ESL Level: Upper-Intermediate to Advanced
Grammar Focus: Modals for speculating about the past
Time required: 15 minutes
No. of Students: 6-20
Materials: one slip of blank paper for each student
This is a short activity to use after teaching modals of past speculation (must have, could have, might have, may have).
First, give each student a blank slip of paper. On the paper, ask them to write 3 things such as (you can change these):
- what they did last saturday night
- their favourite book or movie
- the most recent thing they ate
Get them just to write the answers, e.g. “Stayed at home, Harry Potter, Curry rice”, on the paper. They should not write their name.
Next, collect the papers and redistribute them to different students. Have them read their cards, and then guess (speculate) who must/may/might/could have written it. For example, “This must have been written by a Japanese student because his or her favourite movie is Raputa. I think it may have been written by Kenji” (or Kenji may have written it.)
I’ve done this activity twice. Students enjoy trying to speculate based on handwriting and the answers.
– Matthew Barton / Creator: Englishcurrent.com