Impossible

As a class or in a group make a list of things that in your opinion are IMPOSSIBLE.

Some of the things my class came up with:

Live on the sun
Get a 10 in Biology
Suck your elbow
Live forever
Be underwater for a long time
Fly
Run faster than 10km/h
That Jesús (student in class) won't eat pizza

With this list on the board I asked them to think which ones they thought were not actually impossible and explain how they could be done.

For example study harder in biology, cut off your arm and suck your elbow, fly in a plane, make some robot legs that will help you run that fast and so on...

Secondly I asked them to decide which one from the list they thought was the most impossible.

other ideas:
Rank the list (maybe a smaller list) from impossible to possible

Fact, Opinion, False.

A thinking activity.
01 Present the following sentences to the students somehow and ask them to say if they are fact (true), opinion or false.

1.The cat is an animal. (fact)
2 Cats see in black and white (false)
3 Chocolate can be toxic to cats. (fact)
Everybody likes cats. (opinion)
Cats are in the same family as Lions and tigers. (fact)
6 Cats are nocturnal (fact)
Cats have more teeth than dogs. (false)
8 Seeing a black cat on a Saturday brings good luck. (opinion)
9 Cats always land on their feet. (false) 
10 When people see a cat, they want to touch it. (opinion)

02 As a follow up activity ask the students to create fact, false or opinion sentences about something they know. I chose the town they live in for my class but you could leave it open. Everyone reads out their sentences and as a class we decided if they were fact, opinion or false.

Animals

01 Display 4 different animals on the board:

Bats
Blue whales
Bears
Butterflies

02 Can you say why each animal is the odd one out on the list?

e.g. The Blue whale because it lives in water.

03 Change a noun to an adjective and rank the animals in the order of most to least (in your opinion of course).

Weight
Height
Strength
Speed
Beauty
Intelligence
Aggression

e.g. BEAUTY (beautiful): 1. Butterfly  2. Blue Whale  3. Bear  4. Bat

04 Make comparisons with the adjectives and write some sentences:

I think Blue whales are more beautiful than bears
but butterflies are the most beautiful.
The bat is the least beautiful/ ugliest.

05 Other ideas...

a) Complete the sentence: If I were (one of the animals) I would _____

b) Invent some facts: (Did you know that...)
Did you know that Blue whales used to be green

c) Each person says something different about the animal around the class until somebody can't.

d) If (one of the animals) ruled the world what changes would we see?

e) If you could talk to (one of the animals) what would it say?

f) How would life be different if we didn't have (one of the animals)?

g) Advice for young animals from their parents: Write three things one of the animals would say to its children. In my class one student drew the blue whale and wrote: Never leave the water. You should always stay with your family. Don't eat your brothers and sisters.

h) Create a new animal from two of the animals. e.g. Butterbear. Draw the animal and write about where it lives, what it does every day and what it eats.

06 Next time use 4 different animals.

We Are Family

Write down the names of 3 members of your family
(cousins, uncles, grandmothers whatever).
Pair up with somebody, look at your partners list and ask each other the following questions...

Who's __________?
How old is she/he?
What does she/he like?
Can you describe her/him

Continue asking questions if it's interesting or move to the next.

Could also be done as a whole class, teacher writing names up on the board as we go and students asking questions with hands raised of course.

More complex questions that could be used.

What does she/he look like?
What's she/he like?
Do you get on with...?
How do you stay in touch with...?
Does she/he have any bad habits?

Predictions

Write the word PREDICTIONS down the board and ask students to think of an object or other word (make sure there are a few objects) starting with each letter.

Pen
Robot
Elephant
Dog
Invent
Car
Train
Interesting
Orange
Nothing
Snake

Now make sentences predicting the future using one or a few of the words. It may help to provide a sentence stem: In the future...

e.g. In the future snakes will have big noses and someone will invent a car that can fly.

Questions for a picture

Display a picture (as down below) - and some answers.

a) England
b) Late afternoon
c) A house
d) Yes
e) No
f) A young family
g) 1910

Students need to work out what the questions are for these answers related to the photo. e.g. a) Where was the photo taken?

Afterwards you can display another photo and students in groups can come up with their answers for it. Then the other groups in the class can guess the questions.



A quiz that makes a sentence

1) The
2) Answers
3) to
4) this
5) quiz
6) make
7) a
8) sentence
9) like
10) this.

e.g. Number 1: What is the definite article?

So this type of quiz could be used as an introduction to a grammar structure.

1) 2 letter word at the start of conditionals? - IF
2) First Person Pronoun? - I
3) The Past of Have? - HAD
4) the number after 999,999? (two words) - ONE MILLION
5) The Currency of America? - DOLLARS
6) First Person Pronoun? - I
7) Could but with W? - WOULD
8) Infinitive of Bought - BUY
9) One letter indefinite article? - A
10) A fast red car? - FERRARI

Something I am good at

Ask students to write down something they are good at (like a sport or hobby)

Then dictate the following questions... (simplifying if need be)

What advice would you give a beginner?
What do you enjoy about it?
When was the last time you did it?
Whose feedback do you need?
Who/What stops you from doing it?


Students could interview each other or
write their own answers or
give a small presentation...

Agree Disagree

Activities for giving opinions, agreeing and disagreeing.

01 To give students practice in discussing topics in small groups. Compile a number of sentences and display them somehow - one at a time.

Small shops are better than supermarkets
Saturday is the best day of the week.
Football is more fun than basketball.
Reading books is boring.
Summer is the best time of year.
Emails are the best way of communicating.
Cats are better than Dogs.
It is cruel to keep a cat or a dog in an apartment.

They should give their opinion and as a group agree or disagree and say why or why not.

02 Students create the sentences.

1) Somebody chooses a word in the English language. e.g purple

2) Everyone writes an opinion using this word in the sentence.
e.g I think it would be more interesting if pavements were purple.

3) With a partner students then tell each other their written opinions, agree or disagree with each other and find out why.

4) Share the opinions with the class.

Sentence Stems

I am…
I am not...
I'm good at...
I'm not good at...
I like...
but I don't like...
I hate...
I love...

Students complete the sentences above and read out their work afterwards. Could be a good activity for a new class and the higher the level of the class the more in depth the stems could be:
I used to / but now
If you / then I'll
Last year / Next year
Yesterday / Tomorrow
and so on...

Another Idea: In the summer I interviewed my nephew and asked him to complete the following sentence a number of times: Happiness is...


He responded...


Happiness is playing football

Happiness is watching Liverpool
Happiness is the smell of victory
Happiness is listening to the 2010 world cup theme
Happiness is the sound of knives and forks squeaking on plates
Happiness is my brother farting 
Happiness is cows mooing and pooing in the water (plop)
Happiness is 62% dark chocolate
Happiness is the smell of marmite
Happiness is PE at school
Happiness is talking to Mr. Norman
Happiness is talking to Mr. Rowlands
Happiness is watching champions league on TV in the winter
Happiness is watching match of the day (but not with Gary Lineker in his pants)
Happiness is the crossbar challenge
Happiness is the keepie uppie challenge (146 to date)

Sam, aged 10


This style of poem could be carried out in class as a group or done individually. We could use other adjectives or use the seasons e.g winter is... boredom is...

Inference

An inference is an idea or conclusion that's drawn from evidence and reasoning. An inference is an educated guess.

Think about the following sentences. Think of as many reasons as you can as to why they happened. If you like, imagine you are Sherlock Holmes.


01. I forgot to set my alarm clock

02. The boat drifted on the lake.
03. John ran into the street without looking.
04. Everyone stopped when the referee blew the whistle.
05. She blew out the candles.
06. Emily sat in her bedroom and began to cry.
07. The man has dirty knees.
08. Edward had a much bigger breakfast than usual.
09. Natasha is eating at her favourite restaurant.
10. The bookshop doors were open at midnight.

As a follow on for this activity you could discuss what happens next in the situations.

Irregular Verse

YOU & ME

Verbs used: (Hang (out), Have, Hide, Hold, Lead, Lean, Learn, Leave, Lie, Light (up), Mean)

Last Saturday we hung out
We lay side by side in the park all afternoon
Sometimes I leant on your shoulder
We held hands and the sun lit up your smile
I learnt things about you
I learnt that you often hid your feelings
I learnt that you had a wonderful way with words
I learnt that when you said you loved me. You meant it.

We left the park at sunset. You led me into the night.
I learnt that you were the one for me.


Irregular Verse: poems/prose written by me using irregular verbs as inspiration.

How to use Irregular verse in class?

01 Read it. Check understanding.
02 Present it as a gap fill with the verbs in infinitive at the top.
03 Do a Disappearing Sentence
04 What's the question?
After reading, present some answers that need questions.
e.g. On Saturday / In the Park / That he or she had a way with words / At Sunset.
05 Any other ideas?

Ranking

1) Take 5 random objects.
2) Rank them in order of importance to you.
3) Ask the rest of the class to guess the order you put them in.
4) Reveal your order. Were they correct?
5) Ask the class if they would rank the words differently. Why?

Other ranking ideas

Rank 5 jobs in order of most _____ to least _____
e.g. boring, well paid, dangerous, stressful... and say why?

Talking about Pictures

1) Describe the picture (What can you see.. colours / objects / actions)

2) Each student in turn says something different about the picture.

3) If there are people / animals in the photo - Talk about their feelings.

4) if you don't really know what is happening, who it is or where they are: Speculate

5) What might have happened before and what might happen after the image was taken.

6) Criticise and give your opinion of the photo.

7) If there are 2 or more people / things in the picture improvise a role play

8) Hide the photo and recount it from memory.

9) Try and make a comparison with the photo and your life or the place you live.

10) See. Think. Wonder. Look at a photo (or any view or object) and complete the sentences: I see... I think... I wonder...

Improvised Role Play

In pairs...

A is on the phone to B. Arrange to meet somewhere.
A is on the moon / mars / another planet. B asks questions.
A is a human. B is a tree.
A is a child and doesn't want to go to school. B is the parent.
A is the boss of a company.  B is always late.
A works in an Electronics store. B has a faulty product.
A has failed a lot of exams at school.  B listens and gives advice
A is a tourist. B is a visitor to their town.

Alternative Idea

Present students with the first line of a dialogue.

e.g. 1) 'Something smells delicious.'

Ask them what situations the sentence might be heard. Then, in pairsor  small groups let them improvise a conversation for a minute using that line as the first line. 

Other sentences...

2) 'That sounds like their car.'
3) 'It smells as if it's burnt.'
4) 'It sounds as if you have a cold.'
5) 'It doesn't taste like it normally does.'
6) That guitarist looks drunk.
7) 'It looks like it's going to rain.'