Image via Wikipediaby Andrew Lawton
At some point in your ESL class you will present adjectives that describe people. This is a good opportunity to get your ESL students some much needed English speaking practice. I use the following activity each semester in my classes.
After having gone over the descriptive adjectives that you are going to teach and reviewing the verb “to be”, split your class into groups of three. Each group is to come up with three famous names that everyone in class would know. These famous people can be anyone from a politician to an athlete. The person can even be dead.
For each famous person the group is to come up with five sentences that describe this person’s physical attributes. Each sentence is to contain at least two vocabulary words. The students can include where the person is from and what he is famous for, but descriptive adjectives must be used. Write a list of twenty or so adjectives on the board.
Tell the class that after about ten minutes each group will read their descriptions out loud, without revealing the identity of the famous character. The rest of the class will make guesses on who is being described. If nobody gets the answer, after the five descriptions have been read, the class can ask questions in English.
Write a list of useful questions on the board for students to see and use. You can even have the class come up with seven or eight questions that everyone agrees will be helpful in this type of exercise.
Let each group share their descriptions with the entire class and then come up with a few on your own. This will give the students an opportunity to hear the descriptions pronounced clearly. If your class is guessing the names too easily choose a more obscure name. You could even pick a student in class or another teacher in the building.
Your ESL students will enjoy listening to their classmates speaking in English. Everyone will be paying extra close attention on what is being said. Follow this activity up with a quiet worksheet activity that involves answering questions about a person’s physical characteristics.
About the Author
My name is Andrew Lawton and I am an ESL and Spanish teacher in Austin, TX. I recently designed a website for ESL students to use at: http://drewseslfluencylessons.com