Have students that can’t sit still? Well, don’t make them! Here are a few activities to add into your lessons to get students up out of their chairs, moving around, and having fun while they learn.
Whether you want an engaging warmer or are looking for a new game to shake things up a bit, these classroom activities are sure to get your students up and active. Easily adaptable to suit your students (including age, ability, number of students and language point) these activities are also low-prep and easy to run. If your lesson plans are looking a bit stale, try out one of these top tips to get your students moving.
Prep: Slips of Paper
This is a great game that works really well with teenagers as well as young learners. Split the class into two teams and have them stand either side of the room with a line marked down the middle. Students write their language point (details below) on a slip of paper and scrunch it into a ball. Within a set time (thirty seconds usually works well) students need to throw their snowballs across into the other team’s side of the room. If any papers come towards them, they need to pick them up and throw them back. The team with the least papers on their side at the end of the game is the winner. The losing team members should choose one slip of paper each and ask the question to someone on the winning team.
The Language Point: With higher level learners, their language point could be to write out a question using a recently studied grammar point, such as ‘What are you going to do next weekend?‘ or ‘When are you going to get a haircut?’ Lower level learners could write simpler questions such as ‘What fruit do you like?‘ or ‘What juice do you like?‘ Students with a lower reading/writing ability could write one word for their language point, which they then read out to the class, such as ‘Red‘ or ‘Yellow‘. For very low learners, just a letter of the alphabet could be written for them to read out, or to read and think of a word, such as ‘B – banana‘ or ‘G – gorilla‘.
This game is great fun as it has a competitive element and gives a good opportunity for students to practice speaking skills as well as reading.
Need more active games for your students? Active Games for Young Learners
Prep: Yes/No flashcards
Prepare two cards, saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’. For younger learners, two different colours, perhaps with a happy/sad face, are also good. Place the cards at either end of the classroom and stand in the middle with the students. Ask a question with a yes/no answer, such as ‘Do you like apples?’ or ‘Is it sunny today?‘ Students run and stand next to either one of the cards. Students then touch the card and say their answer, such as ‘No, I don’t like apples.‘ or ‘Yes, it’s sunny today‘. This game can be played with a whole class, with fewer students, or even with a VIP student. Adapt it for higher level students by using higher level language points, or by getting them to ask the questions.
Want more for wrangling an active class? Check out 5 Fun ESL Games For Engaging Kinesthetic Learners
And for more tips and strategies, visit our Teaching Tips blog.
About the Author
Celia Jenkins is a freelance writer and TEFL-trained English teacher who spent five years teaching in Asia. She specialises in travel writing and writing for children, and has a penchant for knitting. Celia is the author of Knitted Sushi (easy knitting patterns for beginners) and Ben and Maki – Let’s be Friends (an English/Japanese bilingual picture book). To contact Celia about freelancing work, check out her Upwork profile or contact Celia through her website.
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