Lesson plans

A Mad Safari for YLs

Here’s an activity to get kids putting comparative and superlative forms into practice! I’ve done this activity many times and it’s always been very popular. It’s a great way to let your students go wild (see what I did there?) and get creative. Students read a short text about an (invented) animal, then create their own for a class safari.

Ages: 8-10 year-olds
Level: A1/A2
Grammar point: comparative and superlative adjectives
Vocabulary: adjectives to describe animals, eg: dangerous, friendly, fast, slow, heavy, light
Skills: mainly reading and writing, but also speaking and listening if you choose to extend the activity (see stage 7).
Materials: a PowerPoint slide with an example animal, blank paper, coloured pens, coloured paper (optional), scissors (optional), glue (optional)
Duration: I spread this over 2 one-hour lessons

Procedure:

  1. Warmer: students have 1 minute to write a list of animals in their notebooks.
  2. Lead-in: explain to students that they are on a safari, and they will see a special animal. They have to guess what the animal is. Click through the PowerPoint so that the squares disappear to reveal the animal (the kangafox). Ask students which 2 animals they can see combined into one: a kangaroo and a fox. Ask them to guess information about the animal: where it lives, what it eats, and so on.
  3. Read for gist: tell students they will have 90 seconds to read the information about the kangafox, and decide if their predictions were true. Encourage the students to share their ideas with their partner, then conduct open class feedback. For weaker students: provide a True/False gist question, eg: The kangafox is dangerous. True or False?
  4. Read for detail: students match headings with the paragraphs in the text. These headings will help them when they come to invent their own animal later on. Students then complete the sentences in Column 1 on the worksheet. For stronger students: see if they can complete the worksheet without looking at the text on the board.
  5. Planning: put students into pairs and ask them to choose 2 animals. For weaker students: have a list of animals on the board, and ask them to choose two, or assign combinations of animals to groups yourself. Show students Column 2 on the worksheet: you’ll see that the layout is the same as the comprehension task, but this time, students complete it with their own ideas. Encourage students to write full sentences, and monitor as necessary.
  6. Making the poster: once you’ve checked students’ plans and provided corrections where necessary, give students materials to make their posters. I found it helped to use coloured paper for students to write sentences on, then cut and stick the sentences on a bigger piece of paper. That way, you avoid situations where one student can beaver away on the poster while their partner sits there unable (or unwilling) to contribute.
  7. Follow-up: depending on how much time you have available and your students’ abilities, there are 2 ways I’d suggest following up. Option A: display the finished posters on the wall and “go on a safari” with the students. Tell them they have to choose their favourite animal, and explain why it was their favourite. Conduct a class vote at the end of the “safari” to decide on a winning team. Option B: conduct a safari, but have students act as guides, where they present their animal to the rest of the class, so it becomes a live listening activity. Meanwhile, the other students listen and add to their worksheet with short answers. I’ve added a slide in the PowerPoint where students can divide the table into however many columns they need. Then, pairs of students choose their favourite animal, and the class votes to choose a winner.

Here are a few of my favourite examples from my students (who are FAR more artistic than me). Which is your favourite? Comment below!

Download the PowerPoint presentation here:

Download the PDF of the PowerPoint presentation here:

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