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Great activities with minimal resources

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The English Book competition when I got the first award.

The English Book competition when I got the first award.

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  • Vesna Novičić, OŠ Karađorđe, Velika Plana 1. DICTOGLASS ( dictation ) – Philip Kerr, Straightforward 2. Revising vocabulary they already know,revision of nouns,verbs,adjectives as key words,using them in the context,practising learning,writing,speaking,reading skills 3. Preparation : select a short text with key words you want your students to practice. Prepare 5-6 sheets of paper A4, 5-6 markers, some scotch tape. 4. It worked best with all students from 5th to 8th grade and also for students in secondary school for practising vocabulary,all four skills,ability to focus on the task. The moment I used this activity in my class it became popular with students. This is a great activity because it combines individual,pair and group work so the atmosphere in class is positive.This activity works with all students who can write. You can just adjust the text for the level but the procedure is the same for all. My students love this activity.It is a success every time we do it in class.Procedure : 1. Tell the students thay they are going to do a special kind of dictation. Tell them not to attempt to write down every word. Ask them simply to write down the most important words( nouns,verbs,adjectives,numbers). They will recognize these words because they are given additional stress. A theacher should decide how many words that would be. It can be up to 10 words.Do not worry if students find this difficult at first : most students need lots of practice and training before they can do this with confidence. 2. Read the text twice with a pause between each reading. Give the students enough time to write down the key words. ( individual work ) 3. Tell them to compare the words with their pair ( how many different words they have,the meaning of the words ). ( pair work ) 4. Tell them ( 4-5 students per group )to attempt to reconstruct the text in groups using the words they have wrote down. They should give a name to their group.Point out that their text does not to be exacly the same as the original. The only thing that matters is that it makes sense. Give each group a sheet of A4 paper, a marker and some scotch tape. Tell them to write their version of the text on the paper with a marker and sign it with a group name. ( group work ) 5. When students have completed their texts,they should stick their versions all over the classroom together with the original script. Ask them to walk around the classroom,compare their versions to see which one is the closest to the original script. Discuss any language points that arise.This will then act as the focus for feedback.Variations : For students unfamiliar with this type of activity you could give them the first threeor four key words before they listen.
  • • Mira Karanov, ELTISI, Novi SadI • Name of the activity and author : Feel the object, 5 minute activities, Penny Ur, Andrew Wright • Aim of the activity: warm up /end of the class activity • age group: any • level of knowledge: any • resources necessary: a bag, various objects (depending on the level)Brief description with classroom management tipsPut 5-8 objects in a non-transparent bag. The objects you put should be something that yourstudents can name in English. Tell your students that you are not going to show them theobjects and that they should feel them through the bag and try to guess what they are. Theycan ask you questions and you can only answer with yes or no. Go around the class and let eachstudent feel the objects and try to identify them. As they guess the objects, take the ones theyguessed out of the bag and leave the most difficult ones. Do another round with the bag thistime concentrating only on “leftovers”. The activity is finished when students have guessed allof them. • It worked best with: higher levels because they could speculate about the shape, size, use of the objectsII • Name of the activity and author : Never say no quiz, from Straightfrorward upper int. teacher’s guide, Jim Scrivenger and Celia Bingham • Aim of the activity: warm up activity /end of the class activity • age group: 10+ • level of knowledge: A2+ • Brief description with classroom management tipsTell students that they are going to play NEVER SAY NO QUIZ. In this activity they are notallowed to use words yes, no, maybe, ok. They can answer any way they want, but withoutthese words. Ask them various questions such as: Do you like cats? Do you have a pet? Wouldyou like to live in Albania? The first to answer using forbidden words is out of the game.Continue with the procedure until you get the winner. You can change the forbidden words.It worked best with: teenagers and young adultsIII • Name of the activity and author: Alibi, unknown author • Aim of the activity: end of class activity • Age group: 10+ • Level of knowledge: A2+
  • • Brief description with classroom management tipsPick 2 students and tell them that they are suspected of a robbery which happened at 4 pm onMonday . They leave the room and agree on where they were, what they did etc at the time ofthe robbery... Since they were together when the robbery happened, instruct them to thinkabout where they were, what they did, what they were wearing, what they ate , drank etc. Thepoint is that they have to give the same answers when investigated. The rest of the class, thedetectives, is thinking about possible questions. When the “suspects” finish with their alibi, onecomes in the classroom and the other one stays out so that he/she can’t hear the one in theclassroom. The rest of the class, the “detectives” ask questions about the suspects’ alibi. Whenthe first suspect is interviewed, the second one is brought in and the first one leaves so thathe/she can’t influence the second suspect. The interview questions should be identical to thosethat the first suspect answered. The suspects are “guilty” if detectives find discrepancies intheir stories. Name of the activity: Radio programmeAuthor: Aleksandra VukosavljevićWhy this activity?While I was thinking what activity to send you, I bumped into my ex-student, a young man in histhirties. After the usual exchange he asked me: “Do you still do the radio programme? We hadgreat time doing it.” And it clicked. If this young man still remembers the activity after about 15years then this is the right thing for the purpose.Aim of the activityTo involve all students both weak and strong, to encourage them to work in a team, to givethem a chance to use a wide range of language structures and all four language skills, to expressthemselves and above all, to have fun.Age of the students16-year-olds, 2nd year, intermediateResourcesMinimal, just a pen and notebook which students use for notes in the preparatory stage of theactivity.
  • Description of the activityThis is a role play, the radio programme with the topic The problems of Teenagers. The teacherchooses the presenter of the programme. This person should be good at English and theteacher should pay attention to choose the student who is the leader of the class. There isalways such hyperactive, talkative person in every class. His task is the most demandingbecause he is in charge but such a child is more than willing to embrace the responsibility andchallenge. He welcomes the guests: “teachers”, “experts”, “parents” and “teenagers”. The“experts” are psychologists and they should also be strong students. The teacher also choosestwo “parents”, two “teachers” and the rest of them are “teenagers”. Make sure you pair astrong and a weak student because of mutual help. You set the time limit of 15 minutes so thatthey could prepare to take part in the radio programme. You circulate and help, first the hostwith the introductory phrases for the show, with the list of problems (drugs, alcohol, pocketmoney, truancy, relationships with parents, school problems etc.) and then the other studentstoo. Each pair makes notes which they can later use in the discussion. Before this lesson we hadseveral lessons dedicated to the problems of teenagers – reading and listening comprehensionactivities about the results of surveys on teenagers, government measures, how school dealswith teenagers related problems etc., so they know the vocabulary. When the show starts thehost invites the guests and starts asking the questions and develops the discussion. This is a real life activity. They feel free to take roles to discuss real problems. They sometimesreveal things that I am sure they wouldn’t discuss with their parents or with schoolpsychologist. For example, I remember what a “teenager” mentioned in this year’s radioprogramme when they discussed pocket money. He said that he went out with his girlfriendand that his dad gave him money for that but that was not enough money because his girlfriendordered vodka. Dad gives him money only for coke and therefore he cannot go out so often ashe would like to. At first the “teenagers” burst out laughing. Then an “expert” said thataccording to statistics the teenage girls are drinking more than boys. Then one of the“teenagers” told him to ditch the girl. Then another advised him to find another girl. Then thehost asked parents for their opinion on this etc. It was amazing!Advantages of the activity: numerous • Solves the problems of large classes, heterogeneous classes • Keeps them motivated • Reaches the individual • Educational and psychological implications etc.
  • ConclusionYes, as I replied to my ex student, I have been using this activity for years and have everyintention of doing so in the future. Each class does it differently and I really enjoy it. I do notinterrupt them about the mistakes because the focus is on oral fluency. We discuss themistakes in the following class.Needless to say, I was very pleased my former student remembers this activity. Snežana Filipović, Kolarac Foundation, BelgradeTHE COLOURFUL RACEI don’t know the name of the original race (probably Alphabet race) and I played it at theGames Evening for participant at IATEFL Slovenia. I modified it a little to suit the needs of myjunior group (11 to 13).It is originally aimed at practicing vocabulary, but it is possible to practice grammar as well(irregular verbs, comparatives and superlatives). Although I mostly teach adults, I haven’t triedit with them but any age group younger than that is appropriate (provided the learners canwrite). The level of knowledge is irrelevant ( you can choose the topic of the race according tothe knowledge of the learners). All you need for this race is paper and marker pens of differentcolours.The basic version: You write down the letters of alphabet one under another on as many piecesof paper as you need. (I usually have 4 lists of 13 letters A - M & N -Z). You choose the topicsof the race (animals, clothes, food, furniture….) or ask them to write any word at all. The piecesof paper can be put up on the walls or down on the desks as far from each other as possible.Each team (consisting of two or more) is given a marker of one colour which is different fromthe colours of other teams. (The game can be played individually as well). The teams must gofrom one paper to another to write down a word starting with one of the letters. The teamsARE NOT ALLOWED to write two words in a row. After writing one word they must move toanother paper. (If they write for A, they can’t write for B but they can write for C). The teamsARE NOT ALLOWED TO SKIP letters, if they can’t think of a word they must move on to adifferent list (they report to the teacher if somebody breaks this rule). The game finishes whenall the lists are completed (you can cross out a letter if nobody knows a word) It is very easy tocount the number of correct answers for each team.Options: Irregular verbs can also be practiced in this way. You write the infinitives, and theteams write one or both other forms. You can also ask the teams to write the opposites, orsynonyms or comparatives. (It’s up to the teacher to decide what to test with this game).This game is very popular with my junior learners (at the moment the most popular game). Ifind it motivating and they learn while having fun.
  • Olja Milutinović 1. Penny Ur, The wise man 2. Aim of the activity is practicing speaking and expressing feelings and ideas; Adolescents or older students; Level of knowledge- b1 or higher; no resources required 3. The learners sit in a circle, with their eyes closed. They sit quietly. The teacher asks them to think about one big problem that is troubling them, to imagine it in their mind. When they have done so, the teacher tells them to imagine that they are on a mountain. They have met a wise man who knows everything there is to know. The learners should imagine talking to that man, telling him of the problem they have. Learner should imagine the wise man’s answer, the explanation what to and tell it to the class. After all the students have finished the teacher should emphasize how that wise man is inside everyone and that we know the answers to our troubles and questions. If the learners want, they can discuss the problems and solutions. 4. It worked best at the end of the class as a relaxation exercise. It works better in a smaller group. Danijela Ljubojević, OŠ Kosta Abrašević, BeogradOne of my favourite activities with minimal resources is dictogloss. As you can read on thehttp://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/dictogloss Dictogloss is a classroomdictation activity where learners are required to reconstruct a short text by listening and notingdown key words, which are then used as a base for reconstruction. Example Learners discuss the sea. The teacher then explains the task, and reads a short text on the sea to the class, who just listen. The teacher reads the text again, and the learners take notes. In groups, the learners then reconstruct the text. In the classroom Dictogloss is often regarded as a multiple skills and systems activity. Learners practise listening, writing and speaking (by working in groups) and use vocabulary, grammar and discourse systems in order to complete the task.
  • It can be done with any age group and level of knowledge. It requires no other resourcesthan a piece of text for a teacher to read to the students. For me, it worked best with younglearners (aged 7-9). This is an excerpt from one of my papers dealing with dictogloss: Стимулисање маште и креативности је веома битно у настави на раном узрасту.Диктоглос је врста диктата која се ослања на маштовитост и креативност ученика чија јепримена могућа већ од III разреда, али постепено и у мало измењеном смислу. С обзиромна чињеницу да деца имају способност разумевања целине упркос непознавању појединихречи, диктоглос је добар начин да се уведу и нове речи које су лако објашњиве изконтекста. У оригиналу, наставник прочита пасус или дужу реченицу само једном, аученици имају задатак да се сете свих кључних речи које су се појавиле и да их запишу.Након тога, напреднији ученици би требало да реконструишу параграф или реченицу. Нанижим нивоима се диктоглос може модификовати тако што наставник прочита краћипасус, а ученици запишу речи, нацртају оно што су разумели или направе од хартије илипластелина. Битно је да се пасус прочита само једном – у супротном диктоглос може дапостане традиционални диктат. Након што ученици запишу речи или успеју дареконструишу реченицу/ пасус, један од њих излази на таблу и запише своју верзију. Наовај начин се ученици развијају способност и навику слушања са разумевањем. Пример: Наставник изражајно прочита почетак басне о Лаву и мишу: “It’s hot and it’s sunny This summer’s day,” Deep in the jungle The animals say. Here comes the lion, The King of this land. He’s big and he’s strong And proudly he stands.“ (Dooly 2002: 5)
  • Без обзира на то што је ова басна препричана у стиху, ученици је лепо разумеју иврло брзо добијемо списак речи као што су sun, jungle, lion, animals, king, big, strong, итд.Ако инсистирамо на цртању, дечја машта нас брзо уведе у шаренолику џунглу пунуразних животиња. У оба случаја можемо да наставимо са причом (читајући даље) увек узпитање „А шта мислите да ће се даље десити?“ Деца су потпуно заокупљена причом,цртањем, слушањем и пружају креативан одговор на задати диктоглос. (Ljubojević 2010:76-77) References Dooly, Jenny and Vanessa Page (2002): Aesop’s The Lion and the Mouse (Stage 1Pupil’s Book), EU, Express Publishing. Ljubojević, Danijela (2010): Primena diktata u nastavi stranih jezika na mlađem uzrastu,Inovacije u nastavi XXIII-2, Učiteljski fakultet, Beograd.http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/dictogloss Ivona Ranđelović, OŠ Vuk Karadžić, LeskovacWord familiesThis activity is ideal for revising vocabulary after covering several topics, like transport, food,feelings, environment, etc. It ensures maximum participation on the part of the students andcooperation among them while working in a team. I found out about the activity somewhere onthe Internet and have been using it ever since with great success.Language area: vocabulary revision (groups of words – food, transport, feelings, etc.)Time needed to prepare it: 5-10 minutesTime needed to play it: depends on how long you want it to go (10-40’)Number of students: minimum 3, works very well with larger groups, tooMaterial needed: course book or a piece of paper with the vocabulary on itLanguage level: anyHow to do it:Divide your students into groups (3-6)Choose 5 words from each topic that you have covered. Write them down on a piece of paperor just tick them in the course book that you’re using. Do it at random.(e.g. environment – carbon dioxide, deforestation, aerosol spray, acid rain, global warming)Tell the students that their task it to guess, within their own groups, what the five words are onyour piece of paper and tell them to write them down. All students must write. Set a time limit.
  • When they have finshed, the group representatives read the words that they have chosen. Youcheck your own list and tell them only the number of correct guesses they have had and givethem that many points. When all the groups have had their turn, you reveal your set of words.In the next round, you assign another topic.Make sure you stop the game when the students are having most fun! My experience with the game:I once had to stand in for an absent teacher and I had to merge two forms of 6th graders. I hadabout 50 of them and I had to pull a trick out of my hat in order to maintain discipline and toinvolve them fully at the same time. I thought of the activity and decided to try it out. I took thecourse book and, without any preparation beforehand, played the game. When the bell rang,all you could hear from the students was ‘awwww’. The game lasted for the whole classbecause I had 8 teams and it took time for all of them to have their turn.The great thing about the game is that it is based not only on knowledge, but also luck, whichgives a chance for weaker students to be successful at it and not feel frustrated.You can either let the students use the course book while choosing their sets of words, or not.You can also give penalty points for bad spelling, but it would take up time for checking it alland it would slow down the pace of the game. The solution could be to have grouprepresentatives come out and stand in a line in front of the class. That way you can glance atwhat they have written on their sheets.When you choose the words, make sure you have both the easier and mor difficult ones. Moststudents will go for the latter thinking that that is what you are at!  By assigning easier words,you are giving a chance to the weaker students to make correct guesses.EXAMPLE:Family setTeacher Team 1 Team 2 Team 3Grandmother Mother Niece UncleNiece Nephew Mother AuntBrother Brother Brother NieceGrandson Grandfather Father GrandmotherFather Grandson Nephew Daughter 1 point 3 points 2 points
  • Olivera Ilić, OŠ Sveti Sava, Požarevac Help! Help!Author/ source Pearson Longman seminarAim of the activity: Practising spelling and revision of vocabularyAge group: 8+Level of knowledge: ElementaryResources necessary: Flashcard or a picture of a boyBrief description with Draw a river and a crocodile with sharp teeth swimming in it. Place theclassroom picture of the boy on the bank. Draw gaps next to the picture so thatmanagement tips each gap presents a letter of a word (e.g. _ _ _ _ _ _). The children have to guess the mysterious word and spell it correctly. If they make a mistake, the boy will fall into the river, and each time they make a mistake, he will get closer to crocodile. Best played as a team game.It worked best with... young learners. Some learners may want the boy to be eaten so they deliberately say the wrong letters. Liar!Author/ source My adaptation of a well-known activityAim of the activity: Prastising Present PerfectAge group: 13+Level of knowledge: Lower IntermediateResources necessary: Mobile phonesBrief description with Divide students into pairs or small groups. Ask them to write sentencesclassroom about their past experience using Present Perfect, so that some are true,management tips and others are false. They send the sentences via mobile phones to other pairs/ groups. After discussing which sentences are true/ false, the group sends back their answer via mobile.It worked best with... mobile phones-loving teensIf i were a boyAuthor/ source MyselfAim of the activity: Practising Second ConditionalAge group: 13+Level of knowledge: Lower IntermediateResources necessary: Song If I were a boy by Beyonce
  • Brief description with Play the song or part of it; discuss it with the class.classroom Divide the class into groups so that girls are working with girls, and boysmanagement tips with boys. Ask them to write about the following topics: if I were a boy – is the topic for girls; If I were a girl – for boys. They may write about: clothes they would wear, things they would do, appearance, likes, dislikes etc. They compare descriptions with other groups.It worked best with... teenage girls. Some boys may seem confused by the whole ideaKims gameAuthor/ source IHLAim of the activity: Vocabulary revisionAge group: 9+Level of knowledge: ElementaryResources necessary: Various objects you can find in your/your students bagsBrief description with Put a number of objects on a table. Students look at them for a shortclassroom time, then you cover the objects with a cloth or a paper. Students mustmanagement tips write down the objects from memory. You can make this activity a competitionIt worked best with... young learnersSilly questionsAuthor/ source MyselfAim of the activity: Practising making questionsAge group: 12+Level of knowledge: Lower IntermediateResources necessary: Mobile phonesBrief description with Divide students into groups and ask them to choose a name for theirclassroom management team. Students write down silly questions about their school (e.g. Howtips many flower pots are there in the hallway? Whats the librarians name?) They send their questions to other groups via mobile phones. The groups send the answers back. Group with the most correct answers is the winnerIt worked best with... Teens and tweens
  • Memory gameAuthor/ source IHLAim of the activity: Revision of vocabulary (food)Age group: 8+Level of knowledge: ElementaryResources necessary: /Brief description with Say a sentece: My name is Mike and I like apples. The first studentclassroom management repeats the sentence and and adds a word to the list: My name is Miketips and I like apples and oranges. The next student continues: My name is Mike and I like apples, oranges and chocolate and so on.It worked best with... young leanersPicture dictationAuthor/ source Zorica Stojadinovic (former colleague) showed me the activityAim of the activity: Practising prepositionsAge group: 9+Level of knowledge: ElementaryResources necessary: /Brief description with The teacher describes a picture and the students have to draw it (e.g.classroom management Draw a house. Draw a tree next to the house. Draw a cat on the tree etc.)tipsIt worked best with... young learners or visual learners when olderMusical personalitiesAuthor/ source I adapted an activity I learnt at IHLAim of the activity: Revision of vocabulary, describing a personAge group: 11+Level of knowledge: Elementary – Lower IntermediateResources necessary: Several short pieces of music (you can choose the ones you have in your mobile phone)Brief description with Tell students to imagine the piece of music they are going to hear as aclassroom person. As they listen, they must write down the following informationmanagement tips about them: - appearance (build, eyes, hair, clothes...) - occupation - their likes - their dislikes
  • They compare their descriptions in groupsIt worked best with... tweensWrong handAuthor/ source MyselfAim of the activity: Practising Past Simple TenseAge group: 11+Level of knowledge: Elementary – Lower IntermediateResources necessary: /Brief description with Ask students to write down what they did the previous day. Tell them toclassroom management write with the hand they dont usually use for writing.tips Follow-up activity: students discuss how they felt while writing with the wrong handIt worked best with... tweensWhere do you live?Author/ source No ideaAim of the activity: Practising prepositionsAge group: 10+Level of knowledge: Elementary – LowerResources necessary: /Brief description with Divide students into pairs. Tell them to draw a simple map of the areaclassroom management where they live. They choose a random place on the map as a startingtips point and then they explain to their pair how to get to their house.It worked best with... lower level studentsLets write a storyAuthor/ source IHLAim of the activity: Writing a storyAge group: 13+Level of knowledge: Lower IntermediateResources necessary: /
  • Brief description with Divide students into groups. Ask them to write the first sentence of a storyclassroom on a sheet of paper. (e.g. I saw a strange man yesterday. He was...) Tellmanagement tips them to finish the sentence and pass the paper to the person next to them. That person writes another sentence to continue the story, and then folds the paper so only the last sentence is visible. The sheet is then passed to another person who does the same. When the paper has passed through the entire group, students unfold the paper and read their stories.It worked best with... Teens What did he tell you?Author/ source IHLAim of the activity: Practising reported speechAge group: 14+Level of knowledge: Lower IntermediateResources necessary: /Brief description with Start writing an alphabeth on the board and stop when a student tells youclassroom management to do so. Students need to think of words which start with the last lettertips written on the board. Write them on the board as well. Students discuss the terms in pairs. Aferwards they switch pairs and report to the new pair what their previous pair had told them.It worked best with... teensTruth or dareAuthor/ source My adaptation of a well-known gameAim of the activity: Practising reported speechAge group: 13+Level of knowledge: Lower IntermediateResources necessary: /Brief description with Students write down a question or a simple task to be performed. Piecesclassroom of paper are put together in a bag and students take them one at a timemanagement tips Students report to the class whats on the piece of paper using reported speech. Then they either answer the question or perform the taskIt worked best with... teens, but remind them not to ask inappropriate sentences nor embarrasing tasks
  • Racing dictationAuthor/ source Youtube videoAim of the activity: Practising reading and writingAge group: 8+Level of knowledge: Elemenatary- Lower IntermediateResources necessary: /Brief description with Paste a short piece of text on a wall. Divide students into groups andclassroom management place them on the same distance away from the text. Each student fromtips the group runs over to the place where the text is, reads a part of it, then comes back to the group and dictates the sentence. Writers and runners within a group can changetheir position. The winner is a group which finishes first and has the least mistakes.It worked best with... tweens when played outside on a sunny dayChinese whispersAuthor Popular gameAim of the activity: Practising listening skills, revising vocabularyAge group: 7+Level of knowledge: Elementary – Lower IntermediateResources necessary: /Brief description with Students line up. A teacher or a student whispers a sentence to the firstclassroom management student standing next to him. The student then whispers it to anothertips student and so on, until the message reaches the player at the end of the line. The last student in the line, says the sentence aloud.It worked best with... young learners Branka Dačeski, Medicinska škola „Sestre Ninković“, KragujevacName of the activity: BE SOMEONE ELSEAuthor: Ken Wilson “Drama and Improvisation”Aims: to give students the chance to ask and answer basic personal questionsLevel: Beginner +Material: no material neededI play this game with my students, they are high school students, and they love it every time!
  • What is great about this activity is that a teacher doesn’t need to prepare at all. The studentsactually do all the work! You can use it as a warm up, or when you have some extra time in yourlesson. Or you can just use it as a great speaking activity in general.Activity: Teacher asks for a volunteer, or chooses one student to demonstrate the activity. First,the teacher tells the student to imagine that he/she is somebody else, not a famous person,just somebody else, and to think of his/her name, nationality, the country he/she comes fromand of his/her job. Then the teacher asks the student:1. What’s your name?2. Where do you live?3. What nationality are you?4. What is your job?When the student answers all these questions, for example:1. My name is Lola2. I am form Brazil3. I am Brazilian4. I am a singer,the teacher tells the rest of the students to ask this person as many questions as they like abouthimself/herself. For example: how old are you, are you married, do you like your job, how didyou become a singer, are you popular in your country, etc.When the students are done with asking him/her the questions, then the student who wasanswering the questions chooses another student, and the procedure is the same. The studentbeing questioned now asks this new “person” the four questions (what’s your name, where doyou come from...)The game goes on around until you have time, or you can just stop it after a while, and thestudents will definitely ask for more, because they just love this game! So, it’s one of thosegames that you can use over and over, and the students never get bored.***Name of the activity: Feelings: If love was a sweetAuthor: Jane Spiro “Creative Poetry Writing”Aims: to practice the conditional structure If I was... I would.Level: Lower intermediate to upper intermediate
  • Material: no material neededI have done this activity many times with my high school students. They are really creative,and they produce wonderful little poems.Write the following half sentence on the board:If love was...Ask students to complete the sentence, and write down their words. (for example, If love was...a star, a flower, a cloud, a tree, a chocolate...) Then, ask them to choose just one word. This isgoing to be the first line of their poem.They are now going to write the second line:I would (I’d)...(for example: smell it, admire it, climb it, eat it...)They now have the first verse of the poem:I love was a chocolate, I would eat it.Give students a couple of minutes to write down as many verses of the poem as they like.If they want, they can also add more lines, like: “but love isn’t a chocolate, It’s a ...”,Or they can add a new word instead of “love”.When they finish, ask a couple of them to read their poems. If they want they can also make aposter with their poems, and put it on the wall in their classroom .***Name of the activity: PasswordAuthor: I picked it up on one of the seminarsAims: to review the vocabulary learnt in the classLevel: Beginner +Material: no material neededThis activity can be done with any level, it’s interesting and it doesn’t take much time.After you have finished your lesson, and students have learnt some new words, before the bellrings, tell the students that, you will be standing by the door, and each student have to say thepassword on their way out. The password should be a new word learnt in that class.For example, if you have a lesson on animals, they have to give you the name of an animal, or ifthey have learnt some new adjectives, they have to tell you an adjective, and so on.***
  • Name of the activity: Actions and locations: Where are you and what are you doing?Author: Ken Wilson “Drama and Improvisation”Aims: to practice present continuous tense and phone languageLevel: Elementary +Material: no material neededThis activity can be done with teenagers and adults. It is interesting and involving.You ask students to get two pieces of paper. On one piece of paper they are supposed to writea location (for example, on the table, under the bed, in the bathroom, on the beach, across thestreet - basically a a prepositional phrase). Then they fold the paper, you go round theclassroom, and they put the papers into a box labelled L.On the second piece of paper they are supposed to write down an action (for example, I’msitting in my car, I’m eating my breakfast, I’m jogging...) Now they put these papers intoanother box labelled A.Now you ask two volunteers to act out a dialogue. Actually, it’s a phone conversation. You giveeach of them a mobile phone (you can bring old mobile phones, or they can just use theirs).They are supposed to act out a conversation on the phone, so they can start “Hi, how are you?Do you have any plans for tonight? We can go out if you want...” At one point one of themshould ask the question “Where are you?”, and the other student should take a piece of paperfrom the box L, and read what it says (for example, “I am in the bathroom”). Then other studentshould ask “What are you doing there?” and his friend should pick up a paper from the boxlabelled A, and read what is written there (for example “I am dancing”). The can go on like thatfor a while, and then choose another pair of students to have a phone conversation.This is extremely interesting activity, plus it can be hilarious. Students love doing it!***Name of the activity: Reporting interviewsAuthor: Penny Ur “Grammar Practice Activities”Aims: to practice indirect speechLevel: Pre-intermediate +Material: no material neededThis activity can be done with teenagers and adults. It is interesting and involving.
  • Invite a volunteer student to the front of the class and interview him/her for a couple ofminutes (about his/her hobby, interests, everyday routines, future plans). Then ask the rest ofthe students to write down in indirect speech all that they can remember their friend talkedabout, like they are writing a report for a newspaper. LJILJANA POŠA, Technical school WOOD ART, Belgrade“PREDICT-A-WORD”Level: elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate, upper-intermediate, advancedAim: To improve students’ involvement and concentration in listening and reading lessonsMaterial: none (students can use their notebooks, any piece of paper or the board with smallergroups)DESCRIPTION:A volunteer is asked to speak about a topic for 2 or 3 minutes (e.g. a hobby, a friend, a pet,favourite film, a country/a town, the best/the worst holiday …).The volunteer goes outside to plan what he/she is going to say. Meanwhile the class predicts 5”sure” and 5 “less sure” words they think the volunteer will say and write them in a grid on apiece of paper.The volunteer is called back and talks on the topic. The students listen and get points for eachof the words the volunteer says and they have predicted (1 point for “sure” and 2 points for“less sure” words).In large classes this can be done in groups. When the volunteer finishes speaking the studentscan also ask questions.RATIONALE: The aim of this activity is to listen for particular words in a stream of speech.Predicting vocabulary based on the topic is a skill that we all employ in our L1 before and whilewe are listening. This activity also helps the students to concentrate on the topic content andvocabulary.This activity requires the bare minimum in terms of material and preparation. The studentsthemselves can be one of the best sources of listening texts.VARIATIONS: this activity works very well with any listening or reading material in our coursebooks. As a pre-reading / listening material tell your students the topic and ask them to predict“sure” and “less sure” words they expect to hear or find in the text. They can do it in pairs orgroups.When they finish, collect their papers with the words and distribute them among the groups orpairs in a way that everybody gets a paper from another group or pair. After that play the
  • recording or tell them which text to read. While reading or listening they should tick the wordsthey hear or come across. When they finish they should write the number of points on thepaper they have checked.This activity is very useful because it improves students’ interest, concentration and motivation.In this way listening/reading activity becomes more realistic because the students take on anactive role. They are usually very competitive and they enjoy checking each other’s words andcomparing the score. For the teacher this activity is very good because it requires the bare minimum of material andpreparation. It can be used with any course book and any listening or reading material. It can beadapted to any age, level and time available.This activity always pays off in terms of students’ involvement, interest and enjoyment! Valentina Nikolovski, Centar za strane jezike MatildaThis activity I call Whispering game but I have heard other teachers call it Chinese whispers. Ido not know who the author is, I do not even remember who told me about it or when and howI started using it. I just know that it always comes in handy as a revision game, usually 10-15minutes before the end of the class. You can use it with every age group of any level ofknowledge and you do not need any special resources, just a marker and a whiteboard, or evena pen and a piece of paper will do.Pupils stand in a line, the first one whispers a word to the next one, this one to the next oneand so on to the last pupil in a line. Usually, if you do this with preschool children, the last onehas to say the word out loud. With stronger classes, you tell them to make a sentence,depending on the construction that you have introduced, e.g. I have got a book. Or There is abook on the table etc. It will not be a problem to them just to change the words, e.g. I have gota pencil, or There is a pencil on the chair etc.With pupils who can write, for example with third-graders or fourth-graders, the task is slightlydifferent. The last pupil mustn`t say anything, he or she has to write the word or sentence onthe paper or the whiteboard.It has always worked with all my pupils. There has never been anyone who found it difficult ordid not know what to say. What is more, they always surprise me with their ideas!
  • Biljana Pipović, profesor engleskog jezika, Gimnazija “Stevan Jakovljević”, Vlasotince • Activity: At the ZOOAuthor: Biljana PipovicLevel: pre-intermediate (15-year-olds)Time needed: 20 minutesResources needed: board, chalkAim ~ to revise comparison of adjectivesThe teacher reads a dialogue At the Zoo, students listen and write down only the adjectivesthey hear. The teacher builds up a list on the board and asks students to write comparativeand superlative forms of the adjectives written. The teacher reminds students of the spellingrules and points out two comparative forms of the adjective old.At the ZOOIt’s a beautiful day today. The sky is blue. The sun is warm and the animals are happy.Ben: Is this Zoo large or small?Nick: It’s a large Zoo. Look here are the monkeys!Ben: The baby monkey is very small. It’s young and small.Nick: But its father is big* and strong.Ben: Look at the baby giraffe! It’s only a few weeks old*.Nick: But it’s quite tall already! • Activity: Past Continuous tongue twisterAuthor: Biljana PipovicLevel: pre-intermediate (15-year-olds)Time needed: +15 minutesResources needed: board, chalkAim ~ to introduce or revise the Past Continuous tense in an amusing wayThe teacher writes the sentence on the board and asks students to read it as fast as possible.After repeating it as many times as it is interesting to students, the teacher uses this example toeither introduce or revise the form and use of the Past Continuous tense.While we were walking, we were watching window washers wash Washington’s windowswith warm washing water.
  • • Activity: Crazy SentencesAuthor: Biljana PipovicLevel: pre-intermediate to upper-int. (+15-year-olds)Time needed: +15 minutesResources needed: slips of paper, board, chalkAim ~ to practise the form & use of the second conditional in an amusing & creative way; todevelop communicative competence within the given context - to talk about activities that areopposite to the present facts or hypothetically possible.Crazy SentencesIn this game, the class is divided in two. Half write one part of the conditional sentence (the "if"part). The other half write the second part on separate slips of paper. The teacher gathers theslips (maintaining the groups) in two bags or hats. One by one each student takes a pair andreads aloud the "crazy sentence". Some examples are: "If I had a dog I would give it to charity."If I travelled to Mars, I would buy twenty pairs of shoes."It brings lots of fun to the classroom and can be played using other grammar structures. • Activity: AdjectivesAuthor: Biljana PipovicLevel: pre-intermediate (15-year-olds)Time needed: 10 minutesResources needed: noneAim ~ to revise vocabulary related to feelings & emotions; to revise adjectives; to introduce theconversation about feelings and emotionsThe teacher reads two stories (Tom’s football game & Amy’s birthday). After each littlesituation, the teacher gives two feelings to students & students choose the right one.Lets read the story about Toms Football Game. Before a big football game - Tom thinks hes going to play better than the last game.Question: Does he feel WORRIED or PROUD? During the game - the ball goes between Toms legs - and the other team laughs at him.Question: Does he feel SHY or EMBARRASSED? "Ok - I had enough" - says Tom " I know how to win this game!"Question: Does he feel BORED or DETERMINED? Tom distracts the other team by yelling and making different sounds.Question: Does he feel SILLY or BORED? Tom scores the goal.Question: Does he feel SCARED or EXCITED?Great job!
  • Here is another story - Amys Birthday. Amy has a big party today because its her birthday.Question: Does she feel EXCITED or SAD? Amy thinks if she is going to listen to her parents today - she is going to get more gifts.Question: Does she feel SILLY or CUNNING (clever)? But her mom tells her that none of her friends is going to come.Questions: Does she feel SAD or HAPPY? But all of her friends jump out from behind the sofa and yell "Happy Birthday!"Questions: Does she feel ANGRY or SURPRISED? Its Amys birthday and she had a very long day.Question: Does she feel TIRED or EMBARRASSED? • Activity: SONG – What a Wonderful World by Sam CookeAuthor: Biljana PipovicLevel: pre-intermediate (15-year-olds)Time needed: 45 minutesResources needed: board, chalk, CD player, larger pieces of paper (A4 format)Aim: to make students feel relaxed and comfortable about studying English at the beginning ofa school year; to revise the names of subjects at school; introduce the conversation aboutschool or the important things in life; to point out the difference between the Present Simpleand Continuous; to introduce would and could to talk hypothetically about the future.SONG – What a Wonderful World by Sam CookeFirst, students listen to the song while the teacher shows some words written on larger piecesof paper as students hear them (history, biology, science book, the French I took, geography,trigonometry, algebra, slide rule is for, one and one is two, an A-student, love) Even better, ifstudents can see the pictures as well as the words written.Then the teacher writes the lyrics of the song on the board, omitting the words in brackets (thewords they have already seen written on the papers). Students listen to the song once againand complete the words as they see them once again (the teacher keeps showing them).Eventually, students read what they have written. The teacher elicits some students to writethe words on the board.Students sing along and have a lot of fun while doing something serious!Lyrics:DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT ________ (history, biology, science book, the French I took)BUT I DO KNOW THAT I __________ YOU (love)AND I KNOW THAT IF YOU LOVE ME, TOOOH, WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD THIS WOULD BE!
  • DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT ________ (geography, trigonometry, algebra, slide rule is for,BUT I DO KNOW __________ (one and one is two)AND IF THIS ONE COULD BE WITH YOUOH, WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD THIS WOULD BE!NOW I DON’T CLAIM TO BE __________ (an A-student)WHAT I’M TRYING TO BEFOR MAYBE BY BEING ___________ (an A-student), babyI CAN WIN YOUR LOVE FOR ME! • Activity: TO ASK OR NOT TO ASKAuthor: Biljana PipovicLevel: intermediate (17-year-olds)Time needed: 45 minutesResources needed: slips of paperAim: to revise yes/no questions; wh-questions and indirect questions in an amusing and creativewayActivity 1 – Speaking (10-15 minutes)The teacher asks questions like: Do animals have feelings? What are the Earth’s oldest livingthings? Why do women live longer than man? Was Uncle Sam a real person? and similar.Students answer the questions or if they do not know the answer they are instructed to use theprompts: I wonder…I have no idea…I’d like to know… (The prompts are written on the board).Activity 2 – Thinking and writing (5 minutes)Students work individually. The teacher gives each student a slip of paper and students areasked to think about an interesting question (similar to the questions from the previousactivity) and write it down on that slip of paper.Activity 3 – Speaking (15-20 minutes depending on the size of the class)The teacher collects the papers, mixes them and each student picks out one. Students areinstructed to read the question and change it into the indirect question using the alreadypractised prompts. Each student reads the indirect question aloud. The teacher monitors theactivity providing help, explanations and correct answers if students need them. • EXTRA IDEA (can be done at home by groups of students or by the teacher him/herself)Integrated skills (30+ minutes)Students work in groups of four or five. They write down the indirect questions they considermost interesting. They create a PowerPoint presentation using the pictures from the computeror the internet and the available music. Students use a DVD maker to create a video. Eventually,
  • there is a whole class feedback – students watch each other’s videos before uploading them onYouTube. Of course, students are asked to make comments or suggest changes.The teacher monitors the activity providing help and correcting mistakes or the teacher collectthe most interesting questions and makes a video him/herself. • The video I made after one of these classes can be seen on Youtube - biljanapipovic971 video To ask or not to ask http://youtu.be/XJYZuT1gxJM Radmila Krajnović, Novi SadThis is an activity that I use usually at the beginning of the year when I am getting to know mystudents or they one another! Thereafter it can be used in numerous ways to suit your needs.The premise is to take the first letter in their first name and find a quality word to describethem beginning with the same first letter. I always use myself as an example: I love the colorred! Red Rada. Or in college I was referred to as ‘radical’, in the sense that I was wild! Or I liketo exude happiness and therefore can be called ‘Radiant Rada’- and so on.Ideally I would like for them to choose descriptive words that are adjectives or adverbs. But forsome students this is an overwhelming task. At that point I ask them to think of all theirinterests, hobbies and so on. Something must exist that they like to do AND that may beginwith the same letter as their first name. (Let’s hope, right?!) I have in the past even accepted‘Basketball Bojan’ if that is all they could come up with! Once the students have chosen a wordthat describes them they should then write out their quality initials on a blank sheet of paperand decorate it how they wish. This should take no longer than 15 minutes and of course, Iwould prod them along to finish up quicker. For the real task is to then share them out loud bygoing around the room, student by student, in whatever fashion the teacher wills. I typicallyhave them stand up and dramatize their quality initials to make it a bit more fun!The point of the entire activity is to expand on your vocabulary while having fun! As I saidearlier I use it at the beginning of the year, but later on I could adapt it to anything dependingon what we are learning. If we are studying modern day technology (for intermediate andadvanced students perhaps) we use words from the unit that go along with our names or addnew ones that pertain: such as virtual, popular, roaming, clicking, android, networking, and soon. On a scroll of paper I would write a list of words that we would brainstorm together. Thiswould then serve as a visual bank of words from which they could choose the quality word thatbest matches them! Again, I would have each of them share out loud their quality initials!Round and round it goes! The more the merrier!
  • Milica Prvulović, Filološki fakultet, BeogradName: The Big Bad Wolf?(Borrowed from 700 Classroom Activities, D. Seymour and M. Popova)Aim: revising passive and vocabulary connected to crime.Age: teenagersLevel: upper-intermediate or advanced (but I believe a good teacher can adopt it easily to anylevel…)Resources: just the blackboard Last week, while I was thinking of a way to revise passive forms and vocabulary about crime, Istumbled upon a short activity that included both. And immediately I knew I loved it. It turnedout that my students loved it too. This is why I thought it was worth sharing it with mycolleagues. Here is how I organized it in my class, but I suggest you adopt it to your workingconditions and class levels, which would be an easy task, I reckon.• Start by asking your students if they remember the tale of the Little Red Riding Hood. Then ask individual students to start retelling the tale (each gives you one sentence, and another one continues). This serves as to remind them the plot and the story characters.• Next, you tell the students that it was not what really happened in the story, and the wolf who ended up dead was really the victim. You write the following sentences on the board (or you do it beforehand, and if you have a flipchart, or something similar, you hide these sentences while they’re retelling the story, and then reveal them dramatically – this helps the students feel more engaged):The wolf has been found murdered.He was shot 3 times, skinned and dumped in the river with his stomach full of stones.When Little Red Riding Hood was arrested she had the wolf’s coat on and was carrying a gun.The grandmother has disappeared.• Then put your students in groups of 3. Say that one of them is Little Red Riding Hood, and the other two are a good cop and a bad cop who are cross-examining the little girl. In the face of these new pieces of evidence they need to try and figure out what really happened, and Little Red Riding Hood needs to defend herself. Step back and give your students some space to develop the story. Try to notice who seems to be having a lot of fun during the exercise, and after 5 to 7 minutes try and elicit some answers, staring with the group(s) who were the loudest (you can write down the crime vocabulary your students mention).
  • • To conclude, go back to the sentences on the board, and underline the passive constructions (or ask a volunteer to do it), discuss why passive was used, discuss the tenses, turn the passive sentences into active ones, do whatever you feel is the best way of concluding the activity. Danka Sinadinović, Assistant at the Faculty of Medicine, Belgrade 1. Name of the activity and author (if possible) When did you last see your father? Probably from Pair Work by Peter Watching-Jones, but I am not 100% sure  2. Aim of the activity, age group, level of knowledge, resources necessary The aim of this activity is practicing asking questions in Past Simple Tense. It is intended for lower-intermediate students of all age groups. It is necessary to have two sets of picture cards that are printed in the photocopiable section of the book, to cut them out and organize your students in groups of 3 or 4. 3. Brief description with classroom management tips Each group should be given one set of picture cards (e.g. a crying girl, someone eating spaghetti, a train, someone at the hairdressers...) and one set of time cards (e.g. last Wednesday, half an hour ago, the day before yesterday...). They are supposed to put the cards face down, whereas time cards are distributed evenly. One student picks a picture card and asks the student next to him: When did you last/first...? and that student must answer the question with one of the cards that he has got at his disposal. If the answer is OK, the player can discard the time card. The object of the game is to get rid of all the time cards, so the winner is the first student who manages to do this. 4. . It worked best with... This activity worked best with young adults (lower-intermediate level), but it also worked well with adults (intermediate level). I’ve tried the game several times and it has always been successful, as students usually find it amusing and challenging, as well as purposeful. Some of them (mostly adults) have even told me they have finally learnt Past Simple Tense owing to this game. 