a story about bad grammar and non-existent punctuation and my TEFL adventures
It’s been a while since I posted an activity for the classroom, so I’ve decided to give you an entire lesson that I recently used for a class. I was asked to cover at short notice (surprise surprise) for a conversation class that doesn’t use any coursebook so you are free to do whatever you want. Often this can be a blessing, but when you’re short of time it can be helpful to have a coursebook to fall back on.
Anyway, since I didn’t have time or a coursebook I remembered a lesson I had done before that had worked well and realised that none of the students were the same so I could simply recycle it. Just as last time, it worked like a charm.
So, here it is – definitely not rocket science, but handy to have up your sleeve:
On the board, put the following:
Without telling the students what the words mean or what the connection is (because there isn’t one) ask them to describe the words to each other. It doesn’t matter what they say but they should come up with things like Saudi Arabia is very hot. It’s a desert. A ladybird is an animal. It’s very small. You can actually use any words you want that you think will generate appropriate adjectives.
Then, explain that there are adjectives we can use to describe things, like hot, cold, big, small, but that we have different words for describing things as very hot, very cold, very big, very small.
Hand out the cut up worksheet so that each student has a word or two (depending on how many students you have); they must pair the base adjectives with the correct extreme adjectives. Because this requires the whole class, this part of the lessons involves students either standing up and mingling to find matches or matching the pairs on the board. Make sure the words are shuffled so that it’s not too easy.
Worksheet: extreme adjectives
At this stage don’t correct if they match an incorrect pair and don’t give them the answers. Once they have matched all of the words, tell them how many are wrong without telling them which ones. This continues until they have correctly matched all the pairs.
Let the students stick the pairs together on the board if they haven’t already. Recap meaning with explanations or modelling, focussing on pronunciation if necessary. Explain that we can use very with base adjectives but not extreme adjectives; with extreme adjectives we can use really.
Now put the students in pairs and let them tell stories to their partners using the new extreme adjectives. Provide a model so they know what to do. For example, Last year I lived in Qatar in summer. It was boiling!
Note: This was done with a Pre-Intermediate and an Intermediate Conversation class for 50 minutes. You can use more or fewer adjectives, depending on your students. You can also add in a few games or study activities if you have extra time.