Activities

Teaching activities to try out in the classroom. For each one you will find a simple guide for preparation and procedure, and sometimes printable worksheets too.

Word Family Framework

The Word Family Framework (WFF) places 22,000 words on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Playing with lexical cards

Very often students know the meaning of a word but don’t know how to use it correctly. This is often because they don’t know what words go with what other words, i.e. collocations.

Pairwork: tai chi classes

This is a simple pairwork activity that can be used with low level groups to provide practice in the present simple question form – What does he/she do on…?, days of the week, times and leisure activities. The lesson is designed for adults but could also be used with older teenagers.

Three of a kind?

Use this activity to practice the use of comparatives and superlatives and to introduce more complex ways of comparison.

Using the vocabulary game Pic-your-wits in class

Pic-your-wits is a vocabulary game that you can find on Facebook and on the LearnEnglish site.

Listen and draw

This is a simple speaking activity that can be used with A2 level groups to provide practice in using prepositions of place and giving clear instructions. The lesson is usually successful with adults and teenagers.

My wikipedia

This is an activity 'about' the internet, but it doesn't start online. In fact it has to start offline: the idea is that students try and predict the first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry for their town, region or country.

Family snapshot

If you teach young learners who are all the same age and live in the same town, opportunities for sharing and comparing life experiences can feel more limited than they would be in a multi-national class of adult learners.

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Fun revision quiz

This activity is based on the format of most of the quiz shows currently shown on television. I have tried it with different ages and levels and it has proved to be a fun and challenging way of doing revision.

Chalk and cheese

This activity looks at ways of making comparative forms by asking learners to compare things that are usually thought of as opposites.

Where were you...?

This a controlled writing activity which focuses on using the past continuous verb form to talk about events in the past. Learners write about what they were doing when they heard about an important event, either personal or public.

Musical landscapes

Pictures are probably the most often used prompts. Here is an activity that combines physical movement, imagination, self-expression and pictures.

Easter reading

This is a simple reading task on the theme of Easter in the UK. It helps students learn about how this time is celebrated in the UK and reflect on special occasions in their own culture.

Understanding dialogues

These are two simple listening activities which test students' understanding of two dialogues.

Good manners

This activity is all about manners and etiquette. This can be an interesting topic to discuss with your students, especially if there are cultural differences regarding norms of behaviour between the country you're working in and the UK.

Family tree

It's amazing how students can't stop telling their friends about themselves. I introduced my class of second-language learners to the family tree and the different relationships between people in the family - in-laws, step-family, cousins, paternal and maternal sides etc. even terms like widow, widower and divorcee.

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A shopping role play

This activity gives learners at an intermediate level and above the opportunity to use interactional language in a role-play situation

Accidents anecdotes

In this speaking activity students exchange authentic personal anecdotes.

Action Research - Stop, Start, Continue

This is an idea I got from a workshop that I went to many years ago. I have used it many times since and found it to be a really useful way of getting feedback from my students on my lessons and my teaching.

Active listening activities

Students are often asked to listen to tapes or to their teacher talking, but it can be just as useful to encourage them to listen to each other in a more active way.

Activities for using comic strips

Comic strips can be used from beginner level to advanced level for a variety of language and discussion activities.

Adopt a word

At the start of the school year I ask my students to 'Adopt a word' and share it with the class.

Algorithms

This is a whole-class speaking activity, needing no preparation, that gets the students practising question forms in a way that is useful practice as well as fun.

Alien abduction

This role-play can be used with students who are studying about aliens (a common course-book topic), for the practice and revision of narrative tenses or as a lead in to writing newspaper stories.

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