TEFL Activities Using Little to No Resources, V2

(**I compiled the following list into a downloadable PDF file: tefl-activities-requiring-few-to-no-resources-v2)

Telephone
How could I have forgotten telephone on my first list? Classic. If you’re unfamiliar with this game, have your students form a line or circle. The first student thinks of a sentence in English, and then whispers it to the next person (and so on). The last person to hear the sentence has to say it out loud. (And then everyone laughs at how much the sentence has changed.)

Four Corners
This game is adaptable to any lesson plan/vocabulary. Choose four vocabulary words, and write them on four separate pieces of paper. Post one word in each corner of the classroom. Select one student to be “it.” He or she sits in the center of the room with their eyes closed (or blindfolded). The other students disperse to the four corners of the room. The “it” student says, “Everyone in the (vocab word) corner, sit down.” Any students standing in that corner must sit at their desks. The remaining students change corners. The pattern is repeated until only one student is left standing. That person becomes “it” for the next game.

Listening to a Song
I brought my iPod + portable Jam speaker to school to play a song for my students. I had them listen to the song once all the way through. Before the second listening, I wrote a list of words on the board. When the students heard those words during the second listening of the song, they had to raise their hands. (If you have access to a printer, you could print the lyrics and delete certain words. Then, have students fill in those words as they listen to the song.)
Choosing a song can be challenging. Things to take into consideration are appropriate lyrics (obviously), choosing a song students would like (I’d say, stick with pop music), and also finding a song where the lyrics aren’t too fast/can be clearly heard. Here are a few songs I would suggest:
Popular by MIKA and Ariana Grande
Beautiful by Christina Aguilera
Happy by Pharrell Williams

Counting (Warm Up Activity)
Have students stand. Count aloud to ten as you shake your right hand ten times, your left hand ten times, your right foot ten times, and your left foot ten times. Repeat the exercise counting down 9, 8, 7 …

Preposition
Have students come up to the front of the classroom one at a time. Give them an object and let them place it under, beside, between, below (etc.) the desk or a chair. Have the other students use the sentence in a preposition. (Example: “The ball is under the desk.”)

Create a Story
Have each student write a sentence on a piece of paper. Then have students pass papers to their left. Give students thirty seconds to read what their neighbor wrote, and then add a sentence to the story. Then, pass papers to the left and repeat. When the papers complete the circle and the student has their original piece of paper back in front of them, go around the room and have students read their stories aloud.

You can see my first list of resources here.

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.”

Prepositions
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!