English is one of the most spoken languages in the world.
We are in an era where we are exposed to English most of the time; as we watch television, read newspapers, and surf the Internet, we see English nearly everywhere. However, exposure to English is not sufficient to fully understand the language; more effort is needed.
Teaching English as a second language is a challenging task; you must engage students in learning and motivate them to get the best result. Educators around the world have come up with a variety of methods to facilitate and improve learning.
However, many of the old methods have disappeared over time. Most of them resulted boring and not motivating for students. Also, many students felt anxious and pressurized while learning the language.
So, how can the language learning process be easier?
To make English language learning easier, we bring you few popular, quick, easy and fun ESL activities and projects that you can integrate into your lessons; for learners of all ages – kids, teenagers and adults.
ESL Activities for Kids
What is Missing?
What is missing is memory games, where the teacher writes few targets vocabulary words on the board or puts flashcards on the board or draws pictures and asks students to line up in front of the board and try to memorize all the vocabulary words they see. Then, turn around so they cannot see the board; meanwhile, the teacher removes one of the words. Later, ask students to turn back and check “what is missing.” The very first student to guess the correct word gets the point! If using flashcards, you can hand the student the card as an easy way to keep score.
Hangman is an excellent ESL kids game to have your students practice vocabulary and spelling skills. To play this game, the teacher picks one student and ask them to think of a word in their head, have him/her count the number of letters in a word, next, draw an underscore mark on the board for each letter in the word. Then, teachers call other students to guess letters from the alphabet that they think may be missing in the chosen word. If they guess correctly, the corresponding underscore is mentioned above, and other students get a chance to guess the word. If they guess a wrong letter, it is written on the board, and part of the stick figure hangman is drawn. The point of the game is to figure out the word before a full stick figure is pulled, “hanging” man.
As its name suggests, it is linked to the alphabet. To play this English learning game, first, divide your pupils into two groups. Ask each group to write the alphabet letters on pieces of paper, which you give them to make vocabulary cards. Combine each group of pocket cards and place them in two stacks on one side of the room. Have each group stand in a line across the room. When said “Go”, the first student in each line must run across the room, find the letter A and take it back to their group. The next student comes up with the letter B, etc. The first group to arrive on Z wins!
We already know, the song is a fantastic reminder device for new vocabulary. The best time to use a song is once the vocabulary has already been introduced. For instance, to make kids learn the days of the week, you can use the song “7 Days A Week“, or “If You are Happy” for learning emotions, “Put on Your Shoes” for learning clothing words, “Rainbow Song” for learning colours and more. The Internet has a wealth of different song ideas; you can try them as per your needs.
Simon Says is a great and popular game among youth learners. Whether you wake them up on a Monday morning or send them home on a Friday afternoon, the latter will no doubt excite them, and they want more.
This game is ideal for listening comprehension; Vocabulary, Warming up/winding down class.
While playing this game, teachers consider themselves as Simon and stand in front of the class, do an action and says Simon Says [action] and the students are expected to copy what they do. This is repeated by choosing different actions – to play this game, teachers can be as silly as they like, and the sillier they are, the more the children will love them for it. Later on, make an action, but this time say action and omit “Simon says”. The one who makes the action this time is outside and needs to sit down. The winner is the last candidate. In order to make things more difficult, teachers can speed things up. Reward children for their good behaviour by allowing them to act like Simon.
ESL Lesson Ideas & Activities for Teens and Adults
English only is a sort of competitive game where students are asked to speak only English during the whole period. Teachers keep a log on the whiteboard for each time a student speaks in his or her mother language. This helps keep the focus on English speaking, and peers even turn into an “English police.” In order to turn into a reward/consequences game that everyone can enjoy, allow your student with the most points to bring a treat for the whole class next time.
This is an extremely interesting game where students form a circle; you can do this by dividing your class into smaller groups or have the whole class as a group. Then, write a sentence that could start a story, ideally incorporating vocabulary or grammar from the day’s lesson and pick a student to begin. He/she would continue the story by writing the second sentence and pass it to the next student to continue. In the end, pick any student to read the completed story. It is sure to get a laugh!
Though keeping students engaged and interested is a big challenge, such learning activities can help in planning effective lessons for students of all ages and levels!
Designed for pre-intermediate to advanced students, Interview Pop is a great ESL activity for students to have fun and be creative. To begin, put students in pairs or smaller groups or pick an individual student.
Then, ask students to choose one person they want to interview. It can be anybody of their choice, a famous personality, and a friend or family member.
Then, please give them a list of ten to fifteen verbs. Like: Hate, Love, Offer, Prefer, Move, Win, Continue, Buy, Wait, Consider, Change etc. Allow each student to choose five verbs from their list, make a different question using one of their five verbs in each question and use them to interview the person they have picked. For instance, let us say a student chooses his father. They would ask their father what they hate eating? Each question will have a different verb.
And, while the students are making their questions, teachers through the class and help students fix grammatical errors.
It is an excellent activity if you practise question formation as a grammar topic with your students.
Introducing kids to the podcast is a great way to introduce lessons in an interesting way. You can find podcasts on the lesson to be taken up and ask your students to listen to them. Podcasts will be a great source of encouragement for students to be actively engaged because the information being shared must be processed and visualized by the students as it is being said. Once they are done listening, you may prepare questions to answer and then facilitate a discussion afterwards.
Introducing debate culture in your class is another classic that can be of great in English learning classes. To play, you can either divide students into pairs or make groups and assign a side of an argument to each group or pair. Then, give students few minutes to prepare points, develop their argument and conclude with a class-wide debate. To make it more interesting, you can encourage students to present authentic materials to support their claims.
Including different English learning activities, games and project ideas in your classroom is an excellent way to help students learn the language effortlessly. These ESL activities and games are great at engaging students because they are fun, interesting and encourage them to participate more than simply mugging up the lessons. Incorporating such learning techniques is more like “learning by doing”, which has been proven successful in learning things. Also, learning through games helps students retain more information.
These activities also create a dynamic environment where students are energetic and do not feel as much pressure as they could during other activities. With a focus on enjoyment, learners may feel more comfortable talking in English and making mistakes. It will also help build more connections with students and help nurture a genuine relationship with your students and motivate them to learn.