EFL - ESL activities and games for teaching linking devices

This advanced ESL lesson plan is the second of three lessons on the theme of Business and industry. It contains activities, games and other resources that focus on teaching the correct usage of some of the linking devices that can often confuse learners. If you use an Android device, you can get offline access to these materials through the TEFL Handbook app.

Lead-in activity

If you already covered purpose, reason and result in Lesson 2, you can either quickly revise it, or skip over it entirely. The topic of linking devices is far too broad to cover on the board in one lesson. Make your students aware of this, and highlight the need to study the topic at home. The board work below focuses on linking devices for condition and contrast. Step through and explain each grammar point, eliciting example sentences from your students and adding the best ones to the board.

EFL - ESL Lead-in activity for teaching linking devices | Advanced

ESL activities for teaching linking devices

Linked up

Students have to rewrite some simple sentences using linking words.

Start by working through an example of the exercise on the board. Add the following prompt:

so that | so as not to
James quietly went in the back door. No one woke up.

Then, elicit how this could be rewritten using both 'so that' and 'so as not to' and add the solutions to the board.

James quietly went in the back door so that no one would wake up.
James quietly went in the back door so as not to disturb anyone.

When you feel that the class understand the task, add five more exercises to the board and have them work alone to complete them. When finished, they should compare their answers with a partner before you finally correct them as a group.

1. having | after
They got the idea. Then they started a company.

2. nevertheless | although | all the same
The business was in financial trouble. He shouldn't have taken money from their client's accounts.

3. even though | however | even so
They've implemented a new marketing campaign. Sales haven't improved.

4. whatever | no matter
It doesn't matter what you do, just don't quit the company.

5. as long as | provided
Work diligently. The project will be a success.

Key(Example solutions)
1. having | after
Having got the idea from their parents, they then decided to start a company.
After getting the idea from their parents, they decided to start a company.

2. nevertheless | although | all the same
The business was in financial trouble. Nevertheless, he shouldn't have taken money from their client's accounts.
Although the business was in financial trouble, he shouldn't have used that money.
The business was in financial trouble. All the same, he shouldn't have taken that money.

3. even though | however | even so
Even though they've implemented a new marketing campaign, Sales still haven't improved.
They've implemented a new marketing campaign. However, sales haven't improved.
They've implemented a new marketing campaign, yet sales still haven't improved.

4. whatever | no matter
Whatever you do, don't quit the company.
No matter what you do, don't quit the company.

5. as long as | provided
As long as she works diligently, the project will be a success.
The project will be a success, provided that they work diligently.

Sentence builder: Linking devices

Students will work in pairs to create grammatically correct sentences using a phrasal verb and linking word.

Start by adding the following prompts to the board:

1. draw up | whether
2. burn out | whatever
3. (not) measure up | in case
4. pencil in | despite
5. run(sth) by past | having

Explain that the first part of these is a business-related phrasal verb. Try to elicit the meaning of each one and give a definition when needed.

Draw up: Compose a plan or proposal and put it in written form.
Burn out: To work too hard, so that you become completely stressed and exhausted.
(Not) Measure up: When (sth) is not satisfactory and doesn’t compare well with the standards.
Pencil in: To set an appointment, but not confirm it as final. (It's tentative)
Run(sth) by past: Show an idea or proposal to that person and ask for their approval or feedback.

Next, divide the students into pairs or groups of three and have them write a sentence for each prompt. Explain that their statements should be related to the theme of this unit in some way and permit the use of smartphones if they are available.

When the groups are ready with their sentences, correct them together and add the best ones to the board.

Homework assignment: Madmen

Students have to write an article on a successful, well-known marketing campaign.

Write the word 'marketing' on the board and elicit a simple definition and some related vocabulary from your students. Then add the word 'psychographics', tell them that this word is related to marketing and try to elicit what they think it could mean and why. After you've listened to their ideas, add the definition below and discuss it as a group.

Psychographics: The study of your customers’ interests, activities and opinions.

Ask students how they think each component (interests, activities and opinions) is useful to marketers.

Finally, tell your students that for homework, they will have to write an essay on a famous marketing campaign. Elicit what they think the structure might be and add it to the board. Try to end up with something that looks like the following:

1st paragraph: Overview/summary
2nd paragraph: Its success/psychographics
3rd paragraph: Psychographics/Its success
4th paragraph: Personal opinion

ESL classroom games

Family fortunes: Best-selling products

An adapted version of a classic UK game show that can be played in the classroom.

Start by dividing the class into two teams and make a vertical list of numbers on the board from one to five, along with each category.

1. Electronics
2. Software
3. Movies
4. Books
5. Album

To begin the round, you will give the students a "Name the top seven ..." style question. In this case

Name the best-selling products of all time in each category

Give the teams a minute to confirm before asking for their answer. The team with the highest correct first guess wins control of the game. If neither side guesses any of the answers, give them another minute to confirm and go again.

Once a team has won control, they have to guess all of the missing answers. They will start with three lives, and If they guess incorrectly, they lose a life. Each team member takes a turn in sequence, and they can confer with their teammates before they give their final answer.

Tell the team who is not in control to pay close attention to the game. They may have an opportunity to win the game if their opponents lose all of their lives.

If the side who are in control lose all three lives, the other team will have one guess to steal the game. If they fail in their attempt, they lose the match.

Best-selling products of all time
1. Electronics | iPhone
2. Software | Microsoft Windows
3. Movies | Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
4. Books | Harry Potter
5. Album | Michael Jackson - Thriller

Advanced ESL lesson plans

We hope that you found a few of these ideas useful. If so, be sure to bookmark our complete list of advanced level ESL lesson plans, as well as our entire collection of ESL courses.

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