One Word Chain Letter

This can be used at most levels, but is best from B2-C2. I usually do it as a review/practice of conjunctions, but it could be used anytime. I originally heard a version of this on the radio when I was visiting the UK once.

  1. Choose a topic such as “a complaint letter, a request for information, an accident report etc.”. Then explain that the whole group is going to “write” a letter with no paper. They are going to create the letter orally. Start the letter my saying “Dear”
  2. The next person in the circle must add exactly ONE word to the letter. For example “Mr.” then “Brown” and so on. The object is to NOT come to a full stop/end the letter! This is where conjunctions come in handy (and I usually refer them to their handout/book or the board with many conjunctions).
  3. If a learner provides a word that does not fit grammatically, allow them the chance to correct themselves/add a word that does work.
  4. The game ends when a learner can not continue the sentence. In which case they respond “period/full stop”.

This is great fun as a review or practice of the conjunctions and there is not a lot of pressure on the learners since they only need to create one word. If they are shy you could put them in pairs, but I have never had to do this.

For 1-1: This activity works well for 1-1 as described above.

Folding Stories

This is something I used to do with my friends back home. It is best for levels from A2-C2. As the teacher, you should also take part!

  1. Give each participant a page with one sentence at the top (a different sentence for each sheet), such as: Bob had a problem at work./An old woman named Martha needed help./Sarah received an email with the best news of her life.
  2. Allow the learners to read their sentence and explain that they will write the next sentence under the original sentence.
  3. Then, everyone should fold the paper in such a way that only their sentence is visible.
  4. They then pass their paper to their left. When they receive the new sheet, they read the visible sentence (again ONLY THE LAST SENTENCE), they continue the story for that sheet.
  5. The process repeats for a certain period of time or until the sheets are full.
  6. Finally, the learners open the sheets and read their stories out loud to the group. Some of the stories will be quite funny, others strange, but everyone enjoys hearing them!

1-1 Adaptation: this exercise does not work for 1-1 situations at all. There need to be a minimum of 3 people who write.

Adverbs of Frequency

This is good for A1-B1 levels. I am attaching the two worksheets I used below, but you can also create your own phrases. I use this as controlled practice after having introduced the a) meaning of adverbials and b) the position of the different ones (quick rule: short adverb phrases before the verb, longer phrases at the end of the phrase).

  1. print the worksheet, cut the phrases and put them into a container (bag, box etc.). Print the wheel worksheet, and fix the arrow using an envelope clasp.
  2. Explain that when the music starts (I use my phone), the bag/box of questions should be passed in one direction and the wheel in the other. (like in the other post I described called “Ball and Bag”).
  3. The person with the bag/box ¬†takes a strip, for example “buy flowers for your mother” and asks “How often do you buy flowers for your mother?”. Then the person spins the wheel and must answer with the adverb phrase the arrow stops on. Sometimes this creates funny examples. As a follow-up, you can allow stronger classes to answer with their real answer.

 

  1. come to work on time
  2. FREQ

Who has my phone?

This is a good review of questions and can be used form A1-B1 levels for best results.

  1. Explain that one learner will leave the room and the teacher’s phone will be given to another learner. The learner will then reenter the room and ask questions to find out who has the phone.
  2. You may need to board some question forms to remind them at this point.
    1. A1 level: Does a man/woman/person with brown hair/green shoes/etc. have the phone?
    2. A2 level: Is the person wearing…/Does the person …/Has the person got…
    3. B1 level: Did this person arrive late today?/ Is the person wearing…/Does the person …/Has the person got…
  3. Send one learner out and give a learner the phone.
  4. When the learner from outside returns, allow them to ask as many questions as possible until they can find out who has the phone (I encourage them NOT to ask “Does Maria have the phone/Do you have the phone, Maria” unless it is their very last question.).
  5. Repeat with a new learner leaving.

1-1: This could work with 1-1 if you print out a dozen pictures of different people and then place a card UNDER one of the pictures that says “phone” and have the learner play as above. You can start the game to show the learner how it’s done and to build confidence the first round (so the L “hides” the phone under a picture and you ask).

Guess my job

This is good for A1-B1 levels and can be used for general English or business English.

  1. Brainstorm jobs in English and write about 12-15 on the board.
  2. Elicit some yes/no questions about jobs with the learners, for example:
    1. Do you wear a uniform?
    2. Do you work inside?
    3. Do you work alone?
    4. Do you study at university for your job?
    5. Do you work in a team?
    6. Do you earn a lot of money?
    7. Do you use a computer in your job?
    8. Do you drive as part of your job?
  3. Put the learners in pairs or small groups. Explain that one person will choose a job from the board, but will not tell their partner/group.
  4. The partner/group may ask 4 questions from the brainstormed questions (or others) before they can guess the job.

1-1 The activity works well for 1-1 as described.

What has changed?

This is good specifically for the present perfect in the passive or active. You may need to pre-teach some vocabulary depending on the learners.

  1. Divide the class into two groups.
  2. One group will leave the room for a few minutes while the other group changes a few things in the classroom (you might give an exact number, say 8).
  3. When the group outside returns to the room, they need to identify the things that are different using target language such as: The picture has been hung upside down./The dictionary has been moved. (active voice: You have hung… /Someone has moved…)
  4. Award points for the correct answers/grammar.

For 1-1: Play as described above.

Interview Bingo

This one is great for groups (at least 9 participants or more) and lower levels (A1-A2). It can be adapted to any grammar point or vocabulary.

  1. Distribute the handout. (see sample handout below called “can you”)
  2. Ask a learner to model the dialog/interview. Explain that if the person answers with YES, the asker may write the answerer’s name in the box below the picture. For groups that can handle it, you can request that they ask a follow-up question. If the person answers NO, then nothing is written. They may ask another question to the same person.
  3. The learners move around the room interviewing their classmates (The trainer can also take part). When they have completed their BINGO card, they sit down.
  4. The trainer then calls out the learners names one at a time at random. Those who have that person’s name, should mark the box with an X. Whoever has a row (vertical, horizontal, diagonal) shouts BINGO! Then, to confirm the win, they read out their row, e.g. Marco can repair cars, Teresa can swim, and Paulo can ride a horse. The winner can get a point or a candy/sticker or other reward.

Alternative: Instead of using a photo, use a photo AND a word/phrase or only a word/phrase in the box.

This is game can not be adapted to 1-1.

can-you