my favourite - 1
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7/31/2019 My Favourite - 1
MY FAVOURITE, SO MUCH TALKED ABOUT, FORMATS
4 students (speakers) stand in 4 corners of the classroom. Other students are evenly distributed between the 4 speakers
they are Listeners. At a signal the speakers give their speeches (all at once). After a set time-limit, say, 3 minutes,
another signal stops the speakers and they get questioned by their listeners about the topic they were highlighting
(another 2 minutes). At a next signal the questioning phase stops and the LISTENERS move CLOCKWISE to the
next speaker. Another signalthe speakers give their speaker again, this time having a chance of improving on some
aspects of their speech. Another questioning sessionmove clockwise etc, until all listeners have listened to all the
speakers. An optional stage follows thenthe listeners get together and discuss the 4 speeches, selecting the best
speech, for examble, or summarizing the information. The speakers get together and share impressions, write their
speeches down or work on their errors. If the teacher wants to improve the speaker\s fluency and/or accuracy, she
notes the problems and errors down during the speaking stage and feedbacks the speakers on their major errors before
every next speech, so next time they speak more accurately.
Two lines (flash) debate.
Students stand in 2 lines facing each other. One line can be affirmative (will be proving a statement), the other line
being Negative (refuting the arguments). At a signal, the students start debating with the partner opposite them. After
1 to 3 minutes depending on the complicacy of the task the teacher signals a halt, and in each pair of counterparts the
student that was speaking when the stop was announced can be awarded a point (to encourage fluency and active
debating, butting in, interrupting etc). Now, ALL of the students make one step to THE LEFT. The ones standing at
the ends of the rows will then have to move to the opposite lineand therefore change their positions (from Negative
to Affirmative and vice-versa). At another signal, the debate starts againevery student is now talking to a new
counterpart, and 2 students will have had to improvise the arguments for the opposite case. Another 1-3 minutes
debatestep leftwards, etc, etcuntil they get tired or until everyone has spoken to everyone and all have argued for
OPTION: between the debate sessions, the teacher encourages the students to use the key language (say, the phrases
expressing a point of view)by gradually increasing the difficulty of the task (first debateuse 1 phrase, 2nd
sessionuse 2 phrases, etc). This technique is also good for improving accuracy.
This is a technique for telling and retelling short stories (jokes, anecdotes etc) in a very dynamic way. The
memorization of a large amount of language takes place in game form, without deliberate cramming.
1. Students A, B, C and D invent their own stories or read 4 different short stories on handouts.2. Students A & B , C&D work in pairs, telling each other the stories. They MUST remember their partners
story close to the original. Note-taking and extra questions are encouraged.
3. Students A&C, B&D work together and retell their new partners their FORMER PARTNERs stories. So, Atells C Bs story, while C tells A Ds story. Again, SS try to memorize their PARTNERs story.
4. Students A & B , C&D work in pairs againthe procedure is repeated. Now, A tells B Ds story, recountedby C in the previous step. Swap the stories again.
5. At this stage, A&C, B&D work together again, and B tells D his(Ds) own story, recounted by A (who hadheard it from C) in the previous step! D compares what has become of his original story to the initial version,
making the necessary corrections.
For the activity to work well, the texts should be fairly short (a paragraph long), and the Ss are most convenient
to be seated like this (the rectangles are the tables): The SS in the front row will simply turn around and speak to
the partner behind them.
A - B AB AB
CD CD C - D
7/31/2019 My Favourite - 1
This is a variation of mingling activity, similar to the previous format, but less structured. If you need your SS to, eg,
walk around asking everyone a question, or telling others their piece of information, get them to mingle, but after they
have exchanged their bits of information, have them SWAP their pieces literally (exchanging the papers). This proves
more dynamic than the regular mill drill, SS having to use more active language, although they will inevitably come
across their own piece, as its nor as structured as ABCD telling. Anyways, I do use it for variety. If a SS has to ask
someone a question, eg, an opinion, and then will be approached by another S with the same questionso much the
better, hell now have to ANSWER his own question.
A variation of that will be trading activities, SS having to trade, say, one of their personal qualities for another,
better, one. Some students may find that the quality they got rid of a minute ago comes back to them again
Do and pass around.
This format is handy when SS are seated around a table. Assign pairs and give each pair a different task, EG, a picture
to discuss. After a few minutes, they stop the discussion and pass the picture to their right. Each pair now gets a new
picture. This ensures dynamics without the mess of a mingle, is fairly structured and useful for mixed ability groups.
Heres how we handle the fast finishers: simply have more pictures (in the case described) than there are pairs. Thefast finishers will get an extra picture. They may pass around one or both of their pics then.
The wellknown variation of that is the chain story. However, I like another game better: playing with the same
pictures, the SS have to write a question about the picture. They pass it around, answer the partners questions about
the new picture, and write another question beneath the 1stone, Pas around, and now have to answer 2 questions
Continue until they get their original pictures.. with many more questions on themget them to answer those, too!
The format can be called Do, add and pass around.
Pick up your position.
This one is great for discussion activities, when Ss HAVE to express an opinion other than their own. I always have
an envelope with slips of paper with the words: FOR, AGAINST, REAL on them. The mini-groups or pairs have a setof questions to express opinions about. They read a question, then take a random piece of paper and express the
opinion designated: if the slip says FOR, they HAVE TO support the opinion, AGAINSTrefute it, REALexpress
their real opinions. Their partners task may be to guess whether theyre speaking from their heart now that turns
this into an exciting game!
A variation of the same is TRUTH, LIE gamethere are 2 kinds of cards only. The partners guess whether the S
tells a lie now. Fines may be paid or points awarded.
It is another playful format for debating controversial issues. Whatever your partner says in support or against a
position, say Yes, but and view it from the opposite angle. This results in a never-ending debate, SS considering alot of aspects of a problem.
Say Yes or NOa funny way of assigning a position to a student. You ask them to say Yes or No PRIOR to
announcing the topic of the debate. They will have to stick to their chosen position.
The classic games that went down just perfectly:
Associations, Mafia, The Detective, Have you ever? , Contact
The formats I dont like:
Hangmans (boring!), a word-at-a-time (slow!), pyramid debate (tiring!), lengthy presentations (more than 2-3 minuteslong), running dictations (too much ado about so little), find someone who (Ive had enough of it!), drama (act it
out) ss feel uncomfortable and tense, role-plays work way better.
To be continued