2 December 2009

5 EFL/ESL No-Material Activities

Have five (or even ten) minutes spare at the end of class? Have an activity that's not going well? Need a easy to prepare warm-up? Here are 5 Activities that require no materials or planning. 

5. Ask Me A Question! Write up a bunch of answers to questions on the board, these can be about you (eg your full name, how many brothers you have, your country) or for practicing certain grammar (put up place names for "Have you ever been to~?") Have the students raise their hands to ask you a question, and then erase the corresponding answer.
You can split the class into teams and give points for each question asked if you wish to make it competitive.

4. Erase a Letter A variation on the above but different enough to keep students interested. Write up a long word or phrase on the board have the students ask you a question where the answer begins with a letter from the word on the board, then erase that letter. Again this could be a team game if you wish. For teams another variation is to write the word as many times as there are teams and the first team to erase their word wins.

3. Chinese Whispers Use the fact that the students sit in rows, whisper a word to the back students and have them pass the word forward until the front student runs and writes it on the baord. This could be the same word for each team or you could have them make a six word sentence. You could also write a letter of the alphabet on their backs and have them spell a six-letter word on the board. This might work with writing a whole word, but I would avoid sentence-making here as the different lengths of words makes it unfair. NB This can be a fun way to introduce the theme of the class.

2. Prepositions moving Obviously only works if they know prepositions but this gets them moving and can be a fun way to end class. Split the class into groups (lunch groups is easiest) assign each student in the group a number (so every group has Student No1, Student No2 etc). Then call out directions, for example, "Student No1 is next to the desk, Student No2 is under the desk." My students at least are happy to get a chance to stand on the desks!

1. Cross-fire It's a classic, and there are plenty of variations on it too. For those who don't know, you have the students stand and you ask a question. The students raise their hands to answer and the answerer along with the students to the left and right sit down. Then you ask another question and this time the answerer and students in front and behind sit down, until you are left with one or two students to do some sort of batsu-game (I usually have them do 10 jumps or something).
Variations include Having one row stand and asking questions until there is one student left, then the column of that student stands up and answers questions until there is one student left, then back to a row standing. Be aware that with this version a weak student may end up standing the whole time causing the same row and column to keep standing and leading to tears (trust me on that one!)
You can also include a random element by calling student numbers and the chosen student must answer. My personal favourite is using student numbers combined with four cards that say "Back" "Forward" "Right" and "Left" the answerer chooses a card at random and those students sit down.

Hope this post helps you out of a tight spot!

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