TEFL: Activities Using Little to No Resources

One of the more challenging aspects of teaching in Kosovo is working with few resources. We have chalkboards/chalk and (some) textbooks (half of my classes don’t have books yet … and school started a month ago). That’s pretty much it. The Peace Corps wants us to develop sustainable new ideas for the classroom. Even if I could afford to buy extra materials, that really isn’t fair to the other teachers, who might not be able to do so.

I’ve mentioned previously that this is my first experience teaching in a classroom. I’ve been scouring the Internet for ideas for classroom activities. Printouts are a challenge. My school has one printer, and it isn’t even an industrial-sized one you see in offices across the U.S. It’s closer to the size you might have in your home office. So, printing out materials for dozens of students every day isn’t really an option.

I’ve rounded up some of the best activities I’ve found so far that require few to no resources. I’ll likely continue to add posts like these to the blog as I discover/come up with more ideas. There are a million “icebreaker” games out there, but I’ve focused on educational activities where students have to speak or write in English.

Teaching Present Continuous
1. One student comes up to the front of the classroom and acts out a daily activity.
2. The other students have to call out what he/she is doing. “He is brushing his teeth.” “He is washing the dishes.”

Hangman (for use with any vocab words)
1. Allow students to take turns acting as the “hangman,” choosing words and calling on their classmates to guess.

Teaching Parts of the Body
1. Sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”
2. Draw a body on the chalkboard and have students come up to label parts

A Tree Map (used to teach are/can/have)
Draw something that looks like this on the board:
|             |           |
Are       Can     Have

And ask students to help you fill in the tree. Example: Spiders
“Spiders are hairy.” “Spiders can jump.” “Spiders have eight legs.”

1. Describe a room and have students draw what they hear
“There is a coffee table in the middle of the room. On the table is … Under the table is …Beside the table is … ”

Stand Up If …
1. Have students make a circle with their chairs. Remove one of the chairs.
2. Have a student volunteer stand in the middle of the circle.
3. The student volunteer has to come up with a sentence, such as, “Stand up if you’re wearing a white shirt.”
4. All the students wearing a white shirt must stand and try to find a different chair, while the person in the middle also tries to find a chair.
5. The last person standing has to come up with the next sentence.

**I compiled these into a downloadable PDF: tefl-esl-activities-using-little-or-no-resources.

If anyone out there has other ideas, please feel free to share!


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