Review Activities

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Here are a number of activities you can use to review English topics with your class. They are very customizable, and which activities work best will depend on what you’ve already covered, on your students’ learning styles, and on the proficiency level.

These can be verbal exercises, but when they are written, they give more students the chance to answer. Also, some make more sense visually. Students can write the answers themselves (perhaps on mini-whiteboards instead of paper), but to save time, you may want to pre-write possible answers or the various components of an answer on note cards or sticky notes.

Vocabulary Review

  • words/phrases from various vocab units are written on cards

    • students have to sort by topic

      • give the topic a label

      • add more words/phrases to that category

      For example, students might put ‘chair’, ‘table’, and ‘bed’ into a group and label it ‘Furniture’; then they might add their own words like ‘sofa’ or ‘desk’.

      It’s okay if students organize their words differently from one another.

    • students organize by part of speech


  • student list all the small and common words they can think of

    • most are prepositions, conjunctions, pronouns, 'to be' verbs, auxiliary verbs, and determiners

    • student write learned phrases, each using one of the words (same word can't be used twice, unless with another word); These phrases may be common expressions, or they may be simple examples of various grammar points. The point is merely to demonstrate that the students know what each words means and how to use it.


  • students are provided with words and must add a suffix to turn it into a different part of speech

    Don’t give them the suffixes ahead of time, as that makes it too easy form them. Give them just a few for each suffix you’re going for. Often there will be multiple correct answers (for example, ‘create’ can become ‘creative’ or ‘creation’). You may or may not choose to give them a target part of speech.

Tenses/Modals/Conditionals Review

  • write a sentence in one tense, and students have to write it in a different tense

  • with a Venn Diagram of Past, Present, and Future, students write (or place sticky notes of) tenses into the correct places

    For example, Present Continuous can be used for either present or future, so it should go in the intersection of the two. Present Perfect is used to express something that started in the past but is still important in the present, so it should go in the intersection of those two tenses. Most will only fit within a single circle.

  • students are given sentences or phrases and must categorize them

    • rank from strong to weak, positive to negative, confident to uncertain, polite to forceful, etc.

    • group by usage

      With future, for example, which are predictions, and which are plans?

      With questions, which are inquiries (for information) and which are requests (for favors)

    • order chronologically

      For example, past perfect comes before past simple; present continuous for future probably comes before ‘will’

    • match with timelines

      You’d have to draw separate timelines for this; it works well for tenses as well as for time expressions

  • students have to answer questions - for example, about their past - and can only use each listed tense a certain number of times or must use each listen tense at least once

    Make a list of narrative tenses, ‘used to’, present perfect, and 3rd Conditional.

  • provided with a verb (present simple) and a time marker, students must choose the correct tense

    These can be stand-alone verb strings or can be full sentences.

Sentence Structure Review

  • write a sentence in one structure, and students have to write it in a different structure

    • change affirmative, negative, interrogative

    • change active & passive

    • change real & unreal

    • change direct & indirect for questions or quotes

  • given a sentence, students have to write an equivalent sentence using a given word (or phrase)

    For example, if the prompt is “What time is it? [wonder]”, the correct response should be “I wonder what time it is.”

  • students are provided with pairs of sentences (clauses) and must combine them into single (complex) sentences

    These are great from practicing Relative Clauses and other types of complex sentences. Students have to decide which type of complex sentence (or compound sentence) works best, then have to figure out how to put the clauses together into one sentence.

Approach Grammar Differently


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