7 days

A text about the days of the week. These were sentences created by my B1/B2 level teens put into verse by me. There are also some questions to ponder, which could make for a good warmer as they turn up to class.

Sentence Games

Some activities to play with sentences.
Original sentence: She ate a sandwich

01 Dictate
Dictate the sentence in various ways

02 Blank
She ate a _____
Guess the missing word

03 Change
Change the words in the original sentence to make a completely new sentence.
She ate a sandwich could become He ran the marathon.

04 Add
Add more words to the original sentence to make it more interesting. A focus on adjectives and adverbs maybe.
She slowly ate a delicious, leftover chicken sandwich on the sofa by the Christmas tree.

05 Incorporate
Insert words provided into the sentence so it makes sense (changing tense if necessary)
She ate a sandwich in the kitchen
She is going to eat a sandwich tomorrow
If she ate a sandwich she wouldn't be hungry

06 Shrink
Remove words one at a time from a long sentence to make it as simple as possible.
She slowly ate a delicious, leftover chicken sandwich on the sofa by the Christmas tree. Becomes: A sandwich.

07 The Opposite
Write the exact opposite of the sentence:
He didn't eat a lot of soup.

08 Sentence Doctor
She didn't ate a sandwich.
Diagnose if the sentence is grammatically good or not.

09 A Message
Present the first letters of each word of the sentence.

S___ A___ A___ S___

Can you come up with another grammatically correct sentence?
Sometimes animals are scary or... She ate a sandwich. 

10 Grammar Sketch
On one side of a small piece of paper students write the sentence:
She ate a sandwich
On the other side reveal the artist within them and get them to draw the sentence. Now you have a flashcard.

11 What's the sentence?

Similar to hangman. Students guess missing words rather than letters. First letters could be given when frustration sets in.

She ___ a ____

12 Remove

The following sentence has had one particular vowel removed.
Can you work it out?


13 Alliteration

Change and extend the sentence using the same first letter as many times as you can.

She served spicy sausage sandwiches to some soldiers on Saturdays

14 How many words?

Sheateasandwich (4 words)

15 Rewrite the sentence without one of the vowels (advanced)

Without a: She consumed the food
Without e: This girl saw off a sandwich (Thesaurus at the ready)

13 thoughts on teaching teenagers

1 Hold an element of amusing mystery
2 Make connections at their level
3 Endless movement between teaching methods
4 Play games. Play thinking games.
5 Acknowledge and thank and praise
6 Encourage and inspire and listen
7 Make eye contact
8 Show them progress is victory and reward and escape
9 Anticipate everything
10 Don’t forget all the other crap they have outside your dazzling importance
11 Offer choice
12 Ask for help if it falls apart
13 Each class is a new page

Life Without

If we didn’t have...

1, Rules
2, Bees
3, The Moon
4, Trees
5, Hands

1) What would happen? How would life be different?
2) Which one would have the biggest effect on humanity?


Dreams was an idea taken from Brian Moses short writing ideas.

First, write down some object in your room or something you can see outside your window.

Now look at Brian's version:

A shoe dreams of being worn by a princess.
A snowman dreams that the sun will never shine.
A keyboard dreams of never printing a wrong letter.
A teacher dreams of a quiet classroom.

You'll see the structure dreams of ___ing and dreams that it will...

Try and construct some of your own using the objects you wrote down

Here are the results from my classes, done as a warmer, that I put together into verse.

My sister dreams of having no siblings

A book dreams of being read

My neighbour’s dream about how they are gonna annoy me

A tree dreams of being inside a forest

People dream that they will be rich

The sea dreams of having more dolphins

An emoji dreams of being in this sentence

A computer dreams that it will dominate the world

My dog dreams of dancing Flamenco

A door dreams of eating ice cream

My cousin dreams of annoying me

A computer mouse dreams of being a real mouse

A pencil case dreams that it will be useful

The sky dreams of having no more clouds

A wall dreams of being painted by a professional

A lamp dreams of being switched off

Normal Questions. Crazy Answers.

Complete these questions:

How far...
How often...
How much...

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 from my class:

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.


Incomplete was an idea taken from Brian Moses short writing ideas.

Can you think of an object and think why it might be incomplete?

If you come up with one sentence can you make a second that rhymes?

Here are the results from my classes, done as a warmer, that I put together in verse

I've left some lines incomplete so you can try and guess.

13 things that are IMPOSSIBLE

Some of the impossible things my classes came up with:

Being a mermaid
Living on Mars
Being underwater for a long time
Living on the sun
Living forever
Never going to school
Getting a 10 in Biology
Studying medicine
Sucking your elbow
Eating water
Running faster than 10km/h
Jesús (a student in class) not eating pizza on a Friday night

From this list which ones do you think are not impossible and could easily be done.

Which is the easiest to achieve? or the hardest? How could they be achieved?

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?

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.

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!


'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%


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....


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.


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.



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.