- Keywords: Integrated activity, split sentences, conjunctions, review
- Learner English level: All levels
- Learner maturity: Elementary
- Preparation time: 15 minutes
- Activity time: 10-15 depending on number of students
- Materials: Paper, scissors, selection of sentences
Let’s Stick Together is an active and, at first, chaotic integrated activity that encourages students to interact and listen carefully to one another while focusing on making logical connections. This activity is perfectly suited to the revision of coordinating and subordinating conjunctions. Variations are only limited by the teacher’s imagination and preparation time.
Decide what aspect of language you are going to review. Depending on the number of students, write half that number of sentences using the target language. Type the sentence, leaving a space between the two clauses, for example I don’t want to put on weight, but… /…I love eating pizza and ice-cream. Print the sentences, and cut so that each sentence half is on an individual strip of paper.
Step 1: Tell students you are going to give them half a sentence. Demonstrate on the board by writing a sample sentence, for instance I don’t want to put on weight, but … and …I love eating pizza and ice-cream. Explain that the ellipsis (three dots) indicate whether it is the first or second half of the sentence. Drawing boxes around the half sentences will help first timers.
Step 2: Tell students they will get one sentence half and they must memorise it. No writing it down or telling anyone.
Step 3: Shuffle the strips of paper and go around the class having students randomly draw a strip.
Step 4: Give students 1-2 minutes (depending on the level), then retrieve the strips.
Step 5: Students get up and walk around the class. Students with an ‘end half’ should wait for the student with a ‘start half’ to speak first. When they think they have found each other, they come and say it to the teacher. If they are correct, they can sit down.
Step 6 (optional): Sentences can be redistributed and the activity repeated. Students often want to have another go—especially if they’ve remembered their half incorrectly and been unsuccessful (or last) at finding their match.
Lower level students can be allowed to carry their slips with them. In addition to conjunctions, this activity also works well for reviewing prepositional phrases and conditionals. I have also used this activity to review classroom rules at the end of the first lesson, for example Students should have a file which…/…they use only for this class. Teachers can also have students write their own sentences in pairs on blank strips of paper.
For intermediate to high level students in smaller groups, the sentences can also be part of a longer, coherent passage. Once the sentence halves have been matched (and been confirmed by the teacher), the students must then put themselves in order. This activity is challenging, but students are motivated to get it right. With the teacher cheering them on, they get a real sense of satisfaction when the story is told correctly from start to finish.
Let’s Stick Together is a challenging activity that utilises students’ speaking, reading and listening skills. It works best when it focuses on a grammar point, such as cohesive devices or coordinating conjunctions. In my experience, this activity works best at the end of a lesson that has been heavy on reading, writing or grammar.