TEFLtastic in 2017

A Happy New Year to you all. May all our classes in 2018 be even better than those last year!

I was too busy last year to show off how busy I’d been, so here’s a summary of the whole year.

In 2017, there were:

Nearly 3,000,000 page views (a new record!)

37 new index pages, for new categories of classroom activities

109 new Usingenglish.com photocopiables and TEFLtastic photocopiables

19 new Usingenglish.com articles

2 new articles in English Teaching Professional magazine

3 new lists of useful language

One review in ELT Journal

And many new links to relevant songs, stories, online games etc elsewhere.

Individual lists to follow, and plenty more coming up in 2018 (with the exception ELT Journal reviews, unless they can forgive the last one taking me 18 months and seven reminder emails)

Posted in Teaching English as a Foreign Language | 2 Comments

Three new Xmas worksheets

Some rather last minute or slightly early (depending on how you think about it) Xmas presents from me to you:

Xmas and New Year meetings – NEW

Xmas vocabulary passive voice guessing game – NEW

Xmas vocabulary yes/no questions games (20 questions, make me say yes and you must say yes) – NEW

About 50 more worksheets plus many other teaching ideas here:

Xmas and New Year games, worksheets, flashcards, videos and songs

If you are wondering what to get me in return, may I suggest buying a copy of my e-book – cheaper than a Secret Santa gift and much better quality too!

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

New Yes/ No questions classroom activities article and page

Not sure how in ten years and over 200 articles it never occurred to me before, but have finally written a how to article and made a page for it to live on, with 26 photocopiable worksheets on the topic, plus a couple of stories and songs:

How to teach yes/no questions – NEW

Yes/ No questions games, worksheets, stories and songs – NEW

I suddenly realised just after finishing both of those that Xmas vocabulary is perfect for 20 questions and maybe some of the other activities such as Make Me Say Yes, but haven’t had time to make any example worksheets yet. In the meantime, you’ll just have to put up with the 54 Xmas-themed grammar games etc here:

Xmas and New Year games, worksheets, flashcards, videos and songs – NOT NEW!

If you’ve found any of my articles, worksheets, lists or links useful in 2017, please consider supporting TEFLtastic by buying a copy of my e-book.  You can think of it as a present to both me and your student(s), and enough support will mean even more TEFLtastic ideas and materials in 2018.

Posted in Grammar games, Question formation | 1 Comment

Lots of new country and nationality word activities

New article on the topic:

How to teach country and nationality words – NEW

and many of those ideas also available as photocopiable worksheets on my page on the topic, including a few new ones and with more coming soon:

Country and nationality games/ worksheets


Posted in Cultural differences/ cultural training, nationality adjectives, TEFL games, Vocabulary | Leave a comment

EFL jigsaw games (TEFLtastic Classics Part 31)

Updated 20 March 2018

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. The other 30 TEFLtastic classics are here. 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

Ordinal numbers jigsaw games– NEW

Shopping responses jigsaw

Shopping dialogues jigsaw texts

Negative prefixes jigsaws (with CPE and academic vocabulary versions and presentation stage)

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)

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 more to come.

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

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

Make Me Say Yes game (TEFLtastic classics Part 30)

Updated 30 March 2018

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:

Comparative make me say yes – NEW

Countable and uncountable answer me (starting with countable and uncountable make me say yes)

Passive voice yes/ no questions games (make me say yes and you must say yes)

Colour words make me say personalised speaking game

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

Want to in different places

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

Country and nationality words make me say yes

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)

If you like anything here and want more, please support TEFLtastic.

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

Coin games for EFL classes (TEFLtastic classics part 29)

Updated 26 March 2018

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

Likes and dislikes TPR coin game – NEW

Can & Can’t Drawing Coin Game

Possessives coin drawing game

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

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

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

Updated 4 December 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

Feelings opposites ask and tell coin game – NEW

Business vocabulary ask and tell personalised speaking coin game

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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