Number one for English language teachers

IELTS set one - writing part 1 - describing graphs

Type: Teaching notes

Aims to practise the language students have learnt for describing graphs

As a way of practising language of graphs the students could draw their own graphs.One student dictates their graph while the other draws what they hear and then vice-versa.This activity works well for practising the language they have learnt for describing graphs in earlier lessons and also demonstrates how clear their language of description really is.

Step one

  • Give each student two sheets of squared paper. Elicit from the students reasons for having graphs and what kind of information they could illustrate. e.g. rate of unemployment or inflation or sales of goods.

Step two

  • Get students to decide on a topic. Students draw their own graph on the squared pieces of paper. The 'Y' axis should represent the chosen topic with units given e.g. sales in dollars and the 'X 'axis should represent time in years or months. Make sure the students give their graphs a title.
  • Don’t let the students see each other’s graphs before dictating. I usually tell the students that their graph contains secret information and to keep it well hidden.

Step three

  • Let the students dictate their graphs to each other and then compare only when finished. Also while one student is dictating their graph to the other don’t allow students to look at what the other is drawing.
  • Finally don’t allow students to use their hands to convey meaning. Often students will be keen to illustrate the trend on their graph using sign language.

ALSO: See Sam McCarter's material on describing graphs for IELTS.


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