Putting the Students in the Driver's Seat!  Original post August 2020

Hi there,

It's been awhile since my last post and I hope you are doing well.

All my students are back in their regular classes after spending almost 3 months online with me and it made me think about my own language learning experience...

One of the things I liked very much, was when the teacher gave us control over what to practice.

I like to do the same thing with my own students and whenever possible, I put THEM in the driver's seat.

The following activities I use a lot.  They are fairly simple to set up and (as always) can be used with any level students.


1.  Write the target language on the board, in this case "Do you like...?"

2.  Put a set of flahshcards on the board and label them 1, 2, 3 etc.


1.  Student 1 selects a card and says "Number 2, please!"

2.  The other students ask:  "Do you like (to eat) rice?"

3.  Student 1 answers: "Yes, I do!"  or  "No, I don't!"

4.  Next, student 2 selects a card and says: "Number 7, please!"

5. The other students ask: "Do you like (to drink) tea?"

6. This continues until everybody had several turns or until it's time to *stop.

How long the activity continues depends on how long and how much you want your students to practice: one card each, three cards each, five minutes, ten minutes...

The students can select any card they want, also cards already used by other students. But they can't select the same card twice....

If you can't use cards, ask your students for "object" names and draw simple pictures on the board instead.  Or, if they can read, write the "objects" on the board (see pic below)


1.  Instead of one question, write a set of questions on the board or elicit questions from the students.

2.  "Number" them A, B, C etc.

3. Place a set of flashcards to be used with the questions on the board and number them 1, 2, 3 etc.

Game play is exactly the same, but now the student has to say "D6, please!" instead of "Number 6, please!"


In the next example I was practicing the past tense with 6th graders. I wrote the past tense forms underneath the cards; the past tense of "read" in red as a hint and "eat" is number 8. (get it?)  Gameplay is the same again, but this time the objective is to make longer answers. 

I divided this activity into two stages:  

Stage 1: Fixed Answers 

The students have to answer "No" on every question. And they have to say when they "did the action". For example:

Q. "Did you watch yesterday?"

A."No, I didn't!"  "I watched TV 2 days ago!" 

Depending on their level, they can use their  imagination and also add what they did yesterday.

Q. "Did you watch yesterday?"

A. "No, I didn't!"  "I played video games yesterday!"  "I watched TV 2 days ago!" 


This time the students have give real information about themselves...

Q. "Did you watch TV yesterday?"

A1. "Yes, I did!"  "I watched Doraemon yesterday!" 

or :"No, I didn't!" "I played video games yesterday!" "I watched TV this morning!" 

Well, I hope you found something useful for your students and if you have any suggestions or questions, don't hesitate to contact me.....

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe!

Till next time!