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.

Lucky number 6

This is a quick simple game that reviews question forms and can be used as a warmer or a filler at the end of the lesson with all students aged 7 – 11.

Shopping at the minimarket

To set up the activity requires quite a lot of preparation. However, this activity can be repeated over future lessons as a review (using new shopping lists) and develops a number of skills (CLIL) and creates an appropriate context for students to communicate at this age.

Mingling: True or false?

This is a simple mingling activity that can be used with low level groups to provide practice in asking and answering questions. The lesson is designed for adults but could also be used with older teenagers.

Pairwork: What’s in the fridge?

This is a another simple pairwork activity that can be used with low level groups to provide practice in countable and uncountable nouns, in the question structure – How much … is there? /How many … are there? and the corresponding answers There is … / There are … and food vocabulary. The lesson is designed for adults but could also be used with older teenagers.

Noah's Ark in Space

This is a small group, free discussion activity aimed at pre-intermediate students and above, in which students are asked to decide which animals should be selected to go aboard a space-craft in order to safeguard their survival. Time: About thirty minutes.

Inside lives

This activity practices students’ listening and speaking skills. They first listen to a description of two images and then they analyse the language used and try to use it to describe some different pictures. The activity takes a similar format to that used in many speaking exams. The images used are those of Viennese migrants, all of whom run specialist businesses. The activity is based on themes and images from the OPENCities project

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:

What does migration bring?

This is a listening and speaking activity for students based on the theme of migration. It should be suitable for adult or young adult intermediate level learners. Immigration can be a difficult and controversial topic to tackle and some students may have very strong opinions on this topic. The activity was based on themes from the OPENCities project

The challenges of being a migrant

This is a speaking and listening activity that involves students in thinking about the kinds of problems and challenges they might face as a migrant going to Belfast. They then listen to the true stories of 5 migrants talking about the challenges they have faced in moving to Belfast. The activity is based on themes and images from the OPENCities project

Supporting city openness

This is a listening activity aimed at intermediate level adult and young adult students.


Chain story telling

In this speaking activity the students tell personal stories which are prompted by pictures.


This (diagnostic) activity is designed to give students freer speaking practice in the form of mini-talks. The teacher then focuses on accuracy in the next day follow-up activity and feedback sheet.

Choose a city

In this speaking activity students think about and discuss a city they would like to live in for a year. The activity is based on themes from the British Council OPENCities project

Accidents anecdotes

In this speaking activity students exchange authentic personal anecdotes.

Revising texts

When it comes to revision, this is an activity I've found time-effective and motivating. After my students have worked on three texts in the textbook and done various comprehension and grammar exercises I use this activity to revise.

Working with passports

The Passport section of portfolios summarizes the owner’s linguistic identity, language-learning experiences and language qualifications in an internationally transparent manner.

What's the question?

This is a pair-work reading, (speaking) and grammar-based activity for elementary students. It mainly practises question formation, reading comprehension and the ability to identify and correct factual mistakes in a text.

What's the pronunciation?

This is a pronunciation game I made up called 'What's the pronunciation?'


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.

Creative group writing

This activity really makes writing in class fun. I have used this activity for years and it has always been a hit. It's good practice for writing creative stories using narrative tenses.

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.

Dating game

This is a great activity for getting students talking. I have used it successfully with many different levels and age groups and have found that it is very effective at motivating teenagers to talk.

Definitions - Get rid of it

This game can be adapted for matching definitions to words or matching opposites.

Desert island

This is a speaking activity based on the theme of being stranded on a desert island. It is suitable for pre-intermediate students upwards.

Design a mobile phone

This activity can be used for all levels and could be extended to a mini-project for younger students.

Developing a Nation

This is a group-work speaking activity for intermediate level and above, where students are asked to make choices about the future economic development of a fictional developing country.