Keep It Simple: No-Prep Games and Activities

It’s always a good idea to have a few extra class activities prepared, but it’s not always realistic. There are times when students finish planned activities too quickly and other times when you may unexpectedly take over for another teacher. But have no fear! We’ve got you covered with these three ‘no prep’ activities for your teaching emergencies.

Whether you’re running low on lesson planning time or are covering a class with no handover notes, there are bound to be times in your teaching career when you’re in need of a ‘no prep’ activity, or at least something where the only thing you need is a whiteboard and marker. It’s great to have a few of these games in your repertoire, not just for when you run out of planning time, but also to use as fillers when students finish your planned material too quickly. Take a look at our easy-to-run activities that won’t have you spending hours at the photocopier or cutting up bits of paper for a complicated game.

The Listing Game (Shopping Game)

Not even a whiteboard is required for this one unless you want to write up the target sentence to guide lower level students. The idea is simple – create a list, with each student adding one item to the list, to be recalled from memory. The usual target sentence is I went to the shops and I bought… Perhaps the first student will say a banana. So the next student will say a banana and a rabbit. The next student will say a banana, a rabbit and a mobile phone. The list continues until a student can no longer recall the list correctly. You can make it simpler by having each student name a word beginning with a letter of the alphabet in sequence, to make it easier to remember. Example: an apple, a brooch, a cat, a pan… The target sentence can be changed depending the on level of students and topics recently studied. Examples: The last time I went on holiday, into my suitcase I packed… For my next birthday, I’d like… I have a job in the local shop, and today I sold…

Clap / Stamp Game

This game can be applied to any language point, and all it requires is for your students to either clap their hands or stamp their feet. For example, you could practice CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words and ask students to clap/stamp depending on which medial vowel they hear. You could teach countable/uncountable nouns, verbs in different tenses… pretty much any topic can be worked into this game. Just explain to the students to listen and then either clap or stamp depending on what they hear. You can do it as a review, or make it into a game so that the last one to react is ‘out’. Higher-lever students could even be the game master and say the words.

Simon Says

A great game with younger kids, all you need is your imagination. Explain the rules of the game (TPR works well) just jump right in and start playing. If the students like it, let one of them be the teacher and lead the game. It’s also a great one to review imperatives. Most teachers are familiar with the game, but it’s easy enough to learn if not. The teacher will say something (usually an imperative) like “Simon Says touch your toes” or “Simon says clap your hands”, to which the students react by completing the action. If the teacher says the phrases without the ‘Simon Says’ at the beginning, for example, just “touch your toes”, then the students should do the action. A student is out if they do the action when they aren’t supposed to.

For more teaching tips, visit our teaching tips blog. Or for tips and tricks to share with students, check out our language learning tips.

About the Author

Celia Jenkins is a long-time ESL/EFL teacher and freelance writer.

 


Related Posts

Top 5 Problems When Teaching EFL

Top 5 Problems When Teaching EFLAny classroom, whether you are teaching in Taiwan or Guatemala, has its set of challenges and problems when teaching EFL. If you haven’t taught before and came across this article in preparation for teaching EFL, then this might sound scary: There isn’t a way to avoid these problems. However, there are, of course, ways to […]

READ MORE →

14 Things To Do To Improve Your Teaching

14 Things To Do To Improve Your TeachingGetting your certification doesn’t mean that you know how to teach, just like having years of experience doesn’t mean you can’t improve. Even though this sounds negative, you can view it in a positive light by knowing there are many fun ways to develop professionally. Whether you are a newbie, a seasoned teacher, or somewhere […]

READ MORE →

Using Multimedia in Classroom Teaching

Today, it is normal that students in elementary school, high school, and university learn English. However, standard methods of teaching are often not enough. Can teachers successfully incorporate multimedia into their classes and if yes – how should they do that? Improved and modernized teaching using multimedia in classes and extracurricular activities, especially in elementary […]

READ MORE →

Teaching English Online: The Beginner’s Guide, Part Two

Teaching English Online: The Beginner's Guide, Part TwoIn the first part of this article, we looked at the perks and pitfalls of teaching English online and introduced some different styles of classes you can use. Continue reading for more tips on how to build a successful online teaching career. Three Choices for Teaching Online There are three popular choices for how you […]

READ MORE →

Teaching English Online: The Beginner’s Guide, Part One

Teaching English Online: The Beginner's Guide, Part OneIt’s estimated that roughly 1.5 billion people are learning English as a second language (for everyday use) or as a foreign language (to use for pleasure, holidays or work). An increasing number of people are learning and practising their English online rather than in a traditional classroom. As a TEFL teacher, teaching online is a […]

READ MORE →