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.

Theft in the hotel

This activity is a role play that allows students to take control, decide how the story will develop, and use their imagination. It can be used with a range of levels as students drive the content, but they will have to think on their feet and use the language in real time as they can’t prepare for what is going to happen.

Vocabulary activities

Have you tried these practical activities to help students with vocabulary learning? There's something for all ages and levels.

Same as the teacher?

This activity is designed to be used as a vocabulary review or test of existing knowledge of the learners' vocabulary. It generates lots of words and is a lot of fun. The categories can be changed to suit the level and learner.

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Stop, go back dictation

This is a dictation activity which pushes students to make sense of the language they hear by writing it down as accurately as possible.

Using Glogster for creating interactive online posters

You can create attractive and colourful Glogster posters with your students on many different occasions: for celebrating festivals, for illustrating project work or for presenting a topic.

Creating Vokis – online animated characters that speak

Vokis are great for practising speaking skills with students. Creating an animated character and giving it a voice is real fun to do and breaks down the inhibitions that students often have when faced with recording themselves speaking in English.

Discussing languages

This is a discussion activity that you can use to find out about your students’ opinions of language learning and how important they think it is.

Working with biographies

The Biography section of portfolios is a documentation of the learners' personal language learning history and can include, for example, a short narrative about the summer camp they attended and for which they may include a certificate of attendance in the passport section.

It’s 12.00 o'clock!

This is a drawing and speaking activity that is fun to use with primary classes to revise the present continuous form. It is easy to set up and requires no preparation or materials, except a board and a board pen.

Who is it?

In this activity students listen to information about two people who emigrated to Dublin. They then have to create profiles of other immigrants based on the text from the listening. The activity is based on themes and images from the OPENCities project www.opencities.eu

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When did you last...?

This is a simple activity to set up and gives Elementary level students plenty of opportunity to speak and practise using the past simple.

Getting teenagers talking 2

Here are five useful ways that I have used to try to encourage my teenage learners to use more English in class.

Superlative noughts and crosses

I like to use this activity to promote the use of the superlative form. It utilises a well-known game that students find stimulating and fun to play.

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.

Writing poems with ‘Spark’

“Writing poems? No, this wouldn’t work with my students!” If you feel skeptical about getting your students to try their hand at composing poems or songs in class, try this activity.

WWW reading task - Holidays on the web

Simple search tasks are incredibly easy to set students using the web as a language-learning tool. They don't have to be particularly complicated, or even well researched, although this helps!

Why didn't you come to the party?

This speaking activity for higher-level beginners up to upper intermediate involves students working in pairs to make up excuses.

Realia in the bag

I have used this vocabulary activity several times with students of different ages.

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Class secrets for modals for possibility

This is a speaking exercise for modal verbs used to express possibility, for intermediate / upper-intermediate classes.

Classroom issues

Learners have a lot of ideas about how they should learn a language and it is important to encourage them to discuss these and to communicate them to the teacher.

Collocation pelmanism

This activity follows on from the Think article Lexical exploitation of texts. It is often necessary to recycle new words several times in class before they become part of learners' active vocabulary, and the same is true of collocations.

Comparative plips and plops

I like to use this activity to promote the use of the comparative form. It is a fun guessing game that encourages creativity.

Comparatives and superlatives through pictures

A short but fun way to revise comparatives and superlatives is to give students a blank piece of paper and ask them to draw an easy to draw object, such as a star, a tree, a flower or a house on it.

Consequences role play

Why not play a game of consequences with a difference, where students must take on the role of another person?

Conversational English

This low-level activity

Creating a framework for writing

This is a creative-writing exercise in which the teacher moulds the story but allows plenty of scope for the students' creative expression.

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