Chopstick Topics ESL Speaking Activity


This group activity is useful for getting your class involved in a number of quick discussion topics that they are interested in. All you need is a bunch of cheap wooden chopsticks or some other type of similar material to write on with a permanent marker or pen. Popsicle sticks would work just as well if you can’t find chopsticks anywhere.

Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced

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Age Group: Adults

Chopstick Topics ESL Speaking Activity

Chopstick Topics Speaking Activity Preparation:

Get a bunch of cheap wooden chopsticks to write on. Use as many as you want depending on the class size. Usually about ten sticks will do.

On every side of the chopsticks, write a general topic that would be engaging for group discussion. Themes like “movies,” “music,” “travel destinations,” or “favorite restaurants” are popular with almost any class level or age group. Try to relate the themes to a topic that you are actually using in the lesson if you think that would be more effective.

After you are finished preparing the chopsticks, each stick should have about four topics written on it (ie. two topics on one end and two topics on the other). Get an elastic to keep them together. It is helpful to keep them together so that you can use them whenever you need to throughout the school term as well.

Chopstick Topics Speaking Activity Guidelines:

To start the activity, pull out one chopstick and show the class that the chopstick has a number of different topics written on it. Pick one of the topics to discuss with one of the students briefly to model the task.

Put the class into discussion groups (2 to 5 people per group). Give a chopstick to each group and have them discuss the different topics that are written on their chopstick. Assign a time limit for the discussion and tell the students to switch to a new topic on the chopstick when each student in the group has had a chance to speak.

Stop the discussions and lead feedback. Ask a few people from each group what they talked about. Was there anything memorable or funny that someone said? Who gave the most thoughtful or creative answer in the group? Ask students their opinions and correct any errors with expressions or any grammatical issues worth noting.

Rotate the chopsticks around the classroom and have the groups discuss the new topics on the next chopstick that they get. Repeat the tasks as necessary and lead feedback to finish up the chopstick topics speaking activity.

Follow-Up ESL Activities:

If you have some time leftover, to conclude the lesson you could do a short writing activity with some of the more popular topics that were discussed. Check out the News Report Writing Activity to as a lesson extension. Also, you could use the chopsticks as an object to pass quickly to other members, where students have to think of words within a certain time limit. For more information on how to play it, view the fun bomb game activity.

View more speaking activities.

View more ESL activities.


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