Vocab Swap

Vocab Swap

Copyright © 2014 Emma Gore-Lloyd

This is a short activity you can use to practise or revise vocabulary.  All the students are involved in speaking and actively listening and it can be used as a warmer, a game or a filler.

When my adult FCE students had arrived last night and we were about to begin the lesson, I asked them what we did last lesson.  My question was met with blank faces.  Had they forgotten or couldn’t they be bothered to say?  Then one of the students said, “We played a game!” I’m glad they remembered that but it took a few more directed questions to get out of them what type of vocabulary the game had been practising. (It was books, TV and films.) My plan for yesterday’s lesson required use of all this vocabulary in a listening prediction activity, so I realised the students needed time to remember all the vocabulary.

This is what we did (It’s structurally the same as Question Swap):

  • Each student – and me – had a post-it note with one piece of vocabulary on it, eg. scene, villain, episode, playwright
  • The students stand up and mingle. They find one person, say hi, how are you, and then describe the word on their post-it. The others student has to guess the word. And vice versa.
  • They swap post-its.
  • They find a new partner and do it all again.
  • This continues until you say stop.

As well as allowing them to practise the new vocabulary, it allowed the students to socialise with each other (in English, of course), which I think is so important in terms of feeling comfortable in the class, helping and supporting each other, and generally making class enjoyable.

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