Activities

Teaching activities to try out in the classroom. For each one you will find a simple guide for preparation and procedure, and sometimes printable worksheets too.

Playing with lexical cards

Very often students know the meaning of a word but don’t know how to use it correctly. This is often because they don’t know what words go with what other words, i.e. collocations.

Pairwork: tai chi classes

This is a simple pairwork activity that can be used with low level groups to provide practice in the present simple question form – What does he/she do on…?, days of the week, times and leisure activities. The lesson is designed for adults but could also be used with older teenagers.

Three of a kind?

Use this activity to practice the use of comparatives and superlatives and to introduce more complex ways of comparison.

Pronunciation whispers

This activity is based on the fun and effective game of whispers. It can be used with all ages and levels in a number of ways and for different elements of pronunciation.

Using the vocabulary game Pic-your-wits in class

Pic-your-wits is a vocabulary game that you can find on Facebook and on the LearnEnglish site.

Retelling the story

This activity can be used in a number of different ways and for a number of different tenses. I have used it to practise using there is / are and the present continuous. However it’s up to the teacher or students to decide on this.

Listen and draw

This is a simple speaking activity that can be used with A2 level groups to provide practice in using prepositions of place and giving clear instructions. The lesson is usually successful with adults and teenagers.

My Wikipedia

This is an activity 'about' the internet, but it doesn't start online. In fact it has to start offline: the idea is that students try and predict the first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry for their town, region or country.

Family snapshot

If you teach young learners who are all the same age and live in the same town, opportunities for sharing and comparing life experiences can feel more limited than they would be in a multi-national class of adult learners.

I couldn't believe my eyes

In this activity the teacher creates situations for the students to get plenty of practice with the form and meaning of the past perfect.

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Understanding dialogues

These are two simple listening activities which test students' understanding of two dialogues.

Vocabulary phonemic revision activity

I am a great believer in teaching phonetic script with new words, alongside their spelling, stress patterns and L1 equivalents.

Easter reading

This is a simple reading task on the theme of Easter in the UK. It helps students learn about how this time is celebrated in the UK and reflect on special occasions in their own culture.

Listening activities for songs

Here are some tried and tested ideas I get my students to do when listening to a pop song. Activities need not require hours of preparation time and some of the best activities are spontaneous and simple. Below are a few suggestions. They are categorised into pre-listening, while listening and after listening activities.

Same sound, different sound

This is an activity for more advanced students. It is diagnostic because it reveals the mental picture of English sounds that students have.

Revision activities

On this page you will find lots of ideas for classroom activities to help your students with revision.

Good manners

This activity is all about manners and etiquette. This can be an interesting topic to discuss with your students, especially if there are cultural differences regarding norms of behaviour between the country you're working in and the UK.

Musical landscapes

Pictures are probably the most often used prompts. Here is an activity that combines physical movement, imagination, self-expression and pictures.

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A shopping role play

This activity gives learners at an intermediate level and above the opportunity to use interactional language in a role-play situation

Accidents anecdotes

In this speaking activity students exchange authentic personal anecdotes.

Action Research - Stop, Start, Continue

This is an idea I got from a workshop that I went to many years ago. I have used it many times since and found it to be a really useful way of getting feedback from my students on my lessons and my teaching.

Active listening activities

Students are often asked to listen to tapes or to their teacher talking, but it can be just as useful to encourage them to listen to each other in a more active way.

Activities for using comic strips

Comic strips can be used from beginner level to advanced level for a variety of language and discussion activities.

Adopt a word

At the start of the school year I ask my students to 'Adopt a word' and share it with the class.

Algorithms

This is a whole-class speaking activity, needing no preparation, that gets the students practising question forms in a way that is useful practice as well as fun.

Alien abduction

This role-play can be used with students who are studying about aliens (a common course-book topic), for the practice and revision of narrative tenses or as a lead in to writing newspaper stories.

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Your comments

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ezkiko's picture ezkiko

Is there such an animal? I found a Phonetic transcription tool but it does not give me the...
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Paul Braddock's picture Paul Braddock

Hi - I can't see the word TREATY displayed in the phonemic chart. Could you tell me where you...
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sam7702000's picture sam7702000

hi i have a doubt on the word TREATY- /ˈtriː.ti/, we have a short vowel sound i in the end, but...
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