News, views and reviews about language teaching since 2009
Thursday, 15 September 2016
Great starters for advanced students
Lateral thinking stories
You present a
scenario and the students have to find out what happened only using yes/no
questions. Here are three examples:
1.When Jack comes home he finds Mandy is dead,
lying in a pool of water and Tom is sitting quietly on the armchair. There is
some broken glass on the floor. Tom won’t be charged with murder. Why not? Answer:
Mandy is a fish and Tom is a cat. Mandy was swimming in her bowl. Tom started
playing with it and knocked it over.
2.A woman lives on the 30th floor of a
building. When she gets home from work, she usually takes the lift as far as
the 21st floor and then climbs the stairs to the 30th. However when it’s
raining, she’ll always take the lift to the 30th floor. What explains this
strange behaviour? Answer: She is of small stature and cannot reach the
top button unless she is carrying an umbrella.
3.A man sprints up some stairs, desperately
turns on a light switch, looks out the window and sees dead people everywhere,
then commits suicide. Answer: He was operator of a life house who forgot
to switch on the light.
This is really a
twist on speed-dating. You line up two rows of chairs, facing each other and
all quite close together. Each student sits down, facing their partner and all
students are given a topic to discuss with each other for two minutes. Then one
student moves along the train and all the students should have a new partner
and the game begins again, this time with a new topic.
Just a minute
In small groups each
student has to talk for a minute on a subject of their choosing, while the
other students check the time. If the student hesitates badly another student
‘buzzes in’ and takes over the topic for the rest of the minute. You can choose
topics for the students, preferably linking up with recent work.
Persuade a partner yours is better
Get the students to
all write down their favourite film. In small groups they then have to persuade
the other people that their choice is more important than the others. Students
can repeat this with their favourite animal, TV programme, social media