Category Archives: Lesson Plan: Elementary

A Low-Prep, Low-Tech Discussion Game to Activate New Vocabulary with a Simple Scrap of Paper

Naturally, I am a huge supporter of any activity that involves students getting out of their seats and interacting with other students. Also, if you have been reading me for a while, you will surely know that I am always worried about making vocabulary stick.
So, this super simple activity combines these two things+ zero preparation. How does that sound? Yes, I know. Besides, it’s compatible with any topic you are working with. Believe me, this activity is a hit.
There is a 99% chance that you will end up participating in the activity, but please, do not get all proper and spoil the fun by telling students to keep their voices down. Let them enjoy.

Aim: to make vocabulary stick by revising, reinforcing and using it.
Topic: Any. I was working with the theme of environment, but any topic would do
Level: Any.

How to go about it

Revising.

1. Revision with slips of paper. Start by revising the vocabulary you have introduced in previous lessons. I usually write the vocabulary I need to revise on slips of paper, place myself in the middle of the classroom (desks are arranged in a U shape) and very quickly give a short definition, synonym or antonym. The student who guesses correctly gets the slip of card. The winner, as you might have guessed, is the student who has more cards at the end of this activity. I do this activity very often. I think I like it because I can see that my students love it and it is a good exercise not only to revise meanings but also to work on pronunciation.

Writing.

2. Writing 5 newly- acquired words. Ask students to write on a small scrap of paper 5 words they have learned. If they have learned “make the most of” for example, encourage them to write the whole expression and not just “make the most “.

Speaking

3. On the board, write a question for the students to discuss in pairs.

4. Tell the students to stand up with the scrap of paper containing their words and choose a partner to talk to. They can sit down if they want to or they can remain standing.

5. Ask them to swap the pieces of papers and read the 5 words on it making sure they know what they mean. If they don’t, they should ask their partner to explain or clarify meanings

6. Point to the question on the board and ask them to discuss it trying to introduce as many words as possible from their list of words. Allow 4 or 5 minutes to discuss this question.

7. Important step: Ask students to swap lists again before asking them to stand up and find a new partner.

8. Write a new question for discussion on the board. Ask students to sit down with their new partner, swap the scraps of paper and repeat procedure.

My students said they loved the game! Let me know what your students think if you decide to give it a go.

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Nine Ways to Revise Vocabulary Using Slips of Paper

In today’s post I would like to share with you the link for an article I wrote for the  British Council’s magazine, Voices. As a result of winning this month’s  TeachingEnglish blog award with my article on pronunciation  Most Common Pronunciation Mistakes Heard in Oral Exams I was kindly invited to write a new article for their magazine.

Here’s the article Nine ways to revise vocabulary using slips of paperwhich I hope teachers will find useful.

Blog de Cristina is also on Facebook. Click to follow!

 

 

 

 

Picture Description: Holidays in the City or on the Beach

I wouldn’t like to finish the course without publising another example of picture description. This  time for the Elementary Speaking exam and kindly sent by Noelia Fernández.

Holidays in the city or on the beach


In both photos we can see two very different holiday destinations: a big city and a solitary paradise beach.
The picture on the right was taken at the famous street of New York Times Square. This street is always crowded with tourists, and in this photo I think there are too many. They are carrying photo cameras, video cameras or taking photos with their mobile phones. They are wearing summer clothes because it might be July.
In the other photo, there is a beach with clean sand and clear calm water without waves. In the foreground we see five sunbeds and palms.
In my opinion, the perfect vacation is a mixture of both destinations, a few days in the city to visit museums and emblematic buildings, to see a musical or a theater, to do some sightseeing and to make all the activities that you can, and then, other days at a resort to relax and enjoy the sun, the beach, sleep and enjoy the food.
If you’re looking forward to going to New York ,you need to save money because it is the most expensive city in which I have been, but it seems as if you are in a movie with all the famous places and you think ” I know this and that”.

More Role Plays for Elementary Students

Happy Tuesday!!

Hope that if you follow my blog  and you are not one of my students, you still feel the curiosity  to drop by from time to time; although it seems to me that, lately, all my posts have been  fully dedicated to helping my students practise for exams , but what can I do ??? I cannot just rest on my laurels and let them face the music without all the help I can offer them. I have very little time but  I cannot play possum when I know my students need me. I know, I know… I am an angel!!! I hope God will reward me with a cracking summer! Here they are some more role-plays, just cooked! 🙂

GOING TO THE CINEMA

JOB INTERVIEW

INVITATION TO GO TO A PARTY

HOPE THEY ARE HELPFUL!!

Making Suggestions

Once again I have used some online free tools to spice up my lessons; believe me, something vey much needed at this time of year when students, and shall I say teachers too? begin to feel the necessity of giving English a break. Good weather and a sun-oriented classroom doesn’t help much either.
So this time the structures I need to teach are those to Make Suggestions. Very useful structures to learn, don’t you agree?

To revise the structures I have worked with  a tool I have  already used several times. I like it and I highly recommended.It’s called Goconqr
por cristina.cabal

Fancy a bit of practice?

Picture Description: Beaches

Kindly sent by Carmen Muñiz from the Elementary Level.

Both photos show a beach, but they are very different.
I suppose it’s summer, because the weather is nice and sunny and everyone is wearing summer clothes.
In the photo on the right, the beach is next to the city. There are a lot of people sunbathing. It’s really crowded. In the background I can see many high buildings. The sea is on the left and it’s full of bathers. The sand is on the right and there are a lots of colourful beach umbrellas. I think it’s a modern big city, it seems a lively place.
On the other hand, in the photo on the left, the beach is far from the city, and there are few people. At the back you can see green mountains and some little houses. The sea is on the right, there is no one bathing. On the right corner, there are two women next to rocks, they seem very relaxed, they are sunbathing in sun beds and they are reading a book. They look like friends, it looks as if they are having a great time.
The scene in the photo on the right looks very noisy and it’s packed with people, while in the photo on the left, it looks very peaceful and quiet.
Personally, I prefer the photo on the left, because it looks like a perfect place to spend a summer’s day. I love going to the beach and swimming in the sea, but I don’t like beaches which are close the city, and the crowds.

Preparing for the Certificación Oral Test: Role Plays.

You won’t probably need to be reminded that in the Certificación Oral Test there are two parts. No matter what level you are taking there is always an Interaction with the examiner and then another part where you’ll be on your own talking about whatever is shown in the pictures the examiner will offer you.

Today I want to help you practice the Interaction at Elementary level. I hope these slides help you. More will be coming , so keep posted!!!.

Speaking: Describing a Dish

Happy New Year to everybody! I am back!!! Hard to get started once again after this longish holiday. It’s been eight days now since we have let 2014 in and it is time we get down to some serious work, don’t you think?

Talking in class about food related things after some huge binge eating and drinking is not precisely what appeals to me most, but unfortunately I cannot choose.
This is an activity I am going to do with my Elementary students after some serious work practising food vocabulary.

The activity is simple. The students are sitting in pairs, one student facing the board and the other with his back to the board. Using the OHP, a picture of a popular dish is displayed. Now, the person seeing the picture has to describe it in as much detail as possible, talking about its ingredients and the way it is cooked and the other person has to guess the dish. Allow them two or three minutes and then display another picture for the other student to do the same. Below are some slides with the  dishes that I am going to use.

Some useful vocab they are likely to use

Nouns: pan, cinnamon, olives, tuna, blood sausage,

Verbs: to beat eggs, to fry, to boil, to add,  to stir with a spoon,to slice (apples)

Lesson Plan: Talking about Your Hometown .

This is a lesson for Elementary students.

Step 1. Reading and Listening

Mind mapping is a very important  learning tool for visual learners. This mind map has been created with Exam Time, which is very easy to use and  embeddable, a feature I always appreciate.

There are some steps previous to this mind mapping  we wrote on the board, essentially reading and listening about this issue. Form these listenings and readings we gathered and sorted vocabulary that was, then, written on the board.

Step 2. Mind Mapping

What you see below is a nice way of displaying what was written on the board of the classroom  with the help of my students.

por cristina.cabal
Step 3. Speaking

For this activity, instead of the typical photocopy with the list of questions to talk about, I have put students in groups of three or four and given each group a set of cards, which they had to place face down on the table. Students in turns pick up a card and talk for as much as they can about the given question. At this point I give my students the usual talk about how important it is now, to “show off.”

This is a snapshot of the cards. Click here if you want to print them.

Love is in the Air!!!

Happy Valentine’s Day Week!  Love is in the air….and all that!

I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s day, maybe because I’m Spanish and well into my forties, and  in Spain, in a small village in the north  and in the 80’s, we never ever heard of a special day to celebrate love. But I don’t want to be a party pooper here  so I always get into my best mood to do an activity related to this special day in the Anglo culture.

On Monday , Gotye’s song “Somebody that I Used to Know” was awarded a Grammy for the record of the year. Needed a better excuse to play the song? Yes, but I’ve got it!! It contains irregular past verbs, something I am currently working with and also a great  opportunity to introduce “used to”. … the only catch is that the song is about breaking up and not about perfect love… but you can’t have it all guys! So, off we go!

Used to= Explanation here

Used to = Exercises here

Worksheet for the song  here

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