“Cat in a Cardboard Box” by peptic_ulcer is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
My favourite school years are the ones with new books. You ask why? Because I get my hands on brand new cardboards! And when life gives you cardboards you build activities with them!
It only takes five minutes to prepare and results in 20 minutes of student-centred speaking and writing practice.
- Vocabulary: simple objects (chair, bed, wardrobe etc.)
- I have got, have you got? No, I haven’t, Yes I have
- Speaking and writing
- Age: Young Learners but it can be used with the right adult group
- Time: 20 minutes (You can always extend it!)
Preparation (5 minutes)
- Before the class starts, Prepare post-it notes with an article and a noun in each one of them. For example ‘a chair‘. Make a note for every student for each noun. For example, if you have 5 students, the noun ‘a chair’ should be on 5 different notes etc.
- Find a nice cardboard box
- Put all the notes in the box
Extra tip: Before this activity, I always revise the
nouns. That way students will know the meaning of the nouns on the notes. Also, they will minimise their spelling mistakes
- Learners have to rush to the box
- Take one note and bring it back to their table
- Write a full sentence using have got e.g. I have got a chair
- Learners return to the box to take another note until there are no notes left inside
- When the notes have finished they return to their seats.
- They share their notes with their peers to peer-correct their sentences.
- Draw a table on the board with the objects and their names
- Each time one student comes to the board, chooses one item and asks the rest if they have it.
- – Maria, have you a chair? – Yes, I have
- – Nicky, have you got a chair? – Yes, I have.
- – Eneko have you got a chair? – No, I haven’t.
- The students put a tick next to the students’ names. Each student should ask everyone at least once.
My silly tips
- Every time they turn their backs to write the sentence, I put the box in different places e.g. under the table, on a chair, on the floor etc.
They love it when they turn around and the box isn’t where it used to be!
- Put some music on! Benny Hill’s theme song works wonders!
My serious tip:
In case you’re worried about your students getting competitive about who’s going to have the most sentences. If you have 6 students, make 36 notes. Each student will have to write 6 sentences and most of the times they will end up with 6 sentences each.
Overall, this is an activity that we love doing. I love seeing me students playing and learning and they also love playing so it’s a win-win!
- It’s kinesthetic. They love running around the classroom to get the notes.
- It’s a very student-centred activity considering that even in the final stage they are the ones who are asking the question. My role is to make sure they do the exercise correctly.
- Hope you enjoy this activity. I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts about this box activity in the comments sections!