Purchase two mannequin heads at a craft store (Michaels or Joanns) and use them for dialogs. Ask students to stand behind the heads and have a discussion on any topic you choose. This works in the same way as puppets or masks in that the student talks through another, making it easier for the speaker to feel that he/she is not the focus.
Heads can be decorated with hats or jewelry. They can be used and dressed up in costumes of other countries if different cultures are being discussed, or in historical garb if history is the focus.
Jokes, stories and drama situations are suited to this prop.
Do something different this week! Try an activity that you don't usually do. We all have our own teaching styles and sometimes fall into a particular pattern. Incorporate pair work if you don't usually, a game if its not particularly your "thing", more or fewer writing activities, more or less reading. Change the tempo of your class. This will add interest to both you and your students. Check out the writing ideas, speaking prompts, dialogs, and other suggestions on this site.
Cut out headlines from newspapers and have the students write articles to suit the headlines. You could choose just one and see how many different articles you get from the students, or you can cut out enough so that each student receives a different one.
After this you can have them read the original article that was written under that headline.
Have your students write a diary entry as if it were written by a famous or historical person. For example, if they have been studying Napoleon, they could write about a day of his. Or Elvis might have an interesting thing to say in his diary.
Find out who the students admire, or who they have been learning about in history, and get them to personalize them in a diary.
Here are some fun ideas for writing dialogs or acting out scenes in both the ESL or any language classroom:
Two fleas discuss their home
Two tears talk about a recent problem
Two cats gossip about the dogs in their household
Two hairs left on a bald man's head talk about life
Two flies on the wall talk about a recent event
Two pieces of old fruit remaining in a bowl talk about their lives
Two earrings discuss recent fashion
Two ants speak about their last job
See more ideas on this site for topics for dialogs
A great list could be brainstormed from the group that you are going to teach - and remember to keep their suggestions. One creative mind is much smaller than lots of brains at work!
This works with all levels of ESL, and would succeed in a regular English class. Write the beginning of a story on the board. All the students write down what you wrote, on their piece of paper. Now, each student has to add to the story. The teacher can decide if the students should add one sentence or two sentences only, or if they just write for a given amount of time.
At the end of that given time, stop the students and have them each pass their essay on to the next student. The next student has to read the composition given to him/her and then continues the new story with a sentence/time limit as before. This continues until their own paper returns to them.
This activity means that students are composing, reading material written by others, using their imagination, practicing writing clearly so others can read their writing, and of course, practicing their English. Students always love the final results when they receive their original paper back with a story developed by everyone.
Essay endings! Pictures, stories, visual prompts are often the springboards that we start with to write creatively. This idea is receiving the ending of a story and having the students write the body of the tale.
Teachers can create their own lists, or use real endings of books from the library. Here are some examples of essay endings.
--Shivers ran down her spine. It was the last time she would come here again.
--It was now green. Flowers bloomed pink and large, and life seemed to have returned to it once more.
--and so, when they all returned home, everything was as it had been before. Had it all been a dream?
Click here for more "endings"
Abstract dialogs are well known in the drama arena but are also excellent for advanced ESL students, or in any language classroom. The idea behind abstract dialogs is that the setting or characters are not given, but rather a number of sentences whose underlying meaning has to be interpreted by the "actors". If another language is taught, such dialogs can be easily created in the thatlanguage.
But abstract dialogs are also great for social groups. Parties, scouts, or an evening of fun, these dialogs are the perfect means for interaction or getting to know new people. Here is an example of an abstract dialog script:
A: And he never did.
B: You're wrong. He did.
A: Where did you hear that? Who told you?
B: Yesterday at the hair salon. Michael told me.
A: I still don't believe it.
B: Just have a look at this. Maybe you will change your mind.
A: I don't believe it!
Participants have to decide who the speakers are, what they are referring to, what happened before and after this scene.
For lists of free downloadable abstract scripts look on this site.
If you want to write your own dialogs or have students write them, you need a list of topics you can choose from. If you are working on a theme, write a dialog to suit it, but if you are looking for creative ideas for writing or acting, here are some of the list on this site:
Argument between two friends / mother and son / dog and cat / two flies on the ceiling / two policemen / three birds wanting the same worm.
Many more ideas are on this site: click here
Do you want to keep your kids entertained? Instead of games, craft, computer activities or playing with toys, ask the kids to write a short story about some topics you can list and they can choose from. Kids love creating stories. Story writing can be taken seriously, or be done just for fun to express feelings or tell a tale. Ideas for these kinds of short essay/stories can be seen here on the site. Use the prompts for ideas, or think up your own. Take a title from a book they know and tell them to write their own version of the story, or show them a picture and have them create a story about it.
Hello fellow teachers,