What I call a “one-off” is a learning task or activity that is not expected to be an on-going project or a part of a larger progressive syllabus. It is an engaging diversion from the usual lesson plan, something that is you use once, and you are done with it.
It could be something that you will carry out over the course of a few lessons, but usually it will take up no more than a portion of one class session.
Learners unscramble the component pieces of a dialogue while listening to the source audio or video. To accomplish the task, they listen intently and think about meaning and grammar—all in one engaging activity!
Here are some ideas to help make cloze exercises (also known as “fill-in-the-blank exercises) more engaging and pedagogically productive!
You can use songs, poems, news articles—even the text of your usual syllabus.
But don’t stop there! Spice up the old “fill-in-the-blank” routine with fresh, engaging challenges embedded into the task.
Heads and Tails
Get your learners to stop fretting about grammar by beguiling them with fascinating trivia and factoids, proverbs, famous quotations, one-liner jokes and more. (The Internet is chock-full of treasures like these!)
Break the sentences into pieces, and as the learners work together to match the pieces, they will be exposed to vocabulary, spelling, and grammar—but all the time their primary focus will be on meaning.
Songs in the Classroom
What more magical a way is there to expose your learners (of all ages!) to natural, authentic language than through songs? And there are so many ways you can use songs for language learning: clozes, discovering rhyme schemes, vocabulary matching, crossword puzzles, lyric scrambles, discussion questions, and more!
Here are some ways I have used songs in my classroom.
Capture your students’ interest with visually arresting images, then challenge them to find out more about the images by matching them with textual passages.
Done right, this is not only high interest, but also makes the language affiliated with the images accessible.
Your learners will be laser focused on meaning when they put on their thinking caps to solve brain teasers. They will be reading, speaking, and listening carefully as they work together, reading clues to each other and interrogating the answer holder. The stories are often amusing, always engaging!