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This is a version of the classic definitions game “Call My Bluff”. Download the handout below:
Start by demonstrating the game by copying/projecting the examples from the handout onto the board. Thanks to busyteacher for the examples:
This is an opportunity for students to use language of deduction:
It could/might/may be….
It can’t be ….. because …..
It must be ….. because …..
I’m torn between …. and ….
I’m going to have a stab in the dark and say ….
By a process of elimination I’d say it’s ….
There’s no way it’s …. because …
… is too obvious.
I’m going to plump for (choose) …
Put students in pairs or threes and have them discuss the three examples and give their answers. Award points for correct answers.
Students create false definitions:
Now give each pair one of the game cards. The cards contain a rare English word and the correct definition. Students must invent two false definitions for the word and write them down. Set a time limit of 3-4 minutes for this part. Groups then read out their words and the three definitions, encourage them to be expressive and inventive in their definitions and their presentations in order to better convince their opponents. Award points for groups who guess the correct definition and points for the groups who successfully convince opponents into choosing their invented definitions.
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The old childhood classic retooled for the ESL classroom. All you need is pens and paper.
It’s the last week of term and I need a fun activity to finish on so I’m going for consequences. You can find the instructions in the link below. You will also find a link to lists of personality adjectives which you’ll also need for the game. Have fun!
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This is a great end of year game to play with all ages and levels. It’s based around the popular board game “Articulate” which is a staple in my household at Christmas.
You will need a die and the handouts listed below printed and cut up.
For action cards you need to print out the MES flashcards below and write the verb next to the picture:
Split your class into groups of 3. Have each group come up with a team name and write them on the board. Decide which team goes first. The first player comes to the front of the class and rolls the dice; the numbers correspond to the different categories:
- You choose
If students roll a 6 they can choose whichever category they like. The player than has 1 minute to describe as many of the words on the cards to their team-mates as they can. Teams score 1 point for each word correctly guessed. If the describer doesn’t know the word or their team are struggling to identify it, they can pass but they can only pass 3 times. Play then passes to the next team. Play at least 3 rounds so that each member of each team has a go at describing.
The rules to describing are:
- You can only pass 3 times.
- No miming.
- Strictly English only.
- No spelling words out.
- Silence from other teams while one team is playing.
The game is a perfect opportunity to practice different structures such as relative clauses, adjective order and many more. Below are photos of the prompts I put on the board for my pre-intermediate teenagers class:
Make sure you drill the frames with the students beforehand and do a few yourself to demonstrate. I always carry the (rather battered) card packs in my folder in case I’m ever stuck for an activity for the last 10 minutes of class. Alternatively, play it as an end of term treat and bring sweets for the winning team. Let me know how it goes.
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Photo Credit: http://ozgekaraoglu.edublogs.org/2015/04/01/how-to-get-a-good-essay-written-by-writers/
Just a quick note…
Before you use these materials… We’ve created a new podcast aimed at B2+ level English students and teachers alike. You can listen for free at our SoundCloud page below. We have released 5 episodes so far and you can download teacher’s notes to accompany them from our Facebook page or from this blog. All comments and feedback welcome! Give us a like and a share 😉
This is a lesson plan to help students approach and complete the new formal essay task in the CAE writing paper.
You will need the handout and teacher’s key:
The new CAE writing part 1 is a formal essay based on a talk/lecture that the student has recently attended. There are always 3 bullet points that the lecture discussed, of which the candidate must only address two. There are also some quotes from other attendees/surveyed people that can be used. The final part of the task will include a question that the essay MUST answer.
Credit: Spotlight on Advanced – Cengage Learning and National Geographic.
Make enough copies of the 2nd page of the hand out for one between two. Cut the hand out up, give the slips of paper with the different planning steps to the students and have them put them in order. My suggested order is as follows:
- Read task carefully. Underline most important parts; focus on the question that your essay MUST
- Brainstorm ideas based on the 3 bullet points.
- Choose the 2 bullet point you have the most ideas about.
- Brainstorm ways to express your ideas and the quotes in the task using advanced grammar:
- Inversions: Not only is/do…..but also… Rarely/seldom do people….
- Double comparatives: The cheaper the…., the more popular…
- Participle clauses: Being a keen shopper myself,… Having bought many products online,….
- Advanced linkers: Despite the fact that…., ….. due to the fact that = because
- Plan your introduction:
- An interesting way to introduce the topic.
- Formal questions that the essay will answer.
- Plan your conclusion: Focus on answering the question you underlined in step 1.
- Reread carefully checking for:
- Repetition of words/structures.
- Boring/informal vocabulary.
- Also Furthermore/moreover. Because due/owing to the fact that. Although In spite of the fact that. However nonetheless/nevertheless.
- Have you answered the question completely?
Have students complete step 1 in pairs:
Have students complete step 2 as a CAE speaking part 3 task. Draw a spider diagram on the board. In the middle write: What influences where/how people shop? On the 3 spokes write the three bullet points: Convenience, cost and enjoyment. Briefly recap some language for speaking tasks and have students discuss the topic for 3 minutes.
Hold a plenary session and board all the students ideas in note form. Then put them in pairs to complete the next step: Brainstorming impressive grammar structures to use.
When shopping online not only do you avoid paying parking fees, but also crowds of people.
Having shopped both online and in stores, I would say that….
Give out 1 copy of the third page of the handout to each student and have them complete it in pairs.
Pimp my paragraph
Either hand out the paragraph upgrade sheet out or project it on to the board. Students must upgrade the language in the paragraph to make it more impressive and more formal.
I got these great phrases from another handout I found on the internet:
More and more families are choosing to have only one child.
The trend nowadays is towards having smaller families.
Over the past ten years or so the media have frequently carried reports of ……………
Recent research indicates that the number of teenagers who smoke is increasing.
Hardly a week goes by without another report of …………….. appearing in the media.
This raises the issue of whether ……………..
Although most people would generally agree that …………… few would deny that …………….
I hope you find these activities useful in developing your students’ writing abilities, I appreciate any feedback or constructive criticism in the comments section.
Quite a well-know site but I’ve just stumbled upon this fantastic list of games for young learners. That’s my primary classes sorted for the next few months!
Image credit: old-fashioned-school-room.jpg By Robert Weissberg
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This is a conversation exercise for adult students (A2+) in which they talk about and compare their experiences at school. I have prepared this activity as a follow up to studying comparatives and superlatives so encourage students to compare their schools and personal experiences: Your school was stricter than mine.
Download the handout here:
We had to…
We weren’t allowed to…
We didn’t have to… (it wasn’t necessary)
(noun/gerund)… was compulsory
(noun/gerund)… was prohibited
Put students into groups of 2-4 and have them discuss the questions and then feedback/report what they’ve learnt from their classmates to the rest of the class. For small groups conduct the discussion as a class.
- Where did you go to school?
- Can you describe your school?
- Did you have to wear a uniform? If so, what did it consist of?
- What time did you have to start school?
- What were the rules at your school?
- We had to…
- We weren’t allowed to…
- We couldn’t…
- (noun/gerund)… was compulsory
- (noun/gerund)… was prohibited/against the rules.
- Did you eat lunch at school?
- Who was the best teacher you had at school? Why?
- Who was the strictest teacher you had at school?
- What was your favourite subject?
- What was your least favourite subject?
- Describe a typical day at your school.
- What facilities did your school have? (gymnasium, swimming pool etc.)
- Have you been to your school recently? How much has it changed?
- Would you send your children to the same school?
- What things have changed for the better?
- What things have changed for the worse?
- Who was your best friend at school?
- Are you still friends with them now?
- Do you think school is easier or more difficult nowadays? Why?
Homework: Write an essay comparing and contrasting modern schools to schools in the past. Or a “day in the life” description of your school experience.