Another word challenge actitivy that requires zero preparation from the teacher. You may also want to check out “word challenge 1“. Here the teacher will ask the students in the class to anticipate useful words and expressions on a new topic that will be discussed in class the following day. Let’s suppose that you are ready to introduce this topic: “work”. Then the students must look for 4 or 5 useful words and expressions each on the given topic. A good probing question might be this: “I wonder how you say “x” in English”. Ask the students to write down their words on a piece of paper at home and bring it to class next day.
Then elicit words from your students. They can call out the word/s in English or in their own native language and challenge their classmates. Write what you judge to be the most relevant words and expressions for the language level on the board (about 10-15 would should be enough). Elaborate on use of language. For example, you may want to highlight whether a verb is typically followed by a certain preposition or focus on common collocations and colligations (watch the short video below for a clear explanation of what collocations and colligations are from Sam McCarter).
Now ask the students to think of interesting conversation questions using those key words and expressions and come up to the board and write them (make any necessary corrections). At a Pre-Intermediate level, this is a possible language selection: to take time off, to apply for a job, to quit a job, flight attendant, volunteer, unemployed, a resume. It is not essential (and not always easy) that all students contribute. Give extra credit to the ones that do. You may also want to think of and add a couple of good questions yourself. For the language above, these might be good enough conversation questions for the language level:
- Do you know how to write a good resume? Tell me about it.
- What is good and not so good about being a flight attendant?
- Do you know anyone who does volunteer work? Do you think you will do volunteer work one day? Why do people do volunteer work?
Can you think of good conversation questions for the remaining items?
Hopefully by looking up those words in dictionaries, having students challenge each other and finally doing something with the language through question writing and having conversations around those words, the language will stick to memory.