Students studying English as a second language (ESL) need continued practice in correctly using grammatical structures and forms. This practice helps students internalize the language to reproduce it spontaneously. Conduct activities and games that achieve this in an interesting, challenging fashion.
1. Conditional Circles is appropriate for students of lower intermediate and intermediate language levels. Write on the board, “If I were rich…” Invite students to complete the sentence using the second conditional. For example, “If I were a rich man, I’d travel the world.” Write,”If I traveled the world…” and again invite students to complete the sentence. Continue for two minutes before writing a new, conditional sentence such as, “If I could fly…” Arrange the students into groups of five and sit them in a circle. One student reads the start of the sentence from the board and completes it using the second conditional, for example, “If I could fly, I’d go to Spain.” The student to his left starts a new second conditional sentence with “If I went to Spain,” and completes the sentence. Students continue for 15 minutes.
2. Grammar Auction is appropriate for students of a lower intermediate language level and higher. Explain the concept of an auction along with related vocabulary such as, “bid,” “auctioneer” and so on. Divide the class into groups of three or four and issue each group a sheet of paper on which you have written 10 sentences. Of these 10 sentences, five should be grammatically correct and the remaining five should contain grammatical errors. Explain that you are going to hold an auction and you are going to act as the auctioneer. Each group has $1,000 play dollars to spend and should try to buy as many correct sentences as they can. Give the groups 10 minutes or more to decide which of the sentences are grammatically correct. Begin the auction by offering students the first sentence in a lively and enthusiastic manner. After you have sold this sentence continue with the next nine sentences. The group with the most correct sentences at the end are the winners.
3. Missing Words is appropriate for students of an elementary language level and higher. Write a sentence on the board containing the grammatical structure you wish to practice. For example, “I was eating chips when he walked happily into the room.” Erase one word from the sentence. Invite the students to replace this word with a new word that maintains the same grammatical structure and makes sense, for example, “angrily.” Erase another word and invite students to suggest a new word. Continue in this fashion until the sentence in no way resembles its original form.
Indefinite Article Shout Out
4. Indefinite Article Shout Out is appropriate for students of beginner and elementary language levels. Prepare a list of 20 to 30 common nouns. Divide the class into groups of three or four. Read the first noun, for example, “bear.” The first group that says the correct indefinite article, in this case, “a,” gains one point. Any group that shouts out an incorrect indefinite article loses one point. The group with the most points when you have read all the words is the winner.