makeitup2

Making it up as you go along…

I had a brief chat with TalkTEFL after class about how some activities we make up during class work better than the things we plan! Today was a prime example.

My teen class were really lacking a bit of get up and go. We were doing a few activities based on this vocabulary (Beyond A2+, page 80):

makeitup

They had to underline the words (in bold) related to study and circle those related to work. Then they listened to definitions and matched these to the words. We did a bit of group work (backs to the board-esque) to practise these words/meanings, but they just weren’t buying into it. Energy levels were really low. I needed a stirrer and FAST. Come on, Pete – think like a student! What might be fun?

I made up some categories on the spot, and just wrote something brief on the board to remind the students what to do. Here’s proof that my #ELTwhiteboard doesn’t always look as slick as in past posts.

makeitup1

  1. Teacher says a word from the text. Students say whether the word relates to work or study.
  2. Teacher says a word from the text. Students must say another word (from text, in bold) that comes before said word in the dictionary. Example: teacher says ‘career’, students say ‘business’.
  3. As above but students must say a word that comes after said word in the dictionary
  4. Teacher says a word from the text. Students must say another word (from text, in bold) that is longer than said word. Example: teacher says ‘course’, students say ‘company/qualification/etc’)
  5. Teacher says a word from the text. Students must say which syllable in the word is stressed (main stress)

Which word? – Teacher reads a definition, students must shout out the correct word.

I couldn’t use every word for each category (e.g. ‘full-time job’ wasn’t good for number 5), so I was just careful which number to use. So I’d just say ‘4 – career’, ‘1 – qualifications’, ‘which word – a period of time in the school year?’ etc. The first student to answer won a point for their team.

The categories could have been better, but I was thinking on my feet. Still, the activity worked well:

  • It was a good stirrer – a quickfire game that got the students thinking
  • They found it pretty fun
  • We got to review some work on word stress from last lesson
  • I checked they understood the meanings of the words
  • It was a subtle way to identify pronunciation problems when they shouted the words out
  • I can refine/adapt it and use it again

I think of planning as one of my strengths, but the classroom can be an unpredictable place. I still get the balance wrong sometimes, like today. Oh well, I managed to get the students engaged again and expanded my teaching toolkit, so things worked out alright in the end. I guess sometimes it’s okay to make it up as you go along…

Feature image: procrastoblog.wordpress.com

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2 comments

  1. This sounds like a good vocab exercise. I do think that getting students to do ‘other’ thins with the words they’re aiming to learn can help them embed the target vocab in memory!

    Like

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