Communicative Activities for Low Level Adult Students: pt1
Communicative activities are the bed rock of the modern language classroom. However for lower level learners it can be difficult to come up with effective freer practice activities, suitable for their level. Below, and in part two, are some ideas for activities that work well with these levels.
Activity: Celebrity Heads
Target Language: Personal Adjectives: tall, short etc.. He/she is/has got
Materials: Poster, photos or magazine
Procedure: Show students pictures of various different celebrities, and then ask each student to choose one. They should then write three sentences describing the person they choose. The students then read out their sentences and the others have to guess which celebrity they are talking about.
Alternatively students write sentences about the celebrities and then fold them up. The teacher then collects in the papers and put the students into groups. They give each group some of the sentences and they read them and place them next to the appropriate celebrity.
Activity: Chain conditionals
Level: High Elementary / Pre -Intermediate
Target Language: 1St conditional
Procedure: Put the students into pairs and then give them a 1st conditional statement. E.g. If it rains tomorrow, I’ll go to the park. The first group must then continue the story using the last clause, i.e. If I go to the park tomorrow, I’ll… Each group then takes a turn to continue the story, using what the previous group said. This can be done as a never ending story.
Alternatively give each group a target ‘Finish’ statement e.g. ‘…I’ll go to Shane’. The object is for each group to try to finish the story by using their statement in a way that makes sense.
Or set a limit on the number of rounds the students will play. E.g. once every group has given 3 statements then the activity ends.
Activity: The Experience Project
Target Language: Present perfect for experience
Materials: Small pieces of paper
Procedure: Have the students think of some common past participles, e.g. seen, and write them on the pieces of paper. The teacher then puts the pieces of paper face down in a pile. The first student then takes a piece of paper and makes a target present perfect question using it. E.g. Have you ever seen a ghost? The next student must answer and then the other students must each ask one follow up question on the subject. Continue going round the students until all the pieces of paper have been covered.
Alternatively have one student ask a question using the past participle on the paper. The other students must then ask as many follow up questions as they can in one minute.
Activity: Thom’s Game
Level: Foundation - Elementary
Target Language: Adverbs of Frequency
Materials: Dice with adverbs of frequency taped to each face, folded up pieces of paper with common verbs written on them, e.g. eat.
Procedure: Write a gap fill sentence on the board ‘I ______ ______ …..’. Demonstrate the activity by rolling the dice to produce an adverb of frequency (e.g. never) and then taking one of the folded up pieces of paper(e.g. eat). Then complete the sentence using your own ideas; e.g. ‘I never eat dogs’
Put the students into pairs and have them take it in turns to roll the dice and take a piece of paper to come up with their own sentences. Encourage students to make funny or imaginative answers. Once they have completed the activity have the pairs report back to the group about each other, using the third person, e.g. ‘She sometimes goes to a Casino.’
Activity: Picture dictation
Target Language: Prepositions of place
Materials: Paper, pencil
Procedure: Before the lesson draw an outline of a living room and draw some objects in it e.g. sofa, television, table. Have the students draw their own outline of a living room and then describe what is in your picture using the target language, e.g. The sofa is next to the window. The students should then try to create a copy of your picture from the descriptions. Once finished have the students compare their pictures to your original and see whose was the most similar. Put the students into pairs and have them draw their own plan of a living room and describe it to each other.
Activity: Comparative card
Target Language: Comparative forms
Materials: Noun and adjective cards.
Procedure: Before the lesson write the names of well known cities on one set of cards, e.g. Paris, London. On another set of cards write some common adjectives, e.g. modern, beautiful, busy. Demonstrate the activity by taking two noun cards and one adjective card and then making a sentence using them, e.g. Paris is more beautiful than London. Put the students into small groups and have them carry out the activity themselves.
Activity: Adjective Columns
Target Language: Adjectives
Materials: Whiteboard, pens
Procedure: Divide the board into four columns. At the top of the first column write one adjective e.g.blue , at the top of the second column write two adjectives e.g. red, big, at the top of the third column write three adjectives etc… The students should then come up with nouns for each column that would match the adjectives written at the top of it. E.g column 1 – blue – sea, column 2 – red, big – bus.
Activity: Find someone who
Target Language: Present simple for routines
Materials: Questionnaire sheets
Procedure: Give each student a questionnaire sheet with 4 questions about routines on it. E.g. Do you go to work on Mondays? Do you go to the shops on Tuesday? Ask the students to come up with two additional questions using the same structure. Students should then stand up and go round the class asking each other the questions. If students find someone who answers ‘yes’ to the question then they should write their name next to that question. Once completed students should feedback their answers to the group. E.g. Masahiro goes to work on Mondays.
Activity: 20 Questions
Level: Foundation – Elementary
Target Language: Simple closed questions
Materials: Person cards
Procedure: Have the students write the name of a famous person on pieces of paper and then take them in. Demonstrate the activity by having a student draw one of the cards. Ask the student various yes/no questions to try and guess who the person is. E.g. Is he tall? Does he play baseball? If the identity of the person is not guessed within 20 questions then the person with the card wins. Put the students into small groups and have them do the activity using the remaining cards.
Activity: Class survey
Level: Foundation/ Elementary
Target Language: Like/Don’t like
Materials: Question sheets
Procedure: Have students decide on a topic for a classroom survey e.g. food. Put the students into pairs and have them come up with a list of questions e.g. What fruits do you like? What cakes do you like? The students should then go round the classroom asking the other students the questions on their list. Once completed, they should then present their findings to the group, e.g. ‘Four people like apples.’
Activity: Two truths, one lie
Level: Foundation – Elementary
Target Language: Present simple
Materials: Whiteboard and pens
Procedure: Demonstrate the activity by writing three statements on the board about yourself. Two of these should be correct and one should be a lie e.g. I live in Japan, I like ice cream. The students should then try to work out which statement is a lie. Encourage the students to ask you questions. Repeat the activity with the students writing statements about themselves. Encourage the students to ask follow up questions about the true statements.
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