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Vocabtivate: Explained.
Ian Kime
August 31, 2021

Vocabtivate: Explained.

What is it?

Okay, in case I made my wordplay a little too whimsical, Vocabtivate is a mixture of 2 words.


Did I lose you?
Did you have a eureka moment?
Do you see the C hidden in the Carrefour logo?
How many people have you told about the arrow in the FedEx logo?
Should we go find Nicolas Cage?

Why the goofy name?

God’s honest truth, when I first started adapting the French activities from Les Experts FLE, I was so thrilled that I was able to catch the French wordplay that I thought I should do it with the English versions, too.

Did I do a good job?

No really, what are Vocabtivate activities?

To make a long story short, they are resources each with 4 task-based activities all surrounding different themes.

gives your students ample opportunity to practice xxxxxx vocabulary in both spoken and written forms via four original activities. These activities can be used on their own, as complements to a lesson plan, or simply one after another. All together, these activities offer a minimum of 120 minutes of class time depending on the size of your group.

So far, we have created Vocabtivates for the following themes


What does it look like?

Every resource contains the following elements:

  1. 4 printable activities
  2. a vocabulary sheet for students
  3. teacher instructions




Examples of printable activity elements inside vocabtivate resources.

Examples of vocabulary lists.

Examples of teacher instructions.

What levels can I use them with?

Each activity has an assigned level in the teacher instructions, but be sure to read through the activity first before having your students dive into something too complicated!

Typically, the activities are good for A2-B1 students if you are using them for discovery or free practice.

These activities can also be used for your more advanced groups or even C1 discussion groups! More on that below.

How do I use them?

These activities serve 2 main purposes:

  1. stand-alone activities to take the place of more rigid lesson plans
  2. autonomous activities for the end of a lesson plan


Take the following activity Teacher’s Pet from Vocabtivate: School in which students draw cards with memories from school and use them to describe themselves as students. Here, there is plenty of vocabulary they may be able to discover while doing the activity.

Teacher’s Pet

I loved buying new school supplies.
I loved wiping off the blackboard.
I copied my friend’s homework before class.
I had trouble with math and science.
I was always sick and had to make up a lot of my classes

These words and expressions are much easier to remember when they are learned in a context! Especially one with plenty of laughter 🙂

After you finish one activity, push your students even further by jumping into a second!

End of the lesson

You enjoy using the CELTA method to organize your lesson plans, but you are tired of coming up with your own free practice activities… or you can’t find anymore good ones!
Maybe, you’ve got some great authentic material to use for a conversation class, but you want your students to do something a bit more interesting than just ask each other
Well, what do you think about that?

These definitely up your teaching game!

Let’s say you just did a reading about holistic or alternative types of treatments – seems a very vogue topic these days in English textbooks – Your students have gone through the text, learned whatever grammar and vocabulary there was to learn, and now you’re at the end with nothing to show for it!

Alternative Medicine from Vocabtivate: Health would fit perfectly! Students work in pairs or groups, choose an imaginary treatment and then describe it by filling out the table.

Alternative Medicine

Other ways to use vocabtivate

When I invent my conversation classes, I often work backwards with my planning.
I’ll start with one of these activities (even for my C1 groups),
then look for some authentic material that might work well with it.

For example, I wanted to use The Catwalk from Vocabtivate: Clothing, because it looked like a lot of fun and easy to organize.

The Catwalk

I ended up finding an article about sustainable fabrics such as mushroom and pineapple leather!
I used the authentic material, we learned some nice vocabulary,
had a great conversation,
and then they went off into groups and designed fashion lines!
Each group presented their fashion line to the class…

…and were harshly judged.

It was a lot of fun, and my students loved the activity.


Think about it, I only gave 3 examples of activities up above.
Currently, there are 6 Vocabtivate resources available
That means there are 24 printable, task-based, ready-to-go activities hidden in these resources.
Spanning 6 entirely different themes!

The best part? More are on the way!

Ian Kime

Ian Kime

I have been teaching English abroad since receiving my CELTA certificate in Poland in 2018. I enjoy tracking my individual students’ development but love having lessons with big groups! Now that I teach online, I am accompanied by my sidekicks Olaf, Mała, Pirate and Bandit on a regular basis.


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