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Resources for English teachers - speaking activities

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Here's a short description of the activities you can find in this section:

Who's wearing what?

Preparation: a collection of 18-20 pictures of people in three versions, each version containing 8-12 pictures, so that some pictures should appear in all three version and some in only one or two (you'll need a collection for each group)
If you have no suitable pictures, download the ones I use. Note: these are the sheets you can hand out to your students; this zipped file is in Word for Windows .doc format

  1. Tell the students to form groups of three.
  2. Give each group member a different copy of the pictures and tell them that they mustn't show their pictures to each other.
  3. Tell them that some people appear in all versions, some in only one or two. Their task is to describe the clothes the people in their pictures are wearing and find who else in the group has got the same picture.
  4. To make checking answers easier, tell them to write the name of the student in the group above the picture who's got it too.
Notes:
  • You can make it into a competition, when the winner is the group to finish first; mistakes can be penalised by adding half a minute to their time. However, if you have a very competitive group, the activity might turn into chaos with students hurrying and interrupting one another.
  • It's best done with pictures of people of the same sex and preferably same age/height/build so that students should really concentrate on the clothes; if you have difficulties finding suitable pictures, contact me and I'll send you two collections.

Where shall we go on holiday?

Preparation: one role card for each student; see below.
If you want to save time, you can download the cards in Word for Windows .doc format; the zipped file includes the cards needed for the next activity too.

  1. Tell the students to form groups of 5-7.
  2. Give each student a role card, and explain that they are a family planning a holiday.
  3. Ask them to study their cards for a minute or two and prepare themselves for the argument.
  4. Ask the family members to introduce themselves, without revealing their tasks.
  5. Ask the father to open the family discussion.
  6. The activity ends when they've come to a conclusion where to go.
  7. You can ask the students to read out their cards at the end and compare how much of their goals they were able to reach.
Notes:
  • If you think it's necessary, you might want to revise phrases and structures used in arguments.
  • The argument is livelier if there are more (at least 6) students in a group.
  • If you can't form groups of 7 (which would be ideal), start leaving out roles from the end, starting with the neighbour.
  • This activity usually generates heated arguments; in some cases I even had to intervene when pupils started getting too rough on one another ...

Role cards for
'Where shall we go on holiday?'

Download the cards in Word for Windows .doc format; the zipped file includes the cards needed for the next activity too.
The father
Your idea of a holiday is something relaxing, short and cheap. Going abroad is so tiring. You like your brother very much - why not take him and his wife, too?
The mother
You want to go to some exotic place like China or Peru, for at least three weeks. Unfortunately, you can't stand your brother-in-law - he should stay at home.
The 18-year-old daughter
You want to go to the sea for at least two weeks, by plane, of course - and bring your boyfriend, too - this is the most important.
The 16-year-old son
You don't want to go with your boring family anywhere - but if you have to, it should be as short and as close as possible.
The 13-year-old son
You've never flown in your life - you very much want to try it. You like big cities where there are a lot of interesting things to do.
The father's brother
You want to go with your brother's family wherever they go - and take your wife as well.
The neighbour
You don't want them to go away, because they always ask you to look after their house, and you hate it.

How should we spend $100,000?

Preparation: one role card for each student; see below
If you want to save time, you can download the cards in Word for Windows .doc format; the zipped file includes the cards needed for the previous activity too.

  1. Tell the students to form groups of 5-7.
  2. Give each student a role card, and explain that they are a family who have just won $100,000 on the lottery.
  3. Ask them to study their cards for a minute or two and prepare themselves for the argument.
  4. Make sure everybody knows who's who in the family.
  5. Ask the father to open the family discussion.
  6. The activity ends when they've come to a conclusion how to spend the money.
  7. You can ask the students to read out their cards at the end and compare how much of their goals they were able to reach.
Notes:
  • See the notes for the previous activity

Role cards for
'How should we spend $100,000?'

Download the cards in Word for Windows .doc format; the zipped file includes the cards needed for the previous activity too.
The father
You want to buy a car - and perhaps some new garden tools, because you like gardening. You can't stand travelling, but the house could be renovated, too.
The mother
Here's the chance to travel round the world with the whole family! And, perhaps, to buy some new clothes, too. You are not against gardening. The old family car is in perfect condition - why waste money on a new one?
The 19-year-old daughter
If you built an addition to the house, you could have a separate part of it for yourself, and perhaps for your boyfriend, too.
The 17-year-old son
You've been wanting a drum equipment for years. You also like travelling, and would like to get your hands on the old family car, too. Unfortunately, you hate gardening - your father always makes you help him.
The 14-year-old daughter
Clothes, clothes, clothes! And if you had an addition to the house, you could have your own room at last.
The father's brother
Clearly, they should buy a new printer for their computer - then you too could print your things on it. They surely must not build anything - they will have no money left for the printer.
The neighbour
You like borrowing your neighbour's garden tools - but you hate noise.


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