In the Sticky Situations ESL activity, students have to explain how they would deal with difficult/problematic situations.
Each student will need two or three small pieces of scrap paper. The papers should be big enough to write one or two sentences on.
- Teach the meaning of the idiom ‘a sticky situation’.
- Give the students one or two examples, e.g. It’s the night before a big exam, and you haven’t studied at all, or You find out your boyfriend/girlfriend is cheating on you by reading their messages.
- Students write one sticky situation on each of their papers, in the present tense. Encourage students to be creative.
- Students then either swap papers using the Snowball Fight technique, or draw folded papers at random out of a hat/box/bag, one at a time. If you have a large class, you could also divide into smaller groups at this point.
- Students take turns reading a situation and explaining what they would do using in the second conditional. For example, If my neighbour always played loud music, I would go and speak to them.
- Ask the class/group to say if they agree with each course of action. Encourage students to consider the consequences, e.g. But if you wrote the answers on your arm, the teacher might see them!
The Sticky Situations ESL activity is a great way to practise the second conditional with higher intermediate levels, or even as a review for advanced students. Students should already be reasonably familiar with the grammar to facilitate conversation using this structure.
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