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Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Ok, before you all start accusing me of outrageous lies, this ISN'T the best activity in the world. Those of you who were in Britain in the nineties (and noughties) will recognise the title as a take on the countless pop music albums that appeared, named The Best ... Album in the World...Ever!

Some fantastic songs from some of the best "indie" artists of the 90s

The activity I'm going to share with you is certainly not the best in the world, and it's probably not very original either, but it is one of the easiest activities to set up as well as being suitable for a wide range of levels and age groups.

The main focus can be changed to suit level and needs - in this case (and the most obvious) I have used it to practise superlative adjectives. All you need are lots of small pieces of paper (Post It size is good), enough for each student to have one for each question. You can prepare the questions in advance or make them up as you go along.

Here is the procedure, as I carried it out with a group of ten to twelve year olds who had recently been looking at superlatives. It is carried out in "lockstep", but if you prefer you could write the questions on the board or on a handout and have everybody work at their own pace.

1) Hand out the pieces of paper.

2) Tell the students that you are going to ask some questions, and to write down their answer to each question on a separate piece of paper.

3) Have somewhere the students can place each paper as they complete it. Alternatively, have students number each paper, so that later it is easy to tell which question it answers.

4) Ask each question. The students should write down their OWN PERSONAL answer.

Sample questions:

Who is the best footballer?
What's the most interesting school subject?
Who is the most beautiful woman?
Who is the best singer?
What's the funniest TV programme?
Who is the fastest motorcyclist/F1 driver?
What's the most difficult school subject?
What's the nicest food?
What's the best book?
What are the coolest clothes?
What's the most dangerous animal?

There are plenty of alternative questions but these are some the ones I posed because we had been looking at these particular adjectives. With higher level groups you could use a wider variety of adjectives.

5) Everybody should now have answered all the questions. Collect in the anonymous answers. Younger students often like to fold up their papers, like in a secret ballot.

6) Announce each "nominee" and elicit the category. For example, "Maths, Science, English, History. The category is ..." (most difficult subject) and then announce the "winner". (The winner is the answer repeated the most times. If all the answers are different, or there is a draw you could have another vote.) My class wanted to take it in turns to come out to the front and read out the nominees. I would then say, in a grand voice, Oscars style "And the winner is..."

And that's it! My kids really enjoyed this activity and even asked to play it again the following day with different questions. With older students and adults you could use it as a basis for discussion, a way of practising expressing agreement and disagreement, language of persuasion etc.
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