Half full or half empty?

Introduction: 

This is a board game to introduce and practise idioms and phrases related to happiness and misery. Students divide the idioms into two categories: jumping for joy and running on empty (sad) and answer questions about happiness using the new idioms.

Level: B2

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce idioms related to happiness and misery.
  2. To divide the idioms into happy and not so much.
  3. To answer and ask questions about happiness and misery whilst playing a board game.

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

  1. Half full or half empty board game, one per group.

Procedure:

  1. Ask students to briefly discuss in pairs whether they consider themselves to be positive or negative people and give examples from their own life.
  2. Next write the following idioms and phrases on the board:
  • To be a bundle of joy
  • To be happy as a clam
  • To be in bits
  • To be on cloud nine
  • To be reduced to tears
  • To be walking on air
  • To feel like a dog with two tails
  • To have a face like a wet weekend
  • To have a whale of a time
  • To have the blues
  • To mope around
  • To take something hard
  1. In pairs ask students to divide the idioms above into two categories: jumping for joy (happy) and running on empty (sad).
  2. Check together as a class and make sure students know the meaning of each idiom.
  3. Put the students in groups of 2 or 3, and give them a copy of Half full or half empty board game and a die.
  4. Now ask the players to write down the “happy” idioms in the orange squares (orange supposedly evokes feelings of happiness, optimism and energy) and “unhappy “idioms in the blue squares (said to express sadness, but can also be calming and soothing so not all hope is lost).
  5. 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.
  6. When a player lands on a square they must answer the question from that square in as much detail as possible AND using two idioms (they can choose from either the idioms in the same row or the same column). Encourage students to ask each other additional questions to obtain more information. When a player lands on a square with an idiom they must use it to form a question for their partner(s), e.g. Do you always have a whale of a time when you go out with your friends?
  7. The game continues in the circle going left.
  8. At the end, ask students what they found out about their classmates.

Fast finishers:

Give students the scrambled up idioms and ask them to unscramble them from memory:

  • A time have of a whale to
  • Like to with tails feel two a dog
  • Of a joy be bundle to
  • To clam be as happy a
  • To hard something take
  • To weekend face like a wet have a

Related posts:

Ups and downs

Can’t stop dishing out idioms

You make my heart BEET 😉

Zzz

There is no place like…school

Keep up the good work

Introduction: 

These are activities to introduce and practise phrasal verbs related to work. Students match the phrasal verbs to their definitions and play a board game.

Level: B2

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce phrasal verbs related to work.
  2. To match the phrasal verbs to their definitions.
  3. To answer and ask questions about work whilst playing a board game.

Materials (Click on the worksheets below to download the PDF files):

  1. Keep up the good work Worksheet, one per student.
  2. Keep up the good work board game, one per group.

Procedure

  1. Write ‘ “Work is the key to success and hard work can help you accomplish anything” Vince Lombardi on the boardAsk students to discuss the quote in pairs and give examples from their own lives.
  2. Hand the students Keep up the good work Worksheet.
  3. Individually, students write down the definitions (a-l) of the phrasal verbs in sentences 1 to 12 in the spaces provided. You could also ask students to first try and define the phrasal verbs without looking at the definitions.
  4. When the students have finished, they compare their answers with a partner.
  5. Check the answers as a class.
  6. Next put the students in groups of 2 or 3, and give them a copy of Keep up the good work board game and a die.
  7. 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 /phrasal verb.
  8. 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. When a player lands on a square with a phrasal verb they must use it to form a question for their partner(s), e.g.  Have you or  anyone you know ever been laid off?
  9. The game continues in the circle going left.
  10. At the end, ask students what they found out about their classmates.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to briefly describe their professional career using at least 5 phrasal verbs they have learnt. Younger students could describe what they would like their future job to look like.

Food for thought:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R_BKlb_Y8k

Related posts:

Stop beating around the bush

Phrasal verbs can be put off, never forgotten

Brace yourselves. Phrasal verbs r bk

How do you …?

Single and ready to mingle

 

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Introduction: 

These are activities to introduce and practise idioms describing physical appearance. Students complete the idioms with the missing words, divide the idioms into Beauty and Beast categories, do a Find Someone Who activity and play a board game. As you can see there are plenty of opportunities to recycle new vocabulary. By the end of the lesson students will have used each idiom at least 6 or 7 times.

Level: C1

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce idioms describing physical appearance.
  2. To complete the idioms with the missing words.
  3. To divide the idioms into two categories Beauty and Beast.
  4. To find students who, e.g. think that new born babies are as ugly as sin, write their names next to the sentences and ask for more details (Exercise 2).
  5. To answer questions about beauty whilst playing a board game.

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

  1. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder Worksheet, one per student.
  2. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder board game, one per group.

Procedure:

  1. Write The beholder eye the is beauty in of on the board. Ask students to unscramble the phrase and in pairs discuss if they agree or disagree with it.
  2. Hand the students Beauty is in the eye of the beholder Worksheet.
  3. Individually, students complete the idioms in Exercise 1 with the missing words.
  4. When the students have finished, they compare their answers with a partner.
  5. Check the answers as a class.
  6. Now, individually again, the students decide if the idioms are used to describe attractive (Beauty) or unattractive people (Beast).
  7. When they have finished, ask them to compare with their partner.
  8. Elicit answers from students.
  9. Next, students complete the missing words in the idioms again (exercise 2). Ask them to fold the sheet and try and do it from memory first. I try to use every opportunity for students to play with the new vocabulary as much as possible and in as many ways as possible to increase their chances of remembering the idioms.
  10. Students now mingle and try to get affirmative answers from their classmates, e.g. find someone who thinks newborn babies are as ugly as sin. If the other student says ‘yes’ they have to elaborate on their answer. Allow no more than 3 minutes for each interview. When the time is up ask students to switch partners.
  11. When the students have had a chance to ask everyone’s opinion, ask them which answers surprised them the most.
  12. Next put the students in groups of 2 or 3, and give them a copy of Beauty is in the eye of the beholder board game and a die.
  13. 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.
  14. 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. When a player lands on a square with a phrase they must use it to form a question for their partner(s) e.g.  When was the last time you were dressed to kill?
  15. The game continues in the circle going left.
  16. At the end, ask students what they found out about their classmates.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to briefly answer one of the questions (in writing) on the board game using at least 3 of the idioms studied.

Related posts:

Cold reading

Who are you?

MEOW!

Mirror Mirror on the wall…

Wanted

Recommended podcast:

http://activateyourielts.libsyn.com/ielts-vocabulary-tips-for-teachers-and-students

Check out my friend’s podcast. This week we talked about learning and recycling new vocabulary and I think it makes for an interesting episode. Enjoy.

 

Pronunciation station

Introduction: 

This is an activity for students to identify and practise the pronunciation of ‘ed’ in the past simple/past participle forms of regular verbs. Students brainstorm vocabulary in groups, divide the verbs into three categories and write a short description of the holiday they went on using the verbs in question. I have done this activity with one of my adult classes and it worked really well. You give students ownership by letting them choose the verbs instead of providing them with a list that might be irrelevant to their needs.

Level: A2+

Time: 50 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To practise the pronunciation of ‘ed’ in the past simple/past participle forms of regular verbs.
  2. To write and read a short description of a holiday the students went on using regular verbs.

Materials:

  1. A board

Procedure:

  1. Put students in groups of 2 or 3, and ask them to think of a holiday they really enjoyed. As they describe it to each other briefly in teams ask them to write down the REGULAR verbs others use when speaking. As a result students immediately have a reason to listen and something to concentrate on.
  2. Divide the board into three sections: / ɪd /, / t / or / d / and ask them if they know that there are three ways of pronouncing ‘ed’ in the past simple/past participle forms of regular verbs. For more information go to: bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/radio/specials/1413_gramchallenge26
  3. Explain to students what the rules are and provide some examples to get them started.
  4. Put the students in the same groups of 2 or 3 and ask them to now divide the verbs from their verb list into three groups depending on the pronunciation of ‘ed’ in the past simple/past participle forms of these verbs.
  5. Check as a class and write students’ answers on the board adding them to your examples.
  6. Now individually ask students to WRITE a short description of the holiday they talked about at the beginning using the regular verbs from the board.
  7. When the students are finished they read their pieces to each other. Ask other students to look at their lists and tick off the verbs used.
  8. Correct when necessary, ask other students to help you identify the mistakes first though.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to look for three new verbs they could add into each category. Make sure you tell them to write down the meaning of the new words, a great opportunity to enrich their vocabulary, and if time allows, write down an example sentence with each verb as well.

Recommended podcast:

http://activateyourielts.libsyn.com/

Check out my friend’s podcast. This week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by her. We talked about learning a foreign language from scratch and I think it makes for a great episode. Enjoy.

 

 

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

Related posts:

Do you believe in ghosts?

What would you do if…?

Brace yourselves. Phrasal verbs r bk