O ral English Activities
Resources for Teachers

This site is no longer being actively maintained, but I've received enough grateful emails from teachers over the years to know that it's still being used. I guess pedagogy never grows old, it just gets rediscovered! (The Links page, on the other hand, was hopelessly out of date, but I've just tidied that up too). — March 2012

Categories
New Activities General Adaptable
Cars Food and Drink Health
Home Recreation Relationships
Travel Work and Business Other
General
These activities have no specific thematic focus, and could be integrated into almost any oral English lesson.
Duration Aim Requirements
8.  Retelling Jokes
5 stars
20–30 min Oral fluency practice

Students retell jokes in their own words.

2.  Retelling Personal Stories
5 stars
25–35 min Oral fluency practice

Students hear anocdotes from their classmates and retell them.

9.  Keyword Dialogue
4 stars
5 min Oral fluency practice

Students roleplay a dialogue, guided by a handful of keywords.

1.  Retelling Stories
4 stars
25–35 min Oral fluency practice

Students retell stories which they have just heard.

6.  Storytelling by Turns
4 stars
5–15 min Oral fluency practice

Working in groups, students invent a story, taking turns to speak.

28.  Two Minute Debates
4 stars
25–30 min Oral fluency practice; disagreeing

A series of quick debates in pairs.

19.  One Question Survey
3.5 stars
10–20 min Speaking and listening practice

Each student receives a different question, and conducts a survey of their classmates.

3.  Celebrity Backs
3 stars
20–25 min Oral fluency practice Adhesive labels; space to mingle

Ask yes/no questions to guess the celebrity name on each student's back.

11.  World's Greatest Discussion
3 stars
15–20 min Oral fluency practice

Groups brainstorm ideas for why x is the world's greatest y.

Adaptable
These activities can be adapted to a wide variety of topics. Usually the description includes one or two detailed examples of how the activity can be adapted to particular themes, but teachers can readily devise their own adaptions (and are encouraged to share their ideas with other readers by adding a comment to the relevant page).
Duration Aim Requirements
15.  Card-swapping Discussion
5 stars
20–25 min Oral fluency practice

Each time students complete the task with one partner, they swap cards and find a new partner.

23.  Find the Differences
5 stars
10–15 min Oral fluency practice

Students speak in order to find the differences between two similar pictures.

30.  Weekly Talkshow
5 stars
N/A Oral fluency practice; assess speaking

Three students answer questions from the class on a particular topic.

26.  Guess the Mime
4.5 stars
20–30 min Oral fluency practice

Students mime sentences which their group tries to guess.

4.  Team Guessing Games
4.5 stars
15–25 min Oral fluency practise

The typical "twenty questions"-style guessing game, confined to small groups.

18.  Communicative Crossword
4 stars
10–20 min Oral fluency practice; vocabulary review

Each student has a crossword with only half the words filled in, and must invent clues for their partner.

10.  Comparison Roleplay
4 stars
10–15 min Speaking practice; vocabulary practice

Student discover how the facts or opinions on their roleplay card differ from their partner's.

13.  Group Vocabulary Review
4 stars
20–25 min Oral fluency; vocabulary review/development

Group members take turns to describe vocabulary items.

5.  Ranking
4 stars
10–15 min Oral fluency practice

Groups discuss how to order a list of words.

7.  Short Roleplays
4 stars
10–15 min Oral fluency practice

Role play according to instructions on roleplay card.

33.  Combining Versions
3.5 stars
15–20 min Oral fluency practice

Each pair of students is given two incorrect versions of a text and, looking at only one version each, must discuss the differences and reconstruct the original text.

Cars
Duration Aim Requirements
20.  Used Car Roleplay
3.5 stars
20–25 min Oral fluency practice; car vocabulary

Roleplay a telephone call based on a list of used cars.

Food and Drink
Duration Aim Requirements
12.  Swap recipes
3 stars
10–15 min Oral fluency practice

Students tell each other a recipe from their own knowledge.

See also:
10.  Comparison Roleplay
4 stars
10–15 min Speaking practice; vocabulary practice

Student discover how the facts or opinions on their roleplay card differ from their partner's.

Relevant content: Salty Fish Roleplay (flavour vocabulary)
19.  One Question Survey
3.5 stars
10–20 min Speaking and listening practice

Each student receives a different question, and conducts a survey of their classmates.

Relevant content: Food Survey
Health
Duration Aim Requirements
See also:
23.  Find the Differences
5 stars
10–15 min Oral fluency practice

Students speak in order to find the differences between two similar pictures.

Relevant content: Dentist Cartoon
Home
Duration Aim Requirements
17.  Housemates Roleplay
5 stars
20–25 min Oral fluency practice; politely disagreeing

Two housemates try to resolve their conflicts.

16.  Rent My Apartment
4 stars
25–30 min Oral fluency practice; apartment vocabulary

Students describe their family's apartment to a potential tenant (ie another student).

See also:
18.  Communicative Crossword
4 stars
10–20 min Oral fluency practice; vocabulary review

Each student has a crossword with only half the words filled in, and must invent clues for their partner.

Relevant content: Renting an Apartment
5.  Ranking
4 stars
10–15 min Oral fluency practice

Groups discuss how to order a list of words.

Relevant content: Choosing an Apartment
Recreation
Duration Aim Requirements
29.  My Television Show
3.5 stars
15–20 min Oral fluency practice

Students think of a concept for a television show and describe it to their group.

31.  Design a Club
3 stars
20–30 min Oral fluency practice

Students work in groups to design a club, guided by an example sheet.

See also:
4.  Team Guessing Games
4.5 stars
15–25 min Oral fluency practise

The typical "twenty questions"-style guessing game, confined to small groups.

Relevant content: Hobbies
13.  Group Vocabulary Review
4 stars
20–25 min Oral fluency; vocabulary review/development

Group members take turns to describe vocabulary items.

Relevant content: Sports
33.  Combining Versions
3.5 stars
15–20 min Oral fluency practice

Each pair of students is given two incorrect versions of a text and, looking at only one version each, must discuss the differences and reconstruct the original text.

Relevant content: Love Story
Relationships
Duration Aim Requirements
22.  Matchmaking Roleplay
5 stars
15–20 min Oral fluency practice Lots of space

Each student is given a "child", and tries to pair him/her up with a suitable partner.

21.  Matchmaking Discussion
4.5 stars
25–35 min Oral fluency practice

Students discuss how best to pair up the profiles of eight single people.

See also:
33.  Combining Versions
3.5 stars
15–20 min Oral fluency practice

Each pair of students is given two incorrect versions of a text and, looking at only one version each, must discuss the differences and reconstruct the original text.

Relevant content: Love Story
Travel
Duration Aim Requirements
27.  Adventure Holiday Discussion
3.5 stars
15–25 min Oral fluency practice

Students plan an adventure holiday in groups.

See also:
26.  Guess the Mime
4.5 stars
20–30 min Oral fluency practice

Students mime sentences which their group tries to guess.

Relevant content: Hotel Reception
4.  Team Guessing Games
4.5 stars
15–25 min Oral fluency practise

The typical "twenty questions"-style guessing game, confined to small groups.

Relevant content: Strange Souvenirs
Work and Business
Duration Aim Requirements
34.  Making Appointments
5 stars
30–35 min Practise language for making appointments

Students arrange both business and personal appointments with other members of the class.

24.  Plan a Bank Robbery
5 stars
30–45 min Oral fluency practice; banking vocabulary

A bank roleplay which leads to a group discussion on how to rob the bank.

32.  Price Survey
4 stars
25–30 min Practise pronouncing dollar-and-cent values

Students interview each other on the cost of some common items.

See also:
15.  Card-swapping Discussion
5 stars
20–25 min Oral fluency practice

Each time students complete the task with one partner, they swap cards and find a new partner.

Relevant content: Occupations Small-talk
5.  Ranking
4 stars
10–15 min Oral fluency practice

Groups discuss how to order a list of words.

Relevant content: Job Stress
7.  Short Roleplays
4 stars
10–15 min Oral fluency practice

Role play according to instructions on roleplay card.

Relevant content: Office Roleplay
Other
Duration Aim Requirements
25.  Oral English Exams
Unrated
N/A Assess speaking

Ideas and topics for oral english exams.

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