Chain reaction

Here is a really effective and ever so simple activity to practise core language and high frequency words with language learners at whatever stage they may be in their language learning. It's actually an activity that I have used for many years and allows children of all abilities to participate and has an added memory challenge too.

  1. You will need sets of five or six  cards which have familiar high frequency target language words written on them.Each set can be  the same words (for beginners) or can be a set of different words (for more advanced learners) or could be sets of nouns or adjectives or verbal phrases (e.g I have / I haven't /I am , it is /I like / I don't like...) 
  2. Divide your class in to groups of five or six children.
  3. Ask the children to stand in a circle as a group.
  4. Ask each group to designate one child as the "memory box". (This should be a child that the group feels will remember the completed task and be able to say this task out loud to the class or as a more advanced activity write it out on the class board for all the class to read.) 
  5. Give each group a set of five or six cards. The number of cards depends on the number of children in the group.
  6. The groups need to read the words they have been given.You could give each group a bilingual dictionary to check any meanings they are uncertain about. 
  7. Each group then needs to put together a set of five of six coherent sentences or phrases using one high frequency or core language word card in each sentence.
  8. As a group they need to say their phrases or sentences and show their card. Encourage them to add feelings and possible actions too.
  9. The child designated as the group memory box needs to say and perform his or her own sentence and then say all the sentences in order,adding the performance too.
  10. You could swap over memory boxes from own group to another and ask thse children to observ and listen and then try to remember the sentences spoken and performed by another group.
  11. You could ask the children to listen to a group and then in pairs try to write down as many of the sentences they hear as possible .If each group has different word cards maybe they could try to identify and underline the words in the sentence that they think are the core or high frequency words.
  12. Children could create their own high frequency /core word challenge packs for other groups ......