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.

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.

Storytelling response tasks

Response tasks are designed to give students the chance to express themselves creatively and openly, not for comprehension checking.

Teaching students the shortest tale

This is one of the quickest ways I know of teaching a tale and boosting students’ confidence in themselves as storytellers.

Vision off – YouTube technique

This YouTube activity really gets your students thinking creatively. A short film is played for the students, but they can’t see the scene, they can only hear it. Students guess what happens in the scene before they get to view it to check their deductions.

The Turing Test

Alan Turing proposed a test inspired by a party game known as the 'Imitation Game', in which a man and a woman go into separate rooms, and guests try to tell them apart by writing a series of questions and reading the typewritten answers the man and the woman send back.

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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.

Word association recitation

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

Daily routines

This is a writing and speaking activity using the silent-method to practise vocabulary of daily routine, present simple and telling the time.

Kaleidescope - Cardiff

Kaleidescope is a project that mixes video and original pieces of writing from well-known authors in three capital cities – Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh. The package consists of a piece of poetry or prose, which looks at the city from an insider’s point of view. A simple movie accompanies the writing to help the language learner understand lexical or cultural items that require explanation.

Gap fill poems

I like to use this activity to introduce poetry into the classroom and to raise learners' awareness of the beauty and fun to be had with poetry. It can also be used to practise learners' pronunciation.

Video lesson 2

Documentary programmes

The longest time

This is a speaking exercise for pre-intermediate level learners and above. It practises the use of the ‘present perfect' to talk about something (an activity or state) that starts in the past and continues now. It could be used to introduce this area or to provide further general practice later.

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.

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Amazing facts

This activity is designed to be used as a warmer for Intermediate level learners. It could be used to generate interest in amazing facts as a lead in to a lesson using comparatives and superlatives.

An Interview with Sir Peter

This activity is based on the real story of Merhan Karimi Nasseri, who found himself unable to leave Charles de Gaulle airport in France, but became a popular subject for TV and newspaper interviews. It is a pair-work speaking, listening, reading and writing exercise for students who are at a good intermediate level or above.

Anna's wet day out

Planning a simple composition
This activity trains young learners to plan a very simple story by looking at the brainstorming process prior to writing, then allowing them to select ideas, and guiding them to the actual writing of the story through a clearly staged plan.

ARM exercises - speaking activity to wake up a sleepy class

This is a great way to start a lesson with a free-speaking activity. I call it ‘ARM exercises’ which is simply short for Accept, Reject or Modify statements.

Artists as immigrants

This activity attempts to challenge some of the preconceptions that people often have about immigrants by looking at a group of artists that have emigrated and exploring some of the challenges they have faced. The activity is based on themes and images from the OPENCities project: www.opencities.eu

Ask and imagine the story

This is a story-telling activity which involves the whole class, and may be used with adult or younger learners.

Big City Small World

This is a fun listening activity that can be used with adults and secondary groups. It exploits the Big City Small World audio soap from LearnEnglish.

Bingo mingle

In the event you have students who are stressed out or just plain bored by the dull approach to teaching grammar, there's a game you can play that will lure students into a communication approach to what is being taught.

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