A Fun Way to Teach Body Parts

They say that students need to see a new word 8 times in order to make it part of active vocabularly. There are many ways to review body parts vocabulary. This fun cooperative learning activity puts students in a receptive mode for learning, integrates listening, speaking, writing and reading and encourages them to focus on the accuracy of their spelling.

Divide your class into groups of three and give each group a sheet of chart paper and a felt marker. Ask students to take turns being the artist.

Instruct students to write no English on the paper. All that should be on the paper are drawings.

Instruct students also not to draw a whole person, but rather each body part separately as it is called out. Then call out 30 body parts. The first should be something easy like “nose” and then move on to more challenging ones. It’s a great activity for shaking up the atmosphere. Students often get up out of their chairs and lean over the paper to offer opinions on how to draw each part. A lot of laughter is the inevitable outcome.

When the last body part has been drawn, collect the felt markers and ask each group to take out one ballpoint pen. The chart paper is then passed to the neighbouring group, moving clockwise. This is the labelling stage of the activity. Each group labels the body parts on the other groups’ paper, without the aid of dictionaries or reference to class handouts. Lots more laughter ensues as groups try to make out what the drawings are meant to be.

After a short interval, time is up and groups pass the chart paper to the next group to finish labelling any unlabelled parts. This is also the correction stage. Groups correct any spelling or labelling errors of the previous group. Another short interval and the paper is passed on again.

When groups finally get their own paper back, they check whether the other groups correctly labelled their body parts. Papers can then be hung on the walls.

Low Beginner Personal Info Game

Anyone who teaches very low beginner ESL knows you spend a lot of time going over basic personal information questions and answers, often trying to come up with yet another new way to approach the same old material. 

A competitive game can shake things up and bring some excitement to what amounts to study of the exact same material. Add play money to the game and suddenly, you find students actually paying close attention to the grammar of their sentences, for what may seem like the first time. 

Here below is a simple game I use with play money that you are welcome to download. It’s more fun if you start with the questions covered, showing only the dollar amounts.

Divide your class into two or three groups. Individuals choose a dollar amount to try for. Then you reveal the question. Correct answers get the play money for the group. If the answer is wrong, another group can try to steal that question. 

Click on this image to view the game large on your computer and/or download it for use in your own class. Enjoy!

Expanding on “Where Do You Live?

Once students have moved past the absolute beginner stage, it’s fun to move beyond the basic “Where do you live?” question and get really specific. Where in the world do you live? Where are you now?

You could add to this vocabulary list below, depending on the level of your students, if you are working with kids, for example, and want to give coordinates for space ships, such as Milky Way Galaxy and Earth. Teenagers may want to add GPS coordinates. But here are the basic words:

World

Continent

Country

State or Province

City

Neighbourhood

Street

Number

Room

Chair

So, if I were in the classroom now with my students, I could say, for example, that I am in the World, in the continent of North America, in the country of Canada, in the province of British Columbia, in the city of Vancouver, in the neighbourhood of Fairview, at 555  West 12th Ave. in Callan’s ESL School in room number 8, on the left side of the room in my chair. 

Students can take turns giving their location as above and also saying where they live.

Below is a free handout I made to practice answering the question “Where are you now?” and “Where do you live” in writing. Following it is a speaking exercise from Callan’s Conversation Surveys that I follow it up with, for speaking practice. You are welcome to download both worksheets and copy for your classroom use. 

This handout below from Callan’s Conversation Surveys is great for teaching students how to give the location of their home more specifically than just a street address.