Eliciting Modals Activity


November 14, 2012 by k. liz

May, might, must, can, could . . .

Here’s an activity to practice modals in the classroom, especially when your students are tired of rote grammar learning. The goal of this lesson is to give the students a fun way to produce sentences using modals that will then give you material to use to elicit formulas. Here’s how it goes:

1. Put students into groups of 3-4. You should designate one person in each group to be the President.

2. Explain to the students that they are setting up a new country, and the president, with the help of his cabinet will write the new laws of the country. They should also come up with a new name for their country.

3. Next, I put a table on the board with a column for each new country, and then a list on the left hand side with the following verbs: must, must, have to, have to, mustn’t, mustn’t, should, don’t have to. I gave the students between 5 and 10 minutes to come up with all of their sentences. They came up with some pretty good ones!!

4. For this activity, since it was an elicitation activity, I had the students write their sentences on a paper and I transferred them to the board correcting mistakes without addressing them directly to the students (you certainly could address all mistakes at this time, but I was wanting the ideas more than the grammar at the time.)

5. Next, I let the students read the sentences and vote for which country they wanted. This was a really fun part of the lesson, and I let them play around with it a little.

6. Finally, we looked at all of the sentences that we written on the board and used it to elicit the formals:

(I, you, he, she, it, we, they) must + verb 1

(I, you, we, they) have to + verb 1

(he, she, it) has to + verb 1

(I, you, he, she, it, we, they) mustn’t + verb 1

(I, you, he, she, it, we, they) should + verb 1

(I, you, we, they) don’t have to + verb 1

(he, she, it) doesn’t have to + verb 1

Now you’re students have helped to produce a host of sentences you can use in the classroom, and they’ll be ready to spring off and make their own complete sentences! Hope this helps! Leave any ideas for teaching modals in the comments below!!


One thought on “Eliciting Modals Activity

  1. Great Idea! Thx for posting.

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