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 Alibi: A 'Who done it' ESL activity. One of my favorite activities because it generates so many simple past tense questions and can be used for a variety of levels. Three students leave the room and make an air-tight alibi (the bank was robbed and they are the suspects). The rest of the class is divided into three interrogation teams and each team will interrogate each suspect in different corners of the room.  If an interrogation team finds 5 mistakes then they have gathered enough evidence to put the suspects in jail. For example, the suspects claim they were at the cafe from 7:00 to 8:00 but when asked, "What did you drink?", one suspect says wine and another suspect says coffee.  This would be one mistake.  Hopefully the suspects will agree before hand on what they ate, drank, who paid, etc ... I played this game as a high school student but the original idea to use it as an ESL game comes from Penny Ur's Discussions that Work. which is one of the best books for teaching ESL I have ever read.


Topical Sentence Stems: The following sheets are paragraphs with blanks that the students fill in to complete their stories.  They then share their stories with the class and the class asks questions:

My Childhood

My Goals

My Regrets

My Perfect Date



Government Minister: If you were the government, how would you change things? 




Two Truths and A Lie: Students write down to true things about themselves and one lie.  The rest of the class tries to catch them lying (take a vote and see what the majority thinks is the lie).  If they get caught lying maybe suggest a punishment like singing or buying coffee.


Used To:  Students look at how to use "used to do".  It comes with a card activity.


Troubles and Worries: A simple worksheet where students discuss their worries and troubles.


The Great Dinner Party: Students decide who they will invite to their great party and what they will do at the party.


Partner: A ranking exercise where students determine the most important attributes in a partner.


Dreams and Interpretations: Half the students write down a dream that they have had and the other half of the students spread out around the room and open up their psychiatric clinics.  The students who wrote down their dream will visit the psychiatrists and ask for interpreations of their dreams.


These materials were created by Chris Gunn