25 January 2011

5 ESL/EFL Activities Using a Mobile Phone/Cellphone Theme

These activities aren't actually using phone as they aren't allowed in my school, but if you have adult classes you could do comparative work with your students' real phones. Some of these activities aren't teaching English as such but they generate interest, and I think my students are happy to know that we play with language just as they do and English isn't all tests!

5. Smilies
You need: worksheets or cut up papers
How to: If you are in Japan or another county that uses different smilies, try to have the students match their version of the smiley to the "English" version. For example, happy in Japan would be (^-^). Either give students worksheets to match up the smilies or if you want something more kinaesthetic cut up the papers and have them match them up that way.

4. Texting English
You need: text English on a worksheet and the corresponding real English on cut up papers.
How to: Tape the real English up around the room. Give the student a couple of examples of how we reduce English for sms texts. you are > ur etc. Put the students into pairs. One student will sit with the paper while the other runs around looking at the clues. Together they can match up the words. The number of words you choose to do depends on the level of your class. My mid-level JHS second grade took around ten minutes for  ten clues.

3. Interview
You need: Interview papers
How to: Prepare a simple interview worksheet. I used this as an introduction to the topic and had questions like "Do you have a mobile phone?" "What network are you on?" "Do you want a mobile phone?" For lower level classes just have them ask a certain number of people. If you have higher level classes they could do some feedback to their group or to the class about the most popular colour of phone etc.

2. Feature Ranking Survey
You need: For the simplest version, a worksheet with a ranking section and an interview section, for a big project poster making materials.
How to: Mobile phones have so many features these days. Make a list of common features and have the students rank what they think is the most and least important. I used these ten:

camera
the colour of the phone
GPS/maps
shopping (here in Japan you can swipe your phone to pay for things in some shops)
internet access
full PC browser
calendar
music player
TV
games

Then the students can interview each other. If you want a simple version, they just need to ask for the most and least important, and after the activity you can ask the class to raise their hands for each item as a round-up. If you want to make a project of this, split the class into ten groups and give each group an item. They must interview the whole class between the group and then you can have them make an English poster about the result. They could even translate some quotes into English if they are up to that!

1. Texting Bingo
You need: Bingo Papers
How to: write up examples of text English on the board, and have the students fill in bingo sheets. Call out the real English and play bingo as usual. If you can make sure that students don't call out the answers this really makes them think about English and how you can change it. For example, I had "gr8" on the board but when the students first saw it they were thinking of the number in Japanese. Once they could switch to the English number they could work out other words like 2mrw and b4 much more easily.

hv fn w/ da gmes!! :)

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