Are you looking for a new way to increase your student’s vocabulary using categories and classification? Do you need engaging ways to deepen the vocabulary of your ESL students? This activity is a fun way to develop language using categories!
These activities can easily be incorporated into your regular daily or weekly routine. Your students will also appreciate the unique approach to learning about categories and classifying objects. This activity involves a sentence frame and brainstorming items in a category. The sentence frame for this activity is:
“If I had to be a _________, I would be a(n) ___________.”
Students can either randomly choose a category or you can “plant” categories in their pool of choices. As a teacher, you have the flexibility to decide which categories are most beneficial for the students you teach. The variety of categories is far reaching and sure to engage even the most resistant students.
Here is a sample list of categories that you might want to choose from: farm animals, ocean animals, insects, mammals, birds, dinosaurs, pets, cities, states, continents, oceans, famous landmarks, planets, parks, restaurants, fruits, vegetables, desserts, candy bars, snacks, lollipop flavors, snacks, sandwiches, celebrities, action heroes, presidents, cartoon characters, colors, numbers, letters, seasons, holidays, months of the year, days of the week, shapes, instruments, electronics, pieces of furniture, school supplies, songs, movies, nursery rhymes, board games, flowers, toys, natural disasters, sports, scents, and chores.
Tips for completing the sequence:
- Students brainstorm items from the chosen category. For example, if the category is sandwiches, students might come up with peanut butter and jelly, turkey, grilled cheese, steak, ham and cheese, BLT, roast beef, and veggie sandwich.
- Student can then choose ONE sandwich they would choose to be and create a list of adjectives that describe the chosen sandwich. I’m not sure about you, but I’d definitely choose a grilled cheese sandwich because it’s warm, gooey, buttery, crunchy, and delicious.
- Students pull it all together by writing a short response that justifies their chosen item. Do you see how this serves to develop language skills in so many ways? Finally, students are able to draw an illustration of themselves as the “thing” they’ve chosen. The picture below shows a sample that is complete.
Short on time?
If you only have a few moments and would like to try this activity, another option is to simply use the sentence frame. Ask students to brainstorm the list and pick one student to choose an item from that list and tell why he/she would want to be that particular item. If you have a few spare moments before dismissal, are waiting in line to enter an assembly, or are riding on a bus to a field trip, you can easily add this to your repertoire of “fill-in” activities.
This activity requires students to think critically, develop an argument, justify their argument, and compose a supporting response. Not only is it beneficial for broadening the vocabulary for general education students, it is particularly useful for students who are learning English.
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