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Humanising Language Teaching
Year 6; Issue 2; March 04

An Old Exercise

Grouping Words in Threes

secondary adult

John Morgan, Cumbria, UK

This activity was first published by John Morgan in Vocabulary, Oxford, 1986.
A new edition of this classic book comes out in April 2004 with Oxford.
More than a third of the book is made up of brand new activities.

Level: lower intermediate to advanced

  • Choose a text or the next reading passage in your coursebook.
  • Select 18 single words, collocations or phrases you want students to focus on.
  • Group the students in fours and tell them to prepare 18 separate slips of paper in each foursome.
  • Dictate the 18 items, writing hard words up on the board. The students write each item on a different slip of paper.
  • Tell the students to group the 18 words/collocations in meaning sets of three. This means they will end up with six sets. Help the groups with words they don't understand. Encourage dictionary use.
  • Ask them to now read the text.

Comment: as they group and re-group the words, discussing what goes with what, the students are juggling the ideas from the text and, in a way, pre-writing it.

Have you never tried this one? You must!
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