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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World Link ESL Textbook

World Link ESL textbook

World Link An excellent choice for a general English conversation class for adults I used World Link for about 4 years at my old university and I can say with certainty that it is a really solid book. The units are interesting and engaging and are on the simpler side if you have lower-level, or multi-level classes. There just isn’t that much text on the page, which is something I appreciate in an ESL textbook. The supplementary teacher’s resource book was excellent and I used almost every single activity in it, so make sure you get that as well. While…

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20 Questions ESL Speaking Game

twenty questions

Skills: Speaking/Listening Time: 20 minutes Level: Beginner-advanced Materials Required: Nothing This is a “20 questions” style game, based on whatever you’re studying (Animals/Jobs, etc). In groups, the students ask the teacher a yes/no question. After the teacher gives the answer, the students can have one chance to guess the secret thing. Play a few rounds and the team with the most points is the winner. You can also have students take turns being the one with the “secret.” It’s an excellent way for students to practice asking questions in English. If you have a very large class, divide the students…

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ESL Board Games

ESL board game

Skills: Reading/Speaking Time: 25 minutes Level: Beginner-Advanced Materials Required: Board Game Sheet/marker for each student (a coin or an eraser) Board Games often come in the “teacher’s resource book,” but it’s even better if you make your own. Use questions based on the grammar/vocab that you’ve been studying during the previous classes. Have some fun squares, such as “switch positions with the person on your right,” “go back 3,” or “take a vacation!” The style I usually use is a question of some kind where each students has to give one or two sentences in response to it. The other…

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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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4 Corners: An Excellent ESL Speaking Textbook for Adults

My Top Choice for ESL Speaking Textbook If you’re looking for a book that covers all 4 skills, but that is slanted towards speaking activities, 4 Corners by Jack Richards should be your top choice. The communicative activities are excellent at fostering natural communication, unlike many other ESL speaking textbooks where the conversations are quite unnatural and artificial. There are plenty of fluency activities as well, which is an important, but often overlooked area of speaking for English as a Second Language students. In addition, the vocab and grammar sections are thoughtful and easy to understand, and the topics are…

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The Memory Circle Game: ESL Speaking for Kids

memory

This is a game that I often use with smaller (less than 10 students) and younger students (elementary school or kindergarten) but I’ve also used it with university students in South Korea when learning new vocabulary words with good results. To set it up, you need to make a rule about what kind of words or grammar that the students can use. Base it on whatever you are studying that day in class. For example: animals or past tense. You’ll need to adjust the rules and criteria according to the level and age of your students. You want to make…

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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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ESL Speaking Tests: 3 Options

speaking test ESL students

There are various ways for language teachers to do ESL speaking tests, all of which have their positives and negatives. I will give only the most basic of overviews of three different speaking test methods for English as a Second Language students, but if you want to dive deeper into the topic, I recommend this book: Language Assessment: Principles and Classroom Practices (2nd Edition). 1-1 interviews with the teacher This method is generally thought to have the highest validity, since weaker students cannot affect the stronger students in any way. However, I think there are more negatives than positives: The…

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Describe Something Guessing Game

guess game

Describe something guessing game is a simple and easy warm-up game for your ESL speaking class that you can use to generate some interest in whatever topic you are studying that class. Make up a handout with pictures of objects or names of famous people (around 20 works well). Choose one and use it your example. Give some hints about that object or person such as, “He’s American,” “He’s black,” “He’s a sport player,” “He plays golf.” By this time, the students will have guessed Tiger Woods. They will then cross Tiger Woods off their list. Turn it over to…

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The “Expert” ESL Speaking Activity

expert activity

This is a fun English as a Second language conversation activity for intermediate or advanced level students. Have the students write down 5 things that they are an expert in. I do my own list first by way of example. I’m an expert in: Scuba Diving Budget travel Canada Reality TV Gardening Once the students have written their lists, get them to circle the 3 that they think will be most interesting to the other students in the class. Next, divide them up into pairs and give them 5 or 6 minutes to ask some questions to their partner about things…

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120-90-60 ESL Speaking Fluency Activity

fluent speaking

If you want to help your students speak more quickly and fluently, this is the perfect ESL speaking fluency activity for you. Give your students a topic that they know a lot about. For example: good or bad points about their school, university, or hometown. I often give 1/2 the students one topic and the other 1/2 another just to make it a bit more interesting to listen to. Give your students 1-5 minutes to prepare, depending on their level. But, emphasize that they should just write one-two words for each point, and not full sentences because it is actually…

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