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ESL Telegram Warmer

Can’t see the video? Click Here.

ESL Telegram is a simple warmer that can be used with all levels and is a great activity to let students be creative.

St Patrick’s Day

ESL guaranteed Irish fun Activities for St Patricks day eslkidsgames.com
This post looks at a number of ESL activities to add to your lesson plan for St Patrick’s Day. This post has activities for Young Learners, teens and adults.
As I am Irish myself, St Patrick’s Day is one of my favourite holidays that I get to teach about. Due to this, I have put together a number of activities that are fun, engaging and there are lots of opportunities for students to practice key skills and use their creativity.
As always, please leave your feedback, comments and suggestions below or email, tweet or Facebook me.
Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit
Happy St Patrick’s Day to you (In Irish)

Story of St Patrick (Video)

Activity Time:   10 – 15 minutes +
Materials required: Copy of the Powerpoint 
Skills practiced: Writing, brainstorming, critical thinking, speaking, listening.
Level: Teens and adults. Pre intermediate +

1. Before you begin the slideshow, ask the students what they know about St Patrick.2. Tell them they are going to hear about the story of St Patrick.

Whiskey In The Jar

“Whiskey in the Jar” is one of the most popular traditional Irish tunes. It features love, robbery, betrayal and a melody that has become known the world over.
The story tells of an Irish highway man who travels the Cork and Kerry mountains and the song tells of how the bold highway man robs from an English soldier.
Activity Time: 10 – 15 minutes +
Materials required: Student handout , Music video below
Skills practiced: Listening, vocabulary, speaking.
Level: Teens and adults Pre-intermediate +
Part One : Music story and look at vocabulary
Key Vocabulary

Project or give each student a list of the key vocabulary of the song. First, get the students to find the meaning of the words if they don’t know them.

Then ask them in pairs to guess what the song might be about.

Part Two: Listening 

Give each student a copy of the handout. Give them some time to read and correct any errors they think they see, then let them listen and correct the errors.

Stage 1  Listen and correct the errors

The original lyrics
Student’s version with errors
Stage 2 Listen and put the sentences into the correct order (see printable)
Stage 3 Listen and fill in the gaps (see printable)

The Wild Rover – gap fill

Activity Time:   10 – 15 minutes +
Materials required: Student handout  (View), Music below
Skills practiced: Listening, vocabulary, speaking.
Level: Teens and adults beginners +

1. Give students a copy of the handout. Tell them to look at the gaps. Each gap is missing a verb. Tell them to predict which word is missing.2. Students check their ideas in pairs.3. Students listen to the song and correct their answers.4. Now get them singing and clapping! My students always love singing this song.

St Patrick’s Day Storyboard

Activity Time:   10 – 15 minutes +
Materials required: Copy of picture board 
Skills practiced: Vocabulary and expressions
Level: Young Learners +

1. Print out a copy of the storyboards for each pair of students.

2. Cut up the cards and mix them.

3. Give a set of the cards to each pair of students. Tell them that they must look at the pictures and arrange them in the correct order. Then they must write a story using the cards. Tell them that they must write one sentence per picture (Young Learners, a paragraph for teens etc) Tell the students they have 10 minutes.
Allow the students to use resources such as dictionaries etc to develop their stories.

4. After students have written their stories, get them to share and present them to the class.

ESL Story picture story prompts for ESL Young learners Story writing


St Patrick’s Day Idioms

St Patrick’s Day is a great opportunity to give students with a chance to learn idioms. Idioms are an important part of language learning. They are a common part of speech and an important part of fluency.
Activity Time:   10 – 15 minutes +
Materials required: Copy of idiom pictures below PDF
Skills practiced: Vocabulary and expressions
Level: Young Learners (one or two idioms),Teens and adults. Beginners +


1. After you have introduced other vocabulary for St Patrick’s Day, you can introduce idioms. Show the students the idiom and then show them the picture.

2. In pairs, students try to decide what the idiom means then they report back to the class. Give an example of the idiom in use and then get the students to write their own sentence.

3. Revision is important with Idioms. As in the Powerpoint presentation, when revising idioms show the students the picture and ask them in pairs to write the idiom. After check if they have remembered correctly. Following this, concept check the meaning.

Good Luck eslkidsgames.com St Patrick's Day
Definition: A wish of good luck to someone. 
to have a green thumb idiom eslkidsgames.com St Patrick's Day
Definition: A talent for making things grow. 
a green eyed monster idiom eslkidsgames.com
Definition: Jealousy 
to be green idiom eslkidsgames.com
Definition: To recycle materials and good for the environment.
grass is always greener on the other side idiom eslkidsgames.com
Definition: A different place appears better than where you are. 
the luck of the Irish Idiom www.eslkidsgames.com St Patrick's Day
Expression: The Irish are lucky or have luck.
to give the green light idiom eslkidsgames.com
Definition: To give someone permission to do something.

Extra materials For Young Learners

Flashcards – Large flashcards

Download (PDF, 370KB)

Key words Ireland, leprechaun, pot of gold, rainbow, shamrock and snake

Word Search – A word search to practice the key vocabulary of St Patrick’s Day

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……..

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ESL Food Activities

Getting teens interested in topics can be hard work. Videos can be a great way to get them and even adults more engaged in a topic.

This week’s post looks at four different activities that can help practice key skills and develop interest and knowledge in the topic of food.

Don’t forget to follow/add me on twitter and facebook for weekly ESL ideas.

Fast Food Facts

This activity can be a great way to get teens engaged by using a video to introduce a topic.
Activity Time:  5 – 10 minutes +
Materials required: Students require pen/pencil and a piece of paper
Skills practiced: Speaking, listening and reading.
Level: Pre-intermediate +

1. Put the class in pairs. Tell the students they are going to watch a video.

2. First, play the video and ask the students to answer the following question as a warm up. Stop the video at 0.59 seconds.
 How many customers can a single fast food company serve in one day?


Answer: 46 million


3. Tell the students they are going to hear twenty facts in one minute. Tell them that they must listen and write as many as they can. After they hear the list for the first time, they will get a few minutes to check their answers with their partner. Then, they will listen a final time.

(Note: It is not essential that your students get all of the facts.)

4. Ask the students to look at the facts and pick one piece of information that they found interesting or surprising. Discuss the facts.

#1 40 percent of American meals are eaten outside of the home.
#2 Each day, one in four Americans visit a fast food restaurant.
#3 60% of adults and 16% of children are overweight.
#4 A mustard stain will damage a good shirt.
#5 French fries are the most eaten vegetable in America
#6 You would have to walk for seven hours to burn off the calories from a Coke, fries and Big Mac.
#7 Sometimes chicken isn’t chicken.
#8 Burger King’s Light Italian still has 18 percent of your daily fat.
#9 Cute cows die
#10 McDonalds distrubutes more toys per year than ToysRUs
#11 Children who eat fast food gain about 6 pounds (2.7Kg) more per year than normal.
#12 100,000 deaths each year have been linked to obesity.
#13 Love handles aren’t lovely.
#14 Daily consumption can lead to a psychological addiction.
#15 Fast food compromises diet quality by displacing healthy food.
#16 Obesity has been linked to 20 physical problems and diseases.
#17 Only seven items on McDonalds menu don’t contain sugar.
#18 Taco Bell equals frequent bathroom visits.
#19 Obesity will pass smoking as the leading cause of death in America
#20 A diet hight in sodium, fat and cholesterol can lead to heart disease.

ESL Food Conversation Questions

Activity Time:  5 – 10 minutes +
Materials required: A print out of the questions below. Download 
Skills practiced: Speaking, listening and reading.
Level: Pre-intermediate +
Print out the following questions and cut them out. Each student takes a question and answers it.

If you could only eat one thing every day for your entire life, what would it be? Why?
What was the first thing you ate today?
What do you hate to eat? Why?
What is your favourite national dish? Why?
What is your favourite thing to cook?
What is the nicest thing you have ever eaten?  Describe it.
Which country makes the best food? Which makes the worst?
Would you like to be a vegetarian? Why/why not?
Do you think the food in your country is healthy? Why/Why not?
Which country in your opinion has the healthiest diet in the world? Why?
Which country has the worst diet in the world? Why?
How healthy is your diet? Why do you think that?
What’s your favourite junk food to eat? Why?
Do you believe “we are what we eat”?
Why/why not?

Food Memory Challenge

Activity Time:  5 +
Materials required: It’s optional to project the image below to use as a guide and visual.
Skills practiced: Speaking, vocabulary.
Level: Any level

1. Explain to the class that they are going to play a game. The first student starts with A and they must say a fruit or food that begins with A. e.g Apple

2. The second student must say a food item that begins with B e.g Banana.

3. Keep going student after student. If a student is unable to answer, they are eliminated. The game ends when there is only one student left.

Celebrity Chef

Activity Time:  10 Minutes +
Materials required: Video shown below
Skills practiced: Speaking, Listening and Writing.
Level: Lower intermediate +

1. Show your students the following two pictures.
Ask them the following questions:
Who is he? 
What do you think his job is?
Why do you think this? etc
2. Tell them that they are going to watch a video and you would like them to answer the following questions;
1. How many people is Jamie Oliver cooking for?
2. What is one of the most important things about cooking paella?
3. What are the first 4 ingredients Jamie Oliver mentions?
4. What seafood is used?
5. What do you think the Flamenco singer is singing about?
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ESL Valentine’s Day

This week’s post looks at some activities that can be used in the ESL classroom this Valentine’s Day. There are some great simple ideas for teens and adults. Make sure you join in my interactive “Love is …” project and post your students ideas on Twitter with the hashtag #ESLLoveis (For more info, look below in part 3 of “Valentine’s Day Explained” post.)

Valentine’s Day Explained

Activity Time:  10 mins +
Materials required: Each student needs a piece of paper and a pen.
Skills practiced: Listening, writing and speaking.
Level: Teens and adults. Lower Intermediate
1. Show the class the video below and stop the video at around 0:51 seconds. Ask the students to answer the following question in pairs. Ask them to write their answer. (Show the video a second time if required.)
How did Valentines day start?
2. Ask the students the write down the following numbers. Tell them they are going to watch the video again. This time they must write down the significance of the numbers.
270 AD
496 AD
1415 AD
Late 1800’s
35 Million
189 Million
3. After you have checked their answers, ask them which facts they found most interesting and why.On the board write “Love is …”

In their pairs, ask the students to finish the statement.Here are some quotes to give them some inspiration:Love is like a friendship caught on fire”  Bruce Lee

Love is only a little foolishness with a lot of curiosity” George Bernard Shaw

Love is an irresistible desire to irresistibly desired” Robert Frost

“Love is the flower you’ve got yo let grow” John Lennon 

“Love is like a red red rose” Robert BurnsPlease contribute

Please send on your classes “love is..” creations to me either on twitter @eslkidgames, #eslloveis or via email where they will be featured with my classes’ quotes to spread the love this Valentine’s day. 

Valentines Day Facts

Activity Time:  10 mins +
Materials required: Printed infographic for each set of students
Skills practiced: Listening, writing and speaking.
Level: Teens and adults. Lower Intermediate
1. Print the following infographics. One between two or three students.

2. Give each group their own infographic.  Ask them to read the infographic and create a mini presentation on the top five most interesting facts they read on their infographic.

3. Each group tells the other groups the information that have read and the class discuss the information.

4. The whole class then picks the top five pieces of information discussed. If you have time you could encourage the class to develop their own infographic based on their top five facts.

Valentine’s Day ESL Questions

Activity Time:  10 mins +
Materials required: a copy of the printable
Level: Teens and Adults all levels.
Printable: Download OR ViewGet the class talking with over 15 Valentine’s Day questions.

Find more Ideas for teens and adults here