Below are the language activities used in today’s class. In addition, I have provided model instructions for one of the activities. Finally, at the bottom are some useful search terms and a number of language activity resources. Please check them out!
Can’t Say Yes or No
In this game everyone is given a certain number of coins or squares of paper (about 10). Everyone moves around the room starting conversations and asking each other questions. The only rule is that you cannot say the words YES or NO. If you accidentally say one of these words, you have to give a coin or square to the person who you said it to. Try to trick each other by asking questions that you would almost always answer with a yes or no. Think of other ways to trick your friends. Sometimes asking two quick questions in a row works well. (Especially tag questions: Are you new here? This is your first time in America, isn’t it?). This game is a great way to practise using small talk and to add variety to your vocabulary. It also makes everyone laugh.
Draw the Picture
In this activity members split up into pairs or small groups. One person looks at a scene from a magazine or book (the leader should cut out enough pictures, or bring in enough magazines for the club). The other person has a pencil and a blank piece of paper. The person with the picture will try to describe everything he sees to the drawer. This is good practice for using prepositions of place. When the describer is finished, compare the drawings to the real thing! Whose is the closest to the original?
For this game, one person thinks of a category, such as MOVIES. In a circle, everyone must take a turn thinking of a Movie title (in English of course). If someone takes too long to give an answer (the leader should count to five) then that person is out and a new category begins. If someone gives an answer that doesn’t make sense or is incorrect, he is also out of the game. For example, if the category is VEGETABLES and someone says “banana” that person is out. The game continues until only one person is left!
In this game, the club is split up into two teams. One member from each team sits facing the group. The leader holds up a word (or writes it on the board if you are in a classroom) for all of the team members to see except for the two players in the hot seats. The teams must try to get the person in the hot seat to guess the word or phrase. The first person to guess correctly gets to stand up and a new member from their team takes the hot seat. The person on the other team has to remain in the hot seat until she gets an answer first. You can keep score or just play for fun. This game can also be played in pairs. One pair member closes their eyes while the leader shows the word to the other pair members. The first pair to get the word right gets a point. Warning! This is a loud game because people tend to get excited and yell!
This is a listening and pronunciation activity that always gets people laughing. The leader first must think of a sentence or phrase and whisper it to the person beside her. That person will then whisper what she heard to the next person. Each person can only say, “Can you please repeat that?” one time. When the message reaches the end of the chain that person must speak out loud. Oftentimes the message will be completely different when it reaches the end. Try to find out where the chain broke! In a big group you can send the message two ways and find out which team comes closest to the real message. (A famous example is the army message that started as “Send reinforcements, we’re going to advance” and ended as “Send three and fourpence, we’re going to a dance.”)
This is a fun writing warm-up. Everyone has a piece of paper and writes the first sentence or two to start a fairytale (not one that already exists).
Example: Once upon a time there was a frog that had no legs. He wanted to get married, but there were no female legless frogs in the land.
After one minute the leader will say “SWITCH”. At this time the writers have to put down their pens and pass the papers. They cannot finish their sentences. Then, the next writers will continue the story. After about ten minutes you will have as many silly stories to read as you have club members. The leader should warn the writers that they will soon have to wrap-up the story during the last two minutes so that each story has a conclusion. Read all of the stories out loud for a good laugh. You can extend this activity by trying to edit each other’s writing and spelling errors.
Last Person Standing
Choose a song to play and choose some words from the lyrics. Write these on the board. With students in groups, have each student write one word from the board on a piece of paper. Every student in the group should have different words. Play the song and ask the students to stand up. They should listen for their word. When they hear it, they may sit down. If they hear it again, they have to stand up. And so on. At the end, the group with the most students sitting or standing (your choice) is the winner.
Last Person Standing
Grade: Middle School
Level: Pre-Intermediate and Above
Classroom Organization: Groups of four or five
- Today we are going to listen to a song and play a game.
- Look at the screen (teacher points).
- On the screen, there are 7 words. These words are from the song.
- Each student in your group (gestures to individual students to reinforce “each”) should write one word (gestures write and one) on a piece of paper. Write it big (exaggerates writing motion with hand) so I can see it.
- Every student should choose a different word.
- Comprehension Check Questions:
- How many words should you write?
- Can they write the same word (pointing to two students).
- Should you write it big or small?
- I will play the song. Listen carefully.
- When you hear your word (gestures to ear and then the students paper) you have to stand up (gestures standing up).
- If you hear your word again, sit down (gestures sitting down). Again? stand up. And so on.
- Comprehension Check Questions:
- When do you stand up?
- And if you hear your word again?
- The group with the most students standing at the end is the winner.
- Are you ready…
MORE LANGUAGE ACTIVITIES
“esl ice breakers”
5 Minute Activities
EFL Activity Book A
EFL Activity Book B
EFL Activity Book C
EFL Activity Book D
Beginner Communication Games
Intermediate Communication Games
Advanced Communication Games