Fortunately/Unfortunately Speaking and Listening Activity

Speaking and listening activity

Skills: Speaking/listening Age: 9+ Materials Required: None You may have done this speaking and listening activity at school yourself. Start of by telling students some good news (something that “happened to you”) followed by some bad news. For example, “Unfortunately, my car wouldn’t start this morning. Fortunately, my neighbor gave me a ride to school. Unfortunately, she drove through a red light. Fortunately. . .” Students will then generate similar language using fortunately/unfortunately or luckily/unluckily. Procedure: 1. Divide students into small groups of 3-5. 2. Give them a scenario (something that “happened to you”), alternating between good and bad news.…

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Top 5 ESL Activities for Beginners

English speaking activities for beginners

ESL Activities for Beginners Fun activities and games should be an essential part of teaching ESL for beginners. It creates an interest in learning English which in turn would motivate an individual to learn with interest – irrespective of whether it is a young adult or a child. Games can make your classes even more awesome and keep your students hooked and interested in learning more. Of course, it’s not easy to teach total beginners especially if you don’t share a common language. But, it really is possible and there are a few activities you can use that will work well.…

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Picture Prompt: An ESL Warm-Up For Kids and Adults

Picture prompt ESL warm-up

An ESL Warm-Up Activity Picture prompt is a great ESL warm-up for kids as well as adults that can be used for all levels from beginner to advanced. Show students an image and have them generate questions or speculate about the picture.   For lower level students, this can be purely descriptive: Q: What do you see?   A: I see a house, a car, and some people. Q: What color is the car?   A: It is blue. For high beginner/low intermediate students, have an image which can generate questions such as: What is happening in this picture? How does that…

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ESL Speaking Bingo

ESL Speaking Bingo

Skills: Speaking/listening/writing Time: 20-30 minutes Level: High-Beginner to Advanced Materials Required: Blank “Bingo” grids, or blank paper   ESL Speaking Bingo is a very fun activity that kids, teenagers as well as university students seem to love. Have a list of about 35-40 vocabulary words that you’ve been studying (on the PPT works well). If you use less, the game will be over very quickly. Give the students a pre-made Bingo Grid, or have them draw a 5×5 grid. Then the students fill in the grid randomly from the list of words on the board or PowerPoint. Then, choose someone to…

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Retell the Story 1-2-3: A Fluency Activity for ESL Students

Retell the Story 1-2-3

Skills: Speaking Time: 15-20 minutes Level: Beginner to Advanced, 8+ Materials Required: Timer   This is a fluency activity which can be done with beginners by having them introduce themselves. Higher level students can tell a story they know or recap a story that was covered in class. Give the students a bit of time to think about what they’re going to say; the lower the level of students, the more time they will need. Working in pairs, each student will tell the same story three times. The first time, they will each speak for one minute. Then, have the…

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Hot Potato: an ESL Speaking Game for Kids

Hot potato ESL speaking game for kids

Hot Potato: A really fun ESL speaking game for kids Skills: Speaking Time: 5-10 minutes Level: Beginner, up to 11 Materials: Flashcards, timer, “potato” (an object for students to pass around) This is a simple vocabulary review game, spiced up with a timer. There are plenty of phone app timers, but a kitchen timer works well. To play, start the potato, which can be a white board eraser, ball, or any lightweight, easily-seen object, moving around the class from student to student. If there is not a practical way to play in a circle, have a contingency for the last…

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What am I? An ESL Speaking Warm-Up

What am I? An ESL Warm-Up Activity

Skills: Speaking/listening/reading Age: 10+ Materials Required: Tape or pins and vocabulary words on paper What am I? is a classic party game that is an excellent way for beginner students to practice asking simple questions. I often use it as an ESL speaking warm-up in the next class if in the previous one we studied about question forms. For more advanced students, you can choose much harder vocabulary words instead of simple ones like you would for beginners. A good topic for advanced students (or a party you are hosting) is famous people. Write a bunch of animals, jobs, hobbies…

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An ESL Game Classic: Running Dictation

Running Dictation ESL Game

Why Running Dictation is Awesome Running dictation is a classic ESL game because it’s fun, covers all 4 skills in a single activity and it also gets students up out of their seats and moving around. It’s like the gold-standard of ESL games! You can use it for adults, university students, kids-whoever! My variation of running dictation addresses the biggest negative of the game-the yelling and cuts it out completely. How to Do Running Dictation Skills: Reading/speaking/writing/listening Time: 10-20 minutes Level: Beginner to Advanced, 8+ Materials Required: Printed sentences, blu-tack Running dictation requires a bit of prep before students arrive.…

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Presentation Projects for ESL/EFL Students: Some Ideas

Presentations for ESL Students

Presentation Projects for ESL/EFL Students Over the years teaching in a Korean university, I’ve had students do plenty of presentation projects, with varying degrees of success. I hope that you can learn from my mistakes and make your ESL speaking classes as awesome as possible. Presentation projects, if set up well are an excellent way to add a bit of variety to the ESL classroom. After all, students get tired of hearing the teacher talk all the time! And you probably get tired of talking. I know that I always did! Plus, it’s fun to hear what students have to…

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Charades ESL Game

charades esl speaking game

Charades ESL Game: An Introduction Skills: Speaking Time: 20-30 minutes Level: Beginner to Advanced Materials Required: White board You can use this charades ESL speaking game to review whatever you’re studying. For example, verbs work especially well. Write out some phrases or words that can be easily acted out on small pieces of paper and put them in an envelope. It’s an excellent way to review vocabulary. Related: Top 10 ESL Review Activities Divide the class up into two teams. The first team sends one person, the captain up to the front and they have to act out and describe…

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ESL Small Group Discussion- One Tip to Make it Awesome

ESL students need thinking time

Discussion Starter Questions in Smart Choice, Level 2 In the ESL textbook, Smart Choice: Level 2, there are some small group discussion starters on it. The 4 questions are: Have you ever met or seen a famous person? Have you ever been in an accident? What’s your most embarrassing moment? Have you ever experienced a natural disaster? (As an aside, the Smart Choice series is a good choice if you’re looking for a simple, 4-skills book for beginner level students. Click on the picture below to buy it now on Amazon). ESL Small Group Discussion: The One Tip You Need…

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ESL Speaking Games and Activities

esl speaking activities adults

Conversation or speaking class lesson planning made easy! You’ll be able to find some awesome ESL speaking games or activities for your teenage or adult students to do in class in less than 5 minutes, guaranteed. It’s the book you really can’t afford not to have in your library. There are 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL speaking activities and games that are all tested and proved to work in the real-world, with real university and middle/high school students. They range from the most simple of warm-up games to some advice on how you can get your students to make videos or posters…

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ESL Speaking Activities for Adults

esl speaking activities adults

My new book about ESL speaking activities for adults is up on Amazon: 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities: For Teenagers and Adults. The electronic version is only $2.99 or you can get it for free if you’re in the Kindle Unlimited program. You can get the Ebook version with any Mac, PC, tablet or smartphone-just download the Kindle App. It’s way easier than you think it is and even the non-techie can do it! And in other news, I started a new website related you might be interested in if you teach at the university level. My Life! Teaching in…

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Board Games for ESL Students

ESL board game

Board games for ESL students are a fun way to review the concepts you’ve been talking about during that class. They often come in the teacher’s book that accompanies your textbook, or you can easily design your own in just a few minutes. Here’s my simple past board game so you can get an idea of just how easy it is to make them yourself. In this short video, I talk about why I like board games so much: If you want even more ideas for your ESL speaking or conversation classes, check out my book on Amazon: 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep…

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