42 trivia quizzes for EFL students (TEFLtastic Classics Part 44)

When I was posting my list of the best of 2020, I noticed that a couple of the top ones were trivia quizzes and thought I should make sure that I had linked to them from my TEFLtastic Classics post on the topic. Then I realised that there never had been a TEFLtastic blog post on using trivia quizzes to teach English, even though the worksheet pages are stuffed with them. Especially with Zoom quizzes being such a big thing recently, perhaps it is about time…

The secrets to success with trivia in the English language classroom are to have one clear language point in mind and to make sure that students have a fair crack at getting the factual answer correct. The former could be grammar, vocabulary, numbers, or just cultural knowledge that they need to go abroad or be more open minded.

To make sure that they get a decent number of the actual trivia answers right, the best options are probably:

  • True/ False or Yes/ No questions
  • Multiple-choice questions (usually with one right and two wrong options)
  • Hints if their first answer is wrong (in my classes usually a kind of warmer cooler game where they get hints like “much more”, “a little less” etc until they get exactly the right number, but also hints like some of the letters in the words)

In all of these cases, it’s best if the other students are the ones helping the person who has to answer the question (by making some of the statements false, making up the false multiple-choice options, giving each other the warmer and cooler hints, etc).

Here are some I prepared earlier (many only very slightly earlier), most of which follow those tips:

Trivia quizzes for grammar practice

How many with irregular plurals trivia quiz – NEW

How long had…? Past Perfect trivia quiz– NEW

What were people doing? Past Continuous trivia quiz – NEW

Which had happened first? Past Perfect trivia quiz – NEW

What places used to be called trivia quiz (used to and names of places) – NEW

Is there/Are there…? trivia quiz – NEW

Time of day trivia quiz – NEW

Where is…? I don’t know game (personal and trivia questions to practise prepositions and names of places) – NEW

How often trivia quiz (Present Simple and frequency expressions) – COMING SOON

How many… does… have? trivia quiz – COMING SOON

Used to trivia quiz – COMING SOON

Subject questions trivia quizzes

How many are there? trivia quiz

How much and how many trivia quiz (countable and uncountable, pronouncing numbers and comparing/ contrasting)

Passive tenses environmental quiz

Superlatives numbers trivia

There is/ There are numbers guessing game

Transport in the UK trivia quiz (modals of obligation etc)

Business tense review trivia quiz

Active and passive true/ false quiz

Active and passive true/ false quiz version 2

Technical English measurements and superlatives

and see the next section for some comparative adjectives and related adverbs practice.

Trivia quizzes for vocabulary practice and cultural knowledge

British or American fashion trivia quiz (US and UK English and clothes vocabulary) – COMING SOON

British or American transport trivia quiz (British and American English and transport vocabulary) – COMING SOON

British or American food trivia quiz (UK and US English and food and drink vocab) – COMING SOON

British or American trivia quiz (US and UK vocabulary and cultural knowledge) – COMING SOON

Trivia quizzes to practice vocabulary, numbers and comparing/ contrasting

Metals industry pairwork numbers guessing game– NEW

Insurance trivia numbers pairwork– NEW

Business and financial trivia numbers review

Financial English numbers pairwork guessing game (fun game with numbers pronunciation practice, financial vocabulary collocations, and comparative adjective + adverb practice)

Social issues numbers pairwork

Legal trivia numbers pairwork

Olympics statistics pairwork guessing game

Numbers review for computer engineers

Numbers for architects guessing game

Medical numbers trivia (on onestopenglish, so subscription needed)

Best of Japan number trivia

Japan numbers trivia pairwork low level version

Engineering dimensions and comparing games

Architecture dimensions guessing game

Christmas trivia numbers pairwork version 2

Christman trivia numbers pairwork version 1

43 more timeless and infinitely adaptable TEFL activities here.

Posted in Grammar games, TEFL games, Vocabulary games | Tagged | Leave a comment

The most TEFLtastic photocopiables of 2020

Following on from my list of top articles from last year, here are the PDFs that I am most likely to use again in my own classes. In addition, there are over 900 pages of photocopiables in my three new e-books of 2020, at least two thirds of which were brand new.

How many are there? trivia quiz

Classroom language for Zoom classes activities

Can a Kangaroo Drink your Blood? animal abilities mix and match

Direct, indirect and taboo small talk questions

Good and bad subject questions speaking game

Words with silent letters discussion questions

Opinions on the news and media

IELTS Speaking Part Three functions card game

Subject questions trivia quizzes

Present Perfect Simple and Continuous small talk

Present Progressive for the present and future simplest responses game

Recommendations and invitations for visitors review

Positive and negative responses in a restaurant games

Dictating longer and longer checking/ clarifying games

Does the American Flag Have Eleven Eyes? have with numbers mix and match

Silent letters secret message code game

Do you want…? phonics games

How many… are there? spelling games

Is a Cockroach Pretty? adjectives and animals mix and match

Times discuss and agree (discussion to practise time expressions)

Giving directions coin games

Silent letters storytelling activity

Silent letters pelmanism and snap

Is a Diamond Louder than the Pyramids? comparative adjectives mix and match

Unreal past sentence completion games

Subject questions discussion activities

Stronger and weaker hedging language

Reporting on reports (useful language for talking about and writing reports, including hedging/ generalising)

Gerunds and infinitives storytelling activity

Is a Rainbow Brown? colours mix and match

First contact brainstorming and jigsaw and First contact functions card game (email, telephone and face to face)

Language learning materials reviews (learner training and useful vocabulary for reviews)

Ranking weak and strong opinion phrases

Classroom instructions numbers and word recognition TPR practice

Mr Men daily routines activities

Adverbs of manner games

Colours guessing game

Do You Wash the TV at Seven O’Clock? questions about daily routines mix and match

Family vocabulary and possessive S reversi memory game

Film, book and song titles with subject questions

Feelings adjectives sounds game (with gradable and extreme adjectives)

Verb plus gerund and infinitive sentence completion games

Inversion presentation and practice

Don’t Slap Your Teacher classroom instructions imperative mix and match

Business acronyms and abbreviations presentation

Words with silent letters hangman

Life events vocabulary speaking (ask and tell coin game and storytelling, with collocations and word formation practice)

Different ways of saying numbers reversi memory game

Should and should have things in common

Words with silent letters the same or different

Silent letters odd one out game

Design an aquarium (with lots of sea life vocabulary)

Be with nouns and adjectives games

CPE Use of English sentence transformations on speculating language

Does he/ she/ it have…? drawing and coin games

Colours, numbers and shapes collaborative drawing game

Cambridge Proficiency (CPE) Use of English practice of inversion (mainly for sentence transformations, but including other parts too)

Silent letters and rhyming words activities

Reported speech the same or different

Are you…? Hangman

Cambridge Proficiency (CPE) Use of English Part Three word formation hangman

Meeting people and small talk yes/no questions games (a nice warmer for social English and yes/ no questions)

Meeting for the first time and again needs analysis and questions review (a nice first lesson for social English, question formation, or indeed any course where students are meeting you or each other for the first time)

Describing social issues with the passive voice

Names of jobs subject questions quiz

Suffixes for describing people subject questions quiz

Animals guessing game and discussion

How questions and answers the same or different

Prepositions of time pairwork guessing game

Subject questions drawing game (with animal vocabulary and clothes vocabulary)

Subject questions about this class

Subject questions personalised quizzes

Indirect questions dice game

Is there & Are there plus prepositions mix and match

Indirect questions extended speaking

How questions practice roleplays

Time flashcard memory games

How questions simplest responses game

Reporting verbs the same or different

People related to crime subject questions quiz

Silent letters and homophones

Is it a/ an…? with adjectives pick and draw

Present Continuous and prepositions of position drawing game

Verb patterns with reporting verbs activities

Describing festivals and celebrations subject questions practice

Weather, clothes, times and Present Continuous mix and match

Past, present and future weekends storytelling

Adverbs of frequency and likes/ dislikes

House, family and prepositions games

Present Perfect and the future sentence completion games

Present Continuous and like with -ing sounds and questions

Life events vocabulary speaking

Small talk questions with how roleplays

Is there…? Are there any…? coin drawing game

It is/ They are with adjectives pick and draw

Whose…? possessive adjectives drawing games

Cambridge Proficiency (CPE) Use of English Part 4 Sentence Transformations on verb patterns

Posted in Photocopiable worksheets, Teaching English as a Foreign Language | 1 Comment

The most TEFLtastic articles of 2020

I spent more time writing e-books than articles in 2020, but I guess 17 articles and two lists of vital phrases is not too shabbyfor one year. Listed with my favourites top (as I’m afraid I have no info on other people’s preferences). The always popular list of top PDFs of the year is coming up in the next post.

Cultural differences in emailing

How to teach Social English

How to teach conversational reactions (“That’s a shame”, “No way!”, etc – often the missing step in student conversations)

100 polite telephoning dos and don’ts

How to deal with difficult questions in a presentation

100 common telephoning mistakes

How to teach starting and ending conversations

How to teach reporting verbs (by far the most important and useful part of reported speech)

How to teach silent letters to EFL learners

How to teach question formation (basic object questions, subject questions, indirect questions/ embedded questions, etc)

How to teach verb plus gerund and infinitive

How to teach imperatives

How to teach subject questions

How to teach indirect questions

How to teach English greetings

41 ways to say goodbye in English

35 ways to say hello in English

The 100 most useful phrases for starting emails

The 100 most useful phrases for ending emails

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

77 festivals and celebrations PDFs

Stacks of photocopiables on Xmas, New Year, Halloween, etc, and students’ own festivals, ceremonies etc. Many with links to many specific language points, including brand new ones on gerunds and gradable and extreme adjectives, and newish ones on recommendations, superlative, taboo topics, indirect questions and generalising/ hedging:

Festivals and celebrations games/ worksheets

Posted in Cultural differences/ cultural training, Teaching English as a Foreign Language | 1 Comment

New articles on emailing page

Have written so many articles on writing emails and teaching emailing to promote my email English e-book that they have now got a page of their own:

Emailing articles

Seven articles and a list of useful phrases there so far, and quite a few more coming soon.

One benefit of that is that my Emailing games/ worksheets page is now a bit more manageable in size now the articles have been split off.

Posted in Email, Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Writing | Leave a comment

New spelling games/ worksheets page

Perhaps because of all that brainwashing in communicative language teaching , it’s taken me 14 years to realise that a page of my spelling PDFs might help students who want to spell properly and teachers who want to help them do so without them dying of boredom. And here it is:

Spelling classroom materials page – NEW

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

New Teaching Emailing book out now

300 photocopiable pages on opening and closing every kind of email, being formal and friendly, planning and paragraphing, fixing common emailing problems, etc – all with a surprising amount of classroom communication for a book on writing:

Teaching Emailing: Interactive Classroom Activities – NEW

That’s the last of the books that I finished writing during lockdown, but if I can sell enough copies of this or my other e-books, will turn down some cover lessons and polish off the book on teaching IELTS Writing that I nearly finished. And then there are the half-finished books on meetings, negotiations, teaching tenses, grammar, functional language, technical English, English for security guards,…

Posted in Email, Photocopiable worksheets, Teaching English as a Foreign Language, TEFL e books | Leave a comment

TEFLtastic Classics update

My last post was mostly of a promise of things to come, so I thought I’d prove that it was worth coming back with an update on how many links my other TEFLtastic Classics posts have accumulated over the years. Most numerous top:

85 EFL drawing games

64 EFL board games

60 simplest responses games

54 EFL bluffing games/ lying games

50 snap and pelmanism in EFL classes links

47 coin games for EFL classes

46 EFL dice games

46 alternative error correction techniques and materials

45 learning grammar through body language and gestures links

44 EFL finding things in common games

39 The Same or Different games

33 EFL jigsaw games

31 extended speaking PDFs

30 giving advice activites to practise other language PDFs

30 EFL sentence completion games

25 TEFL reversi/ TEFL Othello PDFs

24 rotating revision board games

24 prepositions and determiners pairwork guessing games

21 longer phrases card games

21 key words card games

20 tips and useful phrases PDFs

19 small talk for specific language points PDFs

19 politeness competition games

19 functions card games

19 discussing your week(end) to practise particular language worksheets

15 ask and tell personalised questions coin game

14 make me say yes game PDFs

14 cultural differences and useful phrases PDFs

13 TEFL dominoes PDFs

13 numbers pairwork guessing game PDFs

10 good and bad responses PDFs

10 disappearing text memory game PDFs

8 accusations game PDFs

8 meeting criteria game PDFs

8 list dictation guessing game PDFs

8 discuss and agree PDFs

It strikes me that some of those near the bottom like Discuss and Agree have the potential to be as horribly over-exploited as the ones near the top, so expect many more updates soon.

Posted in Photocopiable worksheets, TEFL games | Tagged | 1 Comment

Mix and match (TEFLtastic Classics Part 43)

Updated 22 December 2020

This has been by far the most popular activity in my young learner classes recently.

I’ve often used the classic picture book (Do You Like) Ketchup on Your Cornflakes?, in which the top and bottom halves of the page are turned to make silly matches like “Do you like custard on your head?” and sensible matches like “Do you like a rubber duck in your bath?” I’ve also used similar picture books that are more like the drawing game consequences, with the top, middle and bottom flaps being the top, middle and bottom of a person, animal or monster, sometimes with text describing the combination of the three things. However, it only recently occurred to me how adaptable the idea of turning parts of the page to make silly and sensible matches can be, especially if you do it with few or no pictures. And if you also do it cut up into cards and/ or as a table of possible phrases, you could probably do Mix and Match activities with at least four different language points before students get bored.

Here are some photocopiable Mix and Match games I prepared earlier, most of which are given as a book, cards and single-page table:

Xmas mix and match (third person S, Present Simple and Xmas vocabulary) – NEW

Jobs mix and match (with “is” and “have”)

Is a Diamond Cuter than your Mother? comparative adjectives mix and match

Can a Kangaroo Drink Your Blood? animal abilities mix and match

Don’t Listen to Your Chair! classroom instructions imperative mix and match

Is a cockroach pretty? adjectives and animals mix and match

Is a rainbow brown? colours mix and match

Does this room have twelve toes? – have with numbers mix and match

Is there/ Are there plus prepositions mix and match (“Are there four socks in the zoo?”)

Present Simple for daily routines (“Do you eat your homework in the middle of the night?” etc)

Months and colours (“Are the fireworks in summer grey?” etc)

Questions with colour words (“Do you want black teeth?” etc)

Weather, clothes, times and Present Continuous (“It’s winter. I’m wearing nothing and I’m going to school” etc, originally made to supplement a particular YL textbook)

In a slight variation, I’ve also done one where the top part must be used in order to tell a story but the other parts can be changed to make the story sensible or silly:

Fairy tales colours mix and match

 

Other Mix and Match PDFs which I’ve made, used and put in the queue to go up include:

Adjectives and animals (“Is a hippo thin?” etc)

Prepositions (“Is your nose in your pants?” etc)

Present Continuous and prepositions (“A spider is swimming in the library” etc)

Colours and numbers (“Do you have eight colourless legs?” etc)

 

And it should also work for:

Past Simple (“Did you wake up just before this class?” etc)

Future (“Are you going to do your next homework the year after next?” etc)

Comparative (“Are you taller than this building?” etc)

Conditionals (“Will you quit your job if it rains?” etc)

Past Continuous (“I was taking a bath when a bird pooed on my shoulder” etc)

 

The best activity is for students to take turns making their partner’s silly sentence into a sensible one and then making a silly one for the next person to fix. However, some classes just like making more and more silly sentences until they get totally hysterical, while others seem to almost disapprove of the silly sentences but take great pleasure in making the “correct” matches, so I tend to go with the flow.

 

Making your own version is more of a challenge. I’ve never managed Nick Sharratt’s amazing feat of every match but one being silly, so my aim is usually simply to have at least one silly match and one sensible one for each flap, with more matches usually coming up naturally without the need to specifically plan it. Even with that reasonable aim, Mix and Match turned out not to work for some I tried such as days of the week and “Are there…?” with numbers. If you do manage to make your own versions, would be very happy to link to them from here.

 

42 other super-adaptable games and activities here.

Posted in pre-school/ kindergarten/ very young learners, Teaching young learners, Using storybooks | Tagged | Leave a comment

New Teaching Presentations Skills e-book

Like all my e-books for teachers, this new one has over 300 pages of photocopiable worksheets for just three quid, with a mix of polished up classics and totally new materials, and with detailed indexes and instructions to help find and use that stack of useful stuff. Teaching Presentation Skills: Interactive Classroom Activities also works particularly well as a book, as it leads teachers and students through the steps of choosing a presentation topic, planning it, rehearsing and getting feedback, with plenty of different activities for each stage. So, well worth a penny a page, I think you’ll agree, even for those who already have my free presentations materials. And if you haven’t bought anything of mine recently, perhaps you could consider it your TEFLtastic subscription for the 2020/2021 academic year?

Teaching Presentation Skills: Interactive Classroom Activities – NEW

Posted in Business English and ESP, English for Academic Purposes, Photocopiable worksheets, Teaching English as a Foreign Language, TEFL e books | Leave a comment