Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Have Fun Speaking English: Icebreaker Questions and Information Gap

Getting my students to enjoy speaking English through a series of connected tasks

Our Korean sister school's visit is drawing near. These 7th graders are going to spend two periods making bubble milk tea with their counterparts. For today's International Cultural Exchange session, it was intended for striking up a conversation by asking icebreaker questions.

1. Richard and Ruby's Demo

With some back-and-forth questions and answers, students can comprehend the purpose of the conversation and pick up some patterns.

Ruby is a lovely student teacher who is highly motivated to learn about English teaching. I enjoy sharing my lesson planning strategies and teaching practices with her.

2. Hammer It

With the PPT slides containing corresponding pictures for difficult vocabulary words and an example sentence, students working in two teams can guess the images correctly.  

This activity is almost a guaranteed success. It is not only intriguing but helping students to recognize and remember the vocabulary words effectively.

3. Going Over the Vocabulary Words

With a simple English explanation and context of how it would be used in a conversation, students can comprehend those assigned vocabulary words and pronounce them correctly.

Words like celebrity, instrument, social media, and so on may be difficult for the 7th graders. This activity serves as a critical transition to the end result.

4. Back to the Board

With the PPT slides hidden from the four guessing contestants, students working in groups of three can describe the target words in English for their members to shout out correctly.

This activity recycles the target vocabulary and helps with the retention of the newly learned words.

5. Information Gap

With the two sets of icebreaker questions, students standing in two lines can practice asking and answering the questions in pair work.

This is the highlight of the class. All previous tasks lead to students' rehearsal of striking up a conversation.

All in all, it was a successful class because my students had fun completing each of the tasks collaboratively. Topping it all off, I've shown the apprentice the process of conceiving a good idea and carrying it out in a class.

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