These are three board game activities to talk about culture, the unexplained phenomena and sports. They can be used together or separately, and are a great way to help students practise speaking and develop fluency, as well as prepare FCE /CAE speaking exams.
Also I find these games extremely useful since most of us are now teaching online. You simply display a board game on the screen and that’s a speaking activity sorted for you. Do not forget to feed students new vocabulary throughout the activity and obviously draw their attention to any mistakes they might be making. You could always prepare a thematic vocabulary list and send it to the students before the class or even ask them to research the topic themselves and then teach others some new words they have learnt.
As always encourage students to ask each other questions and comment on each other’s responses. Do not let it be a monologue. I often tell students that if I asked them the same questions in a bar or outside the classroom, the conversation would flow much more naturally so aim towards that and have fun 😉
To practise speaking about culture, the unexplained phenomena and sports.
Materials (Click on the worksheets below to download the PDF files):
A die ( use an online dice roller) and a timer ( or no timer, play around and see what works for your group)
Give students a copy of one of the board games or display it on the screen if you are using Zoom or any other platform.
The teacher throws the dice twice – the first throw indicates which column they should use, and the second throw indicates which row, to obtain the question.
The player must then answer the question and provide their classmates with as much detail as possible. Encourage students to ask additional questions and ask for clarification and further explanation. As I said in the introduction, do not let it be a monologue but a starting point for a great conversation. Last week, in a 90 minute session my students answered only 2 questions, as they got so involved in the topic I didn’t dare interrupt their flow. I simply provided necessary vocabulary and correction and of course enjoyed listening to their ideas and opinions.
At the end, ask students to give you three new things they have learnt about their classmates.
This is an activity for lower intermediate students to review some of the most common mistakes they make in an entertaining way. The students correct the mistakes in the sentences on the board. If they manage to do it correctly, they add either an O or an X to the board until they line up 6 symbols in a row. The mistakes in the exercise are genuine mistakes made by my own students on a regular basis.
Time: 30 – 45 minutes
To identify and correct common mistakes made by lower intermediate students.
To line up 6 symbols (O or X) in a row.
Materials (Click on the worksheet below to download the PDF file):
To err is human board game one per team or display on the screen for everyone to see.
Divide the students into teams and display To err is human board game on the screen if you are using Zoom. If you have smaller groups students can also play individually.
To see who starts do rock, paper, scissors. Whoever wins chooses the square they want to start with. Next the player(s) identifies and corrects the mistake in the square they have chosen. There is only ONE mistake in each sentence e.g an incorrect preposition, article or a verb form etc. If the player(s) manages to do it correctly, they add either an O or an X to the board. The first player to line up 6 of their symbols in a row wins. Since I have been using Zoom I have actually inserted predefined icons ( a star and a heart) when I played with my students as it looked cleaner and much cuter on the screen than an O or an X . You can find the stamps in the annotation tools when you start screen sharing.
Monitor at all times and go through some of the most problematic sentences together at the end of the class. At home 😉 ask students to correct the sentences in all the squares without an icon.
P.S. Thank you for your feedback Mr. Potato. As always taken on board.
P.S. Have a look at one of my activities that has been published on onestopenglish this month ;).
This is a fun activity to review the most common collocations with break, come, keep and pay. Students divide the expressions into four groups and then play a board game where, if they manage to complete a sentence with the right verb correctly, they add either an O or an X to the board until they line up 6 symbols in a row. I currently use the stamps available in Zoom, stars and hearts, which actually makes the board look very pretty and if a student makes a mistake I stamp the square/ field with a cross ( I put the stamps in the bottom right hand corner).
Time: 45-60 minutes
To practise and review common collocations with break, come, keep and pay.
To divide expressions into four categories: ones that collocate with break, come, keep and pay.
To complete a sentence with the correct verb: break, come, keep or pay and line up 6 symbols (O or X) in a row.
To answer a question containing the target language.
Materials (Click on the worksheets below to download the PDF file):
Elicit some common collocations with break, come, keep and pay and write them on the board e.g. break a leg, come to an agreement, keep a secret or pay the price.
Put students in small groups of 2 or 3 and give each group Keep calm and wash your hands Worksheet.
To make the activity more competitive, tell students that the first group to complete the task correctly wins or you could give them a point for each correct answer. Much better.
Monitor and check answers as a class. As an alternative you could do the exercise together with the class, depending on the level of your students. I went through all the phrases with my students making sure they were clear on what each expression meant.
Divide the students into teams ( if you have a small group or just one student they can of course play individually) and hand out Keep calm and wash your hands board game to each team or simply display it on the screen if you are using Zoom.
To see who starts do rock, paper, scissors. Whoever wins chooses the square they want to start with. Next the player(s) completes the sentence with the missing verb (break, come, keep or pay). I have put smiley faces where the verbs should be to make the board look nice and chirpy. If the player(s) manage to do it correctly, they add either an O or an X to the board. The first player to line up 6 of their symbols in a row wins. Since I have been using Zoom I have actually inserted predefined icons (a star and a heart) when I played with my students as it looked cleaner and much cuter on the screen than an O or an X . You can find the stamps in the annotation tools when you start screen sharing. Also as the students complete the sentences make sure they use the right form of the verb (they could get additional points for that) and of course answer the question. Encourage them to use the collocation in their answer and avoid a simple yes or a no.
At home ask students to choose five questions from the board ( preferably with the expressions that were brand new to them) and answer them in writing.
This is an activity to introduce and practise idioms with the word HEART. Students first match the expressions to their definitions, divide them into 2 categories and then answer the questions and discuss their responses with their classmates.
Time: 60 minutes
To increase familiarity and correct use of idioms with the word HEART.
To develop fluency and answer questions containing the target language in pairs.
Hand out or display a copy of “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.” Worksheet and ask students to briefly discuss the quote from The Little Prince at the top of the page.
Next go to Exercise 1 and ask students to go through the facts about a human heart and choose the one they were most surprised by and compare their opinions with their classmates. Mine were surprised that a woman’s heart beats faster. Any idea why?
Tell them to, on the word GO, scan the expressions on the left in Exercise 2 and try to, as fast as they can, find the one body part that completes all expressions. At this stage it should be quite obvious what the word is so the students won’t take too long to guess the right answer.
Next ask students to match the idioms on the left to the definitions on the right.
Ask them to compare with their classmates before you check together as a class. I always encourage students to defend their choices and justify their answers and quite often I won’t give them correct answers until they all agree and provide me with identical answers. More often than not they manage to get the majority of their answers right. Just don’t give in too quickly when they start complaining that it is too hard (which they always initially do). Confidently explain that it is an opportunity for them to learn from their classmates or maybe to teach their classmates something. Also show them how much they can deduce and guess on their own before you spoon-feed them the answers.
Next ask the students to divide the expressions into two categories: ones they associate with positive experiences and feelings and ones they have a negative association with. In class today I asked students to read out the idioms they put in the “positive” and “negative” section but only discussed the ones that they decided to put “in the middle” or the ones that they disagreed on with their classmates.
When the students have finished, go to Exercise 4 and from memory try to correct the mistakes in red. I tried to think of words that have something in common with the words used in the actual idioms to give students some clues. You could try and turn it into a competition and ask students to do it individually or in small teams.
When you are finished students answer the questions.
If you have had no time to discuss all questions in class ask students to answer a couple of them in writing.
Food for thought:
Why not encourage your students to practise their listening skills with this great audio book: