A,B,C… 1,2,3… It’s time to learn and play!

Around this time, teachers and students all over Brazil are returning to their English classes. It’s time to check whether kids remember grammar topics and vocabulary or not after two months on vacation. Preparing ELT classes demands more creativity at this first moment than during the year. Teachers need to engage students in the learning process again.

Games are taken for granted as meaningful and enjoyable activities for students at any level.  In my career, I have used plenty of them to motivate kids and teenagers to use language. One of these games that I have played with my students every year is The Alphabet Soup.



I learned it from one of my favorite teachers called Karen Poli when she was teaching the Present Perfect. The activity consists of using the Alphabet Pasta that you can buy in grocery stores and some plastic cups that are going to be used to hand the letters out to students.  This pasta contains all letters that your students need to create words and sentences in English. I usually set some time (from 10 to 20 minutes) for them to think and form the language structures that I want to revise in class.

According to each level, I adapt the rules from creating words which can belong to a specific vocabulary group to sentences which can vary from different verb tenses. The best part of it is when they change places and check their classmates’ words/sentences. It will depend on each teacher but I prefer letting them do this. It’s an opportunity to check what they know and how they can organize their knowledge to explain the mistakes to another person. As a teacher I keep an eye on their results and take notes that I use for the following classes.

My students usually want to play this game again because it’s a puzzle of letters and they want to form as many words as they can in such a short period of time. If your students play it, they will certainly have fun. Just don’t let them eat the game. That’s the first rule of all!


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Marion Cruz

Marion Cruz - I have been in ELT for nearly 10 years and have published books in Portuguese and English. I have also worked on storytelling and drama techniques for kids and teachers in book fairs, seminars and private schools. I have got a Master’s degree in Languages at PUCRS and completed the CLIL course at The International House in London. For more information about me and my books:

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