Archive for listening

Iraq & Oil Production – Recommendation

I recently used the “Read a Pie Chart” handout found in lesson 2 here:

Thumbs Up Scholastic News In-depth: Rebuilding Iraq

It took 10-15 minutes to discuss the chart and the questions with a group of lower-level 11 and 12 year olds. It is best if you have a world map, or at least a map of the Middle East to go along with this.


Family Q&A Board Game – Recommendation

I have used the Family Q&A board game available at with great success. It goes well with lessons on family vocabulary and relationships, and students always love a game.

Take a look at it here:

Thumbs Up board games

(scroll down to where you see “Who’s in your family?-Family Q and A”).

Revising “Getting to know you” Vocabulary & Structures

With beginning students (or with any students for that matter), it can be a good idea to revisit things they already know in order to reinforce them. The usual “Getting to know you” questions run along the lines of:

  • What is your name? My name is…
  • Where do you live? I live in…
  • How old are you? I am … years old
  • Do you have any brothers or sisters? Yes, I have … / No, I don’t
  • Do you have any pets? Yes, I have… / No, I don’t
  • What do you like to do for fun? I like to…

To revise the questions at a later date, I will give each student a picture of a person from a magazine. I try to make sure the pictures are not of famous people. I then ask them to imagine the answers to these questions for the person I have given them.

Each student then tells the others what they have come up with for their picture.

1. Change the questions to include other topics, such as jobs, children, etc.
2. Give all the students the same picture and have them brainstorm the information for the person together while you write their ideas on the board.

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Known as Noughts & Crosses in Britain and Morpian in France, Tic-Tac-Toe is incredibly versatile and useful in the classroom. Like Hangman, it lends itself well to using teams. One game of Tic-Tac-Toe can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes to complete, depending on the difficulty.

I will often use it to reinforce vocabulary by placing certain words in the spaces and then requiring students to produce a grammatically correct sentence incorporating the word in order to win the space. If I have the students in teams, the teams alternate in coming up with sentences until there is a winner, or, more likely, the game ends in a tie.

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Simon Says

We all know this game from childhood; in France, it is known as Jacques a dit. It’s great to play with 10-12 year olds, and it can take as long as you like (just keep playing more games if you need to fill more time). I have had students be so excited about it that they have refused to go to recreation period until the game is finished.

One caveat: make sure you have something for the students who are “out” to do. You cannot rely on them being interested enough to just watch the others keep playing.

I usually begin with a warm-up review of body parts or action verbs before having all the children stand in a group and begin play.

Always do the actions with the students so they can see what the words mean. It’s also a good way to catch them out if they aren’t listening.

I sometimes have small prizes like stickers for the winners, but I find they are usually not necessary.

A twist: If one student seems exceptionally good at the game, make him or her be “Simon”. He or she will need help from you to give the correct commands, but it’s great speaking practice.

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Board Game – Frequency Adverbs

This is a board game activity that reinforces the use of frequency adverbs. It requires all the players to speak, and it can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of your groups. Don’t forget you’ll need dice and markers!

Magnifier Click here for a preview picture

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