personality Reading PDF and make as many copies as there are students in your class. The readings are all exactly the same so sometimes I change the font and the colour to confuse the students slightly if the happen to sit next to each other and see another classmate’s reading.
  2. Before you hand the students the papers tell them you have tried very, very, very hard to be specific and you would like them to read the descriptions carefully and to honestly tell you at the end how accurate they think you were.
  3. Sit the students as far away from each other as possible and tell them to use their phones/dictionaries to check the meaning of new words.
  4. When the students have finished give each student a post it note and anonymously ask them to rate the accuracy of the description (1%-100%). You don’t want the students to be influenced by others when the rate their description.
  5. Collect the post it notes.
  6. Now ask the students to mix all the descriptions and try to identify the classmates based on the description they now have.
  7. After a few minutes students will look confused. Ask them to shuffle the papers again until pretty soon they will realize all the descriptions are exactly the same.
  8. Students’ reactions to this experiment are priceless and I have even had one student return to my school a year later asking for a copy of the reading.
  9. Explain to students that it is a technique called cold reading and it is often used by psychics and astrologists. At the end show students the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6uj1ruTmGQ

Related posts:

Who are you?

Interactive reading class

Simply perfect

Introduction: 

This is a board game for B2 students to review past simple and present perfect. Students complete the board game with their own examples and then answer question in pairs or small groups of three.

Level: B2

Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To review past simple and present perfect.
  2. To write examples on the board using the target language.
  3. To answer questions containing the target language whilst playing a board game.

Materials (Click on the worksheet below to download the PDF file):

  1. Simply perfect board game and one die per group of 3.

Procedure:

  1. Put the students in groups of 2 or 3, and give them a copy of Simply perfect board game.
  2. Students first underline the verbs in all the questions on the board.
  3. Next, students use the underlined verbs to write a new question in the empty square provided below, changing all questions in the past simple tense into questions in the present perfect tense and all the questions in the present perfect tense into questions in the past simple tense, e.g. Change the question in Square 1:1 What did you eat for dinner last night? into What have you eaten today? for Square 2:1. Change the question in Square 4:1 Have you ever ridden an animal? into Did you ride a horse when you were little? for Square 4:2. The only requirement is for students to use the same verb in their new question.
  4. When the students have finished they pass their board game to the team/ group on their right.
  5. Students now go over ALL the examples written by their classmates to make sure they are grammatically correct.
  6. Check together as a class.
  7. Hand each group a die.
  8. Players take it in turns to throw the die twice – the first throw indicates which column they should use, and the second throw indicates which row, to obtain the question.
  9. When a player lands on a square all three players must answer the question from that square in as much detail as possible. Encourage students to ask each other additional questions to obtain more information.
  10. The game continues in the circle going left.
  11. At the end, ask the students to choose three questions they didn’t answer during the game and answer them in writing.

Related posts:

http://www.onestopenglish.com/community/lesson-share/pdf-content/lesson-share-time-expressions-lesson-plan/556366.article

Summary of past or recent events

Best birthday ever

Ir(regular) Xmas

Double Decker

Who are you?

Introduction:

This is a fun activity for students to revise personality adjectives. Students match the adjectives to their antonyms, decide which adjectives apply most to them and look for classmates whose answers are either identical to theirs or very different.

Level: B2+

Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To revise/ introduce adjectives describing personality.
  2. To decide which adjectives apply most to students and give examples.
  3. To compare students’ choices with other classmates.

Materials (Click on the worksheet below to download the PDF file):

  1. Who are you Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. In pairs ask students to tell each other what personality types they get on with best and what personality types they just can’t stand.
  2. Elicit some answers from students.
  3. Hand each student a copy of Who are you? Worksheet and tell them to cover up the words at the bottom.
  4. Individually ask students to provide antonyms to the adjectives in the first column.
  5. When the students have finished ask them to compare with their partner.
  6. Next students look at the antonyms provided at the bottom of the page and complete the table.
  7. Check as a class.
  8. Individually now ask the student to consider each pair of adjectives and choose the number (1 to 5) closest to the adjective they feel applies most to them. Number 5 applies to the adjective in the first column and 1 to its antonym in the third column.
  9. Once the students have finished, put them into pairs and ask them to compare their choices with their classmates and provide specific examples where their numbers are identical or very different.
  10. Change pairs two or three times to give students a chance to compare their answers with as many classmates as possible.
  11. Ask students to give examples of unexpected answers they received whilst interviewing their classmates.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to pick three positive and three negative adjectives from the table that best describe them and justify their answers to their classmates.

P.S. “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Dr. Seuss

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MEOW!

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All rise please

Introduction: 

These are activities for students to introduce crime idioms. Students match the idioms with their definitions, complete the sentences with the missing expressions, rate the crimes, answer questions about crime and interview their classmates.

Level: C1

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce crime idioms.
  2. To match the idioms with their definitions.
  3. To rate the crimes from the most to the least serious one.
  4. To answer questions containing the target language and interview a classmate.

Materials (Click on the worksheet below to download the PDF file):

  1. All rise please Worksheetone per student.

Procedure:

  1. Put students in pairs and ask them to discuss the following questions: What do you think the most common crime in your country is? Should police in your country be more strict or less strict? Do you think criminals can change? What crime would you commit if you could get away with it?
  2. Hand students All rise please Worksheet.
  3. Ask students to cover the definitions on the right and in pairs see how many idioms they could define before they match the expressions to the definitions provided. I found my students could accurately predict at least half the expressions given.
  4. Individually, students now match the idioms 1 to 11 to the definitions provided.
  5. When the students have finished, they compare their answers with a partner.
  6. Check the answers as a class.
  7. Next ask students to complete the sentences 1- 11 with the missing idioms.
  8. Check the answers as a class.
  9. Individually ask students to underline and rate the crimes in 1-11 from the most (1) to the least serious (11) one and then discuss their choices with their classmates.
  10. Now students individually answer the questions 1-11 (in RANDOM order and in as little detail as possible (Exercise 2).
  11. Once the students have finished ask them to cut the paper along the dotted line and give the sheet with JUST their answers to their partner.
  12. In pairs students now interview each other, e.g. Student A: Why did you write plenty of time to read in number 1? Student B: Because it is one of the advantages of doing time. Encourage the students to ask additional questions to obtain more details.
  13. After a few minutes ask students to switch partners and repeat the exercise. Repeat a few more times to make sure students recycle the expressions and use them in a variety of contexts.
  14. At the end ask students if they have spoken to anyone whose answers were identical to theirs.

Fast finishers:

  1. I asked my students to invent a crime and agree on the main points, e.g. a man was killed by his wife who found out he had been cheating on her with her best friend. Individually or in pairs students now write a police report describing the incident in great detail and using the expressions studied.

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Somewhere over the rainbow 

The proof is in the pudding

Nothing changes if nothing changes

It’s game time