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Communicative Activities

Communicative Activities 
for English Language Classes

| Warming Up/Ice Breakers |  | Word Order/Structures |

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Warming-up/Breaking the Ice

Real Name, False Job

Type of Game: chain game

Duration: 5-10 minutes

Skill: speaking comprehension

Aims: breaking the ice

Level:  from lower- intermediate upwards. Any group together for the first time.


Stand or sit with your students in a circle. Next, start the game by giving your real name and a fictitious job, e.g. "My name's Mary and I'm a nurse". Get the student sitting next to you to repeat your name and job and then to say who he is and what fictitious job he has ("Her name's Mary and she's a nurse and my name's Sandra and I'm a teacher").

The student sitting next to Sandra continues in the same way, beginning with the teacher; it turns out that the last person in the circle has more than a dozen names and jobs to repeat before he/she says his/her own name and fictitious job. At the end, to round the game off, you should repeat everybody's 

names and jobs. It looks more difficult than it really is: when both teacher and students help out with gestures, those at the end of the chain usually manage to remember more names and jobs than they thought they would.


If there is more than 15 students, have the game played in two groups. Try and use jobs that weak students can easily remember to avoid frustration and lack of confidence!

The "Popsy" Name Game

Type of Game: chain game

Duration: 5-10 minutes

Skill: speaking comprehension

Aims: introducing one another and finding out names.

Level: beginners. Any group of students whose members do not know one another yet.

 1. Procedure

Standing in a circle, students and teacher take turns throwing "Popsy" to one another.


1st stage: Whoever has "Popsy" in his hands says: "I'm/My name's..." and throws it to someone else.

2nd stage: The thrower asks: "What's your name?" and the catcher answers accordingly.

3rd stage: The thrower singles out someone in the group and says: "Your name's Robert!"/ "Catch Robert!"/etc.

You should end the game after all the students have had several turns.

2. Variations

You can also use this game to review structures dealt with in past lessons.
When throwing "Popsy" to one another, the students may ask questions such as: "Do you like tea?" / "Where do you work?" ... and answer accordingly: "Yes I do." / "Very much" etc... They could also review whole dialogues or full texts, each student saying one sentence  or part of a sentence at a time.

Dumb Interview

Type of Game: Guessing game

Duration: 10 minutes

Skill: Speaking comprehension

Aims: warming up, getting to know one another, using gestures and mime.

Level: from lower-intermediate upwards. Any group  of students whose members already know one another by name.

1. Procedure

Tell the students to work in pairs to find out as many things about each other as possible -occupation, hobbies, family...- within a set time (approx. 3 minutes), but only by means of mime, gestures and/or sign-language and without speaking a word.

To introduce the game, you should set an example by showing how non-verbal information about yourself can be conveyed:

- Making swirling movements with your arms and nodding enthusiastically, you signify: "I enjoy swimming".
- Pointing to your wedding-ring, you signify: "I am married."
- Swinging your arms from left to right then back again, with your hands joined together, you signify: "I have a baby."

There should be no talking at all during the "dumb interview". At the end of the interview, the students should report to the class what they think they have found out about their partners; any misunderstanding can then be cleared up immediately.

2. Objectives

With weak groups, you should define precisely the language functions (preferably those you are sure the students can manipulate) you want to see used during the interview (ability, likes and dislikes, possession...) to avoid frustration and lack of confidence.
You should also make sure the students are properly paired up so that each and every one can benefit from the game (do not leave two very weak students work together, otherwise the game may run dry at report time!).


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