Verb collocation – Let’s use student’s knowledge!

Level: A2

Age: 11 -13

Number of SS: 7.

Goal: To work on verb collocation using student’s previous knowledge.

It’s possible to use this activity to help the production of many different topics.

Students formed a circle; I gave them one ball, which they had to randomly throw to each other. Every time one student threw the ball he or she had to say an infinitive verb, ex. Go, play, do, etc.

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While they were throwing the ball and saying infinitives, I was writing them on the board.

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When they had said enough infinitives, they were given a marker and told to write verb collocations on the board. They were allowed to write more than one collocation per verb.

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The topic of the class was illnesses and pieces of advice using should or shouldn’t. So they were encouraged to use the verb collocations after should and shouldn’t to give advice.

They had drawn the illnesses on slips.

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They sat on the floor in groups, one student had to get a slip and say: I have a … What should I do? Each student of the group had to give a piece of advice using should or shouldn’t + a verb collocation.

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Used to – Can we use suggestopedia to teach it?

Level: B1

Age: 13 -15

Number of SS: 13 in one group and 8 in the other.

Goal: To introduce “used to” inductively.


This activity was performed as the introduction of the topic.

11998052_10153047532807761_529804552_nI asked students to lie comfortably on the floor, turned off the lights and put a quiet relaxing song.

Smoothly speaking, I asked students to close their eyes and imagine they were around five to seven years old.

I conducted the narrative asking them to imagine places they went, people they met and things they did when they were children. At this part of the activity I prefer not to prepare a text, I like feeling the flow. However, if you have never done anything like that, I suggest you prepare your script beforehand.

It is necessary to be careful when you are bringing students “back”. It is important not to break to energy flow. I normally end the activity asking them to imagine their homes. After exploring the house they go to bed and wake up in our real classroom.

When they woke up, they worked in pairs or trios telling their classmates what they had imagined.

While they were talking I wrote some sentences using “used to” on the board. The sentences were about me, some were true and some were false.

Ex: I used to play table tennis, I used to watch Barnie, etc.

When they finished their stories, I told them that there were some sentences about my childhood on the board and they had to guess if they were true or false.

After that, they also wrote, true and false, sentences about themselves using “used to”. Later, in groups, they shared the sentences and the other students had to guess true or false.

It was only after this practice that I elicited the reason to use “used to” and the grammar rule.

In one of the groups, one student asked about “used to” before writing the sentences, I called the class attention and asked if anyone could explain it. One of the students did it and it was really nice.

In both groups, I was happy after the activity. They loved lying down on the floor, they had room to talk about their personalization (and they actively did it), they grasped the meaning naturally and I didn’t need to give much explanation about anything. The learning was smooth and natural.