Maybe you had a meeting in your prep time. Maybe your time just ran away with you. Maybe, despite your fantastic prep there is still free time at the end of the class. Here are six activities that can be used with a variety of levels with no preparation.
1. The Party
Students imagine that they are going to throw a party and think of up to ten guests that they would like to invite: these can be celebrities, famous people (living or deceased), people who are important to them, etc. They then tell their partner or small group why they have chosen these people to attend.
2. The Dinner Party
Similar to The Party, but this time the whole class (or groups if your class is quite big) decides on a common list of eight-twelve people to come for dinner at their house. Together they must negotiate a seating plan that will ensure harmony during a three-hour dinner: a guest should not be sat next to someone they would find conflictive, for example. The activity is complete once the group has agreed on a seating plan. As an extension, you could add in students to the plan, as they may have strong opinions about the guests. ResourcEFL tip: try to avoid religious and political figures, unless you are extremely confident that it will not cause issue among your students.
3. 60-Second Challenge
A first impression is a lasting impression. This activity is inspired by the BBC show Dragons’ Den, where people with business ideas have to sell their idea to a group of investors in a short time; your students have to ‘make a sale’ in 60 seconds. This works ideally in groups of up to five students, where one or two have to sell their product to the rest of the group, convincing them that it is the best in the world. After the 60 seconds are up, the ‘investors’ decide whether to invest in the product or not, giving the ‘sellers’ their reasons for their choice. The objects to be sold can be simple objects found around the classroom. Variations on the context could be a student trying to avoid punishment for not doing homework, a TV producer selling a new idea for a show to TV stations, etc.
Also called Password in some countries, after a popular TV show. Divide the class in two groups and place two chairs in front of the board. One person from each group comes forward and sits down. Write a word on the board; the students on the chairs must not look at the word, but must listen to the clues their team gives to guess the word. The first to guess correctly wins a point. If a team member says all or part of the word, they are disqualified and the other team keep playing until they guess correctly.
5. Continue the Story
This activity has two versions: word-by-word or sentence-by-sentence. Sit the class in a circle, if space permits. Dictate the first sentence of the story, the pass to the student on your right. They must then continue the story by saying the next word or the next sentence, whichever version you prefer. The word version tends to produce funnier results. Students must listen to what gas come before their turn in order to be able to give a logical answer. This is great for grammar and vocabulary practice. It is helpful for students if you write down the story, either on paper or on the board. This can help them jog their memory, and also causes a lot of laughter at the end when they hear what they have created.
6. Language Auction
In pairs or small groups, ‘issue’ each team with 100€ (or an equivalent), writing each team’s amount on the board. Then read a sentence that is either correct or incorrect, but say it with confidence. Each team should decide whether they hunk your sentence is correct or not, and bet an amount of money based on how sure they are. If they choose correctly, they win that sum of money, added to their 100€; if they lose, the amount is subtracted. If a team goes below zero, you could give them a ‘loan’, that is repayable at the end of each game.