Three activities that worked very well this week

Posted on Sep 28 2017 - 7:59am by Zdenda

In this post, I would like to share three activities that stood out in my teaching this week. They worked very well and I think that my students learned a lot from them. I hope you will find them useful and entertaining, too.
The first activity is a speaking activity where students use relative clauses. I used this activity with my teen students who are at pre-intermediate level and they liked it and they produced a lot of English.
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The second activity is a vocabulary revision activity. I used it with my third and fourth year and I was glad that I could revise all the vocabulary and grammar in a way that the students enjoyed.
The third activity helped my fifth-year students learn how to tell time in English.

Relative Clauses – Speaking

It is very difficult to make teenagers speak. No matter how interesting a topic might seem most of the students get out of their way to finish the conversation as soon as possible or they swap into their mother tongue.
If I try to solve the problem by giving them some time to prepare, they get easily distracted and the results are poor.
Knowing all of this I came up with a different kind of preparation this time. I created the following worksheet.

As you can see there are sentences and students should fill them in with the information which is true for them. The students provide just the information and the worksheet provides the language which should be practised.
It took about ten minutes for the students to complete the worksheet. When they finished I asked them to work in pairs. In their pairs they read their sentences to their partners.
Then they changed partners and read their texts again. When they finished I asked them to throw the worksheets away. I changed the pairs again but this time I had written the following on the board:

  • MUSIC +-
  • TV PROGRAMMES +-
  • PEOPLE +-
  • ANIMALS +-
  • ACTIVITIES +-

Now the students had to speak about these things but without the worksheets. And the did. And surprisingly they used language which was very similar to the one they had been used in the worksheet.
The whole activity took about 35 minutes and the students used and produced a lot of English and used the relative clauses. It made me really happy.

Vocabulary revision

I often feel that I do not revise enough. I teach something, my students know it, we revise but the students forget incredibly quickly. They need to revise more. But they don’t want to. They don’t like doing things again and again.

That is why I decided to concentrate on revising this year. I try to devise activities my students would enjoy doing repeatedly. The following activity is very simple and it worked with Years 3 and 4.

It is very simple. Seat students in pairs. Play the following video and one student asks: “What´s this?” and the other answers “It´s a …” and the thing they see in the video. Once the video starts to flash, a new picture will appear soon.

Each picture is shown for ten seconds, however, it is no problem to play the video faster. Just go to the settings in the lower right corner and set the speed to a higher number.

It is a good idea to revise first with the whole class. Just play the video and ask the question “What´s this?” yourself. The students answer and as each picture lasts 10 seconds you have ample time to correct the students and help them if necessary.

Telling time

It is not easy to teach students tell the time in English. I love using the following resources – TELLING TIME IN ENGLISH. They work perfectly and even the weakest students learn to tell the time (supposing they can use the infographic).

However, these activities work only as long as we use digital time. At the moment the students see a watch with hands, they are lost.

I spent a lot of time wondering whether there is a way to help my students with the hands. And then I realised that the language is not arbitrary. It reflects reality. Look at the pictures below.

The hands clearly show what words people should use. The big hand shows what words we should say at the beginning (you need to learn the phrases from the infographic at TELLING TIME). And the small hand tells us the hour. We use the number the small hand is closer to.
See the examples below.

Ten past ten (the small hand is close between 10 and 11 but closer to 10)

Ten past ten (the small hand is close between 10 and 11 but closer to 10)

Five to three (the small hand is close to three)

And to practise telling the time in English, I created the following video. Play the video and students tell the time. The correct answer appears after seven seconds.

The End

I hope you like the activities and that you use them in your classes. Moreover, I hope that they will work for you and your students as well as they worked for mine.

You can find some more useful activities at the British Council site.

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1 Comment so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. HARISH BABURAO PATODKAR 30/09/2017 at 11:20 am -

    Wonderful activities definitely it will help us in the classroom.
    Thank you

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