So your students understand what adjectives, adverbs and nouns are, but struggle to fit them all together…. not anymore! Here are a few activities you can use in your lessons to get your students making sentences confidently.
- The dog ran for the ball.
How can you turn this sentence of six words into a longer sentence without changing the context or meaning? Is it possible to create a sentence of 50 words? Put your learners in pairs or groups.
Here is a sentence that your upper intermediate or advanced learners should be able to cope with:
- The large, wildly excited dog, which was a cross between a Border Collie and a Labrador, ran in a frenzied manner across the park near my home, for the small rubber ball, which sailed through the air at great speed as if it had been shot from a cannon. (50 words)
Tip- If your students are struggling write some related vocabulary on the board for them to use.
Put these sentences on the board and make it a competition who can make the longest sentences. For lower level learners, don’t give so many sentences and make sure that they are easily understandable.
- Mark studied at Leeds University.
- My friend is a writer.
- Yuki works in a school.
- Bill Clinton used to be president.
- Kingdom of Heaven is the new film by Ridley Scott.
- Many students study at this school.
- Studying English can be interesting.
- Mark is a teacher.
- 65 million people live in Britain.
- I write a diary every day.
- I enjoy life.
- My friend has a car.
Tip- Remember to do feedback with your class. Is it possible to put some of these long sentences together to make a paragraph, so that a story is being told?
Now do the exercise the other way around. Give your learners a long complicated sentence and see if they can take out all the unnecessary words to make a small sentence without changing the meaning.
- An unkempt teacher, with wild staring eyes, black horn-rimmed glasses perched on the end of his nose and a shock of unruly hair, which looked as if it hadn’t been brushed for a week, came rushing into the classroom, carrying an unorganised pile of half marked papers and essays and a large and battered brown briefcase tucked under his arm, and tried unsuccessfully to organise himself before the class.
Here is one example, used for upper intermediate or advanced learners, but please feel free to create your own. This 69-word-long example can be stripped down to:
- A teacher came rushing into the classroom and tried to organise himself.
You can make up other sentences and get your students to identify the unnecessary (but useful and interesting information). Make sure that the sentences you give your lower level learners aren’t too difficult. Start with shorter sentences and build your way up to longer ones.
This is a fun and creative lesson, which will build up the confidence of your students and push them to use what they already know in a different way. Have fun!
Tip- Try to introduce some new vocabulary in the lesson – get your students to try and guess the meanings of the words through the context of the sentence. If they are struggling you can give them clues using gestures, mime and board work.