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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 2nd, 2010, 10:49 pm
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Default Conversation activities that don't need resources

I'm teaching English in India. I have over 40 classes a week, with limited electricity (this includes very little time for the Internet) and only a chalk board and chalk as resources. Printables are no good as there is no printer/photocopier or even paper (but they can write stuff in their notebooks)! I have no syllabus or curriculum to work from and no time to prepare anything!
Does anybody have suggestions for games/activities that need little prep, no electricity, no resources designed for class sizes of around 40-50?
I teach ages from 7-18, and they have no idea about celebrities or anything outside of India and a lot of conversation topics are taboo here it's pretty strict.
So really, any suggestions would be welcome! Thanks :-)
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Unread Dec 3rd, 2010, 12:26 am
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Default Re: Conversation activities that don't need resources

Sounds like a real challenge!

There's plenty you can do with a chalkboard and writing paper. Just look at the whiteboard activity thread for those ideas. Some games that come to mind are:

Scattegories: Write a list of categories on the board (fruit, people, places, animals, verbs, etc.) and pick one letter. Students have to come up with words in those categories that start with that letter. They get points for words that no one else has.
Pictionary
Hangman
Mad Libs
Relay games
: The conversation goes down a row like a game of Telephone (Where are you from? I'm from India.) and students write something on the board or snatch something to win that relay heat.
One line story: Give the students a starting sentence (It was a rainy day in Mumbai.) One student comes up with the next sentence, and it goes around the class (or group). Groups can present their story to the whole class.

I imagine roleplays like a shopkeeper and customers would be taboo free unless your students have dirty minds.
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Unread Dec 3rd, 2010, 01:12 am
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Question Re: Conversation activities that don't need resources

Dear Sir / Madam,
we should write a letter to our society that
how long we are staying at your society
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 3rd, 2010, 01:16 am
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Default Re: Conversation activities that don't need resources

we need a letter from our society to inform that
how long we are staying at your society " is it right?
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Unread Dec 6th, 2010, 08:25 pm
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Default Re: Conversation activities that don't need resources

Wow! I thought I had it bad... I would have them do role plays for situations that cover vocabulary that you are studying. If you are doing shopping vocabulary have the students create a dialogue where a shopper and a store clerk talk about what is on sale. If you are covering a grammar concept like the present progressive have them come up with a conversation where one person is explaining exactly what he is doing now to a curious friend. Have each group present their role play to the entire class and quiz the non participating students on what they hear. Good luck!
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Unread Feb 14th, 2011, 08:44 pm
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Default Re: Conversation activities that don't need resources

This worked for my past tense classes with my 12-14 year olds, and it's fairly simple (although I used powerpoint it's fairly easy to de-technologise it- if that's a word!)

I wrote some past tense questions on a PPT slide and would reveal each question and throw a paper ball, kept together with sticky tape, at a student. The student who (eventually- after the students throwing the ball amongst themselves!) received the ball would answer the question.

I also split the class into two teams so that each team would receive the ball in turn. It's a wonder what a simple prop can do for enthusiasm!
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Unread Apr 14th, 2011, 08:33 am
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Smile Re: Conversation activities that don't need resources

I totally agree with how simple props can make an activity so much more exciting. Instead of asking each student a question, they have to pass a cheap plastic ball, and when I say "freeze" the student with the ball has to answer the question. Sometimes the kids get so excited passing the ball I have to confiscate it!
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Unread Apr 14th, 2011, 10:38 pm
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Default Re: Conversation activities that don't need resources

One game my students really like to play is sooo easy. It's a great memory game and teaches them to describe things. I have someone volunteer to come up to the front of the class. I tell the students they have 30 seconds to closely observe the student standing before the class. After the 30 seconds are up the student leaves the room and is out of sight of the class. At that time I ask the students to describe everything they remembered about the student, what was he wearing, what kind of shoes, colors of clothing etc., was he holding anything in is hands, any thing such a cell phone if so what hand or if it was in a pocket which one, etc. (was he holding it, pen the most minute details they have to remember. Again, it's great for memory, giving descriptions and make them aware of things they don't normally notice. It doesn't require any preparation and the students enjoy it a lot.
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Unread Apr 15th, 2011, 05:19 am
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Default Re: Conversation activities that don't need resources

Exactly! But what other props can be used? I've used dice before in class, but unsure what else would work..
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Unread Apr 15th, 2011, 07:24 am
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Default Re: Conversation activities that don't need resources

You can use a potato, the game is called "Hot Potato". Ss have to sit in a circle and pass around a potato very quickly, as if it were very hot. When you say stop, the person with the potato has to complete an exercise.
You could also play musical chairs, if you have 20 Ss then have 19 chairs in a circle, the Ss have to walk around the outside of the circle, when the music stops, or you say a specific word they all have to find a seat, the one without a seat has to complete an exercise.
For younger Ss I use a larged stuffed hammer or long balloon. If they get the question wrong they would get hit on the head with it. Most kids love this and it really makes them laugh. I found that some of them were getting the question wrong just so they could get hit with the balloon, so I switched it around so that they had to answer correctly.
If anyone else has any other ideas I would love to know.
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Unread Apr 17th, 2011, 03:06 am
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Default Re: Conversation activities that don't need resources

So, you want props? Another game I play is Mystery Bag. I get a large handbag (or somthing less feminine for a man), and I put all sorts of crazy items in it from my home. The crazier and harder to describe and guess the better. First I have a volunteer come up and they put their hand in the bag and choose an item without looking at it. When they see it, out of view of the other students, they vaguely describe it and then the students ask questions for more clues. The one who finally guesses the item is the next one to come up and pick a mystery item. Kids and adults both like this game a lot.
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Unread May 3rd, 2011, 11:21 pm
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Default Re: Conversation activities that don't need resources

Maybe not so much for big classes, but so long as you have something to throw - ideally a soft ball, the what's this / that game is a favorite of mine:

You start, by pointing to something in the classroom and saying 'what's this (or that)'

If a students knows, they raise their hand and answer, after which, all the class must repeat 'it's a ____' after that, you throw them the ball.

Now they ask the question, and so it continues.

Note: encourage students to choose objects that they don't know so that they can learn the answer - either from you, or others in the class - a simple and natural way for children to learn about the objects around them.
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Unread Jun 16th, 2011, 11:24 pm
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Talking Re: Conversation activities that don't need resources

I call this game secret sentences, I learned it in college. It works with most age groups except for the ones who can't write any sentences.

Every pulls a page out of their notebook.
-Everybody writes a sentence at the very top of their page starting with "One day..."
-Then they fold the piece of paper at the very top so that it covers their sentence.
-They pass their paper to the person behind them (or to their right/left)
-They write a new sentence and fold the paper again and pass it.
When you run out of paper, you have the students read the end result. It's usually pretty funny.

You can have them write stories that have those sentences in them, or have them edit the grammar so that the sentences make sense together.

If they have trouble writing sentences or coming up with ideas, write words on the board, like dancing/running/going to the bathroom, to spur their ideas.

Hope that helps...
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Unread Jul 25th, 2011, 10:41 am
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Default Re: Conversation activities that don't need resources

I love that idea with the ball! Thanks!
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Unread Aug 8th, 2011, 12:27 pm
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Default Re: Conversation activities that don't need resources

You could do bingo...I have my students draw their own bingo board on a piece of paper and then they have to pick 9 words. After each round the students exchange their bingo boards.
Hope that helps! Good luck and lots of energy- seems like you need it!
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