Drawing Dictation ESL Listening Activity

Have you ever tried doing a drawing dictation in the classroom? Drawing dictations are fun for all ages and are an excellent method for improving active listening skills. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Drawing Dictation ESL Activity Preparation: Not much is required to prepare for this activity. If you want, print out a collection of pictures for your students before class begins. As an easy alternative option, the students can use their smartphones or tablets for the exercise. Also, make sure that the students have some paper to draw on. Drawing Dictation ESL Activity Guidelines: To start the lesson, model the task. Pick a student volunteer from the class and hand them a random picture. Tell the class that you have no idea what the…
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The 5 Whys ESL Writing Activity

This activity is an adaptation of Sakichi Toyoda’s technique for determining the root cause of a problem. The 5 Whys Method was originally used within the Toyota Motor Corporation. Let’s explore how we can use this technique as a language learning activity. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] The 5 Whys ESL Activity Preparation: There is not much needed to prepare for this activity. However, just make sure that your students have a pencil/pen and paper to write on. The 5 Whys ESL Activity Guidelines: To begin the exercise, you may want to activate students’ background knowledge by explaining some problems that you have. Try to make it a bit personal to capture their attention. Of course, the model example will depend on the age group…
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Box of Lies ESL Board Game

Box of Lies is another adaptation of a game played on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. In this version of the activity, students create drawings placed into a box. Then, students take turns describing the drawing while others try to guess if they are lying or not. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Box of Lies ESL Game Preparation: To prepare for the game, watch a few skits of the game on The Tonight Show. You may want to pick one or to that you would like to show to the class. Make sure to have plenty of paper and pencils ready too. Box of Lies ESL Game Guidelines: To begin, show an example video of the Box of Lies game from The Tonight Show on…
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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 Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] 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…
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Dictogloss ESL Writing Activity

The Dictogloss writing activity is an excellent collaborative English lesson that incorporates all core language skills. Students work in groups to reconstruct a text after listening to the teacher’s reading of the text. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Dictogloss ESL Activity Preparation: Before the lesson, you should prepare a short text to read to the class. Choose either a short news article, brief story paragraph, or synopsis of a movie. Above all, make sure to select a topic that matches the students’ abilities and interests. The text length can vary depending on how much time you have for the lesson. If the students’ skill level is less advanced, select a shorter text with simple vocabulary. Plus, prepare some writing paper to hand out to the students.…
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Mad Libs ESL Board Game

This fun ESL game is based on the "Mad Lib Theater" skits on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The activity is appropriate for all ages and requires minimal preparation. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Mad Libs ESL Game Preparation: Search on YouTube for “Mad Lib Theater” and a list of skits starring Jimmy Fallon and popular celebrities will show up. Choose one that you think your students will like. This video will be a useful introduction to the activity. Also, prepare some lined paper for students to write on. Mad Libs ESL Game Guidelines: To begin the lesson, show the entire video skit to the students. It is a great way to generate interest and it will familiarize students with the task. Next, put the…
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Running Dictation ESL Writing Activity

Have you ever tried doing a running dictation in your English classroom? This ESL writing activity will also help students elevate their listening, speaking, and reading skills. It is a great collaborative activity for pairs and group work. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Running Dictation ESL Activity Preparation: Before class, prepare a short paragraph that matches the students’ skill level. Also, try to find a text that relates to their interests. For instance, select a paragraph from a short story or a clip from a news article. Make copies of the text to match approximately half of the total number of students in your class. Running Dictation ESL Activity Guidelines: Before doing the activity, you may want to begin the class with a short discussion relating…
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Taboo ESL Board Game

Playing the classic board game of Taboo is a fun way to engage your students in class. It is a great game for improving listening and speaking skills. It is appropriate for all ages and levels. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Taboo ESL Game Preparation: Before class begins, you should prepare a list of words and about 3 to 5 synonyms (or related vocabulary) for each word. There are some prepared lists online if you want to download them. For example, there is a good list of Taboo words on the ESL Games website. Plus, you may want to try online versions of Taboo on the following sites: Playtaboo.com, Taboogame.net, and Playtaboogame.com. Alternatively, customize your own taboo lists using the vocabulary from your class textbook.…
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Storytelling ESL Speaking Activity

This storytelling ESL activity lets students practice new vocabulary by creating stories in small groups. Students can use vocabulary from their course book to improve their speaking skills while producing a unique story of their own. The activity is appropriate for all ages and levels. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Storytelling ESL Activity Preparation: Create a list of vocabulary from your course textbook. Make sure to include a variety of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. You may also want to print and cut out the words individually on paper. Alternatively, you could use an app or website to generate the words if your classroom has a smartboard or a large screen. Storytelling ESL Activity Guidelines: To begin, model the activity. Write five nouns on the…
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Weather Forecast ESL Listening Activity

Do your students know how to listen to weather forecasts in English? This Weather Forecast ESL Activity explains how to use authentic video from YouTube to help your students improve their listening skills. You can use this activity with kids and adult learners. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Weather Forecast ESL Activity Preparation: To prepare the weather listening activities, browse YouTube for some authentic videos from weather broadcasts. Pick a video that is appropriate and preview it for difficult difficult vocabulary. Make a list of the vocabulary to pre-teach your class with. Make printouts of the list if you think it will be helpful. Weather Forecast ESL Activity Guidelines: To begin the class, have a pre-discussion about today’s weather. If you want to make things more…
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Alibi ESL Board Game

This classic Alibi ESL game is popular with students of all ages. The concept can be challenging for beginners; however, it is extremely engaging learners with at least an intermediate level of proficiency. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Alibi ESL Game Preparation: For this game, you don’t need to prepare much. Beforehand, you could think of a few crime scenarios to present to the class. If you want, you could prepare a brief paragraph (5 short sentences) describing a hypothetical crime. Take the paragraph from this page if you are running short on ideas. Alibi ESL Game Guidelines: At the start of the class, tell them they are going to play the game of Alibi. You may want to elicit what the meaning of the word…
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Would You Rather ESL Speaking Activity

Have you ever tried playing Would You Rather with your students? The Would You Rather ESL Speaking Activity is a fun way to get your class more familiar with comparisons and using modals. It is more suitable for intermediate to advanced levels. Both younger learners and adults will enjoy playing the game. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Would You Rather ESL Activity Preparation: There is nothing required to prepare for the Would You Rather ESL Game. However, you could think of some funny scenarios or stories to tell the students before class. It may depend on the theme that you choose to focus the lesson on. Read more below for the details. Would You Rather ESL Activity Guidelines: To begin the activity, tell the class about…
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Halloween ESL Vocabulary Game

Need a new classroom activity to try for Halloween? The next time the end of October rolls around, try playing the Halloween ESL Vocabulary Game with your students in class. The game is suitable for most age groups and levels. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Halloween ESL Game Preparation: Before class, prepare a list of words based that are based on a Halloween theme. You can find a list online. Check out Pinterest for some Halloween vocabulary or create a quick list yourself. Here is a brief list, as an example, that you could use with a basic level class: witch skeleton pumpkin haunted house ghost candy black cat vampire mummy costume Also, prepare some paper for writing on if the students need it. Secondly,…
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Guess Who ESL Board Game

The Guess Who board game can be played with younger and older students. You can also adjust the difficulty of the game by making the descriptive questions more challenging. Read below for more information about how to play the game in class. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Guess Who ESL Game Preparation: To prepare the ESL Guess Who Game, you should browse online to find templates of the photos. Do a Google search for “Guess Who game templates” and you will see several results pop up. Choose one of the classic picture grids or customize one yourself. For instance, your could copy/paste photos of celebrities in a grid and print it out. If your students are equipped with smartphones or tablets, you could play the…
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Comparatives ESL Vocabulary Game

This comparatives ESL game uses player cards from EA Sports games to encourage students to practice comparatives using authentic content. The activity can be adapted to suit any age or level. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Comparatives ESL Game Preparation: To prepare for the game, go online and search for EA Sports player ratings. If you want to focus on a particular sport, add it to your search query. It may also depend on your teaching context. Focus on a sport that you know most of your students enjoy. For example, since soccer is widely popular in most countries, you could do a search for EA Sports FIFA player ratings. This will bring up several player cards on the EA Sports website. Alternatively, you could…
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Prepositions ESL Vocabulary Game

Are you looking for a new activity to practice prepositions in class? The Prepositions ESL Game is an interactive activity that students attempt to recreate a scene from a photograph with a drawing. It works well with all age groups. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Prepositions ESL Game Preparation: To prepare for the activity, make sure to have some blank paper for the students to draw on. You will also need to find some pictures of scenes online. However, as a part of the activity, you may want to have the students search for the pictures on their smartphone in class. Alternatively, you could also use still frames from videos on YouTube. Students should also have a pen or pencil to draw with. Prepositions ESL Game…
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Body Parts ESL Vocabulary Game

The Body Parts ESL Game is a fun and interactive activity for improving students’ understanding of body vocabulary. The game also allows students to practice listening skills while drawing funny looking cartoon characters with their classmates. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate Age Group: Kids [printfriendly] Body Parts ESL Game Preparation: Since this game is targeted towards younger learners, you may want to pick up some colored pencils or crayons. Pencils or pens work well too. It can be played on the board as well. Body Parts ESL Game Guidelines: To start, draw a funny character on the board so all the students can see. Next, draw lines to different parts of the body. Elicit the names of the body parts with the correct spelling. Make sure to label as many body…
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Shopping Spree ESL Speaking Activity

The Shopping Spree ESL Activity is a useful method for getting students more comfortable with shopping vocabulary. With this activity, they can improve their expressions using money and other terms related to shopping. It is a fun and interactive game for most age groups. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Shopping Spree ESL Activity Preparation: Browse through some shopping sites in English that are easy to use. The students will use their smartphones for this activity. Sites such as Amazon, Best Buy, eBay and others work quite well. You may have other shopping sites in mind that are more appropriate for your students’ interests. Shopping Spree ESL Activity Guidelines: To start, you may want to introduce the lesson with a shopping discussion. Ask students what they…
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Bingo ESL Board Game

There are several skills which can be taught using the Bingo ESL Board Game. Improve students’ vocabulary, grammar, and other core skills in English by printing off customized Bingo sheets. This activity can be used with all ages and levels. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Bingo ESL Game Preparation: To prepare for the game, you should go to a free Bingo sheet generator website to make your cards. There are a number of useful sites, like FreeBingoMaker.com or MyFreeBingoCards.com which can generate the Bingo cards for you. Simply copy/paste the content in the generators and it will make as many randomized cards as you want. Before visiting the websites to generate the cards, make a list of 25 items. Since a traditional Bingo card is…
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Toilet Paper ESL Vocabulary Game

Play the Toilet Paper ESL Game with your new classes. It is a funny and entertaining way to get your students to talk in class. Pick up a roll of toilet paper and bring it to your first class. A roll of paper towel will work just as well if you prefer to use that instead. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Toilet Paper ESL Game Preparation: Again, all that you need to prepare for this activity is a roll of toilet paper (or paper towels). Sticky notes are good too, but they are a bit more expensive. Generally, most students find toilet paper to be more amusing anyway and it’s much cheaper. Using a felt marker or a board marker would be better than a…
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The Price is Right ESL Board Game

Have you tried playing The Price is Right ESL Game in class? The game is an adapted version of the popular TV game show. You can use this activity to review large numbers and prices of products that you find online. It is a fun and interactive game for all age groups. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] The Price is Right ESL Game Preparation: Find some pictures of actual products online along with their prices. Browse sites Amazon or even eBay to find what you are looking for. Once you have found a bunch of products, you can put them together in a PowerPoint or show the pictures from a screen or iPad. Improvise for whatever works best for your teaching context. Remember to create…
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Family Tree ESL Writing Activity

This activity is appropriate for all ages and levels. By using the Family Tree ESL Activity in class, students can develop their descriptive writing skills. You can easily adjust the level of difficulty depending on your context. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Family Tree ESL Activity Preparation: For this activity, all that you need is some lined paper for the students to write on. If you want, you could also prepare a list of vocabulary that they could use for their writing. Find terms related to family and any other vocabulary that you would like to reinforce. Family Tree ESL Activity Guidelines: First, start the class off with a discussion about family. You may want to begin by describing your own family and relatives. Go…
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Map Directions ESL Listening Activity

Have you tried using Google Maps in your ESL classroom? By using this Map Directions ESL Activity, you can improve your students listening skills and get them to practice telling directions. The activity is appropriate for all levels and age groups. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Map Directions ESL Activity Preparation: To do this activity, you need to have access to Google Maps in your classroom. Students can use their smartphones and tablets or you can use a large screen for the entire class to watch. You may also want to prepare a demo for telling directions on Google Maps. For instance, you could think of how you would tell students to get somewhere in your hometown. Load it on the map and show it…
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Big Numbers ESL Reading Activity

Are your students struggling with big numbers in English? The Big Numbers ESL Activity can improve your students’ confidence with using larger numbers in both reading and writing. This activity is very similar to a jigsaw reading activity. However, the main focus is on large population numbers across the world in different countries and cities. It is an effective lesson for kids and adult learners of all ages. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Big Numbers ESL Activity Preparation: You need to prepare some facts and figures beforehand on two similar handouts. Research the populations of different countries and cities around the world. Make about 10 sentences on the handout. Since it is a jigsaw reading activity, leave blank spaces on every second question. Therefore, one…
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Christmas Story ESL Writing Activity

Do you need a fun writing activity for the Christmas season? The Christmas Story ESL Activity is a great way to develop your students' creative writing skills. In this activity, they can create their own unique story and get peer feedback from their classmates. It is ideal for younger learners, but adults could try it too. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Christmas Story ESL Activity Preparation: Prepare some lined paper for the students to write on. You may also want to prepare a vocabulary list of Christmas words that they could use in the assignment. Find the content online or make the list yourself. On the other hand, you may want to have the students create the list themselves in a pre-task activity. Christmas Story ESL…
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Job Interview ESL Speaking Activity

Are you teaching students who are preparing for job interviews? This is a very practical job interview ESL activity that will make them more confident answering questions that they are likely to encounter. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Adults [printfriendly] Job Interview ESL Activity Preparation: Prepare a list of questions that students are likely to be asked in the job interview. It may depend on the type of job that they are applying for. Customize the questions and vocabulary based on the students’ needs. If they are applying for various jobs in different contexts, it may be more difficult so you may need to prepare more in advance. However, many common interview questions are likely to overlap. Therefore, having a majority of “general” questions would be quite helpful too.…
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Have You Ever ESL Vocabulary Game

Playing the Have You Ever ESL Game will get students to practice new vocabulary that they have learned in class. You can use new words covered in your course textbook and other vocabulary that you would like to reinforce. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Have You Ever ESL Game Preparation: To prepare for the game, collect a list of words that you would like your students to practice. Make sure to have several verbs and nouns. If you are using a course textbook, it is a great idea to use words from each chapter so they can review the course content. You may want to print out the list for your own personal reference during the lesson. Pick up some dice at a dollar store. Have…
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The Cube Test ESL Writing Activity

The Cube Test ESL Activity can help students improve their writing skills and have fun evaluating their classmates’ personalities. The original Cube Personality Test was developed by Tadahiko Nagao and Isamu Saito who co-wrote the popular Kokology book series. The test analyzes people’s personalities by using guided storytelling. However, you can also use it in your language class. Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced The Cube Test ESL Activity Preparation: Before starting the activity, prepare some paper for your students. Get some lined paper for writing and some blank paper for students to draw on. You may also want to print out a copy of the activity guidelines so it is easier to lead your students through the personality test. The Cube Test ESL Activity Guidelines: First,…
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Apples to Apples ESL Board Game

The Apples to Apples ESL Game is an adaptation of the popular card game Apples to Apples. It is a fun interactive activity for all ages and levels. You can use the official game itself or, if it’s not available at your school, you can create your own version. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Apples to Apples ESL Game Preparation: Before class, if you don’t have the official board game, you will can find an alternative version of the game’s vocabulary online. You could also get creative and type out words for the game yourself. The original Apples to Apples board game consists of two colored decks: green apple cards and red apple cards. The red apples words are all nouns (or noun phrases). The green…
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Find Someone Who ESL Speaking Activity

The Find Someone Who ESL Activity is a great way to get your students up and out of their seats. By filling out a chart of questions, students try to find other classmates who have done different actions and activities. It works especially well as an ice-breaker. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Find Someone Who ESL Activity Preparation: Prepare a sheet of questions for the students. The document should include a list of activities that people do their lives. At the top of the document, write “Find someone who…”. Below, write a series of activities and actions that the students will have to check off when they do the discussion task. For instance, the document could look something like this: Find someone who... 1. watched a movie…
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Two Truths and a Lie ESL Speaking Activity

The Two Truths and a Lie ESL Activity is a great icebreaker for most levels. The aim of the activity is for the students to guess what you are lying about. It is preferable if the students don’t know much about you. This will make it more challenging for them to guess which one of your personal statements is a lie. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Two Truths and a Lie ESL Activity Preparation: All that you need for the Two Truths and a Lie ESL activity is your board and marker. Optionally, you could provide the students with some paper for them to write on. This speaking activity can be extended as a writing activity as well. However, it depends on how much time you…
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Jeopardy ESL Board Game

Here is an alternative method for using Jeopardy in your language classroom. This classic Jeopardy ESL game actually encourages your students to create the game's content. They can also compete with each other in teams. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Jeopardy ESL Game Preparation: The amount of preparation for the Jeopardy game really depends on you. One method is to find a pre-made game online. There are several pre-made PowerPoint games floating around the web. Alternatively, you could use a template from the web and customize it for your class aims. On the other hand, the version of the game described in this article gets students to create the questions and answers. If you choose to use this version, then it takes minimal preparation since…
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Balderdash ESL Board Game

The Balderdash ESL Game is a hilariously entertaining game that students of all ages can play to improve their English skills. It requires some creativity and gets them thinking more outside the box while also creating some healthy competition in the classroom. The game works better with adult learners but kids can play too if their level is high enough. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Balderdash ESL Game Preparation: In order to prepare for this game, you should accumulate a list of strange words that they are likely to be unfamiliar with. For lower levels, you could use more basic words that they haven’t been exposed to yet. For more advanced students, you can use actual words from the original Balderdash board game to challenge them.…
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Tic Tac Toe ESL Vocabulary Game

In this activity, you can use the classic Tic Tac Toe grid to help your students recall vocabulary from your lessons. The Tic Tac Toe ESL Game works best as a filler or a way to conclude a lesson as a review activity. Furthermore, you can even use it with adults as you can vary the level of difficulty. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Tic Tac Toe ESL Game Preparation: To prepare for the game, you can scan through your course textbook and collect some words to use. Many texts have lists of the vocabulary that is used in either the contents or appendix sections at the back. Of course, you can use other random words or vocabulary that you would like to reinforce or practice…
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Cup Pong ESL Speaking Activity

Playing the Cup Pong can be more than just a fun drinking game to play with your friends. You can adapt the game, so it can be used to improve your students speaking skills and allows them to have some fun while learning English as well. The Cup Pong ESL Activity can be used with all levels and age groups. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Cup Pong ESL Activity Preparation: For the game, you will need some ping pong balls and some plastic (or paper) cups. You may want to find some bigger cups to make sure it isn’t too difficult for the students to get the ball in. However, using a bunch of those smaller standard office paper cups can be fun for students…
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Daily Diary ESL Writing Activity

This daily diary ESL activity could be used as a project-based assignment that you can have your students do throughout the term. However, you can use it as an activity in a single class. It works quite well for all ages and levels. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Daily Diary ESL Activity Preparation: There is not a whole lot to prepare for this activity. Though, you could take some sample writing from blogs or online diaries to show your students. Moreover, by looking at samples, they will have a better idea of the types of sentence forms and informal writing styles that are typically seen in diary writing. Daily Diary ESL Activity Guidelines: First, write on the board three categories with the headers similar to…
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News Article ESL Reading Activity

With the News Article ESL Activity, you can improve your students reading skills using an authentic text or news article. You can adapt the lesson for how you want and customize it depending on the needs of your students. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Adults [printfriendly] News Article ESL Activity Preparation: Browse the internet for a news story that is relatively recent and based on a topic that they would find interesting. If they like sports, find an article on ESPN. If they enjoy talking about current events, you could browse newspaper headlines on reputable news sites. Select something to match their level. Once you have found the article, you may need to edit it if you think the vocabulary is too advanced for their level. Otherwise, you will…
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Movie Idioms ESL Speaking Activity

This Movie Idioms ESL Activity helps students practice using different expressions and idioms from popular movies. It works best with adults, but younger learners could also enjoy it if they are above an intermediate level of proficiency. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Movie Idioms ESL Activity Preparation: There is a bit of preparation is required for this ESL speaking activity. Browse through some clips on YouTube or Netflix to find some appropriate material. Do a search for “idioms in films” or “idioms in movies” to get some content to use. Alternatively, you may already have some movies or dramas in mind that have a lot of idioms. Finding a TV sitcom or a movie that your students are familiar with would be ideal for generating the…
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Inside The Actors Studio ESL Listening Activity

The Inside the Actors Studio ESL activity works particularly well as an ice-breaker during the first day of class. Moreover, it can still be used at any time throughout the school term. Note, this listening activity uses James Lipton’s 10 questions from his show Inside the Actors Studio. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Inside the Actors Studio ESL Activity Preparation: First, to prepare for this activity, you should find one of your favorite episodes of James Lipton’s Inside the Actors Studio. Over the past several years he has interviewed some of Hollywood’s most critically acclaimed actors and actresses. What you will be using for this activity are the series of questions that he asks everyone at the end of each show. Ideally, try to find an…
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Hangman ESL Vocabulary Game

Playing the Hangman ESL Game in class is an effective method for helping students recall vocabulary, improve pronunciation and practice using new words from the curriculum. It is usually used with younger ages but can also be fun for adult learners too if adapted appropriately. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Hangman ESL Game Preparation: Not much is required to prepare for the game. However, you may want to prepare a variation of words from your textbook or curriculum before you start the class. It can be adapted using sentences to challenge higher level students as well. Hangman ESL Game Guidelines: Most students are familiar with Hangman since it is something they have played in their early years of education. If they are very young learners, some…
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Movie Subtitles ESL Writing Activity

The Movie Subtitles ESL Activity helps develop students' writing skills by watching films. It can be used with movies and films on YouTube or other movie sites. Students should create their own dialog from what they see with the volume turned down. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Adults [printfriendly] Movie Subtitles ESL Activity Preparation: To prepare for this writing activity, research a few movie scenes on YouTube that you think your students will find entertaining. Make sure that it has plenty of dialog in it. You could use multiple scenes from one movie or a series of different scenes from different movies for more variety. Next, create a worksheet with space on it so that students can enter all the character names on it. Leave room on the sheet…
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Funny or Die ESL Speaking Activity

Here is a hilariously entertaining game that you can use in your classroom to improve your students’ speaking abilities. The Funny or Die ESL Activity uses video clips from the Funny or Die website (or other alternative video sites) which the students will form their opinions about. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Funny or Die ESL Activity Preparation: To prepare for the speaking activity, browse Funny or Die’s website to select some funny content for your class. Make sure it is appropriate material for your age group. Check out their Best GIFS of all Time sections for some of the most entertaining clips. Once you have found some video clips that you like, create a handout with a chart on it with two columns and several…
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Monopoly ESL Board Game

This Monopoly ESL Game is adapted from the classic board game. It can be used as a way to improve students’ language abilities. It is also a fun interactive way to get both young and older students to participate in the classroom. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Monopoly ESL Game Preparation: All you need for this game is your classroom whiteboard, markers, dice and the board eraser. Optionally, you may want to pick up some magnets if your whiteboard is magnetized. Otherwise, you can improvise the pieces by drawing them on the board with colored markers. Additionally, but not necessary, you could create some “Chance” cards with questions on them for when players land on certain sections of the game board. Monopoly ESL Game Guidelines:…
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Sentence Building ESL Reading Activity

This is a useful ESL activity for reading, sentence building and improving sentence structure. In this exercise, students work in groups to arrange words in order and form a number of different sentences based on a particular theme. The Sentence Building ESL Activity encourages them to use proper grammatical forms. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Sentence Building ESL Activity Preparation: In a Word doc, prepare a long list of sentences. Focus on a particular grammar point or verb tense that you would like your class to improve upon. Furthermore, if you are doing the activity as an extension of a topic in a textbook, then try to make sentences which are based on the same theme from the book. After creating your long list of…
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Movie Buzz ESL Listening Activity

The Movie Buzz ESL Activity is a relatively easy activity to prepare that involves getting students to answer questions about movie scenes. It helps with their listening with dialog and can also improve their speaking and discussion skills. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Movie Buzz ESL Activity Preparation: Prepare a scene or a number of scenes from a movie or TV drama that the students would be interested in. Ideally, find something with lots of dialog so you have more material to make questions for. Movie Buzz ESL Activity Guidelines: At the beginning of class, talk a little bit about what they are about to watch. Highlight the main characters in the scene, discuss their background and intent in the scene etc. Students can discuss what they know about…
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Battleships ESL Board Game

The Battleships ESL Game is an adaptation of the original game. It can be used in a variety of ways in a language classroom. It gets students to think strategically while also having fun practicing their English skills in teams. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Battleships ESL Game Preparation: To play the Battleships ESL Game, first, you need to prepare the “boards” that each team will use to draw their ships on. What works best is if you create a simple grid by making a table with rows and columns in a Word doc. Usually, a 10-by-10 grid suites most classes. However, it depends on how challenging you want the game to be and how much time you have. After preparing the grid, you can…
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Hot Seat ESL Vocabulary Game

The Hot Seat ESL Game is a classic vocabulary activity that has been around for a while in the language learning world. It can be used with all age groups, not just kids, and can be a good way to get everyone involved in the activity. It is sometimes called “Back to the Board” or similar to the Taboo ESL Board Game. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Hot Seat ESL Game Preparation: First, to prepare for the game, you should have a good idea of what words you would like to review beforehand. You may want to create your own Hot Seat ESL game word list. Then, print our your Hot Seat words so that you can refer to it in class. As for materials,…
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Movie Predictions ESL Speaking Activity

Here is another fun movie predictions ESL activity that you can use with movies in which the students have to guess what happens next in a scene. It gets them thinking of some wild and entertaining possibilities that could happen in a movie plot. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Adults [printfriendly]   Movie Predictions ESL Activity Preparation: Find a movie online that your class would be interested in and that matches their skill level. Cartoons could be used for lower level students, while any type of movie genre would be appropriate for higher levels. Make sure that the length of the clip is long enough so that you can use the complete amount of class time necessary. In some cases, sitcoms and TV dramas work best because they range…
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Five Senses ESL Writing Activity

The Five Senses ESL Activity encourages students to write more descriptively using all five of their senses with a piece of chocolate. It is recommended for adult learners; however, kids could try it as well if their level is high enough. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Adults [printfriendly] Five Senses ESL Activity Preparation: Pick up some chocolate from your local convenience store. Those small individually wrapped pieces of chocolate usually work best for most scenarios. If budget is a concern, you could supplement the chocolate with some cheap candy or even use a beverage if you prefer. Five Senses ESL Activity Guidelines: First, when class begins, it would be a good idea to show the class some examples of descriptive writing using the senses. Try comparing writing styles that…
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Q and A ESL Reading Activity

This Q and A ESL activity gets students involved in making test questions based on an article that they will read in class. Moreover, you can also use the activity with your class's reading textbook. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Adults [printfriendly] Q and A ESL Activity Preparation: Before class, make sure you have an article prepared for the activity that suits your students’ reading ability. Newspaper articles about current events usually work very well in most situations. Make sure that it is long enough so that it can be divided into sections relatively easily. Print out enough copies for the number of students in your class to get ready for the Q and A reading activity. Q and A ESL Activity Guidelines: At the beginning of class, have a…
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Movie Words ESL Listening Activity

The Movie Words ESL Activity can give your students some additional practice listening for specific details using dialog from any movie scene. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Movie Words ESL Activity Preparation: Find a movie online that your students would find interesting and that matches their skill level. YouTube has a wide range of scenes to browse through to find something suitable. Once you have found a good scene or series of scenes, the next step is to create a typed version of various different words that you hear in the scene(s). Listen to the actors' lines and type out any of the vocabulary that you want your students to study in a Word doc. You may want to create a table so that it is…
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News Report ESL Writing Activity

This is an effective activity for improving students’ writing skill by summarizing information from a news broadcast. The goal of the news report ESL activity is to create a brief summary of a news story that they watch in class. Students can also improve note-taking skills. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Adults [printfriendly] News Report ESL Activity Preparation: Select a recent news report from a news website, like BBC, CNN, CBC or another reputable news television station that you prefer to use. Generally, they should be relatively short news clips anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes in length. It's a good idea to watch and listen to the clip first yourself. This way you can make a list of any vocabulary or expressions that you think the students are…
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Postcards ESL Writing Activity

It may be a bit old-fashioned for the times, but some people still like to keep old traditions alive. This postcards ESL activity can be a useful method for getting students interested in writing a personal message to a friend from a travel destination of their choice. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Postcards ESL Activity Preparation: First, create a simple postcard template in Word or any other word processor program. One side should be blank. The other side should have a location for an address and space to write the letter on. Lastly, print it out and prepare the blank templates for the class. Postcards ESL Activity Guidelines: To start, students can talk about travel spots that they have been to and have a short…
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Comic Strips ESL Writing Activity

Creating dialog for comics is a fun way for students to spark some creativity and improve their writing skills. This comic strips ESL activity can be done with any popular comic strip that you can find online and edit accordingly for your students’ levels. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Comic Strips ESL Activity Preparation: Browse the web for popular comic strips. There are a number of websites that have PDF versions of comics or newspapers that include them in their online publications. Find one that is appropriate for your students’ tastes and print it out to prepare. Select a variety of different ones depending on how much time you want to spend doing the activity in class. With the printed copy, take some white-out and…
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Jigsaw ESL Reading Activity

If you want to add some discussion to a reading lesson, using the jigsaw reading activity method is a great way to get students interacting in class as well as improving their reading skills. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Adults [printfriendly] Jigsaw ESL Activity Preparation: Use an article from the textbook or an article that you found online that your students would be interested in. Newspaper or magazine websites are good sources to get articles from. Preferably, articles with different sections and multiple headings in them work best for this type of activity. Make photocopies of the article or copy/paste the article into a Word doc if you found it online. Divide the article into different sections for individual students to read. If you have made photocopies, then you…
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Timed Reading ESL Activity

The Timed Reading ESL Activity is a great way to help students recall information from a text. You can do it with articles in textbooks, magazines, newspapers or anything else of interest. Find appropriate textual materials from the web. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Adults [printfriendly] Timed Reading ESL Activity Preparation: Prepare an article of interest that your class would be interested in. It should be long enough and separated in different sections or paragraphs. Thus, students have clear stop and start points in the article. Timed Reading ESL Activity Guidelines: First, before reading, have the class discuss opinions related to the topic of the article. Do some pre-discussion questions to increase engagement in the subject. Present the text to the class. Then, have students briefly scan the whole…
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TV Guide ESL Reading Activity

To help with students’ reading skills, this TV guide ESL activity can improve their ability to find information by scanning for information from a list of television programs. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] TV Guide ESL Activity Preparation: First, find a listing of television programs from a popular TV station online. You can find many TV guides by going directly to the broadcasting company’s website, such as HBO, CBC, or NBC. Try to find one that has a long listing of times, shows, genres, and a brief description of the programs. Ideally, try to find one that has a long listing of times, shows, genres and even a description of the programs if you can. Print out the program listings and prepare them for class. Alternatively,…
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Charades ESL Board Game

Playing the Charades ESL Game in the classroom is a fun way to get your class using vocabulary and forming sentences. Get the students thinking “outside of the box” with a classic, interactive, and dynamic game of Charades. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Charades ESL Game Preparation: To prepare for the game, you may want to collect a few words that are loosely related to the topics that you are currently covering in your curriculum. Create a word list and print it out so you can refer to it directly in class if you want. Charades ESL Game Guidelines: To start off the activity, start the class with a demonstration of how to play the game. The purpose of Charades is to elicit a correct…
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Pictionary ESL Board Game

Learn how to use the classic Pictionary ESL Game and adapt it to your lesson plan. The game can be used with all levels of language learners and is an effective way to review vocabulary. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Pictionary ESL Game Preparation: Gather a wide range of vocabulary that you have used in previous classes or that you will be using for your students in the near future. It can be single words or even common idioms/expressions that you would like to use. Pictionary ESL Game Guidelines: At the beginning of class, do a demonstration of the activity so that the class understands what to do. Start with a simple word or expression. For example, you could begin with the word “Breakfast.” On…
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Wheel of Fortune ESL Board Game

You won’t exactly be bringing in Pat Sayjack and Vanna White into the classroom with this adapted version of Wheel of Fortune, but the concept is relatively similar. This Wheel of Fortune ESL Game is a lot like the game Hangman with the added element of money and the wheel. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Wheel of Fortune ESL Game Preparation: Before class begins, prepare a number of words and expressions to use for the game. Try to relate it somehow to the textbook that you are using in class if you want to use it as a fun extension to a lesson. Alternatively, you could get the students to think of the expressions themselves during the class in teams. You could create the money wheel…
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TED Talk ESL Listening Activity

Here is a TED Talk ESL activity that will help improve students listening skills and get them talking about interesting topics in the classroom. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Adults [printfriendly] TED Talk ESL Activity Preparation: First, find a TED Talk topic related to your lesson by doing a search on TED.com. You can use their search filters on the website to find an appropriate topic and duration for the video. TED Talk ESL Activity Guidelines: After selecting a video for the class, you may want to pre-teach some vocabulary from the talk and familiarize the students with any difficult words. The TED website is especially useful since many of the videos have transcripts that you can use to select the vocabulary that needs extra explanation. In addition, you…
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Movie Dialog ESL Listening Activity

This movie dialog ESL activity can be used with any scene from a movie or any compilation of scenes that you would like to show to your class. It gets students listening for what the characters say in the movie and arrange dialog lines in a correct sequence. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Adults [printfriendly] Movie Dialog ESL Activity Preparation: First, research a movie or individual scenes from a film that you think that your students would be interested in. Many full movies can be found on YouTube or Netflix. Find one that is an appropriate length for your lesson. Also, try to choose scenes that have a lot of speaking involved. Once you have decided on the movie and selected the scenes, watch the material and type out…
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Chopstick Topics ESL Speaking Activity

The Chopstick Topics ESL Activity is useful for getting your class involved in various quick discussion topics. 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 Age Group: Adults [printfriendly] Chopstick Topics ESL 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…
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Movie Trailers ESL Speaking Activity

Every class loves movies. With the Movie Trailers ESL Activity, students watch a series of movie previews and fill out a chart with information. The class then uses the chart to discuss what they wrote with other classmates. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Adults [printfriendly] Movie Trailers ESL Activity Preparation: Prepare a simple chart in a Word doc with different categories on it. The first column header should be the “Movie Name.” The other columns can be customized to anything that you would like. For instance, possible headings could be “Genre,” “Actors,” “5-Star Rating,” “Prediction,” “Movie Comparisons” or whatever else you would like the students to put on the chart. Find movie trailers online and prepare several of them that you would like to show in class. Any number…
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4 Corners ESL Speaking Activity

This is a quick and easy activity to get your students out of their seats if they have been sitting at their desks all day. It can help provide a change of pace to the lesson and will get the students talking. To do the 4 Corners ESL Activity, all you need is some space in the classroom. Student Level: Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Adults [printfriendly] 4 Corners ESL Activity Preparation: You don’t have to prepare much for this activity. You should have a board marker, a pen, a piece of paper to write your words on, and plenty of room in the classroom for students. If your classroom is particularly small then you may want to try using other parts of the school if you have access. This activity…
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Song Lyrics ESL Listening Activity

Using music for listening activities in class can help students of all ages develop their listening comprehension skills. Here is a fun song lyrics ESL activity that you can use with any type of song. You can use YouTube or play the tune from your phone for the students to listen to. Student Level: Intermediate Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Song Lyrics ESL Activity Preparation: Find a song that most of your students would be interested in. If you choose a song that only you like, then it could defeat the purpose of the exercise if nobody except you actually enjoy the music. After finding a song that everyone will like, search online for the lyrics to the song. There are a number of lyric websites where you can download…
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Pass the Marker ESL Vocabulary Game

This game is recommended for kids because of its simplicity, though if you are creative and want to raise the level of difficulty, it could also be used in adult classes if you want to have a change of pace in your lesson. For the Pass the Marker ESL Game, all you need is a marker and a board. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Pass the Marker ESL Game Guidelines: All you need to prepare before class for this activity is a marker. It is a good idea to make sure that your classroom has enough space to move around as well, so you arrange the desks and chairs appropriately beforehand. Pass the Marker ESL Game Guidelines: Have the students form two lines in two teams.…
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Memory Race ESL Vocabulary Game

This memory race ESL game is more directed at children to help them recall vocabulary, but it could still be adapted to suit adult classes with some increased difficulty. It works best in classrooms that have a lot of space for people to move around without too many obstructions. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Memory Race ESL Game Guidelines: Before the class, make sure that the desks and chairs are aligned so that there is space for the students to move without tripping on anything. You could also prepare the vocabulary and questions that you want to use for the game beforehand as well. Also, you could prepare the vocabulary and questions that you want to use for the game beforehand. Memory Race ESL Game Guidelines:…
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Board Race ESL Vocabulary Game

The Board Race ESL Game is a fun way to get your class up and out of their seats. The activity can be used with young students as well as with adults, depending on your classroom size. All you need are two markers, free space to move in the class and a board to write on. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Board Race ESL Game Preparation: Before class begins, or before the activity starts, you should make sure that there is enough room to move around. Clear out any obstructions that could get in the way. You don’t want anyone tripping or hurting themselves. Board Race ESL Game Guidelines: The goal of a board race game is to have two people “race” from one end of…
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Word Chain ESL Vocabulary Game

This Word Chain ESL Game can be used to help build students vocabulary using a variety of themes. It can be used with larger groups or even in pairs. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Word Chain ESL Game Preparation: Not much pre-class preparation is required for the Word Chain game. If you want, you could think of a few different vocabulary themes based on the words in the textbook that you are using for the class, but it isn’t really necessary. Word Chain ESL Game Guidelines: To explain to the class how to do the Word Chain activity, first, think of a theme like "movie stars" or something simple like "colors" if it is a very basic level of students. Let's use the "colors" example to…
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Mystery Word ESL Vocabulary Game

If you want your students to start thinking more outside the box, this fun mystery word ESL game can get them there while also building their vocabulary based on a particular theme or topic that you are covering in your class. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] Mystery Word ESL Game Preparation: You could prepare a few vocabulary concepts for this game before class. On the other hand, simply improvise and think of a few concepts in class as you go. The idea of the game is relatively simple so not much preparation is required at all. Mystery Word ESL Game Guidelines: To start the activity, draw a circle on the board with a question mark at the center of it. Next, extend a number of…
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20 Questions ESL Vocabulary Game

This is a fun activity for encouraging students to ask “yes” or “no” questions about a “mystery word” that someone is thinking of. The 20 Questions ESL Game can be used as a good way to review any type of vocabulary that you have already covered in class. Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate Age Group: Kids, Adults [printfriendly] 20 Questions ESL Game Preparation: Pre-class preparation for this activity isn’t really necessary. Though, if you want, you could think of a few objects, people or things that you want your students to think about for answers to the game. 20 Questions ESL Game Guidelines: A good way to start the game is by drawing a face on the board with a bubble rising out of it. Put a question mark inside the…
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