Over my 10 years of teaching, I have loved coming up with fun and quick ideas that I can use in pinch. We all know there are days we just can’t seem to get it together or are at a loss for what to do in class. If you find yourself struggling, look no further! I’ve got some great TEFL activities for you! And the great news? Most of these activities can be used for online classes, and for one-on-one or group classes as well! They are fun, effective, and adaptable!
How to Use these Activities
There are a number of ways you can use these TEFL activities. You can include them in the produce section of your Present, Practice, Produce (PPP) lesson plan (If you haven’t read this post about planning a PPP lesson you really should! Get it HERE). Another way you can use the activities is to review vocabulary or grammar points you’ve previously taught. These TEFL activities will give students a chance to practice the vocab or grammar in a more realistic conversational setting. Finally, you can use them as a filler activity when you have a shorter class and don’t have anything planned, or a fun Friday session!
Before you get Started
A couple of things before we jump in. First, make sure to write down mistakes and give students feedback that they can incorporate into the activity. For more on that read my blog post: How to Give Effective and Worthwhile Feedback. This ensures they are able to practice the feedback immediately. Second, make sure to give students example sentences and structures so that they have an idea of how to structure the conversation. This helps them get started and then they can go from there. Although you don’t want to be teaching too much, there is value in pre-teaching vocabulary and structures. For more on that read my blog post: How to Make your Conversation Class the Best.
Interactive TEFL Activities for your Class
- Take a few blurbs from a newspaper, book, or textbook you’re studying in class (one blurb for two students). Make a copy and cut it out. Tape it on the wall of your classroom somewhere around the room. In partners have one student go to the wall and come back and dictate the blurb to their partner. (This helps with pronunciation, memory and writing skills). Teaching online? Find an online article, take a screenshot and email or send students blurbs that they have to dictate to you or the rest of the class, and the students have to write down what the student is saying. They can then check their answers together as a class and correct each other to make sure they have it written correctly. (Students are communicating to get information which makes for more real-life communication practice).
- Write down 5-10 sentences using the grammar point you’re teaching in class. With one catch! You want to
writethem incorrectly! Yes, you heard me! Try to use common mistakes students usually make with the grammar point. For example, forgetting the (s) in presentsimple “She like ice cream” or an irregular past tense verb like goedvs. went. In partners have students correct them and write them on the board. Then correct them as a class to make sure they are all correct. Again you can use this online as well. Just put the sentences on the whiteboard and correct them as a class (encourage discussion and debate to figure out the answer!)
- Put pictures around the room and have students walk around and describe the pictures. Tailor pictures towards vocabulary or grammar points. For example, vocabulary could be adjectives to describe scenery such as beautiful, scenic, breath-taking, etc. or describing people’s appearance or clothes. For grammar practice, present continuous is usually used when describing what is happening in a picture (in the moment). For example, “He is walking his dog”.” She is texting on her phone” etc. For online teaching, download pictures and upload them to your teaching platform and students can describe them to each other.
- Have students draw a picture to represent the vocabulary word, and then use it in a sentence (but keep the vocab word empty). They have to mingle with the students and they need to guess the vocabulary word based on the picture and sentence. This activity works for adults and children. For online, you might have to drop the drawing but students can still create fill in the blank sentences to have the other students guess.
- Headbands – students put pictures on their heads and their partner needs to describe them. Online adaptation, send pictures to your students before class or use your online platform to send students the pictures. The student needs to describe the picture to their partner and the partner guesses what the picture is. Again try to tailor the pictures to new vocabulary words and phrases they have learned.
- For practicing vocabulary for describing people and clothes, bring in a magazine and have students describe the pictures to their partner using vocabulary for people’s appearance and clothes. It can also be used for present continuous practice (as above). For example: “She is wearing a black leather jacket”.
- Students describe pictures on their
phoneand use past tenses to describe what happened in the pictures. For example… In this picture, I was at my mom’s house. (past simple) I was visiting her to help her prepare for a big pasty (past continuous). To make the activity harder have them use more tenses. For lower levelclasses just try to focus on one tense. For intermediate, try using the past simple and past continuous.
- For number practice, students have to exchange phone numbers. You can make up a list of fake phone numbers for students to use so they don’t have to give that personal information away. Students have to exchange phone numbers and then check that they have the number right.
- A great vocabulary activity for students to learn new words that they may see on a day-to day basis online or in their environment if they are living in an English speaking country. Have students grab screenshots on their computer (for those taking online classes) or take a picture of a poster, billboard, advertisement, or a magazine that has a word or phrases they don’t understand. They have to look up the meaning of the word or phrase and use it in a sentence. (This is great for more realistic vocabulary.) If students can’t find the meaning this is a great teaching moment where you can help them to understand the meaning and then have them use it in a sentence.
- Pictionary! Easy! Students have to draw a vocabulary word or phrase and other students guess what it is. For online classes, students can use a notebook and marker to draw on the screen.
I hope this helps inspire you for your next class! If you have any questions about this activity or lesson planning in general. Feel free to contact me
Let me know how these activities work for you in the comments below!