An alphabetical list of activities previously featured on other pages of this site:
If your students know each other quite well, here's a game you can play. You 'erase the memory' of half the class, and let them 'discover' who they are by asking other people in the class ("who am I, what am I doing here, where is this, who are you, where do I live, am I married, what's my job, why can't I remember anything ?" etc .) First of all, to erase the memories of half the class you can pretend to hypnotise them, ie make them relaxed, tell them to close their eyes, and listen to your voice and concentrate on it. Then tell them you are going to count from one to ten, and when you reach ten they will remember nothing (except the English you have taught them!) Pair students with 'amnesia' and those without. Don't forget to restore their memories when the activity is over!
Back-chanelling practise plus introductions
Give a picture of a person to each student. Tell them to have an imaginary conversation with ths person in which they are mainly the listener, so they get to practise phrases such as 'I see, OK, yes, really? Do you?' etc. If they feel silly doing this, explain to them it's good to practise these kinds of words, which show they are listening. I have found very few students actually use these kinds of phrases in class.
Then in groups they can introduce the person in their picture to their group/class. If you want you can put the picture on an empty chair and have extra "students' in your class, and have imaginary conversations with him/her during the lesson, and get students to do the same.
Backward Spelling Drills.
Choose words that you want to practise spelling and drill them backwards as follows, start with the last letter, the last two letters, the last three letters and so on, so for Tree, the drill would go E EE EER EERT. If a student thinks he knows the word before you get to the end, he can put his hand up and spell it (in the normal way). After a few examples, let the students continue in pairs or groups, with the student who guesses the word starting the next word. Drilling forwards would be a less challenging variation.
1 Write some controversial sentences on the board eg "life begins at forty, school days are the best days of your life, it`s better to be wise than beautiful, money is the root of all evil, property is theft," etc. 2 Tell the students to repeat after you. They should repeat the sentence three times in a thoughtful way, as if considering the truth of the statement, with appropriate intonation and chin stroking! 3 On the fourth time they say the sentence according to whether they agree with it or not: either dismissively or affirmingly. (again with appropriate gestures) 4 This could be a lead-in to a discussion on the propositons.
Coin Tossing Vocabulary Test.
Before you start this activity you need to explain how to toss coins in English, by asking heads or tails?, and you could also teach a few phrases like bad luck, better luck next time and lucky you, well done. Then each student writes a different word on three separate pieces of paper, and they also need a coin each. The students mingle, form pairs and and each student takes it in turn to call the toss. If the caller gets it right, the other student reads out one of the words on the pieces of paper which the caller tries to spell and/or define. If the caller is right, he keeps the paper, if not he doesnt. Students change roles. After both students have had a chance to call, they separate and make new pairs with other students. The point of the coin tossing is to bring an element of luck and fun into the game. The person with the most pieces of paper at the end is the winner.
Never Ending Three Card Swap
Students play in groups of 4. Each student has three letter cards in front of them. In turn they make a word which includes these letters. In the second and subsequent round they have to swap a card with any other player each time before they make their words . A word may only be said once, and the game continues until no one can think of any new words.
Divide the alphabet into 8 sections as follows: 1 abc 2 def 3 ghi 4 klm 5 mno 6 pqrs 7 tuv 8 wxyz. Write these on the board. Think of a word and write the section for each letter on the board eg 1,6,6,4,2 is apple. Get the students to decode this word by choosing letters from the appropriate sections. Give some more examples eg 4,5,5,2,8, money. Ask the students to make up their own examples for their partners.
You need pieces of paper with vocabulary in categories. Ideally you will have half as many categories as there are students in the class and at least four items in each category. eg category : animals; cat;dog;horse;rabbit;cow.
Divide the class into two. Half the class sit down. They have a large piece of paper with the category they are collecting. The others have to move around carrying papers to their appropriate person.
Mix up all the papers and distribute them evenly to the sitting students, (let's call them student 'A's). The others, Student 'B's go to a student 'A' and take a piece of paper. They read the word, and take it to the Student 'A' collecting that category. They then take another paper from that 'A' and again deliver it to the correct collector. So you should have a room full of students running around delivering papers. When all papers are in the right place, As and Bs can change roles.
Keep the papers for revision, eg do a dictation, with students writing the words in the correct categories. Use them for cues for guessing games eg 'it's an animal with three letters.'