A Fun Activity for the Story You’re Reading in the Class


I am working with graded readers, short stories and novels with my classes. I was also preparing my talk for TESOL France and looking for some new ideas to share, I designed the following lesson inspired from Chaz Pugliese’s Gossip activity from the book Being Creative. The activity may not sound similar but while reading it, I just thought this will be a fun activity. I’m planning to do it this week with my 12th graders.

Level: B2 and above

Put students in 3s

As and Bs will speak

Cs will eavesdrop and take notes while As and Bs are talking.

A and B are characters from the novel/short story you’re reading in the class. 

Tell them they are going to gossip about another character from the story. 

For example: Squealer and Napoleon gossip about Boxer (Animal Farm)

Cs are either a passerby, a student from your class or a 4th character from the story. They will take notes of what they’ve heard and will inform the class after the activity.

Variation: If the students will not be able to improvise, you can put them in 3s and give some time to write the dialogue. Then Cs from each group go to listen to another A and B’s gossip.

Fun with Present Continuous Tense

Improvisations part 2

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Sometimes I adapt activities from TV shows, games, etc.

The following activity is from a drama group called ‘Mahser-i Cumbus’. While watching their performance, I usually find great ideas for my classes.

It sounds a bit confusing but it really is fun.

Student A stands up and mimes. While miming she makes a sentence with another action.

Student B comes and mimes the action student A has just said but says something else.

The situation should look and sound something like this:

A: (brushing his teeth) I’m drinking a cup of coffee

B: (drinking a cup of coffee) I’m washing my hands.

C: (washing his hands) I’m writing a letter.

You can watch a short animation I created from Xtranormal by clicking the link:  http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7274801

Similar activities from my blog:

Improvising in the EFL classroom

Just Improvise – A Quick Game

More fun with Present Continuous Tense, please visit TEFL.net for 15 fun games for the present continuous tense.


seksekI realised I mostly wrote about quick games, fillers or warmers that may help the teachers to motivate the students or change the phase or the pace of a lesson.

I believe these activities are great to present and practice a new language. During the activities, students will be more involved, enthused and eager to do or finish the activity and the teacher will look more friendly, approachable and cheerful.

I’m sure the experienced members of my PLN will have more to add to the followings but let’s say this is kind of an introduction for the new comers to the ELT world.

Games and game like activities


  1. Tongue twisters: these are great challenges and also good for pronunciation and memory.
  2. Find someone who: You can use this activity anytime you want during the lesson, as a warmer for presenting or awareness-raising or at the end of a lesson as a filler to practice the target language.
  3. Puzzles, word games: these are good for vocab revision. I also ask my students to create their own puzzles then they exchange the puzzle and try to solve the ones their friends prepared. If you want they can prepare them in pairs or groups.
  4. Charede: this one is my favourite. It can be used as a filler. Team them and tell them they will compete. Usually we play charde with grammatical structures such as If clauses, time clauses or relatives. Once they code certain things and get the rule they easily guess the sentence. Plus they mime and have fun.
  5. Yes-No Game
  6. Line up according to: This is a good warmer and also works well to group your students for the next activity. You can line your students according to the seasons they were born in or the fast food they like or the shoes they are wearing. The alternatives are endless. Just use your imagination.
  7. Stand up if: This one is also a great warmer, filler or energizer. Shout out sentences and tell your students to stand up if the statement is correct for them. You can change the instruction and say, for instance, touch your nose if you agree and jump if you disagree.
  8. Associations : give 2 object, which looks completely different and ask them to find the similarities.
  9. How can we use it other than: Give them an object, say a paper clip and give them time to list what else we can do with a paper clip apart from attaching paper.
  10. Tic-tac-toe: you can use it to practice and revise vocabulary and grammar points.
  11. Dictations
  12. Shake hands: This is a great activitywith lots of laughter and action.Play some music and tell your students when you stop the music they will greet each other as you instruct. Instruct your students as follows:
  13. Greet each other as two close friends
  14. Greet each other as neighbours


  1. Guided Fantasy: it is great after a hard day’s work, just relax, close your eyes and imagine…. You will find lots of ideas in  Imagine That by J. Arnold,H. Puchta, M.Rinvolucri .
  2. Sentence completion: good for feedback and/or evaluation.
  3. Memory games
  4. Flash dictations.
  5. Wall dictation


  1. Puzzles
  2. Miming
  3. Chinese whispers
  4. Hot seat
  5. Vocabulary match to find the new partner
  6. Bingo
  7. Tic-tac-toe
  8. Hang a man
  9. Find someone who: Find someone who with words and definition. Find someone who can define ‘a word’. / Find someone who can use ‘this particular word’ in a sentence. / Find someone who knows a synonym or antonym for ‘this word’


  1. Find someone who
  2. 20 questions
  3. Kim’s game
  4. I went to the market and I bought
  5. Stand up if

Just Improvise – A Quick Game


Life is a lot like jazz… it’s best when you improvise – George Gershwin

Sometimes my mind doesn’t allow me to enjoy the moment.

Last week a group of actors from a drama club visited our school and they performed with our students. They improvised in the school yard. They started with some warm ups and continued with a few short ‘games’.

While watching them, I caught my mind thinking how I could adapt them in my classes.

There were fabulous ideas and yesterday we tried one of them.

Level: intermediate and above

Time: it’s up to you and your students

Aim: to practice relative clauses, vocabulary

Preparation: none

  1. Ask students to stand up and form a semi circle.
  2. Tell them you will start the game saying ‘I’m the door.’
  3. Then a student will come and say a sentence which is related with the door and act as the thing in the sentence. He may say ‘I’m the lock on the door.’ And pretend as if he was a lock.
  4. Then a third one will come and complete the scene. He may say ‘I’m the key that opens the door.’ The first one will decide who will continue and may say ‘I want the key to stay here’.
  5. Then the key repeats ‘I’m the key that opens the lock’ and the game continues until you get bored.

When playing it they will make associations, connections, they can even play with the words and choose rhyming ones.

For example the next student may say ‘I’m the flock of birds flying to the south’ after hearing the word ‘lock’

We really enjoyed the activity very much. It can be a warmer or filler. Think about dull Monday mornings or long Friday afternoons.

NB My students are teenagers aged between 15 to 17. I think this activity will be suitable for teenagers and adults.


My Workshop at Bilgi University

In the session, I talked about why we should use songs in EFL classes.

Music is everywhere in our lives. We listen to songs when we are happy, angry, sad or when we need inspiration or when we want to relax. We go out of our homes with our songs, we travel with them, we wait with them, we shop with them.

So we can teach with them. May be I didn’t say anything new. These are the things we all know. However, I think it is always good to remember them.

Music can be used to teach  

grammar : at the presentation stage of a grammar point or while reviewing

listening : gap fill exercises, matching to teach listening for gist or detail

vocabulary: to teach or increase vocab by asking your students to replace the words with a synonym, antonym or a near synonym.

reading: songs are authentic texts and they can be used for comprehension, discussion and teaching culture 

writing: you can use songs for teaching writing. Ask your students to write a letter to the character, write a story which took place before the sond, add one more verse to the original, write their song for the same topic.

While doing all these we can always use web 2.0 to motivate our students so they can add their own content to the material.

 In the final part of my talk I gave examples how I used songs with my students.

I started the session with an activity from Music and Song by Tim Murphey (2009,   OUP)

Musical Reactions

Play an instrumental piece.

Ask students to fill out the questionnaire while listening to the music. 

1. If you turned on the radio and heard this piece of music would you:

  • turn off immediately?
  • listen attentively?
  • buy the record?
  • download it to your mp3 player?
  • Leave it on as background music?
  • —-?
  1. Imagine someone who loves this music. Describe the person in a few words.
  2. Imagine someone who doesn’t love this music. Describe the person in a few words.
  3. What emotions does it evoke in you?
  4. What do you see if you close your eyes as you listen?
  5. If this were the background music for an advertisement, what do you think the advertised product would be?
  6. If this were a soundtrack for a film, what kind of a film would that be?
  7. In what kind of place would you be most likely to hear this music?

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