My son Lucas was complaining he was going to have a permanent crick in his neck from spending hourrrrrs (or words to that effect) trying to learn irregular verbs in English when it occurred to me there might be plenty of sites on the Internet to help students, and my own son in this case, with this seemingly daunting task.
And just as I predicted there are some cool sites that offer a nice alternative to the traditional pen-and-paper method of learning irregular verbs.
Hard to believe me? Then, try these games and I bet you’ll be delighted next time you are asked to study them. Dear Lucas, this post is for you!!!
An enjoyable game where irregular verbs are chosen at random from a spinning wheel. In this game you have 2 minutes to answer questions related to the verb forms of the irregular verbs displayed in the wheel. You get 1 point for every correct answer plus a bonus 10 points for every verb you get 100% correct.
A fun activity where the teacher is presented as an animated character on a pirate ship about to be eaten by sharks. You’ll need to answer correctly all the questions to see the teacher being eaten by the sharks (don’t worry, there’s no blood!). A game for kids that I enjoyed a lot and played more than once 🙂
I always like to start my lessons doing some quick revision of what I taught the previous day. I do it using different techniques, but they always have something in common: they help get students into the mood and start using English from minute one.
The idea in this activity is to combine two things:
Revision of targeted vocabulary
Consolidation of relative sentences
Divide the class into two teams and ask them to choose a person to play for them and take the “hot seats”. These two students will be facing their teams and with their backs to the whiteboard.(see picture above)
Decide which team starts the game by tossing a coin. Let’s say Team A starts the game.
Display the first word cloud on the board.
Team A will choose a word or expression from the word cloud and define it for its player. Once the player has guessed the word, the teacher will cross it off and the team will define another one. For every word they guess, they will get 1 point. If the player for Team A doesn’t know the word, then Team B gets the chance to define the word for its player. If he guesses, the team gets 2 points for this word and this same team continues defining words and scoring points.
Continue until all the words have been defined.
Procedure is repeated again with word cloud 2. The teams choose other players to take the “hot seats”. Team B starts playing now.
As stated above, the idea is to revise relative sentences, but obviously in the heat of the game I’d allow any paraphrasing students can come up with.
Online Word Cloud used: ABCya. A word of warning: this tool is so easy to use that you’ll soon get addicted to it! See tutorial below.
I’m really happy to welcome again Angeles Jimenez as guest writer on the blog. Ángeles is a friend and fellow teacher from EOI Oviedo with over 25 years’ experience teaching adults and, in this blog post, she will be sharing with us a fun engaging game to revise vocabulary.
The Sentence Betting game is a vocabulary revision game which requires students to recognize, correct and explain vocabulary related to the topic of work. It’s highly adaptable to any semantic field and it’s a great game to review vocabulary as end-of-unit activity and usually a lot more fun than the typical course book review.
Level: This game in particular works best with C1 students since there are difficult expressions B2 students haven’t studied yet.
Preparation: Prepare a worksheet for students to check for word-usage mistakes related to the topic of work. Include correct sentences in a random order.
Fake money or poker chips (optional). You can download play moneyhere
How to play:
1. Divide the class in teams of 4 students. If you want to play with bigger groups, split each group into two teams.
2. Give each team a handout of the betting sheet. Allow them 10 minutes to go down the list of sentences to decide and mark which one is either correct or incorrect.
They need to put a tick or a cross and bet a sum of money between 1$ and 5$ depending on how confident they feel about their answer.
3. The auction. Call sentences aloud one by one and ask each team to bet a sum of money stating whether they think is correct or incorrect. Display the answer on the screen. Ask students to fill in the 3rd column with the amount won or lost.
For example, if a pair of students bet 5$ on a sentence because they believe it’s true and they’re correct, then they win 5$. But if they get it wrong, then they lose that sum.
Students add up the figures both plus and minus. The winner is the team with the most money at the end.
Once a team has won the bet by correctly saying that a sentence is wrong, they have the chance to double their money again by correcting it.
Remind students that once the game starts you will limit the amount of time they have to decide if the sentences are right or wrong.
Variation: If you want to build up excitement, divide each group into two teams appointing a spokesperson, who will be in charge of reading each sentence aloud and giving the correct answer after each bet.
Tip: if you want to keep the activity fast-paced, it may be better to play in teams as poor pronunciation will slow down the game.
To be honest, the tool was suggested to me by one of the teachers (Marga Valdés) attending a talk I gave last year. It was a talk about creating activities for the classroom using free online tools, and when I finished the presentation, this teacher came up to me and said she was surprised I hadn’t mentioned Genial.ly. I confessed to her I didn’t know the tool and promised I would give it a go.
It was almost the end of the course and although I gave it a quick try, my mind was in holiday mode, and I didn’t put my heart into it. Now, after trying the tool, I run the risk of becoming addicted to it!.
Genial.ly works like Thinglink but, in my opinion, it’s a lot better. Genial.ly is a web tool to create engaging interactive visual content. You can make interactive pictures, infographics, presentations, posters and questionnaires or guides. And, for me, the best thing about this tool is that you can choose from a wide variety of free templates to create very professional interactive content or you can upload your own pictures and start from scratch. It also gives you the ability to integrate videos, audio, and any embeddable code among other things.
THREE ACTIVITIES I HAVE CREATED USING GENIAL.LY
Using how long+present perfect in combination with simple past
Aim: To orally practise asking and answering questions using Present Perfect and Simple Past.
Competition: revising irregular Verbs.
Click on “instructions” to see how to play
Indirect questions + questions about money.
A speaking activity revising the grammar for indirect questions and questions about money.
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.
This is a very simple communicative activity that works wonders because it is highly engaging, students love it and it is very productive. It takes 2 minutes to create and it is adaptable to any topic of discussion and suitable for all levels.
Aim: activating new vocabulary through discussion questions.
Easy peasy! Just go to wheeldecide.comand fill in one wheel with the target vocabulary and another one with the questions you want your students to discuss.
Students in pairs
Spin the wheel containing the questions and then, the wheel containing the word/ expression you want your students to use when answering the question.
Student A has 2 minutes to talk about the question and use the target vocabulary. If he does, he scores a point.
Spin the wheels again. It’s student B’s turn.
NOTE: When creating the wheel, go to the advanced section to choose colour and whether you want the option to be removed after it is landed on or not.
If you are a student and you’re preparing for exams or studying on your own, you probably have your own studying strategies, but I invite you to try this new one. I’m sure you’ll find it engaging and productive.
I ‘d like to thank Cristina Serafim for bringing wheeldecide to my attention.
Can we still be friends if today’s post is on phrasal verbs?
I know, I know, I’ve been a student, too. I know what you’re thinking. How, for goodness sake, one is supposed to learn that a car pulls in/off/over/out/up/away and into something and be expected not to make a mistake?
When I was a student at university, they made us learn like two thousand phrasal verbs or maybe more. I cannot remember exactly how many, but what I do remember is that I had them sellotaped -sticky notes hadn’t been invented yet- on the walls of every single room in the flat I was sharing. I am pretty sure my flatmates entertained the idea of asking me to leave, especially when they heard me enter a room, point at the wall and recite the list, but I am pretty sure they learned a phrasal verb or two.
Anyway, I am not planning to ask my students to memorise long lists of phrasal verbs out of context. There are more pleasant ways to learn them, aren’t there?
This quiz below is a good example of that. According to Roy Norris, author of Ready for First, Ready for Advanced and Straightforward (advanced) among others, these are the 30 most common phrasal verbs in English.
Do you have any others to add to the list?
This is how I suggest you work with the quiz:
Do the quiz
Once you have finished doing it, try to remember which phrasal verbs were tested and write them down on a piece of paper together with their meaning.
Do the quiz once again and compare your written answers with the ones given in the quiz.
Write down the ones you didn’t know. Look them up in a good dictionary and read the example sentences to see how they are used in context.
Try the quiz again some other day to consolidate knowledge.
Today I’m really happy to introduce a guest writer to you. Angeles Jimenez isa friend and fellow teacher from EOI Oviedo and, in this blog post, she will be sharing with us an excellent communicative game to consolidate the use of present perfect simple and past simple. Ready for a lot of fun!
Do you want your students to keep their noses in the course book? Don’t read on then.
Going into a new class on the first day can be a little bit stressful both for teachers and students. Teachers get ready to greet their students, anxious to get started, and learners are nervous wondering what is to come. That’s why it’s important to have a first day of class that will set the tone for what the course will be like. And it will be FUNtastic!!!
Games for getting to know one another can be an excellent way to establish a stress-free environment in the classroom. Let your students know that they’re welcome in order to put their insecurities aside, try to make them feel comfortable participating. They’ll have fun learning English in no time!
The “You’re lying “game lives up to its name.
It’s a fun game which works very well at the start of the term as a ‘getting to know you’ kind of game. Teenagers love it because they don’t feel like they’re learning, and advanced students love it because it’s a break from the monotony of learning with serious assignments.
It’s also a great way to consolidate the use of the present perfect tense to talk about experiences and the use of simple past to ask follow-up questions.
Language point: Present perfect tense and simple past
Organisation: Pair work
Level: This speaking activity is designed for advanced levels.
Materials: One copy of “You’re lying: student A” for half of the students in the class and one copy of “You’re lying: student B” for the other half of the class.Pdf here
Aims: To present the present perfect tense (have + past participle) with the function of talking about past actions. Students should be able to recognise that the present perfect and the simple past are both used to talk about a past action but the present perfect is used when the time is not stated and the simple past when the time is known.It works well as an ice-breaker for C1 students since it requires some previous knowledge of verb structures and some command of vocabulary.
For B2 students some warming up may be necessary.
You could begin the lessons by speaking about your own experiences in a general way. Be careful not to give any details about these experiences. In other words, keep to the present perfect. For example:
I’ve been to many countries in my life. I’ve been to Italy and I’ve visited France, Germany, and Switzerland. I’ve also driven a lot in the United States.
Ask students to ask you questions about the specifics of some of your adventures. On the board you can draw a time line and point when they took place. Students will hopefully be able to catch on fast and keep to the past simple.
How to play
Students are invited to lie to their opponents, something which they usually tend to enjoy! The more detail the students can give in their answers, whether invented or not, the more convincing they will be.
Put students in pairs and give them A and B handouts.
Students ask each other “Have you ever..?” questions. Remind them they must answer all the questions with “Yes”.
Student A asks student B a question using the Present Perfect. Student B must answer “Yes, I have”.
Student A can then ask them 3 “Wh” questions in the Simple Past and try to spot from B’s answers (sometimes body language ) if their opponent is lying or telling the truth.
If student A guesses, then he / she gets the point. If he’s been fooled, then student B gets the point.
The winner is the student with the most points. They could also start with a maximum number of 10 points. Student A subtracts one point if he / she fails to guess whether B is lying or telling the truth. Student B substracts one point if Student A guesses.
For more advanced learners, this is a great opportunity to bring in modal verbs (“That must be true, it can’t be / have been true because…”)
Why does this game work?
Because students tend to remember more when they are relaxed and enjoying the activity. It’s also an easy way to encourage quiet students to get involved too!
It makes it a lot more fun if they think of facts that may trick or surprise others so tell them to be creative.
As a follow-up they can also write five sentences about themselves and then get into pairs or groups and repeat the interrogation. Have fun!!