The Just A Minute Game is a fun “Toastmasters” kind of ESL speaking activity. I like it because it gets students working on speaking fluently, without worrying too much about accuracy.
To start, write up a bunch of topics on the board such as animals, family, jobs, hobbies, schedule, societal problems, TV, etc. The topics of course depend on the age and level of students.
Just a Minute: Student #1
The first student throws a scrunched up paper ball at the board. The topic closest to where the paper hits must talk for an entire minute about it.
The challenge is that students must keep talking continuously without stopping for the entire time in order to successfully complete the challenge. Don’t let students off too easily if they stop talking. Don’t jump in to ask a question right away, wait for 5-10 seconds. The student will usually start talking again.
There is no “winner” to this activity. The challenge is more against yourself.
Just a Minute: Student #2, 3, 4…
Erase that topic and continue with the next student. Keep this activity moving quickly to make it more fun and interesting. I find that 4-5 students is the maximum for doing it with the entire class.
With Big Classes
If you have a big class, you can put students into groups of 4 and get them to number themselves: 1,2,3,4.
Then, select one student to throw the paper ball and select a topic for all numbers ones. They talk for one minute, at the same time to their small groups. Repeat for the remaining three students with new topics each round.
Optionally, you can get each “listening” student in the group to ask 1 follow-up question to help ensure active listening.
More details about Just a Minute over on YouTube
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English Speaking Activities: Have your Say!
What’s your favourite activity for getting students to work on fluency in speaking? Leave a comment below and let us know.