Sep 9

Three NO PHOTOCOPY classroom activities from a text

classroom activities
Drowning in photocopies?
If you are going into class weighed down with copies and you'd like some ideas for exploiting a reading text for useful, learner centred activities, here are THREE for you!
Video transcript

When I first started teaching, I’d go into the classroom like this…  Now, I can make a three hour lesson from one text. Want some ideas for learner centred activities that don’t require a huge amount of photocopying? Keep watching.

I’m Jo Gakonga. I’ve ben an English language teacher for over 30 years, and I’ve been training teachers on CELTA and MA TESOL courses for over 20 of those. I’ve also got a website at ELT-Training where I make useful material for English language teachers at all stages of their careers.

OK- three ideas for you, based on a single reading text.

Idea 1- Dictation

Start the lesson with an image, so that the learners have some idea of the context, but then, before they read the text, do the first few lines as a dictation- dictation is great for listening, so speak at a natural(-ish) speed – don’t over-enunciate and keep it short. If you are f2f, you could also make this a running dictation with the text at the front of the room, and one person in a pair running up to read it, then going back to their partner and dictating what they read. This is great for intelligible pronunciation practice and negotiation of meaning.

Idea 2- Questions

Another idea to reduce your preparation and increase learners’ useful activity is that rather than giving the learners questions on a text, get them to write their own. They could do this in pairs and write 6 questions on the text they’ve read. Encourage them not to just lift information straight from the text to make the questions more challenging. When they’ve done this, swap with another pair and answer the new questions. This is useful for reading comprehension and question formation.

Idea 3- Focus on grammar or vocabulary

A final idea that helps focus on grammar or vocabulary items is this. After reading, put up a paragraph of the text you’ve used as a cloze or gapfill activity. Blank out words that are possible to guess from context – for example, articles, prepositions, auxiliaries - or vocabulary items that you want to draw attention to. Let them do the cloze exercise in pairs and then check back against the original text for the answers.

I hope those ideas are useful- if you like them and want more, just head on over to See you there.