Although I wasn’t at the last get-together, I wanted to share a jigsaw-method activity I thought up after being inspired by the article and post ‘Jigsaw tasks‘) and tested it out yesterday and the day before, with three different groups of low-level learners. It was a success because I used it as a follow-up, merging two lessons (vocabulary on animals, and pronouncing the alphabet) and expanding it into what turned out to be a Jigsaw-like activity.

Using magnets of alphabet letters (10.- for a set of 33 letters) I had the group, in plenum, sort them into two categories according to sounds, with those letters (stuck onto a metal flip-chart board) which go with the indefinite article A (to the left) and, to the right, those which go with AN, like so:


TIP: You can use a hat or other container for them each pick a few letters out at random, to make sure all participate in sticking those letters up.

Strategy: Don’t correct or interfere right away, let them work as a team first. When they’re done, ask them: “a E, or an E?”  “a O, or an O?”, etc. Then, when it’s sorted correctly, select one to read the left column and a second to read the right column. (Correct pronunciation –  ‘ex’, not ‘ix’, etc.)

Developing from there, they compile a list of words which they recall from a previous lesson.  (As I had too few participants, we did this in plenum):

IMG_5716(NB: ipex should read ‘ibex’)

For the Jigsaw method, each group would use an A3-size sheet to list their words.  They get into groups or three or four and I assign each a different task:

One group is to compile animals (wild/livestock/pets—doesn’t matter, since we already looked at these). For uncanny letters, help them (i.e. with ibex, numbat, unicorn*, x-ray tetra—and don’t forget ‘yaks‘).  *one participant actually got ‘unicorn’ without my help, so don’t jump in too quick.

A second group has to compile adjectives they can remember, and a third group is to find verbs which they have already used and then to search a dictionary to complete the set of 26. (They probably will get ‘x-ray’; help them with ‘zero in’ ‘zigzag’)

Monitor each group and when they’re done you can post their work, for them to go round taking snapshots with their phones.  (Or if you’ve set up your groups for WhatsApp, why not take the shot yourself and post it to the group!)

As a post-activity you can have them try and combine sets to form funny, bizarre sentences. This can be set as homework.

I welcome any comments below (if you should point out a blind spot for me).   ThankS!