Motivating learners with fun activities

I’ve been teaching English for 20 years and today I had my first workshop. I wanted to prepare a session from which everybody would find something to use.

I learned some of  these activities from ELT conferences or colleagues who were willing to share or from books or websites.

I’ll write some of these activities and I’ll start with my favourites.I’ll continue adding the ones that work well with my classes.I hope they will also be helpful for you.


This activity is good to underline the importance of intonation.

Play music and tell them they will walk around the classroom and stop when you stop the music and do what you instruct them to do.

Get them say the words in quotation marks in the context that follow.


To a friend

To a friend you haven’t seen for 3 years.

To a neighbour that you don’t like.

To a six year old baby.

To someone you have just found doing something they shouldn’t

To someone on the phone when you are not sure if they are still on the other end.


Instruct similar things for the followings.


‘How are you?’

‘What have you done?’



Draw a star on the board.

Write a name, colour, a title, etc that are related with you.

I’ll write something like this.


The fried green tomatoes






Tell them these are important for you and ask them to find out why they are important for you.

Then you can ask the volunteers to come and prepare his/her life star and wait for her classmates find out what are they?


You can use it as a warm up or a filler. They enjoy talking about themselves and they also want to find about the teacher. I’ve been using it for years and it’s always my favourite.




Students will write sentences.


  1. Each sentence must have at least 5 words.
  2. Each word in the sentence must begin with the same letter given by the teacher.
  3. You may use a proper name but only once in a sentence.
  4. The winner is the one who can manage to write a correct sentence.


Eg: Some students sometimes speak slowly.




Give students strips of papers or post-its.

Name a topic

Tell students to write a question related to the topic on the piece of paper.

Tell them to stand up and move around asking their questions.

When a pair has asked each other their questions, they swap questions and move off to ask the new question to a new partner then swap again.

Set  time limit if you like.

You can use music with this activity. Tell them to walk around until you stop the music and then they ask and swap. When they swap the papers, play the music and tell them to move around.

They enjoy walking while the music is being played.

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