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Hot Potato with Phrasal Verbs: Advanced

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This game is a combination of grammar work and oral comprehension. First I hand the students a list of phrasal verbs (can be found online) and a chart for verb conjugation that gives an example of how to conjugate a verb in each person (1st, 2nd, 3rd), number (singular, plural), tense (past, present, future), and what I called "form" (simple, habitual, continuous, perfect, and perfect continuous). Therefore the verb "to live" in 1st person plural future continuous would be "We will be living".

Then I use a tennis ball and groups of 6 for hot potato. One person calls out a phrasal verb, a permutation of the four catagories, and tosses the ball to someone. The person who catches it has to conjugate the verb CORRECTLY IN A SENTENCE. It becomes very interesting since not all possible combinations of person/number/tense/form are actually used in real English, but as long as the student can convey that s/he knows the meaning it is acceptable. It is good practice with knowing where to put prepositions in sentences with phrasal verbs. For example, if a student is given 1st person singular past perfect continuous of the verb wake up, both "I had been waking up every morning at 7 am" and "I had been waking him up every morning at 7 am" is acceptable. The student who finished the sentence then chooses the next victim, or, as i would say from my old college French teacher, "voluntaire ou victim?"

Variations include multiple groups competing to complete as many sentences as possible in 15 minutes, or students competing individually to finish as quickly as possible. The teacher's role is to float between groups, answer questions about possible sentences and follow the score keeping, if necessary.

Kelly Banz
Advanced ESL teacher
Wake Technical Community College
Raleigh, NC, USA

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