Types of English Second Language Activities for Active Children

English Second Language teachers everywhere have classes of children who are bursting with energy, ideas and jokes. They are laughing and talking in their first language as they enter the classroom. It’s your job as the teacher to change the focus of their thoughts to the content of the lesson that you have prepared. This article suggests types of activities that will catch their interest and establish control and harmony within the room.

How Can You Direct Their Thoughts to an English Language Lesson
That They’ll Find Exciting?


Everyone loves to do crossword puzzles. There are all kinds of crossword puzzles available. These are fun to do, and are very useful in teaching vocabulary, because students love the challenge. There are even interactive puzzles available, which the students can do on their computers. Often these can puzzles can be given to students who finish their in class assignments early.

These active children are often very creative. This type of puzzle is a quiet way of directing their interest. You might have a list of words that have been introduced in a previous lesson on the board and a printed grid on their desks. The grid should have enough squares vertically and horizontally for the students to print the largest word – one letter in each box on the grid. It may be bigger than that if desired. Have them print the words in the squares so that the letters in any word follow consecutively – vertically or horizontally. Challenge them to make a puzzle that will trick their friends. They must use all the words that you have put on the board. The extra squares are filled with any other letters.
When these puzzles are completed they can be collected and distributed throughout the class or the children can challenge their friends to do them. This follow-up activity can be done at the time or later in the lesson.

xword.jpgWORD BINGO
This type of Bingo is suitable for students aged eight or older who know a little English. It is a different approach for getting their attention at the beginning of the class. The children do, however, need to have some experience playing Word Bingo before it can be used as a motivator. After they have played a few games they’ll start asking “Can we play Bingo?” as soon as they walk in the door. You tell them that everyone can play later but there are other things to be done first. Most children accept this as being fair and will settle down if they are sure that there will be time for several games. Word Bingo is a very effective way of teaching vocabulary development.

Children are always interested in different kinds of pictures. Look in magazines and cut out colorful pictures, and mount them on paper. For each picture think up one or more questions that would motivate the children to write something that would be interesting of funny about that picture. Divide the class into small groups, and give each group a picture, with the accompanying question(s) attached. The number of groups will depend on the size of your class. Each team is to write a role-play, story or verse. When they have finished they are to present their work to the whole class. For example, for the picture of the parrots seen here, you could ask what the parrots are talking about, or ask the students to make an interesting/funny conversation.

Whole Class Competition
– Divide the class into two teams that are facing each other. Give each student a small paper containing a question and the answers. Each team should have the same number of questions. Have the children give their team a name – a sports hero or favorite TV character. Each member of each team is to ask another team member their question. The team that answers gets a point if their team member answers correctly. The team with the most points wins. This activity is best used with children over eight years of age.

Try These with Your Class

Do you ride a bicycle?
Yes, I ride a bicycle.
No, I don’t ride a bicycle.

Do you like to sing?
Yes, I like to sing.
No, I don’t like to sing.

Do your friends live near you?
Yes, my friends live near me.
No, my friends don’t live near me.

Are you a girl?
Yes, I’m a girl.
No, I’m not a girl.

Is your friend a boy?
Yes, my friend is a boy.
No, my friend isn’t a boy.

Do you play soccer?
Yes, I play soccer.
No, I don’t play soccer.

Do you have a sister?
Yes, I have a sister.
No, I don’t have a sister.

Can you run fast?
Yes, I can run fast.
No, I can’t run fast.

Do you like pizza?
Yes, I like pizza.
No, I don’t like pizza.

Do you have black hair?
Yes, I have black hair.
No, I don’t have black hair.

Do you wear blue jeans?
Yes, I wear blue jeans.
No, I don’t wear blue jeans.

Do you like to swim?
Yes, I like to swim.
No, I don’t like to swim.

Every classroom situation is different. Choose any of these ideas that might work for your class and for the culture that surrounds your school. Adapt these ideas to meet your needs and enjoy the positive attitudes of your students.

See Also:

Our Children’s ESL Storybooks make ESL classes interesting!

ESL Storybooks

Hand Puppet Resources:

Simple Rod Puppets:

About brian_mu8dft39

Successful ESL was created out of our first company, Learning English With Laughter which began in 1990 when we, George and Daisy Stocker, traveled to the historic city of Karlovy Vary in Czechoslovakia, to teach English in a private language school. Communism was over and the people were embarking along the road to democracy. There were hundreds of students eager to learn the English Language, but suitable textbooks were non-existent. Consequently, we wrote as we taught, making countless revisions as we listened to the students' special needs. Upon returning to our home in Victoria, Canada, we have adapted the Teen-adult Series to meet the cultural needs of students in a number of different countries. A variety of adaptations have been achieved through contacts with many countries. Thousands of students have encouraged us to use a conversational approach to English that stresses communication in a variety of everyday situations. See our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Successful-ESL-Ltd/322661351104350
This entry was posted in Children's ESL, ESL Activities, ESL Suggestions, Tips for Teachers and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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