Are you looking for a simple ESL game that requires absolutely nothing in the way of preparation or materials? Then you’re in the right place. Keep on reading for all the details you need to know about Telephone, a fun ESL speaking and listening game for kids.
Telephone ESL Speaking/Listening Activity
Time: 5-10 minutes
Materials Required: None
Probably everyone has played telephone (also known as Chinese Whispers) before. Students line up in two or more rows (teams) starting from the front and going to the back. The student at the front of each team is given a sentence. You need to consider the level of the students carefully when choosing your sentence—make sure the first students on each team can all understand it easily.
It can work well to take something that you’ve been studying from the textbook and adjust it slightly. For example, fruit and vegetable vocabulary. They whisper the sentence one time to the next student. That student whispers it to the person in front of them, etc. The last person to hear the sentence must correctly state what they have heard.
The team with the closest phrase is the winner. You may need to explicitly forbid students from using their L1. This is usually obvious if the ending sentence has the same meaning as the original but uses synonyms.
One example sentence that you might want to use if you’re teaching about like/dislike is this following:
- My mom likes pickles, ice cream and potato chips and my Dad doesn’t like pizza, carrots and apples.
All teams can have the same sentence or you can give each a different one. I sometimes like to take the heads of each team into the hall, give each a different sentence and allow them the chance to have me model the pronunciation before we begin. Then, the students return together and the game begins.
Keep the teams to about 8-10 students or fewer in order to increase speaking time. Remember that students will only say one sentence each per round. Remind students that even if they didn’t hear the sentence clearly, they need to make their best guess and tell something to the next person instead of nothing.
- Divide students into teams, unless you have a very small class and can play with everyone together. Larger teams will make for funnier results.
- Have the teams stand in line, starting from the front to the back.
- Have the first students from each team join you in the hall. Give each a sentence to repeat and return together when each is satisfied they know what to say—and how to pronounce the words. Or, you can whisper the same sentence once to each person at the front of the line.
- The students whisper the sentence once to the next person, who whispers it to the next person and so on.
- The last student in each line says the sentence they heard.
- The group with the sentence closest to the original wins.
Did you Like the Telephone ESL Game for Kids?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Smith, Jennifer Booker (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 133 Pages - 03/31/2016 (Publication Date)
Yes? Thought so. Then the book you’re going to love is this one over on Amazon: 101 ESL Activities for Kids. The key to better English classes for children is a wide variety of interesting, engaging and student-centred activities and this book will help you do that in style. Seriously. There are enough ESL games and activities to help get you through an entire semester in style.
Keep a copy of the book on the shelf in your office to use as a handy reference guide. Or, consider taking a copy with you on your phone, tablet, or Laptop to your favourite coffee shop for some serious lesson planning on the go.
Whatever the case, it’s some ESL teaching awesome that you’re not going to want to pass up. Find out all the details about the book over on Amazon:
Have your Say about this ESL game for Children
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Last update on 2020-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API