The Simplest Responses Game (TEFLtastic classics Part 20)

Updated 11 June 2018

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:

Regular and irregular plurals simplest responses game – NEW

Key word sentence transformations simplest responses – NEW LINK

Be and have for describing appearance simplest responses – NEW LINK

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 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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4 Responses to The Simplest Responses Game (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!

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