Try This Game
In your next ESL speaking class, have your students practice more natural conversation with this fun game that will get them speaking, listening to their partner, and responding.
How it works:
1. Break the students up into pairs or groups of three (or more depending on your way of doing it)
2. Give them a general topic to ask a question about. (ex. What they did last weekend. A movie they've seen recently. Etc)
3. The students are to ask their partner a question and their partner answers.
4. The partner then asks a question based on their answer to continue the conversation moving.
5. The game goes back and forth until one person can't think of anything else to ask or time runs out.
Demonstrate - You should demonstrate the activity first by eliciting responses from the class.
Props - Props always help, even if it's just a tennis themed photo on the screen or bring in tennis balls (the second one could get a little out of hand, so be careful)
Countdowns - Countdowns are always your friend to put a bit of pressure on your students to go when it's their turn. Use this to award points.
Easter Egg Lessons:
Community - The students will eventually learn something new about each other you do this often enough.
Conversation Skills - They will build a better feel for how a smooth conversation works which will help them in their own language.
What else can you find?
How it works
1. Introduce the lesson by writing a question on the board. (Take one from the rrrather.com or make up your own)
2. Ask students to take out their phones and go to rrrather.com.
3. Do a could as a class. Explain the language, make corrections, demonstrate what you want them to do.
4. Choose 5 questions to ask to a partner.
5. Ask a partner and write down his/her answers.
6. Present partner's answers to the class.
If you're looking for a useful, dynamic addition for your lesson materials, look into getting your hands on a set of these picture dice. Most toy stores will carry something like this, and they are as useful as you are creative. There are plenty of EFL speaking or writing activities you could create using these, so today, let's get you started with three basic ideas.
1. Group Story Telling
Use the picture dice to tell a creative story in groups. Your small groups will work together as they create a story based on the pictures they roll.
This activity might be difficult at first, but once they get one, it will be fun for your more advanced students. Try it in a variety of ways depending on your particular student. Some students are more creative, and some students are more ABC thinkers. Adjust the rules accordingly.
This activity works great if you need to practice different past tenses.
2. I Remember When...
How It Works:
1. Ask the student to choose a dice and roll it.
2. The student and their partner think of a memory that the give dice reminds them of. (You are the student's partner for 1-on-1 Lessons) - The 'memories' can be real or made up.
3. The student says their memory beginning with the expression, "I remember when..." or "I remember one time..."
4. The partner asks Student A questions about their memory to see if it's a real memory or a made-up story.
It's always a good idea for the teacher to go first to demonstrate the activity.
It's always a good idea to set time limits for activities and show the student how much time is left in a given activity.
Pre-teach certain words or expressions like "I remember one time..." and to make up something.
Correct any language that the students need and make note of them for later. Work with this language, vocabulary, or expressions after the game.
Easter Egg Lessons:
Creativity - If we do this more than once, the students will get better and better at thinking of creative stories, questions, and answers.
Community - They may learn new things about each other without even realizing it.
3. Follow-up Questions in Conversation
How it works:
1. Ask the student to choose a picture dice. (If it's an online class, I do the rolling)
2. Roll the dice and each of us think of a question or conversation topic based on the picture.
3. The question should be INDIRECTLY related to the picture. (It's best if the other person has to ask how you related your question to the picture.)
4. Continue the conversation using follow-up questions based on the other person's answers
5. When the conversation naturally dies down, switch turns and begin a new conversation.
Follow the video tutorial if you have any questions. Subscribe to the channel if you like it.
Why it works
Teens and adults love this lesson because they decide where the conversation goes.
This turns the typical English lesson dynamic on its head by guiding the student to lead a conversation. The student will get to practice leading a conversation that they get to create, and take it to wherever they want to take it. This is also REAL WORLD conversation practice because it builds more than just English language, but genuine conversation skills.
It's important to pre-teach or at least review the concept of follow-up questions and even practice with a basic example.
A: What's your favorite food?
B: I like pizza.
A: What do you like to put on your pizza?
B: I like ham and pineapple.
A: We have a name for that kind of pizza in the US. Do you know what it is?
A: It's my dream to visit Hawaii. What's your dream vacation?
The teacher should go first (at least the first time you do this activity) as a demonstration of what you expect.
This can be adapted to classes if the students are advanced enough. You will need to break them up into pairs. Give them a time limit for the conversation time. At the end of the given time, ask them where their conversation started and finished. (For example: -banana picture- The conversation started with "Have you ever seen a nature documentary?" and our conversation ended up talking about cars.)
If you haven't bought any dice yet (or aren't interested in buying dice), I'm sure you could search "random picture generator" and see what comes up. Then do the same kind of activity based on that.
Let me know how it goes!
Have more time.