As an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) teacher, I am always looking for interesting and inspiring ways to present grammar and vocabulary, so here’s an activity which has been a success with the children in the classroom. It also creates a very pleasing end result and appeals to all kinds of learners.
Draw the outline of a tree and branches on the whiteboard. The children take it in turns to write the required language on post-it notes, and then stick them on the tree branches to form the leaves. I used verbs, and was relaxed about the form they chose to write. They thoroughly enjoyed choosing the verb and the branch on the tree. (The tallest was the most popular!) The child next to them then made a sentence with the verb, using a tense I chose for them. This also motivated the children to find interesting verbs. We decided to practise the present, the past and the continuous tenses, and we discussed these first and revised the structures. Sentences they came up with included ‘The dog is fighting with the cat’, ‘I opened the door for a teacher yesterday’, ‘The rugby season ended last week’, and ‘Are you kidding me?’!
This is an activity which can be used with any number of children and can easily be set at different levels to present more of a challenge. It can also be made more competitive and played as a team game. It can be adapted to teach a range of language, specific vocabulary or parts of speech.