Tag Archives: fun

The Golden Minute: a 1-Minute Revision Game

It’s a gorgeous spring day here, in Asturias. My classes end tomorrow, and before I find it impossible to resist the siren call of a full shift to summer mode, I wanted to tell you about one last fun, fast-paced pandemic-era game I have adapted from one game I heard on the radio.

Does it happen to you? Every time I see a  new game in a TV show or listen to a game on the radio, I am like a dog on alert, ears pricked, bodyweight rolled forward and tail lifted, eager to see if it’s possible to adapt and use it to teach English. Yes. That’s how my mind is wired!

So, I came up with this game while listening to the Spanish radio station, KISS FM. The game the presenters (Xabi and María)  were playing with their listeners was called “El Milnuto”, but since I have adapted it, I will officially rename it “The Golden Minute”. I know, not so good!

Why this game?

First of all, because it can be used as a warm-up for the first 5-10 minutes of the lesson and you know, how important these 5 minutes are.

Secondly, because you can never go wrong with a game. Learning is a serious business,  but this doesn’t mean they cannot have fun while doing it.

Thirdly, because it helps them revise and reinforce content.

Ready? Here we go:

Preparation: prepare a set of 10 questions to revise vocabulary or grammar. They need to be short and to the point. If you add a funny question in between some more academic ones, that would be a blast.

Materials: a stopwatch to monitor 1 minute.

Procedure:

  • Tell students you are going to ask them 10 questions in  60 seconds ( to be honest, I give them a minute and a half, but I don’t tell them)
  • Ask them to write down numbers 1 to 10 (see picture below) in their notebooks. This is an important step for 2 reasons:
  1. They won’t waste time writing down the numbers.
  2. You will use up the whole minute and this means you will have time to repeat some of the questions but always beginning with question number one and then number 2… etc. Writing down the numbers will facilitate identifying the ones they haven’t answered.
  • When the time is up, ask students who have managed to answer all the questions to raise their hands and ask the students sitting next to them to check their answers.

The prize? a big round of applause or perhaps a free homework pass.

TIP: There should be a variety of questions: difficult, easy, translation of one or two words, a surprise funny question not content-related… etc

So, this is the game… creating the right atmosphere to play the game is kind of up to you.

Example of questions:

  1. Preposition that collocates with “depend”
  2. What’s the past of “forecast”?
  3. Phrasal verb beginning with “look” meaning ” to admire someone”
  4. Write the word pronounced /prəˈsiː.dʒər/
  5. Finish this proverb ” An apple a day keeps the doctor..”
  6. Elisabeth II’s grandson: Harry or Larry?
  7. How do you say in English? sotenible
  8. Which is correct: people is or people are?
  9. Which is correct: despite of or despite?
  10. Phrasal verb beginning with “look” meaning ” to despise”

Have fun teaching.  Have fun learning!

Name 4: a Game to Energize the first 10 Minutes of your Class

I write a lot about games on this blog but the truth is that there are many days when all we do in class is course book related. It is easy to fall prey to the monotonous rhythm of the book and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it; but I never get a kick out of doing the exercises the book suggests and I might be wrong, but I don’t think the students do either. And I, for a start, need this kick to keep me going.

So, from time to time, I like to give them games that will not only engage them but also help them fix previously studied content in an attractive way.

The game I am sharing with you today is called NAME 4, and the aim is to revise content studied in this course and mix it with some easy bits and bobs from previous courses.

I have created the game in Genial.ly. If you don’t want to create your own, you can easily edit mine and write your own categories. Also, in each slide I have placed a countdown timer. The time allotted for each category varies. If you need to modify the time, you can  find numerous countdown timers on YouTube; you just need to write “X seconds countdown”in the search box.

I have used the same template for C1 and B2, slightly varying the categories.

All the instructions to play the game are on the second slide. We had great fun so I really encourage you to give it a go.

GAME FOR C1 STUDENTS. Click on the three dots … to enlarge the presentation

GAME FOR B2 STUDENTS.Click on the three dots … to enlarge the presentation

3 Fun No-Prep Games to Practise Present Perfect Simple and Simple Past

Although I might seem like an organized and methodical person from the outside, the truth is that, in some areas, I am or can become highly and hopefully disorganised.

Context: this week I am teaching Present Perfect Simple /Continuous and its use in combination with the simple Past. I know that, over the years, I have written several posts with games and activities featuring these tenses. Problem? I have so much content on the blog, that, sometimes, it is hard to find what I am looking for. See my problem?

The idea when I started this blog was to have a repository of activities I could resort to, when needed, quickly. For the most part, I have managed to do it. However, in this case, I had to trawl the blog looking for these activities. And this is precisely what has prompted this post. Having them together. Easy to find. Up for grabs! I am not sure which activity I’ll use this year but what  I know is,  it will be easy to find now.

1.How Long?

Speaking game for B1 or B2 levels: Click on the Instructions to read how to play this game. Suitable to practise for and since and the present perfect simple/continuous and the simple past.

R
2. You are lying
A speaking game to consolidate the use of present perfect simple and past simple. Ready for a lot of fun!  Handouts provided.
Read all about it here!
3.  Never Have I Ever
This hilarious speaking activity is fairly simple and requires little preparation. It helps consolidate the use of the present perfect to talk about life experiences.
Read all about it here

Brainstorming, Introducing and Revising Vocabulary Related to Work for C1 Students

Undeniable. This course is proving to be quite challenging. Having your students sitting in rows, stuck on their seats and only being able to talk to the person on their right or on their left has me racking my brains trying to find attractive alternatives to some of the successful dynamics I used in the past.

With teaching online on the rise, more than ever I have been juggling different tools to make sure the work my students do at home is relevant, effective and motivating. I think Genial.ly, the tool I have used in this lesson, is a must-have in any teachers’ toolbox.

In this lesson, you will find:

  • Activating prior knowledge:  handout
  • Introducing new vocabulary: handout
  • Speaking activity
  • Engaging game to revise Vocabulary

Step 1. Activating Students’ Prior Knowledge. Brainstorming

Before introducing new vocabulary, it is crucial to help them activate prior knowledge so that they don’t feel overwhelmed by how much they need to learn. Learning expands gradually from previous knowledge and we cannot and should not neglect this important step.

To brainstorm vocabulary, I gave them 2 minutes to write down on their notebooks, words or expressions related to “work”. On the board, I wrote Work and then wrote their suggestions, exemplifying, clarifying and drilling pronunciation.

When appropriate and relevant, I also started introducing new terms, like the minimum wage as represented in the picture below.   Some  other vocabulary they came up with is here

Step 2: Introducing New Vocabulary

PDF here

Individual Work: I gave them this photocopy and a couple of minutes to underline any new words/expressions.

Whole class: Then,  I instructed them to ask the question. Does anyone know what the meaning of…. is?  Only when no one in the class could come up with a clear explanation, did I offer it.  Until then, it is all about asking students to tap into their previous knowledge.

Step 3: Firts attempt at introducing some new vocabulary in a speaking activity

I divided the class into As and Bs and asked As to choose three new words they wanted to use in their speech. I wrote them on the board under the headings A’s words/ B’s words.

I gave As this statement to discuss: Unpaid internships should be banned and I gave B’s Retirement age: higher or lower? I let them have some thinking time and asked them to do the speaking task.

Step 4: Revising Vocabulary with a Game

This proved to be an engaging game to revise vocabulary. You will find the instructions in the second slide, but watch the video with my students doing the activity if you want a sneak peek of how much fun we had.

And here’s the game. I have made the template editable in case you want to add your own pictures. To reveal the hidden word, you’ll need to hover the mouse pointer over the picture.

Breaking the Mould: a Speaking and Listening Lesson on Success

…and there I go again. Up to my eyes in work this week and yet, I cannot resist the temptation of stepping outside the book and giving my students a taste of fun and the opportunity to listen to a piece of audio that is not staged and academic and still relevant to the lesson. I think I have managed to accomplish both. Some might say it is a sacrilege to spend more time than necessary planning lessons and that this time should be devoted to socialising, but, … in Spain, no chance of doing that in the near future, so here we are glued to the computer and virtually socialising.

I am working with Language Leader Advanced and the lesson focuses on success and successful people. I have to admit I was greatly surprised that the three people chosen as representatives of this success were all women; one of them was Indra Nooyi, Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo and a woman known for her communication skills and leadership. I loved it when I read she had grown up playing the game What would you do if you were the president of…? It kind of rubbed off on her, don’t you think?

This smallish lesson has two parts and is meant to be used as a side dish and part of a larger lesson on the topic of success.

Game: speaking and learning vocabulary

1.Ask students to write the most defining  5 traits successful people share, in their opinion.

Introduce qualities such as willingness to learn, discipline, humble nature, sociability, integrity, passion, patience, willpower, self-confidence, commitment, consistency, the ability to embrace change…etc.

2. Tell students you are going to display the pictures of remarkably successful people. On one side of the flashcard, they will see their picture and on the other side, they will see some facts about their lives.  Put students into pairs and ask student A to face away from the board. Student B will briefly have a look at the picture and then use some of the facts on the back of the flashcard to help student A guess the person on display. Warn students it is very important not to give specific details in order to make their partner sweat a bit, ie, if you are showing Mark Zukerberg, you cannot mention Facebook.  Encourage them to use the facts on the back of the flipcard, but also the adjectives brainstormed in Exercise 1

There are 4 people on the flashcards and students take it in turns to talk about them.  Do not forget to go through any new vocabulary before displaying a new name.

Listening Comprehension

A word: The audio is not very good in the sense that it is very low in volume, but my class is about 50 square meters, there are 20 students in it and they have all managed to do it. Just instruct them not make any noise.

Ready? Here we go!!

First time listening

Listen to Indra Nooyi talking about what she calls her list of essential skills for leaders “ the five C’s” and cross out the words/expressions as you hear them. There are some distractors. I won’t tell you how many. You are a C1 student.

  1. The go-person
  2. Stand out from the pack
  3. Abreast
  4. True innovator
  5. Overinvest
  6. Mobilize the troops
  7. Graduate
  8. Flunked
  9. True innovator
  10. Sync
  11. Key elements
  12. Second-guessing
  13. Crashing down
Second time listening

Can you identify the five C’s?

Third time Listening

Make notes of what she says about each of them

Get the PDF here

 

Vocabulary Revision from the Video