How can we get students to notice and analyze new grammar structures?
Writing model sentences on the board, using colour coding, asking them to read an example from the textbook… We’ve all done that.
How about asking students to BE the words and try to organize themselves into a sentence?
That’s Wordganize, a fun and effective way to promote active analysis of a grammar structure while fostering group integration, the development of managing skills, real life argumentation and the increase of STT (student talking time) during new language exposition.
It can be used to analyze all sorts of grammar points, from A1 to C2. It is very versatile and gets students moving a little, which is a plus for days in which we have to provide too much input.
As usual, I hope you and your students can benefit from this different way to discover new structures.
Enjoy it and have fun with the games!
Drama Game: Wordganize – Grammar analysis
Language level: all
Aim: Notice and analyze new structures
Material: Words written on paper slips
Timing: 5-7 min
After providing students with some passive input of the topic in the form of a reading or listening activity, tell students they will try to remember a few sentences from the text.
The idea here is to prepare in advance sentences students have just been exposed to during the reading/listening activity, cut the sentence into words or chunks and give each student a piece.
Ask them to close their books and stand up in a line.
Hand out words to each student. They have to either hold the word, clip it to their clothes or stick it to their foreheads – depends on how outgoing your students are.
While they get their words, write on the board some model sentences to help them get through the next phase of the game – since this is not the aim of the activity and they shouldn’t focus on THIS language, but the one on the sentence they have to build.
Tell students they ARE these words now.
They have to organize themselves into a sentence and you CANNOT help.
They can use the language on the board to help organize themselves.
When they think the sentence is correct, they can call you to check it.
If you teach in a small classroom or you have a group that is not really into getting up and moving around, you can ask them to switch places, sitting in the ‘right order’. Another variation is for them to move the pieces of paper around, and hold them up for everyone to see.
Also, if you have few students in class, you can give them either two words per student, or cut the sentence in chucks rather than individual words.
Students start organizing themselves as a group.
At this point, usually students with leadership-inclined personalities will probably take the role of managers.
Observe and interfere as little as possible.
At the end, ask CCQs (Concept Check Questions) to the whole group to raise awareness of the structure you want them to focus on.
(If you are not familiar with CCQs, click here for more information)
Make sure you prepare your CCQs in advance. It is quite challenging to attempt to formulate effective ones on the spot, at least I think so.
You can repeat this game two or three times, asking students to Wordganize themselves into different sentences demonstrating the same grammar topic to provide more practice and cater for students that might not get the idea the first time around.
At the end of this game followed by well-designed CCQs, students should be prepared for controlled and freer practice.
Wordganize is a way to learn a structure through concrete and active means and enables students to get a hold of their own acquisition. All followed by the guidance of the teacher in the form of pre-designed CCQs.
It’s quite effective and fun.