Saturday, 27 May 2017

Small Talk - ESL EFL Activities, Worksheets and Games

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I had a great weekend

ESL EFL Speaking Activity - Elementary - 30 Minutes

Here is a useful activity to help students practice making conversation about weekend activities. In the activity, students play a guessing game where they have to ask questions to find out what activity a classmate did at the weekend. The class is divided into groups of four. Each group is given a set of activity cards which they place face down in a pile on the desk. Students take it in turns to pick up a card and say: I had a great weekend. The other students then use small talk question prompts on the board to ask questions in order to find out the activity, e.g. Where did you go? How did you get there? The first student to correctly guess the activity keeps the card. The student with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner.

I had a great weekend.PDF  Exclusive 


What do we have in common?

ESL EFL Speaking Activity - Elementary - 25 Minutes

This engaging speaking activity helps students become better acquainted with one another. It is also useful for reviewing Wh- questions. The objective of the activity is for students to find classmates who they have things in common with. To do this, students fill in a chart with information about themselves. The students move round the classroom, talking to different classmates to get the information they need. Whenever they find someone who has something in common with them, they write that person's name in the corresponding square on their worksheet. When they have finished, the students report back to the class on their findings.

What do we have in common.PDF  Exclusive 


Both of Us

ESL EFL Writing and Speaking Activity - Pre-Intermediate - 40 Minutes

In this fun ice-breaker activity, students find out what they have in common with their classmates. This activity makes a great introduction activity for the first day of class and encourages the students to socialize. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. Students write down the names of all the students in the class in the left column on their worksheet. Then, they walk round the class and find one thing they have in common with each student on their worksheet. They must find a different thing for each classmate. When they discover something in common with another student, they write it down on the line next to the student’s name. When everyone has finished, students tell the class what they have in common with other students.

Both of Us.PDF  Exclusive 


Common Responses

ESL EFL Speaking Activity - Pre-Intermediate - 20 Minutes

Here is an enjoyable card game to help students practice common responses to everyday expressions. Each group of four is given a set of cards. Each card contains an expression or sentence and a commonly used response. Students take it in turns to pick up a card and say the expression in bold to the group. The first student in the group to respond with the exact words on the card keeps the card. There may be many ways to reply to each expression. However, the game consists of trying to say the exact reply that’s on the card. The student with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner.

Common Responses.PDF  Free 


Conversation Starters

ESL EFL Writing and Speaking Activity - Pre-Intermediate - 45 Minutes

In this intriguing activity, students complete questions and statements that can be used to start a conversation and create small talk. Then they practice starting and continuing a conversation with different students. The class is divided into pairs and each student is given a copy of the worksheet. The students work with their partner and complete the statements and questions in each category on their worksheet by writing words in the gaps. After reviewing the questions and statements, the students stand up and find a new partner. They choose one topic from their worksheet and make small talk with their partner for three minutes using the three questions/statements they created. After three minutes, the students find a new partner and make small talk again using a different topic. They repeat this process eight times as there are eight small talk topics. When the students have spoken to eight people, they return to their original partner who they prepared the questions with. They tell each other what they found out about the people they spoke to. Finally, there is a class feedback session. The students discuss the topics and share any interesting information they discovered about their classmates.

Conversation Starters.PDF  Exclusive 

Making Small Talk

ESL EFL Speaking Activity - Pre-Intermediate - 25 Minutes

This noteworthy speaking activity helps to teach students what small talk is and how and when to use it. They are also taught some small talk conversation starters. Afterwards, students work in small groups. They take it in turns to start talking about one of the small talk topics. The student who starts each topic begins by making a comment on the topic. The other students respond with a comment or question. The group try to keep the conversation going for two minutes. When the time is up, the next student starts topic number two, and so on. There are 15 small talk topics in total.

Making Small Talk.PDF  Exclusive 


School Reunion

ESL EFL Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-Intermediate - 50 Minutes

In this entertaining teaching activity, students role-play attending a school reunion to practice small talk. In the activity, each student has a different small talk topic they want to talk about and a reason for talking about it. The class is divided into groups of six to eight and each student is given a numbered role card. The students prepare a character for the role-play by completing the information on the card. When the students have finished, each student is given a corresponding small talk card. The small talk card contains the secret topic they want to talk about and reason for talking about it. Students then take on the role of the person on their card and go around talking to the other people in their group. Students introduce themselves and make small talk with each person for 3 to 4 minutes before moving on to someone else. As they talk to each person, students introduce the topic on their card. When the students have spoken to everyone in their group, there is a class feedback session. Students decide what small talk topic each person wanted to talk about and what their reason was. Students then reveal the truth and give feedback about the questions on their small talk cards.

School Reunion.PDF  Exclusive 


Small Talk Techniques

ESL EFL Lesson - Pre-Intermediate - 1 Hour

In this enjoyable lesson, students learn techniques for making small talk and how to keep a conversation going. The students begin by looking at four techniques for making small talk and showing interest. These techniques include using echo questions, echo words, phrases for showing attention and agreement, and asking follow-up questions. Students complete various exercises using each technique during the lesson. Students end the lesson by reading a conversation and identifying the small talk techniques. After which, students practice what they have learnt by having ten short small talk conversations. In each conversation, they ask 5 follow-up questions and use the small talk techniques.

Small Talk Techniques.PDF  Free 


Social English

ESL EFL Speaking Activity - Pre-Intermediate - 20 Minutes

In this invaluable teaching activity, students practice socializing and making small talk. In pairs, students read a situation and then practice keeping a conversation going by using a list of conversation starters and topics. There are two different situations that get the students practicing social English in authentic situations.

Social English.PDF  Exclusive 


That's Fantastic

ESL EFL Writing and Speaking Activity - Pre-Intermediate - 35 Minutes

In this compelling teaching activity, students write and perform dialogues using everyday language connected with feelings. Each pair of students is given a set of expression cards. The teacher writes up some example sentences on the board, e.g. My dog ran away. The students look at their expression cards and provide possible responses, e.g. Oh no! Oh dear!, etc. Students then create a dialogue using ten expressions of feeling. When they have finished writing their dialogues, the pairs practice reading them aloud several times until they can remember them. When they are ready, students perform their dialogues to the class.

That's Fantastic.PDF  Free 


#5 Orlando Sánchez 2016-11-21 13:13
Awesome material
#4 Lona Manning 2016-11-17 11:14
The "echo words" and "echo questions" and typical phrases worked very well with my adult ESL students. Thank you. I'm going to subscribe to your service.
#3 Alice 2016-09-18 11:56
Interesting exercises! Thank you!
#2 Admin 2015-11-26 15:19
Yes, small talk is an important skill for students of English to master. Thanks for your comment.
#1 Jackie 2015-10-08 08:58
I liked your list, especially the one about small talk. It's an important, but often overlooked skill.

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