the pacing of your class. If you rush through your class at full speed,
slow things down and take time to ask your students personal questions
based on the materials you are using. If you tend to proceed at a snail's
pace, prepare some additional activities and push yourself to accomplish
more than you usually do.
a student to demonstrate a dance, and assist the student in explaining
the movements in English.
students to name as many objects in the classroom as they can while
you write them on the board.
students to present to the class a gesture that is unique to their own
students to write one question they would feel comfortable answering
(without writing their name) on an index card. Collect all of the index
cards, put them in a bag, have students draw cards, and then ask another
student the question on that card.
your students if there are any songs running through their heads today.
If anyone says yes, encourage the student to sing or hum a little bit,
and ask the others if they can identify it.
students to take a conversation from their coursebook that they are
familiar with and reduce each line to only one word.
the end of class, erase the board and challenge students to recall everything
you wrote on the board during the class period. Write the expressions
on the board once again as your students call them out.
by telling your students about an internal struggle between two sides
of your personality (bold side vs. timid side OR hardworking side vs.
lazy side), providing a brief example of what each side says to you.
After a few minutes of preparation in pairs, have students present their
struggles to the class.
a cellular phone (real or toy) to class, and pretend to receive calls
throughout the class. As the students can only hear one side of the
conversation, they must guess who is calling you and why. Make the initial
conversation very brief, and gradually add clues with each conversation.
The student who guesses correctly wins a prize.
a fork, knife, spoon, bowl, plate and chopsticks (if you have them)
to class, and mime eating some different dishes, letting students guess
what they are. Then let your students take a turn.
an artifact from the student's culture to class, and ask them questions
in some snacks that you think your students haven't tried before, and
invite the students to sample them and give their comments.
on a student to draw his or her country's flag on the board, then teach
him or her how to describe the flag to the class (It has three stripes...).
one topic (food, sports) and elicit a list of examples (food - chicken,
pudding, rice). Then have your student come up with the most unusual
combinations of items from that list(chocolate-beef or wrestling-golf).
with your students on a list of famous people, including movie stars,
politicians, athletes, and artists. Have every student choose a famous
person, and put them in pairs to interview each other.
to class dressed differently than usual and have students comment on
a page from a comic book, white out the dialogue, make copies for your
class, and have them supply utterances for the characters.
pages from various ESL textbooks (at an appropriate level for your students),
put them on the walls, and have students wander around the classroom
and learn a new phrase. Then have them teach each other what they learned.
some interesting pictures of people from magazine ads. Give a picture
to each student, have the student fold up the bottom of the picture
about half an inch, and write something the person might be thinking
or saying. Put all the pictures up on the board, and let everyone come
up and take a look.
something observable in the classroom (while looking down), and tell
students to look in the direction of what you described.
a map of your country or another country that your students know well.
By drawing lines, show students where you went on a trip, and tell them
about it. Then call on several students to do the same. The trips can
be truthful or fictional.
a pancake-shape on the board, and announce that the school will soon
be moving to a desert island. Invite students one by one to go to the
board and draw one thing they would like to have on the island.
a party scene on the board, and invite students to come up and draw
someone they would like to have at the party.
a bag of coupons onto a table, and have students find a coupon for a
product that they have no need for.
with how you write on the board, altering your writing style, the size
of the letters, the direction you write, and the color of the chalk/pens.
to your students what it means to call someone a certain animal (dog,
pig, fox) in English, and then ask them what these mean in their languages.
the board with vocabulary your students have encountered in previous
classes (make sure to include all parts of speech), and get them to
make some sentences out of the words.
out what famous people your students admire, and work together with
the class to write a letter to one of them.
out what your students are interested in early on in the semester. Go
to the Internet from time to time to collect articles on these subjects
for students to read during the class period.
instruct your students to write on a slip of paper the name of one book,
CD, or movie that changed them in some way. Collect the papers, call
out the titles, and ask the class if they can guess who wrote it. Finally,
let the writer identify him or herself, explaining his or her choice.
each student a piece of chalk/pen and tell them to fill the board with
pop song lyrics. Then put them in pairs, and get them to use the words
on the board to create a new dialogue.
students a reward (such as a candy or a sticker) each time they take
the artificial language in your textbook and turn it into an authentic
question or comment about someone in the class.
a student a ball of yellow yarn. Have him toss it to another student,
while saying something positive about that student and holding onto
the end of the yarn. Continue in this manner until there is a web between
all the students.
each student an index card, and tell them to write down a sentence that
includes an error they have made this week, along with the correct version
of the sentence. Next, tape all of the index cards on the board for
students to look over.
up four different posters (example - one of a world map, one of a famous
singer, one of a flower, and one of Einstein) in the four corners of
your room. Tell students to choose one corner to stand in, and talk
about why they chose that poster.
each student make a list of the five most useful phrases for tourists
visiting an English speaking country.
students come to the board one by one, draw a poster for an English
language movie (without the title) they think the other students have
seen, and let the other students guess which movie it is.
a musician (flute? harmonica? banjo?) to play for a few minutes of your
small groups, have your students design a billboard for something other
than a product (wisdom, humility, friendship, etc.).
to see if your students have any unusual talents (can wiggle their ears,
can bark like a dog), and encourage them to demonstrate.
of saying "Very good!" all the time, vary the ways you praise
(and correct) students as much as possible.
your students to find something in their wallets/purses/pencil boxes,
and tell the story behind it.
your students to stand up and explore the classroom from new angles
(look in drawers, under desks, behind posters, on top of cabinets).
Then have students report their findings.
a few minutes before the bell rings, call on your students to choose
the ten most useful words they came in contact with during this class
period, then have them narrow it down to the three most useful words.
around some magazines, and have each student choose an ad that he or
she likes. Give students an opportunity to explain their choices.
a listening activity from your book an additional time with the lights
a recording of instrumental music and have some students draw on the
board what the music makes them think of.
five very different sounds from a sound effects tape or CD, and assign
students in pairs to create a story based on three of the sounds.
music that enhances certain activities (quiet music for a reading activity,
dance music for an energetic TPR activity). Ask your students for their
colored letters of the alphabet on cardboard squares and put them in
a bag. Students must draw a letter from the bag, and work together to
create a sentence on the board. Each student must raise his or her hand
to make a contribution, but the word the student calls out must begin
with the letter he or she chose. Put the expanding sentence on the board,
adding words only when they the grammar is correct.
several paper bags, each with a different scent inside (perfume, cinnamon,
cheese), pass the bags around the class, and let students describe what
phrases such as "in the library" "at an elegant dinner
with the Royal Family" "in a noisy bar" "in a dangerous
neigborhood" on separate strips of paper, put them in envelopes,
and tape them to the underside of a few students' desks/tables before
they arrive. Write on the board a useful expression like "Excuse
me. Could I borrow a dollar?" When students arrive, tell them to
look for an envelope under the desks/tables. The ones who find envelopes
must say the sentence on the board as if in the context written on the
page. Other students must guess the context from the student's tone
of voice and body language.
a list of commonly used sentence-modifying adverbs on the board, such
as suddenly, actually, unfortunately, and happily. Then launch into
a story, which each student must contribute to, with the rule that everyone
must begin the first sentence of his or her contribution with a sentence-modifying
each student with a list of the current top ten popular songs. Play
excerpts from some or all of the songs, and choose some questions to
ask your students, such as: Did you like the song? Have you heard this
song before? How did the song make you feel? What instruments did you
a postcard for each member of your class, writing his or her name in
the name and address space. Turn them picture side up on a table, have
each student choose one (without looking at the name), then he or she
will write a message to the person whose name is on the other side.
If a student chooses the postcard that has his or her own name on it,
the student must choose again.
students in pairs and ask them to guess three items in their partner's
students in pairs. Tell them to converse, but to deliberately make one
grammatical error over and over, stopping only when one student can
spot the other's intentional error.
students into small groups to create an application form for new students
to the school.
the students in small groups, and ask each group to plan a vacation
for you. They must plan where you will go, what you will do, who you
will go with, and what you will buy. When they are finished, have each
group present their plans.
a phrase or sentence that you want students to remember, by holding
a competition to see "Who can say it the loudest/the quietest/the
quickest/the slowest/in the deepest voice/in the highest pitched voice?".
up a board in your classroom where students can buy and sell used items
from each other by writing notes in English.
each student with a copy of the entertainment section of the local newspaper,
and tell them to choose somewhere to go next weekend.
a particularly uninteresting page from your coursebook, and put students
in groups to redesign it.
on a different side of the room than you usually do.
each student to report the latest news in their country or city to the
your students to practice a conversation from their coursebook that
they are familiar with, but this time they can only use gestures, no
they are practicing a dialogue, have students play around with the volume,
intonation, pitch, or speed of their voices.
"Tell me something I don't know." on the board, then ask students
questions about things they know about and you don't, such as their
lives, cultural background, interests, and work.
a common adjacency pair (Thank you./You're welcome OR I'm sorry./That's
alright) on the board. Ask students if they know of any expressions
that could replace one of the ones you just wrote. Write any acceptable
answers on the board.
a number of adjectives, such as mysterious, happy, peaceful, sad, angry,
and frustrated on the board. Call out a color, and ask your students
to tell you which adjective they associate with that color.
a word on a slip of paper and show it to a student. This student must
whisper it to the second student. Then the second student must draw
a picture of what he or she heard, and show it to the third student.
The third student, then, writes the word that represents the picture
and shows it to the fourth student. Then the fourth student whispers
it to the fifth student.... and so on. This continues until you get
to the last student, who must say the word to the class.
an idiomatic expression (such as "It beats me." or "I'm
fed up.") in big letters on the board. Call on a few students to
guess what it means before you tell them.
down the names of about five very different people on the board (a small
baby, a rude waiter in a restaurant, a fashion model, a stranger in
a crowd, and a grandfather). Give students a common expression, such
as "Good morning!" or "Sorry!", and ask students
how they might say it differently when talking to a different person.
your name on the board vertically, and add a suitable adjective that
begins with each letter of your name. The next step is to invite students
to do the same.
examples in http://www.geocities.com/allhou/rand.htm