what would you say your top 3-5 activity types are? i mean warmers, fillers, ways to revise and/or practice some target language...the things you keep adapting, varying, and coming back to time and time again?
for example, i use many variations of 'memory' more than occasionally. putting a big grid on the WB full of synonyms, or half-sentences, definitions, word + pictures etc. (i have a 'map' in hand, and write n' erase as they play), and have teams guessing two squares and looking for matches. or can use a sticky ball to throw at the squares. or can make cards to do the traditional version on a table..etc...
another one is 'hotseat' to revise vocab etc. one student sits with back to the WB and his/her team tries to help them say a word written on WB behind them. can vary with restrictions on what team can say (one word, etc.), time limits, head-to-head, etc.
i'm curious what some of you all's 'go-to' activities are (i'm thinking adult classes - communicative speaking-oriented environments - but could be with kids too i suppose)...
i'm not sure i have quite enough in my arsenal right now! need some fresh ones!
appreciate any sharing and describing...'the classroom'...this is where we share teaching ideas right?
My number one best-loved activity is so simple it defies reason, but it never fails to work with any students no matter what age. In decreasing order of popularity, here are my favorites:
1. Slowly reveal. After I've introduced the vocabulary through flashcards or powerpoints, I cover the picture and just show a tiny part of it; and depending on the target language, I ask them to tell me what the picture is. For example, I'll show a tiny part of a picture of a man drinking a pop. If we are using "going to" as the TL, the students will have to answer like this: He's going to drink. If they get it right the team that answered correctly gets 10 points. If they add to the answer and say, He's going to drink a pop, they get additional points. If the students don't know what the picture is initially, I keep showing a little bit more of the picture. I also throw in a new vocabulary word just to keep them on their toes.
Variations on slowly reveal are endless. One very popular one is through drawing. They've seen the vocabulary flashcards and I start to draw one of the flashcards on the whiteboard. They answer in full sentences using the requested TL.
2. Tic Tac Toe. I put up 16 or 25 flashcards in a grid on the board. Using the TL and the vocabulary, students call out a number and answer. For example, they might call out number 3 and say, They ate a hamburger yesterday. Each team tries to get as many flashcards in one line. So, for a 16 grid game, that would be a maximum of 4 in a row, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. I tell them that 1 card = 10 points, 2 cards (next to each other) =50 points, 3 cards = 100 points, and 4 cards = 200 points.
3. Snap! I put a bunch of flashcards on the board. One student from each team stands in front of the board. Another student in the class reaches into a bag, takes out a vocabulary card and reads it. Students at the board have to touch the flashcard first. The student who touches the card first must make a sentence using the vocabulary and the TL. If it is a tie, we use rock, scissors, paper for the winner. Have different students pick vocabulary from the bag as well each time.
That 3rd sounds awesome.
1. 2 teams, give them a subject (ie. countries) and they have 2 minutes to list as many as they can think of on the board.
2. 2 teams. give them 8 letters (ie. A E O F H T M N) they have to make as many words as they can in a time limit.
My m4's taught me the 2nd one and i'm always suprised about how competitive they get. and yeah i desperatly need new ideas
"Wheres the beef?"
if you need more fun stuff, youre short on methods. read around mate. lots of help here and elsewhere. theres more ammo in grammar to make an hour lesson than there is really neat games to play. remember, students have fun when youve got a plan.
rainy day lessons dont got the beef mate
if you want some advice about YOUR class, give us the context (as much details as possible) and we'd be happy to help you think about frameworks and how to structure a series of classes so that you arent when you should be
I like club and stick. I take a club in my right hand, a stick in my left and start swinging.
On a slightly more serious note, I like 'Ask Ajarn.' Thai students are notorious for NOT asking questions. A few minutes before lunch or break, I write 10 to 1 on the board and tell the students that if they want to go on time, they have to ask ten questions of me or any of the other students. I usually start out with just asking the teacher questions until they do it better in class. As the class advances during the year, I include the question asking session to include students. They start getting real good at making their fellow students talk with open ended type questions.
Early on, I often prep this filler by asking students to help list different ways questions can be asked. We get a decent list on the board and this helps.
Afterwords, we go back to club and stick.
"Goddamn it Lord, bless oh ye this bacon..."
George Liquor American
going to Z
this is a great tool to empower teachers like this, because it can immediately demonstrate consequences to the kids. the downside to this kind of empowerment (versus lock step procedure) is that you live or die with the teacher-- get a bad one and you have parents on the phone everyday to the principal.
...but like anything with kids, if you build them up, and give them something they value. they will not want to lose it, thus making the punishment regiment a tad easier. that is, if they have nothing to lose, behaviors can be quite bad. ive seen that where teachers have nothing else than kicking kids out of class....and then, it becomes cool to sit out in the hall...
Dead simple to organise, but always gets them up, running, shouting, competing is:
Split them into 3 teams of up to 3-5 students and split the WB into 3 give each team a board marker then they have 2 minutes (usually ends up more like 4) to write as many 2 letter words as they can. They're all crowded round the board jostling, copying, trying to hide their words from each other. At the end of the time, count up, keep score and do the same with 3 letter words (3 minutes) then 4, 5 and so on depending on their level. usualy ends up in a near riot, with teams rubbing each other's words out, stealing board markers etc. Lot of fun and alwasy works for me.
I call this one my Uber warmer or Puppet
I invented it during my TESOL program because the warmers we learned were semi lame and also the students had seen them like 10 times by the time we got to those students.
So I write 16 words on the board ex:
The student comes up to the board and says the word and I act it out
Sounds dumb right....but wait till you see their reaction.
Great for New teachers to a new room of students...Not only breaks the ice, it shatters it.
But how right.
Tiger you roar and leap at the student and make a swipe with your hand paw...students go nuts
Fall you fall down simple they love it
Monkey-hide a banana in the room, acting like a monkey makes them crack up hard enough but when you find a hidden banana and try to offer it to the students and then eat it..the laughter of a 40 kid class is defening
Just wait till they figure it out and point to two of the words like, I remember,: Sing+Tiger...Hilarious...Sad+Elephant....oh man my favorite run+monkey
If you have students with some skills a good game is Bingo. Make a grid, on the left have 8 or so categories. At the top mix up the alphabet in about 8 groups. Make teams and have them try to get 5 in a row, same idea as tic-tac-toe. My kids always love this game when we play it.
I also do a Thai trivia game with teams but of course you have to know something about Thailand to use it.
And last with young kids I do shark attack. I draw a stick figure that's hanging from a cliff by 1 hand with a shark ready to eat him. It's the same as hangman but you erase a body part for each wrong letter until the shark eats him. Important to say "chomp,chomp,chomp" as you erase.
These activities change depending on the class.
For example, for my teen class, Ask the Righ Question is a big hit to start the class and my student are active, productive, interested, and engaged in [i]Ask the Righ Question.
It takes 30 minutes of a 2.5 hour class. Too long? No, it isn't, not for this class. They study English in public school, their grammar is solid and the New Cutting Edge book bores the heck out of them.
I write up my own answers for "Ask the Right Quesion," for Student A sheet and Student B sheet.
I take the new vocab from the textbook, both old and new words. Many Ss have forgotten this vocab and ask what a word is, even though we did it on the board and modeled it....last night. So, it's good.
Other games that will always work well for me (if I don't use them too much) are:
Angels, Guns & Bombs (aka Gun, Heart, Bomb)
Also a new one: "stop the bus." (Name makes no sense, as it doesn't describe the game).
Many people die at twenty five and aren't buried until they are seventy five.