This small talk ESL activity is the perfect way to get your students speaking English. It’s ideal for a warm-up activity to start the class, or as a way to finish off a lesson on small talk. You can use it for beginners to advanced students, but you’ll have to adjust the length of the conversations.
Print off this grid, one per every 4 students.
Put students into pairs, with 2 pairs in one group (4 students total). The first pair chooses a topic such as “this morning” and must talk about it for 2 minutes (advanced), 1 minute (intermediate) or 30 seconds (beginner). The other team is the “timer” and can use their cell-phones to do this.
If the team can keep up a conversation about this topic for the full time, they get to mark that topic on the board with either an “X” or “O,” with the goal being three in a row, which equals one point. If they couldn’t do it, there is no penalty but they don’t get to mark that square off on the board. The game is essentially S-O-S/Tic-Tac-Toe.
Then, the next team chooses a topic and the game continues.
For a short activity, the winner can be the first team with one row of three. For a longer game, continue for a certain amount of time (10 minutes is good) and the winner is the team with the most rows.
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