If I Had a Million Dollars: ESL Listening and Speaking Lesson Plan

if i had a million dollars

If I Had a Million Dollars by the Barenaked Ladies is one of my favorite ESL listening and speaking lesson for when we’re studying conditionals (if). It’s appropriate for middle-school to adults and it can even work for high beginners, with a bit of hand-holding from the teacher (the official term is scaffolding!), but this lesson plan is best for intermediate-advanced levels because you can get into some really interesting discussions. The lesson takes approximately an hour, but it can go more quickly with very high-level students. Inspiration for the classroom-games, activities and other goodness (and see the lesson plan…

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4 Hot Discussion Topics for Adults in Korea

discussion topic

In my advanced conversation class at my university job in South Korea, we’ve been talking about rules and regulations using the passive form and for homework, I had my students make a short video answering the questions, “What 2 things should people be encouraged to do to make Korea a better place. And, what should they be encouraged not to do?” Four topics that the students mentioned almost without fail were: Smoking in public places. The lax sex crime laws, especially if drinking is involved. Trash on the streets and lack of trash cans. Cutting in line at the bus…

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Speaking Activities for ESL Students

speaking

Most people find their way here searching for something related to ESL Speaking, so here’s the goods for you. My top 10 list of favorite ESL Speaking Games and Activities, all personally classroom tried and tested. Enjoy! Plans are also in the works for a book of No-Prep/ Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities and Games. Be the first to know by signing up here, as well as getting even more ESL activities and games delivered straight to your inbox. Only the goods-not all the junk like those other sites. Free: Classroom Tried and Tested ESL Games and Activities * indicates required…

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My World ESL Speaking Activity

earth

This is an excellent activity that you can do on the first day of class to introduce yourself and then have the students get to know one or two of their classmates. You start by drawing a big circle on the whiteboard with the title, “My World.” Inside the circle there are various words, pictures or numbers that have some meaning to you. For example, inside my circle there might be 1979, blue, 37, a picture of 2 cats, and a mountain. The students would then have to make some guesses about why these things are special to me. The…

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Ice breaker Speaking Activity

icebreaker

Skills: Speaking/ Listening Time: 10-30 minutes Level: Beginner-Advanced Materials Required: nothing A way that you can get your students to remember names (and you too!) is to do this simple ice breaker speaking activity. Go around the class, and have students say, “My name is ______and I like _______.” The next student repeats the previous ones, and adds their own. it goes on until it finally gets to you and you can impress the students with your memorization abilities! It works best for smaller classes of less than 10. For more advanced students, you can choose something more difficult than…

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A Relative Clause Speaking Activity which is Fabulously Fun

barrack obama

If you’re studying about relative clauses (who, which, that), and want to lighten up the mood a bit you can use this “Who or What is it?” relative clause speaking activity. My students always love it. Here’s how to do it: Make a list of things or people and cut them up into little pieces and put them in an envelope (here’s my very Korea-centric who/what list). Put the students in groups of 4 and the first person has to choose a paper at random and keep it secret. Then, they give hints about it, preferably using relative clauses or…

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Draw a Picture While Someone Else is Talking

draw a picture

Skills: Speaking/Listening Time: 10 minutes Level: Beginner-Advanced Materials Required: Blank Paper Drawing a picture is a fun way to practice body parts or descriptive words (big, small, long, etc). The students sit back to back and one person is the “talker” and the other one is the “drawer.” The person talking describes something that they’re looking at to their partner (a face, body, city, etc) and that person draws what they hear. The results are usually hilarious! It’s perfect for a quick warm-up game, or time-filler.

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ESL Survey Activity

Esl survey

ESL Survey Activity-The perfect way to get your students out of their seats and speaking in English. Skills: Speaking/Listening/Writing/Reading Time Required: 15-30 Minutes Level: Beginner-Advanced Materials: a Survey Handout Give the students a sheet of paper with some questions and they need to find one of their classmates who fits each slot. For example: “Do you travel sometimes?” or, “Are you a university student?” Then, if their partner answers yes, they write down their name and ask them one more question to elicit an extra piece of information. You can review the 5 “W” + “H” questions if necessary before…

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Toilet Paper Icebreaker Speaking Activity

TP

Skills: Speaking/Listening Time: 5-60 minutes Level: Beginner-Advanced Materials Required: Toilet Paper This toilet paper ice breaker speaking activity is the perfect way to start your first class off with a bit of fun, but also help your students get to know each other. Bring in a roll of toilet paper, and depending on the size of your class, tell the students they can take a certain number of pieces (big classes 1-4, small classes 4-8). Don’t give them any other information except for that. Once everyone has their paper, tell them that they have to tell the class one thing…

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Partner Conversation Starters

conversation

Skills: Writing/Speaking Time Required: 15-30 Minutes Level: Beginner-Intermediate Materials Required: Nothing Give the students a conversation starter to get them going and prevent that awkward time at the beginning of many conversation activities when your students don’t know how to get it going. For example, if you’re talking about feelings in class that day, you can use: A. Hey _____, how are you doing? B. I’m great, how are you? A. I’m _______ (sad, embarrassed, angry, bored, etc). B. Oh? What’s wrong? A._____ B._________ A.__________ , B.___________, ………. Or, if you’re talking about festivals in Korea: A. Hey ________, have…

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Telling a Story, ESL style

what's your story?

In almost all general, 4-skills ESL textbooks such as Smart Choice or World Link , there are usually pages with discussion starters that involve telling a story of some kind, often in the unit related to the past verb tenses. A big problem with telling stories in class is that most students will not do a very good job of it if they are given no time to prepare. And an activity that could be very useful for generating some interesting conversation and discussion can be over in only a couple of minutes. A better way is to give the…

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