Small Group Activities


written by Alysan Croydon

Brainstorming is more than creating a list. It can be used in conjunction with prompt questions to develop more extensive conversations. You or an advanced student should record the information for all to see. I generally provide a xeroxed copy of the information in a subsequent lesson for review or follow-up work. This assures the participants that they will get a written copy and avoids the distraction of students trying to copy the information and detracting from the conversation.

Possible brainstorms:

Advantages and disadvantages of

taking the bus • driving a car • a particular job

your neighborhood • renting a home • owning a home

working • not working • teaching children your language

You can divide students into two groups if you wish. Each group brainstorms only advantages or disadvantages and then students can number off to share the group ideas in a pair. Before doing this activity, it helps to expose students to the language of opinion giving so they can use it in their discussion.


I am ….. I am a ……….

Students create sentences which follow this pattern. It should be done orally. Students sit in a circle. Go around the circle with each student contributing one sentence. When ideas seem to dry up, have students join another student who said asentence similar to their own or said something they want to know more about. They should ask questions and share more details. You may want to point out that you need an article when using nouns. You can show this through examples or use grammatical terminology.  Other patterns you could use are :

I like….. I wish….. I want…… I feel……. I have ……. I love……. I hate ……

Sentence stems could be longer and tied to one topic or theme relevant to the lives and experiences of your students.

I like/don’t like my job because…..

The best thing about my job is……

A difficult thing in my job is ……

In my job I’d like to ………… better

Adapted from an activity by Anita Bell

Tacoma Community House Training Project SUMMER 2000

Courtesy of Literacy Now


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