65 Simplest Responses games (TEFLtastic classics Part 20)

A really manageable presentation task for loads of useful language. If you like anything here and want more, please support TEFLtastic

Updated 21 October 2020

This is one of the games that I use most of all and it’s only taken me this long to write about it because I couldn’t think of a good name for it. I think this name really sums up what it is and its selling points though.

Students listen to the teacher reading out sentences and hold up cards that they have been given or made to show if they think they are hearing a “request” or an “offer”, a “formal” or “informal” sentence, an “email” or “telephone” phrase, etc. They can also raise both for sentences that could be either, or leave them both down if it’s neither (e.g. because it’s only face to face or isn’t something we say in English). Livelier groups can also put the two cards on the table between them and race to slap the right one first.

Students then label the same sentences on a worksheet, test each other in groups in the same way, subdivide the sentences into further categories, help their partner remember all the sentences in one category, and/ or practise responding to those sentences.

This is a great way of introducing  loads of language in a gentle way. I also think it teaches students a useful real life skill, because quite often the challenge is to work out if all those words are starting the conversation or ending it, etc.

Some of my many photocopiables using this approach:

Emailing informal or error simplest responses game (in this e-book) – NEW

Formal and informal emails simplest responses game (in this e-book) – NEW

More common emailing phrases simplest responses game (in this e-book) – NEW

Responding to email enquiries and requests simplest responses game (in this e-book) – NEW

Starting and ending emails simplest responses game (in this e-book) – NEW

Questions in presentations simplest responses game (in this e-book)

Beginning and ending phone calls simplest responses game (in this e-book)

Caller or receiver simplest responses game (in this e-book)

Telephone of face to face simplest responses (in this e-book)

Telephone requests and offers simplest responses game (in this e-book)

Telephoning Getting through or not simplest responses game (in this e-book)

Identify formal and informal emails game

Present Continuous for the present and future simplest responses game

Different kinds of how questions simplest responses game

Direct and indirect questions simplest responses game (good as a warmer)

Starting and ending conversations simplest responses (in this e-book)

Meeting for the first time or again simplest responses (in this e-book)

Guests and hosts in restaurants simplest responses (in this e-book)

Hosts and foreign guests simplest responses (in this e-book)

Speaker or listener simplest responses (active listening and turn taking)

Present or future? simplest responses game (including present and future time expressions and present and future meanings on Present Continuous)

Plurals of words ending in -y activities

Regular and irregular plurals simplest responses game

Key word sentence transformations simplest responses

Be and have for describing appearance simplest responses

Being sympathetic and unsympathetic

Travel English simplest responses and key word games

Guests and hosts in restaurants key words and card games

A, an and the in starting and ending presentations phrases simplest responses game

Giving positive and negative feedback in academic discussions

Alphabet homophones and minimal pairs – expanded and updated version

Starting and ending negotiations simplest responses game and key words

Beginning and ending negotiations (simpler version of the game above, but more in need of editing down…)

Saying Yes, No and Maybe in negotiations simplest responses game and key words

Negotiations Insist or soften position

Meeting people and meeting people again review

Starting and ending telephone calls game

Telephone/ Face to Face/ Both

Opening and closing emails simplest responses game

Checking your understanding and their understanding phrases games

Meeting and leaving

Language for guests and hosts in restaurants

Meeting people and meeting people again

Starting and ending conversations lesson

Past or not?

Requests and offers functional language review

Body part positions Normal or strange

Prepositions and school vocabulary Normal or strange?

Teleconference or face to face game and functional language

Weak and strong opinions game and analysis (Advanced version)

Strong and weak opinions game and analysis Intermediate version

Email formality review

Academic Word List positive and negative connotations

Interrupting and getting back on topic game

Agreeing and disagreeing language review

Dealing with enquiries – Saying yes and no

Opening and closing presentations

Email or telephoning language guessing game and lower level version

IELTS Listening – expressions which show it is or isn’t the answer

IELTS Speaking candidate or examiner game

Classroom language for starting and ending classes

Remembering and forgetting phrases

IELTS work and study vocabulary game

And here is a less than successful attempt to take it beyond two things to hold up:

IELTS presentations Beginning, middle and end

I’ll put more up as I remember what they are…

Another TEFLtastic classic The Same or Different can start with students holding up “the same” and “different” cards in the same way, and for all the other TEFLtastic classics see here.

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5 Responses to 65 Simplest Responses games (TEFLtastic classics Part 20)

  1. alexcase says:

    Three more added, with one or two more coming tomorrow.

  2. alexcase says:

    And another three up. Hopefully that’s it…

  3. Andrew says:

    These are really great, I can see myself doing nothing but these for the next week. The strange body parts one cracked me up, I can’t wait to try it with my teens tomorrow.

  4. alexcase says:

    I’m quite fond of that one too – not so much amusement factor in the others, despite their other selling factors. Let us know how they go!

  5. alexcase says:

    For online classes with Zoom etc, you can get students to handwrite the two cards or just raise their right or left hands if they are on video, but I found today that the best way in group classes was to get them to race to type the name of the right category in the chat box, e.g. racing to be first to correctly write “Request” or “Offer” if they hear a mix of those two functions.

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