We, as teachers, very often face cases when students finish the planned activities very quickly and as a result, we are have an enormous amount of spare time left at our disposal. In other cases, students get bored with the suggested activities or there is a need to shift the classroom focus. In all these situations, back up activities are of great help to save the situation and cheer the students up. In this article, we will present such activities which require no or very little preparation. 

Board Games with Dice (Elementary + )

There are ample resources of board games played with dice. They focus on the revision of various tenses, vocabulary items, discussion topics, etc. You can download and print a set of good board games at the beginning of the course and when during the lesson you need a shake-up, pick up a relevant board game,  prepare the dice and here you go with a group of enthusiastic students who are thrilled to play such a competitive game. From my experience, I use dice sets of different sizes (very big and tiny ones) to add more excitement and fun. 

This site is full of useful activities.

Alternatively, you can bring classic board games, which weren’t created for teaching purposes but for entertainment, and play anytime there is a necessity. Try these top board games with your ESL class: Scrabble, Apples to Apples, Catch phrase, Taboo, Dixit, Evil Cards, Jenga and so on. Read more in this article. 

Picture Games (Pre-intermediate +)

The only preparation you need for this activity is to print random pictures from the internet and prepare a set of blank papers. The students have to write about either the real or an imaginary picture. They choose a paper and start describing the picture. Their peers do not know whether they are describing a real or an imaginary photo. A sample description can be, “This is a picture of my house in X place. The house is white and has a red roof and there’s a big garden in front of the house.” When they finish describing the photo they show it to their partners to compare their description with the original one. Students burst into laughter when they reveal those cases when their peers were describing the imaginary photo. This activity enables to practice a set of language items and include any detail students wish to. 

Another way to use pictures: Show pictures for a few seconds and then quickly hide them. The students will try to describe them in details to their partners who take notes of the description details. Later both of them look at the picture to compare and add new details. Apart from language knowledge, this is a great memory retention game as well. Another memory game which works great for all situations (reinforce the newly-learnt tense, vocabulary items, sentence structure, etc), the teacher boards a sentence and erases some words from there. Students have to recall which words have been erased.

Spin the marker (Intermediate +)

This creative ESL activity requires a marker, a pen or a pencil. The teacher will start a story, for example ‘’in a galaxy far far away …’’,  “Once in a stormy October night” and then spins the marker. The chosen student will have to come up with a sentence to continue the story and then will spin the marker again, and so on. The final creation should have a beginning, plot and ending. This activity requires a wide range of vocabulary and tenses and it is a great tool to upgrade students’ creative skills. 

Discussion Topics (Pre-intermediate + )

Great discussion topics can liven up any lesson. You can choose 5-7  topics, write them on A4 format paper and stick on the board face down so that students don’t see what is written on it. Number each paper and ask a student to choose a number. You open up the discussion topic, split the class either into pairs or small groups and get them to discuss the topic. Here is a list of some tried-and-tested topics:

Family vs career

Living in a town or city

Gadgets: good or evil?

Public or private schools?

Should military service be mandatory?

Should people smoke in public places?

Vocabulary box (Pre-intermediate +)

A simple box where you keep your course vocabulary can lead to a number of great activities which require no preparation at all.

  •  Pull out an equal amount of words from the box and distribute it to the teams, set a time limit and ask them to give definition s to as many words as possible to their teammates. At the end, you calculate the guessed words and allocate points to see who is the winner group. 
  • Another great activity is when you distribute 5-7 words to each group and ask to make up stories with them. Later they compare their stories. 
  • This one can be played in pairs. You handle a set of words to each pair, one of them chooses a word and asks the partner a question using the word. 

Letter to a Foreigner 

Brainstorm a list of problems that a foreigner might have in another country or even in your country. Students come up with ideas which the teacher boards. For example, he might miss his family, he might dislike the food, etc. Once you have listed as many problems as your class can, have each person write a letter to this foreigner before he travels to the chosen country. In the letter, your student should warn him about the problems he may have. The letter should also offer suggestions on how to best handle those problems. 

You can read this article for more ideas on back up activities. 

We hope that these ideas will help you to fill in spare classroom time, win the boredom and have an effective shift from one activity to another. 

Добавить комментарий

Ваш адрес email не будет опубликован.