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.

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.

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.

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.

Getting the whole class talking

The following activities are designed to get everyone talking. They can be used with all levels because the language required to communicate is determined by the students.

Romeo and Juliet - a class play

This simple activity gives higher-level students the chance to write and act in their own version of Romeo and Juliet.

Transplants

This activity provides students with upper intermediate vocabulary for parts of the body such as blood, liver, lungs etc. and provides opportunity for debate on an interesting subject that is frequently in the news, as well as giving students the opportunity to express their views on a little-known experiment that took place 40 years ago.

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Musical landscapes

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

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.

Revision activities

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

Jigsaw Reading

This is a reading and speaking activity that provides practice in giving clear instructions and explaining the rules of a game. As an extension activity students can play the games.

Where were you...?

This a controlled writing activity which focuses on using the past continuous verb form to talk about events in the past. Learners write about what they were doing when they heard about an important event, either personal or public.

Word association recitation

This is a good way of getting students to memorise words and practise their pronunciation. The activity requires no preparation.

Family tree

It's amazing how students can't stop telling their friends about themselves. I introduced my class of second-language learners to the family tree and the different relationships between people in the family - in-laws, step-family, cousins, paternal and maternal sides etc. even terms like widow, widower and divorcee.

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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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