EFL - ESL activities and games that practise giving longer answers

This free ESL lesson plan is the last of three lessons on the theme of 'people'. It contains activities, games and other teaching resources that can be used to guide upper-intermediate level students into giving longer answers to simple questions.

Lead-in activity

This is sample board work for the second activity, 'Giving long answers'. See the description for detailed instructions.

EFL - ESL Lead-in activity for giving longer answers | Upper-intermediate

ESL activities for giving longer answers

Homework review

Students are quizzed about their homework assignment.

The homework assignment was:

"Summarise a recent online interview with a well-known celebrity."

You'll have to taper your questions depending on how familiar you are with the subject of the interview. However, you can use these general questions to get your students talking.

Did they talk about their childhood?
Did they talk about the start of their career?
So, what have they been doing recently?
Are they working on anything at the moment?
What about the future?
What was the most interesting/surprising thing that you learned from the article?

Giving long answers

Students learn a couple of tricks that will help them to give longer answers to some basic questions.

Start by writing the question "Where are you from?" on the board. Elicit how your students would students would respond to this question to give as long an answer as possible. You could add the structure to the board as they give it to you. An example might look like:

I'm from ___ It's a ___ It has ___ which ___

Do the same with the question "What do you like about the place where you live?"

Well, it's ___, so ___, but ___. Oh! And ___. Also, ___

Finally, give the students some time to practise their answers to these questions. Have them interview each other in pairs. If they are feeling brave, they could even pretend to be from another city and modify their answer to suit that.

Student interview

The students will interview each other using questions from the board.

In the same pairs as the previous activity, the students will now interview each other using the following list of questions. Before they begin, remind them that they should try to give as long an answer as possible to each question.

Where you live
Could you describe your family home to me?
What’s the most interesting place you’ve visited near here?

What do you spend your time doing?
Do you enjoy reading?
What sort of books do you read?

How much exercise do you take each week?
Do you like to be physically active or do you prefer relaxing?

Work and study
Are you happier doing mental or physical work?
Can you remember your first English lessons?

ESL classroom games

Stopwatch challenge: Celebrity phone call

A role-playing game where students pretend to be two famous people who are old friends and haven't talked to each other for a long time.

The aim of the game is for both students to have a fake phone call for as long as possible while staying in the context of the role. Depending on how strict you want to be, you can stop the clock when:

1. The conversation slows down too much.
2. They wander too far outside the context of the role (Two old friends catching-up).
3. They make three grammar mistakes, which you can review after.

For each round, you can elicit the famous people from the other students. Record the times on the board and name a winning pair at the end. For stronger classes, you might want to set a time limit of 2 to 3 minutes.

More upper-intermediate ESL lesson plans

If you found these resources helpful, our next free lesson plan in this course is on formal writing. Also, be sure to check out our full list of upper-intermediate ESL lesson plans. For other levels, have a look at our complete selection of EFL - ESL lesson plans.

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