16 February 2011

5 ESL/EFL Activities for ~er Comparatives - FREE DOWNLOAD

I've found it's better to split up the comparatives into ~er and more ~. It helps the students absorb the point better and they are less likely to confuse the two early on.

5. Higher/Lower playing cards
You need: A deck of playing cards for each small group or pair (depending on your class)
How to: This is a nice warm-up to the concept of ~er. The first player lays out six cards face down. They turn over the first card. They must then decide if the next card is “higher” or “lower” than the first card. You can have lower-level students just say “higher” or “It’s higher” and ask more able students to say “I think it’s higher than a three.”

They can then turn over the card and see if they were right. If they were wrong then all the cards go back in the deck. If they were right then they can go on to the next card. If they can get to the end then they get to hold on to those cards.

I also give them to option to say “Stop!”. If they say stop, then they can take the face-up cards, while the face-down cards go back into the deck. Once the first player has finished by either making a mistake, getting to the end or saying stop, the next player can play. The player with the most cards is the winner.

4. Top Trumps Mingle
You need: A deck (or two) of Top Trumps cards, Interview papers
How to: This is the same as any general mingle with information, but using the real cards makes the students much more interested! I have a deck of superhero cards that works, I imagine that the Harry Potter deck would go over well too! Give each student a card and an interview sheet. The basic conversation would go something like:
“What’s your name?”
“My name is Batman.”
“How tall are you?”
“I am ~ cm tall.”
“I am ~er than you!”

Obviously you might need to tweak this conversation for the deck you are using. NB Monitor to make sure the students are not mixing up their comparatives.

3. Get Four (MES-English)
You need: Get Four papers adapted for this grammar point, one copy per pair
How to: I use this with animals. The instructions are on the MES site, but basically the students take turns making a sentence in order to get squares, if they can get four squares in a line they get one point. Again you’ll have to monitor to make sure they are using the right comparative. Sometimes students mix up the order of the two things being compared. Also, at least in Japan, I have to point out that they can block each other so they are not politely taking turns in separate areas of the paper and scoring equal points!

2. Head of the Class
You need: Head of the Class gameboard and comparatives cards (download here)
How to: Split the class into groups of four. One student will become the “teacher” and will get an envelope with the cards. The other students are students and place their marker/eraser/keyring etc on the numbers.

The teacher will pull out a card and the students have to make a correct (and true!) comparative sentence. The first student to answer correctly can move up one place. If a student reaches the top then that student and the teacher change roles. NB don’t make the other two students go back to start or the slower students will never get a chance. This game has no “finish” so keep an eye on how bored the students are getting and stop it while they are still having fun!

1. Quiz
You need: Prepared facts and pictures about various countries, animals, celebrities, anime characters (whatever your students will find interesting!) Play money, or coloured paper.
How to: Split the class into teams (whatever is manageable for your situation). Give each team some play money. If your situation/culture/school rules don’t allow that you can give them coloured pieces of paper.

Put up two pictures on the board and ask the quiz question, for example “Which is bigger, the UK or Japan?” Give each team some thinking time. They then have to “bet” some money or paper on the right answer. I usually have an empty space at the front split into two halves with a ruler. Each team has a coloured clip that they put their money into and put it on the side they wish to bet on.

After a dramatic pause reveal the answer and sort out the money. My students like it when I act happy about stealing the losing teams money! You can start out with some easier questions and progress to some trickier ones later.

NB It’s a good idea to give the students a limit to how much they can bet, I usually say up to half of what they have left, but on the very last question (sometimes a trick question) I let them bet the lot!

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