This is good for prepositions and the imperative at the A1-B1 levels.
- Choose a short story or easy joke. Type it and cut it into strips. You can decide how many strips but 5-10 is usually good. Hide/tape the strips in various places in the room (or if the learners are allowed to leave the room, hide them in places near the room outside). Write clues on the slips as you hide them. For example: Go to the window and look under the sill for #2. Walk to the door and open it. Look over the door to find #3 etc.
- Put the learners in pairs and explain they are going to look for the clues. NB you should have enough stories/jokes/texts for each pair! Otherwise they would all run to the same place at the same time.
- Once they have all the parts, they should go back to their desks and write it out (or glue/tape it together if it is a longer text).
1-1: This exercise can work for 1-1 lessons as described with the learner doing it alone.
This is a good exercise to introduce the present perfect simple for recently completed events. It’s best at the B2-C1 level.
- Choose two version of the same scene (google: find the difference images) or draw two simple versions of a house/office etc.
- Show the class the first picture and elicit what needs to be repaired, replaced or what other work needs to be done (the lawn needs to be mowed etc.).
- Then take the first image away and show the second where several things have changed (very recently). Elicit the changes by asking “What work has been done?”. TIP: you may want to include a person in the picture and give them a name. Elicit: “Thomas has mowed the lawn.” etc. OR you can focus on passive. Learners may need some prompting to come up with “The lawn has been mowed, The window has been repaired”.
- At some point they may ask questions about the form. Board the form using an example from the picture. Elicit the meaning and use through Concept Checking Questions.
Follow-up: As home practice have the learners find or draw two images. Ask them to write 10 true/false questions about picture B. When they bring them to class, they show the first picture for 1 minute. Then remove picture 1, then show picture 2 for 1 minute and then remove it. Then they quiz their classmates with their T/F questions (awarding points for each correct answer).
1-1: The activity works well for 1-1 as described above.
This activity is best for B1-C2 levels after vocabulary for food and cooking has been introduced. I even use it with business clients when we discuss entertaining and explaining local dishes to guests.
- Create cards with various ingredients and also cooking utensils.
- Put the learners in pairs and give them some cards (say 6 ingredients and 4 utensils). Explain they are going to have a cooking competition using these ingredients and utensils.
- The learners look at the cards and discuss what kind of “new” recipe they want to create. After a few minutes of discussion, ask them to write the recipe out.
- Then swap partners and they describe their dish/recipe/cooking procedure and utensils to their new partner. This step can be repeated until everyone has heard everyone’s recipe.
Alternative: have the learners present their recipes to the class as a whole. Vote on the recipe that sounds the tastiest, craziest, yuckiest etc.
This is a very simple but effective exercise to practice anything from shapes and patterns to people and homes or even for prepositions.
- After introducing the target vocabulary, have the learners work in pairs. Each will need 2 pieces of paper.
- Tell them to draw the thing they should describe (if you are just practicing shapes, make them draw shapes of different sizes in different places on their paper, they can overlap or be inside each other etc.). They should work in a way so their partner can not see. Alternatively, you can draw and photocopy designs and give them to the pairs.
- Now they have to describe it to their partner who draws what they hear. You may need to give more language like: in the top right corner/bottom left corner etc.
- Then they compare the pictures.
- Repeat with the other partner describing.
1-1: This works well in 1-1 as described above with the trainer as one of the partners.
This is a relatively easy exercise to understand but can be used at all levels.
- Print several flags to countries you think the learners don’t know and distribute them to the learners. They should not show their flag to their classmates.
- As homework tell them to find out which country the flag belongs to. Then have them read about the country. For low levels suggest “simple wikipedia” instead of the normal one. Also encourage them to watch youtube videos about the country or browse newspaper articles (google search the NEWS tab and the country). They can make some notes about the country.
- In the next lesson, ask each learner to show their flag. The other learners should ask any questions (other than What country is it?) to get more information. For lower levels you can elicit/board some question prompts such as “Is it in Asia/Europe/Africa/South America?/Do the people speak English?/Is it cold/hot/wet/dry? etc.
- Once they have guessed the flag, the person who researched can give any additional information they learned about the country.
- Optional follow up: Have the learners write a text about the country, this could be a) a summary b) a comparison to their own country or c) another topic related to the country
1-1: This activity can be adapted in that you should give the learner several flags (3-4) and follow instructions as above. The trainer should also participate with 3-4 flags.
This activity is good freer practice for A1-A2 levels especially when teaching comparatives and/or superlatives.
- Find/draw and print images of three things that are similar, e.g. 2/3 cartoon rabbits, flowers, people, vehicles etc. Print the three images on one page. NB use 2 for comparative and 3 for superlative.
- Put the learners in pairs. Explain that one partner will have 2/3 images. This partner will not show the images to their partner, but will describe the images. The other partner should draw what they hear. They can also ask questions. NB For lower levels I elicit the formula before the activity:
- 1 syllable adjective + er
- 2 syllable adjective with y = ier
- more + 2 syllable or more adjectives
- For higher levels add the superlatives and even “not as… as” etc.
- Allow the learners to begin. Circle and help with vocabulary and grammar as necessary.
- When finished have the learners compare the originals to the drawings.
- If there is time you can swap roles (though usually one round is OK for this activity)
1-1: Use as above. The trainer is the describer. Otherwise, get the learner to quickly draw 2/3 images and then describe them to the trainer.
This is a version of a game I read about on the British Council’s teaching page (with a few changes). It’s good for B1-C1 levels, especially for questions and tenses.
- Choose a video clip from youtube or a DVD etc (or a photo/photos) of a crime taking place. Show the clip (with or without sound) to half the class. These are the eyewitnesses. The other half of the class are police officers.
- The “police officers” should prepare (in pairs) questions that they can ask the eyewitnesses while the eyewitnesses are watching the clip (send the police officers out of the room). Allow a few minutes for eyewitnesses to discuss what they watched in the scene (and help with vocabulary as necessary).
- Pair up on police officer with one eyewitness. The police officers interview the eyewitnesses and gather as much information as possible. The police officers should take notes (and draw the crime scene if appropriate).
- Then have the police officers write up a “police report” and have the eyewitnesses check it for accuracy (either in pairs or as a whole class).
1-1: This activity works for 1-1 as described above. The trainer can take the role of either the eyewitness or the police officer.