Recycling Classroom Activities

images14.jpgThe more intrepid TEFL Logue readers will be happy to hear that my search for some recycling containers near where I live has ended well. This post, however, is related to the classroom.

But…recycling classroom activities? By this I mean using activities more than once – maybe with the same group (adapting a standard activity to practice whatever they’re learning in class) or maybe with different groups (using the same activity in two groups). Not only does this save you prep time in the long run, it allows you to refine the activity as well as your instructions and feedback by learning from your experience.

  • Recycle warmers – the short fun activities you use at the beginning of a class to warm people up and perhaps orient them to the class’s task – and even discussion topics. If a class is particularly engaged by one topic, use it again with another group! If someone makes an interesting point, bring it up with another class to see what people think. It’s a rerun for you but will be new to your students.
  • Recycle those cut-the-paper-up-into-75-pieces activities not by chucking them into the recycling bin, but by taking the time to cut them nicely (evenly so the pile at the end fits together) and keeping them in sets with paperclips or rubber bands. Using colored paper – a different color for each set – will allow you to cut them all at once without mixing up the sets. Lamination (I know, I know, this is a pipe dream in many situations) will let them last even longer.
  • Most importantly, keep a mental inventory of activities which are recyclable or adaptable to a wide variety of lessons. Once you have enough, you won’t be subjecting your students to the exact same thing day after day, but you also won’t have to reinvent the wheel every lesson. Some of my favorite recyclable activites are this vocabulary activity, the reading race (described at the end of the post), moving questions and the listening activity (which is the fifth point in the list and easily adaptable to readings as well).