Last week I was reading this post by Peter Pun from eltplanning. Peter was writing about the little tips that he picked up from his CELTA course and one of those tips was an activity he called Grass Skirts.
I really enjoy activities that encourage students to stand up and move about the classroom. I like using information sharing activities, running dictations and anything that gets the students to mingle and talk to each other. This activity was a new one for me, even though Peter describes it as:
“… a pretty common feature of our training.”
It just goes to show that everyone’s experience is a little different. That is what is great about blogging and reading other people blogs, you gain an insight into their experience and can take away new activity ideas. I took away Grass Skirts, so many thanks Peter for writing your post.
So, I have a new idea to try out for the week that I knew could be adapted to different classes and different levels. I decided to create a template where I could type or cut and paste text into it and print off the copies I needed. Rather than call it ‘Grass Skirts,’ I have called this activity ‘Tearable Sentences‘ because it gives more of a description of the activity.
Click on Tearable Sentences to download the template.
The template has space for 8 sentences and room for instructions at the top. Cut along the dotted lines so that the sentences are easy to tear off. If you want to create your own template, watch the tutorial below.
Open a word document and insert a table to create your own template. The alignment and orientation of the text is done on the layout ribbon, while the table's lines are formatted on the design ribbon.
Before the activity starts place the sentences around the room. Depending on what surfaces you have available you might fix the sentences in place with white tack, tape, magnets or pins. Whatever you use though, be careful not to damage the walls or surfaces in your classroom. Divide your class into groups of four or five students. Ask the students to nominate a runner. The runner runs to back of the class and tears one of sentences off the paper and runs back to their group. The runner reads the sentence to their group and whole group write the sentence down, or parts of the sentence into a gap fill exercise. A new student is nominated as a runner and they tear off the next sentence. This is repeated until all the sentences have been torn off and there is only a little bit of paper left pinned to the wall. I tried this activity with a couple of different classes and was pleased to see sentences being ripped off with eagerness.
5 ways to use this activity
Making Gap fills more exciting
Peter talks about using this activity to make gap fills and grammar exercises from a course book more exciting. He finds this activity useful for students who are ‘grammar gap-filled out’ and I think this kind of activity is great when you find yourself teaching from course book pages that might be a bit grammar intensive.
This is a great way to introduce corrections or to get students to think about word order or grammar. Type a common mistake that the students’ make on each of the strips or take these sentences from the course book. Ask the students to run to the back of the room and tear off one of the sentences. When they return back to the group, the whole group can talk together to correct the mistake.
Vocabulary and Definitions
Matching vocabulary and definitions is a common activity to do when introducing new words or reviewing them. Type the definitions on the template and the students rip them off one by one trying to match them to the vocabulary.
Introducing a Dialogue
This activity could also be used to introduce a dialogue. Write one of the sentences on each strip of the template. The students rip off one of the sentences and return back to their group. The other students write down the dialogue. The students can then compare what they have written to the original dialogue to check for spelling mistakes and punctuation errors.
Expressing your own opinion can be a difficult thing to do. Write several different opinions about a topic on the template. The students rip off one of the sentences and return back to their group. The other students write down the opinions and order them by how much they agree with them. Sometimes it is easier to say who you agree with before you express you can express your own opinion.