Category Archives: Class Activities

Dimmideck

A compact toolbox for the creative TEFLer.

When I first saw DimmiDeck, I thought it must have been the work of one of the big publishers, because it looked so polished and ambitious.  It’s actually the work of a particularly ingenious couple and it deserves a very serious look.

PRACTICE:

  • presenting, practicing and producing a whole host of language structures and vocabulary

WHO IS IT FOR?

  • Level (CEFR A2+)
  • ages 7yrs. and up

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The Focus Group

What happens if you mix a debate with a role-play?

I’ll do my best to avoid being too political in this post, but I think we should all agree, here at the outset, that there is no shortage of opinions in the world today.  It certainly feels like various views (however fact-based they may be) are also becoming much more emotionally charged than maybe they have been in the past; at least it certainly seems like rational and meaningful debate is in increasingly short supply.  I was looking for a way I could exploit some of this … erm … enthusiasm in the ELT classroom without it ruffling too many feathers.  Can it be done?

PRACTICE:

  • agreeing and disagreeing
  • presenting opinions with varying degrees of emotion
  • critical reading and thinking skills
  • empathy and seeing others’ viewpoints
  • learner autonomy

WHO IS IT FOR?

  • Level (CEFR High B2-C2)
  • Ages 12 yrs. and older

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So vs. Such Dice

Snip, snip.  A bit of glue.  Job done.

Bringing a bit of craft to the classroom for younger learners.  These dice addi a bit of personalisation to practising so and such with adjectives.  A little bit of imagination, a couple of cuts, a dab of glue and hey presto!

PRACTICE:

  • so + adjective + that …
  • such an + adjective + noun

WHO IS IT FOR?

  • Level (CEFR A2-B2)
  • Ages 9 yrs. and older

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Inside Job

What all vocabulary games need: a good dose of subterfuge

Most teachers would agree that regular review is a super important part of learning vocabulary.  Either as a warmer or an end-of-lesson filler, these games are useful tools to have in your TEFL arsenal.  This one is also a lot of fun, has just the right amount of competition, and is nicely interactive.

PRACTICE:

  • vocabulary review
  • present speculation
  • critical thinking

WHO IS IT FOR?

  • Level (CEFR B1-C2)
  • Ages 12 yrs. and older

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Bucket List

By the end of this year, how many times will you have used future perfect?

PRACTICE:

  • future perfect simple
  • future perfect continuous / progressive
  • asking follow-up questions

WHO IS IT FOR?

  • Upper-intermediate learners and stronger (CEFR B2-C2)
  • Ages 15 years and older

THE RUNTHROUGH:

Certainly in our staff room, using the future perfect naturally in a conversation is a big deal. “By the end of this semester, I’ll have been teaching Proficiency for 3 years straight. Yes! That’s my quota of future perfect  done for the year then!”.  This is usually followed my much cheering, fanfare and applause.

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Pathetic Excuses

Talk about practical life-skills …

PRACTICE:

  • future in the past
  • making excuses

WHO IS IT FOR?

  • Level (CEFR C1-C2)
  • Ages 15 yrs and up

THE RUNTHROUGH:

When we talk about developing our students’ language skills, as ESL / EFL teachers we often neglect that most valuable of skills: making excuses for the things that we were supposed to do, but didn’t.  The remedy?  Pathetic Excuses: The Card Game.

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Worst. Holiday. Ever.

Well, what happened was …

PRACTICE:

  • cleft sentences
  • being emphatic
  • narrative tenses
  • anecdotes

WHO IS IT FOR?

  • Level (CEFR B2-C2)
  • Ages 15 yrs and older

THE RUNTHROUGH:

If you’re looking for a fun activity that gets students to practice some past tenses and cleft sentences, then look no further.  Print out and get cracking.

Continue reading Worst. Holiday. Ever.

Affixominoes

Affix Dominoes!

PRACTICE:

  • word building (prefixes and suffixes for nouns)

WHO IS IT FOR?

  • High upper-intermediate and stronger(CEFR B2-C2)
  • Ages 12 yrs and older

THE RUNTHROUGH:

One of the most useful skills that ESL / EFL students take away from the Cambridge main-suite exams (FCE, CAE and CPE) is word building.  I’ve always found students struggle with these tasks and practicing always seemed like a bit of a chore.  That’s why I decided to gamify it a bit.  Word building + game = Affixominoes!

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The Moth

Review writing, reimagined.

PRACTICE:

  • intensive listening and encouraging self-study
  • describing the emotional effect a story has
  • narrative tenses
  • writing a review
  • practice for Cambridge: Advanced (CAE) Reading and Use of English Pt. 2

WHO IS IT FOR?

  • Level (CEFR C1-C2)
  • Ages 15+

THE RUNTHROUGH:

I teach a lot of high-level EFL / ESL classes:  some older, some younger.  A lot of exams, such as Cambridge: Advanced (CAE) offer ‘the review’ as an option for a writing task.  Having asked students to write reviews of films and restaurants for years, I decided it was time for a change.  Happily, this decision coincided with The Moth podcast coming into my life.

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Ye Olde Spooky Costume Shoppe

Trick or treat?

PRACTICE:

  • adjective order
  • vocabulary (clothing, adjectives describing clothing, monsters and other spooky things)

WHO IS IT FOR?

  • Upper Intermediate (CEFR B2)
  • 9-17 years.

THE RUNTHROUGH:

Practicing the Grammar Rule Which All Native Speakers Know But Do Not Realise in a fun, Halloween-y way with upper primary and secondary-aged students.

You’ll need:

  • 45 minutes.
  • The word cards – 1 set per 3 students,  printing the 3 sheets each on different coloured card.
  • The Costume List handouts (all materials at the bottom).
  • Some blue/white non-sticky sticky stuff.

Continue reading Ye Olde Spooky Costume Shoppe