One for the Kids Classes: Stepping Stones


This is good for practising word order in simple sentences with younger learners (8-12). It takes a bit of preparation though.
It basically involves lots of pieces of paper on the floor, each one with a word written on it. The words should all come from the target language structure. The kids then cross the classroom jumping from word to word forming sentences.

1. Get a load of scrap paper, big enough for a children’s feet!
2. Write all the possible words you need to make positive, negative and interrogative questions on the pieces of paper. You could use a colour code, with the subjects one colour, verbs another, auxiliary verbs another etc. Make sure you have an additional one with a full stop and another with a question mark.
3. In class spread out the pieces of paper on the floor in the centre of the classroom.
4. Demonstrate the activity crossing the classroom by jumping from word to word. Get the students to read out the sentence as you jump. You could then model an incorrect sentence and fall in the water!
5. Hand over to a stronger student and ask them to cross the classroom. Ensure the others are watching and reading out the sentences, ensuring they are correct.
6.Nominate further students to cross the classroom and make different sentences.

This can be a bit faffy to prepare and set up but is enjoyable and gets the students thinking word order in a more fun and interactive way. Don’t let it go on too long though, kids this age generally have pretty short attention spans!

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2 Responses to One for the Kids Classes: Stepping Stones

  1. Love this idea! Could also work if you write on the floor with coloured chalk (though may rub off easily when a learner steps on that ‘stone’.


  2. Davie says:

    I use this activity with students of all ages. It lays out the choices they have to make with language in front of them, and this really makes a grammar lesson enjoyable and memorable. You can use it with anything where a choice has to be made, such as simple and continuous tenses, this and these (with a plural S stone in their somewhere), different phonemic transcriptions which represent different ways to pronounce the same letter (like /s/, /z/ or /iz/) and much more. A couple of notes, however: Once a learner has crossed the river, they have little to do and become distracted, so it’s good if they have a ‘fast finishers’ task waiting for them. It’s good to run it as a much more controlled activity first, and for this you can use some display input that they have to recreate in sentence form (i.e. visual stimulus on the board which you can point to). Then run it more freely where they can make their own choices about the sentence, and the learners who are viewing have to identify the right picture.


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