If you have following me for a while, then you know how much I love stepping aside from the course book and surprising students with activities that might add a spark to my classes.
Things like flip cards or wheels of fortune are constant guests in my classes. But for this activity, I have decided to invite an old friend I haven’t used for some time. Don’t ask me why. I still love him very much. Word clouds have a lot of potential when teaching languages and they are very easy to use. For this activity, I have used wordart.com.
Aim: to practise the order of adjectives before a noun (attributive position) in a writing competition.
Time: 5 minutes
Level: B2 students
Time: 10 minutes
Preparation: Go to wordart.com or any other word cloud generators and just type the words you want to see in the cloud. In my case, I typed five or six nouns and five adjectives relating to opinion, size, age, temperature, shape, colour, material and origin.
How to go about it:
1. Revise. You might want to revise the order of adjectives before the noun before doing the activity.
Although not all grammarians agree on the order of the adjectives and the rules for adjective order are quite complicated, it is necessary to give them some kind of order they can stick to. I always use this sentence to help them remember.
Don’t overuse adjectives. While having two adjectives before a noun sounds natural, more than three would have the opposite effect.
Purpose adjectives go just before the noun: riding boots (boots for riding), sleeping bags (bags for sleeping).
Numbers go before adjectives: three huge houses.
Ask students to form pairs and either display the word cloud on the board or photocopy it.
Underline the nouns in the word cloud
Tell students they have two minutes to come up with the longest description for the any of the nouns in the word cloud.
The winners are the students who have managed to write the most adjectives before the noun.
The adjectives before the noun must be placed in the correct order. Have the class check it while the students read their sentence.
It has to have sense, ie “a narrow boy” would be incorrect.
Ten entertaining ways to practise personality adjectives with activities for all ages and levels. In this post, you’ll find listening,writing, speaking activities and games to help students master this vocabulary.
Ask students to work in pairs and write down as many personality adjectives as they can in two minutes.
On the board write three columns: positive, negative and neutral adjectives and ask students to provide adjectives for the three columns. Have students choose one adjective from each column to describe their personality and in pairs talk about how these adjectives they have chosen are representative of their personality. Ask students to elaborate on their answers and provide examples to support their choice of adjectives.
Prepare cards with a personality trait written on it (talkative, cheerful, arrogant, stubborn, immature, possessive…etc). Give students a card telling them this is their personality. Pair up students and ask them to start a conversation and act the way the card says until their partner guesses what adjective they were given. Ask students for example to talk about buying a present for the teacher or deciding on what do at the weekend.
Reading your signature.
What does your signature say about you? According to handwriting analysts, signatures reveal a lot about your personality.
Ask students to write the sentence Write soon on a piece of paper and then sign under the sentence.
Ask them to work in pairs and look at their partner’s signature and explain what it means. See interpretation here
Ask them to discuss whether they agree with their partner’s interpretation and why or why not.
What’s your job?
Research has shown that different personality traits tend to have distinct preferences in their choice of careers. On the board write the jobs below. Ask students in pairs to choose five and discuss what personality types the jobs would attract and why. Then discuss their choices with another pair:
Actor fashion model psychologist entrepreneur judge
Prepare cards with personality adjectives. Divide the class into 2 teams. For each team’s turn, set a time (1 minute).
On the board write the sentence: I want to go to the cinema tomorrow.
Team 1 begins and choose a player to sit at the front of the class. The player draws a card and acts out the phrase according to the adjective on the card. When the team guesses correctly, he can draw another card. He continues until the time is up. The timer is set again for the other team, and turns continue until all the slips are gone. Count the slips and give those points to their teams.
On the walls of the class stick the following quotes. Students in threes stand up and discuss what the quote means and whether they agree or disagree with them.
Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it. Bruce Lee.
It is better to be hated for who you are, than to be loved for someone you are not. André Gide.
If somebody likes me, I want them to like the real me, not what they think I am
Beauty attracts the eye but personality captures the heart.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
It’d never too late for what you might have been. George Elliot.
Guess who. A speaking or writing activity.
Speaking. Before the class, prepare a set of pictures of famous people with very clear personality traits. For this activity the students are sitting in pairs, one student (A) facing the board and the other (B) with his back to the board. Display the photo of a celebrity and ask student A to describe this person in general terms focusing on his personality.
Writing. Before the class, prepare a collage with pictures of famous people with very clear personality traits. Ask students to write a description of one of them focusing on their personality without saying their names. Descriptions are read aloud and students will need to determine the identity of the person being described.
The four big questions.
Tell students you’re going to analyse their personality by asking them four key questions to which they should answer using three adjectives for each question. Adjectives cannot be repeated.
1. Choose a colour, the first colour that comes to mind.
Once you have that colour, list three adjectives that describe it.
2. Choose an animal, the first animal that comes to mind.
Once you have selected an animal, list three adjectives that describe it.
3. Choose a body of water like a river, ocean, sea, or lake. Once you have chosen a body of water, list three adjectives that describe it.
4. Let’s say you are in a white room with no windows no doors, list three emotions that you are feeling.
When you are done answering those questions, highlight the following to get your results: your colour represents what you think of yourself, the animal represents what you think of other people, the body of water represents your love life, and the white room represents what you will feel like when you are about to die.
Do you think birth order has any influence on our personality?
Ask students to work in groups of 4. Tell them they are going to see a video where personality is related to birth order. Assign each person in the group the task of writing down information they can gather from the video about either first borns, middle children, last borns or only children.
Whole class discussion. Starting with “first-borns”, write on the board all the information the students learnt from the video. Start a class discussion where first borns in the class will say whether they agree or disagree with the content in the video. Repeat procedure for middle children, last borns and only children.
Tic Tac Toe
Tic Tac Toe. also known as noughts and crosses or Xs and Os is a game for two players, X and O, who take turns marking the spaces in a 3×3 (3×4 in this game) grid. The player who succeeds in placing three of their marks in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row wins the game.
In this game, to place their mark they’ll need to talk for about two minutes about the question in the box.
It is raining again today. Of course it is raining. This is Asturias and we don’t get to be the dear, green place – Asturias “natural paradise”- without more than our fair share of rain, but I’m beginning to get a bit sick with so much rain. I need the sun, or rather my mood needs the warm, delicious rays of the spring sun.
In class today, we need to deal with comparatives and superlatives.
This is the intermediate level so I don’t think, or perphaps it’s hopeful thinking, my students will need me to go over the rules for the formation of the comparative and superlative of adjectives and adverbs. Anyway, this is the easiest part; there are loads of sites on the internet with exercises to practise grammar.
I want this class to be highly communicative. I want my students to leave the class telling each other. OMG ! I’ve lost my voice! I want them to leave my class sounding funny, hoarse even.
So, without further ado, let’s get down to some serious speaking
♥Activity One: The place where you live
I started this post talking about the weather in Asturias. I am pretty sure my students would share my feeling about so much rain. So, after sort of complaining about so many rainy days, I am going to ask them to compare living in Asturias (north of Spain) with living in Andalucia (south of Spain). I’ll lead this activity with students contributing with their ideas and this will help me correct what I hope will be little mistakes.
Activity 2 Look Around You Competition
Students in groups of three or four compare students in the classroom. Set a time limit of about 5 minutes for students to talk and on your signal each group of students should write as many comparative and superlative sentences as they can about the people in their classroom. At the end of the time period, have one group share their sentences. If another group has the same sentence as the first group, both groups should cross that statement off their list. Continue until all groups have read all of their statements and any duplicates are eliminated. The group with the most statements remaining wins. I owe this activity to Susan Verner.
Improving Writing Skills: how to move up from the Elementary to the Intermediate Level using Adjectives.
If you are a teacher you would agree with me that helping students move from an Elementary Level to an Intermediate one takes time and practice. One does not acquire the level in one day, you need to go step by step and you’ll need to climb all the stairs to be successful, there is no lift here.
When I mark their compositions some students find it difficult to understand why a composition with almost no mistakes deserves a Pass whereas another one with more “red” ink gets a better mark. Although I explain to them that you’re not only marked for grammatical mistakes and they seem to understand I thought it might be a good idea to do an experiment so that they could clearly see my point.
The little experiment was carried out during the last 20 minutes of the lesson after having dedicated most of the lesson to working with adjectives. The aim was letting student see for themselves the difference, in terms of adequacy, between two or three grammatically correct sentences by voting on the best one. By letting them be the judges of the best sentence, they also become aware of why essays with no mistakes might score significantly higher or lower .
Before starting with the activities dedicated to Adjectives, I told my students that my aim on that day was to improve their writing skills to help them move from an Elementary Level to an Intermediate one. In my opinion, this bit of information before starting is essential to get their full attention!
Although not all grammarians agree on the order of the adjectives and the rules for adjective order are quite complicated, it is necessary to give them some kind of order they can stick to. I always use this sentence to help them remember
1. Don’t overuse adjectives. While having two adjectives before a noun sounds natural, more than three would have the opposite effect.
2. Purpose adjectives go just before the noun: riding boots ( boots for riding), sleeping bags (bags for sleeping).
3. Numbers go before adjectives: three huge houses.
STEP 2. USING STRONG/EXTREME ADJECTIVES
Isn’t it true that when you cross out things like very furious, students invariably ask … but ,”why can’t you say very furious??”
1. I find it important to see the before and the after. So, prior to beginning with step 1, show them an example of what they normally write, well, a bit exaggerated maybe 🙂 .
Last week I went to a very big beach. It was very hot and and I was very angry because I couldn’t find a place to put my towel as it was very crowded. Finally I saw one of my best friends and I managed to squeeze in next to her. We went for a walk but after half an hour I was very tired and very hungry so I bought a sandwich, but it tasted very bad. Oh My God !!!
2. Point out you cannot use very with these adjectives, but “absolutely” or “really” -among others.
3. Practising intonation with extreme adjectives in dialogues is always an enjoyable activity! Even more fun if you give them the card and get them moving around the class and talking to different people. For this activity I always use this handout from onestopenglish.com
4. That might be a good time to display the text above again, so that they improve it using extreme adjectives.
STEP 3. WRITING GAME
Before the game: Write down on slips of papers, verbs that they have recently studied. For this exercise I chose verbs with dependent prepositions. Put them in a bag or envelope.
Explain that this writing exercise is going to be a competition, where only sentences without grammatical mistakes are going to be shortlisted. These sentences will be read aloud and students will vote for the best one taking into account the length of the sentence, the use of adjectives before the noun and also the use of extreme adjectives
1. Students work in pairs competing for points against the other students in the class.
2. From the bag, ask a student -the innocent hand-to pull out a slip of paper containing a verb in the infinitive form.
3. Students have 2 minutes to write a good sentence containing the verb.
4. Quickly correct mistakes and put a tick to the ones being shortlisted.
5. Sentences are read aloud for students to choose the best one, which is awarded one point. The pair with the highest number of points wins.
At some point during the game, I make a point of telling students once again to reflect on why they feel some sentences are intuitively better.
I wanted to say Happy Tuesday but this weather is really getting me down in the dumps. You might not believe it but it has been raining nonstop for more than two months now and I feel I need some sun to cheer me up. Added to this is the fact that I’ve been working mornings, afternoons, evenings and also two weekends in a row. Only today, I am quickly writing this post to leave again to go to work .
Anyways, these are two activities I’m planning to use with my Elementary students to practise Comparatives and Superlatives. I found them via BusyTeachers and they are just what I need right now: highly motivating activities which require no preparation . Thank you so much for sharing,Susan. (see her profile here).
Look Around You Race Students in groups of four compare students in the classroom. Set a time limit of about 5 minutes and on your signal each group of students should write as many comparative and superlative sentences as they can about the people in their classroom. At the end of the time period, have one group share their sentences. If another group has the same sentence as the first group, both groups should cross that statement off their list. Continue until all groups have read all of their statements and any duplicates are eliminated. The group with the most statements remaining wins.
These Are the People in Your Family Students are given about 10 adjectives that can be used to describe people: hard-working, tall, young, old, funny, intelligent, tall, fat, happy, pretty… Then challenge them to write a sentence using the superlative form of each adjective about a person in their family. Once the sentences are completed, each person should write a list of the family members who appeared in their sentences. Students in pairs exchange the lists of people but keep their sentences to themselves. Each person should ask questions about their partner’s family and try to match each person to their superlative adjective. For example, a person might ask, “Is Lucas the oldest person in your family?” The other person should answer with a yes or an explanation. “No, Lucas is only four years old.” Give students time enough to ask each other questions, and then see who in your class figured out the most family member qualities!
There is something I have to tell you. When I am alone in my car I sing at the top of my voice and I enjoy it so much that sometimes I even dance while driving! But it even gets worse because while I am listening to music, very often, I focus on the grammar or the lyrics and if I am teaching something specific and I feel like my students need a break, then I make a point of not giving up till I find the right song. So much for concentration on the road!
This happened last week with my first and second years. I decided they needed a break from some boring stuff we had been dealing with. We were about to learn Antonyms and then, all of a sudden, Katy Perrywas on the radio singing her world famous Hot nCold. Great for opposites in elementary levels!
I was planning on grabbing the lyrics from Internet and racking my brains to create some good tasks when I decided to try ISL Collectiveand there it was. Ready to take! Thank you very much Missk for your wonderful job. It was a real timesaver!
(to download this activity you’ll need to register on this site : ISLCOLLECTIVE (I talked about this page here).
Now, why don’t you try this activity? It’s a lot of fun.