Welcome to Atomic Academia

ⓘ The Age of Data


Legacy Member
Jun 16, 2020
It is important for higher level student to understand and use collocations correctly. Teaching students how to look at word combinations and what to extract from them is a valuable skill enabling students to excel at autonomous language learning. As the old saying goes, "Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a life time." There are abundant ITC resources available for free online doing exactly this if one knows how to use them. Today we are looking at a free online tool that contains a collection of the most frequent collocations in the English language: www.just-the-word.com.

Students will acquaint themselves with the concept of collocations. Next, in their groups they will extract collocations and relevant examples for the word the teacher (T) assigned to them (adjectives) and share their findings with the class (adjective+preposition, adjective+noun, adjective+adverb). Then they will look at the examples they found and search for any verbs that go with the adjectives in question. Students will then share their findings with the other groups; every 5 minutes a student from one group will move to the group on their right-hand side and exchange their findings with them. By the end of this task, the "moving" students will have have shared their knowledge with each group. Next, students will write a story using as many of the newly learned collocations as possible and share it with the class. Any excelling students will then have a chance to improvise a dialogue using the Collocations Worksheet. Lastly, students volunteer to stand in front of the class and correctly produce the collocations using the key words other students assign to them.

Time60-70 Minutes
Learning Objective
  • Students will have become acquainted with the concept of collocations, know how to autonomously check for them online for independent learning and use them accurately.
Success Criteria
  • Using the collocations website www.just-the-word.com autonomously.
  • Using the newly learned collocations in written and spoken language accurately.
  • Memorize most of the word combinations in the new collocations.
CEFR LevelB2 level can:
  1. Understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics.
  2. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
  3. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

Key Vocabulary
impatient, irritated, mysterious, responsible, sympathetic, suspicious, uncertain, unreasonable, unsuccessful


Lead in / Warm Up / Introduction (5 minutes)
T shows a few examples of collocations (DEEPLY appreciate, worried ABOUT, interested IN, professor OF). T asks what a collocations is and if nobody knows, T elicits the explanation from the students by looking at the example collocations. T and asks the students to provide a few of their own examples. T asks the students to identify prepositions, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs in the example collocations.

Scaffolded Task (25 minutes)
  • T divides the class in groups and presents a list of B2 level words. Each group gets 1 or more words.
  • T then instructs the students to look the words up on www.just-the-word.com:
    T explains that this website shows the most frequent collocations in the English language. Since all the words T assigned are adjectives, students are to look for the following combinations: adjective+preposition, adjective+noun, adjective+adverb. They choose a collocation of their choice for each combination. If they do not find any, they are to report that too. They write what they found in the Collocations Worksheet (task 1).
  • Then one student from each group moves to the group on their right-hand side and shares with them the findings from the initial group. Students from the new group listen and write down the findings in their individual Collocations Worksheets (task ). Then the new group shares their findings with the new student who writes them down in his/her Collocations Worksheets. T walks around and monitors.
  • Next, the same student moves to the next group on the right-hand side and exchanges with them the findings from the initial group. We repeat this until everyone has heard what the other groups have learned, after which students go back to their initial groups.

Semi-Independent Activity (10 minutes)
  • Group work: from the example sentences they extracted, students circle any interesting collocations that include verbs and add them to the Collocations Worksheet (task). They have 5 minutes for that. For example,
"This year we have adopted a more aggressive approach"
collocation: ADOPT an aggressive approach​
  • Student groups share their findings with the class.

Free Practice - write a story (10 minutes)
Students write a story using the newly learned collocations. Volunteers share their stories, while others listen for mistakes and correctly used collocations. Student gets a point for every collocation accurately used. The student with the most points is the winner.

Extension Task (5-10 minutes)
Students volunteer to improvise a dialogue using the newly learned collocations.

Assessment (5-10 minutes)
Student A volunteers to stand in front of the class. Student B asks them to name any collocations for key words they learned today. The student with the most correct answers is the winner.

Resources and materials
  • Pencil or a pen
  • Collocations Worksheet
  • A computer and smartphones with internet access and, ideally, a projector, but it's not necessary; students can simply stand around the T while T is showing on the computer how to use the website.
  • In case of technology failure, T prepares several standard dictionaries for students to look up collocations in them instead.

Key words are taken from the B2 level vocabulary list available on www.vocabulary.com and based on the Oxford 3,000.

Worksheet/Handout Previews


    437.5 KB · Views: 346
  • 1593468530887.png
    51.5 KB · Views: 304