Let’s go to the zoo

My students learned how to describe animals’ physical characteristics and abilities. The structure  learned here was the verbs HAVE and BE. Among other words, they learned MANE, STRIPES, SPOTS, FEATHERS, TAIL, SCALES, FINS, HORNS, FUR, WHISKERS, TRUNK, WINGS,TEETH. Here is a fun task designed to consolidate the structure and vocabulary:
1) Students drew, colored and cut out their favorite animal. (In order to prevent too many students from drawing the same animal, which is likely to happen, you can write the animals’ names on slips and have students draw one. That would also prevent arguments among them.)
2) After they finished their animals, they taped them to brown pieces of paper and taped them to the board.
3) We played a game.
Option 1- Q/A Practice: Students individually go to the board, point at an animal and asks a peer “What DO lions look like?” or “What DOES a lion look like?” or “What does THIS butterfly look like?” Yes/No questions can also be practiced such as “Do lions have a long tail?”
Option 2 – Hot Potato: Students sit in a circle. When the music stops, the student with the ball answers a question based on the cut outs. There can also be two balls, one for the question and one for the answer. (Another option is to simply say a sentence such as “Lions have… or Lions are… or Lions can…”. )
Option 3 – Wacky Race: This activity is suitable for children after they practice describing wild animals (abilities and physical characteristics). Students are given a sheet of paper in blank. Each student draws, colors and cuts out a different animal of their preference. After all students finish cutting out their animals , take them to a large place (in case the classroom is not big enough) and use duct tape to make a start and a finish line on the floor. Students sit behind the start line and wait for the teacher’s command (‘This animal has beautiful feathers’, ‘This animal can run fast’, ‘This animal has a long trunk’, etc…). The students whose animals’ characteristics match the commands blow their animal on the floor so it moves forward (Yes, they can´t use their hands). Tell students that they can only blow the animal once for each command, otherwise they are disqualified. The winner is the student whose animal reaches the finish line first.

What do they look like?

After my students learned how to describe themselves and their peers, we did a wrap up coloring activity. Each student was given a piece of brown paper, colored pencils and markers. First, they drew and colored themselves. After that, as they taped their drawings to the board, they described themselves using the structure learned, which is “I am… / I have….”. During their description, make any necessary corrections in pronunciation. Then, they played a guessing game. I arranged them in two groups (boys X girls) and allowed them to practice the structure by referring to the drawings. For instance, a student from the boys’ group said to a student in the girls’ group “This student is…/has…, who is that?” After discussing with her team, if the girl answers the question correctly, the girls get the point. They take turns for awhile until they have practiced enough. The team with more points is the winner. Students can also ask “What does ____ look like?” (Make sure that they answer the questions by using “He is…/He has…”)

 Optional: Tic Tac Toe
In case there are 9 students or more, tape their drawings on the board as in a tic tac toe grid (three columns of three drawings each). As students describe the drawings correctly, tape cut outs of Xs or Os on them.

Board Game Project

Despite all the technology available in the classrooms (iPads, data show equipment, computer labs, etc…) I still think that drawing, coloring and cutting out are fun. Also, the project below promotes collaboration/ cooperation among students. My Junior students were learning the affirmative, negative and interrogative forms of the verb THERE TO BE. After some significant practice and in order to wrap the lesson up, students were arranged in small groups (3 or 4 tops) and I assigned a different task for each member.

BOARD GAME

MATERIAL NEEDED: Brown paper, magazines, glue, markers, colored pencils and scissors.

FOCUS: Any Grammar Point or Vocabulary Practice.

WHAT TO DO:

1) Select and cut out pictures from the magazines;

2) Draw and color a race track on the brown paper;

3) Create the tasks to be performed in the game. (Assisted by the teacher)

4) Paste the cut outs.

Possible tasks to be performed when playing the game:

1) Fill in a blank:

For instance, in one of the squares, you see the picture of a cat on the couch and you read: Is there a cat on the couch? Yes, _____. or: ____________a cat on the couch? Yes, there is. 

2) Answer a question:

What is there in the picture?______________. 
Are there any cars in the picture?______________.


3) Ask a question:

_______________? Yes, there is.
_______________? No, there aren´t.

4) Correct the mistake.

There is three children in the picture.
There is a dog in the picture?

The teacher has to make sure (and students should be told that) that during the entire time that they are performing their tasks, they should discuss every decision they make with their peers and collaborate with each other whenever necessary. After they finish making the game, they play it.
In the end, the teacher can have the board games laminated for future classes.

NOTE: This is an activity that requires time, so don’t assign it unless your schedule allows that. The main thing about this task is the collaborative work that takes place. Students learn to share and negotiate. I suggest groups of 3, tops. Assign the tasks in a way everyone has something to do and tell them to be prepared to assist the others in case they need help.

 

Bugs Here, There and Everywhere

Students learned the names of the BUGS and the verb THERE TOBE to describe their garden. After we practiced the affirmative, negative and interrogative forms for a few classes, they drew, color and cut out one bug each. I taped them all on the board and told them to pay attention to the number and the colors of the bugs . I invited one student at a time to go to the front (facing their peers and not the board) and guess how many of each bug there were and how many of a certain color. For instance, I asked: How many SPIDERS are there? or “How many RED spiders are there?” or Are there any PURPLE snakes?OPTION 2: Students can also be the ones to ask the questions, so the teacher could arrange them in two teams.Writing Task: After practicing the verb THERE TO BE and the names of the bugs, my students were asked to draw their own yard and write about it. They were supposed to use THERE TO BE and the names of the bugs.

Wacky Race – Option 2

This activity is suitable for children after they practice describing wild animals (abilities and physical characteristics). Students are given a sheet of paper in blank. Each student draws, colors and cuts out a different animal of their preference. After all students finish cutting out their animals , take them to a large place (in case the classroom is not big enough) and use duct tape to make a start and a finish line on the floor. Students sit behind the start line and wait for the teacher’s command (‘This animal has beautiful feathers’, ‘This animal can run fast’, ‘This animal has a long trunk’, etc…). The students whose animals’ characteristics match the commands blow their animal on the floor so it moves forward (Yes, they can´t use their hands). Tell students that they can only blow the animal once for each command, otherwise they are disqualified. The winner is the student whose animal reaches the finish line first.

Wacky Race

Material needed: A die, sheets in blank, duct tape and colored pencils/markers.

I do this activity with all levels. I give each team a sheet in blank so they can draw, color and cut out a car. I draw a race track on the board and tape the cars to it. I also draw a couple of bombs on the way. Then, I ask students questions about the lesson learned or show them sentences to be completed or questions about vocabulary. In other words, any task related to the content. Students take turns performing the task proposed. If the team is right, they roll a die and move their car. If they stop at the bomb, they go back to the starting point. The winner is the car that reaches the finish line first. Once the game is over, I collect the cars but I do not throw them away. I tape them to the wall, so I can use them again in the future.

Once the game is over, I collect the cars but I do not throw them away. I tape them to the wall, so I can use them again in a future activity.