Pair Interview Activity and Worksheet

Spring Break has come and gone, but has given students a lot to talk about.  For the first lesson after the break, I like to do an interview and presentation activity to get my students back into English mode.

We begin with a simple greeting and question activity using follow-up questions to elicit more information after a simple yes/no question.  From there, we work through the question words on the worksheet and make four questions to use in our interviews.

Students then form pairs and are given 5 to 10 minutes to interview their partners about what they did over the break.  They use that information to make a short paragraph about their partner’s activities.  When the time limit is up, one of the students from each pair stands up and presents the paragraph they have prepared to the rest of the class.  When the presentations are finished, students find a new partner and repeat as before, this time the students who didn’t present in round one present their prepared paragraphs.

It’s a fun and simple activity that allows students to exchange information and support each other while shaking off some of the rust that invariably accrues over a long vacation.  It also works well for mixed level classes, where more advanced students can assist the lower level learners.

Pair Interview Worksheet

Transitive Verbs MadLib Worksheet

Here’s a fun worksheet I worked up to practice using simple transitive verbs.  First, students should fold the sheet in half and brainstorm 12 nouns and 4 adjectives.  I let students use textbooks and dictionaries, and encourage them to find interesting words that are new to them.

Once all the students have finished brainstorming, we proceed to the other half of the worksheet.  Students should first write the meanings of the verbs at the top of the sheet in their native language.  This can be done on the blackboard first if the teacher prefers.  Then students should complete the sentences with the words they brainstormed on the first half of the worksheet.

When the sentences are complete, students pair off and share their original, and hopefully funny, sentences.  This can be made into a game or into more of a pair discussion depending on the ability and energy level of the students.

 

transitive_verbs_wksht

Winter Break Questions

Winter break has come and gone, and everyone is back in study mode.  Here is a worksheet I made up to help students talk about their winter break experiences in English.

It is a fairly easy task that can spark some interesting discussions.  First, using the question words at the top of the page, students make 5 questions to ask others.  The question words and verbs are mixed up, students should pay attention to which verbs they are using with the various question words.

Once the questions are written in the provided spaces, students make pairs and ask and answer one question each about their winter break, writing their partner’s answer in beneath the question.

What did you eat over winter break?

Billy ate fried chicken over winter break.

– or simply –

Billy ate fried chicken.

 

For more advanced students, encourage (or require) them to ask at least one follow up question before changing partners.

 

 
winterbreak_questions worksheet

Because after a while… more time expressions

Here is a worksheet for practicing time prepositions and to get a little more experience thinking in English.  The goal of this worksheet is for students to complete the sentences with content they think of on their own.

The plan is fairly simple.  First, review the vocabulary, and let students write the meaning of the words in the box on the lines provided so as to minimize confusion.  Next, have the students look over the worksheet and make sure that the task is clear and there are no other grammar or vocabulary questions. Once everyone understands the task, let them have at it.

More advanced learners should be able to complete the worksheet by themselves, making original sentences.  For lower ability students, working to complete the task in pairs or small groups may be more effective.  If students are still having difficulties, the task can be completed as a class. When the worksheet is finished, students can share their original sentences with a partner.afterwhile_wksht

Back to School Summer Vacation Interviews

I almost always try to make the first lesson after summer vacation about what students did on their vacations.  In elementary school we stuck to “Where did you go?”, but junior high students are capable of more complex conversations.

The goal of this lesson is to have students ask and answer questions about their summer vacations.  In more advanced classes simply explaining the activity and setting them to it can be enough, but it is always better to review ways to form questions and offer some examples and well as suggest some useful vocabulary.  I start by having the students think of some questions to ask the teachers, and maybe even predict the answers we will give.  Everyone gets a chance to practice the question structures and listen to properly formed answers.

For the actual interviews, I first pass out the worksheets, then break the students up into pairs.  The task is to ask questions and use the answers to write a simple description of their partner’s summer vacation.  I usually provide about 10 or 15 minutes for both partners to complete the task, then have them present their results to the class.  This is an especially good task for very quiet classes, as it gives them the chance to practice speaking, writing, and listening in a structured way.

Here’s the worksheet, enjoy!

Summer Vacation Interview worksheet

Some Grammar Worksheets for Junior High ESL

As of April this year, I’ve begun teaching ESL and English Communication in junior high schools here in Japan.  It’s taken some getting used to after years of teaching in elementary schools, but I feel like I’ve hit my stride.

There’s very little need for me to introduce new structures and drill grammar because the students get more than enough of that in their regular classes with the Japanese English teachers.  I try to minimize teacher-talk and maximize oral communication time, and to that end have made up several Q&A worksheets to practice various expressions and grammar points.

This is perhaps the most basic, and most versatile, of the worksheets I’ve made so far.  Students prepare five questions based on any relevant grammar points or lesson themes, then in take turns asking their questions and writing down their classmates’ answers.  As an activity it allows students to exercise thinking, writing, speaking and listening skills while creating a quantifiable result that teachers can check and grade.  Plus, it’s fun!free_question_sheet

The ~ing Worksheet

Here is the worksheet I’m using to supplement Hi Friends 1 Lesson 2.  The idea of using gestures to communicate is one of the underlying themes in this lesson, and what better way to practice communicating with gestures than a lively game of charades?

After presenting the basic present continuous and giving plenty of examples, I have students complete this worksheet in groups.  This makes the worksheet into a social activity, and allows more advanced students to help others without being too obvious about it.

Once the groups are complete, we practice the new vocabulary, then finish up with a game of Charades using actions from the worksheet.  I sometimes add the question “What are you doing?” to make the game more of a call and response activity.

 

present continous practice worksheet

Hi Friends 1 Lesson 2 “How are you?”

Hi Friends 1 Lesson 2 is a scant two pages, covering a topic most students already have a fairly good handle on.  The “How are you?  I’m fine thank you.” call and response is fairly entrenched in most Japanese learners of English.  I like to take this opportunity to break students out of the “I’m fine thank you” habit and teach them some other expressions and feelings.

 

To that end, I have created a set of feelings flash cards that can be found here.

Also, to make a more meaty lesson, there is an interview worksheet available here.

 

Even with the extra material, this lesson really only requires one class period to complete.  I have some supplemental materials that I use at this time which I will post in a few days.

Simply put, the plan for this lesson is:

1- Greeting

2- present vocabulary (cards)

3- Listening in book (page 8)

4- present Interview task

5- do Interview activity, glue finished interview sheets on p.9

6- Finish

 

Pretty smooth, don’t you think?

Hi Friends 2 Race to 100

Hi Friends 2 starts out with a wildly disjointed unit which begins with counting, using “How many…?”.  From there the unit shifts focus to the alphabet and lower-case letters and the “Do you have a …?” structure.

To impose some order on this mess, I try to keep the focus on counting and numbers to 100.  Drilling numbers gets dull quickly though, so I’ve come up with a little challenge to spice up the task.

The Race to 100 team challenge is really quite simple.  Students sit in a circle and pass a baton or ball while saying a number.  The first student starts at 1, the next student says 2, and so on, passing the baton until they’ve arrived at 100.  Using a stopwatch, time how long it takes each class to make it to 100, and make it a competition.

I’ve prepared a scorecard for keeping track of class times.  If you only have one group of 6th graders, try breaking up the class into smaller groups and running them off against each other.  It’s a good team building exercise.  I usually run off two or three attempts at the beginning of class, then transition to an easy game using the alphabet cards in the text.

Give it a try and share your results in the IRC chat!

2013_RaceTo100_chart

Hi Friends 1 Lesson 1 “Hello!”

The kids are back and classes will be starting sooner than you know it!  Are your ducks in a row?

Hi Friends 1 Lesson 1 is all about greetings and introductions.  Here’s how I plan to attack it.

 

(1) Introduction
Write names on books (in English)
Make English nametags (if necessary)
Let’s Listen 1, write the names of the characters in English
Play game using “My name is~”

(2) Flags of the World (Flag cards can be found here)
Let’s Listen 2 (International Greetings)
International Greetings Janken Game

(3) Review International Greetings
Make business cards

(4) Review International Greetings
Let’s Listen 3
“My name is ~” “Nice to meet you.” Card Swap Janken

 

For the business cards, I have prepared a template for students to use.

One A4 sheet makes 8 cards, which can be colored and embellished as desired. Don’t forget to make some for yourself too!

HiFriends 1 name card 名刺票