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Past Continuous Game – Convince Me

Convince me! Past continuous game

Convince me (The past continuous game) is a fun and challenging game which will help improve students’ speaking abilities by practicing the use of past continuous tense. Students need to ask and answer questions about what they did the previous day at certain times using the past continuous tense.

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials required: picture cards and time cards

Skills practiced: use of past continuous tense, fluency.

Level: All

  1. Organize students into 2 to 4 groups depending on the size of your class (with at most 5 players in each group)
  2. Give each group a set of time cards and a set of picture cards.
  3. Ask the students to deal the picture cards among themselves and pile the time cards facing down.
  4. The first player picks a time card, and asks another player what they were doing at that time of the previous day, example: what were you doing at 8 pm? The other player will then select one of their picture cards showing the card to the other players.
  5. He/she will give an answer that matches the selected card, example: “I was reading my book.” If the answer is convincing and appropriate for that time of the day, the player will discard the picture card, but if the answer is not convincing, example “I was a riding a bicycle.” The other players will ask him/her to give a reasonable explanation to why he/she was doing that particular activity at that time of the day.
  6. If the player is able to offer a reasonable and convincing explanation, he/she will discard the picture card, but if he/she is unable to do so, the player must keep the card.
  7. The next player picks a time card and the game continues.
  8. The first player to completely get rid of all their picture cards is the winner of the game.

ESL Password

“Password” is a great game that can be used again and again for revision of vocabulary. This is a game every ESL teacher should know. This game is great with kids, teens and adults and is always a popular game with groups. 

Activity Time: 10 mins +
Materials required: whiteboard.
Skills practiced: Vocabulary and spelling. 
Level: Young learners
1. Divide the class into two teams. Put a chair in front of the whiteboard facing the class. 
2. One person from one of the teams sits in the chair. Write a word on the board that team can see and not the person in the chair. The team then have to explain that word to the person in the chair without saying the word. You can set a time limit if you wish.
If the student says the word their team gets a point.
3. The second team now try. The team with the most points win.

Liar Liar

ESL Liar Liar pants on fire, ESL Games, ESL Intermediate, ESL Games, ESL Activities, ESL Speaking

Liar Liar is a simple activity that I have used recently while teaching the topic of crime. It’s a simple activity and a great way to introduce the unit of crime. This activity uses authentic material and is a great way to challenge students while engaging them with interesting material. I have used this activity with teens and adults from B1 (lower intermediate +) to C1 (advanced) and I have had great results with it. As always, I would love to hear your opinions and adaptations.

Activity Time: 20 mins +
Materials required: presentation below (optional)
Skills practiced: speaking, listening and writing.
Level: Teens and adults (Intermediate +)
1. First, ask the class “How do you know if someone is lying?”
Encourage any types of answers. Write down the answers on the board.
2. Ask the class to take out a pen and some paper to write on. Tell them they are going to watch a video. Explain that in the video, they are going to hear different ways to tell if someone is telling lies. Explain to the students they should write as many as they can.

3. After you have watched the video, write all the different ways that the students heard on the board.

4. Next, tell the students to “write three questions about anything”. Give them some examples e.g
“What is the most exciting thing you have ever done?”
“Have you ever met someone famous?”
5. Tell the class that they are going to ask each other the questions. Explain that the student who is being asked the questions must lie about at least one of the questions.
The student who is answering the questions must give full answers and elaborate. The student asking the questions can ask follow up questions for more information. (For example, one of my students said he had been to Berlin. The other student asked what colour the taxis were in Berlin)
After the students have asked their questions, they must decide which question the student was lying about and why they think this. Then, the student admits what they lied about.
Find more crime activities here: