Form a sequence of chained sentences by using the last word of a previous sentence as the first word of the next sentence.
You can use this activity to show that not every word that ends an English sentence can start one.
This is a great ice-breaker game or even something that can be used at the beginning of every class as a warm up.
Objective(s) of activity:
Take turns to form sentences. However, there are two rules:
One, the last word in the previous sentence must be used as the first word in the next sentence.
Two, the new sentence must be longer than the previous sentence.
You can involve the whole class in this activity one student at a time.
Start with a simple sentence with a subject verb and an object.
Eg. ‘John saw Mary.’
Now it is the next person’s turn to form a sentence. But you have to use the last word of the previous sentence and the sentence must be longer.
This shows a possible sequence of turns.
A: ‘Mary kicked those balls.
B: ‘Balls are fun to play with.’
C: ‘With a key, John opened the door.’
Now notice that the next person, D, is going to find it difficult to form a sentence. This is because just the word ‘Door’ cannot be used to start English sentences
You can thus relax the rules a little to allow modifications of the last word.
In this example, the type of modification you can add is a determiner like ‘the’ or you can make it a plural.
Eg. The door or Doors
These are much easier to start English sentences with.
The same type of problem arises in the following sequence.
A: John slept
It is not possible to form English sentences with ‘Slept’. Thus you can allow ‘Slept’ to be changed as well. One way to change it is to ‘Sleeping
Now B can respond with something like: ‘Sleeping in is fun’.
Notes for scaling up/ down difficulty:
This game is challenging as is and does not require much more ramping up.
However, if you are playing this game with less proficient ESL students, they may struggle with coming up sentences.
In this case, you can remove the second rule of requiring that subsequent sentences be longer.
However, you have to be careful not to fall into a stalemate like this exchange.
A: John saw Mary.
B: Mary saw John.
C: John liked Mary.
D: Mary kissed John.
How long a sentence did you come up with? Share your longest sequence of sentences in the comments.