Updated 26 July 2016
This is one of the chief games in an upcoming article of mine in English Teaching Professional mag on getting students to develop their range of functional language rather than just saying “I think…” “I agree” all the time. It’s a lot of cutting up, but for once well worth it I reckon.
As you can see in the examples below, the worksheets always consist of three columns that split the phrases you are presenting or practising into three parts, e.g. “I” + “really” + “think” or “It is not” + “really” + “possible”. The middle part is always an optional addition to make the phrase longer and more complex.
Students match the basic parts of the phrases, i.e. just left and right columns, first. Perhaps after brainstorming words which could go in the middle, students add the middle words to check and expand on their answers.
After they check their answers, students can test each other on the language by:
– Reading out the long version and seeing if their partner can remember the short one
– Reading out the short version and seeing if their partner can remember the long one
– Reading out the left and middle columns and seeing if their partner can complete it
– Reading out the middle and right column and seeing if their partner can complete it
– Just describing the function (e.g. “something at the same time” for storytelling) and helping their partner make phrases with that function
They can then be given communicative tasks during which they must use the language on the cards, e.g. dealing out all the cards and trying to discard them by using those phrases while brainstorming advantages and disadvantages.
As well as being a good way of showing students both specific and general ways of making their functional language higher level (vital for high scores in IELTS and Cambridge exams), it’s also great for mixed level classes as the lower level students learn the basic phrases and the higher level ones learn at least some of the longer ones.