Human Sentences

This is helpful for learners with lower language levels who are struggling with the auxiliary verb system (be, do and have).

I give learners a piece of paper or mini-whiteboard with one word of a short sentence. They have to physically arrange themselves in the correct order to make the sentence.

For example, I give five learners one of these words each:

  • mother
  • London
  • from
  • is
  • my.

They can create the sentence:

  • My mother is from London.

Then, I ask them to make it a question:

  • Is my mother from London?

With this sentence:

  • My dog likes running in the park.

I ask learners to make it negative, or a question:

  • My dog doesn’t like running in the park.
  • Does my dog like running in the park?

Learners can also work in groups or pairs to arrange the paper words on a table.

Build a paragraph 

This is a more advanced version of the human sentence.

Give learners a longer text, like a small paragraph, with sentences on different strips of paper.

Give each learner one strip of paper and ask them to put themselves in the correct physical sequence.

Alternatively, give a complete set of strips of paper, jumbled up, to a group of learners to sequence together.

If you use a short text from a listening task, learners can then listen to check their sequences.

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