The simplest tool of all

I’m sure we sometimes finish the lesson before the planned time or we see that our students are lost and aren’t following us then we tend to find something to motivate them.

It’s always a good idea to have something ready for these moments. Fillers are great. They are short, energising and motivating.

Whenever I feel we are stuck in the middle of the lesson and have nothing to continue, I use one of the simplest tools that I have, the letters… I love them. They are easy to use and adaptable, they also enhance creativity.

I want to share some of my favourite activities .

1. Tell your students to choose a letter and list as many words as they can beginning with that letter.

Don’t forget to set time limits.

You can have follow up activities, if you like.

2. Tell your students to choose a letter and write a word beginning with that letter. Then tell them to write words that associate with the first word. Ask them to write a paragraph, a short story or a poem using all the words they’ve come up with.

You can even ask them to find a tune for their poems and perform it to the class if they like.

They really enjoy doing the song activity and I feel amazed to see how they manage to blend rap and blues together.

3. Play a game

Divide the class into 2 teams.

A student from each team comes to the board and lists the words beginning with that letter.

A piece of advice: prohibit numbers

4. Choose a letter and ask questions

If ‘S’ was a colour which colour would it be? Why?

If ‘S’ had a texture, what would it be? Why?

5. Choose a letter and tell them to write 5 word- meaningful- sentences. The challenge is each word in the sentence should begin with the same letterCreate your own Animation

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2 comments on “The simplest tool of all
  1. You’re so right, Eva, we’ve always got letters up our sleeve for those tricky moments. My favourite is “The A-Z of Me”. I love it because it gets learners talking about themselves, so using relevant language and it’s motivating. Also it can be used in lots of different lessons and there’s no teacher preparation needed (hurrray!). Learners write all the letters of the alphabet (minus some nasty ones like X if you want)down the side of a piece of paper. They have to try to think of one word for each letter that is somehow related to their life. I show them my example: A – Australia (because I love it there), B – Bell (where I used to work), C – coriander (about the only food I don’t like), etc. I usually let them take this home and do it over the weekend – it takes a bit of thought. Then in the next lesson you pull a letter from a hat, or whatever, and learners have to talk to their partner/ the class for one minute about their word, or interview their partner aout their word, or write about it for 3 mins without lifting the pen, or talk about it but don’t say what the word is. Loads of variations.

  2. Pingback: Red River Press News » ESL-Library » From the Archives: Eva’s Post on The Simplest Tool

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