First and Last: A speaking activity

About a year ago, I posted a speaking activity called “Firsts” for upper level students. Allow me to offer another activity that could be used with both upper and lower level students. I call it “First and Last”. I find it timely for such activities as 2010 is drawing to a close, and we’ll soon be welcoming the first day of 2011.

Click here for printable First and Last_handout.

[Version A. For basic levels]

Directions for the teacher:

Step 1 – Use the activity to practice question and answer formation using the simple past. Write the following verb phrases on the board. You may add other phrases if you wish to target other irregular verbs. Be sure all words are understood.

bake a cake                                                                        ride a motorcycle

dance a slow dance                                                      see a shark

drink a cocktail                                                              speak to a large group

go hiking                                                                             spend a lot of money

make a big mistake                                                      watch a scary movie

meet someone from another country         write a letter in English

 

Step 2 – Under the verb phrases write these prompts:

Question 1: When was the first time you ______________?

Question 2: When was the last time you ______________?

 

Answer 1: The first/ last time I ______________ was ______________. [At what age? What year? How many years ago?]

Answer 2: I never ______________.

 

Step 3 – Moving clockwise around the room, one student will ask another classmate about a first or last experience. If student A asks about a first time, then student B must ask student C about a last time. New verbs can be used in each exchange. If a student is able to recall the first or last time of a certain experience, the questioner must add one more question to learn one more detail.

Model:

Student A: When was the first time you watched a scary movie?

Student B: The first time I watched a scary movie was maybe in the seventh grade.

Student A: What film did you watch?

Student B: Aliens.

Student B: When was the last time you baked a cake?

Student C: I never baked a cake.

 

 [Version B. For intermediate and advanced levels]

Follow the same steps; however, the focus will be on pronunciation. Explain how old versus new information influence both sentence structure and sentence stress. Note how usually old information comes first and new information comes last when giving an answer. New information receives greater stress.

Before students begin the Q&A activity, share the model and underline the words that should be stressed.

Student A: When was the first time you watched a scary movie?

Student B: The first time I watched a scary movie was maybe in the seventh grade.

Student A: What film did you watch?

Student B:  I saw Aliens.

Student B: When was the last time you baked a cake?

Student C: I never baked a cake.

 Be sure students are using falling intonation for wh- questions and rising intonation for yes-no questions.

 

 

8 Comments Add yours

  1. What a great post. I love the exercises that one person asks the other person structured questions. These type of exercises will improve peoples skills.

    1. Yes, the basic Q&A format lends itself to many possibilities. Thanks for posting your comment.🙂

  2. sofo says:

    it is realy useful for everyone but can wee see the dialogues we watching in youtube somewhere rtitten

    1. Most of my more recent videos have captions. In my playlist for beginners, I start using captions after about the first dozen lessons or so. I wanted the viewer experience to be similar to what my on-camera student is experiencing. Natasha must make do without captions or subtitles, so I felt it was important not to become dependent on that at first.

      Please ask if a part of a video is not clear. You can post a question directly on that video. Thank you.

      Regards!

  3. AnuSunil says:

    a very good warm up..Mam

    1. I’m glad you like it. Thank you.

  4. AnuSunil says:

    Can u please send some strategies of applying differentiation in the classroom?

    1. Hello. Have you done a search on differentiated instruction? There are a lot of resources online. Here’s just one.
      https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/differentiating-instruction
      What exactly is the situation you’re facing?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s