This is a fun activity to review the most common collocations with break, come, keep and pay. Students divide the expressions into four groups and then play a board game where, if they manage to complete a sentence with the right verb correctly, they add either an O or an X to the board until they line up 6 symbols in a row. I currently use the stamps available in Zoom, stars and hearts, which actually makes the board look very pretty and if a student makes a mistake I stamp the square/ field with a cross ( I put the stamps in the bottom right hand corner).
Time: 45-60 minutes
- To practise and review common collocations with break, come, keep and pay.
- To divide expressions into four categories: ones that collocate with break, come, keep and pay.
- To complete a sentence with the correct verb: break, come, keep or pay and line up 6 symbols (O or X) in a row.
- To answer a question containing the target language.
Materials (Click on the worksheets below to download the PDF file):
- Keep calm and wash your hands Worksheet
- Keep calm and wash your hands Board game
- Elicit some common collocations with break, come, keep and pay and write them on the board e.g. break a leg, come to an agreement, keep a secret or pay the price.
- Put students in small groups of 2 or 3 and give each group Keep calm and wash your hands Worksheet.
- To make the activity more competitive, tell students that the first group to complete the task correctly wins or you could give them a point for each correct answer. Much better.
- Monitor and check answers as a class. As an alternative you could do the exercise together with the class, depending on the level of your students. I went through all the phrases with my students making sure they were clear on what each expression meant.
- Divide the students into teams ( if you have a small group or just one student they can of course play individually) and hand out Keep calm and wash your hands board game to each team or simply display it on the screen if you are using Zoom.
- To see who starts do rock, paper, scissors. Whoever wins chooses the square they want to start with. Next the player(s) completes the sentence with the missing verb (break, come, keep or pay). I have put smiley faces where the verbs should be to make the board look nice and chirpy. 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. Since I have been using Zoom I have actually inserted predefined icons (a star and a heart) when I played with my students as it looked cleaner and much cuter on the screen than an O or an X . You can find the stamps in the annotation tools when you start screen sharing. Also as the students complete the sentences make sure they use the right form of the verb (they could get additional points for that) and of course answer the question. Encourage them to use the collocation in their answer and avoid a simple yes or a no.
- At home ask students to choose five questions from the board ( preferably with the expressions that were brand new to them) and answer them in writing.
Make or do? Have no clue 😦
Go Get ‘em tiger!
Do, make, have or take? An instant headache
P.S. A massive thank you to my friend Stu, a genius creator of my new templates. I love them and I love you too potato head.
This is an activity to introduce and practise idioms with the word HEART. Students first match the expressions to their definitions, divide them into 2 categories and then answer the questions and discuss their responses with their classmates.
Time: 60 minutes
- To increase familiarity and correct use of idioms with the word HEART.
- To develop fluency and answer questions containing the target language in pairs.
- It is only with the heart that one can see rightly Worksheet, one per student or display it on the screen for everyone to see.
- Hand out or display a copy of “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.” Worksheet and ask students to briefly discuss the quote from The Little Prince at the top of the page.
- Next go to Exercise 1 and ask students to go through the facts about a human heart and choose the one they were most surprised by and compare their opinions with their classmates. Mine were surprised that a woman’s heart beats faster. Any idea why?
- Tell them to, on the word GO, scan the expressions on the left in Exercise 2 and try to, as fast as they can, find the one body part that completes all expressions. At this stage it should be quite obvious what the word is so the students won’t take too long to guess the right answer.
- Next ask students to match the idioms on the left to the definitions on the right.
- Ask them to compare with their classmates before you check together as a class. I always encourage students to defend their choices and justify their answers and quite often I won’t give them correct answers until they all agree and provide me with identical answers. More often than not they manage to get the majority of their answers right. Just don’t give in too quickly when they start complaining that it is too hard (which they always initially do). Confidently explain that it is an opportunity for them to learn from their classmates or maybe to teach their classmates something. Also show them how much they can deduce and guess on their own before you spoon-feed them the answers.
- Next ask the students to divide the expressions into two categories: ones they associate with positive experiences and feelings and ones they have a negative association with. In class today I asked students to read out the idioms they put in the “positive” and “negative” section but only discussed the ones that they decided to put “in the middle” or the ones that they disagreed on with their classmates.
- When the students have finished, go to Exercise 4 and from memory try to correct the mistakes in red. I tried to think of words that have something in common with the words used in the actual idioms to give students some clues. You could try and turn it into a competition and ask students to do it individually or in small teams.
- When you are finished students answer the questions.
- If you have had no time to discuss all questions in class ask students to answer a couple of them in writing.
Food for thought:
Why not encourage your students to practise their listening skills with this great audio book:
P.S. This post is dedicated to my BIG prince:)
Home sweet home
I spy with my little eye
Cats & Dogs
What a zoo
There is no place like…school
Ups and downs
Somewhere over the rainbow
This is an activity for lower intermediate students to review some of the most common mistakes they make. The students correct the mistakes individually, write sentences that are true for them and interview their partners. The mistakes in the exercise are genuine mistakes made by my own students during Continuously present and How well do you know your folks? activities.
Time: 45 minutes
- To identify and correct common mistakes made by lower intermediate students.
- To practice changing statements into questions.
- To develop fluency and confidence in speaking.
Materials (Click on the worksheet below to download the PDF file):
- Can you see the error of your ways sequel worksheet, one per student, per pair or a small team.
- On the left hand side of the board, write I have 2 childrens and in pairs, or groups of three, ask students to highlight the error and correct it.
- When they have finished, ask them what the error was and underline it on the board. To the right of the sentence, ask them to write their correct sentences on the board. Go through them together as a class and ask which statement is true for them e.g. I don’t have any children, I have one child, I have two children etc.
- Then, in their pairs or individually, ask the students to change the statement from the second column into a question, e.g. Do you have any children? How many children do you have? Write on the board to the right of the correct sentences.
- Clarify understanding and explain any incorrect suggestions.
- Give each student Can you see the error of your ways sequel… or display it on the screen if you are using Zoom and individually ask students to circle the mistakes in sentences 1 to 10.
- When they have finished, check together as a class.
- Individually, students then write correct sentences in the second column, making each statement true for them, as per the example ( if you are using Zoom ask students to make notes on a piece of paper and when they are finished copy the examples on the board).
- Check together as a class.
- Individually, ask the students to change the statements from the first column into questions and write them down in the third column, as per the example.
- Monitor closely. When they have finished, they check the answers with a partner.
- Explain any mistakes on the board.
- Then, put students into pairs, or groups of three, and ask them to interview each other using the questions.
- If students need more practice, ask them to switch pairs / groups and repeat the process.
- Ask students to write down 4 things they have learned about their classmates.
Make no mistake
Correct me if I am wrong
I will make better mistakes tomorrow
Blah Blah PET Part 1
Can you see the error of your ways?
Bid it 2 Win it FCE Sentence Auction
Bid it 2 Win it Sentence Auction
My favourite mistakes card game
This is a free board game to practise/revise active and passive voice in an entertaining way. Students change passive-voice sentences to active voice sentences or active-voice sentences to passive voice sentences. If they manage to do it correctly, they add either an O or an X to the board until they line up 6 symbols in a row.
Time: 30 – 45 minutes
- To revise passive and active voice.
- To change a passive voice sentence to an active voice sentence or an active voice sentence to a passive voice sentence and line up 6 symbols (O or X) in a row.
Materials (Click on the worksheet below to download the PDF file):
- Active noughts passive crosses board game one per team.
- Divide the students into teams and hand out Active noughts & passive crosses board game to each team or simply display it on the screen if you are using Zoom. If you have smaller groups students can also play individually.
- To see who starts do rock, paper, scissors. Whoever wins chooses the square they want to start with. Next the player(s) turns the sentence from active into passive voice or passive into active voice (the sentences in the dark blue squares are active-voice sentences and the ones in light blue squares are passive-voice sentences. 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. Since I have been using Zoom I have actually inserted predefined icons ( a star and a heart) when I played with my students as it looked cleaner and much cuter on the screen than an O or an X . You can find the stamps in the annotation tools when you start screen sharing.
- 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 transform the sentences in all the squares without an icon into either a passive or an active voice sentence.
Two-round boxing match
This is a board game for A2+ students to review present simple and see how much they really know about their parents☺. You could send the game to the students beforehand to give them a chance to gather some information about their parents before the class. Students answer questions about BOTH parents and move around the board based on the grammatically correct answers they give.
Time: 45 minutes
- To review present simple affirmative and negative forms.
- To answer questions about students’ parents.
- To beat other players, of course, by reaching the end of the game first.
Materials (Click on the worksheet below to download the PDF files):
- How well do you know your folks board game
- How well do you know your folks? is played by 2 to 4 players.
- Give students a copy of How well do you know your folks board game or display it on the screen if you are using Zoom.
- To see who starts do rock, paper, scissors. If you have more than three players do rock, paper, scissors until there is only one person left. Whoever wins answers the first question first: Do they often arrive home late? Example answer: My mother never arrives home late. She arrives home at the same time every day. My father arrives home at different times, sometimes at 6 and sometimes at 8. All the players must answer the question from that square but DO NOT correct any sentences until all the players have finished. The players get one point for each correct sentence (one about the mother, one about the father). If the player receives two points they move 2 spaces, if they receive 1 point they move one space only, but if they have made mistakes in two sentences they stay on the same square and answer the same question in the next round. Encourage learners to give you a slightly different answer to the same question to avoid mindless repetition e.g. She arrives home just after lunch, whereas my father doesn’t arrive until 8. The only requirement is for the learner to use the verbs in affirmative and negative sentences correctly. Of course take this opportunity to correct other mistakes too and “feed” students new vocabulary. When I did this activity with my students, I introduced some compare & contrast linking expressions e.g. as well as, too, also; but, however, while. You could give students an extra point for using one of the linking expressions correctly e.g. My mother arrives home after lunch , but my father doesn’t arrive home until 8.
- The winner is the player who reaches “End” first.
- At the end, ask the students to choose three questions and elaborate on them in writing.
Brace yourselves. Phrasal verbs r bk
Single and ready to mingle
And the Oscar goes to…(Joaquin Phoenix pretty please)
Triple treat makes a comeback
Time to keep up with the times
So, what brings you here?
Also have a look at one of my activities that has recently been published on onestopenglish 😉
P.S. This post is dedicated to my mother Bogumiła and my father Robert. Kocham Was.
This is a free board game to talk about films ( what a coincidence right?). Students can choose ONE of the Oscar winning films (e.g. Forrest Gump, A Beautiful Mind, Gladiator, Chicago, The Godfather and whoever wins this year) and discuss it or refer to a different film each time they land on a question, but I guess it would be more interesting to stick to one film ONLY and discuss it in DEPTH. You could ask students which films they’ve seen before the activity and encourage them to watch at least one of the films you are going to discuss in class.
- To talk about films because the Oscars start in about 5 hours, so I guess that is a good enough reason.
Materials (Click on the worksheet below to download the PDF files):
- And the Oscar goes to board game
- Ask the students if they have seen any of the Academy Award nominated films this year and if so ask them to briefly tell you which films they have liked best.
- Put the students in pairs or groups and give them a copy of And the Oscar goes to…and a die and ask them to first decide which film they are going to discuss.
- 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.
- The players now answer the questions in pairs or small groups and in as much detail as possible.
- At the end, ask the students to write a short review of their favourite film.
Bookworms & Film Buffs
Lights, camera, action! Speaking activity
Lights, camera, action! Wordsearch
Also please check out all my other board games. There are over 30 of them on the blog.
These are activities for upper intermediate students to introduce and practise idioms related to communication. Students unscramble the expressions, match them with the correct definitions and answer some questions in pairs.
Time: 60 minutes
- To introduce communication idioms and expressions.
- To unscramble communication idioms and expressions.
- To match the expressions with their definitions.
- To practise the new expressions whilst interviewing their partners.
- All talk and no cider, one per student.
- Put students in pairs and ask them to briefly discuss the following questions: What makes it easy to talk to someone? Who is the best conversationalist you have ever met? What percentage of a conversation do you spend talking? What do people do that drives you crazy in a conversation? How can you improve your conversation skills?
- Hand students All talk and no cider Worksheet. In pairs, students try to order the idioms to discover what the correct expressions are (bring order to chaos). Bear in mind that they will not know the majority of the expressions, but resist the urge to give them the answers. My students usually work relentlessly to try and come up with the right answers until eventually they get the majority of them right.
- Check the answers as a class.
- Now the students, in pairs again, match the expressions with 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 as possible.
- Check the answers as a class. I always ask EVERYONE to compare FIRST rather than list the right answers. 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.
- When the students have finished, ask them to look at the questions in Exercise 2 and first try and write down the 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. Last time I did this exercise the students thought I was insane and asked for the impossible, but as soon as they started, they saw that they remembered more than the thought and the majority managed to complete the task PERFECTLY and almost entirely from memory.
- Students now answer the questions in pairs or small groups using the communication idioms as often as possible.
- Ask students to choose expressions that best describe them and in writing justify their answers.
You talkin’ to me?
Clothes do (not) make the man
Ups and downs
Stop beating around the bush
Nothing changes if nothing changes
P.S. This post pays homage to cider, cabrales, rich homemade almond turrón and of course Kompacho.