This is a great activity I’ve taken part in at acting classes. It allows intermediate students to practise used to in a really entertaining way.
Level: B 1
- To write a short dialogue about students’ past habits using used to.
- To act out another pair’s dialogue.
- In pairs, ask students about some of the activities they used to do regularly when they were younger, e.g. in primary school, they used to go the beach every summer and they used to go round their friends’ house every weekend, etc.
- In the same pairs, students must imagine they are two childhood friends who have just bumped into each other and start talking about all the fun things they did together when they were younger.
- In pairs, students write a dialogue between the two friends giving specific examples of the things they did using the USED TO structure, e.g. Student A: Do you remember when we used to go to that body blitz dancing class? We used to have so much fun trying to follow the teacher’s instructions. She used to get very annoyed if I made a mistake and used to tell me to repeat the steps over and over again. Student B: Yes! That was so much fun. I used to be really scared of her. Oh, and do you remember when after class we always used to get fish and chips, we were so hungry. We used to sit on the grass, eat and just chat for hours.
- Once the students have described at least 5 activities that they used to do together, ask the first two pairs to sit in front of the whole class. Try to create some space for students to perform this next activity.
- Ask the first pair (Student A and B) to read out the dialogue. While they read, the second pair (Student A and B) must listen carefully and act out all the actions the first pair describe (Student A from the second pair acts out the actions mentioned by Student A in the first pair, Student B from the second pair acts out the actions mentioned by Student B in the first pair).
- Encourage the other students to pay close attention to both pairs and check that all the actions have been “correctly“acted out.
- Continue until all the pairs have read their dialogues and have had a chance to act out another pair’s dialogue.
P.S. Thank you again for all your help Alex.
This is a board game activity to practise -ed and –ing adjectives. Students think of activities they like and dislike and play a board game with their classmates.
Time: 40 minutes
- To practise the difference between the –ed and –ing adjectives.
- To answer questions with the –ed and –ing adjectives.
- Are you bored or just boring PDF board game, one per pair or a small group of 3 or 4.
- One die per pair or small group of 3 or 4.
- As a class, ask the students for one activity they enjoy, e.g. shopping, and one they dislike, e.g. cleaning – write them on either sides of the board. Ask them to think of adjectives to describe each activity and write them around the activity as they shout them out, e.g. shopping is entertaining, cleaning is boring, etc. Then ask them how these activities make them feel, e.g. shopping makes me feel entertained, cleaning makes me feel bored, etc. Consider using different colours of pens or different areas on the board to highlight the different adjective endings.
- In pairs, the students repeat the activity, thinking of three activities they enjoy and three they dislike, using adjectives to describe each activity and how it makes them feel.
- Monitor and correct as necessary.
- Put the students into new pairs or small groups of 3 or 4. Hand out Are you bored or just boring PDF board game and one die per pair or group.
- To obtain a question, the 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.
- The players have to speak for at least 1 minute and must answer the question using the adjective in bold.
- The game continues in a circle going left and until each student has answered at least 5 questions.
- At the end ask the students to name three new things they have learnt about their classmates from the game they have just played.
Are you bored or just boring PDF board game
Word formation station. Get off without trepidation.
Word formation station. Get off without trepidation. Part 2
Ask a Q board game
These are activities for intermediate students to review common verbs and prepositions. Students write their own examples in the table, compare with their partner and play a competitive card game.
Time: 45 minutes
- To review common verbs and prepositions.
- To use the verbs and prepositions in context whilst playing a fun card game.
- A grand (two-party) coalition! Worksheet A, one per student.
- A grand (two-party) coalition! Worksheet B, one per pair or small group, cut up.
- Hand each student ‘A grand (two-party) coalition! Worksheet A’.
- Individually, students write their own examples for the verbs and prepositions in the table, e.g. apply for a job.
- When the students have finished, they compare their answers with a partner.
- Check the answers and clarify meaning as a class.
- Put students in teams of 3 or 4.
- Print and cut out the cards from ‘A grand (two-party) coalition! Worksheet B’, one set per group. Shuffle and place all cards face down on the table.
- The first player takes a card from the pile and reads what is written on the card, e.g. to apply or for.
- All players must now come up with the correct missing preposition or verb and use it correctly in a sentence. Make sure the students write down the sentences to avoid misunderstanding.
- The students get 1 point if the sentence is correct and 2 points if the sentence is correct AND they use a different example from the other players, e.g.:
- He applied for a job in Bath last week. 1 point
- I would love to apply for a job in Poland. 1 point
- He applied for a teaching post at Norwich University last year. 2 points
- The player with the highest number of points wins.
A grand (two-party) coalition! Worksheet A
A grand (two-party) coalition! Worksheet B
P.S. Good luck today Alex.
This is a role-play to practise the structure of ‘have something done’. Students have bumped into an old friend and are trying to arrange a meeting but, unfortunately, they seem to be too busy having their eyebrows waxed and their coats dry cleaned to meet up with their friend.
Level: B1 +
Time: 45 minutes
- To clarify and reinforce the structure have something done.
- To do a role-play to practise and increase confidence in the correct use of have something done.
- What a lame excuse PDF worksheet
- Give the students the PDF worksheet and ask them to individually separate the expressions in Exercise 1 into two groups: things they are able to do themselves and things they would have to ask or pay someone to do for them.
- In pairs, ask the students to compare their lists.
- Explain and clarify the difference between to do something yourself and to have something done for you.
- Students work individually to complete the table (Exercise 2) with all the things they will need to have done the following week, e.g. have their car fixed, have their coat dry cleaned, etc. Tell them to leave three squares empty.
- Tell the students they have just bumped into an old friend from school who is only in town until Friday.
- The students have to check their schedule to see if they can squeeze their friend in. Student A: So lovely to see you again. Fancy a cup of coffee Tuesday morning? Student B: Oh my goodness. That would be lovely but I’m having my eyebrows waxed. How about in the evening? Student A: Oh no. I’m afraid I’m having my teeth checked.
- Students are only allowed to offer their friend 3 options (they don’t want to seem desperate after all!) before they switch pairs.
- When the students have spoken to at least 3 people in the classroom, ask them how many friends they have managed to squeeze into their busy schedules.
- Students write down 5 things they would be happy to pay for, e.g. to have their house cleaned every week, and 5 things they would rather do themselves to save money, e.g. to paint the walls in their house.
What a lame excuse! Worksheet
P.S. This post is dedicated to Alex who has recently discovered the joys of essentialism.
This is a crossword puzzle you can do with intermediate + students to review past simple irregular verbs. All the clues together form a description of my own birthday a few years ago, which makes the activity more personal. Students solve the puzzle individually, compare with their classmates and describe their own birthday or any other special event in their lives.
Time: 40 minutes
- To review irregular verbs.
- To complete a crossword puzzle with past simple irregular verbs.
- To describe a special occasion using the verbs from the crossword puzzle.
- Elicit examples of special occasions from the students, e.g. graduation, Christmas, wedding anniversary, birthday, etc.
- Explain that you are going to give them a description of your best birthday but they will have to complete the story with the missing verbs.
- Give students worksheet A and ask them to first read all of the clues (1 to 20) to give them context and to help them with completing the sentences.
- Students work individually to complete the crossword using the clues.
- In pairs, ask them to compare their answers.
- If the students are struggling at this stage, give them a list of all 20 infinitive verbs (on the answer worksheet) in random order and encourage them to keep trying. The students I have done this crossword with became very engaged and loved the challenge.
- Check and provide feedback.
Fast finishers / homework idea:
- Students choose ten irregular verbs from the crossword and describe their best birthday ever.
Time to keep up with the times
Summary of past or recent events
This is a fun, competitive board game for small groups of 3 or 4 players to review the time expressions used with past simple and present perfect tenses.
Time: 45 minutes
- To reach the end of the board with the highest number of points by forming questions or affirmative and negative sentences whilst using the time expressions written on the cards.
- 48 printable cards, one per group of 3 or 4.
- 1 board, 1 die and 3 or 4 checkers per group of 3 or 4.
How to play:
- Print and cut out the cards, one set per group of 3 or 4, and place in three piles (Qs, As & Ns) face down on the table.
- The players take it in turns to throw the die and move the number thrown.
- When a player lands on a Q, A or N square they take the top card from the corresponding pile and create a Question or Affirmative or Negative sentence using the time expression on that card. For example, Q: Have you ever ridden an elephant before? A: I’ve ridden a donkey twice. N: I haven’t ridden a camel this week. If the player uses the correct tense with the expression given they receive a point. The card is then placed at the bottom of the pile.
- Play continues in a circle going left.
- Monitor and write down the mistakes the players make and offer them an opportunity at the end of the game to correct them. They receive additional points for each mistake they correct.
- The winner is the player with the highest number of points for correct sentences.
P.S. Thank you for your helpful feedback Kate. I really appreciate it.
Best birthday ever
Summary of past or recent events
This is a role play for intermediate + students to review past modals. Students have upset someone important in their lives by doing, or not doing, something important and they must think of excuses to defend themselves.
- To review and correctly use past modals in context.
- To practise pronunciation of contracted verbs ‘should have’, ‘could have’ and ‘would have’.
Printable cards: print and cut out one set
- Review uses and form of ‘should have’, ‘could have’ and ‘would have’. Draw attention to the pronunciation.
- In pairs, students decide on their roles – student A is angry, student B is guilty.
- Student B takes a card with the description of their wrongdoing. They must place themselves in the situation and briefly describe what they have done to student A, e.g. ‘I am so sorry I didn’t call you last night, but I was out with friends and my battery died.’
- Student A is annoyed and must use ‘should have’, ‘could have’ and ‘would have’ in the discussion, e.g. You should’ve charged your phone before you left home. You could’ve looked for an internet café and emailed me. I would’ve have done anything in my power to get in touch with you.
- Student B must defend themselves, e.g. ‘The electricity went off and I couldn’t charge my phone!’, until student A has given at least 3 examples using ‘should’ve’, ‘could’ve’ or ‘would’ve’ done.
- Monitor and offer feedback. Students swap roles and repeat with a different situation.
- When the students have finished, ask them to choose their most interesting exchange to write as a dialogue and perform to the other students.
P.S. Stu, you really should’ve cut up the cards before the class the other day 🙂
P.S. Thank you Alex. I couldn’t have done it without you.
P.S. Thank you Stu. Without you putting me in a bit of a sticky situation in December, I would have procrastinated even more.