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.

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.



If this person were a…

This is a game I sometimes play with my family and friends on road trips. It’s best for groups at the B1 level and up.

  1. Explain that one person will be the “Asker” and the rest of the group will answer. Choose one person to leave the room. While that person is out, the group selects a person in the room to describe.
  2. The Asker comes back in (I usually demonstrate the first round by being the Asker myself). The Asker asks a question such as:

If this person were a color/flower/animal/food/piece of furniture/disease/car/sport/movie genre/insect/planet etc., which one would they be. (Be careful to use THEY in your answers). The Asker asks the questions then designates a person to answer. The person who answers should answer based on personality (not likes, for example if a person likes black, but you think yellow best represents them, say YELLOW).

3. The Asker asks one question to everyone in the room before guessing who it is.

4. Repeat the game with a new Asker.

1-1 Variation: This can work for 1-1 if you limit the number of questions to five (for example) and use a list of names of people both the learner and the trainer know (may include famous people) to be kept on the table for reference.

3-2-1 Presentations

This one is one of my favorites for practicing presentations, self-introductions, discussing a process etc. It is best at the B1-C2 levels.

  1. After introducing the basic structure of a good presentation (introduction, main points, conclusion) and key phrases, ask the learners to write a very short presentation. The presentation should be 3 minutes and contain no slides. I often assign this as homework.
  2. If possible, check their presentations (focus on structure and key phrases). Then pair the learners up and set a timer for 3 minutes so that one person can give their presentation to their partner. They may refer to their notes on their sheet. Then switch and repeat for 3 more minutes. The trainer should circulate and finally make one or two brief comments (Remember to use phrases like XXX etc.).
  3. Tell the learners to switch partners. Explain they will repeat the process except this time they only have two minutes! Allow both partners a chance.
  4. Have them change partners again. This time they have only 1 minute to give their presentation.
  5. Everyone sits down in their seats. Conduct a feedback round. Ask what happened? How did they feel? Was it easier or more difficult as the presentation went on? Did they get better or worse at giving the presentation? Did they look at their notes in the last presentation? Why did we do this activity? Which presentations of their classmates do they remember? A great conversation will ensue and the learners usually immediately recognize that they a) got more comfortable (usually), b) became better at giving the main ideas of their presentation IF they had a good structure to begin with. Many more topics may emerge at this point.

1-1 Variation. This works perfect with 1-1 learners. The trainer needs to give a presentation.

Go Fish

This classic is good for A1 and A2 levels. It’s perfect to practice structures such as:

Do you have a …? I would like… Have you got… I am looking for… etc.

I need a thing which…/ I am looking for a person who…/ I would like an animal that…

And it can also be used to practice very specific vocabulary. It’s great then for ALL LEVELS of general and technical English (Do you have a wrench? A catalytic converter? A vile of … etc.)

  1. Collect the words you would like to practice and draw pictures or find cc pictures online and paste them into a table with frames so that you can print and cut out cards.
  2. Explain the rules to the learners. In pairs or small groups they receive 5 cards. The rest are placed in the middle. They want to get pairs. If they already have a pair, they put it on the table in front of them. The first player asks another e.g. “Sabine, do you have a bathroom cabinet?”. If she has it, she responds “Yes, I do. Here you are.” If she does not, she responds “No, I don’t. Go fish (or Take a card).”
  3. The game continues until one player is out of cards. Then all the players count their pairs. The one with the most pairs is the winner.

It is great for vocabulary and grammar structure and the learners love it. To mix it up, put objects of different colors/sizes on the cards (a black sink/a small vase etc.). By tweaking this game you can use it again and again and it will always be interesting!

1-1: This game is perfect for 1-1 lessons. The trainer is the partner, play as above.


Line Up!

This one is good for lower levels, especially A1-A2. It’s good because it gets the learners up and moving and it focuses on listening skills. You can also select a participant to be the person giving the orders to make it more active.

  1. Explain that you will give an order and the learners must line up according to your order. For example: Please line up from oldest to youngest/tallest to shortest within a specified time (90 seconds is good).
  2. Give the order.
  3. The learners should ask each other in English questions like “I was born in May 1990, when were you born?” in order to identify the correct order.
  4. Top the class (use a timer on your phone).
  5. Ask them to announce the order, e.g. S1: I was born in January 1989. S2 I was born in March 1989…
  6. If someone is in the wrong place you could eliminate that person from the next round if you want. Alternatively, give them 10 seconds to reorder themselves.


1. Say a sentence that is “correct” or “incorrect” and the learners move to one side of the room if they think it is correct or incorrect. This could be content-based or grammar-based.

2. Also with sides of the room, ask them to move according to what they think about a topic, e.g. “I think chocolate ice-cream is more delicious than vanilla.”

3. Also with sides of the room, ask them to move according to personal descriptors, e.g. Move to this side if you have a pet./If you speak more than 2 languages./ If you are wearing jewelry.