Category Archives: Ideas to teach vocabulary

Adjective to Describe Personality and Appearance – Two Activities and a Matching Game

Previously I shared several ideas for speaking activities on fashion and appearance which can be found here.

In this post I want to concetrate on the vocabulary to describe appearance and personality. All three activities have been desined for B2 students and have been successfully used in my classroom.

Adjectives to describe clothes activity

Adjectives to describe clothes activity

Adjectives to describe appearance activity

Adjectives to describe appearance activity

The first activity is picture based and is aimed at introducing or reviewing adjectives to describe clothes. Check it out in a slideshow below.

Students need to choose the correct adjectives to describe the clothes in each of the pictures. Sometimes more than one adjective can be used to describe a picture.

The next activity is aimed at reviewing the adjectives to describe appearance, the task of the students is to complete the sentences with the correct adjective from the box.

And finally a matching game with compound adjectives.

You can read the description below or download it here together with the cards: Compound Adjectives To Describe personality and Appearance – Matching Game

Cmpound Adjectives To Describe personality and Appearance  – Matching Game
Aim: To practice compound adjectives related to personality and appearance
Interaction: Individually or in groups of up to 3 students
Exercise type: Matching
Language: B2
Time: 7-12 minutes
Materials: A set of cut up cards for a person or for a group
  1. Cut up the cards along the dotted lines.
  2. Give each student a set of cards (for an individual activity) or hand out one set of cards for a group of students (for a group activity).
  3. Set a time limit for the students to match the cards to make compound adjectives (see the answers). An online stopwatch can be of help to keep track of the time:
  4. Award extra points to the student or the group of students who are the first to complete the puzzle.

Have Fun!

Have fun learning and leading in the classroom! 🙂

Film Reviews – Vocabulary Workshop and Lesson Plan.

Film reviews are one of the most popular topics in TEFL and this is exactly what we were dealing with over the last week. Coursebooks don’t always do a great job in engaging students especially when it comes to reading and vocabulary exercises, so to assist my students, struggling with vocabulay aquisition, I developed the following vocabulary workshop.

The activity is based on a film review by Movieline and presents new words in context and with other words that they go with (i.e. horizontally). The visuals in the clip add a powerful element and help students to memorize the vocabulary easier and faster.

The activity could also be used to introduse a possible rhetorical structure of an oral film review (possible because there are other ways to structure a review).

Level: B2
Target skill: vocabulary
Other skills involved: reading, listening, rhetorical structure of an oral film review.

1.  As a lead-in activity quickly go through some vocabulary that students will need to know in order to understand the ideas and opinions expressed in the film review.



2. Hand out the graphic organizers and allow your students a couple of minutes to look at them.

*Students can be working individually or in groups of up to four.* 

Ask the students to figure out what information they need to get from the trailer in order to fill in the graphic organizers (the aspects of the movie mentioned in the review; the strengths and weakenesses of the film).

Ask the students to predict possible answers.
An editable graphic organizer can be downloaded here: Graphic Organizer for a film review vocabulary workshop

3. Let the students watch the Amazing Spiderman 2 review by Movieline.

4. Let the students watch the review in parts filling in the gaps with the appropriate word(s). Rewind the video if your students need to listen to the except again in order to fill in the gaps. The questions embedded in the video are multiple choice questions.

Click on the image below to open the EdPuzzle.

Film Review - Vocabulary Workshop and Lesson Plan

Film Review – Vocabulary Workshop and Lesson Plan

If you think it will be too easy for your students, download the paper-based handout with gaps and no options.

5. Let the students read the transcript of the film review.

Ask your students the following questions:
What information is included in this review? 
How this information is structured? 

Give the students the rhetorical structure of an oral film review handout. Working individually or in groups, students need to write the number of the paragraph (1, 2 or 3) in which they can find the information about each of the aspects of the movie and the parts of a review (the cast, the plot, recommendation, etc.)

Draw the students’ attention to the phrases in bold. Encourage them to use these phrases in their post-activity.
6. Allow some time for the students to complete online vocabulary exercise. They can use tablets, phones, laptops or desktop computers if you have an access to a computer lab.
Crossword Puzzle Film Review Vocabulary

Crossword Puzzle Film Review Vocabulary

Alternatively, you can assign this activity for independent study at home or use the paper-based version of the vocabulary exercises that can be downloaded here as a crossword puzzle (Crossword Puzzle – Film Review Vocabulary Workshop) or as a matching exercise.

 Film Review Vocabulary Matching Exercise

7. As a post-activity ask the students to prepare a film review at home and either to record themselves or to be ready to present their film  review next class. Once again students can work alone or in groups. Encourage the students to use the new vocabulary and phrases in their own fim review (assign extra points for each of the new words used or a lump-sum extra point).

Hope you enjoyed it and will find it of you.

Please, share your comments, ideas and suggestions. As always, they are always highly appreciated.

Learning vocabulary with songs – Activity + Teacher’s notes

This activity helps to learn at least 20 words and expressions to talk about appearance. The activity is based on the song “Freckles” by Natasha Bedingfield. The slideshow includes teacher’s notes, introduction of the vocabulary and a ready-to-use handout.

Vocabulary: appearance
Level: B1 – B2

Teacher’s Notes

1. Pre-teach the vocabulary on appearance (included in the slideshow).
2. Print out the slides with the lyrics and cut them up along the dotted lines.
3. Give each student a cut-up copy of the lyrics.
4. Play the song once (if you play it on YouTube, make sure the video doesn’t have lyrics displayed).
5. As the students listen to the song for the first time, they arrange the lyrics in order and fill in the gaps with missing words/phrases.
6. Play the song for the second time to allow the students to check their answers and to complete the gaps they have missed during the first listening.
7. As a follow-up activity, you can have a quiz on the words and phrases that the students had to use in order to fill in the gaps.




Tools for Teaching Vocabulary – Using text posters in the classroom

When I teach new vocabulary it seems more meaningful to me to introduce it in a though-provoking quote than in a general unspecific sentence that doesn’t strike a vibrant chord in a student. So I usually mine for quotes containing the vocabulary I want to teach and then I use quote generators to quickly create images like you can see in these slides. This is all done automatically and takes you less than 10 second to create a text poster.

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