By Sophia McMillan
Cube Toss: In pairs learners are given a basic die template and asked to write their favourite: sport, movie, singer, food, drink, etc. Once their die has been constructed give each pair a standard die. Learners take it in turns to roll their die to decide the topic of conversation while their partner rolls the standard die to determine the number of questions they have to ask (e.g. if they roll a 3, they ask 3 questions). Learners take turn asking each other questions.
Word Halves: Choose some vocabulary to review. Write it out on bits of paper. Cut up the word into two halves and have learners match the word halves. Alternatively, these can be written on the board, drawn as accompanying pictures, and extended by getting them to make their own word halves.
Anagrams: Choose vocabulary to review and jumble up the letter order and in pairs learners race to spell the words correctly.
Sentence Order Games: Choose a suitable dialogue. Write each sentence of the dialogue on a separate piece of paper. Have learners put the dialogue in the correct order. Listen to check. Role-play the dialogue etc.
Rub Out & Recall: Transfer a dialogue to the board and drill. Then rub out selected words/sentences systematically and have learners recall it from memory. Teens tend to like memory games and respond well to the challenge.
Happy Graph: Draw a graph on the board with days of the week, yesterday and today along the bottom and on the vertical axis draw three faces. A happy, neutral and sad face.Learners should plot how their week has been so far. Then use the graph as a basis for getting them to talk e.g. On Monday I was happy because I met my friends. I was not happy on Tuesday. I had a test etc.
Role-Plays: Learners are often more comfortable playing a role than themselves. Role-plays can be set up in groups i.e. half the learners are A and half B, then roles changed, then as above rub out and recall ete.
Harry Potter Game: Run and draw adjectives: big, small, pretty, ugly, old, fat and thin. Elicit some of the characters from a book/movie etc e.g. Harry Potter and write them on the left hand side of the board e.g. Hagrid, Hermione, Harry, Dumbledore, Dobby etc. Teach / elicit the following: hat, bird, broomstick, magic wand, glasses, cat, book, dragon etc. Next to each name elicit and board what each character has e.g. Harry has glasses, Hermione has a broomstick, Hagrid has a dragon, Dumbledore has a hat etc. Drill these sentences and then do the disappearing sentence game just leaving character names. Then you could do a ball toss i.e. T to S1 ‘Dumbledore’ S1 ‘Dumbledore has a hat.’ ‘Harry.’ and then S1 throws the ball to another etc. This can be adapted for a variety of characters or language points.
Extension: Give the sentences on strips of paper and learners read and draw. They could also comment on whether or not they have the above items and perhaps make sentences about their family members, best friend etc.
Making Listening Fun: When doing a longish listening, have learners follow with their fingers as they listen. The teacher, in the manner of musical chairs, pauses the CD suddenly without warning. Learners call out the last word they heard before the CD was stopped. With higher levels they could predict the next word / phrase coming up.
Making Comics: Learners pick characters from Japanese manga/films etc (e.g. Naruto etc). They create profiles for these characters using common language. It is then possible to have them design a basic story involving the characters and make a page from the comic/film etc using only English. In reference to the text, learners can adapt the stories that are on the page i.e. Naruto and Anpanman arrange to go to the cinema to see a movie etc.
Alphabet Letter Removal Game: With two full sets of magnetic letters (or phonics cards) put one set on each side of the board, one per team. Decide on a category for each team and then give a 3 min time limit. Learners remove a letter for every word they can think of that starts with that letter. This can be done as a pair/group task then as a class learners give their answers. Picture dictionaries can be used if required.
Gap Fills / Stories with Gaps: Generally speaking teens respond well to gap fills. They are controlled and they are familiar with the idea. Stories with gaps can work well as learners have some freedom in making a story their own.
Show & Tell: Learners bring something to talk about, a picture or object. Alternatively they could describe or talk about something they own. Encourage the class to ask follow up questions. This is a great way to get learners interested in using English in a meaningful and memorable way.
10 or 20 Questions: Think of a particular category e.g. animals. Then demo possible questions and answers e.g. Does it have four legs? Yes, it does. You can then show the learners that you were thinking of a particular animal (or had a specific animal flashcard). Once they understand they have to guess the animal or object put them in pairs and award points if they guess within the 10 question limit. It could be if they guess at the first question they get 10 points, and for each question asked they get 1 less point when they guess.
Picture Dictation: Describe a picture. Learners listen and draw the picture. This works well with prepositions of place and could lend itself to a communicative information gap activity. Once learners have the idea they can describe pictures to each other.
What are your favourite activities for teen classes?