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Speaking and writing

The Language Teacher Toolkit by Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti is now available from Amazon.

50 speaking activities for the MFL classroom

1. Whole group repetition or phonics activity (including whispering, shouting, singing)
2. Part group repetition (small groups, rows, pairs)
3. Reading aloud individually or as a group from text on the board (good for sound - spelling link)
4. Reading aloud from a worksheet, homework task or text book
5. Answering a question with hand up (e.g. from picture, picture sequence, structured question)
6. Answering a question without hand up
7. In pairs, taking turns to say a word, phrase or sentence until someone runs out of ideas
8. Playing a guessing game in pairs (e.g. guessing what your partner did last weekend, playing
"battleships")
9. Doing an information gap task in pairs (e.g. completing a schedule or diary)
10. Making up true/false statements (in pairs or for whole class)
11. Making up false utterances to be corrected by partner or teacher
12. Lip reading in pairs
13. Speaking spontaneously to a time limit (or get partner to time you as far as you can go)
14. Speaking into a microphone/digital recorder and listening back
15. Giving a presentation to a partner or in front of the class
16. Chanting or singing verb conjugations or vocabulary themes
17. Correcting false sentences made up by the teacher
18. Oral gap filling (teacher reads aloud leaving gaps to be filled in)
19. Singing along with a target language song
20. Miming guessing games (e.g. "dumb customer")
21. Task oriented discussion activities (e.g. murder mystery or solving a complex problem)
22. Speed dating pairwork
23. Complex whole class games (e.g. Alibi)
24. Paired dictation, including running dictation
25. Pupils asking the teacher questions
26. Pupils acting as teacher in front of the class and running oral work
27. Making a simple request (May I go to the toilet? may I take off my jacket? Can you repeat please?)
28. Repeating or responding in a language lab
29. Reading out numbers (e.g. bingo or Countdown)
30. Chanting or singing the alphabet and numbers
31. Playing aural anagrams with a partner
32. Describing a simple picture for a partner to draw
33. Taking part in an oral assessment
34. Playing Chinese Whispers
35. Practising or rehearsing for an oral test
36. Formal debate
37. Presenting and videoing a news broadcast
38. Performing a sketch or playlet
39. Role playing (e.g. parent and child situations, crystal ball, agony aunt, palm reading)
40. Describing a picture and making up a story from it
41. Planning a visit in pairs or as a group
42. Spot the difference pictures discussion
43. Making up a story one word at a time
44. Word association
45. Fizz-buzz game with numbers
46. Doing word sequences e.g. say a word beginning with the last letter of the previous word
47. Guessing games (e.g. guess the flashcard, Je pense à quelque chose)
48. Accumulation games (e.g. Je vais au marché et j'achète...)
49. Simple transformation drills (present to past, present to future)
50. Substitution drills (teacher gives a sentence, pupil changes one element)

50 writing activities for the MFL classroom

1. Copywriting from a book or the board to establish simple spellings
2. Writing down words spelled out orally
3. Writing down answers to oral questions
4. Writing down answers to written questions
5. Filling gaps (with options given or not given)
6. Writing down corrected answers to false statements given orally
7. Writing down corrected answers to false statements written down
8. Writing down the correct one of two or more alternative statements provided orally
9. Writing short phrase statements or just true/false on a mini whiteboard
10. Taking notes to an audio or spoken source
11. Completing an information grid based on a written source
12. Completing an informatiom grid or transcription based on a spoken source
13. Writing sentences or a narrative based on a picture or picture sequence
14. Writing sentences from short notes (e.g. diary entries)
15. Completing a sentence or text with the correct form of a given verb or adjective
16. Transposing sentences or text from one person to another
17. Putting jumbled words into a correct sentence
18. Summarising from an English text
19. Summarising from a target language text
20. Writing down solutions to anagrams (either written ones or ones provided orally)
21. Dictation: transcribing words, phrases, sentences or passages from audio or read by teacher
22. Paired dictation e.g. running dictation"
23. Writing a traditional discursive essay
24. Translating into the target language from a written source
25. Translating into the target language from an oral source
26. Writing a passage from a template
27. Writing lists e.g. shopping lists, desert island game, strip bingo game
28. Word association - teacher gives a word, pupil writes first word to come into head
29. Antonyms - teacher gives a word, pupil writes down opposite meaning
30. Writing short accounts from a given word list. Every word must appear in the account
31. Completing sentence starters from an oral source
32. Completing sentence starters from a written source
33. Starting sentence ends from an oral or written source
34. Noting synonyms or antonyms in a written passage
35. Writing poems or music lyrics
36. Writing calligrammes
37. Writing definitions of words
38. Completing a crossword or acrostic
39. Making up original sentences to show a grammatical structure
40. Completing a vocabulary list e.g. finding words in a target language text
41. Writing for a purpose e.g letter, news article, job application, obituary, diary, dialogue, sketch
42. Transforming a text message into full sentences (or the reverse)
43. Underlining errors in a transcribed text and inserting the correct word or phrase
44. Writing social network messages to a foreign speaker
45. Writing words as part of a game (e.g. baccalauréat - find a word in each category beginning with a
given letter)
46. Writing sentences for a game of "consequences"
47. Writing on the board or with a partner e.g. "Hangman"
48. Code breaking games
49. Writing "never-ending sentences"
50. Writing nonsense or silly sentences