ACEnglishteacher

All things EFL… A collection of practical ideas, resources for the classroom and thoughts on EFL today

penalty shootout cards


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Team revision, team correction and football fever…

The last week of May, that can only mean one thing, end of year tests and the World Cup are just around the corner…

Here are two penalty shootout activities to encourage team revision/correction and get into the World Cup spirit at the same time 😉

penaly shootout cards

Activity 1: Team revision

  1. Students get a set time to revise target language in class or they revise at home in preparation for class
  2. Students are organised into pairs or small groups. Each pair/group receives a set of penalty shootout cards (you don’t need to use the cards, students can simply mark their goals and misses in their notebooks)
  3. Students test each other on the target language (I have a set of example questions to help students formulate questions)
  4. If they are correct they score a goal if not they miss the penalty.

Putting students into pairs/teams encourages negotiation skills, collaboration and communication.  Weaker students also get support from peers. Students can change pairs/groups or opponents for a new penalty shootout depending on class dynamics/time.  After several penalty shootouts, students may feel confident enough to go it alone.

This activity provides plenty of opportunities for revisiting and recycling language.

To really get into the World Cup spirit students can choose a country out of the hat; the country that they will “play for” in the penalty shoot out.

penalty shoot out example

I also use this activity after a vocabulary or grammar test.  

Activity 2: Team correction

  1. First students look at the answers they have incorrect and do their corrections in teams while I monitor, guide and check. (To avoid students simply copying each other’s correct answers, they are not allowed to exchange tests and they must follow the protocol DDD (discuss, decide, do) for every question. In this way nobody can race ahead and students are either teaching or learning the correct forms.
  2.  Then the team divides into two smaller teams or pairs and exchange tests.
  3. Looking at the other team’s tests and using the example questions, they focus on the vocabulary/grammar structures the other team didn’t get right and have just corrected.
  4. If they remember the correction they score a goal, if not they miss the penalty.

I encourage students to provide explanations and repeat missed questions to encourage mastery.  This activity gets students to really focus on their corrections and not only their mark.

Revising/correcting in teams has lots of benefits for students and teachers.  It provides ample opportunities for peer teaching and learning and especially in larger classes allows the teacher to check that all students understand the target language as they are free to walk around class and monitor students.  It promotes teamwork, collaboration, cooperation, communication, negotiation, problem solving skills…

An important consideration when doing an activity like this, however, is student grouping.  Is it better that students are grouped homogeneously or heterogeneously for an activity like this?  Quite often this will depend on group dynamics. It is important that students feel comfortable with their teammates as they will be sharing their tests with each other in order to correct and “test.” My students usually do these activities in the cooperative learning groups that we establish each term, as, by the middle of term groups have usually established a good working rapport (but not always!)

For many, the summer holidays will soon be upon us and revision, tests and correcting will be but a distant memory (for a while anyway…)  However, until then, give your students all the opportunities they need to revise, revisit and recycle language until it truly becomes theirs.

And, if you’re a footy fan, enjoy the World Cup 😉

Penalty shootout cards

Revision questions

 

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The Question Box: Recycle vocabulary and grammar

– “Teacher, we haven’t done this”

– “Yes we have, cast your mind back to last term, last month, last week…” (in some cases!)

Sound familiar?

Aware that we are covering a large amount of content (defined by the curriculum) and that a lot of my students cram for exams then promptly forget everything they studied until they cram for the next one,  I’ve been looking for ways to revisit and recycle vocabulary and grammar.  And thus The Question Box came into being…

question box

The Question Box lives in the classroom of its owners (the students) waiting to be called upon at any opportune moment… The Question Box belongs to the class, it is the students who determine what goes in and what comes out.

Similar to the Word Bag concept, students write a question on a slip of paper to ask their classmates using vocabulary and/or grammar structures we are studying or have studied. Questions are checked by peers and/or the teacher before posting in the box.  Questions can be formulated individually, in pairs or in groups.  

Revising and recycling vocabulary and grammar with The Question Box helps students develop oral and written accuracy and fluency.

These are some of the ways we’ve been using ours…

Activity 1

  • Warm up/cool down…

At the beginning of class to get in the “English” zone. A 5 minute question/answer session to warm up as a whole class/in pairs or in groups.

The question box can also be used at the end of a class if you have 5 minutes to fill.

Tip

Some of you will know I’m a fan of Wheel Decide for, amongst other things, choosing students at random to answer questions. I also have an envelope with all the students’ names in for the days when we have no internet.

This can also be done as a Think-Pair-Share activity.  Students are given time to think about their answer to the question, discuss it with their partner and then share with the group.  Alternatively it could be done as a Three-step interview.  Students form pairs and interview each other then from a new pair and report their findings from the original interview to their new partner.

Activity 2

  • Round Robin

Using the cooperative learning strategy Round Robin all team members answer the question from the box. When all team members have answered the question, they prepare a one sentence summary for their group

e.g:

Do you like going to the beach?

Summary:

We all like going to the beach / Three of us like going to the beach but one of us doesn’t / None of us like going to the beach

How often do you study?

Summary:

We all study everyday / Three of us study everyday but one of us only studies the day before an exam.

Variations:

Using the same strategy, students write a (10) word answer practising complex sentence structures and linkers to develop written fluency.  Teammates revise and edit each other’s answers.

This can be done in pairs within the team if some students need support.

This activity can even be extended to writing a short paragraph in response to the question.

Each team can choose a different question from the box to discuss.  When teams have finished discussing their question using the Round Robin technique, they can move to the other teams’ stations to answer their questions.  The recorded answers for each team can them be read out by the designated speaker for each team when all questions have been answered by all teams.

Activity 3

  • Speed interview

Pick (5) sentences from the box and prepare the answers for a speed interview. Students make 2 concentric circles and discuss their questions with the person facing them.  When time’s up one circle moves one space to the left or right and students repeat the activity with their new partner (instead of concentric circles you can put students in two lines and they move down the line)

Students can write up their findings depending on time and objectives.

Activity 4

  • Guess the questions.

Individually, in pairs or in groups students answer the questions (spoken or written) and their partner/team/classmates guess what the question was.

Activity 5

  • Who am I?

Students adopt the persona of a famous person or even a classmate and answer questions from the box as that person.  Their classmates guess who they are.

Activity 6

  • Truth or lie?  

Students choose a question for a classmate to answer.  They can tell the truth or tell a white lie. Their classmates try to determine if they are telling the truth.  They can ask more questions to help them decide.

Tip

Prepare “tell the truth” and “tell a white lie” cards so students can’t change their mind about whether they were telling the truth or lying!

Any of the above activities can be used with fast finishers who can pair up or work in groups.

The Question Box encourages students to take some ownership of their learning. The box belongs to them.  It is kept in their classroom.  They are responsible for the content. Students could even design their own activities to do which involve using the question box.

As we know, learning a language is not linear, students will learn, forget and relearn vocabulary and forms.  They need multiple opportunities to encounter and engage with the language to be able to retrieve it and use it effectively.  The Question Box provides endless opportunities for revisiting and recycling language 😉

 

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3 ways to practise grammar at Christmas

Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean the grammar’s got to go…

In fact just after the end of term exams (now) is when I need to be going over content that students haven’t yet mastered.  Here are 3 ideas to spice up the grammar and give it a Christmas twist…

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