As an ESL teacher, I constantly find myself thinking of ways I can approach a particular topic to engage my students and give them interesting ways to learn and practice. I create word docs and slides. I cut up magazines. I tape things; I fold things; I hang things. It’s a never ending endeavor. As you all know, some things go great, and some things fail terribly, made apparent by 30 confused or bored faces staring at me. Then, there are times that I give something a shot even though I think it will likely fail, but I end up pleasantly surprised by the outcome. This is one such activity. I wasn’t sure how it would go over, but I decided to try it out anyways, and it turned out to be a hit.
After introducing and practicing demonstrative pronouns, I wanted a way that students could practice this topic in a way that was more interactive than a simple worksheet. I teach a three-hour long night class, so I also wanted to give my students a chance to get out of their chairs and move around. This is also a nice way to engage kinesthetic learners as well. So, I created this activity, and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s great because it gets students out of their chairs and practicing the close / far aspect of demonstrative pronouns in a physical way. During the activity, I could tell my students were connected, engaged, and talking through the grammar with their partner. After the activity, they said that is was fun. Below is the link to the word doc (which you will need to modify to fit your classroom), directions, and a preview.
- Download the handout
- Modify the handout to fit your learning space by adding things that are in your classroom and near your classroom if you want to get your students to walk outside for a little bit.
- Copy enough handouts for each student.
- Review demonstrative pronouns, including statement and question forms. You could check out these slides on the topic.
- Also, review singular and plural nouns.
- Put students into pairs. You could let them choose their own pairs, count them into pairs, or specifically put struggling students with stronger students.
- Pass out the handout and go over the directions. It’s key that you emphasize that they must move about the room and stand close (within arms reach) or far (4 or 5 feet away) from each item, depending on the directions.
- Model this, by completing number one and possibly number two with the class. Move to the appropriate space in the room to emphasize the movement part of this activity. Also, tell them to take note about the type of sentence, either question or statement.