Fluency Lines | Low Prep ESL Activity

How many times have you asked your ss questions, & instead of an invigorating & thoughtful discussion like the one you imagined in your head, you get crickets chirping? Perhaps there is this one student that dominates & answers all your questions all the time?

Ss want to talk but sometimes they might not feel comfortable or they might require extended wait time. This engaging Low Prep ESL activity is one way to provide everyone with an equal speaking opportunity, hold them personally accountable & also allow them to learn from their peers

This activity also lifts up the mood of a class, so if you feel that the energy level in your #ESL class has slumped, you can pull this activity out of your hat! You can also use this at the end of your lesson to give students the opportunity to go over the day's content.

Skills Engaged: Listening, Speaking, Cooperative Learning
Materials: Space (if you have a big class, your students can form a snaky-line or find an alternative space large enough to accommodate them)
Time: 10-15 min

Step by Step:

  1. PREP: Prepare 1-3 questions (depending on the level of your class) for ss to talk about. I usually prepare summary / opinion  / pro-cons / good-bad / what happens next / etc questions related to the chapter being read or topic being explored during the lesson.
  2. Write your question/s on the board & have ss read them chorally. If it's a beginner class, you might need to provide some structure or example answers.
  3. Tell your ss to stand up & form 2 lines facing each other. If you have an even number of ss, you can have a trio at one end.
  4. "I am going to give you 1 minute to talk to the person in front of you about the question/s on the board. You can only speak English. Go."
  5. Set a timer & let ss carry out the activity. Walk around to monitor & assist if necessary. Mainly, you're looking for excellent examples of keywords/phrases/grammar as well as mistakes you might want to highlight at the end of the activity.
  6. When the timer goes off, tell the s at the end of one line to rejoin her line at the other end while the rest of her line moves over to make space for her. Everybody should have a different partner. If you have an even number of ss, get 2 ss to move to the other end.
  7. "Again, I will give you 1 minute to talk to the person in front of you about the question/s on the board. This is a repetition so you need to speak better and add more information."
  8. Repeat 5-7 as necessary. Repeat the activity at least 4 times. That's when ss get really fluent at answering the question/s.
  9. Clap your hands & say, "Good job, everybody! Now return to your seats!"
  10. Go over the questions one last time.
  11. Go over the highlights from the activity.

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