Active learning is anything that gets your students to actively participate in your lesson, though ideally kinaesthetically.

Some of the old ones are best but we forget about them - see the ideas in this powerpoint:

Mfl Games
View more presentations from Jo RJ.

Others have come from activities developed in ESL & KS2 language lessons, such as:
  • Human sentences - don't just cut up a sentence onto bits of paper for students to rearrange, hand it out to them, ideally in teams and get them to race to get themselves back in order, then up it a notch and encourage them to change/add nouns/adjectives/adverbs/connectives/opinion clauses/justifications etc.
  • Use a PPT or IWB timer to add a sense or urgency and competition to even the dullest activity. Also it helps with classroom control as you don't have to wander around shouting 'il ne reste que 2 minutes' or whatever. I have one with a bomb that explodes if anyone would like it...
  • Walking timelines (Chris Fuller has them walk, but Greg Horton does this with kids on bikes!) but you can also do it in class - Teacher calls out a sentence and class step forward into the future or back into the past. Or give students sentences and get them to race in teams to get themselves in the right place on a timeline...
  • Follow-me cards - give each student a card with a question (maybe straight from the orals?) and an answer to a different question. Ist student stands and reads his Q, class listen and student who has the answer stands, reads answer out loud and then his Q. and so on. Want to increase the pace? Can the whole class have completed the activity in uner 3 minutes? (I'll let you pack away a minute early for break if you do...)
  • Running dictation - Divide class into groups. One person from each group comes to teacher/desk/board to look at a text (or a map or a picture) for 10 seconds. They go back and write what they can remember and the next person goes up. Winning group has the most information and bonus points for getting it accurate.
  • Speed dating - Get class all to write down personal info on a card and then they have to find out what is on each other's cards. Vary by getting them to swap cards before moving on to the next partner.