Number one for English language teachers

Imaginative materials

Ever wondered what do do with your old receipts? Well stop wondering! Jim Scrivener gives us some great ideas for using everyday random items such as receipts, timetables and bags, plus other inventive ideas to brighten up your lessons.

  • Imaginative materials: teaching with party games

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    In many parts of the world the end of the year is the season for parties. And in class, the last lesson of the year often has a party atmosphere. So, to help things go with a swing, here are three classic party games adapted to be a little more classroom-friendly.

  • Imaginative materials: teaching resources: sound effects

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Sound-effect CDs are an exciting teaching resource. These are recordings that have hardly any words on - but instead contain a sequence of noises such as crashes, bumps, bangs, whistles, screams etc. Here are some ideas for using sound-effects in the classroom.

  • Imaginative materials: teaching English using timetables

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Printed train or bus timetables are often available as free leaflets or can be downloaded and printed from the internet. This simple resource can be used in a number of ways.

  • Imaginative materials: treasure hunting

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    How could you create an exciting treasure hunt puzzle for your students? Here are ideas for two kinds of game – a basic chain of clues and letterboxing.

  • Imaginative materials: yummy yummy yummy!

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate Type: Teaching notes

    An interesting way to teach basic food vocabulary at lower levels is to also include some colloquial expressions such as ‘Yummy!’ ‘I’m starving!’ and ‘Yuk!' Once students know a dialogue you can easily substitute words to practise the names of different foods.

  • Imaginative materials: texting

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Do you get annoyed when your students concentrate on using their mobile phones to text each other rather than focusing on the lesson? Here are ideas for exploiting text messaging in class.

  • Imaginative materials: fab phone features

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Mobile phones have many features and can provide great opportunities for activities. Here are a few ideas to get the most out mobiles in lessons.

  • Imaginative materials: pets

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Pets and other animals play an important role in many learners' lives. Here are some ideas for exploiting the theme.

  • Imaginative materials: teaching with simple props: bags

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Teachers and learners carry books and equipment to their lessons in a variety of smart or scruffy bags. Here are some ways you could make use of these unassuming objects in class.

  • Imaginative materials: teaching with simple props: dice

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Some of the most useful teaching props are the simplest. Most ELT teachers will have used dice at some time, perhaps when groups are playing a board game. Here are three ideas for more unusual uses of dice in class.

  • Imaginative materials: teaching with simple props: string

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Some props don't immediately suggest themselves as useful teaching aids. For example, what could one possibly do with a bag of clothes pegs and a piece of string? Mmm…

  • Imaginative materials: board games for teaching English

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Learners are often familiar with popular board games. Inventing new games (or adapting familiar games) can often produce materials that motivate students to talk and practise language.

  • Imaginative materials: using computers to teach English

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Mulitmedia presentation programs (e.g. Microsoft PowerPoint) are a good way of storing and showing images and text in unusual ways – as a high-tech slide show. Here are some teaching ideas, all suitable for classrooms with only a single computer.

  • Imaginative materials: using movies to teach English

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Most students enjoy watching a good movie, whether at the cinema or on TV. Here are a few ideas for making use of their interest and knowledge to create some unusual activities.

  • Imaginative materials: teaching with newspapers

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Teachers rarely have access to whole class sets of newspapers. Here are six ideas for things you can do using a single copy of a newspaper.

  • Imaginative materials: teaching with authentic materials

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Catalogues, shop brochures and leaflets are a type of authentic material often available free and in quantity. Here are some ideas for using these, whether printed in English or another language.

  • Imaginative materials: radio radio

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    The radio is a tremendous resource of listening material and the internet has suddenly opened this world up for classroom use. Instead of listening to the crackling and fading of shortwave transmissions, it’s now possible to save clear copies of programmes from all around the world. Here are some ideas for working with these in class.

  • Imaginative materials: advent calendars

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate Type: Teaching notes Print material

    Ideas for using advent calendars in the classroom.

  • Imaginative materials: Receipts

    Author: Jim Scrivener Type: Teaching notes

    Do you keep your receipts? Jim Scrivener presents some innovative ideas for using these in the classroom, including role-plays, crime-solving and guessing games!

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