Chain Drill, Then What?

824790108_cfa46756ed_nOne super fun grammar activity to use in class is called the Chain Drill. Basically, students take turns in order asking and responding to the same formulaic prompt. Each student’s turn connects to the next, like links in a chain. Read more about chain drills here.

I love chain drills. I love how they get students up out of their seats, and how they are accuracy practice that also engage students’ speaking and listening.

After a chain drill, we’re all smiling, we’re all energized, we’re usually all feeling a step closer to mastery… and then I sometimes lose that momentum.

So… here are three ideas for how to follow a chain drill in class.

1. Another Chain Drill

…but let the students construct it! This might be a good choice if the class is accustomed to chain drills already. It also might fit well in a session that had several grammar points, such as a review day. Have the students decide what point to practice, what the structured piece of grammar is (i.e. were/was, is/am/are, forming Present Continuous, etc.), what the context is (i.e. “How old _______?”), etc.

2. Structured Dialogs

Have some related scenarios ready. Have students pair off and practice some dialogs that are closely related to the point you practiced in the chain drill. It’s similar, but with more opportunities to speak.

3. Fluency Practice

If it went well, why not let the students build upon their high energy and success and practice using the grammar in a less structured way?

This is a fairly general idea, and the details depend heavily on what you’re studying. For example, if you’re in a jobs unit and practicing questions like, “What do you do?,” you can have students interview each other about their own jobs. Perhaps record short answers in a grid?


A chain drill is a great activity, and I recommend seeing it as one step toward additional communicative practice.


Photo Credit: rachaelvoorhees on Flickr

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