Activity Name: Categories

Areas of Practice: Listening
Source: Five-Minute Activities: A Resource Book of Short Activities, by Penny Ur and Andrew Wright
Setup: Prepare a list of words that students have already learned that can be broken into two categories (e.g., food/drink;
big/small; months/seasons)
Procedure: Write the title of each category on the board, separated by a vertical line, to make two columns. Have students copy this on a piece of paper. Model the game for a few rounds by showing how to play on the board: call out a word and choose which category it belongs in, then simply mark with an x under the appropriate column. For example, if the categories are food and drink, and you call out “water,” “hot dog,” and “apple,” you’d have 2 x marks under food and 1 under water.
Once you’ve demonstrated this a few times, have the students continue to mark independently. This requires them to listen to the words, understand what they are, and choose the correct category.

Adaptations:
Beginners: If reading the columns and making marks will be difficult, you can also hand out printed cards and have students hold up the correct card for the category.
Advanced: Have students write each word, rather than just marking an x.
Virtual: This can be done quite easily virtually; just be sure that each student has a piece of paper. Use the whiteboard feature on Zoom screenshare (or similar feature on another videoconferencing platform).

Activity adapted by Rachel Sloan, originally published in Roanoke Valley English Ministry Bulletin, October 2021. Reposted by permission.

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