Benito Vacio

Beyond speaking day

Activities to get your students talking

More than a year ago, the Thai education minister directed all schools in Thailand to hold an 'English speaking day' every week. This was in preparation for the ASEAN community in 2015. Since it was a laudable idea, my director asked me to have one in our school. When I implemented the idea, my director was overwhelmed by its impact on students' interest and English language development. He told me to do it often. So instead of having speaking day once a week, I organised it every day. Can you beat that?

Previously, I shared in my blog some of my activities. Now, I have come up with more speaking activities you can try:

1. Sing to Me - Four Students sang in front of the student body. They sang songs learned in class. They were simple songs like, "The Foolish Man" "There's a Tree" and "It's Love" The best singer won.

2. Phonetics Review- Since I taught the students the sounds of letters from A to Z, I let the students by grade recite the phonetic sounds of the alphabet like Aa apple, Bb ball, Cc cat. The student who recited the most phonetic sounds in correct order won.

3. Big Book Story - Since I made 2 big books measuring 20" by 30" of 6-8 pages, I let my students read the story by groups. One served as the reader, others helped to hold and flip the book. Two groups presented and the whole student body chose the winner.

4. Deliver it to Me - Here 3 students delivered memorized speeches about themselves from 7 to 13 sentences depending on the level. The student who delivered the best speech won.

5. Read to Me - With the help of words printed in flash cards, students read common words like Big C, 7 Eleven, Pepsi, MBK, etc. in a race. The reader who scored most won.

6. Talk About a Picture - A composite picture (a picture with 3 or more characters doing certain things in a given place). The picture was colored and printed in A3 paper posted on an artist's easel. Using a pointer, the student, acted as a teacher, pointing to the characters in the picture and described them from 2-8 sentences depending on the level. Before the student described the picture, the student said something about themselves. The best speaker won.

7. Role Play - Students were given copies of dialogues. The students in pairs mastered and presented them. Three pairs presented. The best pair won.

8. Anagram - Using letters of the alphabet, two groups raced in forming words. The group that garnered the highest score won.

9. Finger spelling - Using the ASL finger spelling, students read the words spelled by the teacher using ASL (American Sign Language). The student who got the highest score was declared the winner.

To be successful in implementing any of the activities, I have some tips for you:

a. Practice the students before performing.
b. See to it that all students have the opportunity to present. The not-so-capable ones could also perform with a group.
c. Involve other teachers in judging the presenters.
d. Ask assistance from the school regarding prizes.
e. Presentations should not be more than 5 minutes.
f. Assign tasks in advance to give them ample time to master their assignments.
g. Let the students sit while watching when the ground is clean and dry.
h. Praise students for the good performance.
i. Post student/level assignments so that they can anticipate when their turn comes.

So, have you selected one activity for your English Speaking Day? Good luck.


You are the best English teacher indeed!

By Sensei Aijin, Philippines (15th February 2013)

Nice ideas mate.

By Chris Cotton, Hong Kong (13th February 2013)

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