Never Have I Ever ESL Game: An Excellent Icebreaker

Never Have I Ever ESL Game

Never Have I Ever ESL Game

Never Have I Ever for ESL/EFL Students

Skills: Speaking/listening
Time: 10-20 minutes
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Materials Required: Nothing

Never have I ever ESL Game is taken from the classic party game that you can play in your ESL speaking classes as well. The way it works is that students think of a few things that they haven’t done but that they think others in the class have. For example, maybe someone hasn’t been to Japan or China but most of the people in the class probably have. Or, perhaps someone has never tried Indian or Vietnamese food. If you have higher level classes, no thinking time is really necessary, but with intermediate students, you might have to give them a few minutes of time before you start the activity so that they can prepare. You could also elicit a few possible categories such as food, travel, hobbies, free time, etc. if you feel this activity will challenge your students too much when open-ended.

The first student starts with one of their statements, saying, “Never have I ever _____. ” The other students listen and if they have done it, they get a point. I usually get students to keep track of points themselves by writing a tick on their paper or in their notebook. If you have a small class, you can appoint a captain to do this on the board. You go around the room until everyone has said at least one statement (for big classes) or a couple of them (smaller classes) and then tally up the final points. Whoever has the most points is the “winner” and the person who has had the most interesting life so far! If you have a large class, it’s best to divide students up until groups of 7-10.

Procedure for Never Have I Ever:

  1. Give students time to prepare 2-3 statements; the amount of time depends on the level of your students. They need to think of things that they’ve never done, but which they think their classmates have.

  2. The first student says one of their statements. If someone else has done it, they put up their hand to signify this and they get one point. I usually have students keep track of the points themselves or appoint a captain to do this.

  3. The next person can say their statement and you follow the same procedure, until everyone has said at least one statement. You can also continue until you’ve done two or three rounds, depending on your class size.

  4. The person with the most points has had the most interesting life.

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