Simon Says

Simon Says is a classic game that works really well as a fun ESL classroom activity.

Tell the students to listen to the instructions you will give them, they can follow your actions too but at some stage you will try and trick them so they have to be very careful not to get caught out.

Have everyone stand up and begin the game, for example you might start by saying “Simon says, hands on head” while placing your hands on your head.

The students should follow your instructions, quickly putting their hands on their heads. If they don’t do it correctly or are just too slow then they are out of the game and should sit down (you might want to be lenient on students making mistakes during the first round).

Continue the game with those remaining, slowly increasing the speed in an effort to catch them out. At any point you can try and trick the students by, for example, saying “Simon says, hands on ears” while placing your hands on your shoulders. Anyone who puts their hands on their shoulders is out of the game.

It’s a simple, fast activity that is great for improving listening skills and is especially fun for younger students who love moving around.



World Travel Trip

Help ESL students improve their listening skills while they learn the names of different countries from around the world with this fun classroom activity.

Before you start you’ll need a number of small pieces of paper (one for each student in the class) with a different country written on each one. Here are some of the countries I use:

France, Australia, Italy, Greece, USA, Japan, England, Mexico, New Zealand, China, Germany, Switzerland, Iraq, Brazil, Canada, Portugal, Egypt, South Africa, Ireland, Russia, Belgium, Korea, Argentina, Morocco, India, Spain, Canada, Nigeria, Scotland, Thailand.

Hand out the pieces of paper to the students (one each) and let them read which country they have. Explain to them that you are going on a world travel trip and each one of the students is a destination on your journey.

You will read out clues to the next location and it’s up to the students to listen carefully and raise their hand when they think it’s their country that the clues are referring to. Pretend to fly across the room, check the students piece of paper to make sure they are the intended destination, read out the next clue and continue on until you’ve been to every country in the room.

Make sure you organize the order beforehand as well as the clues that you will read out. The type of clues you use depends of the level of your class but here are some examples of clues I use:

France – Eiffel Tower
Australia – Kangaroos
USA – Statue of Liberty
Brazil – Famous for soccer
Egypt – Pyramids
South Africa – Animal safaris


What Will You Bring on Vacation?

What Will You Bring on Vacation? Is a fun ESL Classroom Activity that will challenge both your student’s English ability as well as their problem solving skills.

Tell your class that you are taking a (well earned) vacation to a destination of your choice (Hawaii, Brazil, France, anywhere is fine). You are taking an important object with you and if the students can figure out what makes it important then they will be able to join you on this most awesome of vacations.

All the objects must be related in a way that you have decided previously and not shared with the students. For example, you might decide that all students bringing sports equipment can come on vacation, “I’m bringing a soccer ball on vacation, what will you bring?” If a student says “I will bring a book” then unfortunately they can’t come but if they say “I will bring a tennis racquet” then they can come!

Once you have told the students the object you are taking, it’s time for the first student to make their guess. Begin with them standing up and allow them to sit down once they have chosen an acceptable object. It may take a while before they start catching on but if they listen hard then they’ll eventually realize what kind of objects will be accepted.

Make the first round easy so they get the hang of it and then increase the difficulty, if you have a large class then you might need to let them choose 1 or 2 friends to bring on vacation (i.e. sit down) with them to make the activity move faster.

Here are some examples you might like to use:

Object has to be a type of food – Acceptable objects include bread, banana, pasta, pizza, ice cream, egg, sushi etc

Object has to use power – Acceptable objects include computer, ipod, tv, hair straightener, microwave etc

Object has to be small – Acceptable objects include key, pen, pencil, ring, pin, coin etc

Object has to have four letters – Acceptable objects include book, shoe, star, desk, seat, rice, milk etc


Features, Characteristics & Functions

  1. Features
    • product or service does or has usually described in technical terms.
    • rigid facts and not argumentative
    • something stated or shown of which you can visibly notice or feel physically
    • feature of a service are things or benefits offered and noticeable by user
  2. Characteristics
    • interior qualities of someone/something that we normally cant see
    • no rigid information – based own opinion
    • argumentative facts
    • example – person A claims I phone 4 as an expensive gadget, whereas person B claims it is very cheap
  3. Functions
    • action performed by a device, department or living things that produce results
    • emphasize benefits of any products/services
    • use of verb to explain function