The new requirement in the 21st century TEFL classroom: entertaining grammar
by Jerry Istvan Thekes
Abstract picture game
Grammar McNugget: Modal auxiliary 'might'
Material: abstract pictures
The aim of the teacher is to introduce, present and demonstrate the modal auxiliary verb 'might'. The fastest and a state-of-the-art way of doing so is by using abstract pictures that can bee seen below as example.
The teacher emphasizes that whatever the student say that might be in the picture is correct. In fact they are expected to use their imagination. As a follow-up activity, the teacher has the students draw abstract or non-figurative images and when they are done, these pictures are handed around the room. The students take turns in thinking and saying what might be in the pictures.
Nylon bag game
Grammar McNugget: quantitative nouns: bar of, bunch of, etc
Material: nylon bags, pictures of food
After presenting the vocabulary and the word grammar as to how to say and use quantitative nouns, the teacher gives each student a nylon bag of a department store. Every student goes to a pile of pictures with food on them and takes as many as they wish and outs into their bag.
When every student has a 'food' in their bags, they have to go in circles and as a creative group-work, they stop to talk to every classmate. They are instructed to start the sentence saying: 'I went shopping and I bought …………….'. The end of the sentence depends on what they pull out of their bags.
Grammar McNugget: elliptic relative clauses
Procedure: duct-tape, slips of paper with sentence fragments on them
Prior to the lesson, the teacher has made a triangle on the floor in the classroom by sticking duct-tape in the correct shape.
The presentation of the elliptic relative clauses – ones that do not include either of the 'who', 'which', 'that' relative pronouns – is as follows. The teacher hands out slips of paper to each student in the class. If there is not an even number of students then, the teacher must be involved in the activity as well. Sample sentences are seen below. It is important that half of the group get sentence beginnings, the other get sentence endings. Students have to find their partners on the basis of forming meaningful sentences.
When each student has found their partner, the teacher stands between one of the pairs and shows either the 'Who' or 'which' card depending on whether the noun at hand is a person or an object. Thus, the fragmented sentence can be read: This is the person who I gave my laptop to. One student is instructed to read the sentence then the teacher throws the 'who' card into the Bermuda triangle in order to show that the relative pronoun can disappear from the sentence.
It is advised that an explanation be given, namely that the relative pronoun can disappear if the relative clause is in the objectival case.
After the presentation and the explanation, the students are instructed to proceed to form the elliptic sentences with one student dropping the pronoun card into the triangle.
This is the person I gave my laptop to.
It is my cell phone not yours I have just found
It is a very entertaining book I am leafing through at the moment.
My biggest worry is the time factor we have to be careful of.
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