I am going to be honest here and tell you that although I love Asturias and have always lived here, I miss the light. Whenever it gets cold and blustering outside, whenever I look through my window at 6 pm and see darkness outside, the number one thing that I always crave is travelling to a place where it’s summer and the days are long and sunny and bright. I dream. I daydream.
So, almost winter in Spain. Time to talk about holidays.
Have a look at these two sentences. Are they correct or incorrect?
Have a safe travel!
The trip by train took two hours.
Let’s find out!
Travel, Trip and Journey: How to use them
As a verb: “travel” is normally used as a verb. It is used to refer to the general activity of moving from place to place
I travel to work by car
As a noun: “travel” as a noun is normally uncountable
The pass allows unlimited travel on all public transport in the city.
As it’s uncountable, things such as “ I had a nice travel” are wrong
Note: although uncountable, sometimes “travel” can be used in the plural
This exhibition reflects scenes and inspiration from his travels at home and abroad.
The novel is based on her travels in Asia
More common collocations associated with the noun “travel” are
The travel industry
A travel bag
“Journey” is also usually used as a noun. It means the time when you travel from one place to another. The emphasis is on the travelling itself, it does not refer to the time you stay there.
It was a long and difficult journey through the mountains I read during the train journey to work. Did you have a good journey?
“Trip” is used as a noun and it’s countable. A “trip” is when you go on a short journey, or a journey you do not usually make, and come back again. We use this when the emphasis is on where you are going or why you are going there. The time you stay there is important.
It was my first trip to the States
I am going on a business trip
Was it a good trip?
Let’s go back to our two sentences at the beginning of this post. Are they correct or incorrect?
Have a safe travel!
The trip by train took two hours.
They are incorrect.
“travel” is uncountable, you cannot use the indefinite article “a” with it. The correct sentence would be. “Have a safe journey”
It’s incorrect because the focus is only on the travelling itself, we are not interested in where you are going or what you are going to do there, only on the duration. The correct sentence would be: ” The journey by train took two hours”.
I know, I know, I can see some of you raising an eyebrow and thinking… “well, I must be weird then, if I don’t like shopping”. Of course, you are not, it’s just that I love it so much that now that I don’t have as much spare time as I used to have, I miss it like crazy.
But I know, not everyone is a shopper, not everyone is a consumer. However, we all need to buy, whether it’s clothes, food or any other stuff. So, this lesson might come in handy whenever you decide to set your foot in a shop.
Hold on! Shop? Did I just say, “set your foot in a shop”? Like in a physical shop? It seems to me that right now, the online shopping experience has become so incredibly diverse and sophisticated that no matter what you need, it is simply a click away from you. You don’t even need to physically go to a shop. You can get yourself the latest craze from anywhere in the world without actually moving from your sofa. Kind of awesome! Yeahhh, awesome but boring!!!
Anyway, in this lesson aimed at B2 students, we will be focusing on the topic of shopping and we ’ll be comparing online shopping to traditional shopping.
ONE: Lead-in Activities
A. Types of shops
Although students have a B2 level, I find they always welcome an opportunity to review vocabulary and maybe learn the names for some less common shops.
Play the video once without stopping and at the end of it, ask students in pairs to write down as many different kinds of shops as they can remember from the video. Write the words on the board for correct spelling and drill pronunciation.
Divide the class into As and Bs. Ask As to face the board and Bs to face away from it. Play the video, display the first picture and ask As to quickly describe the kind of shop they see on the board. As describes half the pictures and then they change roles with Bs doing the description and As guessing the shop.
Note: The slides contain music. Turn down the volume if you do not want it.
You’ll find the list with all the shops featured in this video at the end of the post.
Click on each of the pictures below to enlarge them and ask students in pairs to comment on them briefly. Ask for feedback.
Note: the slides contain music. I didn’t want it, but I did not have an option. It’s Mozart. Turn down the volume now if you prefer not to be distracted by the music.
TWO. Brainstorm and introduce new vocabulary
Give students two minutes to write down as many words as they know related to shopping. When the two minutes are over, ask them to stop. After a quick round to see who has written the highest number of words ask students to tell you their words, writing on the board only the ones that are a bit more challenging.
For example, words such as “deal” or “goods” will be written on the board while “shop” or “money” will not.
More useful vocabulary:
A good deal: if something is a good deal, you pay a low price. You can say that a store has some great deals, for example
A bargain: the same as above
20% off : the price is now 20% less than the original price
Overpriced: if sth is overpriced, it costs much more than you think it should
To order: when you order something that you are going to pay for, you ask for it to be brought to you, sent to you, or obtained for you. “to order things online”
To place an order
If you have a discount on the retail price, you pay less price than the price normally charged
Goods: things made to be sold
To be scheduled for delivery (tomorrow)
A secure payment page
To enter your card details
Get a refund
You can pay “Cash on Delivery”
To exchange a product
To track your package
Ready to test your knowledge? Fill in the blanks with some of the words above.
THREE. Listening. Video Activity: Singles’ Day
Lead-in: Ask students if they know anything about Singles’ Day. Info,here
Play the video once without giving students any tasks.
Give students the gapped text and ask them to complete it with the words they hear. Play the video.
Play it again, if necessary
See the activity here. You can check the answers by activating the subtitles in the video.
FOUR. Speaking: Online Shopping versus Traditional Shopping
Divide the class into two groups: those preferring online shopping and those preferring traditional shopping. Ideally, you would pair up students in this way, but more often than not, you’ll have to persuade some students to take a different view for the sake of the exercise.
Give each student their corresponding handout and ask them to read the information on it. Their aim, when pairing up with a student holding an opposing view, will be to try to convince their partner to change their mind.
NOTE: These activities will be in Spanish. Students will need to act as mediators in an oral interlinguistic mediation activity.
This is the first time I am going to do an interlinguistic oral mediation activity with my students. My students are going to take the role of mediators and use a source text in Spanish and relay the selected information to an English speaker, who does not understand Spanish.
What is a mediator and what does he do?
The mediator acts as a facilitator in a social event during which two or more parties interacting are experiencing a communication breakdown or when there is a communication gap between them.
Watch the video and find out a bit more about mediation.
These are the first two tasks I have prepared for my students. More would be coming!
Ohhh! The power of a game! I don’t know anybody who does not welcome a bit of fun while learning/teaching. Playing a game transforms everyone’s mood. It is magical to see what having a little break from routine tasks, can do for students who have been working hard.
I teach two-hour lessons and trust me when I tell you that even people who do not typically like games go out of their way to beat the other teams.
If, to the thrill of playing competitively among teams, you add movement, give them the opportunity to stretch by asking them to stand up and also offer them the chance to change partners frequently, smiles and good vibes are guaranteed.
For this game, I have used the free website baamboozle.com/, which is super easy to use and allows me or my students to create and play games.
If you do not want to register, you can still click on Featured games and choose from the large bank of games saved on the website.
Revising: give students the link to the game and ask them at home to revise using the Study Mode.
Writing: ask students to choose one of the questions and write about it for about 15 minutes paying attention to their grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes. During the class, the next day, choose a box, tell students to quickly provide the collocation and ask a student who has written about it to summarise his ideas for the rest of the class.
We are talking about Cloze Tests today. Not the printed fit-all-size cloze texts that you can get and photocopy from any textbook or exam preparation book, but the online tailor-made no-prep cloze tests you can get at the wonderfully simple site created by L. George. See it here
Why is it Cristina’s way, you might be wondering? Well, because it combines two of my favourite ingredients in an activity:
A touch of technology
A game-like activity
The online tool I have used to create the cloze has two features you can choose from: text only (that you can easily copy/paste into a document) and interactive (that you can save as an HTML page). The tool is free and you don’t even need to register.
In this exercise, I have used the simpler text-only version.
Cloze Test Exercise with a Twist
Choose a text that contains a variety of terms you want your students to revise or work with.
On the right yellow box with the options, choose “every… words” ( I have chosen to gap my text every 9 words)
Using the OHP, display the gapped text on the board or alternatively, print it and give it to your students. Two students can share a copy.
Ask students to work in pairs. Give or show the Close Test and ask them to predict the lexical category or part of speech that could fit each gap: is it a noun, an adjective, a preposition or maybe an article? Allow a couple of minutes for this task. You might want to show an example.
For example, I wrote a letter___ my mother (students will most likely agree, they ‘ll need a preposition to fill in this gap)
Ask Student A to face the board. Ask Student B to face away from the board and concentrate on the text.
Tell students you’ll write the words on the board in random order, but each of the words will be identified with a number. If you have 8 gaps in the cloze text, you will write the words on the board preceded by the number. Tell Student B to do the same in case he cannot guess a word in the allotted time. For ex: 1. house 2. wrote 3. for.
Write one of the missing words on the board, and ask student A to define the word, or give a synonym or antonym for student B to guess and write down. For example, if the word on the board is “wrote”, Student A might say “it’s a verb in the past and you use a pen or a pencil to do it”.
Tell students you’ll write a new word every 30 seconds. If Student B guesses the word quickly, he might try to use the rest of the time (up until the 30 seconds) to try to place the word in the right gap but tell them you’ll not wait.
Continue in the same way until you have written all the missing words. The words should be written in random order.
NOTE: If one of the words hasn’t been guessed, at the end of this part Student A will need to try to define the words again. (Remember that the words are still written on the board). This time, Student A can help Student B by giving him the first letter.
Once they have all the words, Students A and B will work together to complete the gapped test.
Place a bell on your table and ask the first pair to finish to come up to your table. Silently check that the exercise is correct and if it is, ask them to ring the bell. From that moment, the rest of the class will have one minute to finish the exercise.
Choose another text and repeat procedure. This time Student B will face the board and Student A will concentrate on the text.
Note: If you are a student, this is a great tool for self-study. Choose a text from around the web, gap the text every 10 words and then select the interactive feature, which will check your exercise. Enjoy learning English!
I’m currently in the middle of —what I like to call—beginning-of-the-course chaos. I am busy doing nothing, wasting time on probably unnecessary things and when the day ends, I find I have done nothing from the to-do list I carefully planned in the morning. Total chaos.
Today, I have a guest post from a colleague from EOI Oviedo, Ángeles Jimenez, who from time to time, saves my a** by agreeing to send me some of her creative activities. This is one of them. I hope you like it as much as I did.
This lesson plan is based on a two-minute short film launched by the B.B.C on Christmas 2017. It’s suitable for intermediate and higher levels.
The lesson starts with a lead-in speaking activity to help students differentiate -ed from -ing adjectives. It’s then followed by a brainstorming activity where students get a lot of talking time.
-ed / -ing adjectives can be a challenging task to teach as students mix them up easily. Sometimes such confusion can lead to amusing mistakes such as “I’m boring” or “I’m tiring” when they truly mean “I’m bored” and “I’m tired”.
To clear up the confusion, I start with a warm-up activity. I write, on the whiteboard, 3 or 4 -ing adjectives and tell students they will need to come up with a wide range of things, activities and/or people that can fit in each category. “Boring”, “Exciting”, “Frightening” and “Disgusting” are some of the -ing adjectives that work well.
For example, if I write the adjective ” Boring” students might say: studying for exams, politics, queuing at the supermarket…etc.
This is an engaging warm-up as students can personalise the grammar point you’re trying to teach.
I begin with myself writing the word “moths” in the “frightening” column. They may not be familiar with the noun but students love it when the teacher includes anecdotes and personal examples. They get involved in the activity in no time!
Once the whiteboard is full of the students’ own ideas, I then follow with a “How do you feel” question to elicit the -ed adjective.
Example: “How do I feel about moths? I feel frightened”
and I write the word “frightened” on the board with capital letters underlying the -ed part to emphasize that’s how I feel. To make sure they’ve understood the difference, I go through the adjectives on the board asking the same question: “How do you feel about studying for exams?” To round up, a simple graphic is very helpful:
Something ING ⇒ makes you feel ED
I project the frame above from the silent advert because it’s open to interpretation, it offers a lot of speaking practice and I find it’s a great way to revise the use of narrative tenses, especially for intermediate levels. I ask my students to come up with a short story that can explain what is happening/happened, what the girl is/was doing, how she is feeling and what they think is going to happen at the end.
At a more advanced level, they can even make deductions. Elicit some examples such as “It’s late. She must be worried because her parents haven’t arrived home yet”
Also, make sure they use as many adjectives related to feelings as they can.
Play the video.
Speaking: Ask students to compare it with the stories they created. Ask some follow-up questions: Did they like it? Did they find it touching? Can they relate?
Vocabulary and speaking. Pdf here. Give the students the handout that accompanies the video activity. It includes an exercise to learn new vocabulary, another exercise to revise -ed / -ing adjectives and last, but not least, a more ludic and relaxing one to test how good their memory is. You can see the first two exercises below:
Vocabulary exercise. Summarising the story. Choose the most appropriate word from the drop-down menu
Oral exercise. Using adjectives -ed adjectives to talk about feelings. Ask the following questions and encourage students to use -ed adjectives
Watch the T.V add and talk about how the girl felt…
when she came out of school. Ex: excited
when she gave her dad the talent show leaflet.
when her dad answered the call.
when she rehearsed at home, in the street…
How did her dad feel when he saw her jumping on the escalators?
Why did she slam the door?
How did she feel when she …
drew the curtains?
couldn’t remember the dance?
when her dad came out of the audience to help?
the dance finished?
Silent movies have a great potential for language teaching. They’re a fantastic tool to get students to produce language at any level since it’s the task the teacher sets the one that provides the level. They usually find it easier to memorise vocabulary and grammar when it’s associated with a captivating image or story and when it comes to holding their attention, a short clip does the trick.
I have always liked playing cards. Like about 20 years ago, I used to meet with some friends at the weekend to play cards. We usually met at a cosy old cafe where most of the elderly in my village met to play cards and domino with their buddies. They were old, we were in our twenties. They wanted peace and quiet. We wanted fun and noise and laughs.
It didn’t last. Somehow, we realized we were not welcomed and eventually stopped going. But, I still like playing cards and whenever I can talk some of my friends into playing, I immensely enjoy it. Let’s play cards, then!
Aim: to revise vocabulary in a speaking exercise
Level: B1 upwards
THE GAME OF CARDS
The game is SO simple. The only prep is to make sure you have enough pieces of paper cut up in advance. By the way, a good opportunity to reuse photocopy paper that has been used only on one side.
Take a regular A4 sheet of paper. You want to obtain 8 pieces of paper. Fold it in half and cut it along the crease. Fold the two pieces again and repeat procedure. Do it a third time and there you have your 8 pieces of paper resembling the size of an average size of a card in a deck of cards.
Ask students to sit in groups of three in a circle around a table.
Write the topic you want to revise on the board. For example, Education.
Give each student in the group 8 blank cards and tell them they will need to write on each card a word or expression related to the topic on the board. Explain that it does not matter if the words are repeated in the same deck of cards, in fact, if they get the same words twice, it will only help consolidate meaning and use. Challenge students to write newly-acquired vocabulary. Allow them to have a look at their notes.
Ask a student in the group to take all the cards, shuffle them and deal 3 cards one at a time, face down, starting with the student to the dealer’s left.
Place the rest of the cards face down on a pile in the centre of the table.
Write on the board or call out a question for discussion. For example, Are exams necessary or are they a waste of time?
Tell students they will all need to talk about the question in their groups trying to use the words on their cards. As they use them, they place them face up on the table and pick up another one from the pile. They always need to have three to choose from.
Allow 5-6 minutes per question. Once the time is up, ask students to count how many words they have used.
Repeat all the steps and write another question for discussion on the board.
Every two or three questions, you can ask groups to swap cards and repeat steps 1-5. By swapping cards students get a new batch of cards with hopefully some new words to use.
Autumn is probably my favourite season. Autumn is the season of birthdays in my family. Also, it’s not too hot or too cold. This year, this is especially important for me as I have been assigned a small class facing south and I know, come May, I’ll be sweating up a storm. So, for the time being, let’s enjoy beautiful autumn.
This year I am teaching 2-hour lessons so, more than ever, I feel the necessity to design activities that might change the pace of the lessons and keep my students from dozing off in my classes. The activity below is aimed at that. Still, I need to be completely honest here. I have not started teaching proper lessons so this activity has not been tested yet. I’ll let you know how it goes and if I hear any snores or see people yawning, then I would know it has been a complete failure.
to revise and consolidate adjectives related to feelings
to use these adjectives in a speaking activity.
Tool: Genial.ly. For this activity, we will use the grid below with gifs representing different feelings. This is an interactive image created with an awesome tool called Genial.ly, which I am proud to say is a Spanish start-up used all around the world. Genial.ly lets you create engaging interactive visual content and for this activity, I have used the “Hide” effect so if you mouse over the gif, you’ll be able to see the adjective. Also, the questions for discussion will be displayed when you click on the numbers.
(click on the arrows to enlarge the image)
For each of the squares in the grid, do part 1 and then part 2.
FIRST PART: WORKING ON VOCABULARY
Ask students to work in pairs. Student A will be playing “against” Student B.
Ask student As to choose a number from the Feelings Grid below. You can ask all the As to agree on a number, but in some classes, it might prove a difficult task to reach quick consensus, so you might want to just choose a random student A to decide on a number.
Once they have chosen a number, both student A and B will write the adjective they think is hidden behind the gif representing the feeling. Allow 30 seconds for this step. Let student A and B compare their answers and then mouse over the gif to display the hidden adjective.
If they have guessed the adjective, they score 2 points. If the adjective they have written is a synonym, they score 1 point. Ask students to keep score of the points they get.
On the board, you might want to write the target adjective and the synonyms they come up with. Drill pronunciation of the adjective and all its synonyms.
For example, if they choose Gif 9 and the adjective is “worried” you might want to accept “anxious, troubled or concerned” as synonyms. You can use a synonym dictionary, like this one https://www.thesaurus.com/. There is no shame in this. 😉
SECOND PART: WORKING ON SPEAKING
Click on the number, in this case, number 9 and a question will be displayed. Ask students in pairs to discuss the question. Set about 4 minutes per question. Walk around. Monitor and help. Avoid overcorrecting.
Now, B’s choose a new number from the Feelings Grid.
Note: if you haven’t taught any of the adjectives, you can still use the activity. Change the rules of the game and instead of scoring two points if they guessed the adjective, you might want to give them the points if they come up with a synonym even though it’s not exactly the one hidden behind the gif.
To be on the safe side, and to avoid wasting time checking the dictionary, you might want to write a list of synonyms before you play the game.
Most of the times, it is easy to tell when a noun is countable (ie. can be counted) and when it is uncountable. Think about the words “dog” and “sugar”. Easy, isn’t it?
We can say one dog, two dogs or a dog, ie, you can count “dogs”
But can you count “sugar”? Of course, you can’t. You can’t say one sugar, two sugarsor sugars, not even a sugar.
If only it were that easy! 🙂 Take for example vegetables and fruit. Vegetables are countable, but fruit is normally uncountable, though in some cases, to complicate things, it can be made plural when referring to different kinds of fruit.
The vast majority of commonly consumed fruits qualify as non-starchy. Would you like some fruit for dessert?
There you have it, this is English!
If you want to know more about countable and uncountable nouns, here, it is clearly explained.
On this post, I want to share with you two activities I did with my Upper-intermediate students in case you want to use them in your classes.
Game: Sit down. Stand Up
The first one is a very simple activity, perfect to use after a tedious lesson when you see attention is beginning to fade. Actually, it is not a game as there is no competition and nobody is eliminated but, to be honest, I don’t know how to call it. An energizer, perhaps? What is clear is that it will keep your students engaged and motivated.
I have used this activity with upper-intermediate students so the concept of countable or uncountable (mass) is not new to them.
Before the class: prepare a list of names that are clearly either countable or uncountable.
How to play:
Tell students you are going to call out nouns that can be classified as either countable or uncountable.
Tell them they will need to sit down if the noun is uncountable and stand up if it countable.
As you can see there are far more uncountable than countable nouns because my students already have a clear idea of what countable and uncountable means. If you are introducing this concept for the first time, I would suggest you use more or less the same number of countable and uncountable nouns.
So, how can we make an uncountable noun countable? That’s easy! Very often, we can use “a piece of…” before the uncountable nouns.
We can say:
A piece of fruit/cake/cheese/baggage/furniture/news/rubbish/research… etc
But English wouldn’t be considered one of the richest languages if you could just use “ a piece of” with every uncountable noun, would it? So here’s a quiz where you will learn some other partitive structures used with uncountable nouns.
How I suggest you work with the quiz:
You can certainly do the quiz once if you have a prodigious memory and are able to remember every combination, but if you are like the rest of the mortals, taking the quiz once is not enough.
I would suggest taking the quiz two or three times, then writing down all the combinations you can remember and then taking the quiz again to check and consolidate.
If you think they are boring, perhaps I might succeed in changing your mind once you read about this activity.
Writing is always on my mind (like Joe Manganiello 😀 ). It ‘s true that I should probably dedicate more time to writing tasks in class, but writing takes a lot of time and time is a luxury I cannot always afford. For this reason, I try to do small writing activities that take less time but have proven very effective.
If you have been reading my blog for some time you have probably guessed a thing or two about me: I am a huge fan of competitions and anything that brings fun and a relaxed atmosphere – and probably a little bit of noise- into the classroom.
I think the exercise I’m about to describe combines perfectly well the two above. I have used it to revise reported speech (indirect speech) and more specifically reporting verbs, but it can be easily adapted to any other point of grammar you need to revise.
In case you are wondering, below is a picture of the grass skirt I have used for this activity. You can also call them tearable sentences, but I like grass skirts better. You can make your own template o download the one Tekhnologic very kindly offers on his website. I have used his.
Before the class: Decide on 8 sentences using a variety of reporting verbs you’d like your students to translate. You can use Tekhnologic’s template or create your own. Write the sentences in the spaces provided. Print as many copies as you need and cut along the dotted lines. Each group of three or four students will be assigned a copy. A good idea would be to use a different coloured paper for each group, but this is entirely optional. Put them on the walls of the class.
Now, you are ready to start.
Ask students to work in groups of three or four. Draw students’ attention to the walls of the class and assign each group a poster with the 8 sentences.
Tell students that the aim of the game would be to translate all the sentences on their assigned poster on the wall. To do so, they must nominate a runner who is the one who must run to the wall, tear off the sentence, run back to his group and then together translate the sentence.
Once it’s done, the runner must go to the teacher and show him their translated sentence. If it’s correct, the runner can tear off the second sentence. If it’s incorrect, he must return to his group and correct the mistake(s). The teacher can help a bit by underlining where the mistake is. Only if the teacher has marked the sentence with a tick, it is considered correct.
The runner cannot tear off a new sentence until the previous one has been shown to the teacher and marked with a tick.
The runner cannot correct the sentence at the teacher’s desk. He must return to his group and there, correct the sentence.
Groups can only tear off sentences from their assigned posters.
The first group to have a tick in all 8 sentences is the winner.
Follow-up: Whole class. Read out the sentences from the poster and ask students to, orally, translate them. Focus on any common problems you might have noticed.
Give runners a round of well-deserved applause and maybe something to drink 😆
I am not a big fan of watching TV. I find most programmes dull and very often uninteresting. However, one of the very first things I do as soon as I wake up (this, of course after my first cup of coffee) is to watch the news. However, lately, I have been considering skipping them. Is it me or do you have the impression that the news is filled with disaster and corruption? How can you be expected to rise and shine when the world is going crazy, when all the stories in the news are about crimes and criminals? I’d rather watch the weather forecast! Hey! Hold on!! Just heard about hurricanes and floods? I think I’ll stick to Netflix.
Anyway, please excuse my rambling and let me share with you some of the activities I have designed to help my students learn and practise vocabulary related to crime in a series of engaging speaking activities.
Using grass skirts. Making up a funny crime story
Choose a number of crimes and write them down. You can use my own template. See it here.
Cut a line between words (see picture) but don’t cut them all the way so that the slip of paper doesn’t detach.
Each poster contains 9 crimes. If you have between 10 and 18 students you will need two copies of the poster.
Put the poster(s) on the walls of the class.
Point to the posters on the walls of the class.
Tell students they will have about 10 minutes to make up a funny crime story. They can take notes but they cannot write the whole story.
Ask students to stand up and take a crime. They will do it by tearing off the piece of paper containing the crime.
Students sit down and began making up their funny crime stories.
In groups of 3 or 4, they share their stories and decide on the best story in the group.
The best story in each group will be then shared with the whole class and again the best story will be chosen.
Using a Feedback Tool to play a game to revise vocabulary.
This one is a lot of fun. Believe me!
Aim: to revise vocabulary related to crime using the free online tool Answergarden
If you have never used a feedback tool, you really should give it a try. I have used feedback tools and also backchannels in my classes in a number of ways to teach English and I like them for several reasons.
They are very effective
They tell you in real time whether students are really learning or not.
They give voice to all the students and not just to the ones who always raise hands.
They are fun and make classes more interesting and engaging.
Downside: it requires the use of devices with an internet connection. However, two students can share the same device.
If you find it hard to integrate technology into your classes, I run workshops on the use of online free tools in the language classroom (tool+practical tested ideas+practice designing your own activities- see workshops here)
Go to Answergarden and click on Create Answergarden
Type your topic or question
Set Classroom or Brainstorm Mode
Set the answer length to 20 characters
Click on Create and share the link with your students.
Students submit their answers and they are represented in the form of a growing word cloud.
Tip: Don’t forget to refresh your page to see all the answers the students are submitting or to choose the expand tab which will refresh the page automatically every 5 seconds.
Step 1. Creating the wordcloud
Share the link for the Answergarden you have created and ask students to submit words related to crime. Their answers will be represented in the form of an attractive wordcloud.
(Note: This is an active answergarden. You can submit words, but please, only words related to crime 🙂
Step 2. Playing
Divide the class into two teams and ask a representative of each team to come to the front of the class facing away from the board where the word cloud is displayed. Let’s call them Captain A and Captain B. Place a table in front of the students and on the table place two reception bells. If you can’t find the bells, any other sound would do! But, there has to be a sound, mainly, because it’s fun!
Set a timer for 90 seconds. Teams have 1m 30´ to describe as many words as possible. Point to a word and ask the class to describe the word using synonyms, definitions or paraphrasing. If a captain knows the word, he will need to press the bell and then say the word.
If the answer is correct, his team scores a point and the game continues in the same way until the time runs out. The teams choose other captains to continue playing.
If the answer is incorrect, he won’t be allowed to guess again until the other captain has had a chance at guessing.
Random Questions- A Speaking Activity.
I have created the presentation with questions to discuss about crime and punishment with the free tool Genial.ly
Ask students to write on a small scrap of paper 5 words they have learned. If they have learned “ to be sentenced to” for example, encourage them to write the whole expression and not just “sentenced “.
Click on the random question button in the presentation. Ask students to swap slips of paper with their partners and get them to discuss the question reminding them to use as many words from the slip of paper as possible. Allow 4 or 5 minutes to discuss this question.
Ask students to swap lists again before asking them to stand up and find a new partner.
Click on the random question button in the presentation again and repeat procedure.
Hope you have enjoyed the activities.
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