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Interactive

Games and
Activities
for language learning

www.master talker.com
1 © Mastertalker
Introduction

About Games
and Activities

Games and activities can be regarded


as integral components of language
development. They provide concentrated
use of language, meaningful contexts,
opportunities for real, spontaneous
communication and elements of
enjoyment that capture learner
interest. These make games and activities
vital links between structured language
practice and ‘real world’ language use.
Games and activities can also be used
as extremely effective and efficient needs
analysis tools, where areas of strength
and improvement can easily be seen.

When to Use
Games and Activities

Due to their unpredictable, dynamic


nature and spontaneous use of language,
games and activities are well-suited to
situations and times of free and open
communication, as opportunities for
participants to use language they have
previously studied. Also, because of their
inherent interaction requirements, games
and activities are ideal for situations
where participants are not familiar with
one another, and, therefore, act as
reasons, focal points and avenues for
communication. Furthermore, due to
their adaptability and flexibility, games
and activities can be used with
participants of all language abilities, from
elementary through to advanced levels.

1 © Mastertalker
About This Book About MASTERTALKER

The games and activities in this book MASTERTALKER provides


are communicative in nature, rather opportunities for language learners
than having set linguistic goals. to experience highly interactive and
Hence, the focus of this book is enjoyable learning environments.
on interaction and successful MASTERTALKER learning aids are
communication, rather than correct simple and quick to set up, have
use of language. Nevertheless, in been developed specifically to
order to complete the games and enable language learner interaction,
activities, participants must still use and assist with accurate assessment
the required language effectively. of learner abilities.

Games and activities, by their very


nature, are interactive. However,
many of them presented in this book
Copyright Statement
lend themselves to highly interactive,
whole group participation.
Copyright and other intellectual
property laws protect this material.
Unlike other similar books, these
A single copy of this material
games and activities have not been
may be made, solely for personal,
divided into levels of ability, as many
non-commercial use. Beyond
are easily adjustable to suit needs.
that, with the exception of the
sample document, reproduction
Furthermore, all the games and
or retransmission of this material,
activities in this book have been
in whole or in part, in any manner,
designed so that traditional tools,
without the prior written consent
such as pens and paper, are not
of the copyright holder, is a
required, allowing flexibility of
violation of copyright law.
environments and minimal
preparation.
Individuals must preserve any
copyright or other notices
contained in or associated with
them. Users may not distribute
such copies to others, whether or
not in electronic form, whether
or not for a charge or other
consideration, without prior written
consent of the copyright holder of
the material.

© Mastertalker 2
Q. What has all the
ESL students talking?

®
A . MASTERTALKER The interactive language game

Language learning the fun way


MASTERTALKER® language learning aids have ‘The great thing about this game is that it is so
been developed specifically to enable language adaptable. The students really like it. The rules
learner interaction, while also assisting ESL are so simple that students don't get confused.
teachers to accurately assess student abilities. Great resource!’
Activites are simple and quick to set up, and Anne Cox, ESL Co-ordinator, South Oaks Centre
focus on key learning areas such as grammar,
vocabulary, reading, speaking and listening. Visit www.mastertalker.com to find out more!

English through Interaction

3 © Mastertalker
Contents
Bargain Hunt........................................................ 5 Personality Ranking ........................................25

Best Friends.......................................................... 6 Personality Situations ....................................26

Cops and Robbers ........................................... 7 Prize Winners ...................................................27

Do You Know Them?....................................... 8 Public Figures .....................................................28

Family Vacations ................................................. 9 Same Place, Same Time ...............................29

Grid Races ..........................................................10 Sentence Memory .........................................30

Guess the Rule .................................................11 Social Butterflies ..............................................31

Hello Captain ....................................................12 Speed Friendship Making ...........................32

Housemates .......................................................13 Storylines .............................................................33

Job Interviews ...................................................14 Storylines in Secret ........................................34

Join in the Chorus ..........................................15 Theme Teams ....................................................35

Let’s Do It! ..........................................................16 Things in Common ........................................36

Life Swap .............................................................17 Top Three ............................................................37

Movie Scene ......................................................18 Tough Lives .........................................................38

Nice to Meet You............................................19 Trivia Quiz...........................................................39

Non-Verbatim...................................................20 True or False......................................................40

Not-So-Celebrity Heads ............................21 Twenty Questions ..........................................41

Opinion Challenge .........................................22 What Am I Doing? .........................................42

Paparazzi ..............................................................23 What Is It? ...........................................................43

Personality Guess............................................24 Yes No Groups ................................................44

© Mastertalker 4
Bargain hunt
Divide the participants into two Customers go shopping in the
groups: sales assistants and shopping mall. (That is, visit the
customers. sales assistants in their shops).

Nominate how much money the Sales assistants must try to sell as
customers each have. much of their product as possible.

Tell the sales assistants to think of Continue until all customers have
one product to sell and to decide spent as much money as possible
on the price of that product. (It (within their limit), or for a set time
must cost the same as or less than limit (e.g. twenty minutes).
the amount of money each cus-
tomer has).

Instruct the sales assistants to go


somewhere in the room and ‘set
up shop’.

Winner:
The sales assistant with the most
money at the end.

Note:
All participants must constantly
keep track of how much money
they have.

Variation:
All participants are sales assistants
and customers simultaneously. All
participants can buy other items
(from anyone) and sell their one
product (to anyone).

5 © Mastertalker
Best friends
Divide participants into two teams. Bring everyone from both teams Eventually, as correct best friends
together. are guessed and removed from the
Take one team to a place where game, participants from only one
they can not see the other team. Participants split up from their team remain.
best friend and team, mingle with
Participants in each team pair up participants from the other team Game ends when members from
and imagine they are best friends. and explain the five things they have only one team remains in the game
in common with their best friend. and all members from the other
Participants discuss their lives, habits, team are out of the game.
likes/dislikes with their best friend If the person they are talking to
and find five things they have in can correctly guess who their best
common. For example, they both friend is, they and their best friend
have pet dogs, they both go to are out of the game and must move
the supermarket every Saturday to the side or sit down.
morning, or they both like cycling.
If the person they are talking to
If there are an odd number of can not correctly guess who their
participants, one team has one set best friend is, they can continue
of three best friends. to mingle and meet with other
participants.

Winner:
Team whose members remain in
the game at the end.

© Mastertalker 6
Cops & robbers
Put the participants into small groups. Tell the other people in the groups After a certain time, suspects
(in the room) that they are all de- change groups and are questioned
Tell everyone that there was a tectives and the people outside are by a new group.
crime last night. Someone robbed a all suspects, but they have to find
bank between 9pm and 11pm. out which one of them is the crimi- Repeat until all groups have
nal. They have six minutes to think questioned all suspects.
Take one member from each group of questions to ask all the suspects.
out of the room. Choose one of At the end, each group discusses
these as the criminal. At the end of the five minutes, who they think the criminal is.
when the friends have made up
These members are all friends, in- a story, they have one minute to Reveal the criminal.
cluding the one criminal. The friends quickly tell the criminal what the
must make a story about last night, story is.
claiming to be each other’s alibi and
that they were all together last night. Suspects come back inside the
room.
Before they make the story, take the
criminal away from his/her friends. One suspect goes to each group
The friends then have five minutes and is questioned.
to make the story.

Note:
The criminal is usually found as
having the least information about
last night, as he/she had only one
minute to learn of the story made
up by his/her friends, whereas the
friends had five minutes to discuss
it in detail.

7 © Mastertalker
Do you know them?
Divide the participants into teams When the five questions have been
of three or four. answered, bring Person A back into
the room.
Choose one person from each
group (Person A) to go out of the The team then asks Person A the
room or to a place where they can’t same five questions to see if Person
hear the discussion. B was correct in his/her answers.

Choose another person from each For every correct answer, the team
group (Person B) to be the one scores one point.
who answers questions.
Repeat the activity until everyone
The remaining participant(s) in in each team has played all the
each team must ask five questions different roles (Person A, Person
to Person B about Person A. (For B and the one that asks the
example, ‘Where does A live?’, questions).
‘What TV show does A like to
watch?’). Person B must answer
these five questions to the best of
their knowledge. If the answer is not
known, Person B must make up or
guess the answer. Winner:
Team with the highest score at the
end of the game.

Variation:
Use specific topics related to
Person A (e.g. his/her past,
interests)

Use hypothetical questions (e.g.


‘What would Person A do if …?’)

Use hypothetical Yes/No questions


(e.g. ‘Would Person A … If…?’)

© Mastertalker 8
Family Vacations
Choose three participants to be travel Allocate an amount of money for Travel agents can adjust their packages
agents. Move them to the front of the each family to spend on their holiday. accordingly.
room and tell them to set up their
three shops, for example, think of Travel agents think of a holiday Families choose a final holiday
a name for their business, decide package for equal to or less than package.
whether they cater for luxury or that amount of money.
budget customers, etc.
Members of each family spread out
Divide the remaining participants into individually and discuss the packages
groups of equal numbers. Tell each with separate travel agents.
group that they are one family and
must decide what roles they have in Families come back together to
their family, e.g., the father, mother, discuss their options.
daughter, etc.
After discussing their options, families
Tell each family they want to go may want to bargain with the agents
on holiday and must buy a holiday to get a better deal.
package from one travel agent.

Winner:
The travel agent with the most
money at the end.

Note:
For a large number of participants,
adjust the number of travel agents
and the size of the families
accordingly.

9 © Mastertalker
Grid Races
Put the participants into teams of Tell Player 1 from each team the If Player 4 can not guess the
four and number each person in topic. Player 1 from each team then topic, other team mates can give
each team from one to four. races to their team mate, Player 2, additional information, but only
and describes the topic, without to the player immediately after
Taking the first team, Player 1 stands saying the name of the topic. them. That is, Player 1 can only
at one end of the room while give information to Player 2,
Player 4 stands at the other end Player 2 then races to Player 3 and Player 2 can only give information
of the room. Players 2 and 3 stand repeats what Player 1 has told them. to Player 3 and Player 3 can only
between Players 1 and 4, such that Player 3 then races to Player 4 and give information to Player 4.
players are an equal distance from repeats what Player 2 has told them.
the person next to them. Repeat for various topics,
Player 4 must guess the topic. changing the positions of players.
Repeat for the second team, For example, Player 1 becomes
standing some distance beside the If Player 4 can guess the topic, Player 2, Player 2 becomes Player 3,
first team, and then for all teams he/she must say shout out the topic. and so on.
so that eventually a grid has been If correct, that team scores one
formed by all participants. point. If not, play continues until a
team correctly guesses the topic
Choose a topic for the game. and says it aloud.
See example topics below.

Winner:
Team that has the most number
of points after a certain time (e.g.
twenty minutes) or team that is
first to reach a set number of
points (e.g. ten).

Example topics:
a sport, a kind of food, an object, an
animal, a job, an art form, a famous
person, a famous company

Variation:
Each team has a ‘baton’ (an object
of choice) and a player can only
speak when they have the baton.

© Mastertalker 10
Guess the Rule
Divide participants into teams of Once they think they have worked
equal numbers. out the rule, the ‘outsider’ must go
back to their own team, and another
Each team decides on a ‘rule’ for their member of their team must go off to
group during discussions. another group to find the next ‘rule’.
See examples below.
Game continues until one team
Teams conduct a discussion about thinks they know the rules of all other
anything the group wants to talk groups. This team then explains all of
about (or give them a specific topic the rules to the whole room. If they
to discuss). have guessed correctly for every rule,
that team is the winning team and the
One member of each team visits game ends. However, if they haven’t
another group and engages in that guessed correctly, game continues
group’s discussion. They can interact until a winning team is found.
by asking and answering questions or
commenting just like other members.

This ‘outsider’ must try and work out


what the ‘rule’ for that group is.

Example rules:
Participants must put their right
hand on the right leg before
answering a question.

Every answer to every question


must start with ‘I think’.

Only females ask questions, and


only males answer questions.

11 © Mastertalker
Hello Captain
Stand or sit half of the participants When the time has finished, all of moving one space to their left,
in a line, and stand or sit the other participants stop talking and the this time all participants move two
half of the participants directly joker swaps positions with another spaces to their left.
opposite them. participant of his/her choice.
After each discussion period, the
If there are an odd number of Next, all participants move to the number of spaces moved increases,
players, one person stands or sits left one position, in a clockwise so that next time players move
by himself/herself at the head of the manner. three spaces, then four, then five,
group, as a person would sit at the and so on until the final round,
head of a table. Participants again speak about the where players move ten spaces.
topic for the set amount of time.
Nominate one person to be the When the Captain begins to speak Again, after each round, the
Captain, one person to be the however, he/she must start the transference of titles is marked by
Pirate and another person to be conversation with ‘Hello Captain’, the greetings of ‘Hello Captain’,
the Joker. thus transferring the title of ‘Captain’ ‘Hello Pirate’ and ‘Hello Joker’ to
to the person standing/sitting those standing/sitting opposite the
Decide on a topic for the opposite him/her. Likewise, the current Captain, Pirate and Joker.
participants to talk about. Pirate transfers the title of ‘Pirate’
to the person opposite him/her by
Participants discuss the topic with greeting them with, ‘Hello Pirate’.
the person standing/sitting opposite Similarly, the Joker transfers the title
them for a set time limit (e.g. two of ‘Joker’ to the person opposite
minutes). (If there are an odd them by greeting them with,
number of participants, the player ‘Hello Joker’.
standing or sitting at the head of
the group doesn’t participant in When the set time for discussion
discussion, but watches the group has finished, the joker again changes
and rests.) position with another participant
of his/her choice. Next, instead

Winner:
Player at the end that holds the
title of Captain.

Loser:
Player at the end that holds the
title of Pirate.

© Mastertalker 12
Housemates
Divide the participants into groups Likewise, the people looking for a new After each house has interviewed all
of four. place to live need to ask questions to potential new housemates, the most
the housemates to see which house is welcome housemate must be chosen
Select one participant from each most appropriate for them. by the current housemates, and the
group to come to the front of vacant room in each and every
the room. Before beginning, give everyone time house filled.
to think of some questions they
These participants at the front are would like to ask. For example, If suitable matches towards the
looking for a place to live. questions relating to jobs, interests, end can not be found, agreements
cleanliness, friends, times to get up between other houses and new
The remaining three members in each and go to bed, food and personality. housemates may be broken, and
group live together in a house that has renegotiations can be made in the
one vacant room, and are looking for The people looking for a new place hope of brokering deals and finding
a new housemate. to live visit a house for an interview. solutions for everyone.
When the interview is over, they
The housemates must interview each move on to the next house for a
person looking for a new place to new interview.
live to see which person would
be the most welcome addition to
their household.

Variations:
Assign particular traits to all
participants looking for a new
house. For example, personality,
job, age, relationships.

13 © Mastertalker
Job Interviews
Divide the participants into two If candidates do not get their
groups: employers and candidates. desired job, they must choose a
new job and a new employer.
Employers are small business
owners and have one job vacancy Activity continues until all job
for their business. vacancies are filled.

Employers must decide what kind If anyone towards the end can
of business they have and tell the not find a job or new employee,
group of candidates what job is they may ask other employers
available. / employees to renege on their
previous agreements and re-enter
Candidates visit employers that the discussions in the hope of
they want to work for and try to brokering a deal.
get the job.

Employers interview each


candidate and chose the best
person for the job.

© Mastertalker 14