Bad Habits

Here are 5 bad habits (according to my students):

1) Smoking

2) Eating a lot of junk food
3) Not having a shower
4) Not drinking water
5) Eating squirrels

Why is each habit bad for you?

Which habit do you think is the worst?
Do you do any of these?

Discuss.


Extra Idea: Conditional Sentences

If you smoke... / If you don't smoke
If you eat a lot of junk food...
If you eat squirrels...

1 to 7

Students are presented with a word.

e.g Monday

They must now write a sentence underneath of two words and then three words and so on up to seven resulting in perhaps something poetic or unexpected. I suppose there is scope to insist on it being in the past or future at some point if you wanted a grammar focus.

Here is an example from my teenagers.

Monday
It's boring
It is tiring
I get up early
I only want to sleep
I want this day to finish
I think it is the worst day

Disappearing Sentence

Write a long sentence or two on the board. This could come from the student book or an exam style book.

Ask a student to read it then ask them to nominate a few words.  Clean those words off the board. Ask them to nominate someone else in the class.

The next student must then read out the whole sentence including the missing words. Repeat as above until all the words have disappeared or it's challenging enough for them to recreate in written form in their notebooks.

Alternative idea

Write a couple of long sentences or a story on the board filled with adjectives and description. Students, in two teams, must now eliminate words in the text so that the text still makes sense. They can eliminate one, two or a maximum of three words in a row on one turn. They receive one point for each word eliminated.

For example in the sentence: John drove slowly to work in his new red car.
You could eliminate slowly for 1 point or new and red for 2 points.

Random Relevant Recycling

In this activity we recycle vocabulary / word forms that have come up in class recently and make them more relevant or suited to our interests.

1) Here are some words that came up in class:

shouldn't, never, famous, successful, must, ugly, outdoors, between, flood

and here is how they have been used to write about where we live:

San Fernando is between Chiclana and Cádiz.
The famous singer Camarón was born here.
Some other successful artists live here.
You shouldn't go to the duck park because it's ugly.
San Fernando has never had a skyscraper.
It never snows here.
You shouldn't live here because there is going to be a tsunami.
In 1919 there was a flood.
I have never seen a turtle in the streets.
You shouldn't throw seeds in the street - 90% of the town is seeds.
The cinema is between a sweet shop and a bizarre.
What does outdoors mean?
I never speak Spanish in the English academy.
San Fernando must have three or four hotels.
In my dreams San Fernando is fantastic.
You shouldn't follow the clouds, you could fall.

2) I have also done it with various word forms that occur in Cambridge exams:

African, variety, impolite, overcome, golden, depth, ideally, fascinating, observation, risky.

There are a variety of restaurants in town.
Ideally I would live somewhere else.
Some people in this town are impolite.
The Africans who live here have deep religious beliefs.
The sunsets here are golden.

7 to 1

7 to 1 is a 7 line dialogue with the first line being 7 words down to the last line being 1 word.

This activity makes students think about the structure of sentences and how to make it fit rather than just writing. It can also be very funny when they read them back.

In class recently we were looking at requests and permissions so I asked them to imagine they are speaking with their parents and I provided the first line.

A: Can I go to the cinema tonight?
B: You must do your homework tonight
A: I will do it tomorrow
B: You always say that!
A: Now, It's true!
B: Ok, go.
A: Thanks.

A: Can I go to the cinema tonight?
B: No, you can't do that tonight.
A: Why can't I go tonight?
B: Because it's very late
A: Oh come on!
B: I'm sorry
A: Stupid.

A: Can I go to the cinema tonight?
B: No, you have to stay here
A: I want to go, please!
B: Ask your dad then
A: He said yes
B: OK then
A: Thanks!

Ditloids

'A Ditloid is a type of word puzzle, in which a phrase, quotation, date, or fact must be deduced from the numbers and abbreviated letters in the clue. Common words such as 'the', 'in', 'a', 'an', 'of', 'to', etc. are not normally abbreviated.' - Wikipedia.

I have used Ditloids as a class warmer. I have a few on display on the board as the students come in at the start. Here are some examples for you and yours to work out:

365 D in a Y = 365 days in a year
24 H in a D
26 L in the A
60 M in an H
12 M in the Y
7 D in a W
11 P in a F T
64 S on a C B
18 H on a G C
8 T on an

Afterwards maybe they can make their own.

Alternative Proverbs

1) What is a proverb? Do you know any in your own language?
2) Display (or dictate) the first part of some English proverbs. Ask the group to try and complete them. 
3) Make a note of some of the more creative answers before revealing the correct ones.

Here are my classes guesses / alternative proverbs:

All good things must... happen.
Better late than... dirty.
If it isn't broken... use it.
If you can't beat them... confuse them.
You can't teach an old dog... maths.
Knowledge is... nature.
Sleep ...is the best medicine.
No man is a... ghost.
Practice makes... humanity.
The early bird... doesn't have a life.
The grass is always... growing.
The pen is mightier than... the pencil.
Time is... over.
Too many cooks... too much food.
You can take a horse to water... but you'll get wet.
Children should be seen and not... eaten.
Where there's smoke there's... drugs.
You can't always get... popcorn in the cinema.

4) Recycle the original proverbs with some games

A Survey

I surveyed all my classes asking them what their favourite food was and then presented the data for all to see






















We then spoke about the data using language of comparison
Here are some sentences that came up:

pasta was the most popular food
pizza was the second most popular
chicken and chips wasn't as popular as egg and chips
chocolate should be the most popular
noodles was one of the least popular
soup was more popular then cheese
pizza got 21.3%, however, pasta got 23%

Normal Questions. Unusual Answers

Complete these questions:

How far...
How often...
When...
How much...
Who...
Which...
What...
Where..

e.g.
How far is it to Madrid?
Who are you?
What are you doing this weekend?
Where were you born?

Now answer the questions but using any of the following 10 random words in the answer.

head giraffe hats handbag daisy sun balloon comic holiday handkerchief

Some answers were:

It is 10,000 Giraffes to Madrid
I am the sun
This weekend I am going to buy a balloon.
I was born in a handbag.

Rather

1) Would you rather?

What would you rather happen? Justify your answer.

Would you rather be a door or a window?
Would you rather be a ghost or a monster?
Would you rather win the lottery or invent something successful?
Would you rather be smart or popular?
Would you rather be single and famous or have a family?
Would you rather be water or fire?
Would you rather have €100 now or €200 this time next year
Would you rather live without Snapchat or Instagram
Would you rather live without sweets or TV?
Would you rather have bad breath or smelly feet?
Would you rather spend a week in the 1980's or the 1880's?
Would you rather be a soldier or a sailor?

2) I would rather...

Student A asks a simple question.

A: Do you want to go the cinema tonight?

Student B answers in a way suggesting its the last thing they want to do.

B: Id rather stay at home and read the dictionary. / I'd rather take my clothes off and dance in the main square....

Inference

Think about the following sentences. Think of as many reasons as you can as to why they happened(an educated guess). 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.

e.g 01 Maybe they were drunk or just forgot.

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

Pyramid & Word Square Games

01 Last Letter Pyramids
Elicit a 3 letter word.
e.g. 'and' The next word must use the last letter of the previous word and be one letter longer.

and
drip
paste
easier
revised
december
racehorse
earthquake
environment

When it gets too difficult you could go back down to 3 again...
Some rules: No repetition of words in other forms or plurals allowed.

02 One letter Pyramid
Instead of using the last letter first letter system use the same first letter all the time.

B

bus
back
bring
boring

Then for the next game change the letter.

03 Word Squares
Draw a 4 x 4 square. Place a letter in diagonally as in the example below.

n _ _ _
n _ _
_ _ n _
_ _ _ n

and then complete with words...

n i c e
n o w
s o n g
p a i n

For more advanced students try bigger squares.

Remote Associates

A thinking game:
There are three spaces to be filled by the same word in each number.
What is it?

1) ice ____ ,  sun ____ ,  ____ cheese
2) sky ____,  ____ eyes, ____ jeans
3) ____ call, mobile ____, ____ number
4) blue ____, ____ cake, cream ____
5) ____ shop, open ____, reading ____
6) surprise ____, political ____, birthday ____
7) snow ____, foot ____, ____ game
8) ____ leg, arm ____, high ____
9) catch ____, ____ fighter, ____ place
10) dark ____, ____ house, ____ salad

Answers: cream, blue, phone, cheese, book, party, ball, chair, fire, green.

To make it harder you could display the words like this:

ice
sun
cheese

Ten Things

A simple activity to practice giving reasons and agreeing / disagreeing.

1) Make a list of 10 things that people take on holiday (any holiday) with them.
2) Collect some of the ideas on the board.
3) Take one word that came up e.g. suitcase.
4) Ask what reasons people take suitcases on holiday.
5) Ask what reasons people don't take suitcases on holiday.
6) Think of other reasons for and against taking a suitcase on holiday.
7) Using some of the other 10 words repeat the process.

Scary Things

Scary things according to my classes:

Spoilers
Life
The shower
My mother
A ghost
Spiders
Justin Bieber

Why are / could they be scary?
Which is the scariest?
Which is the least scary or not scary at all?

Talking About Objects

To help visualise each activity, imagine the object is a plastic bottle of water.

1) Say 3 things you know about the object


2) Each person in turn say something different about the object.


3) Criticise and give your opinion of the object.

4) 
Try and make a comparison with the object and your life.


5) 
My life as... (the object). Imagine you are the object and you will be interviewed by everyone else.


6) Or more simply, 
If the object could speak, what would it say?

7) See. Think. Wonder. Look at the object) and complete the sentences:
I see...
I think...
I wonder...

8) Do a needs analysis on the object. How could it be useful for you today / this week.


9) Make some predictions about the object


10) In what ways could you improve the object


11) Complete the sentence: Life is like the object because...


12) Complete the sentence: If I were the object... 


13) Make general instructions for the object using modal verbs.


14) Discuss both for & against the object


15) Think of some alternative uses for the object


16) What advice would a mother or father of the object give it?


Talking About Pictures

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

2) Each person in turn say 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...


11) Ask the following questions related to the picture.

What would happen if...?
How could I do this?
Why is it actually..?
Pictures from children's books are good for this one.

For & Against

1) Provide a number of opinions or situations for the students to talk about.

Eating meat
Eating junk food
Tablets should replace textbooks
Going to the cinema
Learning English
Having Pets
Football
Mobile phones in class
Cambridge Exams
Making your own pizza

Halloween

2) Ask them to talk for 1 minute with a partner both FOR and AGAINST.

Alternative: Group of students have a mini-debate, one side argue for and the other against.

Compare & Contrast

Can you find some similarities and differences between...

You and something you are interested in
You and another person in the class / family member
You and an animal

Two (or more) random nouns
Two random photos
Two images in a spot the difference activity

Two animals
Two countries
Two celebrities
Twitter and Instagram
Going to a sports event and watching it on T.V at home.
The countryside and the city
The mountains and the beach
Films at home and films at the cinema

Opinion

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.

Living forever would be boring.
Art is better than Maths.
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.