Also known as a board jump, this versatile activity can liven up grammar and get students up out of their seats in a controlled TPR practice activity.
This is good for language points which have two (or three) options to choose from, for example:
- ‘for’ or ‘since’ with time expressions used with the present perfect
E.g. ‘I’ve lived here for 6 years’ vs. ‘I’ve lived here since 2008′.
- countable and uncountable nouns
E.g. ‘work’ – uncountable vs. ‘job’ – countable.
- infinitive or -ing form verb patterns
E.g. ‘I decided to go‘ vs. ‘I enjoyed going‘.
- progressive assimilation in pronunciation of past simple regular verbs
E.g. wished /t/, lived /d/, wanted /Id/.
- prepositions of time
E.g. in the morning, at 6 o’clock, on Wednesday.
- collocations with delexicalised verbs such as ‘make’ and ‘do’
E.g. ‘make an effort’ vs. ‘do some exercise’.
The basic procedure
1. T gets students to stand in a single line facing the board. Make sure there is plenty of space either side of this line.
2. T writes one answer on the left of the board and one on the right.
3. T explains that they will say some expressions and students need to quickly decide which answer is appropriate and then jump to the left or the right according to their ideas.
For example with ‘for’ and ‘since’
T says ‘2006’ – students should jump right towards ‘since’.
T says ’10 minutes’ students should jump left towards ‘for’.
‘3 years’ – ss jump left.
‘4 o’clock’ – ss jump right.
‘I was a child’ – ss jump right.
‘A long time’ – ss jump left.
4. T demonstrates the activity to check the students have understood.
5. T calls out expressions and checks students are jumping in the right direction (you may find half the students jump right and half jump left, in which case further explanations about the language are required!)
6. It is a good idea to let the person at the front of the line go to the back after a couple of turns as they are the only one who can’t copy the others! Also make sure ss return to the middle before calling out the next expression.
A quick, easy, memorable and fun way to check understanding. The TPR nature of the activity appeals to young learners but I’ve found it works equally well with adult classes. Works well as a quick warmer or cooler at the beginning or end of the lesson too.