9 December 2009

5 ESL/EFL Pair Activities

Pairwork is easy to set up (though I'll do another post in the future if you want to shake up the pairs a bit), it hopefully means the students will be more focused and less likely to let their attention wander than group work and it maximises student speaking time. So, on with 5 Pair Activities (NB these have a less 'fun' aspect than Pair Games (planned post)

5. Interview. The possibilties are endless! Use this as a self-intro activity for a new class, to practice a certain grammar point or to review general English. You can give the students a list of questions, or allow higher level (and quick workers!) to write their own. Follow up with a presentation, writing a report or making a poster if you'd like.

4. Info Gaps. Each student has half the information and must exchange answers with the other student. Can be straightforward missing text information or you can make it more graphic, such as
  • a schedule for "What did you do yesterday at 4 o'clock?" or "What is Bob going to do on Monday?"
  • a family tree to practice family vocabulary "Who is Bart's father?"
  • Any kind of map/train map to practice giving directions
  • Any kind of drawing to practice prepositions "There is a ball on the chair"
  • Two spot the difference pictures
3. Ping-Pong. This only works with less self-concious classes. I got the idea from a TV drama called Dragon Zakura. They used it for quick thinking in maths, I adapted it for quick thinking in changing tenses. Basically they mime the actions of playing ping-pong (movement making it more fun and getting the blood flowing) One student 'hits' a word in the present tense, saying it out loud while miming hitting the ball. The other student 'catches' the ball, saying the past tense then passes it back saying a different present tense. It encourages faster thinking and the ping pong actions mimick a nice fast pace. Also it requires no materials or preparation!

2. Battleships. Adaptable for many grammar points or phonics words. For phonics write some minimal pairs words along the side and top. The students would then say "Rice - batter" to claim a square making sure that the other student does not check the square "Lice - butter". For grammar, you'd need a sentence with two changable words "Are you going to watch TV on Monday?". Write activities down the side and days across the top. One thing to watch out for is that Battleships is not popular in Japan so you might have to demonstrate a lot, it's easier to ditch the different sized ships idea and just have the students choose x number of "secret squares".

1. Describing Pictures. Find enough fairly detailed pictures, drawn cartoon-type picture work better than magazine photographs. Give one student blank paper and the other a picture. Without using Japanese (or gestures if you are mean) have them describe the picture. It's a good idea to point out that they can 'talk around' words they don't know. Saying "white drink" or even "cow juice" for milk gets the point across. I do not allow them to use dictionaries or ask me, if they don't know their partner doesn't know either. The point of this excercise is not perfect English but communicating anyway they know how!

Hope you found something interesting!

1 comment:

  1. Great games! I love using battleship in class and have found some easy ways to differentiate it to make sure each student is challenged appropriately. Check it out: http://eslcarissa.blogspot.mx/2012/06/battleship-game-differentiated-for-efl.html


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