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FCE Activities

This post looks at two ways to practice speaking skills with exam students, but both of these activities can be used with lower level students. These activities are easy to adapt and as such can be used  regularly to practice for Part 2 and 3 of the FCE and CAE exams.

Wordle headlines

This activity is a great activity to practice speaking for the FCE but can be used with a number of different levels. 

Activity Time:  5 – 10 minutes +
Materials required: A wordle headline for each pair of students. Pre-prepared activity download.
Skills practiced: Speaking, listening, writing and reading.
Level: Pre-intermediate +


1. Find a number of interesting headlines. I usually find interesting headlines at the following websites:

The Telegraph 
The Huffington post 

Optionally, download this pre-prepared activity

2. When you find interesting headlines, copy and paste the headlines into wordle. You should have something like the example below. Make enough different wordle headlines for each group in your class.

3. In class, put students into pairs. Tell the students that they are going to receive a headline from the news. Tell them that they must first unscramble their headline and then write it down. Don’t forget to tell them that they must use all the words to create their headline.
When they have made a logical headline using all the words, they must talk about what they think the story is about and what their opinion of the story is.

In The News

Activity Time:  5 – 10 minutes +
Materials required: A mini news article for each student. Pre-prepared activity download.
Skills practiced: Speaking, listening and reading.
Level: Pre-intermediate +
1. Find some interesting articles, copy and paste the headline and the first few lines of the article into a word document or download this pre-prepared printable.

2. Give one article to each student. Tell them they have one minute to read the article. When they are finished, they must explain what their article was about to their partner and then ask their partner’s opinion about the article.  

Give the students some useful vocabulary on the board. Remind them that this is the vocabulary needed in Part 3 of the FCE and CAE speaking exams. 

Encourage students to speak for at least 2 – 3 minutes. Ask them to report back to the class about their opinions on the article.

Expressions for asking opinion 

  What do you think of…?
  What do you think about…?
  How d’you feel (about…)?
  What d’you reckon (about…)?
 What’s your opinion of…?
  (What do think about) that?
  What are your views on…?
 What would you say to… / if we…?

Expressing opinion

I think……
I feel……..
I believe…….
As I see it……..
In my opinion…….
As far as I’m concerned……
My point of view is that…….
It seems to me that……..

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Wordle In The Class

A very happy New Year and a welcome back to you all. 2013 is a new year and I have many fresh ideas to start the term anew.
Using Wordles in the ESL Classroom

So, what is a Wordle? A Wordle is simply a word cloud that can be great resource to teachers. This post will look at a number of ways they can be used in the ESL classroom.


Wordles can be a great way to introduce grammar. Not only can you use them to introduce a grammatical structure but you can also use them for revision. They are a great way to revise grammar in groups or individually.
1. Go to wordle.net.
2. Write a sentence that you want your class to study.
3. Give the Wordle to the students (or project it on the board!). They must reorganise the sentence in groups.

Use Wordles to teach Grammar.
Wordle here used with conditionals.

Summarize A Text

Use Wordles in class with texts
Before class copy the text from a reading to be covered in class. Paste the text into wordle.net and create a Wordle with the key words from the text.
This can then be shown to your class. In pairs, they have to decide what the text is going to be about. As an additional exercise, you can get your class to write a headline based on the Wordle.


Wordles can be a great way to improve students writing skills. I use Wordles with teens and exam classes (PET, FCE, CAE, CPE) as a way to improve their writing.Make a Wordle from students writing. Show it to the class and see which words are used most, how could they improve the vocabulary etc.

Create two or more Wordles of the same writing task and get your class to compare the language used.

Develop writing skills with wordles ESL


Wordles are a great way to revise key vocabulary covered in a unit. At the end of a unit, create Wordles with key words from the unit to help students remember key vocabulary. Wordle allows you to arrange the vocabulary alphabetically too.
Wordles are great for revision
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