Practicing Superlatives During the Olympics

Who’s the Best?

The Winter Olympics is coming up in Sochi, Russia (Feb 7–23). Are you prepared to be inspired? My own kids always end up competing more when the Olympics is on. They want to jump the highest, sing the loudest, skate the fastest, and stay up the latest. There are usually several different venues at our house. (Paper snowboarding, anyone?) Does this happen in your classroom? Don’t be surprised if the Olympics inspires your students to aim a little higher! (Who sharpened their pencil the longest?)

Reviewing Superlatives

With the Olympics only a few weeks away, it’s the perfect time of year to practice superlatives with your students. It is also a fantastic time to try this week’s Spotlight lesson plan, Achievements and Records. In this lesson, students practice using the simple past tense in conjunction with superlative adjectives. After you’ve tried this lesson plan (or if you’ve recently introduced superlative adjectives with Tanya’s handy chart), try this fun review activity, and consider holding a “superlative-inspired” Student Olympics at your school.

First, brainstorm all of the Winter Olympic sports. Here is the full list in case your students miss any:

  • Skiing (alpine, cross-country, freestyle)
  • Biathlon
  • Bobsleigh
  • Curling
  • Figure skating
  • Hockey
  • Luge
  • Nordic combined
  • Skeleton
  • Ski jumping
  • Snowboarding
  • Speed skating (& short track)

TIP: ESL-Library subscribers can use these Winter Flashcards. Winter Olympic set coming next week!

Next, put your students in small groups and tell them to choose a country to represent. Group members will work together to brainstorm Olympic records, achievements, and moments that the Winter Olympic athletes may achieve in Sochi. Challenge your students to put their thinking caps on. They should be as imaginative as possible! Each item in their list should contain a superlative adjective followed by a noun. Students can use the list of Olympic events (above) as inspiration. Provide two or three examples to get your students on the right track:

  • highest jumper
  • farthest jump
  • fastest skater
  • cleanest skate
  • longest spin
  • most decorated athlete (won the most medals)
  • toughest goalie
  • prettiest skating outfit
  • biggest smile
  • loudest anthem singer
  • worst fall
  • scariest wipeout

The “Superlative” Games

Let the Games begin! After each group has come up with a large list of “superlative achievements/moments”, invite a representative from each country to stand up and read their ideas out to the class. The other groups must listen and place an X beside any examples that are duplicates. (Duplicate examples won’t count in the scoring.) At the end of “the Games”, groups count all of their unique (and correct) examples. You can decide if spelling counts! Which group wins gold? Which group wins silver? Which group wins bronze? (Play the winning group’s country’s anthem to make it really fun!)

After the Superlative Games, create a master list of the achievements/moments etc. that your students came up with and pin the list somewhere in your classroom. During (or after) the Winter Olympics in Sochi, have your students write the names of the athletes who deserve recognition for each Olympic record, achievement, or moment. Which skier jumped the highest? Which bobsledder went the fastest? Which country had the most spirit?

Student Olympics Day

Finally, consider holding a Student Olympics Day with other classes in your school at some point while the Winter Olympics is on. Put your students in groups or pairs, and have each group come up with an Olympic event to host. The event can be academic or physical, but must contain a superlative.

Examples:

  • Best speller
  • Quickest conjugator
  • Strongest teacher
  • Prettiest photograph

Students will describe their event. A description will include the location of the event (somewhere on the school property), and any equipment that will be needed. Any rules or notes about how the winner will be determined should also be discussed and added. Students will place their description on a sign-up sheet for those who are interested in competing. Finally, the group will create a medal or certificate for the winner of their event. Here is a sample Student Olympics Sign-Up Sheet you can use or show.

Challenge your students to think of a slogan (with superlatives) for their Student Olympic Games. Can they do better than Sochi’s motto: Hot.Cool.Yours (no space after punctuation)?

Lesson Plan

Find Sprout’s Achievements & Records lesson plan in the Grammar School – Grammar Stories.

     

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Tara Benwell

Tara Benwell is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry. She is the media director and head writer for ESL-Library, and a contributor to its sister site Sprout English. Tara is the author of an iPad storybook series for kids called Happy Campers Books. Her debut novel, The Proper Order of Things is available on Amazon and in the iBookstore.

5 Responses to “Practicing Superlatives During the Olympics”

    • Tanya Trusler

      You’re right, Erika! Thanks for catching that. I’ve made the change. For anyone who is wondering about “farther/farthest” vs. “further/furthest”, follow this rule: use “farther/farthest” for physical distance, and “further/furthest” for a greater degree. Here are some examples with the comparative adjective forms:
      - I live farther away from school than my best friend.
      - I need to examine this further.

      Reply

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