Designing personalised worksheets

Published on 16th December, 2009 in Teaching Tips by Frances Watkins

worksheet This personalisation technique can be used at any level. I find that my students simply love seeing their names in print, whatever age they are! Imagine that you want to practise the past progressive, for example. You could make a handout as follows:

X (your name) opened the door of the classroom and couldn’t believe her eyes:

Martha (insert your own students’ names) was singing at the top of her voice.
Ildiko was …
Fanny and Mariawere …
Dana ….
Pavel and Mieszko

Notice how the worksheet is staged: a whole example is given first, then partial ones (with the auxiliary verb ‘was’ or ‘were’), then just the students’ names. Try to include everyone – if you have lots of students, then group three on one line, e.g. Khalid, Mohammed and Ahmed were…

If you haven’t done an activity like this before, you will enjoy hearing the silence and the sniggers when your students first see the worksheet! Put students in pairs or threes and do an example together. Encourage them to be imaginative. At the end, take some feedback and hear some of their amusing suggestions.

This idea can be used with lots of other grammar items, for example past perfect, e.g. When the teacher came into the room, she realized that Pavel had been playing football [future perfect], e.g. By the year 2030, Jack will have had six children [‘will’ future], and also lexis, e.g. to practise extreme adjectives: Janos was absolutely delighted when…; Danielle was shocked when


  • I´ve found your tip very useful!I´ll use it in class

    mariana on 15 January, 2010
  • I’m really impatient to see my students reaction! It must be very motivating. Thanks for the tip.

    Samira on 15 January, 2010
  • You’re right! The students love seeing and hearing their names. We practised creating some stories and using our names in them at the lessons!

    Svetlana Yarmotss on 12 March, 2010