Words beginning with...

1. Give a letter, and ask the students to write down as many words as they can that begin with it in two minutes. Then they tell you what their words are, and you write them up on the board.
2. Ask students to think of words that end with a certain letter, or for elementary classes – that simply include it.

At the wall

1. One student stands near the wall and faces it, not too near the others.
2. Various students say in turn, disguising their voices, e.g. Good morning. The student at the wall replies, if he thinks he recognizes the voice.
3. If he cannot guess, or guesses wrongly, he changes place with the speaker.

Things people do to you

1. Put this verb list up on the board: advised / forbade / warned / compelled / persuaded / encouraged / begged / taught / tempted
2. Ask the group: Can you remember a person who once advised you to do or not to do something? Can you remember a person who tempted you to do something? etc.
3. Ask each student to write one sentence for each of the verbs above, drawing on their real experience, like this: Last year X warned me not to... In 1981 Y persuaded me to...

Jumbled words

1. Write on the board words the students have recently learnt or ones they have difficulty spelling with the letters in jumbled order. It is best to have the words all associated with one given theme, otherwise the task of working them out can be too difficult and time-consuming.
2. Ask students to spell the words in the right way.


1. Ask the students to think of times when they have an inner conflict between what they want to do and what they must do. Get them to tell the group about these situations.
2. Ask the students to think of themselves as 2 halves, like Siamese twins but with opposing feelings and opinions.
3. Put the following pairs on the blackboard: don't dare to – must; ought to - don't want to; can't - want to.
4. Tell each student to write a dialogue between the conflicting halves of him/herself.

Number snatch

1. Two teams of numbered players line up opposite each other. Either # 1 faces # 1, etc.
2. There is a stool half-way between the two teams, and on it an object.
3. A number is called out, for instance, eleven. #11 in both teams runs to the center and tries to snatch the object and take it back without being touched by his or her opponent.

My district

1. Learners get into groups according to where they live. Two or three is probably best.
2. Explain to the learners that there will be a competition to choose which is the best district to live in from the point of view of the facilities it offers.
3. In their groups learners then prepare a list of things they can do in their district, for example, In Miami you can go to the beach often, You can go to a theater in the center.
4. In turn groups read out their lists.

Open call

1. Student is given a monologue with a short description of a character he or she plays part of. The task is to prepare the speech for the first audition. The class decides whether to give this student a role or not.
2. As a variation: each student is a candidate for a newsreader job in BBC. He or she gets a text of current news to read.

Days of the week

1. Write the days of the week on the blackboard.
2. Ask the students to copy the days of the week on a piece of paper beginning with the day they like best and ending with the day they like least.
3. Ask the students to compare their lists and to comment on the reason for ranking the days as they did.

What is important for you?

1. Ask students: What is important for you when you use a dictionary?
2. Suggest the following: spelling, grammar information, pronunciation, examples, translations, explanations, meaning, illustrations, idioms, understanding when and how to use words and ask the students to put them in order of importance from 1 to 10.

Follow the tape

1. Find a short video recording in which one or more of the speakers are particularly expressive, (not more than two minutes).
2. Play the tape through once without stopping. Then play it through again, this time stopping after each utterance. Ask the students to imitate the way the utterance was said, as well as the accompanying body language.
3. Work slowly towards getting the students to reproduce a short section of the film and acting it out for the class, or in small groups.

What can you buy?

1. Ask students to think of 3 objects they can buy for 1£.
2. Tell them to continue this task with 5£, 10£, 50£, 100£, 500£, 1000£.