chainsaw juggler

This zero preparation activity requires no materials either, so you might feel relieved there is no need to have a set of chainsaws or to juggle for that matter.

A few days ago I happened to be working on a double-page spread from the adopted textbook headed “Are you a risk taker?” So before diving into the textbook material, I decided to give my students this warmer activity: Can you think of risky actions starting with the first letter of your name? Jorge seemed to come up with the class favourite answer: juggling chainsaws! My answer was “driving under the influence”. So we could be using this activity for any discussion issue of your choice, such as:

  • Things to spend your pocket money on
  • Ways of cooking food
  • Irritating things
  • Ways to cheat in an exam
  • Things to do while visiting a city

It also occurred to me that we could use this idea to explore word collocations as well. So we could focus on a word and see if the students may come up with collocates starting with the first letter of their names.  Then we can open online collocation tools or dictionaries such as just-the-word or the Oxford Collocation Dictionary and check (read this very useful post on lexical tools from Leo Selivan’s blog Leoxicon) As this post is nearing its end, can you think of collocates for the word “end” starting with the first letter of your name? I got two with mine: “dead end” and “draw to an end”.

mannequin challenge

I guess I should spare you from explaining what a mannequin challenge is. Whether you love it or loathe it; whether you have ever been lured into posing for one or not, it might still be a fun thing to try in the classroom. “A mannequin challenge?”, I hear you say.

Write “mannequin challenge” on the board and ask your students to generate questions they may think of using these two words (if they can’t think of any or a few, you can write the questions yourself. For low level classes, it’s ok for the students to give you their questions in their L1 language, then you can simply translate and write on the board).

  • What is a mannequin challenge?
  • Have you ever taken part in one?
  • If not, would you like to?
  • What is the title of the song that is usually played with mannequin challenges?
  • Do you like mannequin challenges? Why? / Why not?

Play the video below and then ask the students to write down as many different actions as they remember from it by using the present/past continuous (whichever verb tense you would like them to practice).

If you are ok with recording a video of your students, they can pose “performing an action” and then you can record a video and then play for them to tell you what everyone is doing. If you can’t or won’t record a video you can still tell half your class to pose for a minute or so for the rest of the students to tell each other what everyone is doing and then they can switch roles. You may narrow this down and give them a topic, such as sports and then they have to “perform” playing a sport. Or house chores (ironing, doing the dishes, hoovering, dusting, etc.). Or jobs (a mechanic, a teacher, a bus driver, a hairdresser, etc.). What other suitable topics can you think of? Do you see yourself trying this out in your lessons? Are you up to the challenge?