I have been studying here...

1. Ask each student to write in their notebook four to six (true) facts about themselves in the present progressive tense; for example: I am feeling tired.
2. Then give out slips of paper, and tell students to write on each slip one such present perfect progressive sentence for each of their own sentences. I have been feeling tired since I got up this morning.
3. Ask the students to guess who wrote it - if they have no idea, they should make a random guess anyway; and write down what they think.


1. Choose a dialogue consisting of two short sentences expressing disagreement. E.g.: - The answer is no! - But why?
2. Allow students to improvise variations or a continuation, developing the exercise into a conversation.

Turn out your pockets

1. Ask the students to list some or all of the objects in their handbags/wallets/pockets: ask the class to write their lists clearly.
2. When the lists are ready, ask the students to fold them and give them to you. Shuffle the lists and let each student pick one at random. No student should end up with his or her own list.
3. Ask the students to guess whose list they have and to tell the class why.

Theme music

1. Play the class a recording of classical music, chosen according to your own taste, and tell them this is the theme music of a movie. Can they imagine what kind of movie it is, and what sort of plot it has?
2. They need not write down an entire story, but should note down some details of a action that seems to them to fit the music: A young lady is waiting for her prince on the white horse... She is sitting at the window and looking at the horizon...

What might you do with it?

1. One or two students stand with their backs to the board; they are the guessers.
2. You write on the board the name of a well-known household object: a pencil, a cup etc.
3. The rest of the class help the guessers to find out what the object is by suggesting things they might do with it. They should use their imaginations, and not give away the answer by suggesting the obvious use – at least, not immediately! For example, if the object is a pencil, they could say things like: I might scratch my head with it.

Who is the quickest

1. Take a paragraph from a book you study and second hand watch.
2. Ask each student to read the paragraph as quick as possible.


1. Select a scene and time for a crime say, a bank robbery, at a well-known bank in the middle of town, at 11 o'clock yesterday.
2. Two students are the 'suspects' - they are sent outside and instructed to prepare an 'alibi' for one another. This means they have to invent and be prepared to describe a situation during the period of the crime.
3. The rest of the class in groups prepares 10 questions to confuse the 'suspects'.
4. Then 'suspects' come to different groups to prove their alibi, the class tries to catch them in lie.

Match the adjectives

1. Write three adjectives on the board, e.g. important, dangerous, heavy.
2. Ask the students to suggest things which could be described by all three adjectives.

Others do it for me

1. Ask students round the class these questions: When? Why? Why not? Do you like to cook for yourself? Do you like to be cooked for? Do you like to read for yourself? Do you like to be read to? Do you like to give yourself things? Do you like to be given things?
2. Pair the students. Ask them to work together and figure out actions they sometimes like to do and sometimes like others to do for them, e.g.: I like to drive when... / I like to be driven when... They should write their sentences down.
3. Get them tell others their sentences and discuss them.

Lie detector

1. One of the students leaves the classroom. The rest of the class prepares questions to him.
2. When he or she comes in they ask him their questions, and he can tell only one lie as a reply.
3. The group has to decide when he told the lie.

Writing as another

1. Put the students into groups of 4 and then ask them to write individually a sentence about something they did in the past, for example as a child, during their last holiday, or even the previous weekend, e.g.: I visited friends, I wrote poetry etc.
2. Tell the students to pass their paper to another member of the group.
3. Each student reads the sentence passed to her/him and underneath writes 10 questions about it, e.g.: How long did you stay with your friends? Did you eat with them? etc.
4. Ask the students to pass the paper to another member of the group and she then responds to the questions, inventing the answers.
5. The 10 questions and answers are passed on a third time and the task is now to write a short passage using the information from the questions and answers.
6. Ask the students to pass the passage back to the writers of the original sentences. They read them and comment on how near the passage is to the original experience.

What have I been doing?

1. The teacher explains that the students have to guess what the teacher has been doing from a description of his appearance. The activity is not revealed but clues are given in the description, e.g. Teacher: I'm wearing blue shorts. Student: Have you been playing football? Teacher: No, I haven't. I'm carrying a racquet. Student: Have you been playing tennis? Teacher: Yes, I have.
2. The students are only allowed 10 No answers before the teacher wins. To help the students the teacher can put simple questions on the board as prompts.
3. A student then takes the part of the teacher and describes his own appearance. This can also be done in small groups.
4. To help students with ideas and language the teacher can prepare cards with an activity written on each. The cards can also contain a few notes, e.g. You have been cooking. There is flour on your clothes. Your fingers smell of onions, sleeves are rolled up.

How many things can you think of that...?

1. In groups, students try to think of and note down as many things as they can that fit a given definition and that they know in English. For instance, you might tell them to think of as many items as they can that are small enough to fit into a matchbox/are bigger than you/are round/make noise/work on electricity/people enjoy looking at/etc.
2. After two or three minutes, poor all the ideas on the board, or have a competition to see which group can think of the most items.

How are you really?

1. Explain that student doesn’t learn anything from conventional exchange, as: "How are you? - Fine."
2. Ask them to rate their states of affairs from 1 to 10, mentioning that 1 is "I almost want to die" and 10 is "I won one million dollars" or "I'm in love with a person, and s/he has just told me that s/he feels the same".
3. When all of the students answered "How are you really?" question, ask if somebody wants to share why s/he has chosen the definite number.

Cooperative story

1. Give each student a large blank sheet of paper, and the title of a story, which should include the names of a hero and heroine - say Cliff and Sabrina.
2. Each student writes the title and the first sentence of the story, and passes the paper to a neighbour. The neighbour writes the next sentence in the story, and folds the paper over to hide the title and first sentence, leaving only his or her own sentence exposed; so the next student to get the story will only see the last sentence. And so on, each student contributing a sentence and folding the paper over to hide what went before, before passing it on.
3. When you (or the class) have had enough, or the papers are full, open them up and read out the resulting stories.

Draw and describe

1. Silently draw a simple picture of a small house in the centre of the blackboard. Pass the chalk to a student, and indicate that they should add something to the picture. In turn, every student in the class is then given an opportunity to contribute to the drawing, which should help to get them personally involved in the following language activity.
2. When the picture is complete, begin to elicit language. Begin with simple questions such as 'What is it?' and 'What is happening here?' to describe explicit points about the picture. If the class is sufficiently good, you can then go on to more complicated questions, such as 'What do you think has just happened?', or 'What is going to happen next?', or 'Why is that happening?'. Together; these questions should be sufficient to produce enough language to give the teacher quite a good idea of the ability of the students.

Silent story

1. A student recalls a story that happened to him.
2. He or she displays it before the class without saying a word.
3. Next student tries to guess the message and to rebuild this monologue orally.