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Interesting ESL Group Activities.

by Joanne Elliott 


Joanne Elliott is a professional international freelance writer.  To date she has been published in several different formats in Canada, America, New Zealand, India, Korea, and the UK ?England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales - (contracts in Thailand, Australia, Japan and South Africa are currently pending).  Freelance queries welcome:  



From experience, the best way to teach children English is to not only get them physically involved within the lesson, but also to create the illusion that they are simply playing games.  And rather than focus on individual development, it is also a very good idea to promote class interaction as far as possible.  Here are some easy inspirational ideas to try or to adapt within your classroom.

Cultural Charades.

Before the lesson, fasten cards under the childrenŽ≠?desks or seats.  When the class begins, ask the students to read the word that is on their card, but to keep it secret.  Put the name of each child into a hat, and pick out a name at random.  When called out, the child must come to front of the class and try to describe the object on their card.  When the class correctly guesses the right answer, write the word on the blackboard.  Continue the process until every student has had his or her turn. 

Next, ask the students to read all of the words on the blackboard that they have described, and to tell you which could be grouped together.  This is easier if you choose specific topics when initially writing the cards such as animal names, types of clothes, or different sports.  This game can be adapted to fulfill any topic that the class may need to cover, or to improve upon.


Word association.

Arrange the seats or desks in the classroom into one wide ring.  Decide on a topic, and begin with just one word.  One by one go around the circle in an anticlockwise direction and ask the children to say another English word that they think links to the previous word.  For example,  if you began with Ž©Ľot? the next word might be Ž©Ķold? and then Ž©ľce? Ž™änow? Ž™äledding? and so forth.  If a child hesitates for too long or calls out a word that does not really fit with the previous utterance, ask them to move out of the circle.  The person on their immediate right will then begin an entirely new topic with a word of their choosing.  Continue the process until there is just one winner left, and award the child a sticker or a badge. 


A harder variation of this game is to ask the child to give a word that begins with the last letter of the previous one.  This can be as topic specific as you wish.  For example, if your first word is Ž©≤nimal? it could be followed by words such as Ž©Ņittle? then Ž©∑lephant? Ž™čiger? Ž™Čabbit?etc.  If the game is going slowly put a time limit on the students for giving the next answer.


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Joanne Elliott                         Interesting ESL group activities (Cont).

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