Vocabulary Quiz from the Learners

I use this exercise with any level from B1-C2. I usually use it with a text, for example an article.

  1. After doing an interactive lead-in to the topic and prediction questions based on the headline, distribute the text/article.
  2. As homework have the learners read the text (if it is long, break it into sections and one group reads one section).
  3. Then they should create a vocabulary quiz (including collocations, phrasal verbs, idioms etc.). The quiz can take various forms and they are allowed to choose:
    1. match the definition to the word (they get the definitions from a dictionary)
    2. find the word in the text with this definition… (from a dictionary)
    3. gap fill (they type a sentence from the text and leave one word/phrase out)
    4. label the diagram with words from the text (they bring a diagram)
    5. broken collocations (match the first part of the collocation to the second part)
    6. etc.
  4. I usually limit it to 5 or 10 words. The learners are already familiar with these exercises from me, books, workbooks and worksheets from the training, so remind them to look at those for inspiration.
  5. They bring enough copies for everyone in class.
  6. You can do the quizzes as a straight up “test” or I like to make a game out of it. Give them a few minutes alone (or in pairs if weaker) if needed or do it spontaneously for stronger learners. Then “Who has number 4 on Maria’s quiz?” and give a point to the first team to correctly answer it.

It’s great to see them create these quizzes. Once they are strong on the vocabulary, of course we return to the actual text and then do various discussion/comprehension activities.

Disappearing Dialog

This is great for A1-A2 levels. It works on vocabulary, pronunciation, phrases… The dialog should be a “typical” one, like introducing oneself, in a cafe/restaurant, asking about someone’s family etc.

  1. choose or write a dialog on the white board.
  2. Check that the learners understand the dialog (use CCQ etc.).
  3. Then practice the pronunciation with simple choral and individual repetition of each sentence as a whole.
  4. Put them in pairs and have them read the dialog with one person A and the other B.
  5. Then have them switch roles.
  6. Now, go to the board and erase about one word per line. Repeat the process.
  7. Again, erase another word per line and repeat.
  8. This continues until there is no dialog at all on the whiteboard, only A: B: .
  9. Finally ask the pairs to demonstrate the dialog to the whole class.

Tip: the dialogs can’t be too long. About 6 lines (3 per person) is good, not more than 10 lines (5 per person).

1-1: This can work for 1-1 as well just as described. The language trainer takes on one of the roles.

Folding Stories

This is something I used to do with my friends back home. It is best for levels from A2-C2. As the teacher, you should also take part!

  1. Give each participant a page with one sentence at the top (a different sentence for each sheet), such as: Bob had a problem at work./An old woman named Martha needed help./Sarah received an email with the best news of her life.
  2. Allow the learners to read their sentence and explain that they will write the next sentence under the original sentence.
  3. Then, everyone should fold the paper in such a way that only their sentence is visible.
  4. They then pass their paper to their left. When they receive the new sheet, they read the visible sentence (again ONLY THE LAST SENTENCE), they continue the story for that sheet.
  5. The process repeats for a certain period of time or until the sheets are full.
  6. Finally, the learners open the sheets and read their stories out loud to the group. Some of the stories will be quite funny, others strange, but everyone enjoys hearing them!

1-1 Adaptation: this exercise does not work for 1-1 situations at all. There need to be a minimum of 3 people who write.

Vocabulary Tic Tac Toe (noughts and crosses)

My learners love this review of vocabulary. It can be used at all levels from A1-C2.

  1. Ask the learners to look at their notes for the last few lessons and write down 8 words (you can make this more or fewer) on a slips of paper you distribute.
  2. Collect the slips of paper and lay 9 of them in front of you on the table (make sure there are no doubles). This is for your reference so you remember which words are in which box. Alternatively, just draw a board on a piece of paper for yourself with the words. Draw a large tic tac toe game board # on the whiteboard.
  3. Divide the class into two teams and you are going to play tic tac toe (review the rules of normal tic tac toe if necessary: i.e. that you need three X or O (your teams mark) in a row to win.).
  4. Explain that there is a word in each box and before their team can make a mark, they must first call the box they want, listen to the description/translation of the word from you and then say the correct word in English. Then they can make their mark in the box. If they do not get the word (I set my phone timer for 30 seconds), the box remains unopened.
  5. Then the next team chooses any box and repeat until one team wins.

NB: The first two times a box is attempted I usually give the same description. The third time, I add a little and the fourth time a little more (like the translation, a sample sentence, antonym and finally the first letter, then the second letter).

Because the learners choose the words, it is very relevant to them and they enjoy it. It is NOT as fast as you might think. I usually do 3 rounds which might take 20 minutes total.

I also review phrases like: top left, top center, top right, bottom left etc.

1-1: This game can not be adapted for 1-1. A minimum of 2 participants is needed to play in addition to the teacher who moderates.

Adverbs of Frequency

This is good for A1-B1 levels. I am attaching the two worksheets I used below, but you can also create your own phrases. I use this as controlled practice after having introduced the a) meaning of adverbials and b) the position of the different ones (quick rule: short adverb phrases before the verb, longer phrases at the end of the phrase).

  1. print the worksheet, cut the phrases and put them into a container (bag, box etc.). Print the wheel worksheet, and fix the arrow using an envelope clasp.
  2. Explain that when the music starts (I use my phone), the bag/box of questions should be passed in one direction and the wheel in the other. (like in the other post I described called “Ball and Bag”).
  3. The person with the bag/box  takes a strip, for example “buy flowers for your mother” and asks “How often do you buy flowers for your mother?”. Then the person spins the wheel and must answer with the adverb phrase the arrow stops on. Sometimes this creates funny examples. As a follow-up, you can allow stronger classes to answer with their real answer.

 

  1. come to work on time
  2. FREQ

Who has my phone?

This is a good review of questions and can be used form A1-B1 levels for best results.

  1. Explain that one learner will leave the room and the teacher’s phone will be given to another learner. The learner will then reenter the room and ask questions to find out who has the phone.
  2. You may need to board some question forms to remind them at this point.
    1. A1 level: Does a man/woman/person with brown hair/green shoes/etc. have the phone?
    2. A2 level: Is the person wearing…/Does the person …/Has the person got…
    3. B1 level: Did this person arrive late today?/ Is the person wearing…/Does the person …/Has the person got…
  3. Send one learner out and give a learner the phone.
  4. When the learner from outside returns, allow them to ask as many questions as possible until they can find out who has the phone (I encourage them NOT to ask “Does Maria have the phone/Do you have the phone, Maria” unless it is their very last question.).
  5. Repeat with a new learner leaving.

1-1: This could work with 1-1 if you print out a dozen pictures of different people and then place a card UNDER one of the pictures that says “phone” and have the learner play as above. You can start the game to show the learner how it’s done and to build confidence the first round (so the L “hides” the phone under a picture and you ask).

Guess my job

This is good for A1-B1 levels and can be used for general English or business English.

  1. Brainstorm jobs in English and write about 12-15 on the board.
  2. Elicit some yes/no questions about jobs with the learners, for example:
    1. Do you wear a uniform?
    2. Do you work inside?
    3. Do you work alone?
    4. Do you study at university for your job?
    5. Do you work in a team?
    6. Do you earn a lot of money?
    7. Do you use a computer in your job?
    8. Do you drive as part of your job?
  3. Put the learners in pairs or small groups. Explain that one person will choose a job from the board, but will not tell their partner/group.
  4. The partner/group may ask 4 questions from the brainstormed questions (or others) before they can guess the job.

1-1 The activity works well for 1-1 as described.