Using Matching Exercises

Matching activities are standard textbook fare. Why not put a spin on this type of exercise by trying one of the techniques below? They’re sure to provide some variety and/or allow learners more time for language production.

Find Your Partner

Levels: All

Time: 10-30 minutes

Preparation: 3 minutes (Copy the page, cut down the middle, then cut into strips.)

Directions: Distribute one strip per student. Students then get up and walk around the room until they find the person who has their match. These students become partners. For vocabulary matching exercises, each pair can come up with their own original sentence using the vocabulary word. They write this sentence on the board. Once all the pairs have written their sentences on the board, review the vocabulary with the class.

As and Bs

Levels: All

Directions: Copy the page and cut it down the middle. Pair students. Give one column to student A and the other column to student B. Tell students they may not look at their partner’s papers. They must ask each other questions to complete the exercise. (If you’re using a textbook with this type of exercise, you can have each student cover one of the columns.)

The No-Prep No-Brainer

Levels: All

Preparation: None!

Directions: One of my own personal favorites. This puts a communicative spin on an otherwise non-communicative task. Give one copy to each pair. It really does force them to work together.

The Three-Way Match

Levels: All

Preparation: None

Directions: If you’re using a textbook, pair students and have them cover the second column of the matching exercise (usually, the definitions). If you’re using a classroom handout, have students fold it in half so they can only see the first column (Or get really fancy and cut it in half yourself; this way you only give them the first column to look at.)

Give the class a specific amount of time (5-7 minutes) to write down as many definitions as they can. Now, let them look at the second column (the column with the definitions from the book or handout). At this stage, students work together to complete the matching exercise; then, they see if their definitions match the book’s definitions.

Scroll to Top