Today I would like to share a zero preparation activity that you can use as a warmer or to introduce a new discussion topic or a new unit from your adopted textbook series. Let’s take a look at this unit as an example. The focal vocabulary area in the first section (6.1. Have you ever been to Florida) centers around leisure time and activities.
English ID 2 Student’s Book, Richmond Publishing. Free sample from the publisher available here
Before diving into the barrage of vocabulary, grammar and listening activities, you could pave the way by means of writing this on the board for the students to have a look at and discuss in small groups:
- Think of five reasons why you would want to go to Florida
Give them a few minutes to discuss in their groups and then elicit answers and keep the conversations going for a while.
We can sophisticate things a little bit more to allow more speaking time. Give each group of students a few cards or cut out small cards or strips of paper and have them write their answers there as they pool ideas in their groups. Some likely answers might be:
- To improve my English
- To enjoy the weather
- To have a holiday
- To have fun
- To visit friends
- To go to an English speaking country
- To find a job
Then collect the cards from the students. All groups will have practically written “to improve my English” on their cards. So you can have a look at the cards and let them know it was the most popular answer. And then you may make comments leading to more speaking interaction, such as: “well, you know you will be hearing a lot of Spanish spoken there, I wouldn’t pick Florida as the best location to improve my English. Would you agree or disagree with me?”.
If your students are allowed to use mobile phones in the classroom (mine are very much encouraged to), you could tell them: “I am going to give you five minutes to use your phones and find a good language school in Florida where you can learn English” and then tell me what’s good about it, the kind of programs they offer, the kind of things that you would do on a week day, where you would be staying, and so on. So five minutes to use your phones, you can take notes if you want, then discuss in your groups and then we can have a short general discussion before we do some textbook activities”.