It works well with lower intermediate and higher levels and it can be stretched and used as part of a lesson, as a warmer or filler.
For the mini-flashcards you will need blank cut outs the size of a business card (or slightly bigger) and markers. As a whole class, get students to think of… an animal, a fruit, an object, a famous person, a colour, a place/country, etc and ask them to write down each word on a different card. Ss can draw a picture next to the word for the most difficult ones. Collect the cards and shuffle.
- Divide the class into groups of 4’s or more and get each student to wear a band around their head. Give a bunch of cards to each group, making sure all cards are facing down.
- In turns, each student grabs a card and, without looking at it, places it on his/her forehead, so that the rest of the group can see it.
- Each member of the group takes turns to ask questions until he/she guesses what is on the card. Theothermembersofthegroupshouldonlysayyesandno, or give short answers. Set a time limit per person (1-2 mins). Students should come up with questions like
- Am I a person? – No
- Am I a place/country? – No
- Am I an animal? – Yes
- Where would you find me? – In the forest
- Which country? – India
- Do I live in the water? – No
- Am I a big or small animal? – Big
- Do I have black stripes? – Yes
- Am I a tiger? – Yes
2. THE YES AND NO GAME
Nominate one student to be in the hot seat, slightly apart from the rest of the circle. The rest of the group must think of questions to ask the student in the hot seat. They can ask anything they like, the only rule is that the student in the hot seat must answer the questions without using the words “yes” or “no”. Also ban “yeah”, head nods and shakes! For example, a student asks, “Are you wearing jeans today?” The student in the hot seat could reply, “I am” or “you can see that they’re jeans!”
3. TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE
This simple activity will help students get to know each other a little better while helping improve their English at the same time. Give students some time to think of two truths and one lie about themselves, with the aim of surprising classmates when they guess which one is the lie.
It makes it more fun if they think of facts that may trick or surprise others so encourage them to be creative.
There are endless options but here are a few examples:
- I have two sisters.
- I can’t swim.
- I am a black belt in karate.
- My favourite food is chocolate.
- I am taller than my dad.
- I have never been skiing.
The next part can be done as a class or in smaller groups of around 6 students. The first student says their two truths and one lie (in any order) while the others students listen and then guess which statement is the lie (usually by a show of hands).
Give everyone a turn and if it goes well you might want to have another round to give students the opportunity to think of more creative ideas now that they have the hang of it.
4. THE PRESS CONFERENCE
You will need a sticky label for each student or a pack of Post-It notes.
Tell students that they have got the job of reporter for a magazine about famous people. They are going to interview some famous people and they need to prepare some general questions they can ask any famous person – actors, singers, sports stars, politicians etc. Give some examples, like, ‘Do you enjoy your job?’ or ‘Are you happy being so famous?’ and get students to write four questions and put them into a table with the questions going down the left hand side and space for five columns to the right. Then ask students which famous person they would like to be and give each one a sticky label or a Post-It note for them to write the name of the famous person on and stick on themselves.
Put students into two concentric circles with the inner circle facing out and outer circle facing in. Tell students that they are going to interview the person directly in front of them for two minutes and note down all the information they find out. They are also going to be interviewed. The facing pairs take turns in the different roles of interviewer and famous person. At two minute intervals shout ‘stop’ and ask the outer circle to step one person to the right. Shout ‘start’ to give students two more minutes with a new famous person. When each student has interviewed and been interviewed five or six times stop the activity and seat students. The information they have gathered about the famous people can then be shared with the group orally or used for a piece of writing for a gossip magazine. If you have an odd number rotate one person out of the circle each time you move the other circle around. This person can help you to monitor and can walk around the circle listening to the others in action and making a note of any mistakes they hear. This activity gets very noisy with a large group but it can be a great way to keep students speaking English for quite a long period of time and you will probably see how their confidence grows as they get the hang of asking and answering the questions.
5. A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT
The activity should work at most levels above elementary, as long as your students have some knowledge of past tenses, but it works best when they also know past continuous / progressive too. All you need to get things started is a sheet of plain paper for each pair of students.
The listening part comes first:
- Ask the students to draw the face of a person in the top right-hand corner of the page.
- Once they’ve done this ask them to give the person a name.
- Then on the top left of the page ask them to write five adjectives to describe the person’s appearance.
- Next ask them to write five more adjectives to describe the person’s character.
- After they’ve done this ask the students to write three things that the person likes doing.
- Then ask them to write who the person lives with.
- In this way they build up a character profile for the person they are going to write about.
The writing part:
- Now dictate the following sentence to your students: ‘It was a dark and stormy night and’. Stop at this point and ask them to write in the name of the person they have drawn and followed by the word ‘was’.
- Then ask the students to complete the sentence from their imagination and add one more sentence.
- Once all the students have added a sentence to their stories, get them to stop and pass the paper to the pair on their right (this means that every pair of students now has a new character).
- The students then read through the information and the beginning of the story and then add one more sentence to it.
- Once they’ve done this you ask them once more to pass the paper to the next pair on their right. Continue to do this with each pair of students adding a sentence to each story, gradually building up each story as the papers are passed around the class.
- Continue with this until you decide that the students are starting to lose interest or have written enough and then tell them to finish the story.
- Put the stories up around the class and get the students to read them all and decide which is best.
- Give each pair of students a story and get them to try to find and correct errors.
- Get the students to write the stories up on a computer and the ask them to add more description and detail to the stories.
- This activity is fun and creative and has always worked well for me both with adults and younger students.
Use plastic fruits, vegetables or corresponding flashcards. Gather the students around you and let them ask for what they want using a dialog such as: “What do you want?”, “An apple, please.”, “Here you are.”, “Thank you.”, “You’re welcome.” Then the teacher calls back the objects from the students, “Apple, please”. Then the students put the fruit back into the basket.
7. THE WIND IS BLOWING
A great game for all kids ages 6+, as long as they’re producing full sentences, in a group of maybe 8-15 people. It is best played outside or in an area with a lot of space. Have the students make a spacious circle with you in the middle (there should be maybe a meter between each student). Each student needs to leave one item at there feet to mark a fixed spot in the circle (a shoe, a pencil case, a backpack, a rock… something they don’t mind possibly getting stepped on). You start the game by making a statement that will correspond to some or all of the students. If it corresponds to them, they have to leave their spot and find a different one. So, for a food unit, you can use a beginner command structure: “Move if… you like bananas,” or “Move if… you don’t like onions,” an intermediate structure: “You have to move if… you like bacon on your pizza,” or an advanced structure: “The wind is blowing for everybody that…” (The command structures can be used with lots of different verbs and themes e.g. “have” for family members, “are wearing” for clothes, “want” for Christmas presents) Once you make the command, you have to run to take an abandoned spot, and one student will be left in the middle. For younger kids, its fun to chant “_______’s in the middle, ________’s in the middle!” in a sing-songy voice. That person is then in charge, and has to make a sentence using the same structure that you used. The game goes on for as long as you want, cycling through lots of students and putting them on the spot to make sentences using relevant vocab.
Trò này rất tuyệt cho các bạn trên 6 tuổi để đặt các câu đầy đủ, trong một nhóm 8-15 bạn. Chơi ở chỗ nào càng rộng càng tốt. Học sinh đứng xếp thành một vòng rộng, giáo viên ở giữa, khoảng cách giữa các học sinh nên là khoảng 3 mét. Mỗi bạn đặt một vật (như giày hay bút chì hay balo,…) dưới chân để đánh dấu chỗ của mình. Giáo viên bắt đầu trò chơi bằng cách nói một câu mà sẽ đúng với một số hoặc tất cả các bạn. Nếu đúng với ai, thì người đó phải rời chỗ ban đầu đến một chỗ mới. Ví dụ khi dạy về food, giáo viên có thể ra lệnh “Hãy di chuyển nếu bạn thích ăn chuối”, hay “Hãy di chuyển nếu bạn không thích hành tây”. GV cũng có thể dùng những câu khó hơn như “Gió đang thổi những ai có anh trai/em gái/… (chủ đề gia đình), đang mặc … (chủ đề trang phục), muốn có … (chù đề Quà tặng/Đồ chơi). Khi ra một lệnh xong, giáo viên sẽ chạy lên chiếm một chỗ đang bị trỏ trống, và một học sinh không tìm được chỗ mới sẽ phải vào giữa vòng và đặt lệnh theo kiểu GV đã làm.