April is the month of poetry so I wanted to do something special and fun with my students having in mind this topic. I was thinking of what to do when I came across this great website called
Below, I present a lesson plan that you can use in your class to review comparatives and superlatives. Students should have at least a pre-intermediate level.
In the board, review with your students how to form comparatives and superlatives. You can do it by creating a chart that includes the rules to follow and have in mind when working with comparatives and superlatives.
2. Worksheet: "Think of a word".
- Divide the class in small teams ( no more than three people) and turn in the worksheet "think of a word" to each team.
- Then, write a noun on the board and ask students to suggest whatever the worksheet tells them.
- It is a competition, so students need to fill in the worksheet as fast as possible but without spelling mistakes.
- Misspellings will be penalised. The first team to complete all the sentences will win a point. Each team will get a point for each word that is correct. Should a spelling be wrong, no point will be awarded. The teacher will ask students to spell the written word is she/he thinks that it might be misspelled. If two groups write the same word in a sentence, they won't get the point.
- Repeat the exercise with different words a couple of times and add up the points to select a winner.
3. SONG: "Everything" by Alanis Morissette
- The teacher will introduce the song to students. He/she will explain ask students to fill in the blanks. The teacher will tell students that the words that are missing are adjectives, comparatives, superlatives and some parts of the verbs in the present perfect.
- Students will listen to the song and complete the gaps.
- If students find the song difficult, the teacher will give them a worksheet that includes the words missing. The teacher will read the words aloud to make easier their identification in the song.
- Repeat as many times as students need.
- Check answers by asking students to read the song aloud.
- Check new vocabulary.
- Identify the adjectives and complete a chart with them like the one at the review stage.
4. The guessing game:
This game can be carried out either writing or speaking:
- Describe an object/animal/person using comparatives until someone guesses what it is
e.g. "It is as yellow as a banana, "it is hotter than fire", "it is as round as a ball" (SUN)
- Wrong guesses should be replied to with another clue comparing the real object with that wrong guess, e.g. “No, this thing isn’t a candle. A candle is colder than it."
- Descriptions should include at least two compatives or superlatives
First, I asked them to choose a product that they would like to sell and think of the characteristics of that particular product. Then, I asked them to create a brochure that included pictures and characteristics of the product. I monitored all the process by teaching them some frames they may use when describing the features of the product. Some of these included:
- It has ....
- You can ...
- Before it was ... but now it is only ...
I also provided them with some English dictionaries in case they needed to look up for new vocabulary.
Below is the result! I can say that they absolutely enjoyed doing it and they learned a lot!
Having finished designing the brochure it was time to put into practice their acting skills, so they pretended that they were on TV and they had to sell for example, "an Ipod" or an "English class". I reminded them that actors on TV exaggerate everything they say and do so they had to do the same. They had a lot of fun preparing and practising the commercial and they came up with very creative ideas and product features. This activity is absolutely great to improve student's oral fluency and an excellent way to encourage collaborative tasks in the classroom.
This is a fun activity to teach young learners the concepts of hyponym and Oxford Dictionaries:
2. Hypernym: A word with a broad meaning constituting a category into which words with more specific meanings fall; a superordinate. For example, colour is a hypernym of red.
Children are often confused with these ideas or concepts. This activity will help them to understand that there are some words that belong to a bigger category and vice versa.
Having clarified these concepts, I will carry on with the explanation of the game:
1. Get a ball that you can catch with a hand (ideally a soft ball).
2. Stand in front of your students.
3. Throw the ball to one of your students at the same time as you say a category (hypernym). For instance, throw the ball as you say "animals".
4. The student who catches the ball will pass the ball back to you as he or she says a word
that fits in that category (hyponym). For instance, "dog".
5. When you receive the ball you can pass the ball to another student without changing the
category by saying "another". In this case, the student who catches the ball will throw the
ball back to you saying another animal.
6. You can change the category whenever you want. But I recommend you to play with a
category for a while to make the game more interesting.
7. It is important that students pass the ball back to you and not to another student.
8. You can pass the ball to the same student several times consecutively.
9. Students cannot repeat a word within the same round.
How to get points:
I play this game as a competition between my students and me. I write the points on the blackboard so everyone can see them.
I (the teacher) will get a point if...
1. I hear a student speaking in a language that is not English.
2. A student repeats a word within the same round.
3. A student doesn't know the answer.
4. A student invents the answer.
5. The student says a wrong answer.
6. The ball falls down and it stays on the floor more than 5 seconds.
My students will get a point if...
1. They speak in English during a long period of time.
2. Depending on their age, if they play without failing for a certain period of time.
3. I don't speak in English.
4. When I consider that they are doing a good job.
Once students have mastered how to play the game, you can make it a little bit more complicated. Imagine this situation:
Student 1: "Dog!"
Student 2: "Cat!"
Student 2: "Horse!"
Student 2: "Bird!"
Now it would be the teacher's turn. However, instead of saying "another" or changing the category, the teacher can say another example of animals (hyponym) such as "bear" and throw it to the student. In this case, the student will have to throw the ball back to the teacher saying the category (or hypernym) in which "bear" belongs to. Look at the example:
Student 1: "Dog!"
Student 2: "Cat!"
Student 2: "Horse!"
Student 2: "Bird!"
Student 2: Animals"
After this, the teacher will change the category.
1. You can carry out the game without naming the words "hyponym" and "hypernym" but it is important that you explain what they mean. These concepts are usually taught in their native language during their "Language Arts" period at some point. You have the decision of introducing these new words or not.
2. These are some of the categories that you can use to play: Animals, parts of the body, numbers, clothes, food, classroom objects, colors, shapes, buildings,sports, languages... You can make the categories a little bit more difficult for higher levels such as things in the kitchen, adjectives, verbs in the past, adverbs...