Sunday, 4 October 2009

Bag the vocab! Ideas for practising vocabulary (Teachers)

One of the articles that has been in the pipeline for some time now is 'ideas for teaching vocabulary'. Unfortunately, due to time constraints,  I have been unable to bring it to fruition. So, it was with great pleasure that I read Jennifer's  recent post, and an even greater pleasure when she gave me permission to reproduce it here (Jenny, I hope you don't mind, but I've chopped and changed it a little). It's a fun activity to practise vocabulary of common objects, and can be adapted and extended to suit most levels.

STEP 1 – Select a few common objects, and place each one in a separate soft bag or an envelope. Any objects are suitable, as long as they aren't messy!  Number the bags/envelopes.

STEP 2 – Pass the bags/envelopes around the room, or leave them on your table. Students try to guess what the object is by feeling it through the bag. They are not allowed to look in the bag or remove the object. They then write the number of the bag, the name of the object and its purpose/definition. For higher levels, it's a good way to practise relative pronouns: "It's an object which you use to write with". For lower levels, they can say, e.g. "You use it to write on a piece of paper".

STEP 3 – Randomly ask a student for his/her answers. Check if anyone has a different answer. Show the object, and write the word on the board. Make sure they check the spelling of the word in their notebooks. Repeat this procedure for the remaining bags.

STEP 4 – Brainstorm uses for the object. You can even have a competition to choose the most original answers!

STEP 5 – For intermediate students, you can extend the activity to practise advice. This could be done in pairs or groups. One relates the nature of the problem, and the other offers the advice.


Situation: The clock on the wall isn’t working. It stopped this morning.
Advice: You should change the battery.

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