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FCE Activities

This post looks at two ways to practice speaking skills with exam students, but both of these activities can be used with lower level students. These activities are easy to adapt and as such can be used  regularly to practice for Part 2 and 3 of the FCE and CAE exams.

Wordle headlines

This activity is a great activity to practice speaking for the FCE but can be used with a number of different levels. 

Activity Time:  5 – 10 minutes +
Materials required: A wordle headline for each pair of students. Pre-prepared activity download.
Skills practiced: Speaking, listening, writing and reading.
Level: Pre-intermediate +


1. Find a number of interesting headlines. I usually find interesting headlines at the following websites:

The Telegraph 
The Huffington post 

Optionally, download this pre-prepared activity

2. When you find interesting headlines, copy and paste the headlines into wordle. You should have something like the example below. Make enough different wordle headlines for each group in your class.

3. In class, put students into pairs. Tell the students that they are going to receive a headline from the news. Tell them that they must first unscramble their headline and then write it down. Don’t forget to tell them that they must use all the words to create their headline.
When they have made a logical headline using all the words, they must talk about what they think the story is about and what their opinion of the story is.

In The News

Activity Time:  5 – 10 minutes +
Materials required: A mini news article for each student. Pre-prepared activity download.
Skills practiced: Speaking, listening and reading.
Level: Pre-intermediate +
1. Find some interesting articles, copy and paste the headline and the first few lines of the article into a word document or download this pre-prepared printable.

2. Give one article to each student. Tell them they have one minute to read the article. When they are finished, they must explain what their article was about to their partner and then ask their partner’s opinion about the article.  

Give the students some useful vocabulary on the board. Remind them that this is the vocabulary needed in Part 3 of the FCE and CAE speaking exams. 

Encourage students to speak for at least 2 – 3 minutes. Ask them to report back to the class about their opinions on the article.

Expressions for asking opinion 

  What do you think of…?
  What do you think about…?
  How d’you feel (about…)?
  What d’you reckon (about…)?
 What’s your opinion of…?
  (What do think about) that?
  What are your views on…?
 What would you say to… / if we…?

Expressing opinion

I think……
I feel……..
I believe…….
As I see it……..
In my opinion…….
As far as I’m concerned……
My point of view is that…….
It seems to me that……..

Enjoy this post? You might enjoy:

Trick or Treat

Halloween is a great, fun event for your ESL students to get away from their textbooks. In this post, I have a fun game that will save you time and add to any lesson ideas that you have already planned. 

Trick or Treat. ESL Game for the Halloween Season

Trick or treat is a very simple activity to set up and is always enjoyed by my students. I have prepared two versions of this game; one for young learners and another for teens.

Activity Time:  15 mins +
Materials required: A bag/box, a copy of the printable and some candy.
Level: Young learners and teens.
Printable: Young learners and Teens


1. Print out a copy of the young learners’ sheet or the teen sheet and cut out the cards.

2. Put the cards into a bag or box.

3. Students pick a card from the box/bag. If they pick a treat, they get candy. If they get a trick card they have to answer a question or challenge to get a treat. The card is given to another student to ask the question and the answer to difficult questions are written on the card. There are a total of 9 treat cards and 18 trick cards.
Halloween Family Fortunes Quiz
Guess the Halloween Idiom ESL Halloween Activity for teens





Enjoyed this game? Have some suggestions? Leave a message and let me know!

Teacher Class Survey

ESL ,TEFL, Teacher feedback form, Class survey, ELT

“There can be no educational development without teacher development;….the best means of development is not by clarifying ends but by analysing practice.”

Lawrence Stenhouse

Getting feedback from your students is vital in my opinion to develop as a teacher. While most institutions will require you to give your students a feedback questionnaire, these usually dont go in-depth into how the student has felt about your class.

I have given surveys to every group I have taught from teens to adults. I have received some great feedback and insights into how my students have enjoyed the course and my teaching. From the hundreds of students I have given this questionnaire to, it amazes me how almost none of them have ever been given the opportunity to voice their opinion. I know when I was a student I didn’t either.

I have spent a lot of time developing this survey. This is not going to be my final revision of it but I feel this gives a good start to other teachers who feel its important to get feedback from students.

So, while I developed this what did I consider?

  • I have kept this survey anonymous so students do not have to give their names.

I have seen so many surveys ask for students names and I feel this is silly. If you ask students to give their names they will only give the feedback they think you are looking for. This is not helping you nor your students, present or future.

  • The survey is broken into two main areas (1) “The teacher” and (2) “The course”.
In doing this I have focused on the two main important areas for teachers to gain feedback. I have kept the questions short and simple as this is designed for the EFL classroom.
  • There are only two open-ended questions.
Open-ended questions have been kept to asking two specific sets of information from the students.
1.What is one thing the teacher does well. 
2. What is one thing the teacher needs to improve.
You can however adapt this to your own needs.
  • The survey has been designed to be given during class. (The survey takes approximately 5-10 mins) 
If this feedback is given during contact time you are going to get more useful information from your students. Surveys that are taken home may never return or are rushed and not given any actual thought.
  • Finally, analyse the data quickly.
As soon as you get the data analyse it quickly and implement the feedback suggestions. If you let the information stay unused its  not going to help you. Its important that learners see that it is worth giving feedback.
I hope that you find this helpful. I would love to hear your feedback on this too! Have you any ideas or suggestions? Please comment and let me know what you think.

Describe and Draw

Describe and draw ESL game in the classroom.
Describe and Draw in the classroom.
Describe and draw is yet another activity/game that I have had great success with. This allows students to practice listening and speaking skills alongside practice of prepositions and giving as much detail as they can in English.
I have used this with all levels and all ages from young learners to adults. This post is more suitable for teens and adults but I will be following up with one more suitable for kids.

Activity Time:  15 – 20 mins +
Materials required: Printable sheets click here
Number of students: 2 +
Skills practiced: Listening, speaking and Vocabulary.
Level: All levels

1. Print out the free printable or choose some images of your own. (I have chosen images that I have taken around the world which teens find interesting as a post activity conversation where they ask questions about the images.) I would recommend laminating these images as they can be used with other groups and later used on the classroom wall for other activities.

2. In each group or pair one student is given the image. Before you give them the image, tell them they they must not show the other students their picture.

3. Explain that they must describe in as much details the image they are given to their group/partner and their partner must draw the image. You can give them a set amount of time. I usually give about 10 mins. 

4. After the groups/pairs have completed their pictures, collect them or get them to show them to the class. Then you can put them on the board and the class vote of the best image. Ask them why the pictures deserve to win etc. 

5. An optional post activity activity it to talk about the pictures they have just seen. I have found this particular good conversation starter for my groups. It also can be a good opportunity to talk about other cultures and compare that from their own. I have included image details if you wish to do the post activity discussion. I have also included some example questions. I used this activity as a preparation for students preparing for Trinity Exams. 

Note: I will be posting follow up versions of this activity for young learners etc. If however you would like to make your own I would reccomend Reuters.com or similar websites where you can get images from the news and get students to talk about current events etc.
If you would like to share your own creations/leave feedback or suggestions please leave a comment. Enjoy!

View printable
Download printable

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Based on a work at www.elskidsgames.com.