Sentence Strips - Low Prep ESL Activity

How do you segue from reading & discussion into grammar with an activity that's engaging and cooperative? How can you squeeze more teaching out of a reading passage that you spent so much time sourcing & painstakingly adapting?

This week's Low Prep post-reading activity was created to assess/develop my students' understanding of English sentence structure & give them an opportunity to communicate while figuring out a puzzle with a partner! If you've tried this, let me know how your lesson went in the comments!

Skills Engaged: Grammar, Cooperative Learning
Materials: Paper strips, & scissors
Time: 10-20 min

Step by Step:

  1. If you have access to a paper cutter, cut A4 papers along the long edge into enough lengthy horizontal strips for every student.

  1. After the class is done with a reading lesson, give each student 1 paper strip. (It's important to use this activity as a follow up to a reading lesson as the reading will take care of the  contextual knowledge & allow students to focus their mental energy on grammar, so they don't spend too much time & energy figuring out what the context is about.)
  2. Have ss pick any sentence from the reading passage & copy it onto the paper strip. Emphasize that the spelling & punctuation must be exactly the same as the original. (According to the proficiency level of your students, you can augment the difficulty by setting a minimum sentence length, including specific parts of speech, or requiring compound/complex sentences.)
  3. Have ss cut out each individual word (pic below).
  4. First, ss jumble up their sentences & attempt to rearrange that sentence.
  5. After that, remind them to remember the correct order of their sentences.
  6. Have ss find a partner & attempt to rearrange the jumbled up sentence of their partner. Remind ss not to give their partners the answer until they have made 3 unsuccessful attempts. Also, ss should give their partner a high five if they get it right.
  7. Repeat #6 as necessary.

  1. A worksheet with more jumbled up sentences from the passage.
  2. A grammar lesson focused on a grammatical feature from the passage.

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