The Easiest Speaking Game in the World


That's it really.

Draw this on the board or on a big piece of paper or click on the photograph and print that out....

The first few times you play this game, put a subject in the middle circle e.g. movies, jobs, current projects, holidays - whatever is topical at the time - elicit this from your students if you like.  Divide them up into groups and then encourage your students to ask each other questions.

Once you've played a few times your students can then choose the topic within each group themselves and no group has to be discussing the same topic as the other.

You circulate and provide feedback on the lexis and structure.

I, um, think this game is straightforward enough not to include any further instructions but don't hesitate to ask questions if you have them.

Best,
Karenne

update: THIS IS NOT A BRAINSTORMING EXERCISE.   Encourage your students to simply ask each other questions and talk to each other: no writing :-)

33 Responses to “The Easiest Speaking Game in the World”

  • Graham Stanley says:
    October 20, 2010

    I love it! Could I have your permission to upload your graphic to Second Life and try it out in my conversation class there?

  • KALINAGO ENGLISH says:
    October 20, 2010

    Absolutely! :-)

    And hey! If you video your session could you put it up on your blog so I can share it :-) sounds brill!

    Karenne

  • Graham Stanley says:
    October 20, 2010

    Sounds great! I'll do that - it won't be for another week or so, but I'll make sure I video it and stick it on the blog.

  • Graham Stanley says:
    October 21, 2010

    So, here it is in-world and waiting for the opportunity to try it out...I'll keep you posted

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/grahamstanley/5100219199/

  • Luciana Podschun says:
    October 21, 2010

    Hi Karenne,

    I just loved it! I think this kind of activity is suitable for all levels. Last month I did something similar with my private students, I did a vocabulary tree, it was also a good way to remember the words. If you want I can send it on your e-mail, or upload it here.

    Cheers!
    Luciana Podschun
    @inglesinteract

  • Eric Roth says:
    October 21, 2010

    This simple "speaking game" gently pushes students, of all levels, to ask more direct questions.

    I especially appreciate your note about "no writing" since so many of our students prefer to write than speak!

    Thanks for sharing.

  • SaeedMobarak says:
    October 21, 2010

    I will try to do it in my classroom.Actually for me I divide my students into groups .Then I start giving them questioins to answer .At the same time I made competetion between them .each correct answer group made deserve one point .At the end of competetion .I give extra grade for the group which win the competetion.

  • Adam says:
    October 21, 2010

    Do you think you could explain it to me a bit more clearly, please?

    Seriously, though, what a great idea.

  • Chiew says:
    October 21, 2010

    A mind map like I've never seen before! :-)
    Questions are one of the hardest obstacles for beginners, even intermediate levels. This will hopefully stimulate parts of their minds they didn't know exist!
    Will republish it.

  • KALINAGO ENGLISH says:
    October 21, 2010

    Adam, I'll make ya a video :)

    Hey ya Chiew, yup - and this as Eric noted, works really well with all levels.

    I've "played" this one so many times I can't actually believe it's taken this long to post up here! I really should go through my brainarchive for more activities which require zero to almost zero prep but that get people up and talking!

  • KALINAGO ENGLISH says:
    October 21, 2010

    Hi Saeed, that's true - you can give the students some model questions to answer prior to letting them go off on their own, although I'd tend to say not to overdo it as part of the fun is in simply providing nothing but the qu' words and the +/- and waiting for them to interpret themselves!

    Thanks for your comment.

    K

  • KALINAGO ENGLISH says:
    October 21, 2010

    Hey Luciana, that sounds super! Would you like to do it as a guest post?

    x:-) Karenne

  • Flávia Matias says:
    October 22, 2010

    Thanks for sharing such a great idea. I loved it! I'm going to use in my class and share it with other colleagues too.

    Best,
    Flávia

  • Luciana Podschun says:
    October 22, 2010

    Hi Karenne!

    Thanks indeed for the invitation. It will be such great pleasure writing as guest on your blog. I'll send the e-mail tonight.

    Luciana Podschun

  • Luciana Podschun says:
    October 22, 2010

    Hi Karenne!

    Thanks indeed for the invitation. It will be such great pleasure writing as guest on your blog. I'll send the e-mail tonight.

    Luciana Podschun

  • Clare says:
    October 24, 2010

    This is lovely Karenne. I'm currently teaching an adult course where the students range wildly (complete beginner to intermediate) so I'm always on the lookout for activities that are scalable to level.

  • Betty C. says:
    October 24, 2010

    A very nice alternative to pre-made A/B topical "conversation questions." I of course always tell the students they can stray from those, but this really encourages them to think creatively.

    Booma! (Your word verification...)

  • Adam says:
    October 26, 2010

    I've just written about a piece of software that might help you make such diagrams. Check out my mind map post.

  • Anonymous says:
    October 26, 2010

    In my TESOL Methods class, we were just discussing speaking skills and activities that hone in on such skills, and I'm definitely going to bring this up as one of them! Thanks a lot (:

    SD

  • KALINAGO ENGLISH says:
    October 30, 2010

    Hi ya Flavia, Clare, Betty

    Thank you so much, am really happy you guys enjoyed it!

    K

  • KALINAGO ENGLISH says:
    October 30, 2010

    Hi Adam... not a mind map. :)) the crazy drawing is meant to let go of structure and inbox thinking and instead provoke spontaneous discussion!

  • KALINAGO ENGLISH says:
    October 30, 2010

    Hey SD...

    Very glad to help!

  • Martin Tuttle says:
    November 02, 2010

    Looks great! "When" is on there twice and there is no "who". Was that intentional? In any case going to try it out in my upcoming conversation class thank you.

    Martin

  • KALINAGO ENGLISH says:
    November 02, 2010

    Thanks a hundredfold Martin, I hadn't noticed that :-) as I usually draw it on the board!

    Well spotted, -have now changed.

    Karenne

  • Rose Bard says:
    November 07, 2010

    This is pretty cool Karenne. Thanks for sharing. I'll try it out.

  • Rose Bard says:
    November 07, 2010

    This is pretty cool Karenne. Thanks for the tip. I'll try it out.

  • Alex Iglesias says:
    November 10, 2010

    Awesome post, Karenne. Truth is I just use a similar mindmap to engage my students in speaking activities -but yours is visually beautiful compared to my squiggly mindmapped version in a blackboard!^_^. It is a simple tool -but hugely powerful in outcomes. It can be used and adapted in a wide range of speaking activities, even to enrich some "less-unplugged" ones. For example, I use it in elementary classes to complement questionnaires or Q&A exercises from a book, and to make the students go further from the Yes, I do/No I don't response. I draw the map on the BB and then force them to ask at least two of the questions above -focusing on emerging language and creating motivating conversational situations where Ss feel they have something at stake by talking about themselves; then, as a final stage, I make them jot down key words, and mix partners to report on the answers... and so it goes.

    Thanx this inspiring post, Karenne!

    Alex

  • KALINAGO ENGLISH says:
    November 10, 2010

    Thank you too Alex,

    And trust me... this is my created in paint version, my whiteboard/BB (depending on where teaching) is also squiggly :-)

    I agree with this works no matter what the students are working on or with and getting students to personalize and ask deeper questions really goes a long way to help imprint question structures and vocabulary in their brains!

  • chris says:
    November 19, 2010

    Hi Karenne,

    Great post.

    I linked to your post here http://teachinglife.edublogs.org with a description of how your mindmap inspired me to use it with a bunch of nearly-teenagers...

    You always give us food for thought.

    Chris

  • What a lovely activity! The first time I read it here was about 10 days ago. I didn't want to post a comment before trying it. And I have done it with different levels many times now since I read about it. It works very well and the students get a sense of achievement.And they are not bored at all. Thank you,Karenne.

  • KALINAGO ENGLISH says:
    March 24, 2011

    Hi Manorajan,

    Thank you so much for coming back to say so! That's brought a huge smile to my face today :-)

    K

  • Manoranjan Dhaliwal says:
    June 11, 2012

    What a lovely activity! The first time I read it here was about 10 days ago. I didn't want to post a comment before trying it. And I have done it with different levels many times now since I read about it. It works very well and the students get a sense of achievement.And they are not bored at all. Thank you,Karenne.I had posted this same comment from my personal blog. Now am doing it from a blog I have created for ELT interactions and exchange of ideas. Thank you once again for this life-saver of an activity.
    Cheers! <b)

  • Christina Rebuffet-Broadus says:
    May 05, 2013

    Sometimes the simple activities can be the best ones! I love this activity, so thanks for sharing it with us! Do you think it would be suitable for a first ice-breaker lesson or would you save it for groups that have already gotten to know each other a bit better?

    I tend to use this activity ( http://www.eltnews.com/features/thinktank/ASC_1_Class_Album_download.pdf) by Curtis Kelly & Chuck Sandy. It works really well, can be adapted to all levels, and even the adults enjoy drawing their partners! I've been using it as pairwork and I suppose it could be adapted as group work with a small group, but it would be nice to find an alternative 1st-lesson activity that can be done with the whole class too.

    Thanks again!

 

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