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ESL/EFL activity for vocabulary review

The purpose of this activity is to have students reviewing vocabulary already learned and use it in a sentence. The task is designed to have all of the students involved.

Finding a suitable activity for ESL class that involves all of the students is a difficult task especially if you deal with a big number of students per class. I searched online for this kind of activities and luckily I found one that can be adapted for my needs.

For this activity the teacher has to prepare flashcards with words (I just wrote the words on small pieces of paper). Every member of each team receives one flashcard (in my case a piece of paper with a word written on it). Each flashcard has to be duplicated. One member of team A will have the same flashcard (word) as another member of the team B. These students who have the same words on the paper are direct competitors.

Step 1

Divide students into two teams and give to each of them a flashcard. There are 40 students in my classes so I make 20 flashcards. I will duplicate them and I will give one set of 20 flashcards to a team and another set of 20 flashcards to the other team. Make sure there are good students in both teams.

Step 2

The teacher calls out one word that is written on the flashcards. The students who have the word written on their flashcards have to come to the board and write a sentence using the word. The student who writes faster and better sentence gets points. You can give a different number of points for speed and a different number of points for accuracy.

You can make the activity more difficult by having two (or more) words on each piece of paper so the students who come to the board have to write a sentence that contains both words. I played this game with my daughter with five words and I have to say that it is difficult to create a sentence, that makes sense, with five given words that are totally unrelated to each other.

The way I play with her is different than the way I play the game with my students in the classroom. When I play with my daughter the purpose of the game is to give to the opponent as difficult words as you can so the opponent won’t be able to create a sentence that makes sense.

If you play this game with a small class of ten students for example (who are at least at intermediate level) then you can put them in pairs and play the game the way I play it with my daughter.


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