In the first two post of this series, I have dealt with lesson preparation in YL courses. In my last post, I started to list some really exciting activities to insert into any YL lesson. Let me continue this list:

• Wooden memo games: I teach also very small children (2-3 year old ones), so we have lots of very useful toddler toys. One of these is a wooden animal memo game. I was surprised myself how much my mini heroes liked this toy. We played it the official way (turning up two pieces at once and if they are the same, the player can turn up two more), adding to the game that they had to turn back even the identical pairs if they didn’t remember the English words for the animals.

• What’s missing: everybody’s favorite, it gives the competitive element to any exercise and is fabulous to use it to introduce a grammar exercise. I put different things on the floor while pronouncing their names in English. Sometimes I ask the boys to give me objects, sometimes I decide what goes into the pile. I also used the wooden memo blocks in this game. Then I cover them with a scarf and put my hand underneath. I take one of the objects and remove it with the scarf. The guys have to remember which object is missing, but I accept only English names. The exercise is excellent to check vocabulary, but as I said it also works as an introduction to a grammar point. For example, a couple of lessons ago, I put wooden animals (these from Noah’s arch) under the scarf and while I removed them two by two, I placed them either close to me or far from me. So as the next exercise, I introduced these are and those are to the boys. If somebody could repeat all animal names with their colours and the new grammar, got a point (These are two purple elephants).

•Another exercise is going to be to place the removed objects in a way, that we can discuss prepositions afterward (e.g. the pen is between the mobile phone and the eraser).

• Mystery box: I usually do this exercise as the wind down exercise at the end of the lesson. I have a lovely metal box and I put an object into it. The boys need to ask ‘is it…‘ questions. Great to practice to be + adjective and to be + a/an + noun structures. Easy for us, hard for a beginner.

• Spy-books: my favorite one. I found a secondhand Spy-book on amazon and I use it once in a while. The boys need to spot things in a crowded picture. Harder than it sounds…

• Word snake: the original game says: tell me e.g. an animal, take the last letter and the next candidate needs to tell you another animal beginning with this letter. You can check any lexical field with this game. I used this game to check spelling, since my boys are great to tell me words, but I noticed that even the best ones might miss spelling skills. So we played the game in a circle, but after every word they had to write the word down and I checked spelling.

• Dictation race: another great exercise to check spelling. The original game says to put the students into pairs and stick a short text onto the wall. The pairs decide who is the messenger and who is the writer. The messenger runs to the text, memorizes as much as he/she can and runs back to his/her mate to dictate the memorized text. The other part writes. The couple who finishes the text sooner (with the correct spelling, capital and low-case letters count), wins the race. It happened to me that I had three students present, so I had to change the rules and everybody raced for his victory. The exercise was particularly useful, since it gave the chance to students who hadn’t been so good in speaking exercises, but excellent at visual ones, to show their strengths.

• Roll the dice: In a toyshop I found a dice box for some super offer (3 euro – 10 dice). It gives me the chance to practise numbers up to 60. One plastic cup and let’s roll the dice. I ask my students to count loudly, so we can check if they really know the numbers. As a follow up, I always jot down 5 numbers written in letters and ask the boys to turn them into digital numbers. This way, we see if there is any problem with thirteen vs fourteen or fifteen vs fifty.

(to be continued)

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