Top 10 Discussion Starters for Children

conversation children

If you’re looking for discussion starters for adults: Conversation Starters for Adults But, if you want some conversation starters for children, you’re in the right place. Here are my top 10: Favorite Things Have students fill in the blank with, “What’s your favorite _____?” Collect the papers, choose the best two or three and have then answer the questions. Birthday Party What would your perfect birthday party be? Favorite and Least Favorite Meals Something your parents cook that you love. Something your parents cook that you hate. In your Bedroom How is your bedroom decorated? Why did you choose each…

Continue Reading

6 ESL Survey Ideas your Students Will Love

ESL survey

ESL Surveys: Love Them! You’ve probably made your way here because you’re searching for ESL survey ideas. We’ll get to that, but first I’ll tell you why I love ESL surveys so much. I’m convinced that every ESL teacher should be using them every single month in all their classes. Surveys are one of my favourite ESL activities. If you ask my students, they’ll probably tell you the same thing. I use them at least once a month in all my classes, for a huge variety of topics. They can also be used for just about any level, with the…

Continue Reading

Tell your Story: An ESL Speaking Activity to Practice Reported Speech

reported speech

Skills: Writing/reading/speaking/listening Time: 15-30 minutes Level: Intermediate to Advanced Materials Required: Nothing Have students write something interesting. Some examples are: most embarrassing moment, scariest thing you’ve ever done, your dream for the future, etc. Base it on whatever you are studying in class. Then, distribute the stories to other people in the class. They have to go around the class, finding the person whose story they have by asking questions. Once they find that person, they have to ask three interesting questions about the story. Teaching Tips: Emphasize to students that they are to practice asking good questions. For example,…

Continue Reading

Vocabulary Review Game for Kids and Adults

vocabulary

Vocabulary Review Game for Kids Skills: Speaking/listening Time: 20 minutes Level: Beginner to Advanced Materials Required: Flip-chart or flashcards The “captain” sits in a chair at the front of the class facing her team. The teacher stands behind the captain with vocab words on a flip-chart or a stack of flashcards. If you use flashcards, make sure they are big enough for everyone to be able to see them, even at the back of the class. The team has to give hints in English to the captain until she can guess the word. At that point, the team moves on…

Continue Reading

Top 5 Fun ESL Speaking Activities For Kids

kids speaking

If you teach kids and are struggling a bit with how to make your ESL speaking classes for kids interesting and engaging, here are some of my favorite fun activities that I use in my own classes. Rocks-Scissors-Paper with a Twist: it’s perfect for review and also makes an excellent activity for the class before midterms or finals with your beginner university students. It contains the perfect mix of skill and luck. SOS Review Game: remember playing SOS when you were a kid? Well, it’s back…ESL style. Kids, university students and adults all love it. I explain how to adapt…

Continue Reading

Flashcard Sentences: ESL Speaking Game for Kids

ESL vocab flashcards

Skills: Speaking Time: 5-10 Minutes Level: Beginner-Intermediate Kids Materials Required: Flashcards Free: 40+ ESL Games and Activities Email Address This flashcard ESL speaking activity for kids is the perfect way to review whatever grammar and vocab points you’ve been studying. Go around the room asking each student, or a team of 2 a question. Pull a flashcard from your pile and then the student has to make a sentence using the grammar point with that card. A correct sentence gets the card, not correct, and the card goes back at the bottom of the pile. The winner is the person…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading