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Shapes of You – Guessing Games to Practise Grammar or Lexical Chunks

Here I want to share with you a type of activity that makes you repeat things but in quite an entertaining way =)

The activity may be called … bubbles/ shapes/ circles, e.g. Preposition bubbles or Perfect circles.

The idea is this: you have 15-16 statements that contain the target language and the same number of bubbles/ shapes/ circles. You need to complete the statements by writing your answers in the bubbles in random order.

Here are several examples for different levels for you to see the details

The thing is that the statements are written in such a way that one answer may fit several of them, e.g. Moscow – a place where I was born or a place I visited last year.

Once you’re ready with your answers, you show them to your partner and the partner tries to guess which statement you completed. If your answers are not too straightforward, it may take several tries to guess the right one, hence the necessary repetition.

The activity works well when

  • There are 5+ structures to practise, e.g. verbs patterns or modal verbs (in this case you may need to complete the statements first with the right form of a verb)
  • You need to get used to the structure and to see many example of it, e.g. the continuous aspect or Perfect Passive
  • Prepositional phrases that need to be learned by heart (again, you might need to choose the right preposition first).

Something to take into account

  • The shapes are not always big enough to fit your answer, so you can use pieces of paper instead;
  • Instead of showing your answers to the partner, you can just say them. In this case you may mark which answer completes which statement (because some students forget what they meant, it’s 15 things to keep in mind after all).
  • Before you start guessing it makes sense to underline the structures you’re going to practise, so that they are more noticeable on the page – I’ve done it in a couple of worksheets.
  • The point of the games is still to say the target structure several times, so try not to get carried away by the process of guessing and try not to cut corners by not saying the statements in full. Your guesses should start with It is [full statement]?
  • Ideally, you can expand on the topic by adding more details to your initial answer and use the target language more.
  • For self study (alone) – you can still use such worksheets: write down your answers (maybe with some details) and come back to them in a week, can you remember the statements?
  • And, of course designing a similar activity by yourself will give you lots of high-quality practice (just imagine the amount of thinking you need to do to make sure that several statements may be completed in a similar way) 😎

That’s it. What do you think of this activity? Have you tried it? If you have any questions, please ask in the comments.

Photo by Fabian Møller on Unsplash

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