|Teaching English as a Foreign Language - to Large, Multilevel Classes (Peace Corps, 1992, 243 p.)|
EXERCISES FROM EXISTING BOOKS
As mentioned earlier, discarded textbooks are often the best source of structure practice activities.
* MAGAZINE PICTURES WITH ACCOMPANYNG EXERCISES
Magazine pictures offer a good way to spice up grammar exercises. For example, given a picture of a yard you could practice prepositions by using a Fill in the Blanks Activity such as:
There is a bird _________ the table.
There is a cat __________ the bird.
SNAKES AND LADDERS
This is a game format that provides a way for students to re-examine their own errors. The idea comes from Recipes for Tired Teachers (ED 132), which is available through Peace Corps ICE. You take sentences containing mistakes from your students' papers and write the sentences on small cards. Half the sentences should be left as the students wrote them, but the other half should be corrected. These cards are then arranged on a board which may take the form of a simple numbered grid or a snake, as shown below. It is important that the cards be the same size or smaller than the squares on the board. The students play the game in groups of three or four. They take turns throwing a die. When a player lands on a square, he has to tell the others whether the sentence is correct or not. If the player thinks it is not correct, he must correct it. If the others in the group agree with the player, then he can stay on the square, but if they do not agree, he has to go back to the square he came from. At the end of the game they can check any controversial decisions against the answer key.
Here the students are presented with problem situations and are asked to generate as many solutions as possible in a given period of time. However, the language forms they can use are restricted. They then leave their responses for other students to read and improve on.
It's eleven o'clock at night, and I haven't finished my homework yet. I have to learn twenty words for an English test tomorrow. What's the best way to learn them?
Try _________ ing
Try repeating them.
Try drawing pictures of them.
Try imagining wrapping them up and giving them as gifts to special friends.
MATCHING SPLIT SENTENCES
In these exercises students match sentence halves together to practice logical connectors.
Although he worked hard he passed the exam.
Because he worked hard he didn't pass.
This can be a fun variation of a sentence completion exercise. The teacher makes a list of the forms she wants the students to practice e and fits them into a crossword puzzle.
Given the irregular past tense forms:
we can produce the following puzzle.
2. Her son _____ all the milk.
4. Peter _________the question but he didn't know the answer.
6. The children ________ a lot of toys to play with.
7. Yesterday ____ a sunny day.
9. They _________ a mess in the kitchen.
10. My stomach hurts. I think I ________ too much.
11. My sister ___________ a beautiful picture this morning.
1. Yesterday we went fishing. My friend _________ a fish but I didn't.
2. I didn't finish all my homework last night so I _________it this morning.
3. The tiger was attacking him so he __________ it.
5. The two boys ___________ across the river.
8. "Pick up your books" she ___________
VOCABULARY PRACTICE ACTIVITIES
As with grammar exercises, existing texts are an excellent source of vocabulary activities.
These take the form of matching words to synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, definitions, etc. An example can be seen in the jigsaw picture correction exercises described earlier in this chapter.
These can be prepared in the same way as the grammar practice cross words but providing definitions instead of gapped sentences as clues.
In this exercise a word is written on the outside of an envelope and HOW MANY WORDS the students are invited to make as many words as possible from CAN YOU MAKE? the letters in the word. When they have made as many as they can, they put their list of words into the envelope and look at any lists already in there.
Provide the students with pictures and ask them to label the parts of a body, for example, or a car.
Students are invited to put a list of words in alphabetical order in the shortest possible time .
ORAL COMMUNICATION ACTIVITIES
There are three main categories of oral communication activities that lend themselves to independent work. These are information gap, problem solving, and opinion-sharing activities.
INFORMATION CAP ACTIVITIES
In this type of activity students are required to transfer information from one person to another in order to complete a task. Two examples already described in this chapter are Draw the Picture and Find the Difference pictures. Other examples of information gap activities are given in the chapters on group and pair work. It is very easy to make these exercises by giving each of the students in a pair partial and different information on a chart and asking them to complete their own chart by asking and answering questions without looking at their partner's. Any chart can be utilized in this way. As an example the chart used earlier for reading is adapted below for an information gap activity.
These activities have already been described in the chapter on group work. Prioritizing lists and solving written puzzles are particularly suitable for independent pair work.
These are activities that involve students working together in small groups or pairs and exchanging opinions. The examples below both utilize a game format.
For this activity the teacher prepares a pack of object pictures. These can be cut from magazines and stuck on index cards. This task is well worth the effort as the same pack can be used for a wide variety of activities. The pictures should be as varied as possible. The students work together in groups of three or four. One student deals seven cards to each player and puts an extra card face up on the desk. The student on his right then selects one of his pictures and tries to link it to the first picture. He must explain the link to the other group members. For example, if the first picture is a fishing rod and the second picture is a tent the student could link them by saying that they are both items that you take on a fishing trip. If the other members of the group accept the link, then the player can put his picture down and the next player has to make a link between this new picture and one of the ones in his hand. But, if a majority of the other players do not accept the link, the player keeps the card and misses his turn. The first player to put down all his or her cards is the winner of the game. This game usually leads to extremly creative links and a lively exchange of options
THE GIFT GAME
This game can utilize the same picture cards as Picture Links. The students work in groups of three or four and start by arranging the picture cards in a 9 x 9 square. A die is required and each player needs some kind of marker. Each player is given a list of eight people to find gifts for. The players then take turns throwing the die and moving around the square formed by the picture cards. When a player lands on a card, he or she tries to persuade the other players that the picture he or she has landed on will make a perfect present for someone on the list. If the other players agree with this choice, the player can stay on the card and cross the person off the list. If the other players don't agree with the choice, the person loses a turn and has to return to the card he or she came from. The first person to cross of all the names on the list is the winner.
Both these games are adaptations of activities appearing in Communication Games by Byrne and Rixon.
If available, a cassette recorder with earphones is an invaluable aid for listening activities, but don't despair if you don't have one. You can put the students in pairs of differing ability and have the more advanced students read the exercises to the less advanced students.
* INFORMATION TRANSFER EXERCISES
Several examples of this type of exercise, where information is changed from one form of presentation to another, are given in Chapter Four of the Peace Corps manual, TEFL/TESL: Teaching English as a Foreign or Second Language (M 0041). In one example given in the manual, students listen to a lecture on vitamins and fill in a chart showing the vitamins, their sources, and the diseases caused by vitamin deficiencies. Other possible activities are described below: listening to a description of a family and filling in the names on a family tree; listening to a flawed description of a picture and marking the differences on the picture; listening to a description and choosing from a set of pictures the one that is being described; following a route on a map.
* ORAL CLOZE ACTIVITIES
In these activities students listen to a text and fill in the blanks in a written version of the same text. The gaps can be selected on the basis of every 5th / 6th / 7th, etc. word, or you can decide to gap any element of the text that you have been recently working on: prepositions, verb forms, etc. This activity can also be used with songs.
* MYSTERY LISTENING
Pairs of students can be asked to listen to a number of dialogues and to decide on the basis of limited information who is talking to whom, where, when, and about what. Snippets from classroom discussions and one side of a telephone conversation work well for this exercise.
Students can be asked to match snippets of radio programs TO descriptions taken from the program guide.
* FREE LISTENING
Students can listen to recorded stories and record their own.