The United Nations of Grammar
by Aliona Buresh
(Practice the 4 types of Adjective Clauses While Learning about Different Countries.)
The benefits of this integrated activity are endless. For example, it is a great activity for a total review of
the 4 types of adjective clauses
before a test. It allows teachers to determine the extent to which students have mastered the material while keeping students fully engaged by presenting or taking notes, and asking questions for clarification.
- In this activity, ask students to prepare a PowerPoint Presentation detailing interesting facts about their country of origin. Students should not write complete sentences on their PowerPoint, just some key words and pictures. Let students know that when they present, they will need to employ the 4 types of adjective clauses preferably with different relative pronouns.
a. If you have a smaller class (4-6 students), ask students to work individually on this assignment.
b. If you have a larger class, ask students to work in pairs which is beneficial for students. There are two options for pairing students in larger classes. The first option is teachers can ask students from the same country to work together on this assignment. To encourage each student to participate, ideally there should be no more than two students in a group. Make sure that when students work together, they do not use their native language. Sometimes it is a challenge. The second option is teachers can ask students from different countries to work together. If teachers do that, they can assign students a country of the teacher’s/students’ choosing from the United Nations. It is more interesting if each pair of students has a different country to work on.
- While students are working, listen to their discussions and ask students questions that will navigate them through the project. Provide extra explanations on the 4 types of adjective clauses if needed. If teachers notice that students from different groups make similar mistakes, teachers should write down sentences with mistakes on the white board and discuss them with the whole class. It is a great way to reinforce the proper grammatical structures.
- In the next class, ask each student or pair to set up their computer on a separate table, so that each table represents a different country of the United Nations which all students will “travel to” while listening to presentations. Such an arrangement is very engaging for students as it makes them move throughout the whole classroom. One pair of students or one student presents while other students listen and take notes. Standing up rather than sitting down during this activity makes this activity more authentic (similar to round-table discussions at conferences). Students are free to ask questions for clarification throughout the presentation. Presenting and answering questions may take up to 10 minutes. When the presentation is finished, students go to the next table “country” and repeat the same cycle of presenting, note-taking, and asking questions.
- When every student has presented, ask students to describe one of the countries they liked the best. The trick is while describing a country, students need to use information from their notes using the 4 types of adjective clauses. Teachers can specify which relative pronouns should be used in this activity. For example, students need to use the S-O adjective clauses with when, where, and which. This way, teachers can control which relative pronouns are used for which type of the 4 types of adjective clauses.
This assignment can be done orally or in a written form. See variations.
a. You can ask students to work alone.
b. You can ask students to work in pairs, and share orally or in writing which country they liked the best and why they liked it using the 4 types of adjective clauses.
c. You can also ask students to do additional research to find more interesting details about the country they liked.