New class, new faces, new names – a mess. This back to school activity has saved me multiple times. You can learn 30 new names in minutes, kids have fun and they painlessly learn new adjectives. Start by explaining how difficult it is for teachers to learn students’ names and that you need their help. At the end of the activity let them test you- they will be thrilled. Students need to introduce themselves by an adjective that starts with the same letter as their first name. You start by giving an example: My name is Al, so I am Artistic Al. The first student has to repeat your name after you – You are Artistic Al, and add their own – I am Hilarious Hannah. The second student repeats the previous names and adds their own, and so on. At the end of the round, ask the first student(who had the easiest task) to say all the names backward. Finally, say all their names quickly(with or without the adjectives). Congrats, you’ve learned your new students’ names!
2) Oh, really?
Put the students in pairs and tell them they will have a conversation. The first student has to start with a short sentence, like this:
Student 1: I play tennis.
The other student responds: Oh, really?, and adds extra information( aword or a phrase).
So it should be like this: Oh, really? I play tennis every day.
Student 1 continues: Oh, really? I play tennis every day with SerenaWilliams.
Student 2 responds: Oh, really?I play tennis every day with Serena Williams in Monaco.
Student 1 responds: Oh, really?I play tennis every day with Serena Williams in Monacowhile feeding dolphins.
And so on. Can they keep up?
The student who will form the longest grammatically correct (and at least a little bit coherent) answer wins.
Have your students write a questionnaire. Chose a subject(summer holiday, school, hobbies, general personality questions) or let them decide. After that, students circulate the classroom and ask their questions. They should talk to 4-5 people. When they finish, ask them to share any interesting answers, it usually leads to lively discussions.
Unfinished sentences ESL speaking activity is great for revising grammar, as a warm-up or a conversation starter.
It can be used with groups of various sizes as well as in one to one classes.
4) Unfinished sentences
Unfinished sentences ESL speaking activity is great for revising grammar, as a warm-up or a conversation starter. It’s a perfect back to school activity.
It can be used with groups of various sizes as well as in one to one classes.
Finish the sentence. Tell your story.
1. I was very surprised when__________________________________________________.
2. What I value most about my friends is_____________________________________.
3. I really regret_______________________________________________________________.
4. One of my favourite childhood memories is_______________________________.
5. I could never_______________________________________________________________
5) Find someone who
You can easily find tons of these worksheets online or just put together a couple of ideas.
-who doesn’t like chocolate. -who is vegan. -who has a tattoo. -who speaks more than 2 languages. -who’s never flown before. -who wants to be famous. -who has a special talent.
6) Vocabulary race
This is probably more suitable for younger kids. Put them into two teams, divide the board into two sections, give them a topic and let them run a relay with the marker to write as many words on the topic they know.
7) Get physical- Gordian knot
This activity doesn’t involve any language practice but it is great for kids who don’t know each other, to break the ice and create a positive atmosphere. It also shows you how the students communicate, who is a natural leader and how they deal with problems, so it’s quite useful.
You need an even number of students for this. The students stand in a tight circle. Tell them to close their eyes. Then they put their left hand in front of them and try to grab any free hand they can find. Eyes still closed. Repeat the same with the right hand. Eyes open. They should be intertwined – hence the Gordian knot. Without letting any hand go, they should untangle the knot and form a circle. Sometimes there are two or three smaller circles when they grabbed a hand right next to them. That’s ok, they will work it out after a couple of attempts.
8) Conversation questions
This speaking activity contains 50 ESL conversation questions for teenagers and adult learners. (16+, B1+). It is best for small groups or as a pair-work.
This is a very simple, no-prep activity. In pairs, students give each other a topic to talk about and they have to talk uninterrupted for a minute. It is more difficult than it sounds, especially with dry topics such as door, socks, or air. If your students lack imagination, you can use these ideas: One Minute Talk Cards.
10) What do they have in common?
This is mostly an activity you can use with new students, but it can be also used in larger classes where the students don’t know each other that well. Put students who don’t know (or don’t know well) each other into pairs and tell them to find out 3-5 things they have in common and 1-2 things they don’t have in common. Let them talk to more people. After that, discuss with the whole class what surprising or interesting things they’ve found out about their classmates.
These conversation questions are more suitable for more advanced students as the questions are hypothetical, so it requires a knowledge of conditionals and a certain level of creativity. These can be also used for online classes.
A timer, fifteen questions and a lot of fun. A classroom appropriate variation of speed dating. Arrange the desks so that two students sit at one desk facing each other. Give each a set of “speed dating” questions. You can download a set here. Set a timer for a couple of minutes, and when the time’s up one student moves and another sits in their place.
15) Mini presentations
ESL conversation topics for intermediate and upper intermediate students. You can use the slideshow and share your screen on Zoom or other app when teaching online. Just click on the full screen option in the top right corner of the slideshow.
There are certain types of annoying coworkers that can be found almost everywhere. You might be one of them. Do you know which one you are? Take this quiz.
The most frequent types are:
The Wannabe Boss
The Energy Vampire
The Kitchen Slob
These business English roles-plays can help your adult students practice dealing with annoying coworkers and office problems.
A1: You have an annoying co-worker who puts all her/his calls on speaker, spends a lot of time discussing personal problems, invades your personal space, peeks on your computer screen over your shoulder; and jumps into your conversations without invitation. You have tolerated this behavior long enough and now you will talk to your co-worker and make an end to it. B1: You work in an open space office and share a cubicle with an older co-worker. You have a feeling that your co-worker does not like you but you have no idea why. You are friendly, laid back, and chill. You spend a lot of time on your mobile phone, talking to your family, checking your Instagram because you usually finish your work fast and are bored soon afterward. Your co-worker wants to chat.
A2: You are a project manager who has been assigned to a new project. One of the members of your new team is not co-operating with the other team members. He opposes every idea, causes conflict, and is generally difficult to work with. Talk to him and solve the problem. B2: You have worked for this company for 10 years and you feel unappreciated. You started to work on a new project with co-workers who are not so experienced as you are and you think your manager is incompetent. You complain a lot because things do not work as they should. Your manager wants to talk to you.
A3: You are a good employee, you have great results and everybody likes you. The problem is that you think your boss is stealing your ideas and presenting them as his/her own and you do not get the deserved credit. Talk to your boss. B3: You are the department manager of a large company. You have great employees and your department has the best results. You know you could get promoted soon if you keep coming up with great ideas. Your employee wants to talk to you.
A4: You maintain a healthy diet and prepare a fresh lunch for work every day. There is no restaurant near your workplace and you have no time to drive somewhere for lunch during your break. Last week somebody stole your lunch every day. You suspect a certain co-worker. Talk to him/her. B4: You started to work in a new company. There is no canteen and you have no time to drive somewhere for lunch during your break but luckily there are free snacks in the staff kitchen and you helped yourself to a free lunch a couple of times. Your co-worker wants to talk to you.
A5: Your co-worker is rude and thinks that she does not value your opinion. You think that she is irresponsible and unreliable. Talk to her and express your concern. B5: Recently, you have been overworked, your diary is full, and you have no time for personal life. You are about to have a breakdown when your co-worker stops you to have a chat.