Are you stuck in a rut when it comes to group activities?
Group Work is Very Effective When Used in the Following Ways:
Choose Your Own Vocabulary
For something different, why not have your students come up with a set of vocabulary words to learn for the day? Start with a topic of your choice. Tell your students that you are going to let them choose their own set of vocabulary words on that subject. Give your students one word associated with that topic and write it on the board. Then have your students take turns adding words to the list. You should write the words on the board as they give them. Their words can be anything as long as they are associated with the topic you have given them. Students should be allowed to use dictionaries and thesauruses to come up with their words. Once everyone has given a unique word to the vocabulary set, have groups of students write a paragraph or two using each of the words on the list.
The next time you want to review adjectives with your class, try this group activity. Put your students into groups of about five or six, and have each group choose one person they will describe for the rest of the class. Without telling the class who it is, members of the group should take turns writing descriptive words or phrases on the board about that person. The other groups should try to determine who the group is describing as they write the adjectives on the board. Once each person in the presenting group has added a description, the other groups should write down who they think is being described. If they are correct, their group earns a point. After each of the groups have described a member, start again with the first group. The game is over once one or more teams have scored three points.
Is there a test coming up soon in your class? This is a fun way to review before it’s time to put pencils to paper. Have your students arrange themselves in a circle. You stand in the center of the circle holding a ball. Ask a review question, and then throw the ball to one of your students. That student should answer your question and then throw the ball back to you. If the student with the ball cannot answer the question, he or she must say, “I’m sorry. I don’t know the answer.” He then passes the ball to another student. That student either answers the question and gives you the ball or says she doesn’t know and passes the ball to another student. If at any time a student gives an incorrect answer say, “I’m sorry. That isn’t the correct answer.” Then pass the ball to another student who tries to answer. Play this way until someone gives the correct answer to the question. Then move on to another question and pass the ball again. Play until you have asked all of your review questions or until everyone in the class has answered a question correctly.
This vocabulary learning activity is fun for students of all levels. Collect several items on a tray (they can be around one theme or randomly selected), and show them to your students for sixty seconds. The more items you use, the more difficult the activity will be. Then cover the items and have groups of students work together to make a list of all of the items that were on the tray. When your students cannot remember any more items, uncover the tray and have them check their answers. This is a good time to review the names of the items on the tray or give alternative names for them. After checking their lists, have each group work together to write one sentence about each of the items. To extend the activity, remove one or two items and show the tray to your students again. Groups discuss what is different or what items are missing. This gives them a chance to use the vocabulary they have just learned. In addition, you can use this activity to review prepositions of location. Have your students write descriptive sentences about where the items are located on the tray. Then, rather than removing items, move items around and have groups discuss what changes you made to the positions of the objects.
What Will You Need
Tell your students they are going on a trip, and they will need to pack. You decide where they will be going or take suggestions from the class. Groups of two or three students work together to make a list of all the items they will need to bring with them. Give your students no less than one but no more than five minutes to make their list. (The shorter the amount of time, the more difficult the game will be.) Then, have groups compare what they have listed. Any items that another group has listed should be crossed out. Groups score one point for each of the unique items on their packing list. The group with the most number of unique (and appropriate) items wins the round. Play again, this time with another destination in mind. At the end of three rounds, the team with the most points wins.
Prepare for this activity by collecting 20-40 pictures of objects. You can use pictures from magazines or recycled picture books, pictures printed off the internet, take pictures of items yourself or buy a set of flash cards with random nouns. Shuffle the pictures and divide your class into groups of around three students. Then have each group choose five pictures without looking at them. The students must then work together to compose a skit that includes all of the objects they have chosen. Encourage your students to be creative and to have fun. Then, have each group perform their skit in front of the class.
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