Friday, 4 December 2015

Shoehorn ˈʃuːhɔːn

This is an activity I use with students of all ages and a wide range of abilities.
I saw it on Jimmy Fallon and thought it would be a marvelous idea for the ESL classroom.
Shoehorn is a game whereby you have to make words you have in your hand somehow fit into the conversation you are having. Each time you use one you get rid of it. when you're done with your cards you win.
As the levels advance the difficulty of the vocabulary increases. Each word does also have to fit the patterne of the conversation. I had one student who got would just say "and then I saw a........"


I tend to use vocabulary that cropped up in previous classes to see if they have retained the new vocab and also to recycle it. I have also been using words from the three readings I have recently posted.

You can use any words. I like to make a nice big mix.

For example partner A might have their six words to the tune of:

Elephant  /'elɪfənt/
Breeze   /'bri:z/
Reputation /ˌrepjʊ'teɪʃən/
Umbrella /ʌm'brelə/
Slow-dance /'sləʊ'dɑ:ns/
Reserved /rɪ'zɜ:vd/

While B would have the words below printed and individually cut:

Operation
Desktop
Unreliable
Dilly-dally
Employable
Back-stabber

I give each student their cards face down. I then get another student to elect what the topic of the conversation is. Then the students go at it for a minute or until their cards have run out.
I also put another student in with the pairs to ensure there is no improper use of the words and to settle any disputes. Then the winning student takes on the judge with a new set of words. The topic of conversation changes and we continue. The students level dictates to me as to whether I should use phonemes instead of words. In all but one of my classes classic script wins out.

If you don't want to prepare, cut, think about and laminate your words then just get your students to write down six words at the end of the class. Then use this activity as a warmer. I've found my students have become much more spontanious and they now really look forward to playing this game.