vocabulary

Twist on a classic: Harry the Hippo

A nod to TESOLTOOLBOX here…

Harry the Hippo is a fun guessing game to use in the class. It can be adapted for practicing various grammar structures. I can’t remember where I first played the game or who taught it to me, but I’m sure it’s well-known by many TEFLers!

In its simplest form…

Practice language: love/like/dislike/hate

Find a good pic of a hippo. I used this one from a Google Image search. Explain to the learners:

Harry the Hippo likes a lot of things. Can you guess what they are? Ask me the question:

Does Harry like…?

Listen to the answers carefully. Make a note of anything Harry likes/dislikes. Do you notice any patterns?

(Answer: the clue is in the name ‘Harry the Hippo’. Harry likes any word that includes the same letter twice in a row, e.g. battery, butter, sheep, screen, apple, etc. Students guess items…)

Student: Does Harry like dogs?

Teacher: Not really

Student: Does Harry like fruit?

Teacher: (gives a sneaky clue) Well, he doesn’t like fruit, but he DOES like pineapples

Student: Huh?

Teacher: I know. Strange isn’t it?

Student: So, he doesn’t like bananas?

Teacher: No

Student: but he likes pineapples?

Teacher: Yes… and strawberries

Student: Huh? Does he like oranges?

Teacher: No

Students: Cherries?

Teacher: Yes, he likes cherries…

Etc (more…)

Spelling races with mini-whiteboards

I don’t do enough spelling practice. I should develop in that area, definitely. But one fun thing I do is a simple whiteboard spelling game as a review.

Give each team (about 4 students) a mini whiteboard, pen, eraser. Say one of the target words, and students spell it on the board. But…

  • Each student can only write one letter
  • They must then pass the board to their left
  • The next student writes the next letter
  • Students can collaborate over the spelling
  • When they’ve completed the word they hold the board up. The first team to finish gets a point.

Not got mini whiteboards? Just use a laminated piece of paper and some tissue as the rubber.

One team keeps winning…

Ha! Always happens. The game is just for fun. If a team keeps winning just get them to use their wrong hand to write each letter! Educational value, a bit. Fun and hilarity, plenty.

Alternative:

On our CELTA YL course one teacher put piles of letters (cut up) on each desk. He said a word and students worked together to construct it using the letters. One student tended to take over, but you could introduce some rules to prevent this.

I’m writing a series of short posts in response to Martin Sketchley’s blog challenge. You can view his new blog here.

Vocabulary review – fortune tellers

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my current chapter of Incredible English

Did you ever make one of those origami fortune tellers when you were a kid? They were pretty cool. Anyway, I’ve just planned a lesson on shapes with my young learners (from Incredible English), and thought the classic fortune tellers would come in handy for a bit of a vocabulary review.

I bet plenty of teachers have used these before as a fun review tool – Svetlana at Elt-cation is one for crafts so it might have come up on her blog already. Here’s a picture of my model fortune tellers for class this week:

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I first thought the students could make these for their original purpose, so I put colours on the front and numbers in the middle. Then I realised they’d be good for reviewing vocabulary, so I started putting that on instead. Under the flaps I added questions or challenges based on our topics this term, which were animals, food, jobs, etc. Examples were things like ‘name 5 mammals’, ‘name 4 jobs beginning with C’, and ‘how do you spell hedgehog?’ All the questions will be created by the students, meaning they need to flick through their class books and notes to revise the topics.

If you don’t have a clue what these fortune tellers are, just look on Wikipedia. Here are the photo instructions from Wiki on how to make them if you’ve forgotten!

fortune teller

from Wikipedia

Help please: Frayer models

What better place to think through a lesson idea than on my blog?! Hopefully all you great teachers can offer a few ideas…

I recently came across the idea of Frayer models while browsing Teacher’s Toolkit. I found other explanations and examples of their use on this blog, and concise definition here. To be honest I’d never heard of them, but they look very useful. It’s a ‘graphic organiser’ for new vocabulary, normally split into 4 sections. Students write a definition of a word, draw the word, then give examples and non-examples of the use of the word. Most models online look like this:

I’ve decided to give this a go next term with my younger students (aged 10) and perhaps some teen classes. I’m going to make an A4 vocabulary booklet with two models on each page, maybe 20 words in total. (more…)

12 ideas for reviewing vocabulary

vocab review1I’ve kept a list of all the vocabulary that has come up in class during the last few weeks of summer school. It’s a fair bit – about 200 words.

Here are some ideas for reviewing vocabulary in groups. For these tasks I didn’t use all 200 words, but about 60 or so. To prepare, give students the word list and get them to cut all the words up so each one is on a different slip of paper. Get them to mix all the words up and put them face up on the desk. (more…)