100 most common words in English - Quiz
Can your students guess the 100 most common words in the English language? This quiz got me totally engaged when I did some time ago. You have 12 minutes before the solutions show up, and you can make it into a competition by splitting up the class into teams, with the teams taking turns guessing. The teacher can project the computer screen onto the board, so the whole class can see it. Then the teacher types in each guess, and a score keeper gives a point to that team if the guess was correct. As a follow up, you can put the 100 words into word groups, e.g. adjective, adverb, noun, preposition, verb, sentence linker. I think it is also useful for teaching the difference between "content words" and "grammar words," and thinking about what the basic building blocks of language are (of course, most of the 100 words are grammar words).
I played this with my ninth graders when we were practising the present simple vs progressive tenses. You can use any online quiz for this game, e.g. this one. You can also print out the questions, but you can also project them onto the board. First, I give everyone 100 euros of imaginary money, and they have to place bets on the right answers to the quiz questions. If their bet is correct, they can add the amount of their bet to their original capital. If the bet is wrong, they have to subtract the amount of their bet from their capital. Before the next question, they calculate how much their current capital is, then place a new bet on the next question. If they lose everything in a round, I give them 1 euro to play with in the next round. You can also play grammar casino with complete sentences, and in this case, students bet on whether the sentence is grammatically correct. You can use this template of mine to create your own grammar casino sheet. This "grammar casino" is an old idea, which is capable of buzzing up even a tired class. It is always a lot of fun for my kids.
Reading English texts spelled in IPA
Practice for reading IPA: most often when language teachers wish to practice the IPA symbols, they have their students convert English words into IPA character strings. But why not reverse this task, and ask students to read words or short texts spelled in IPA?
Now the only obstacle is to convert your text into IPA characters easily? You can do that online here. All you need to do is copypaste your text into the type field, solve a captcha and click on Submit, then you will get the same text in IPA below it. (See screenshot below.)
Write an email to your future self
Here's an idea for an ESL writing activity. It's interesting to think about what you would say to your future self. But just how could you have that message delivered easily? The solution: tell your students to visit http://www.futureme.org, an email service which allows students to type up an email addressing themselves as the recipient (addressing themselves as "You"), and have that message delivered to their inbox at a given future date.
For example, if you\'d like your students to think about their goals in English class at the start of the school year, you can have them write it up as an email, and have it delivered on the last week of school, so you can assess the year based on this goal setting email. Alternatively, have them write an email in summer to their future self who will be starting the next school year.