Top 10 ESL Icebreakers: Start Your Class Off the Fun Way

ESL-icebreakers

If you’re looking to get your semester started off on the right foot, then you’ll need to use a few of these ESL icebreakers. They’ll help the students get to know each other and you as well. By starting your classes off with some ESL icebreakers, you’re setting yourself up for a successful semester. Keep reading for the top 10 ESL icebreakers. You can see the detailed activity description by clicking the links! #1: Ball Toss If you’re looking for one of the most versatile ESL activities ever, look no further than this Ball Toss one. You can use it for…well…just…

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Top 5 Games and Activities for Big ESL Classes

big-ESL-classes

Big EL Classes: They don’t have to be a Nightmare 50 students in a class? Sounds like your biggest nightmare? I’m not going to sugar-coat it for you-it is kind of a nightmare and in a language class, it’s really ridiculous. Ideally, you’d have between 8 and 16 students. Eight is enough to do pretty much any activity, while 16 isn’t so big that you’ve unable to give any sort of individual feedback. After about 25, it’s mostly just a sea of faces. Not ideal, but it’s often the reality in university classes in places like South Korea (where I…

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I’m an Alien: An ESL Speaking Activity for Kids

I'm an Alien: ESL speaking activity for kids

I’m an Alien: ESL Speaking Activity for Kids Skills: Speaking/listening Age: All Materials Required: None I love a no-prep, no-materials ESL speaking activity for kids, and students always enjoy this one. You begin class by telling the students you are an alien. You landed just a few minutes earlier, right outside the school. Since you are new here, you don’t know a lot of words, and you need some help. You can create a mission scenario, and elicit vocabulary that will help you. Maybe you want to send a letter telling your mother you arrived safely. You can elicit pen,…

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Dictogloss: An ESL Listening and Speaking Activity

Dictogloss ESL Listening and Speaking Activity

Skills: Speaking/listening Age: 8+ Materials Required: A short story Dictogloss is a simple activity for more advanced level students that helps them practice their listening and memory skills, as well as substituting vocabulary words if the original word is no longer accessible to them. Find a short, interesting story or make up one yourself. I’ve used various things from children’s stories to a story about something I did on the weekend. Nearly anything can work. Tell the story 1-3 times, depending on the student level and of course you can also vary your speaking speed to make this activity easier…

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Would You Rather? An ESL Warm-Up Activity

Start your Class Off in Style Would You Rather? is a fun ESL warm-up activity. You can buy ready-made decks, but they aren’t ESL specific. I use self-made cards, but you can just make a list of questions or you can do this without materials, if you can think of choices on the spot quickly. For example, “Would you rather have eyes like a fly’s, or eyes like a spider’s?” Students must choose one and explain why. If you class is small, you can do this as a single group, but I prefer to work in small groups of 3-4,…

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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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