March 25

Do you agree?

It’s always fun to get younger students up and moving about and asking the class a question such as, “Do you like playing football?” provides a great opportunity for some movement.  Here are some ideas on different ways to get students to say yes/no.

  • Move to one corner of the room or another
  • Pat your head / rub your tummy – great as if they want to say “so-so” they have to do both!
  • Hands up to the sky for yes and down to the floor for no – a good one to use if you want a scale
  • Jumping for yes, crouching for no

These are all “silent” ways of saying yes or no, but you could also do the activity with students in their seats and making different noises to show their answer.

  • Humming – quietly for no and getting louder according to the scale
  • Ding dong = yes, Eh-ur = no – à la Family Fortunes


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December 6

How many elbows?

five handsI’ve been playing a fun game with my YLs recently which I picked up at summer school.  It’s great fun and gets them thinking.  Get all the students standing up and then say they need to get into groups with seventeen fingers or three elbows or six noses or seven eyes or any number of body parts you like.  It encourages them to work together as they try and make up the correct number and it’s great fun too!

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May 20

Vocab on your back

This activity, which I picked up whilst doing the YL course, is a fun way to review vocabulary and it can work well with larger classes.

BackwritingDivide the class into teams and ask each team to stand in a line, one behind the other facing the board.  Stand at the back of the room and show the last member of each team a word – it works best if each team has a different word so they can’t cheat.  Students then have to “write” the word on the next person’s back and the word moves along the line to the first person who has to write it on the board.

Remind your students to write slowly and that it’s generally best to write in capitals.

It’s a nice quiet activity: my rules are that the person writing can say the number of the letter and the writee can say, “Repeat” or “Repeat number 4”.

October 28

Time for TPR

Just a quick idea for a game to help students practise the time : The Human Clock.  Divide the class into two teams and invite a student to the front. Give them a time to “be”.  They stand in front of the class with a long hand and a short hand and the class guesses what time it is.
You could perhaps do it as shown in the picture first, although it’s much more fun without the clock face!
Picture from
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July 8

Working with Prepositions

I did quite a fun activity with my summer school class today – and took full advantage of the enormous playground and their ability and enthusiasm at running round in the mid-day heat of Cádiz!

We had been working with prepositions and so I gave them a worksheet with a list of ten items which I had hidden around the playground. When they found them, they had to write where they found the object.

In an earlier class, my colleague (and new boss) Simon had done a running dictation with a twist – he’d hidden the sentences around the room so that they not only had to find them, but also say where they were.

And all these years I’d been teaching prepositions with a book on my head!