Cats & Dogs

Introduction:

This is an activity to introduce and practise idioms with cats & dogs. Students first complete the expressions with the missing words, match the idioms to their definitions, complete the questions in Exercise 2 and answer the questions in pairs or small groups. 

Level: B2

Time: 50 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce idioms with the words cat and dog.
  2. To match the idioms to their definitions.
  3. To complete Would you rather questions with the missing words and then answer the questions in small groups or pairs.

Materials:

  1. Cats and dogs Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Write the following statements on the board and ask students to decide if they are true or false: Cats have 32 muscles in each ear. Cats have no collarbone, which is one reason they are so flexible. Cats have 100 vocal sounds, while dogs have about 10. A dog’s sense of smell is 1000 times greater than a human’s. Every dog has a unique nose print with no two alike. Dogs sweat through their foot pads to keep them cool. All the statements are true Source : http://www.animalmedical.org
  2. Hand out a copy of Cats & Dogs Worksheet and ask students to complete the expressions with the words cat (meow, meow) or dog (woof, woof). When they are finished ask them to compare with their classmate(s).
  3. Check together as a class, but before you give students the answers make sure they compare as a whole class. Always encourage them to justify their answers to each other and if they are sure of their answer, to try and convince others they are correct. 
  4. Ask the students to match the expressions to their definitions. The students could first work individually and then compare with their partners, but once they get into groups or pairs they must agree on the answers. It encourages discussions and forces students to engage and defend their answers rather than mindlessly/distractedly do the task before moving on to the next one. 
  5. Check together as a class.
  6. After the first exercise and depending on how quickly the students completed the first two tasks, I divided them into groups and asked them to first draw and then mime the expressions they have learnt. The other teams tried to guess the correct expressions and received a point for each correct guess. You can skip this stage if you are pressed for time, but I find that students love this stage and are always eager to compete against each other and move around a bit, especially if you ask them to draw on the whiteboard.
  7. When the students have finished, ask them to complete Would you rather questions in Exercise 2 with the missing words. I usually ask students to fold the paper in half at this stage to try and encourage them to do it from memory which makes the task more challenging.
  8. When they have finished, ask them to go back to Exercise 1 and self correct before you check as a class.
  9. Next students answer the questions in pairs or small groups and justify each choice they made, e.g. I would rather be as sick as a dog every time I eat vegetables as I very rarely eat vegetables anyway, so I don’t think it would affect me.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to come up with sentences that are true for them using the expressions they have learnt. Always encourage them to write down what is TRUE for them. It makes the activities much more personal and memorable.

P.S. This post is dedicated to Mateo and Nero.

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MEOW!

 

 

Random words (Once upon a time…)

Introduction: 

This is a creative speaking/ writing activity inspired by a book called “Creativity Workout” by Edward de Bono. Students obtain random words and rewrite some of the most popular fairy tales. I have to say I absolutely love this activity since it takes me back to the times my dad used to read The Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault and Hans Christian Andersen stories to me. Enjoy.

Level: B1 +

Time: 45 minutes

Objective:

  1. To recycle recently studied vocabulary in a new and memorable context.

Materials:  

  1. One die per pair or small group.

Procedure:

  1. At the beginning of the class ask students to write down the titles of some of their favourite fairy tales and short stories, e.g. Cinderella, Emperor’s New Clothes, Frog-Prince, The Gingerbread Man, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Hansel and Gretel, Jack and the Bean Stalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Pinocchio, Princess and the Pea, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs etc.
  2. Draw a 6 x 6 grid on the board.
  3. Ask the students to review recently studied vocabulary and provide a word for each square. Make sure the students know the meaning of all the words.
  4. When the grid is complete, put students in pairs or small groups. To obtain words for the activity students throw the die twice: the first throw indicates which column they are going to use and the second indicates which row they are going to use. Depending on the task, they must roll for the number of words and use them repetitively to complete the activity.

Examples:

  • Obtain four random words and choose one of the tales above or any other you would prefer to work on. It would be best if all groups worked on the same tale as they could later compare their stories and have a laugh. Using the random words create four discussion questions based on the tale of your choice.
  • Obtain four random words and create a different ending of the chosen story.
  • Obtain four random words and create a different beginning of the chosen story.
  • Obtain six random words and justify which character should be removed from your chosen story and why.
  • Obtain four random words and retell the story from the perspective of a different character, e.g. one of the Seven Dwarfs or the wolf’s perspective in Little Red Riding Hood. 
  • Obtain five random words and write a sequel to one of the stories, e.g. Cinderella 2.
  • Obtain four random words and write a contemporary version of one of the stories.
  • Obtain five random words and describe how you would act if you were one of the main characters in your chosen story.
  • Obtain five random words and present your chosen story as a TV news item.
  • Obtain five random words and write 5 quiz questions about the story for the other teams.

Related posts:

Random words (Getting personal)

Random words return

Random words

 

Make no mistake

Introduction:

This is an activity for B1 students to review some of the most common mistakes they make. The students correct the mistakes in pairs and then answer would you rather questions.

Level: B1

Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To identify and correct common mistakes made by B1 students.
  2. To answer fun/bizarre would you rather questions to make the activity more memorable and fun.

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

  1. Make no mistake Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Give each student a Make no mistake Worksheet and in pairs, or groups of three, ask them to correct the mistakes in questions 1 to 20.
  2. When the students have finished, check together as a class.
  3. In pairs, or groups of three, students now answer the questions 1 to 20. Tell students to justify their answers and monitor closely as students often make the same mistakes they have just corrected when they answer the questions, so remind them to pay attention to HOW they respond and not only to WHAT they say.

Related posts:

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Bid it 2 Win it FCE Sentence Auction

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Blah Blah PET Part 1

My favourite mistakes card game

P.S. Thank you Alex.

Correct me if I am wrong

Introduction:

This is an activity for B1 students to review some of the most common mistakes they make. The students correct the mistakes individually and in pairs try to guess if the sentences are true or false for the teacher. I have used examples that are true and false for me but feel free to modify and personalise the sentences to make it more relevant for you and your group. I have created this activity based on the mistakes my Spanish students made in one of their speaking activities.

Level: B1

Time: 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To identify and correct common mistakes made by B1 students.
  2. To guess if the sentences are true or false for the teacher (Karolina), which makes the activity more engaging and personal both for the students and the teacher.

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

  1. Correct me if I am wrong Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Give each student a Correct me if I am wrong worksheet and in pairs, or groups of three, ask them to correct the mistakes in sentences 1 to 16.
  2. When the students have finished, check together as a class.
  3. In pairs, or group of three, again students must decide if the sentences are true or false for the teacher and write their answers in full sentences in their notebooks, e.g. We think Karolina has lived in Madrid since 2011’ or ‘We don’t think she has lived in Madrid since 2011. We think she has lived here since 2009 because she has been teaching here for the last 10 years.’ Encourage students to come up with reasons for their answers to maximize speaking/writing time.
  4. Check together as a class and give each pair / group one point for each correct answer.
  5. In the same pairs, or groups of three, ask students to write a mix of true and false sentences about themselves using the structures / expressions from sentences 1-16 and then ask their partners to guess which are true / false and justify their answers.

Related posts:

I will make better mistakes tomorrow

Can you see the error of your ways?

Bid it 2 Win it FCE Sentence Auction

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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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Random words (Getting personal)

Introduction: 

This is a creative writing activity inspired by a book by Edward de Bono called “Creativity Workout”. Students obtain random words and write down what they think happened either before or after an event given to them by the teacher. To increase curiosity and engagement, I used examples from my own life and it worked like a dream. Enjoy.

Level: B1 +

Time: 45 minutes

Objective:

  1. To recycle recently studied vocabulary in a new and memorable context.

Materials:  

  1. One die per pair or small group.

Procedure:

  1. Draw a 6 x 6 grid on the board.
  2. Ask the students to review recently studied vocabulary and provide a word for each square. Make sure the students know the meaning of all the words.
  3. When the grid is complete, put students in pairs or small groups. To obtain words for the activity students throw the die twice: the first throw indicates which column they are going to use and the second indicates which row they are going to use. Depending on the task, they must roll for the number of words and use them repetitively to complete the activity.
  4. Before the class think of some interesting things that happened to you and that your students might not know about you. Give them the first sentence (look at the examples below) and ask them to write down what they think happened BEFORE or AFTER that event using the random words. This activity proved very motivating for my students as they wanted to find out what actually happened. You can also make it more competitive by telling your students that the pair who gets closest to the truth will win/ get a point. I encourage you to come up with your own examples or even to ask students to prepare their own sentence(s) each before they begin the activity. If you want to use my examples and make it a creative activity less based on actual events, use my sentences and alter them according to the level of your class.

Examples:

  • Obtain four random words and guess what happened next: We have deleted each other’s contact details and decided to meet at the main train station in Milan in EXACTLY six month’s time.
  • Obtain four random words and guess what happened the night before: I woke up in the middle of the night completely soaked.
  • Obtain four random words and guess what happened next: On a cold December night, my mother was walking home from work when suddenly she was stopped by a stranger. He did his best to cover his face and my mother began to feel uneasy.
  • Obtain five random words and guess what happened next: I was getting ready to move to Zaragoza and was about to book my flight to Spain when my ex called. “Wait, don’t book anything, I will drive you to Spain”.
  • Obtain four random words and guess what happened the night before: I woke up and realised I had missed my flight. I was in Salamanca and had to be back at work, in England, the following day.
  • Obtain five random words and guess what happened before: I was drowning. My whole life was flashing before my eyes and I could see people looking at me and laughing. Cameramen, local journalists and my coworkers just kept staring and nobody moved.
  • Obtain five random words and guess what happened before: We were taken to a large room and told to wait. After a few minutes Pope John Paul II entered the room.

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