My top 3 speaking games for Young Learners (Cambridge exams)

 

The follow blogpost is about my top 3 games/activities for Young Learners to encourage speaking in class and prepare students for Cambridge Exams (Starters, Movers, Flyers).

Games/ Activities:

1. I spy with my little eyes…..

This is a classic and works really well with younger kids.

– A student/teacher chooses an object/person from the picture in his/her mind and says something like 'I spy with my little eyes something yellow/something starting with the letter P'.

– Students have to find the object the student/teacher had in mind.

Variation:

  • I spy + colour
  • I spy + description.

Exam:

This activity can help students prepare for the speaking tasks in which they're asked questions about two of the people or things in the scene picture. 'What this? (Answer: Duck). What colour is it? (Brown). It's great for practising vocabulary and revising colours.

2. Find the picture:

– Divide the students into pairs or teams.

– Give a picture to each team or pair and ask them to look at the pictures and try to remember as much as possible.

– Then get ss to write a description  about 1-2 objects/people from each picture (for example: There is a man with yellow trousers, sitting on the bench).

– The teacher collect the pics and turns them around so students can't see them, ss take turns to read out their description.

– The team that remembers the right picture gets the point.

Once thet get the hang of it get students to play in pairs and say their description on the spot.

Exams: This activity can help students prepare for the speaking tasks in which they been asked to put objects card in various locations on the scene. e.g. Put the flower next to the house'.  This activity is great for practising prepositions of place.

CLICK BELOW TO DOWNLOAD THE PICS

PICTURE 1: CITY MARKET

PICTURE 2: STREET

PICTURE 3: ROOM

PICTURE 4: SUMMER

PICTURE 5: BUSY STREET

 

3. Draw the picture.

Again this is another great activity. A student describes and the other student draws.

– Adjust students seats arrangement so that students are facing each other.

– Give student A a picture/ or display the picture on a screen.

– Student A describes the picture to Student B and Student B draws listening to Students A's instructions.

– Once students finished Students B are allowed to look at the screen/ picture and compare.

Exam: This activity can prepare students for describing pictures, using prepositions and target vocabulary. Also, it's fun and engaging.

Visuals from this activity: The black and white visuals are taken from the sample paper Cambridge handbook.

For Lower level:

DOWNLOAD THE PICS HERE

For higher levels:

 

+1 Activity

Spot the differences:

Give ss a set of pictures and ask them not to show their picture. Students describe what they have in the picture in order to spot the differences, once students have found the differences get them to think of a story based on the pictures they have and share it with in class. I've made the visuals myself, my students loved the pics :). This activity is mostly for Flyers.

For more resources you could use the speaking cards from any Young Learners Cambridge exam.

Exam: This activity can help students prepare for the tasks in which they are asked to describe several differences between two pictures. Also, it can help them with the task in which they have to continue the story.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE VISUALS

 

Feel welcome to share your ideas and any games you play with your students :). More ideas are coming up soon related to young learners and Cambridge exams 🙂

Caterpillar sentences

 

CATERPILLAR SENTENCES 

 

I was thinking of a way to get my students (9-10 years old) to  formulate their own sentences and at same time have fun.  An then I came up with the idea of the caterpillar sentences and they absolutely loved it. 😀😘😎

How to use this idea: Get students to cut down and then stick the caterpillar in their notebooks. Then, get them to write a word and a sentence using the words from the caterpillar (as seen in the example).


DOWNLOAD THE WORKSHEET HERE

This is what my students have made! Isn't cute?

 
 

 

Best Friend’s Challenge


 

 

 BEST FRIEND'S CHALLENGE

 

I came up with the idea of using the 'Best Friends Challenge' (as seen in The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallow) with my teens as they are all friends and they hang out together. I have to say that it worked really well and we had quite a lot of fun too 😁😃💛So here's how it works:



 

How to play: write the following questions in different cards and cut them down. Place them in a box. Student A draws a questions and tries to guess how Student B would have answered the question. Student A and B write the answer down and show their answers with the count of 3. If the answers match they get a point. 
 
1.   What’s my favourite colour?
2.   What are the place I would like to visit?
3.   What’s my favourite food?
4.   What’s the food I hate the most?
5.   How many minutes do I take to get dressed?
6.   What are the things I carry with me all the time?
7.   What my favourite subject at school?
8.   What my worst subject at school?
9.   What annoys me the most?
10. What’s my favourite sport?
11. What’s the craziest thing I have done?
12. What do I usually have for breakfast?
13. What my favourite song at the moment?
14. Where am I going on holiday this Christmas/Easter?
15. What’s my favourite TV show?
16. What do I do in my free time?
17. What’s my favourite kind of sweet?
18. Which is my favourite type of film? Horror, Comedy, Action etc..
19. If I could meet anyone, who would it be?
20. What would I do if I won the lottery?
21. What's my favourite kind of sandwich?
22. What's my favourite hobby?
23. How do I spend my free time? 
 
After finishing the game we worked on fluency. So I asked my students to answer the questions, expand their answers and I recorded them.  In that way, I had the chance to listen to the audio again and correct some basic mistakes.  To avoid making them feel embarrassed I gave them the corrections in handouts and we practised again. This activity is great for students preparing for exams. 
   You can also get your students to come up with more questions and play the game again 🙂
   

   Click here to download the handout with the questions. 
 
Hope you like it, let me know how it goes 🙂 

 

 

The worst and BEST moments of 2016

Christmas theme lesson

 

Description:This lesson plan is organised around the theme of the best moments of 2016 from the BBC news through the use of videos and visuals ' It also includes , vocabulary building activities and discussions around the topic of 'the best moments'.
 
Level: Intermediate / Upper-Intermediate

 

Learners: Adults

 

Theme: Christmas

 

Skills: Speaking, reading , watching videos, Vocabulary.

 

Materials: worksheets, short video, BBC news, Visuals. 
Time: 1:15-1:30 (Depending on the group and Students' pace)
 

Step one: Write on the whiteboard ´The worst moments of 2016´.  Elicit of an example (e.g. bombing of Aleppo). Tell students to work in pairs and make a lists of the worst moments of 2016. Asklearners to discuss and give reasons why is one of the worst moments of 2016. Give time to students to share their ideas with their partner. Allow 8 min

 

Step two: Elicit students' thoughts and ideas. For higher levels students it's important to 'stretch' Ss in order to make the most of their abilities. Write down on the whiteboard any interesting words or phrases that can students learn.

 

Step three: Tell students that you are going to show some pictures related to 'The best moments of 2016 around the world'. Ask Ss if they know the story behind the photo. Get Ss share their ideas and also predict the story. Allow 8-10mins for this tasks.  

 

 

 

 

 

Step four: Elicit Ss idea, and give them the article. Depending on the number of Ss give one each or two each. Give strong Ss more articles if needed. Ask students to read the titles and match it with the pictures. Then ask SS to read the article, and describe the story to their partner and then to the class. Tell them not to worry about unknown words and we will talk about them later. Allow 8 mins

 

Step five: Elicit answers and get Ss to share their stories. Ask students which story they find more interesting and show videos of the most interesting stories. Allow 8-10 mins. Videos can be found in the article.  

 

Step six: Work on vocabulary and phrases (activities/worksheet). Get Ss talk about the meaning of phrases and then match them with the definition.  Allow 8-10mins. Elicit answers, concept-checking questions to ensure that ss have understood, give more examples if needed.

 

 

A.    Vocabulary
 
1.     To spark a worldwide hunt
2.     To go viral
3.     Touch the heart
4.     Devoted human companion
5.     A leap forward
6.     Call of duty
7.     Faith in humanity restored
8.     Hang up their slippers / hang up (one’s) boots
9.     Warm and fuzzy feeling
 
1.     Work in pair and guess the meaning of this phrases in context.
 
2.     Match phrases 1-9 with definitions a-i
 
a.     Usually a pet that is loyal to his owner for the rest of his life
b.     When something becomes really popular and many people share or like it.
c.     When you feel emotional, or moved.
d.     To permanently stop staying at home/ stop playing a sport.
e.     An emotional response.
f.      To carry a job or a duty a police case, military assault/wartime actions, or other military or highly   important jobs.
g.     To move forward.
h.     When you start (again) to believe in people.
i.      an action or event that causes something important to develop. In this case, people started searching, or looking.

 

 

 

Step seven: Get students talk in pairs about their best stories from their countries/worldwide. Allow 10-15 minutes. Tell students that they are going to present the stories in class. Encourage them to write down any words-phrases. Teacher write down any errors for error-correction at the end of the lesson, or good expressions. Elicit students' ideas and stories. 

 

1.     TALK ABOUT STORIES THAT
 

 

a.     that restored your faith in humanity

 

b.     that went viral/

 

c.     about a devoted human companion that touch hearts.

 

d.     that sparked a worldwide hunt/ revolution/ movement

 

e.     about athletes that hang up their boots.

 

 
 

Step eight:  Get students to think about their own stories (positive) e.g. something they have accomplished, a happy moment, and talk about it in pairs. Elicit students' stories and close the lesson. You can also share your story *I am sure students would love  to hear your story 🙂 

 

Wish them a Happy Christmas and may all their expectations and goals be fulfilled. 

 

Merry Christmas everyone 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Academic challenge 1: Implementing the Lexical Approach (Notes 1)

Hey everyone. It's been so many years I wanted to read this book and I've finally started it this week. So here are my notes on Chapter one and some ideas on how to go about it.

 

Implementing the Lexical Approach by Michael Lewis

Chapter 1:

What to remember about:

Collocations

  • Collocations is the phenomenon whereby certain words co-occur in natural text with great random frequency
  • Some collocations are more common and co-occur with the same words (fixed collocations) such as make/do a mistake, chase/ miss the bus e.t.c
  • Some others are not fully fixed but can be filled with a limited number of partner-words. 

 Fixed expressions and Semi-fixed expressions

Types to take into consideration.

  • Fixed expressions are rare and many are short, verbless expression in everyday situation Not too bad, thanks
  • Almost fixed expressions, which permits minimal variation It's/That's not my fault. 
  • Spoken sentences with a simple slot: Could you pass…….. please?
  • Expressions with a slot which must be filled with a particular kind of slot-filler. Hello. Nice to see you. I haven't seen you + time expression with for or since.
  • Sentence heads which can be completed in many ways. What was really interesting/ surprising/annoying was. . . .
  • More extended frames such as those for a formal letter or the opening paragraphs of an academic paper. For example, There are broadly speaking two views of. . . . 

(See page 11)

 The significance of Lexis 

' Language consists of grammaticalised lexis, not lexicalised grammar' Raf Erzeel, review VVLE Newsletter 3/96

Checklist of some changes in content and methodology:

More attention will be paid to:

  • Lexis- different kinds of multi-word chunks
  • Specific language areas not previously standard in many EFL texts
  • Listening (at lower levels) and reading (at higher levels)
  • Activities based on L1/L2 comparisons and translations 
  • The use of the dictionary as a resource for active learning
  • Probable rather than possible English
  • Organizing learners' notebooks to reveal patterns and aid retrieval  
  • The language which learners may meet outside the classroom 
  • Preparing learners to get maximum benefits from text. 

My reaction and how to go about it. 

I decided to set the next academic goal and implement this approach in my teaching. First I will draw my students' attention to chunks and also find ways to help learners achieve the three highlighted above (A) talk about what is probable in English and not what is possible (B) organize their notebooks (C) and get maximum benefits from texts. 

(A) Organised notebooks:

  • Encourage learners to write down chunks  and avoid writing single words. Example: Instead of writing down the word 'lack', write 'lack of' and common words that follow 'lack of food', lack of money' e.t.c. 
  • The lexical Notebook should be personalised, learners should free to write down lexis that are particularly helpful to them.  
  • Train students to use a dictionary and look up more expressions related with the target word. For example, as seen in Oxford Advance Dictionary, Idioms with lack – not for want/ lack of trying. 
  •  Ask them to formulate their own example, it can be personal or something they made up.
  • Get them to find more examples at home (using the web) or write down more examples. 
  • Give students pre-designed pages to encourage the recording of particular patterns. I am planning to start with the following:  

 

 

(B) Probable English than possible English:

  • Take notes when students are speaking; write down common expressions students usually translate from their L1  but don't sound natural in English.
  • To encourage them do that I adapted the 'Thought-Speech-Bubble from the book (as seen in page 82).   

    
Download the document here  

(C) Get maximum benefit from the texts:

  •  Start of with a discussion related to the topic, a debate or a role play. Write down interesting words,expression or collocations on the whiteboard. Students schematic knowledge will be activate and students learn from one another.
  •  After reading, get students notice patterns, collocations and expression and WRITE them down in their notebook. 
  • Another activity is 'Find the expression that means…..' from the reading texts. In this activity ss work on synonyms and scan the texts to find the answer.  

THE IMPORTANCE OF RECORDING AND REVISITING

New lexical items should be recycled by students.We therefore, have to encourage ss to look back and do something with the language they recorded. Make sure you ask questions such as:
– What was the word you recorded for……?
– Can you put three expression you put in your notebook last week?  

 To be continued :D………..