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17 October 2012

In-class games: Line Ups

I think there are two kinds of grammar teachers: those who love Azar and those who don't. While the importance of language learning in context cannot be overemphasized, and I use books which use readings for grammar learning, I LOVE Azar. The explanations, charts, and examples are clear and abundant. There is so much to teach in grammar, and Azar has as many explanations and lessons as one could ever need. That said, sometimes Azar can be rather bland, of not supplemented correctly. There are some interactive activities and listening exercises, but they mostly discreet activities, rather than interconnected by a theme.
 
HOWEVER, the Azar Grammar Games book is amazing. There are lots of fun, interactive activities that get students up and moving and using the target grammar.




One of my favorite activities is called "Line Ups." Each student gets a slip of paper with a question or prompt, depending on the target grammar. (The slips pictured above are for modals.) You divide the class in half and line the students up across from each other. I like to use different colored slips of paper... it just makes dividing and lining up a smoother process. The students then read their slips to each other, and the person across from him/her responds appropriately. After each student has asked and answered for the pairing, they wait for the teacher to indicate it's time to move. Usually I give students a couple of minutes then I say "switch" or "rotate" or some easy cue. Then one group of students moves while the other group stays (this is also where the colors come in handy, i.e. yellow stays and blue rotates). Each student will get to ask and answer a question for half of the class (everybody in the other group).

This activity can really be done with anything, with a little imagination. I think you could use vocabulary words and definitions in a reading or listening/speaking class or main ideas and examples in a writing class.  I have had good luck with this activity, especially at higher levels. The only downside is that it can get loud and difficult to monitor what the students are saying. A follow up writing activity, which asks students to report the answers they received, may be worth while. I would also encourage them to actually remember what their classmates said!

If you're an Azar fan (or not but are looking for resources), I would recommend checking out www.azargrammar.com. Here teachers publish their own classroom materials, including worksheets, handouts, powerpoints, and my favorite song lessons.  

Do you have any sure-fire activities or websites with quality lessons and activities which can be adapted or adopted? I'm always looking for fun ways to engage students!