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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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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Speaking Activities that Don’t Suck

Speaking Activities That Don't Suck

Speaking Activities That Don’t Suck: Foolproof Ways to Force Your EFL Students to Produce Enormous Amounts of English is one of the best resources out there for ESL teachers looking to add some fresh, new speaking activities and games into their lesson plans. Unlike most of the more academic books out there, Speaking Activities that Don’t Suck is filled with practical, interesting and fun ideas that will have your students coming back for more. Very little in the way of preparation time is required and this book is basically just read and go.

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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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