To Be ESL Vocabulary Game

The To Be ESL Game focuses on creating questions and answers using the verb “to be” along with vocabulary lists. It is appropriate for all ages and levels.

Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

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Age Group: Kids, Adults

To Be ESL Game

To Be ESL Game Preparation:

For this game, you can prepare a list of singular and plural nouns before class. However, if you prefer, simply use one of the textbooks that your students bring to class. At the start of the lesson, they can select the nouns from their textbook.

Also, make sure the students have some paper to write on.

To Be ESL Game Guidelines:

To begin, activate students’ background knowledge. For example, if the vocabulary has a certain theme, such as sports, then you can have students discuss their favorite sports to watch.

After the discussion, hand out the vocabulary lists. If you have not prepared a list, then get the students to flip through their textbook to find the nouns. They should have about 10 nouns on their paper (5 singular and 5 plural).

Next, in groups or pairs, students should come up with questions using the verb “to be”.

Board and example first. Write down a singular noun like “vegetable” and create a question with it. It should be a yes/no (closed) question. Then, write/elicit the answer from the class.

Q: Is broccoli your favorite vegetable?
A: No, it isn’t.

If the class is more advanced, get them to elaborate on the answer.

A: No, it isn’t. Brocolli reminds me of trees and I don’t want to eat bark.

In addition, write another example using a plural noun instead, such as “comedians”.

Q: Are comedians in your country funny?
A: Yes, they are.

Again, elaborate more if the students are up for the challenge.

A: Yes, they are. However, my cousin is a comedian and she can’t make me laugh even if her life depended on it.

In the next phase of the game, students should come up with similarly structured questions using the nouns on their lists. Give them about 5 to 10 minutes to write their questions in pairs. Monitor and assist as they talk and write.

After they complete the questions, students should pass their question sheets to another pair. Each pair of students should then ask their partner the new set of questions.

Again, remind them to use proper sentence structure using the correct form of “to be”.

Encourage them to explain their answers a bit more if they are at a more intermediate or advanced level.

At the end of the game, lead feedback and highlight any obvious errors.

To make the activity more competitive, you could split the class into teams and award points for the best answers.

Follow-Up ESL Activities:

To conclude the lesson, try to reinforce the grammar structure and vocabulary that was covered. Play a fun extension like the Would You Rather ESL Activity or the Taboo ESL Game.

More ESL Vocabulary Games for Kids and Adults:

View the ESL vocabulary games archive.

View more ESL activities.

Related ESL Resources Online:

Battleships with the Verb To Be on ISLcollective.com

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