Who is the best of the best among your students? Who’s the brightest?
These answers may be tough to find, but that doesn’t mean your students can’t brag about themselves a little. These hands on activities for practicing superlative adjectives will give them a chance to share their feelings about the best and the brightest as well as the tallest, most graceful, fastest and more.
Try These 5 Hands-On Activities for Using Superlatives
Inch By Inch
If you are teaching internationals in the U.S., you probably hear a lot of measurements in meters and kilos. (I know I always do.) This superlative activity will serve double duty as your students measure in inches to determine who in class is the most of the most. Tell your students that they will be taking measurements of each other to determine answers to superlative questions. Choose ten categories for measurement. (You can either do this with your class or before class on your own.) You might want to list the following qualities: the tallest person, the longest hair, the widest arm span, the biggest smile, the thinnest waist, the smallest feet, etc. Whichever categories you use, try and keep them positive to avoid insulting your students. Write the categories on the board, and give each student a measuring tape. (You can often find free disposable measuring tapes at furniture stores.) Then, have students mingle taking measurements and making notes. After ten to twenty minutes, students should write a complete sentence using a superlative adjective for each category. (E.g. Manuel has the widest arm span.) Collect the papers and the numbers to see who got their measurements and their superlatives correct.
Who among your students is the most athletic? Everyone in class will be able to answer that question when you hold your own classroom Olympics. You will probably want to hold these events outside, so plan your Olympics for a day that is warm and sunny. You might also want to ask for one or more parent volunteers for the field day to run different events. Bring some sidewalk chalk, a stopwatch (or get the free app on your phone) and bottled water if you have it. Here are some events you can use. (Feel free to add, modify, or substitute as needed for your resources, class needs, and personality.)
- Who can jump the longest?
- Who can jump the highest?
- Who can sprint the fastest?
- Who can hold a squat the longest?
- Who can do fifty jumping jacks the quickest?
- Who can hold their breath the longest?
- Who can bounce a soccer ball from one knee to the other the most times?
- Who can hula-hoop the longest?
- Who can throw a bean bag the farthest?
Hold events one at a time or have volunteers man each station and record students’ results. At the end of the day, give awards to the winners of each event. After the classroom Olympics, have students write a newspaper review of the day including a complete sentence about each winner (and using a superlative adjective in each sentence).
Blind Taste Test
Does the Coke/Pepsi debate run deep in your classroom? How do your students feel about other brand name products? To find out, and use superlative adjectives at the same time, hold a blind taste test in your classroom. To set up the taste test, label two identical paper cups A and B, and pour a little bit of Coke in one and Pepsi in the other. Do not let your students know which product is A and which is B but make sure you know the difference. Then have your students taste each one. After they do, ask students to give you feedback about the two drinks. Which tastes best? What qualities does the winner have that make it excel? What qualities does the loser have that make it fail? Encourage your students to use superlative adjectives when they give feedback. (E.g. A is the most bubbly. B is the sweetest.) Once everyone has had a chance to taste test, reveal which drink is which. If your students enjoy the activity, you might want to do blind tastings of salsa, ice cream, or spaghetti sauce.
Who Am I?
All you need is a printer and some plastic sleeves to make this mystery person game that also gives your students practice using superlative adjectives. Using scissors and tape, a publishing program, or a table in a word processing program, arrange several pictures in a grid on a sheet of paper. These pictures can be your students, celebrities, or a random assortment of people. Print off a copy of the page for each student and slide it in a plastic sleeve. Then give each person a dry erase marker and a partner and your class is ready to play. Secretly, each player chooses one person on the paper as the mystery person. Player 1 asks her partner one question about the mystery person. If possible, the question should use a superlative adjective. (E.g. Is the mystery person the most musical?) Player 1 then eliminates anyone on his paper that cannot be the mystery person by crossing them out with the dry erase marker. Player 2 then takes a turn. Players go back and forth, both asking questions until one person thinks he has determined the mystery person. The first person to guess correctly wins the game.
I Like to Move It, Move It
Who in your class likes to move and groove? Who is the best dancer? Find out in this lively classroom dance competition. Start by dividing your class into teams of three. Have each team brainstorm five positive adjectives that might describe how a person dances. (For example, graceful, beautiful, fast, entertaining, etc. Avoid adjectives like clumsy and awkward.) Have each group show you their list for approval. Then tell your students you will have an in class dance party tomorrow and to bring their favorite tunes. On the day of the dance off, one team at a time will choose a song and dance their hearts out! The rest of the class will be their judges. They have only until the end of the song to choose the best for each of their dance descriptives. Each judge should write one sentence using the superlative form of each adjective. (For example, Su-Jan is the most graceful dancer.) Each team takes a turn dancing, and the other teams make their judgments. Once everyone has had their chance to dance, have each group tabulate their results awarding one point for each superlative. Which dancer in the class got the most superlatives? Compile the results from each team to determine who among your students is the best overall dancer. If you can, award that student a trophy to commemorate the win.
These activities are just a few of the many you can use to practice superlative adjectives.
For 5 more hands on superlative adjective activities, see Part Two of our top ten!