SIT DOWN: This is an activity that works great in my lessons. This dynamic consists of asking students to stand up from their seats in order to revise a given topic. It can be vocabulary, grammar or any other language activity you´ve worked on before. The idea is that they will only be allowed to sit down, one by one, when their answers are correct. It´s an excellent way to check comprehension or revise previously studied content in an active and engaging manner. If I want to check vocabulary, for example, I ask them to stand up from their seats and as I point at different images or definitions on the whiteboard, they have to, one by one, say the corresponding word (I point at an image of fossil fuels and the first student standing up should say ” fossil fuels” to be able to sit down). If the word is right he can sit down. If not, he will have to remain standing and wait until it´s his turn again. If he´s paid attention, he´ll probably know the answer when the turn comes back to him! The activity ends when everyone is sitting.
HUMAN WORLD MAP: I learned about this activity at a creativity course in Cambridge and it is a highly active and engaging activity to encourage speaking. Students will place themselves in the classroom at an imaginary world map. If we ask them, for example, “what country would you like to visit?”, they would have to place themselves physically at a point in the classroom where the country of their choosing would be, forming a human world map. It can be used as a warmer, pre-speaking activity previous to a more in-depth speaking task where they would need to elaborate on why they chose that country, etc. In order to offer scaffolding when dealing with speaking tasks I normally use speaking frames so that students are not at a loss to start speaking.
CAROUSEL BRAINSTORMING: Group your students and place a number of questions or topics around classroom walls.They might be questions on a given topic, controversial quotes, rubric contributions or just iconic prompts. Ask each group to choose a different sheet to brainstorm ideas.Assign a writer in each group to write down the ideas of the group in the paper in front of them. When time is called, each group should move clockwise to a new question and brainstorm. A new writer in each group will now be in charge of writing down the group´s ideas. Each group should write in a different colour. When all groups have contributed with their ideas in all sheets, information is gathered and discussed. I love how this works, making them, each member of the group, real participants in the brainstorming task, fostering team work and communicative skills. Give it a try if haven´t done so yet!