Easy to get or simple to make and done with a lot of fun – clever ideas for lesson activities
In today’s article you can find a short list of activities which do not require much time or effort to prepare, and, what is even more important, students usually enjoy them more than expected. From my point of view and experience, these are mostly ideas which encourage learners to respond quickly, use their imagination and initiative, cooperate and compete, and, above all, enjoy the lesson and feel motivated.
I particularly like this activity and I know that my students love it too. It is fast and easy to prepare, entertaining and competitive for your students, but above all, it provides the learners with the opportunity to modify and fine-tune their skills. The idea of a grass skirts competition can be used in most lessons. However, I mostly recommend it for practising grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and reading comprehension skills.
Below you can find important information needed in order to prepare your own grass skirt, along with helpful links to my archived lessons containing ideas with ready-to-use grass skirts.
Grass Skirts – example worksheet
Grass Skirts – instruction
- Copy the worksheet onto different coloured paper, one per team of 3-4 students. Cut under each sentence from right to left leaving the left edge of the paper uncut.
- Stick the worksheets to the wall in different places of your classroom so that students in each group have a similar distance to their papers.
- Split your students into teams of 3-4.
Each team must nominate one student who is the Runner – this student’s task will be to run to the paper, tear off one sentence and bring it to his or her group. Once all the teams have their runners, explain the rules of the competition:
- All the teams start the competition when the teacher says ‘Go!’ – the Runners go to their worksheets, tear off one sentence and bring it to their teams.
2. In groups students read their sentence and, according to the teacher’s instruction, either find a mistake, use the words in brackets in its correct grammar form or, for example, convert the sentence into its passive voice. After they have finished, they raise their hands to indicate they are ready and wait for the teacher.
3. The teacher monitors the work and comes to the group which first raise their hands and then checks if they have changed the sentence correctly. If they have done it the right way, the teacher says ‘Go!’ and the Runner runs to the paper again to bring a new sentence. If they haven’t done it correctly, the teacher says ‘Not yet!’ which means that the sentence is not correct yet and they must try again.
4. The winning team is the one which has done all the sentences first.
- After there has been the winning team, it is a good idea to encourage the remaining groups to continue the competition for second and third places.
Grass Skirt – links to lesson ideas with Grass Skirts competition
http://angielskipodrodze.pl/2017/03/30/school-life-and-school-rules/ (look at task nr 2 – School Life; in each sentence, competitors must find one mistake or untrue word or phrase and correct it)
http://angielskipodrodze.pl/2018/10/06/present-simple-lesson-ideas-for-a1-a2-students/ (look at task nr 5 – Habits & Routines; the task is to put the verbs in brackets into their correct present simple forms)
http://angielskipodrodze.pl/2016/07/28/passive-voice-lesson-plan/ (students are supposed to convert sentences into their passive voice)
Talk to me, and I will talk to you
This speaking activity seems to be perfect for groups of new students who need to get to know one another. It also involves some movement so it is good for kinaesthetic learners.
Students make pairs which form two lines, one line with A students and the other line with B students. In each pair student A stands facing student B. With limited time (1 – 2 minutes), students are supposed to talk to their partners on a particular topic. After it has finished, students A move one step right and discuss another topic with another student B.
Below you can find some topics your students may discuss.
- something interesting about yourself
- something about your hometown
- an important person in your life
- what you like about school
- what you don’t like about school
- what you would like to do in the future
- what is your favourite part of the day/ why?
This engaging and fun activity is perfect for practising such skills as writing short messages or short informal letters. The most exciting part is that learners, who work in pairs, are given a new identity, e.g.:
tree – woodcutter
sky – moon
car – river
shark – fish
factory – river
moon – sun
In pairs, and under their new identities, students write and exchange short messages. It can be done traditionally on paper or in a more modern way – online.
True or False? – Clap Your Hands (perfect for young learners)
This activity is an example of T.P.R (Total Physical Response) activity. Students sit in a circle. They listen to true and false statements and respond to them with only clapping their hands. If the statement is true, they clap their hands once, but if they hear something false, they are supposed to clap twice, e.g.:
statement: ‘Potatoes come from Ireland.’ (false) – students clap twice
statement: ‘Winter nights are long.’ (true) – students clap once
Slap the board with a flyswatter
It is another example of T.P.R. activity. Students compete in two small groups which stand in two lines facing the board with ‘YES’ and “NO’ written on it. Students standing at the front of each line hold flyswatters. The competitors are supposed to react quickly to a true or false statement by slapping the correct word on the board. The first student to slap the correct word wins a point for their team. The losing team doesn’t get any points. It is a good idea to continue the game until all the students have at least one occasion to take part in it.
I’m a celebrity
All you need to prepare in advance are slips of paper with celebrity names on each and a tape which can be used with human skin. Stick such a slip to each learner’s forehead. Students work in pairs. Their task is to find out what celebrity they are by asking their partners twenty yes/no questions. It is very easy to modify this activity depending on your needs. Instead of celebrity names, you can use films/books characters, animals, fruit and vegetables, school subjects or objects. The options are almost endless.
Growing word lines
Students compete in two small groups which stand in two lines facing the board. The first student in each team must write a word which is from a certain category (e.g. something people read/ something made from paper/ the weather/ food/ school, etc.). The first word should be as short as possible because, according to the rule, the next word needs to belong to the same category and must have the same number of letters as the previous one or more. The game continues until one of the teams runs out of ideas or possibilities. The team with the most words is the winner.
Students work in small groups. They are supposed to write as many things as they can about what people do before, during and after a party.
This idea can be adapted to some other topics, e.g.:
– before, during and after school
– before, during and after summer holidays
– before, during and after Christmas
It can be a good activity for practising the present simple tense, or, with some modifications, perfect for revising past, present and future tense structures.
The simplest way to do this activity is to draw three columns and fill them in. However, if you have enough time, why don’t you encourage your learners to present it in a form of a poster or mind map? With technically-advanced students, it could be a movie or an online presentation.
I’ll be happy if you like any of the ideas above and find them useful.