SOS Game: Speaking Review for ESL Students

SOS

I like to play the SOS game as a way to review whatever we studied in the previous class. For example, maybe the grammar point is countable/uncountable nouns and all the technical details surrounding it. It can get quite complicated, so it’s something I’d for sure want to review before moving on with new material. I’m sure you know the game S-O-S from when you were a kid. If you get three “S’s” in a row or three “O’s” in a row you draw a line through it and get a point. I’ve adapted this game to use as an…

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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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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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Shootout Game at the ESL Corral

shootout

Skills: Listening/ Speaking Time: 10-20 minutes Level: Beginner Materials Required: Nothing How the Shootout Game Works This is an ESL listening and speaking game for kids that works for classes from 10-30. Divide the class into groups of two. You can do this on 2 sides of the class, at their desks standing up or get the students to make a line at the front of the class. The first 2 students play rock/scissor/paper. The loser has to answer a question about what you’ve been studying within 5 seconds. If correct, they go to the back of their line, or…

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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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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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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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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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