5 Minute Activities
My Neighbour’s Cat: In turns, learners repeat the sentence, substituting the adjective as they go e.g. ‘My neighbour’s cat is an angry cat. My neighbour’s cat is a brave cat. My neighbour’s cat is a crazy cat.’ This can be played as a whole class or in small groups. It can also be extended into a memory activity where each new speaker has to list the adjectives that came before e.g. my neighbour’s cat is an angry, brave, crazy cat.
Word Association: Learners take it in turns to say a word based on what comes to mind from the previous word. For example: ‘beach’, ‘sand’, ‘glass’, ‘clear’, ‘window,’ ‘door’, ‘home,’ ‘family’ etc.
Word Disassociation: Learners have to say a word that has NO relationship with the previous word. For example: ‘cat’, ‘office’, ‘strawberry’, ‘angry’. If other learners can see a connection they can dispute the word and earn bonus points.,
Ace/Queen/King/Jack: Ace/queen/king/jack each represent a category (e.g. animals) A pack of cards is turned over one by one onto the table. If the card is numbered learners say the appropriate number. If it is an ace/queen/king/jack learners must shout a word from the appropriate category.
Variations: 1) Flashcards are placed around the room related to the categories. If an ace/king/queen/jack card is drawn learners run and touch a flashcard from that category around the room.
2) Each of the four cards relates to one vocabulary word and learners must touch one of the four vocabulary cards around the room.
3) Each card represents a different category.
Win Lose Banana: *Requires at least 3+ learners. You will need: 1 ‘win’ card’, 1 ‘lose’ card, 1 ‘banana’ card and additional ‘lose’ cards depending on the number of learners. Cards are dealt out and whoever has the ‘win’ card says ‘I win.’ Learners have to convince the ‘winner’ they hold the banana card. If the ‘winner’ chooses someone who holds a ‘lose’ card they receive a point. If the winner correctly chooses the learner holding the ‘banana’ card the winner receives one point.
What’s my Line: Learners pass an object around (plastic fruit, pencil, ball etc), stating what the object could be and gesturing as necessary. For example, ‘It’s a hat,’ ‘It’s a monocle,’ ‘It’s a UFO.’
Variations; The sentence could be adapted depending on the level. For example: ‘It could be a OOO’, ‘This looks like a OOO’, ‘If I were stuck on a desert island I would use this as a OOO’
Ghostwriter: The aim is to not be the person who ‘finishes’ the word. The teacher writes a letter on the whiteboard. In turn, learners add one more letter. For example, ‘G’; NG, NGE, NGES, ANGES, HANGES, CHANGES etc. At any point learners can be challenged by another as to the word they are trying to create. If they cannot specify a word they lose. The person who adds the final letter to the word loses.
Riddles: In pairs or individually learners try to solve a riddle. For example: A cowboy rode into town on Friday, stayed three days, and left on Friday. How is this possible?
Shiritori (last letter->first letter/Top & Tail): Learners must say a word beginning with last letter of the previous word. For example: egg gate elephant try yesterday etc. To make it more challenging learners must give words within a certain category. This can be played as a whole class as well as in small groups.
Animal 20 Questions: Teacher distributes a sticker/post it with an animal name to each learner (learners should not look at the sticker) Learners must ask questions to one another to determine the identity of their animal.
Two-Ball Ball Throw: Learners stand in a circle and throw two balls around the circle. Each ball is assigned a different category (e.g. ‘fruit’ and ‘countries’) Learners must say a piece of vocabulary from that category as they throw the ball. Learners cannot hold more than one ball at once.
Tongue Twister Dictation: In pairs, one learner says a tongue twister, the other learner writes it down. Alternatively, learners in pairs make up tongue twisters and dictate them to other pairs.
Whose team/vegetable/ object is better?: Learners are assigned something (from the same category) e.g., strawberry and banana. According to a time limit learners should argue as to why their object/team etc is the best.
Eliciting the right answer: The aim is to elicit a designated response from another learner. Teacher gives learners a set of responses. E.g. No, I haven’t / I’m not sure / I have no idea / No I can’t / I can, but not well. Learners nominate a response (out loud) and then ask a question to another learner. If the nominated response reflects the truth the learner responds with that. Learners can challenge each other if they suspect an untruthful response If correct, they win a point. For example: A; ‘No I can’t. Hiroto, can you speak Spanish?’ B; No, I can’t.
Weekend Sentence Shuffle: Distribute a few strips of paper to each learner. Learners write one sentence about their weekend on each piece of paper. The strips are gathered together and shuffled. Then in pairs/individually/as a group learners guess who wrote each sentence.
Line Dice Game: Numbered alphamats are lined up on the floor. Learners take it in turns to throw the dice. Each number on the dice corresponds with a question word/ particular tense. For example, 1/6 = past simple question; 2/5 = past continuous question; 3 /4 = How often…? question. Learners must ask a question and move to the corresponding numbered mat. Alternatively this can be played on the board or learners make a simple board in their notebooks.
10 Piece Story: Distribute ten pieces of paper to each learner. Each learner must write a noun on each piece of paper. Papers are then collected, shuffled and redistributed. Learners must use the ten words they are given to make a story. Alternatively learners write 4 nouns, 3 verbs and 3 adjectives and make a story with their new words.
What Are You Going To Bring To My Picnic?: First the teacher decides a rule (without telling learners). This rule could be related to phonemes/phonics, for example words containing /i:/ sound, or relating to the actual word e.g. relating to green objects. Learners have to work out the rule by making suggestions about what to bring. Based on the teacher’s response they try to figure out the rule. For example: (Teacher’s rule = words containing /i:/ sound) Learner A; I’m going to bring tea. Teacher; You can come. Learner B; I’m going to bring meat. Teacher; You can come. Learner C; I’m going to bring bread. Teacher; Sorry you can’t come.
Sophia McMillan Mar 2021 firstname.lastname@example.org