ESL Teaching Materials: Time Savers

ESL Teaching Materials

For busy teachers, 3 ESL conversation activities that help students learn English by focusing on speaking, words, reading comprehension and problem solving.

1 Speaking: Meaning and Tone

  • Suggested level: high beginner+
  • Display the list below on a projector.

This simple pair work exercise helps students appreciate how meaning is communicated in English through changes in intonation. In the field of pragmatics, this exercise is about understanding inferred meaning.

Student tasks:

  1. Partner A says these words with different kinds of intonation.
  2. Partner B has to describe the true emotional message of that expression.
  3. Both partners explain where that word and intonation might be used.
  4. Switch roles. Partner B says his/her words and phrases with different intonation. Repeat discussion.

Partner A

  • I love you.
  • Oh.
  • Really.
  • Hello.
  • Good morning.
  • Well.

Partner B

  • Come here.
  • You.
  • Yes.
  • I don’t know.
  • Come on.
  • Sure.

2 Vocabulary: Words Video

Here’s another oldie, but goodie. This 30-minute pair work activity works well when students need a change of pace, or you have a surprise class.

The video shows a good number of collocations with everyday verbs. The students’ job is to watch and make a list of the collocations.

You’ll probably want to show the video at least 3 times in class. Use the suggested answer sheet to review vocabulary.

Words from The Mercadantes on Vimeo.


3 Problem Solving: Worksheets

Here are four of worksheets which have worked well in my classes.

My worksheets are a little different.

There are some words games to build and review vocabulary. There are also brain teasers, which help improve reading comprehension. Asking students to explain the answers builds speaking skills.

All of these worksheets come from my ebook, The Monster Pack. If you want more info about that teacher’s resource, click the link below.


Save time. Teach well.

Cut your lesson prep time with this colossal collection of ESL resources that stimulate language learning and critical thinking. Simplify your lesson planning because teaching should be a joy, not a chore.toolbox-front-cover-3d-book-8-8

Teach writing?

Get the ebook Teach Essential Writing Skills. Transform the quality of EFL student writing by focusing on four essential skills. Click here for details about the ebook that should be part of every writing teacher’s resource library.


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