4 elements

Introduction:

This is an activity to introduce and practise idioms with the elements: air, earth, fire and water. Students first complete the expressions with the missing words, match the idioms to their definitions, complete the sentences in Exercise 2 and then decide if these sentences are true for me, the teacher. I came up with my own examples to personalise the activity. You could do the same or simply ask students to decide if the sentences are true for them.

Level: B2

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To increase familiarity and correct use of idioms with air, earth, fire and water.
  2. To match the idioms to their definitions.
  3. To complete the sentences with the missing idioms and then decide if the sentences are true for the teacher or the students themselves.

Materials:

  1. 4 elements Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Hand out a copy of 4 elements Worksheet and ask students to complete the expressions with the words air, earth, fire and water. When they are finished ask them to compare with their classmate(s).
  2. 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 answers, to try and convince others they are correct.
  3. 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.
  4. Check together as a class.
  5. When the students have finished, ask them to complete sentences in Exercise 2 with the missing idioms.
  6. When they have finished, ask them to swap their sheets with a partner and peer correct.
  7. Check together as a class.
  8. Next students look at the sentences and try to decide which of them are true for their teacher (you can obviously use my examples but I would encourage you to come up with your own to make it more personal). Encourage students to give reasons for their choices to keep the conversation going, e.g. I think number 3 is correct. Karolina is constantly talking about her sister and all the things they do together. I imagine they must have a great relationship and get on like a house on fire.
  9. When they are finished ask them to ask you questions to check if they were correct, using the new expressions, e.g. Are you still up in the air about where to go on holiday in July? This also gives you the chance to correct and for students to yet again recycle the idioms.

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.

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P.S. “Some women are lost in the fire. Some women are built from it.” ― Michelle K.

What a zoo

Introduction:

This is an activity to introduce and practise animal idioms. Students first answer a few questions, complete the idioms with the missing animals, match them to their definitions and answer some questions using the target language. Although the activity is quite hard I have done it with many different levels and by encouraging, providing the right scaffolding and guiding my students I managed to keep them going despite the difficulty.

Level: B2

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To increase familiarity and correct use of animal idioms.
  2. To match the idioms to their definitions.
  3. To answer questions containing the target language in pairs.

Materials:

  1. What a zoo Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Hand out each student a copy of What a zoo Worksheet.
  2. Tell students to, in pairs, answer questions in Exercise 1.
  3. Next ask students to complete the idioms with the missing animals. Bear 🙂 in mind that they will not know the majority of the expressions, but resist the urge to give them the answers. In one group I had all the students working relentlessly to try and come up with the right answers by applying logic, giving examples in their mother tongue (Spanish) until eventually they got ALL the answers right. It was an absolute pleasure to watch them and guide them. I have to add that I have an unshakeable belief in my students’ abilities and they can clearly sense it and as a result often are happy to deal with tasks that, initially, seem far too hard for them. With time however the VAST majority accepts the responsibility for their own learning in my classroom and they try and work things out for themselves.
  4. Check together as a class. Again here I always ask EVERYONE to compare FIRST rather than list the right answers. At this stage people often have some mistakes and if they do, there is usually someone in the classroom who is able to peer correct. It makes students so much more confident when you show them they can do it without your help but you are always present to provide the support and guidance if they are at a loss.
  5. Ask the students to match the idioms to their definitions. Again students work in pairs to encourage cooperation and show them how much they can learn from each other and that the teacher is NOT the only source of knowledge in the classroom. I don’t want my students to ever become too dependent on me. I value autonomy greatly and try to help them develop tools to be as independent of me as possible.
  6. Check together as a class.
  7. When the students have finished, ask them to look at the questions in Exercise 3 and first try and write down the animal idioms that match the definitions in bold. I encourage them to do it from memory first as it’s a great way to start recycling vocabulary and make them think and engage. I often turn these exercises into mini competitions to add some excitement.
  8. When they have finished, ask them to compare with their partner. Again comparing never means mindlessly looking through each other’s answers but justifying your choices which is always a great extra speaking activity and an opportunity to use the idioms again and again.
  9. Students now answer the questions in pairs or small groups using the animal idioms as often as possible.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to draw four expressions they have learnt in class in their notebooks.

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P.S. Happy Birthday Natalusia.

 

All hands on deck, kids

Introduction:

This is an activity to introduce and practise transport idioms. Students complete the idioms with the missing words, match the idioms to their definitions, do a few vocabulary games and later interview their classmates.

Level: B2+

Time: 60 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To present students with transport idioms.
  2. To complete the idioms in Exercise 1 with the missing transport words.
  3. To match the idioms to their definitions.
  4. To answer questions containing the target vocabulary in pairs or small groups.

Materials:

  1. All hands on deck, kids Worksheet, one per student.

Procedure:

  1. Ask students to briefly discuss their favourite/ least favourite means of transport.
  2. Hand out a copy of All hands on deck, kids Worksheet and ask students to individually complete the idioms in Exercise 1 with the missing transport words. There are two extra words to make the activity slightly more challenging.
  3. When the students have finished, ask them to compare in small groups and then check together as a class.
  4. Next students match the idioms to their definitions on the right. When the students have finished, ask them to compare in small groups again and then check together as a class.
  5. Clarify meaning if necessary.
  6. Divide the students in small groups (2 or 3 students in each group).
  7. One student from each group draws one of the expressions on the board and the players from the other teams try to guess what the expression is. Each team only has two opportunities to guess. Ensure ALL the students have had an opportunity to draw an idiom (you might have to do 2 or 3 rounds depending on the number of students on each team). Each team receives 1 point for a correctly identified expression.
  8. Next, the students take it in turns to act out the expressions silently, with the players from other teams trying to guess the idiom.
  9. Then, the students describe the expressions using THREE WORDS only (thank you Alex) but must not use any of the words that are in the expressions.
  10. Finally, in their teams of two or three, ask the students to complete the idioms in Exercise 2. Tell them to fold the paper so they do the exercise from memory. I gave one point to the team who finished first and one point to the team who completed all the idioms correctly.
  11. When the students have finished, ask them to discuss the questions 1-12, Exercise 2 in pairs.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to write down as many expressions as they can remember without looking at the paper.

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Money Money Money

Introduction: 

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

Level: B2

Time: 70 minutes

Objectives:

  1. To introduce phrasal verbs related to money.
  2. To try and define the phrasal verbs using the context provided.
  3. To match the phrasal verbs to their definitions.
  4. To answer and ask questions about money whilst playing a board game.

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

  1. Money Money Money Worksheet and Board game, one per student.

Procedure

  1. Write ‘“Money often costs too much” Ralph Waldo Emersonon the boardAsk students to discuss the quote in pairs and give examples from their own lives, books, films etc.
  2. Hand the students Money Money Money Worksheet.
  3. In pairs, students try to first define the phrasal verbs (in bold) without looking at the definitions. Monitor and encourage students to keep trying but do not give them correct answers at this stage. The majority of my students managed to get 80% of the answers right, just from context.
  4. Individually, students match the definitions (a-l) of the phrasal verbs in sentences 1 to 12 and write them down in the spaces provided.
  5. When the students have finished, they compare their answers with a partner.
  6. Check the answers as a class.
  7. Next put the students in groups of 2 or 3, and give them a copy of Money Money Money board game and a die.
  8. Players must first complete the empty squares with phrasal verbs. Each player describes a situation with a particular phrasal verb in mind but without using the phrasal verb itself, e.g. Last week I went shopping and I spent a huge amount of money in Lush and Body Shop. I just couldn’t resist all those deliciously smelling potions and concoctions. When the other student(s) guess the phrasal verb is splash out they all write it down in the same square. Students continue until they have filled in all the squares. It’s a great way to start recycling vocabulary and personalising the activity straight away.
  9. Now 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.
  10. 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 ever been ripped off?
  11. The game continues in the circle going left.
  12. At the end, ask students what they found out about their classmates.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to write down some money tips/ financial advice for other students using the phrasal verbs studied, e.g.  Make sure you put some money aside each month.

P.S. Happy Birthday Queen B. I love you.

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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.

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P.S. Thank you Alex.

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

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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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