The purpose of this activity is to teach/familiarise students with the key vocabulary or structures from a text that you will be studying. This process gives students a working knowledge of key vocabulary before beginning to read the authentic text. As a result, when students read the text it will not all be unfamiliar to them and some of the elements will be comprehensible to them.
A target language magazine, newspaper or printed text from the internet. It could even be a number of Twitter posts. Choose the words that you want students to focus on.
Cut out about 20-40 words (depending on the age and stage of your students) ensuring you have a balance of parts of speech and stick them onto a sheet of paper in no particular order. Remember that if you are working with younger students then you might only focus on items that act as SUBJECT, VERB and OBJECT.
Photocopy enough copies of the words so that students have a copy each, one between 2 or one between 4. If working in a group of 4, it is recommendable that you photocopy the sheet onto A3.
Give students a time limit to create as many sentences as they can using the words from the sheet. Ensure that you model this to the class before you begi
n. If you have a mixed-ability class you might model 2 or 3 different sentences ranging from 3 words, 4 words and five words.
Sentences may be like this:
3 words – Radio is free.
4 words – Most parents are happy.
5 words – Cows enjoy politics in April.
- Rather than getting students to write down their sentences, get them to produce them on mini whiteboards and hold them up to you to check if they are correct. If they are correct, they can move on. If they are not, they have to correct them first before they can move on.
- Make it into a competition between groups
- Get students to cut out the words and create sentences kinaesthetically.
- If you use Microsoft, Google platforms or online chat room spaces such as Padlet you can gather responses as a class ensuring that no sentences are repeated.
- For low ability students, colour code the words with a highlighter according to whether they fulfill the SUBJECT, OBJECT or VERB positions. Rather than worrying about the order of the words they can focus on the meaning whilst unconsciously reinforcing the structure.
- For middle ability students, allow them to have the option to alter the gender of adjectives or to adjust the endings of verbs to make more complex sentences.
- For higher ability students, ask them to write the opposite of the sentences they create. This is not always possible to achieve in practice, but the process encourages high order thinking skills and allows them to broaden their vocabulary.
Adapted from: http://www.onestopenglish.com