Are you preparing your students to take some tests to demonstrate they've reached level A1 knowledge of English? 

I was. And I was using the official book plus CDs the publishing houses provide to get ready for the exam, when I realized that my 12 year-old student was incapable of doing a simple crossword that 'only' required her to guess what the definition referred to.

When I wrote the list of words randomly on a paper she completed the exercise in 3 minutes sharp!

What happend?  

The problem was that she didn't have the answers in a word list, so no clues at all. 
Her brain had a blackout because it couldn't elaborate the definitions and associate them to something it already knew.

I think this is rather common here in Spain because children don't usually speak English unless it's strictly required and they usually re-produce single standard expressions to verify their knowledge of grammar most of the time. 

Sometimes they write short texts, following the model presented in the book without putting any effort into the cause.

Considering that during the exam they only have a little time to complete the exercises and no teachers around for any help I decided to create a series of activities I would call 'Agility Brain' taking the cue from the most famous 'Agility Dog' training.

On this first post I'm publishing 36 cards that will work exactly like Taboo but on the opposite way. 

I chose some of the most difficult words to remember, from the vocabulary list of words our pupils have to know, to take the exam without getting into a panic.

On each card you'll find a word and from 2 to 4 definitions of it.
One of the players will read the clues,  one by one, slowly until the second player guesses which word the other is referring to.  On some cards there's a white space for a definition that the reader will invent at the same moment.

Each topic has a different pattern on the back of the card  that will be a visual clue to recognize the subject at first sight.

This way children will think in English and their brains will create faster connections between English words  and English concepts. They will learn vocabulary in meaningful phrases, not only the single words, facilitating the producing process of speaking and writing.


More about GUESS WHAT?!?

GUESS WHAT?!? The Spelling Game

I design series of activities based on a communicative method that will help children to practice the grammar they're learning at school.

Many ESL activities, I see, are nothing more than 'fill in the blank' exercises that only teach kids how to fill in blanks and miss the whole point of learning to speak and understand a new language.

It's much easier and more fun to learn by doing, and you'll be surprised at how quickly you'll see valuable results. 

You can get my activities on my online store: