For Teachers: The Fun Lesson #1
Updated: Jun 16
This lesson is the kind of lesson you can use at the end of the academic year, term, course, or even just to give your students a break from the coursebook. It isn't really a lesson as such, it's more like a series of activities that flow nicely and gets the students competing against each other and other groups. But, more importantly, it gets them using that English that may have slipped to the back of their mind. You can use it with any level or age. I say age, but I have never used this with any students under the age of 12. You may look at one of the activities and think 'my adult students won't do that' as long as you keep things competitive, adults will do pretty much anything.
This lesson will for sure last for around 90 minutes, though depending on how things are going you might not get to the end. It's important to keep the Ss on their toes, so if you feel things getting a little stale, move on. You can chop and change it as much as you want.
You can find this lesson plan in PDF format and the images at the bottom of this post.
One... Two.... Beep: As Ss come in to the class ask them to stand up. Tell them you know that they are very clever, and they know numbers, and did them when they were a beginner, but you'd like to see who is the best. As an example just go around the class as normal counting... 1. 2. 3. 4 and then stop. Tell them this time you want to go around, but every 3rd number should be a BEEP. Give an example, and go slowly around the class 1.2.beep.4.5.beep.7. Let the Ss have a test run and then explain that this time, if there is a mistake, the person who makes the mistake will be out and has to sit down. The winner will be the last student standing.
It's best to reset the number every time someone makes a mistake, so if your class goes 1.2.3 that student who said 3 would be out and the restart would start again at 1. Ss usually don't get very high. You could change the numbers with letters if you dare. You will need to ask the Ss who are out to help you keep track of the numbering as it can get pretty tricky as the numbers get higher. You can also stop the Ss and tell them they are out if they mispronounce numbers. Be cruel ;)
Now You See It Now You Don't: Put Ss in pairs or groups . Show Ss a busy picture with lots of things going on or with lots of objects - below is the one I use. Tell Ss you are going to show them a picture for a very short time and then take it away. It's their job to concentrate on the picture and then with their partner(s) write down as many things as they can remember from the picture. Show it a few times, each time a little longer. Then ask pairs and groups to tally up their answers and go through them with the picture visible. The winners are the ones with the most points. Each incorrect answer loses a point.
Word Tennis. Ask Ss if they like tennis and then elicit how you play it, including the vocabulary. Ball, racquet, hit, over, net, back, court. After you've elicited how you play the game, tell them they are going to have a game, but with words. Demo with one of the Ss with the subject of colours. You say red and your student says green, you then say blue, and your student says purple and this goes back and forth until someone takes too long to answer or can't think of a reply. The wait-limit I use is 4 seconds
Common topics you can use are fruit and vegetables, things you can wear, things in the room, verbs, or you can use it to revise any recent vocabulary that you have learnt, for instance, vocabulary from unit 5. You can make this as easy or as hard as you like. You might want to keep it fresh by mixing Ss after a couple of topics.
A-B-NO: Now Ss will have many words floating around their heads, it's time to put them altogether. Write a big NO on the board. Tell Ss that you and your partner now need to work together as they are going to have a 'race' – you can elicit what a race is to make sure they know they will be competing and trying to do the task as fast as possible. Tell Ss you want them to write down one word for each letter of the alphabet on a piece of paper. A – Apple B – Boat – C – Country. Easy, right? Tell Ss you will add topics to the NO list as time goes on. This means if you add 'food' to the NO list there can be no items of food in their list. As the Ss begin, walk around and monitor, help, but keep going back to the NO list and adding other topics. The winners will be the pair who finishes first. You will need to check their list when they say ' finished finished'
Again, you have full control over how difficult you make it. Ss will say 'but we wrote it down before you put it on the board' be cruel, it doesn't matter, it's on the NO list ;) Keep an eye open when checking the lists. Usually there is a missing letter or a word you'll find from the NO list.
TBS: Explain to the Ss you are going to write 4 letters on the board. It is then the job of the students to come up with a sentence which they must write down where each word starts with a letter of one of the four letters on the board. For example, TIMS the sentence could be THIS IS MY SENTENCE, however, the Ss do not have to use the same order of the letters, they can change the letters to get something like THE MAN IS SMILING
After each group has submitted their sentence. You then take a vote on which one is best. It's best to prepare the letters you're going to use before and come up with a few example sentences just in case your students struggle.
Word Shake: This activity focuses on spelling and was taken from http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/games/wordshake – You need to create a grid with 16 letters, just like on the website. You put Ss in groups and tell them they have 3 minutes to spell as many words as they can using the letters in the grid. Tell them the letters do not need to have to be next to each other and they can only be used ONCE IN EACH WORD and then used again in another. The winning group will be the group with the most points. I use the following point system. 3-4 letters 2 points, 5-6 letters 3 points, 7+ letters 6 points, the magic word 10 points.
When creating a grid, I always start by writing a magic word, which if the students get, they get the highest amount of points.
Letter and the picture: You will need to find a very busy picture. I have linked a couple which I use below. Ss need access to the picture, so if you don't have the right technology you'll need to print the picture out so each group has a copy. Tell Ss that you will say a random letter and the first group to find an object in the picture that starts with that letter gets the point.
Any kind of busy jigsaw picture works get. Just Google jigsaw picture and click images and you'll find loads. Also, to stop the madness of calling out, tell Ss they must put their hand up before they answer.
[BONUS]You say we pay: This is a classic as you may have already used it many times before. Set-up two chairs in-front of the board, divide the class into two teams. Get one student to come up and sit in the chair and explain the writers will write a word on the board which the person in the chair won't see. It is your job to explain it to them without saying the word. I always use the example PIG. Ss will usually say it's a pink animal. It's fat, and someone will always make the sound of a pig. Stress they can use all of these ways of explaining, but can not say the word. Ask for two volunteer students to be the writers and then two guessers. Give Ss around 2 minutes to get as many as they can before changing guessers and writers.
This can be used to revise any new vocabulary which you've recently been doing in class. If you don't have enough Ss for two teams, just keep it one guesser, one writer, and have the whole class explain.
I have no doubts your students will enjoy this lesson. I actually have a fun lesson #2 which focuses on another set of activities that I hope to put up at some point. I'd also be really interested to hear if you have any other activities that could also be used.