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Typical questions

1. Give them these typical questions, a four-year-old child may ask, e.g. ‘Mummy, does the moon go for a wee-wee?’ ‘Where did I come from?’ 2. Ask each student to write half a dozen questions (or answers) such a person might ask (and an adult answer).

At the time of the photo

1. Ask the students to bring in a photo of themselves and bring one yourself. 2. Show your own photo and say: What you are doing at the photo, What you have just done before it was taken, What you will do immediately after. 3. Ask the students to write the 3 sentences in the same way about their photos. 4. Then students tell the sentences to their neighbors. 5. The neighbors tell their partners’ sentences in reported speech: John said that he was fishing at the photo.

Sentence ladder

1. The teacher writes on the blackboard 6 words from the active vocabulary students have recently learnt.
2. The task of the class is to use all these words in the same order in one long sentence.

Different roles

1. Write the following questions on the board: Who/what does/did your best friend want you to be/do? Who/what does/did your father want you to be/do? Who/what does/did your girlfriend/boyfriend want you to be/do? Who/what does/did your mother want you to be/do? Who/what does/did your brother/sister want you to be/do? Who/what does/did your teacher want you to be/do? Who/what does/did your subordinate want you to be/do? Who/what does/did your boss want you to be/do? Who/what does/did your conscience want you to be/do?
2. Tell the students to answer the questions in writing - give them the patterns: X wants / doesn't want / didn't want / wanted me to…

Finishing conditional sentences

1. Give students only the if clause of a conditional sentence: If I go away on holiday this year ... and invite them to compose their own endings: If I had a million dollars, I would buy… If you asked me out for a meal, I would order ... If I could live anywhere I wanted, I would live ... If I had 20 children, I would be… If I had a museum, I would collect... If you loved me ... If I went to live in another country ... If we were all geniuses ... If you came to visit me…
2. Give the 'result' half of the conditional sentence as a cue: I would be rather disappointed if ... and do the same: I would stand on my head if ... We would all be very ill if ... Our teacher would be delighted if ... Would you be well prepared if...? My friend would give me a kiss if ...

Mad discussion

1. Divide the students into teams. One student from each team comes forward.
2. They have 3 minutes to argue about which is more important for mankind, e.g. detective novels or pizzas.
3. A jury decides who has put the best arguments and awards points for each team.

Last year's feelings

1. Ask the students to write down one thing that happened to them last year in each of the following months: January, April, July, October.
2. Put this verb list on the board: avoided; postponed; resisted; enjoyed; loathed; denied; finished
3. Ask the students to try and remember things they avoided doing last year and things they postponed doing last year, etc... Tell them to write one sentence for each verb, like this: In July I ... ed ... +ing...

New words

1. Ask each student to prepare one new word that is the most interesting for him for each lesson. At the lesson students write these words on the board and into their exercise-books.
2. Then try to use this set of vocabulary at the lessons to imprint the material on the memory.

What she’ll do if...

1. Pair the students. Ask the pairs to work simultaneously and think up 5 actions A might mime doing to B and 5 actions B could mime doing to A. To get the students thinking, give some examples: A pats B's hand / B stares at A / A ignores B / B kisses A, etc.
2. Go round supplying vocabulary the students will need.
3. Get a volunteer pair out in front of the class. Ask A to start miming one of the actions but to freeze the action halfway through. At this point invite comments from the class about B's likely reaction, using this pattern: If A slaps B's face, B'll... Let B tell the group what s/he'll do if A finishes his/her action!

Three of a kind

1. Ask each student to write down the titles of three books that have affected them. Alternatively, they could choose three public figures, three towns, three languages, etc.
2. Ask them to find and write down five adjectives to describe each.
3. When they have done this, they should explain their choice of books etc.

Je ne regrette rien

1. Put the following list on the board: Your school. Your job or occupation. Your friends. Your habits, e.g. smoking, exercise, eating, etc. Your hobbies, e.g. playing the piano, stamp collecting, etc. Your skills, e.g. languages, carpentry, etc.
2. Ask the students to take it in turns to tell the others in the group what they would change if they had their life again.

Was my teacher like that?

1. Prepare a set of statements about yourself at the age of 8-10. Here are four about Mario: I used to read a lot. I'd often feel angry with my father. We went to the cinema from time to time. I used to have loads of friends. The first three statements are true, the last one is false. In preparing 12-14 statements about yourself at the age of ten mix true and false ones.
2. Tell the class you are going to dictate some statements about yourself when you were young. Some of the statements will be true, some false. They are to write the ones they reckon are true in one color and the false ones in the other. Give the dictation.
3. Ask the students to compare colors. They should try and justify their choices. Finally tell them which were true and which false.

Definite position

1. Ask students to write as many words where a letter is in the third position as they know.
2. Then ask students to write words where a letter is in the second position, last position, etc.

Your partner story

1. Tell the students they have 3 - 4 minutes to mime their stories to their partner on the left.
2. When they are finished, ask the students who were listening to turn to their partners on the left and to tell orally what they understood from their right partners’ mimes.
3. After 3 –4 minutes they change their roles again and so on until each student hears his or her own story.

I didn’t know that last week

1. Ask the students to remember the events of last week.
2. Tell them to write down the things they didn’t know that were at that moment, would happen, and had happened before, e.g.: Last week I didn’t know that I was pregnant / would marry this summer / had met my future husband.

New rules

1. Divide the class in groups of four. Each group is to create a rule to be followed in their conversation, e.g.: Nobody is allowed to speak before he has scratched his head.
2. Each group gets a topic to discuss and sends one spy to another group. His task is to find out a rule.
3. Each member of the group must speak 3 times in turn upon the topic obeying the rule of his group. Then a spy goes to a different group and so on until he returns to his own and tells his observations.

Finishing conditional sentences

1. Give a sentence using the first conditional, describing one of a number of possible variations, preferably based on personal taste. For example: If I go to France this summer I will visit ... the Eiffel Tower. If I had a million dollars I would buy ... a luxury yacht.
2. Invite students to express their own variations: If I go to France this summer, I will visit the Eiffel Tower. If I go to France this summer, I will visit the Louvre. If I go to France this summer, I will visit the Opera.
3. If the activity is done in full class, students may later try to recall what other students' variations were: If I go to France this summer, I will visit… If feel very hungry this evening, will eat... If I have time next weekend, I will go to… If I have to write a story for homework, I will write about... If you come to my home, you will see ... If I go away on holiday this year ... If I lose all my money... If we get too much homework ... If my friend gets into trouble ... If we finish early today ... I'll eat my hat if ... This school will have to close if ... We will all be very happy if ... I will be rather disappointed if ... Will you help me if …

Random dictionary

1. You need an English monolingual dictionary. You ask the stu­dents to call out any number which falls between the first and last page (e.g. 251). You turn to the page named, then ask for any number between 1 and 20 (e.g. 15). You now look up the fif­teenth headword on the page. If this turns out to be a function word (e.g. a preposition), the next content word on the page (preferably a noun or a verb) is taken. The students write this word down. The procedure is then repeated five times. All students should now have five words chosen at random from the dictionary.
2. They now form groups of four. Each group is to use the words to work out a story line which can be acted as a sketch for another group.

Scars

1. Tell the students your scar story. If it is about a scar of yours that is showable, let them see it.
2. Invite the group to think of how they got whatever scars they have. Give them a few minutes to bring their stories back to mind.
3. Ask a volunteer to tell his or her story. Help with words, and write any accident-related vocabulary up on the board, e.g. wound, bandage, stretcher, stitches, operate. Only write up words actually needed by the narrator.
4. Ask three or four more people to tell their scar stories to the whole class, and build up further vocabulary on the board.
5. If the class is a large one, now ask them to work in threes and continue telling scar stories, until everybody who wants to has told one.
6. Pair the students. Each student is silently to imagine a scar story for his or her partner. At this stage, remind them of the words on the board. Discourage them from writing.
7. Each student tells the partner the scar story about him or her.

Add a letter

1. Tell the students that they can form new words by adding or curtailing a word, e.g.: mile – smile.
2. Ask them to form as many new words as they can for 1 minute.

Things in common

1. Put students in pairs, tell them to talk to each other and try to find as many things as they can in common with one another in three minutes. These should not include things they can find out just by looking at one another, e.g. that they both have blue eyes or are wearing jeans; nor should they include more than two things beginning 'We both like...’ or ‘Neither of us…’
2. They should write down the things they find out they have in common in full sentences: We both have two brothers. Neither of us likes reading detective stories.
3. Then ask the pairs to describe their common features. Which pair found most?