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Yes / No Question Forms

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Captur PaddleThe structure of questions in English can be confusing and difficult for our students, especially if their own native language has a much different question structure. In this activity, I reviewed the structure of basic Yes / No Questions using Captur paddles.

The activity started as a basic warm-up for a "Find Someone Who" activity. The students' textbook had a grid of about 15 sentences like these:

  • __________ likes baseball.
  • __________ is happy today.
  • __________ can play guitar.

If you're not warming up for this type of activity, you could just make a list of common sentences of your own. I put the Captur board magnets on the whiteboard, as shown in the picture, so they could see what their three choices were.

Captur color and letter magnets on whiteboard alongside students' choices written on board

Before we opened the books, I told the students that we were going to review basic Yes / No Questions. I put a few sentences about myself on the board (for example, "The teacher likes action movies"), and under that, a line for a question, and a line for a response. So, it looked like this:

  • The teacher likes action movies.
  • Your question: _____________________________?
  • Teacher's answer: Yes, I like action movies.

I had two more like this, one with a "be" verb and one with "can". I elicited the correct questions from the students (ex: "Do you like action movies?") by pointed at the Captur board magnets on the whiteboard, as shown in the picture, and asking them how the questions started.

So, for the first example, I asked the students to choose "A" for "Are you", "B" for "Do you", and "C" for "Can you". For the first example, most showed me "B" (correct answer) and I wrote the question on the board in the blank space:

  • The teacher likes action movies.
  • Your question: Do you like action movies?
  • Teacher's answer: Yes, I like action movies.

We did this for the other two examples, too. Now, we were ready to warm-up for the "Find Someone Who" activity. For each grid on the activity, I read the fragment, and asked, "How does the question begin? Think about it. Ready, answer please." I could see at a glance how many in the class could create the right question form.

With the next class doing the same activity, I introduced a variation: After they showed me their Captur paddles, I confirmed the right answer, and I asked them to actually say the question aloud, all together. I had pretty good participation on that, and I think the Captur paddle process encouraged them to participate more fully.

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  • Bill Pellowe said More...
    Ironically, the initial conversations... 6 years ago



May 21, 2016 at PanSIG Conference in Okinawa We're giving a demonstration of Captur paddles at the PanSIG conference in Okinawa. The conference dates are May 20-23, 2016; complete details are available on the PanSIG conference website.…