EFL jigsaw games (TEFLtastic Classics Part 31)

Another article of mine just published in English Teaching Professional magazine, available here for free and with added links to example worksheets. At least two more EtP articles coming, so please subscribe to TEFLtastic if you don’t want to miss them. And if you’d like to help me spend more time helping you with articles and worksheets like these, please see here.

Fitting in Jigsaw Games

Apart from young learners actually doing a jigsaw puzzle, the word “jigsaw” in ELT almost always collocates with “text”. A “jigsaw text” is a text such as a letter or telephone conversation that is cut up into sections for the students to put back together in the right order. There is nothing wrong with good classic jigsaw text activities, so this article begins with many variations on and uses for them. However, there are also a few other useful and fun activities that we could call “jigsaw activities”, some of which have more in common with a traditional jigsaw puzzle.


Jigsaw text activities

Splitting single texts

Asking our students to put cut-up sections of articles, essays, reviews and emails back together is a fun alternative to asking them comprehension questions when it comes to checking their understanding of a text. It is also a nice way to connect with any language analysis afterwards. However, it takes some effort to make sure that the task is suitably challenging but not too difficult. To do this, the teacher has to:

  • make sure that there are the right number of sections for the time available (usually around 7 to 15 pieces);
  • make sure that the text wouldn’t also be correct if the students put it in a different order;
  • make sure that the clues needed to put the sections into order will be understood by the students;
  • have some hints ready to give the students if they find the task difficult or impossible.

With written texts, tasks like this tie in well with classroom discussion of reference expressions (“that”, “it”, “the former”, etc), rephrasing to avoid repeating words, the structure of paragraphs and the structure of texts. Which of those things you most want to introduce will probably be the biggest factor in deciding where you split the text. The most common possibilities are splitting between paragraphs, splitting between (some of the) sentences and splitting halfway through (some of the) sentences.


Splitting multiple texts

It is also possible to do a jigsaw text activity with a collection of linked shorter texts, such as an email exchange or SMS “conversation”, perhaps with each part of the exchange on a separate card. For example, if you use an online debate with 12 contributions, you could give the students 12 cards, with one contribution on each. This is my favourite way of introducing formal and informal emails, using one email exchange such as an email negotiation which gets more and more informal as the exchange goes on. The students try to work out which emails are answers to which other emails in order to put the exchange in order. Then, to help the slower groups and get the faster groups to check what they have done, I tell them that the emails should get more and more informal as the exchange goes on. After checking their answers, they underline the formal and informal email expressions in the texts, and then try to find or think of equivalents with the opposite level of formality.


Splitting spoken texts

Apart from emails, I most often split up spoken texts such as telephone calls and shopping exchanges. If you want to practise particular phrases such as “How may I help you?” you can split the exchanges halfway through (“How may” + “I help you?”). However, I usually simply split the texts between the contributions of the different people involved (e.g. between “How may I help you?” and “I’m looking for a present for my nephew”), so that the students have to work out which are replying to which. There tends to be at least one place in such conversations where more than one response is possible, so I sometimes put two people’s parts together on one card to avoid confusion. However, as long as there is ultimately only one way of putting the whole conversation together, it is sometimes good to leave some ambiguity. This makes the students read the conversation more carefully, as they try to put it together one way and then have to come back to it again when there are cards left which don’t fit.


Mixing two different texts

It is sometimes useful to give the students more than one text mixed up together for them to separate out and then put into order. For example, they could be asked to separate parts of model answers for an article, an essay and a review for the Cambridge Proficiency exam, before putting each one in order. This could lead into a useful discussion of the differences between the three different text types (in the exam and in real life).

It is also possible to combine written texts and spoken ones. For example, in the photocopiable business communication activity below the students separate out mixed-up phrases for starting and ending emails, phone calls and face-to-face conversations, and then put them in order. As the focus is on starting and ending (and the middle is too variable to be useful in a class on typical phrases), the body of the text has been left out and replaced with the single word BODY. This can be done with quite a few jigsaw text tasks, with the advantage that it helps the students focus on the important language. It also saves time, both during preparation and in class.


Other jigsaw activities

Matching language jigsaw activities

Splitting words and phrases

One of the best things about jigsaw texts is how much context they provide for the language that you are presenting or practising. However, that can also sometimes be a disadvantage because a whole text:

  • is time-consuming to write and to use in class;
  • can sometimes be distracting;
  • limits the amount of vocabulary, number of phrases, etc that you can include in one class.

To give more intensive practice and/or cover more language, the jigsaw activities described in this section get the students to match up cards with split words and phrases like “have + breakfast” or “A bird in the hand + is worth two in the bush” without any further context. However, there is little point in doing this if the students need to know all the answers before they start in order to be able to complete the task. In that case, either they are learning nothing new, or you are setting them up for failure. You will therefore need to make sure that there are other clues to make up for the lack of the context that the students would get in tasks involving longer texts. For example, when I get my students to put together opinion phrases like “I can see what you mean, but my own point of view is different”, I make sure that the phrases are split in such a way that any other matches are impossible in terms of grammar, collocations between different individual words and having to match by level of strength of agreement and disagreement. This means that even students who are seeing the phrases for the first time will still be able to do the task. It also means that I have plenty of hints up my sleeve to give them if they get stuck: for instance, telling them to check that they haven’t mixed up strong and weak language in the phrases that they have created (“I strongly believe it could possibly be a good idea” X, etc).

Another possible way to give the students extra context is to put more than one option on each card, at least one of which is likely to help them achieve the task. For example, if your class has a mix of knowledge of British and American English, you can make sure that you always include both when both are possible, eg by putting “fire” on the left card and both “truck” and “engine” on the right card when doing transport vocabulary.

Another way of making sure that there are enough hints to make the task possible without the students knowing everything is to keep more than one cell of the table together when cutting it into cards. For example, if the task is to match up adjectives and prepositions like “good”, “worried” and “sensitive” with the prepositions “at”, “about/by” and “to”, you can cut the table up so that “good” and “worried” are together on a double card and all three prepositions are together on a triple card. It’s a good idea to make cards in a range of different sizes in this way, as this makes the task more like a real jigsaw puzzle: and it helps the students put the whole set of cards back into the nice rectangle shape that it was on the worksheet before it was cut up. For students who would still find the task difficult, you can make even bigger cards containing four, or even five, cells of the table. If you make the cards from a table with more than two columns, you can also cut across columns to make cards of other shapes and sizes. For instance, if you have phrasal verbs in a table with four columns for verb, preposition or adverb, meaning and example sentence (with the phrasal verb blanked out), some of the cards can keep the participle and meaning together.

If the students still get stuck when you do the activity in class, you can give them a couple of key matches, tell them how the cards are arranged (e.g. that the ones on the left are in alphabetical order, or that the completed rows get more and more polite as you go down the finished table), or read the whole thing out aloud with the students trying to memorise what you say before they try matching the cards again.

I first thought up this variation when I was looking for a way of cutting out photocopiable matching activities more quickly. When I came to class I found that I had also accidentally made the activity quicker, more manageable and more fun for my students. In addition, it provided a kind of context that the students could use to complete the task and could learn from, even when they only knew about half of the language. Since then, I’ve been using this partial cutting-out idea more and more, both with ready-made worksheets that were originally meant to be cut up cell by cell and with materials that I have made specifically to exploit this idea.

You can use this sort of jigsaw activity with almost anything that you can get students to match up, including:

  • word formation (prefixes and suffixes, etc);
  • synonyms and/or antonyms (e.g. of character words or feelings vocabulary);
  • gradable and extreme adjectives;
  • countable and uncountable nouns (with similar meanings, or countable examples of uncountable categories);
  • similar words with positive and negative connotations;
  • technical and general English words for the same thing (e.g. medical terms and their colloquial equivalents like feeling sick and nausea);
  • collocations (e.g. with common verbs like get and take, ones with as … as, idioms or proverbs);
  • different varieties of English (e.g. matching British and American engineering terms);
  • formal and informal phrases with the same meaning/function;
  • abbreviations such as acronyms (with the last part of the long version in the right-hand column)
  • words which are pronounced a similar way (e.g. past participles which have the same main, stressed vowel sound or rhyming words)


Substitution table jigsaws

This is another example of a small change to an activity leading to a huge change in my teaching, but this time with much more scissor use.

A few years ago, I was writing the suggested answers to a verb patterns task where the students had to put verbs into a table with columns for verbs before “verb + ing” (e.g. “enjoy + verb + ing”), “to + verb” (e.g. “aim + to + verb”), etc. I suddenly realised that I had accidentally prepared a perfect jigsaw task, and that putting a cut-up version of it into the correct order would definitely be more enjoyable than scribbling in a blank table. Since then, I’ve used this idea with all kinds of things, and more often with functional language such as negotiating phrases before and after “but” (e.g. “I can understand your position, but + I’m afraid I can’t accept”, “I don’t have the flexibility to go that far + but I might be willing to consider …”, etc). After doing the jigsaw task, the students can do the traditional filling in of boxes in a table (which, it must be said, is a better aid to memory than the more fun jigsaw task) and/or use the cards for other tasks, such as trying to use phrases including the words on their cards during a speaking task.

Photocopiable jigsaw game classroom activities

Starting and ending business communications jigsaw texts (email, telephone and face to face, a polished up version of my worksheet in English Teaching Professional magazine) – NEW

Email opening and closing jigsaw puzzle game

Meeting people jigsaw dialogues and useful phrases

Dealing with enquiries jigsaw dialogues

Negotiations jigsaw dialogues and useful phrases

Gradable and extreme adjectives jigsaw games

Negative prefixes with character words jigsaw

Describing objects opposites games (jigsaw, reversi, drawing and miming)

British and American engineering vocabulary games (including miming, drawing, jigsaw, reversi, and dominoes, plus collocations practice)

Colour word jigsaws

And many more coming soon.

Posted in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, TEFL games | Leave a comment

Over 200 articles on Usingenglish.com

and believe it or not there are still loads of things I haven’t written about and in fact I feel like I’m just getting started. Gives some indication of the number of things an English teacher has to think about over the length of a career. Here are the new and newish ones since my last update post:

How to teach comparative and superlative – NEW

How to teach Latin abbreviations

How to teach abbreviations

How to teach acronyms

The most effective error correction games

How to teach colour vocabulary in ESL classes

Classroom activities for colour vocabulary

How to teach colour word recognition

How to use colouring-in in EFL classes

The best picture books for EFL young learners (and what to do with them)

The bluffer’s guide to level checking

How to teach opposites

Classroom activities for teaching opposites (with many game ideas)

How to teach gradable and extreme adjectives

and the whole lot are here:

All my articles on Usingenglish.com

TEFL articles by topic (also including my articles in other places)

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Make Me Say Yes game (TEFLtastic classics Part 30)

Updated 2 October 2017

The simplest game in the world – students get one point each time they can make their partners say “Yes” in answer to a personal Yes/ No question like “Can you swim?” and “Have you got any brothers and sisters?” The game also works well with them trying to get only “No” answers or only “I don’t know” answers with questions like “Have you ever been to space?” and “Does your grandmother like papaya?”, perhaps as a more amusing extension after the actual Make Me Say Yes version.

This is one of the best paper-free zero-prep instant activities, but students can also benefit from suggestions for topics, questions, etc, as in these example worksheets:

Country and nationality words with have, like and want Make me say yes game – NEW

Country and nationality words make me say yes – NEW

Past Simple make me say yes

There is and there are with prepositions make me say yes

Like and would like make me say yes

Should also work for:

Present Continuous (“Are you wearing pants?” etc)

Past Continuous (“Were you sleeping at three o’clock this morning?” etc)

Used to (“Did you use to like Power Rangers?” etc – with no points for “I still do”)

Phrasal verbs/ Idioms (“Do you get on with your maternal grandmother?”, etc)

Words describing people (“Are your local bin men noisy?”, “Do you have cousins?” etc)

Words for places (“Do you sometimes buy your lunch in a convenience store?”, “Is there a postbox near your house?”)

Household vocabulary (“Is there a television in front of your sofa?”, etc)

Future forms (“Do you want to change jobs?”, “Will your hair go grey?”, etc)

Present Simple/ frequency expressions (“Do you brush your teeth twice a day?” etc)

Colour vocabulary (“Do you have black shoes?”, “Do you like pink toys?”, etc)

Quantity expressions (“Do you have many Facebook friends?”, “Are there a couple of trees in your garden?”, etc)

Different short answers (“Have you got…?” for “Yes, I have”, “Did you… yesterday?” for “Yes, I did”, etc)

Conditionals (“Would you buy a helicopter if you had a billion pounds?”, “Do you take an umbrella if it’s cloudy but not raining?”, etc)

Posted in Speaking games, TEFL games | Tagged | Leave a comment

Coin games for EFL classes (TEFLtastic classics part 29)

Updated 17 November 2017

As promised, here are many many more ideas on using a coin in TEFL, published in English Teaching Professional (ETP) magazine but available for free with added links to worksheets for my regular reader here on TEFLtastic.

I would have found it difficult to believe earlier in my teaching career, but I recently discovered that it was so long since I had used dice in class that I couldn’t remember where I had put them. Over the last couple of years, to add an element of chance to my classes, I have almost completely replaced the rolling of dice with the flipping of coins. That is partly because I am unlikely ever to have difficulty finding coins to use in class, but there are also other advantages to using money rather than dice. For one thing, learning to flip a coin properly is inherently more fun than rolling a dice. It’s a useful real-life skill too, as flipping a coin is often used to make decisions – and incompetent attempts to do so can cause amusement. More importantly, one to six is usually too big a range of numbers for what I want to do in the classroom, making dice less than perfect. Therefore, nowadays, I tend to flash the cash in class at least once a month.

How to flip a coin

The most elegant way to use a coin is to flip it up into the air with the right thumb, catch it with the same hand and quickly slap it on the back of the other hand. When you take away your right hand, the side of the coin that you can see is either “heads” or “tails”. It’s nice to bring in a coin where the heads side actually has a head, but if there is no actual head on the coin that you are using, the side with the number is ‘tails’ and the other side (often with some kind of picture) is ‘heads’. If students have so much difficulty flipping coins elegantly that there is a danger of being hit by flying metal, you can also get them simply to throw coins in the air and catch them, or teach them to spin them on the table.

An equally fun but somewhat less useful action with coins is to flick them across the table with your index finger. Games using this technique are mentioned at the end of this article.

Coin games

Coin bluffing games

Students can have problems choosing whether or not to lie in bluffing games, but this can easily be decided by secretly flipping a coin and saying something true if they get heads or something false if they get tails. Alternatively, the coin could decide if they should respond positively or negatively to a question. For example, heads = they must answer “Yes, I have”, and tails = they must answer “No, I haven’t” to “Have you ever …?” questions (no matter what their real answer would be). Perhaps after asking questions to find out more, their partner then guesses if the original answer was true or not.

Another possibility is for the coin to decide what kind of true or false sentence the person speaking must make. For example:

Heads = (true or false) positive statement/ Tails = (true or false) negative statement

Heads = statement with regular past simple/ Tails = statement with irregular past simple

Heads = present perfect/ Tails = past simple

Heads = reported speech/ Tails = direct speech

Heads = statement with “make”/ Tails = statement with “do”


The coin decides the response

The idea of student who has to speak next in an activity flipping a coin to decide how they should respond to what has just been said doesn’t have to be limited to bluffing games. For instance, if their partner makes a requests, getting heads means they should respond positively (“Of course. No problem” etc) and tails means they should respond negatively (“I’m really sorry but I have absolutely no idea how to do that. Technology isn’t really my thing”, etc). The same game also works for:


Questions to and from a shop assistant

Progress check questions in a meeting

Asking to speak to someone on the phone

Making proposals in a negotiation

Job interview questions


Similar games include:

Heads = agree/ Tails = disagree

Heads = sympathetic response/ Tails = unsympathetic response.


The coin decides what response you want

When it is their turn to speak, a student secretly flips a coin and then tries to say something that will get the response that corresponds to that side of the coin from their partner. For example, if heads = “Yes, I have” and tails = “No, I haven’t”, a student who gets heads could ask “Have you ever been to the convenience store near this school?” – the answer almost certainly being “Yes, I have”. If they get tails, they could ask “Have you ever been to the moon?” After their partner responds, they show the coin and get one point if they obtained the response that matches that side of the coin.


The coin decides the roleplay

Both the responses coin games above work well to determine what is said during roleplays, but a coin can also be used to set up a roleplay. The simplest way is for the coin to decide who does what, e.g. heads = You are the boss; tails = You are the employee. It can also be used to decide between pairs of situations. For example:

Heads = roleplay a formal situation/ Tails = roleplay an informal situation

Heads = meeting for the first time/ Tails = meeting again

Heads = a face-to-face meeting/ Tails = a teleconference

Heads = communicating by email/ Tails = communicating by telephone

Heads = a scheduled meeting/ Tails = cold calling somewhere.


The coin decides the topic

A coin can also be used to decide conversation topics. For example, you could have a two-column table with easy topics like “holidays” and “weekend activities” in the heads column and more difficult ones like “present project” and “cultural differences” in the tails column.


Coin drawing games

Especially with young and low-level learners, drawing and miming something can be a great way of adding fun and checking that they really understand the language. A coin can be useful for deciding what they have to draw or mime. For example, the students say and/or write a sentence such as “The dog has long ears” (perhaps from the prompt ears on a card, a worksheet or the board). They then flip a coin, and if they get heads, they can draw the positive sentence that they made, but if they get tails that means the sentence is changed to the negative version “The dog doesn’t have long ears”. In that case, they have to draw a long ear with a cross through it, draw the opposite of that thing (a dog with short ears), or simply not add that thing to the picture (depending on what you tell them).

A coin can also decide the kind of sentence that the students must say and/or write and then draw. For example:

Heads = There is …/ Tails = There are …

Heads = It is …/ Tails = They are …

Heads = He is …/ Tails = She is …

Heads = I am …/ Tails = You are …

Heads = … likes …/ Tails = … doesn’t like …


Coin miming games

Miming works for far fewer language points, but a coin can decide if a student should act out “I can swim” or “I can’t swim” (e.g. miming sinking into the water) and “I like spiders” or “I don’t like spiders” (e.g. stroking or running away from their wriggling hand).


Ask and tell coin games

This is a kind of truth-or-dare game. One student picks a question, or makes their own question from a given word or phrase. They then flip a coin to decide if they can ask that question to someone else (heads = ask) or they have to answer their own question themselves (tails = tell). For example, if the given word is “divorce”, they can make the tricky question “Would you get a divorce if your husband or your wife kissed someone else?” However, they would have to answer the question themselves if they got tails, so instead they could choose to ask an easier question like “Do you know anyone who has got divorced?”

This game is a good way of practising vocabulary of one particular kind, e.g. a whole collection of love and relationships expressions (“get engaged”, “live together”, “split up”, etc) or a set of phrasal verbs.


Storytelling coin games

There are many possible uses of a coin in storytelling activities. For example:

Heads = continue with the plot of the story (in chronological order)/ Tails = go back in time in the story (maybe using the past perfect)

Heads = continue with the story/ Tails = explain some background information (probably with the past continuous)

Heads = the same character acts next/ Tails = a different character does something next

Heads = make a positive sentence next/ Tails = make a negative sentence next (e.g. “He didn’t know what to do”).


Things in common coin games

Finding things in common is a great way of making students really communicate with even very simple language. A coin can decide which kinds of things they need to find in common. For example:

Heads = say something that makes your partner say “So do I”/ Tails = say something that makes your partner say “So am I”.

The coin can also mix up finding similarities and differences. For example:

Heads = say something that makes your partner say “Me too”/ Tails = say something that makes your partner say “Really? I…”


Personalised guessing coin games

Even simpler than finding things in common is just trying to make true sentences about a partner, either with or without the inclusion of specified target language. Heads and tails could be:

Heads = make a true statement about your partner using language point 1/ Tails = make a true statement about your partner using language point 2

Heads = make a true positive sentence about your partner/ Tails = make a true negative sentence about your partner

Heads = make a true sentence about your partner/ Tails = make a true sentence about someone in your partner’s family.


Pronunciation coin games

The person speaking flips a coin to decide what kind of sound, word or phrase they should produce, and the person listening tries to identify which of the two possibilities was being pronounced. This is easiest with minimal pairs. For example:

Heads = “lead”/ Tails = “read”

Heads = loose/ Tails = lose

For intonation and stress practice, the same activity can also be done with statements and questions (e.g. “He came back” and “He came back?”) and words with different stress patterns (e.g. the noun and verb of “increase”).


How to replace dice with coins

If you planned to use dice in class but forgot to bring them, there is no need to despair – and in fact you might be glad you had to use a coin instead! If, for example, you want your students to get a number between one and (around) six, in order to progress around a board game, this can easily be done with a coin. The students start with a score of one, and then get one more for each time they flip a head, stopping whenever they get a tail. For example, if they get heads, heads, heads, tails, they score the three heads plus the initial one and so can move four squares. However, if they get tails straightaway, they can only move one square.

Scores tend to be lower flipping a coin this way than they would be with actual dice, but that is usually a good thing. For one thing, when you use a dice board games often finish too soon, with the students having skipped lots of useful squares. To make progress round the board even slower, you can also use a simpler way of using a coin: heads = move two squares; tails = move just one square.


Coin flicking games

When I was at school, I often played games where we flicked a coin along the floor or tabletop, like a simpler and higher-energy game of marbles. To flick a coin in this way, put it down somewhere flat, such as on a desk or an open book. Make a circle out of your index finger and thumb, like an ‘A-OK’ sign, but upside down. Push very hard against your thumb with your finger until your index finger pops out and hits the coin, hopefully making it skid across the surface in a very satisfying way.

I often use coin flicking in class to revise a textbook page and/or make it more fun. The students take turns flipping a coin across two pages of an open textbook and can ask each other questions about whatever the coin ends up on. For example, if the book has pictures of lots of food, they ask each other “Do you like …?” questions about whatever picture the flicked coin comes to rest on, and get one point if the answer is “Yes, I do”. With a dialogue, they can challenge their partner to remember whatever word(s) the coin is hiding.

Similar games can obviously also be played with specially prepared worksheets, preferably on A3 paper. The students can also flick a coin across more conventional worksheets to decide, for example, which of the roleplays on the worksheet to do next, which of the words to use in a sentence, etc.


Photocopiable EFL coin games classroom activities

Can/ can’t coin games (make me say yes, things in common, lying games) – NEW

Do you want coin game

Like and don’t like coin games

Can and can’t miming coin game

Like and don’t like things in common games (with two coin games)

Have and don’t have coin drawing games

Invitations coin games

Basic personal questions coin bluffing game

Negotiations saying yes, no and maybe

Positive and negative email replies game

University challenge board game

Like and don’t like alphabet coin game

Third person statements bluffing coin game

Do you like/ Does… like questions categories coin game

Progress check meetings coin game

Being sympathetic and unsympathetic with coin game

Concession and addition coin game

Strong and weak opinions coin game

Ask and tell blog post and examples

Posted in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, TEFL games | Tagged | 1 Comment

New teaching acronyms and other abbreviations resources

Two new articles with many teaching ideas and a few photocopiable examples on two brand new pages on the topic:

Abbreviations games/ worksheets page – NEW PAGE

Acronyms games/ worksheets – NEW PAGE

Posted in Materials, Photocopiable worksheets, Vocabulary, Vocabulary games | 1 Comment

Ask and tell personalised questions coin game (TEFLtastic classics Part 28)

Updated 24 October 2017

I’ve been writing an article on games using coins in class (now up here), and it reminded me of this once all-time favourite game which I haven’t used in a while. Students take turns making questions using the grammar and/ or vocabulary that you have given them, e.g. “Would you… if…?” or love and relationships words. They can ask any question at all that they like, but after making the question they have to flip a coin to see if their partner will answer it (heads = ask) or if they have to answer it themselves (tails = tell), making it a kind of TEFL truth or dare.

Photocopiable ask and tell worksheets

As I said this is something I used to use all the time but had almost forgotten about, so all but the top three are rather old and so probably in need of polishing up before use.

Business vocabulary ask and tell personalised speaking coin game – NEW

Love and relationships vocabulary ask and tell speaking game

Australian slang ask and tell personalised speaking coin game

Health and fitness vocabulary ask and tell game

HR vocabulary ask and tell coin game

HR vocabulary ask and tell speaking game short version – (as published in English Teaching Professional magazine)

Present Simple ask and tell game

Slang Ask and Tell

Business ask and answer (my lesson plan and worksheet on Onestopenglish.com)

Market Leader Pre-Intermediate truth or dare game

Inside Out Upper Intermediate ask or tell game

Headway Pre-Intermediate ask or tell game

English File 1 Ask and answer game

I also used to have worksheets with question stems and key words for the future like “Would you like to…?” and “retire”, and it’s useable for virtually any topic, such as health, technology, relationships, crime and crime prevention, and abilities and skills (“terrible at”, etc).

For 27 other games that are so adaptable that you can make a whole teaching career out of them see here.


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New comparative adjectives and superlative classroom activities page

Can’t believe that it’s taken me 10 years, but have finally made dedicated pages for comparative adjectives and superlative adjectives, making the original page a much more manageable selection of materials combining the two forms:

Comparative adjectives games/ worksheets page – NEW PAGE

Superlative adjectives games/ worksheets page – NEW PAGE

Comparative and superlative games/ worksheets page – now just for activities including both form together

Posted in comparatives, Photocopiable worksheets, superlatives | Leave a comment

Lots of new colour vocab activities

Four new(ish) articles and the first few of many new colour worksheets on my much expanded colour vocabulary page, with everything from lots of colour word recognition activities for the young ones to discussion on the topic for adults, along with updated recommendations for colour vocab story books and colour songs:

Colours games, worksheets, stories and songs page


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Giving advice activites to practise other language (TEFLtastic classics Part 27)

Updated 11 September 2017

Just put up a new worksheet using this, one of my favourite ideas for practising tricky points which are different to think of other practice for, such as:

– collocations with words like “get” and “take”

– phrasal verbs

– word formation

– vocabulary on topics like health and love

It can also be used to practise grammar such as comparatives and articles.

You simply make some sentences describing problems like “I don’t get on with my eldest sister” and ask pairs of students to ask for, give and react to advice on how to solve those problems. Students can then make up similar problems to ask their partner’s for advice for. This activity is it a bit like making conversation questions with the language you want to practise, but I feel this makes the language more memorable – and it’s a nice break from students saying “I think…” at the start of every sentence… If your students also actually need the language of advice, all the better!

Here are some I prepared earlier:

Photocopiable classroom materials using giving advice to practise other language

HR vocabulary problems and solutions – NEW

Expressions with make and do giving advice speaking practice – NEW

Recommending arts and media (with lot of useful art and media language)

Comparatives and superlatives recommendations challenge

Recommendations with superlatives

Giving advice on personality problems

Love and marriage stories and advice (my lesson share winning LP and worksheet on Onestopenglish)

Relationships Advice and proverbs

Giving advice Vocabulary revision game

If I were you phrasal verbs Advice game

Recommending countries to visit Version 1 (with tricky names of countries and cities)

Recommending countries to visit Version 2  (ditto)

Recommending places to visit Advanced version (with useful vocabulary for describing different kinds of people, vocab for describing places, and tricky country and city names)

For 26 other teaching ideas worth using over and over again, see here:

TEFLtastic Classics Part 1 to 26

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All classroom materials pages A to Z

Made a new list of every index page on TEFLtastic. There are quite a few! If you like all this reorganisation work and would like more, please support TEFLtastic.

Updated 29 September 2017

All index pages A to Z

Abbreviations page

Academic applications games/ worksheets – See University Applications below

Academic bios page

Academic discussions games/ worksheets

Academic emails page

Academic English (EAP) games/ worksheets

Academic English first lessons page

Academic Word List (AWL) games/ worksheets page

Academic writing functional language page

Academic writing worksheets

Acronyms page

Action vocabulary page

Active listening page

Advantages and disadvantages


Adverbs of frequency

Adverbs of manner

Advice activities page

Animal vocabulary page

Apologising games/ worksheets page


Architectural English – See English for Architects below

Arrangements – See Making arrangements below

Art – See Art and Media and/or English for Artists below


Arts and media vocabulary page

Auxiliary verbs page

AWL games/ worksheets – See Academic Word List above

Beginning and ending conversations page

Body idioms page

Body language and gestures games/ worksheets

Body vocabulary page

Brainstorming in groups phrases page

British and American English games/ worksheets

British and American cultural page

British culture EFL materials page

BULATS first lessons

BULATS Speaking worksheets

BULATS Writing worksheets (reports, memos, emails etc)

Business advice/ recommendations page

Business comparatives and superlatives page

Business determiners page

Business cultural training

Business English games/ worksheets

Business English functions

Business first classes page

Business future tenses page

Business functional language reviews page

Business grammar

Business idioms page

Business modals page

Business opinions worksheets

Business past tenses page

Business prepositions page

Business Present Perfect page

Business present tenses page

Business pronunciation page

Business Result Pre-Intermediate

Business Result Intermediate

Business second conditional page

Business socialising page

Business tense review worksheets

Business vocabulary page

CAE page

Cambridge exams page

Cambridge First Certificate – See FCE below

Cambridge Proficiency – See CPE below

Can/ Can’t

Cause and effect – See Purpose, cause and effect below

Challenges 1

Character vocabulary – See Personality below

Checking/ clarifying worksheets page – See Clarifying/ checking below

Clarifying/ checking worksheets page

Classroom language page

Clothes vocabulary page

Collocations page

Colours page

Comparative adjectives games/ worksheets page – NEW PAGE

Comparatives and superlative adjectives

Comparing and contrasting

Complaints games and worksheets page

Complaining and dealing with complaints page

Compound nouns page


Conjunctions games/ worksheets – See Linking Expressions below

Continuous aspect

Conversation questions games/ worksheets – See Discussion Questions below

Count/ Non-count – See Countable and Uncountable Nouns below

Countable and uncountable nouns

Counting syllables games/ worksheets – See Syllables below

Country and nationality words page

Cover letters games/ worksheets – See CVs and cover letters below

CPE page

Crime page

Cultural training games/ worksheets for EFL classes

Current affairs/ News vocabulary page

Cutting Edge games/ worksheets

Cutting Edge Advanced

New Cutting Edge Elementary

New Cutting Edge Intermediate

Cutting Edge Pre-Intermediate

New Cutting Edge Upper Intermediate

CVs and cover letters page

Dates games/ worksheets – See Time Expressions below

Days of the week games/ worksheets – See Time Expressions below

Days, months and dates games, worksheets, stories and songs – See Time Expressions below

Dealing with enquiries page

Defining your terms page

Dependent prepositions

Describing people

Describing places page

Design games/ worksheets – See English for Designers below


Directions games/ worksheets – See Giving Directions below

Discussion questions

EAP games/ worksheets – See Academic English above

EAP first lessons games/ worksheets – See Academic English First Lessons above

EAP writing games/ worksheets – See Academic Writing above

Economics page

-ed and -ing adjectives page

Education vocabulary page

EFL exams games, worksheets, videos and teaching tips

Emails and letters games/ worksheets page

Email error correction worksheets page

Emailing functional language worksheets page

Email paragraphing and punctuation worksheets page

Email vocabulary worksheets page

Emotions – See Feelings below

English File 1 games/ worksheets

English for architects games/ worksheets

English for artists games/ worksheets

English for designers games/ worksheets

English for engineers games/ worksheets – See Technical English games/ worksheets link below

English for landscape designers and gardeners games/ worksheets

English for medical staff games/ worksheets – See Medical English below

English for Specific Purposes games/ worksheets

English Land 1

English Land 2

Environment – See Nature below

ESP – See English for Specific Purposes above

Euphemisms page

Everybody Up 4

Examples games/ worksheets – See Giving Examples below

Experiences games/ worksheets – See Sharing Personal Experiences below

Extended speaking

Family vocabulary page

FCE page

Feelings page

Financial English page

First Certificate – See FCE above

First conditional

First lesson games/ worksheets

Focus on IELTS materials page

Food and drink cultural differences worksheets

Food and drink vocabulary page

Forgetting and remembering phrases page

Form filling worksheets page

Formal and informal emails worksheets page

Friends video worksheets

Functional language games/ worksheets

Functional language for academic writing page

Functional language reviews page

Future continuous

Future desires

Future forms games/ worksheets – See Future Tenses below

Future Perfect games/ worksheets

Future plans games/ worksheets – See Going To below

Future tenses

Gardening – See English for Landscape Architect above

Generalising worksheets page

Gestures – See Body Language and Gestures above

Get something done – See Have Something Done below

Giving directions page

Giving examples phrases page

Going to

Gradable and extreme adjectives

Grammar games/ worksheets

Have/ Have got

Have something done/ Get something done

Headway Pre-Intermediate games/ worksheets

Hedging – See Generalising above


Homophones games/ worksheets page

HR page

Human resources page – See HR page above

Idioms page

Incredible English 1

Incredible English 2

IELTS Academic Writing games/ worksheets – See IELTS Writing below

IELTS page

IELTS first classes page

IELTS Graduation materials page

IELTS Listening page

IELTS Masterclass materials page

IELTS Objective Advanced materials page

IELTS Reading page

IELTS Speaking page

IELTS Writing page

Indirect speech games/ worksheets – See Reported Speech below

Infinitive of purpose

Inside Out games/ worksheets

Interrupting page

Invitations page

It is/ They are

Japanese learners of English games/ worksheets

Job applications page

Keynote Intermediate page

Korean learners of English games/ worksheets

Landmark Advanced games/ worksheets

Landscape Architecture – See English for Landscape Designers above

Language of trends games/ worksheets – See Trends below

Law – See Legal English below

Learner training games/ worksheets for EFL learners

Legal English games/ worksheets

Letters – See email and letters above

Likes and dislikes page

Linking expressions

Listening games/ worksheets

Looking at both sides games/ worksheets – See Advantages and Disadvantages above

Making arrangements page

Making complaints games/ worksheets – See Complaints above

Market Leader Intermediate page

Market Leader Pre-intermediate page

Market Leader Upper Intermediate page

Media vocabulary games/ worksheets – See Arts and Media above

Medical English games/ worksheets

Meeting and greeting page

Meeting people – See Meeting and greeting above

Meetings and negotiations

Minutes – See Writing Minutes below

Modals of obligation, prohibition and permission

Modals of probability/ possibility/ deduction

Modal verbs

Months games/ worksheets – See Time Expressions below

Mixed conditionals

Mr Bean video worksheets

Narrative tenses games/ worksheets – See Past Tenses below

Nationality words games/ worksheets – See Country and Nationality words above

Natural English Intermediate games/ worksheets

Nature and the environment page

Needs analysis games/ worksheets


New Cutting Edge – See Cutting Edge above

New Headway Pre-Intermediate games/ worksheets

News vocabulary – See Current Affairs above

Numbers games, worksheets, stories and songs for EFL learners

OA vocabulary games/ worksheets – See Office Vocabulary below

OABC 1 – See Oxford Activity Book for Children 1 below

Offers page

Offers and requests page

Office vocabulary page

Opinions worksheets page

Opposites page

Oxford Activity Book for Children 1 (OABC 1) page

Passive voice

Past Continuous page

Past Perfect page

Past Perfect Simple games/ worksheets – See Past Perfect above

Past Progressive games/ worksheets – See Past Continuous above

Past Simple page

Past tenses

PC language page

Perfect aspect

Personal experiences page

Personality words page

Phrasal verbs page

Pingu worksheets

Plans games/ worksheets – See Going To above

Politically correct language games/ worksheets – See PC Language above


Possessive adjectives games/ worksheets

Possessive S games/ worksheets

Predictions games/ worksheets – See Will below

Preferences games/ worksheets – See Likes and Dislikes above


Prepositions in emails worksheets page

Prepositions of location – See Prepositions of Position below

Prepositions of movement

Prepositions of position

Prepositions of time

Present Continuous

Present Continuous for arrangements

Present Perfect

Present Perfect and Simple Past

Present Perfect Continuous

Present Perfect Simple – See Present Perfect above

Present Perfect Simple and Continuous

Present Simple

Present Simple and Continuous

Present tenses

Presentations games/ worksheets for EFL learners

Proficiency – See CPE above

Pronunciation games/ worksheets

Proverbs page

Punctuation worksheets page

Purpose, cause and effect page

Question formation

Reading games/ worksheets

Recommendations games/ worksheets – See Advice above

Relationships page

Relative clauses

Reports worksheets page

Reported speech/ Indirect speech

Requests page

Reviews games/ worksheets – See Writing Reviews below

Sales and Marketing page

Second conditional

Shapes page

Sharing personal experiences games/ worksheets – See Personal Experiences above

Shopping language page

Short answers page – NEW PAGE

Simple Past games/ worksheets – See Past Simple above

Simple Past/ Present Perfect – See Present Perfect and Simple Past above

Slang page

Small talk

Social issues

Social studies – See Social Issues above

Songs and music games/ worksheets for EFL learners

Speaking games/ worksheets

Speculating page

Sports vocabulary page

Stories – See Writing Stories below


Subject questions

Suggestions games/ worksheets – See Advice above

Superlative adjectives games/ worksheets page – NEW PAGE

Superstitions worksheets

Supporting arguments

Supporting your opinions – See Supporting arguments above

Syllables games/ worksheets page

Taboo topics cultural training worksheets

Talking about your week and weekend worksheets

Teacher training games/ worksheets for TEFL teachers

Technical English/ English for engineers games/ worksheets

Teleconferencing and video conferencing games/ worksheets page

Telephone interviews – See Telephone job interviews below

Telephone job interviews page

Telephoning games, worksheets, articles and e-book

Tense reviews

Thanking phrases page

There is/ are/ was/ were

They are – See It is/ They are above

Third conditional

Third person S

This/ that/ these/ those

Time expressions games, worksheets, stories and songs

TOEIC page

Topic-based games/ worksheets

Toy vocabulary page

Travel and tourism games/ worksheets

Trends games/ worksheets for EFL learners

Turn taking page

UK culture games/ worksheets – See British Culture above

UK and US culture games/ worksheets – See British and American Culture above

University applications worksheets

Unreal past

Used to page

Verb patterns

Video games/ worksheets for EFL learners

Video conferencing games/ worksheets – See Teleconferencing and Video Conferencing above

Vocabulary games/ worksheets

Wallace and Gromit video worksheets

Want/ Want to

Weather vocabulary page


Word formation page

Writing academic bios games/ worksheets – See Academic Bios above

Writing emails games/ worksheets – See Emails and Letters above

Writing games/ worksheets for EFL learners

Writing minutes worksheets page

Writing reports games/ worksheets – See Reports above

Writing reviews worksheets page

Writing stories worksheets page

Young learner games, worksheets, flashcards, stories and songs for EFL learner

Zero conditional


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