An alternative to the work through it together option…

Basically, you need two different open cloze tasks from a test book (or you can use the examples given in the exam handbooks available from Cambridge ESOL’s teacher support site).

You then need to make two different sets of handouts.  Handouts should contain both tasks, but different answer sets.  So for example – handout #01 would contain Open Cloze A and Open Cloze B and answer set B.  handout #02 would contain Open Cloze A and Open Cloze B and answer set A.  Alternatives – you could just write the answers in to one of the gapfills (but NOT on your master copy!).  or you could leave both cloze tasks blank (see variations on the task as below).

Split the class into two groups and give Group A one of the sample tasks and give Group B the other.   If possible seat them facing each other but on other sides of the room (to make sure they can’t see / show each other their tasks).  If not, try to seat them back to back, again so that they can’t see each others’ papers.

Each learner then circles five gaps on the task they have the answers for.

Learners are then paired with a compatriot from the opposing team.  Learner A nominates a gap and an answer (i.e. (3) “unless”) and learner B responds either with “wrong answer / Right answer but a miss / right answer and a hit”.  Then it’s Learner B’s turn…  and so on, until someone “sinks” their partners’ battleships.


(1) Don’t give out any of the answers.  Teams can then work collaboratively to figure out what the answers to their task are, before playing the battleship component of the activity.  in that scenario, I’d maybe not give out both tasks until learners have figured out the answers to their own, or a certain amount of cheating might ensue!

(2)  Not so much with an open cloze…  But I’ve done this with two short texts set into large grids with one word in each square.  Learners shouted words at each other, were given grid references for any correct guesses, filled in the words on a blank copy of the template and attempted to sink battleships.  It took ages…  but the aim was more to raise awareness that function words (like those generally tested in FCE CAE Open cloze tasks) are the easiest ones to guess, and also to develop awareness of text and sentence structure.

I think all that makes sense….  any questions?  Let me know!