Mike Astbury returns with another game idea for your classroom! This time the activity focuses on comparatives and professions vocabulary and includes downloadable vocabulary cards which you can print out and use straight away.
This game is designed for semi-controlled and freer practice of comparatives and was made with pre-intermediate and low intermediate students in mind. The cards have been divided into 2 levels so that you can select a difficulty depending on your class, but both sets can be used together. Review any new vocabulary with the class before you start, and monitor closely throughout the activity.
Students play in pairs, or groups of three, sitting next to each other. Each group is given a set of comparative cards and job cards. Each student draws 5 job cards and they turn over the first comparative card.
The students take it in turns to make logical sentences with their cards. In our example the player on the right goes first.
He makes the sentence “Doctors make more money than cooks.” If the other player agrees that it’s a logical sentence then he puts it to one side and draws two new job cards. Then it’s the next players turn.
They continue to take turns making sentences. If a student can’t make a sentence then they can draw a new set of five cards. If they still can’t make a sentence then the other player takes their turn.
Alternatively, students can play the game cooperatively by making sentences together, using one job card from each player. I prefer cooperative play with mixed ability classes so that stronger students can support weaker students.
As they continue to make sentences, monitor and ask questions about any answers that seem out of place. Students keep playing until every group has at least eight complete sentences (or twelve if you are using both sets of cards together).
Once they have a set of completed sentences there are a number of ways to extend the activity and help students to remember the comparative structures:
- Students turn over all of the comparatives cards face down. They then work together to remember the full sentences using the job cards as clues. They turn the cards over to check after each guess.
- Students stand up and walk around the room in pairs, checking other groups’ sentences and looking for ones they agree with or disagree with. Before they go back to their own desks they have to stay standing and work together to try to recall as many of their own sentences as possible. After a couple of minutes they sit back down and compare their sentences to what they could remember.
- Each pair of students take a photo of their completed sentences with their phone then put it away. They then shuffle and mix the cards thoroughly and spread them out face up. Tell students they have two minutes to recreate the same sentences that they had before. After two minutes, or when a few teams have finished, they should use the photo on their phones to check how many sentences they successfully recreated.
Collect the cards and give students a minute to think of some adjectives and other comparisons from the game. Then, give them a minute to think of some that were not in the game. Elicit answers from the class in open feedback and write their ideas on the board.
Give students an example: “I think doctors work much harder than politicians because their job is very difficult.”
Students talk in pairs and use the prompts to make comparative sentences using the earlier structures and try to include reasons. They then work on their own to write them in their notebooks.
You can then finish the activity with a mingle: Divide one set of job cards between the class, giving each student two or three of the job cards. As they mingle and pair up, students talk for a minute or two comparing their jobs. Monitor and make notes for a delayed error correction at the end.