Stative noughts and dynamic crosses

This is a free board game to practise/revise stative and dynamic verbs in an entertaining way. Students create sentences using stative and dynamic verbs and if their sentence is correct, they add either an O or an X to the board until they line up 6 symbols in a row.

Level: A2+

Time: 30 – 45 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To define what stative and dynamic verbs are 
  2. To identify stative and dynamic verbs
  3. To practise by creating sentences with stative and dynamic verbs 
  4.  To line up 6 symbols (O or X) in a row

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

 

Procedure:

  1. Elicit some examples of stative verbs vs. dynamic verbs and write them on the board. Ask students to also identify verbs that could be both stative and dynamic.
  2. Divide the students into teams and hand out Stative noughts & dynamic crosses board game to each team or simply display it on the screen for everyone to see.
  3. To see who starts, do rock, paper, scissors.  Whoever wins chooses the square they want to start with. Next the player(s) identifies if the verb is stative, dynamic or both and comes up with a sentence using that verb e.g. expect (both dynamic and stative): I am expecting a baby. I expect you will be on time tomorrow. If the player(s) manage to do it correctly, they add either an O or an X to the board. The first player to line up 6 of their symbols in a row wins. 
  4. Monitor at all times and go through some of the most problematic sentences together at the end of the class. At home, ask students to write example sentences with all the verbs that they did not get to use in the game or the ones that they are still unsure about.

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Active noughts & passive crosses

A blast from the past

This is A blast from the past board game to practise/revise past simple and past continuous. Students create sentence endings in the past simple and past continuous tense using appropriate conjunctions e.g. while and when and adverbs e.g. just. 

Level: A2+

Time: 50 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To revise the past simple and past continuous tense.
  2. To use appropriate conjunctions e.g. while, as and when and adverbs e.g. just with the past simple and past continuous tense.
  3. To complete sentences using the correct form of the past simple or past continuous tense.

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

Procedure:

  1. Hand out A blast from the past to each team or simply display it on the screen.
  2. The teacher or a student throws the die twice – the first throw indicates which column they should use, and the second throw indicates which row, to obtain the sentence half. 
  3. The player now tries to come up with an appropriate ending for the sentence half they have landed on e.g. He was playing a computer game … while I was playing with the cat. He was playing a computer game … when someone knocked on the door. He broke his leg … when he was playing pool (a dangerous sport). To make it more entertaining I would turn this game into a mini competition and maybe award points for the most ridiculous, crazy and creative sentences.
  4. Monitor at all times and go through some of the most problematic sentences together. 

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How to…

Introduction:

How to board game is a great speaking/writing activity to describe a process and/or procedure using the appropriate linking words. The activity can be easily adapted to different levels and ages.

I have also included three assignments completed by my students who kindly allowed me to share them online. Thank you.

Level: A2+

Time: 30 minutes +

Objectives:

  1. To describe a process/procedure
  2. To revise/practise linking words used to describe a process

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

Procedure:

  1. Hand out How to board game to each team/pair or simply display it on the screen if you are working online.
  2. Before you start the game go through expressions to describe a process e.g. first, once, having, the next step is, next, then, finally etc. 
  3. The teacher or a student throws the die twice – the first throw indicates which column they should use, and the second throw indicates which row, to obtain the question.
  4. Now student(s) describe a process using the expressions provided. Encourage students to use passive voice and especially the Present Simple Passive. It will instantly make them sound more capable and in control.
  5. Monitor and make sure students use linking expressions throughout their description. I would also encourage them to use the linking words in the middle of the sentence as well as at the beginning to avoid sounding repetitive. You want your students to sound fluent and natural rather than robotic so discourage them from peppering the entire description with linking words. I have some students who love doing that and it doesn’t always elevate their speech 😉
  6. Monitor students throughout the activity, correct mistakes and feed them new vocabulary.
  7. At home ask students to choose one example from the board and do a piece of writing. I have asked my students to do the same and they very kindly allowed me to share their creations on my blog. Feel free to have a look and use the pieces as sources of inspiration because that’s what they are…inspiring 😉

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The art of conversation…

Name three

Soap Opera

Never have I ever…

Introduction:

Never have I ever … board game is a great game that incites stories with players sharing what they’ve done and haven’t done which helps classmates get to know each other better. The activity can be easily adapted to different levels and I am sure you have played this game yourself more than once, although I would guess you played it in an entirely different setting 😉

I have also included a Never have I ever … Travelling edition board game if you fancy doing something related to summer holidays. Perfect timing.

Level: A2+

Time: 30 minutes, but it can vary depending on the number of students and of course on how talkative and engaged they are or how engaged you make them 😉

Objectives:

  1. To answer Never have I ever questions…
  2. To recount stories from the classmates’ lives 
  3. To get to know other better 

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

Procedure:

  1. Hand out Never have I ever… board game to each team/pair or simply display it on the screen.
  2. Before you start the game, ask students to take two pieces of paper and write Yes, I have on one and No, I have never on the other and tell them you are going to ask them ALL a question which they have to answer by raising one of the pieces of paper they have prepared.
  3. The teacher then throws the dice twice – the first throw indicates which column they should use, and the second throw indicates which row, to obtain the phrase/question e.g. Never have I ever cut my own hair. 
  4. Ask students to explain their answers. I deliberately chose not to take score or drink (like you would in a traditional version of this game) as I wanted to concentrate on speaking more than anything else, but if you think it could work with your younger learners (not the shots of course but playing with points) go for it. Depending on the group I do this activity with, I choose whether to join in or just manage the game instead which allows me to monitor more effectively. This too depends on the relationship you have with your students.
  5. Of course as always, correct mistakes and feed students new vocabulary. 
  6. At home, ask students to choose 3 things from the board they haven’t done but would love to try and ask them to briefly explain their reasons in writing.

Click!Click!Click!

Introduction:

This is a fun activity you can do with students to practise describing photographs using speculative language. The activity could be used simply as general speaking practice or to help students prepare for Cambridge speaking exams. Students look at a photo and answer questions using language of speculation. All the photos are of me (Please don’t laugh) but feel free to replace them with your own photos to make it more personal.

I have also included a written task sample courtesy of one of my younger learners to show you how they handled the task and a recording of a description of Image 1, courtesy of my lovely friend Adam. Feel free to use it to model the task to your students or turn it into a listening task 😉

Level: A2+

Time: 35 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To describe a photo using the questions provided 
  2. To make predictions about the photo
  3. To practise using speculative and deductive language  

Materials:

A description of Image 1 (by Adam). Thank you 😉

Procedure:

  1. Before you start the activity ask students to give you some examples of language of speculation e.g I suppose…, I expect…, It is possible…, It is probable that…, I can’t see… etc. 
  2. Display one of the images on the screen ( I have prepared 5 photos of myself that you are free to use but you could use your own photos too) if you are teaching online.
  3. Put students in pairs or small groups and ask them to describe the photos to each other using the questions provided (ask students to answer ALL the questions AND in order) using speculative language displayed next to the photos. Monitor and offer help whenever necessary.
  4. Next, still in the same groups, ask students to try and agree on the answers especially when the more speculative questions are concerned. Once they have come up with one version per group/per pair, ask them to choose a spokesperson who is going to present their answers to the rest of the class.
  5. When all the groups or pairs have finished presenting their versions, you can give them the REAL story behind the image. BOOM. Of course you can skip this stage if you are using my photos. This is actually the most enjoyable part of the activity as students get to see if their predictions about the snippets from my/your/their life are accurate or not. So often we ask students to describe random images that are completely irrelevant to their lives instead of using our own images which makes it so much more exciting. 
  6. The group with the highest number of correct answers wins. I deliberately choose photos with interesting background stories.
  7. You can continue the activity with my photos or ask students to use their own images. Make sure students are still using speculative language throughout the activity.
  8. Enjoy 😉

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Describe me

Introduction:

Describe me board game is a great activity to either teach or revise adjective word order. The activity can be easily adapted to different levels and keeps the students engaged as they progress through writing simple descriptive sentences to creating short, also descriptive, stories, letters etc.

I have also made three other boards if you want your students to describe something more specific or revise vocabulary related to a particular topic: a crime scene, a holiday or a perfect outfit. Take your pick and enjoy 😉

Two of my lovely students kindly allowed me to share their work to give you an idea of how they have dealt with the tasks. One has written four short stories using the Describe me board and the other has written an informal letter telling me all about the holiday he has just returned from and using the Describe me hols board game. Thank you for allowing me to share your work. 

Level: A2+

Time:

45 minutes, but it can vary depending on the number of students and of course on how talkative and engaged they are or how engaged you make them;)

Objectives:

  1. To revise the correct order of adjectives in a sentence
  2. To write sentences using the correct adjective word order
  3. To write short stories, letters etc. using the correct adjective word order and the nouns provided

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

Procedure:

  1. Before you start the game ask students to give you examples of adjectives and write them on the board. Encourage students to think of a wide variety of adjectives e.g. shape and material and not only colour and size.
  2. Go through the basic order of adjectives with your students: Opinion, size, shape, age, colour,origin, material, and purpose. Write down a few example sentences on the board before you play the game. Also ask students to categorize the adjectives they gave you at the beginning.
  3. Hand out Describe me board game to each team/pair or simply display it on the screen if you are using Zoom or any other online platform.
  4. The teacher or a student throws the die twice – the first throw indicates which column they should use, and the second throw indicates which row, to obtain a noun. The nouns in the Describe me game are divided into six categories: a place, an object, a job, a piece of clothing/accessories, a situation and an animal to ensure a wide variety of adjectives used.
  5. Now students write, individually, a sentence describing the chosen noun and using as many adjectives as possible but making sure the sentences actually make sense e.g. She bought a beautiful small white Scottish cat.
  6. Students then read the sentences out loud and get a POINT for each correctly placed adjective. Encourage students to listen to others and award extra points if they manage to spot a mistake in a classmate’s sentence.
  7. Next, students choose a noun from each category and write a short descriptive story. You can put the students in pairs or groups or ask them to work individually. Decide what is best for your students based on their age, level etc. Have a look at the task samples I have provided and which you can find in the materials section.
  8. Monitor students throughout the activity, correct mistakes and feed them new adjectives. 
  9. At the end of the class ask students to share their stories with their classmates 😉 You will be surprised how creative they can get.

Alternative ideas:

  1. Describe me Crime Scene. Students describe a crime scene after choosing six nouns from six categories: a piece of evidence, a type of weapon, a person, a place, a type of crime and a punishment. 
  2. Describe me Hols. Students could describe their last holiday, their dream holiday, plan an ideal holiday for their best friends etc. using the nouns from the following categories (all colour coded so it is easier to navigate): a type of holiday, holiday activities, a means of transport, a place, a person and a season/type of holiday.
  3. Describe me Outfit Ideas. Students could describe an appropriate or inappropriate outfit for different occasions, using the nouns from the following categories: a piece of clothing, an occasion, a person, an accessory, a place and a time of day.

P. S. This post is dedicated to two lovely small fluffy kittens U&F 😉 and their two amazing and caring owners A&H.

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Wanted

Ask a Q board game

Name three

Introduction:

Name three board game is a great speaking activity to get to know each other better and to revise linking words to express reason. The activity can be easily adapted to different levels.

Teacher tip/reflection:

This is one of those activities where I would strongly encourage teacher participation.

I have been teaching for over 11 years now and my approach keeps changing as I grow older. Sometimes I go back to the things I used to do when I first started teaching, sometimes I become too attached to a certain methodology or a technique and struggle to let go of it, and sometimes I just trust my gut, tune into my students and let my intuition guide me. After finishing my Delta I became fiercely attached to accomplishing all the lesson objectives, ticking things off the list, and often I think, to the detriment of my students. It resulted in me emotionally withdrawing from my classes, as I thought my priority was to diligently go through all the points in the lesson plan and not disappoint anyone (I am thinking of an imaginary tutor watching my every step). I became what I would call “clinical”and thorough, but somehow life was sucked out of my lessons. I was trying to comply, to be formal and as a result came across as detached and hard to reach. It was not until a couple of years ago that a few students actually asked me to get more involved, to share my personal opinions with them and shorten the distance I created. I initially resisted as I thought I was robbing them of speaking opportunities. Then slowly I become comfortable with opening up again. I am not saying you have to reveal secrets to your students but we create relationships with the people we work with and I want these relationships to be more authentic, more real. My students are curious, they want to know about the culture I come from, my experiences and opinions and they really appreciate it if I show them the vulnerable, human me instead of an ‘authority’ on a pedestal.

That’s why I actually participated in today’s activity and did not hold back. We had a lovely time and I would encourage you to do the same. You might be surprised how much you will discover about yourself.

Level: A2+

Time: 30 minutes, but it can vary depending on the number of students and of course on how talkative and engaged they are or how engaged you make them;)

Objectives:

  1. To name three things in a given category 
  2. To revise linking words to express reason
  3. To get to know others, and frankly, yourself, better 😉

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

Procedure:

  1. Hand out Name three board game to each team/pair or simply display it on the screen if you are using Zoom or any other online platform.
  2. Before you start the game go through some common linking words to express reason e.g. because, because of, so, since, as, etc. I have attached a list of appropriate linking words with my own examples so feel free to use it.
  3. The teacher or a student throws the dice twice – the first throw indicates which column they should use, and the second throw indicates which row, to obtain the category.
  4. Now students must list three things that fit that category and think of the reason WHY they chose these things. 
  5. Monitor and make sure students use linking expressions other than because 😉 as we all tend to stick to what we know best and what we are comfortable with so insist on using a variety of expressions.
  6. An alternative idea is to ask students to try and predict what their classmates’ answers might be. I have done it with a class of students that have known each other for a very long time and it worked like a dream, but you could also make it work with students that don’t know each other that well. It might be fun for them to see what others think and it will definitely encourage them to listen very closely as they will have to correct their classmates if their predictions are wrong.
  7. Monitor students throughout the activity, correct mistakes and feed them new vocabulary. 
  8. At home ask students to choose 3 categories that speak to them and answer them in writing. Tell them to try and use a different linking word in each answer.

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2020 Round-up

Introduction:

This is a board game activity to reflect on the past year. Students answer questions about the challenges they faced, things they learnt, things they would have done differently, etc. This time I have decided to add what I myself learnt in 2020. Scroll down to keep reading 😉

Level: B1 +

Objectives:

  1. To reflect on the past year.

Materials:

PDF board game and one die per pair or group of 3.

Procedure:

  1. Put the students in pairs, or groups of 3, and give them a copy of the board game and a die or display the game on the screen.
  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. All three players must then answer the question in as much detail as possible.
  4. At the end, ask the students to name three new things they agreed on with other classmates.

Lessons I learnt in 2020:

Life is unpredictable;) We try and put things in place to fool ourselves into thinking we have everything under control, yet we do not control anything other than our own reactions to what happens. Before 2020 we might have been under the illusion that life bent to our will, but I am sure that with the arrival of the pandemic those illusions were quickly shattered. What I learnt, faced with unpredictability and uncertainty on a daily basis, is to let go, accept and to drop resistance. I know now that the more I resist reality and the present moment the more painful it is to move forward.

The power of positive habits and routines. I have been meditating now for a long time and I can not even begin to explain the power of meditation and how key it has been in moments of both happiness and pain. It helped me relax, stay grounded, realise the impermanence of things and allowed me to detach from what I strongly identified with e.g. my life story, people, material possessions, places etc. As I have realised, we fall back on our habits in the times of crisis, so I wanted to make sure my routines in 2020 were solid and definitely supportive of my health and well-being. I established a strict routine of yoga, meditation and walks in nature which helped keep me calm and reduced anxiety. Bringing myself back to centre also helped me control my negative emotions. I was acutely aware I did not want to project my fear and anxiety on others and did everything I could to manage and process my emotions in solitude and avoid taking things on other people. I apologise to anyone I took my anger out on last year. I am sorry;) 

Being surrounded by the right tribe. Energy is contagious and surrounding yourself with people who will lift you up and support you is key, but letting go of relationships that are no longer serving us is hard. In 2020, I had to let some relationships go. No hard feelings. It is what it is. We meet others to learn and grow but not everybody is meant to stay in your life. I have learnt not to force, push and try to fix things that maybe, at this moment in time, are not meant to be. The people that are meant to stay in your life, will stay or if they have only momentarily left, will return 😉

Authenticity. A year like 2020 certainly brings you to your knees. It has forced me to be more authentic, to be less of a people pleaser in search of validation and approval, to finally face certain things I’ve been avoiding or distracting myself from. I am no longer able to look away. I feel like the masks I have been wearing are coming off. Although I am still far from living in alignment, I am definitely striving daily to only keep things in my life that align with my values and goals. Lockdown helped/ forced 😉 me to turn even more inward by eliminating every distraction I surrounded myself with before the pandemic.

Responsibility. I have seen how much of what we do, we do unconsciously, automatically, without taking into account how it might affect others. We are quick to blame, judge, point fingers and criticise without pausing to examine how we might have contributed to problems we are now facing. We all want great things in our lives, but everything comes with its own set of positive and negative characteristics that we have to take responsibility for. I have tried to stop, not to react so quickly, to create a gap between the stimulus and my reaction and then if necessary respond. I am slowly trying to become more intentional, deliberate and responsible in my choices. More conscious.

There are more lessons I am sure but that’s all I have been inspired to share today 😉

Thank you to all my lovely students for making 2020, despite everything, beautiful and enriching. I love you 😉

Thank you for my new template Stu 😉

Thank you for inspiring me to write what I learnt in 2020 Vanesa E. 😉 and for sharing the podcast below.

Food for thought:

Job interview

Introduction:

These are two board game activities (one prim and proper and the other a bit on the cheeky side) to practise answering common job interview questions. They can be used together or separately, and are a great way to help students practise speaking, develop fluency and of course prepare for a potential job interview.

Level: B2+

Objectives:

  1. To practise answering common as well as bizzare job interview questions

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

A die and a timer if needed or wanted

Procedure:

  1. Divide the students into “interviewer(s)” and “interviewee(s)”and give them a copy of one of the board games and a die or simply share it on the screen if you are teaching online.
  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. The “interviewees” must then answer the question with as much detail as possible. Encourage “interviewers” to ask additional questions and make notes to be able to offer some constructive feedback at the end and also to help them decide who to “hire”.
  4. Allow 10/ 12 minutes for each interview and then ask students to either switch roles or interview a different applicant. Make sure however that all students get to play both roles and do a practice job interview at least once.
  5. At the end, ask students to say which answers they were impressed by and also to give others some constructive feedback to improve their next performance.

P.S. This post is dedicated to Javier. Best wishes for the interview(s).

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Ask a Q board game

Making small talk

Introduction:

These are two board games to practise the art of making small talk.  I have created two games with questions on the same topics but version A is for lower level students and version B for higher level students. Different font colours on the board correspond to different topics: work, sport, family, travelling, food and entertainment. This activity is a great way to help students practise speaking, develop fluency and prepare for exciting conversations with English speakers in the future.

Also I find these games extremely useful since most of us are now teaching online. You simply display a board game on the screen and that’s a speaking activity sorted for you. Do not forget to feed students new vocabulary and obviously draw their attention to mistakes. 

As always encourage students to ask each other additional questions and comment on each other’s responses. Do not let it be a monologue. I often tell students that if I asked them the same questions in a bar or outside the classroom, the conversation would flow much more naturally so aim towards that and have fun.

Level: A2

Objectives:

  1. To practise speaking about work, sport, family, travelling, food and entertainment.
  2. To master the elusive art of small talk. Sorry, the weather is not one of the options;)

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

  1. Making small talk A
  2. Making small talk B
  3. A die ( use an online dice roller) and a timer ( or no timer, play around and see what works for your group)

Procedure:

  1. Give students a copy of one of the board games or display it on the screen if you are using Zoom or any other platform. Choose the board game depending on the level of your students. 
  2. Tell students that they have just arrived at a party and they are about to start mingling. Of course all of them are trying to make a great impression on others, network or even find the love of their life 😉 so being a boring conversationalist simply will not do this time.
  3. The teacher now throws the dice twice – the first throw indicates which column they should use, and the second throw indicates which row, to obtain the question.
  4. The player(s)/ partygoers must then answer the question and provide their ¨classmates¨ with as much detail as possible. If you have a bigger group, split your students into pairs or small groups at this stage. Encourage students to ask additional questions and try to make sure the conversations don’t run dry too quickly. 
  5. When the teacher throws the dice again and moves on to the next question, the students could speak to someone else this time.  You don’t want them to be “stuck” in a corner for the rest of the “party” speaking to the same person.
  6. At the end, ask students to name people they would like to have another conversation with based on how well the previous one(s) went and how interestING and interestED the speaker(s) seemed to them.

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