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ESL forum > Ask for help > Ideas and formats for speaking activities, presentations, speeches...    

Ideas and formats for speaking activities, presentations, speeches...

Travelling High and Low

Ideas and formats for speaking activities, presentations, speeches...

Good afternoon,


I’ve been asked to design a range of speaking activities for next year’s curriculum.

We’re currently asking the students to write about a specific topic, over two classes (summer in Japan, favorite festival...)

They then give an individual presentation during the third class.

Whilst this does work, it is a little dry and they spend far too much writing, with too little speaking.

Does anyone have any suggestions to maximise student talk time and minimise writing time?

Any suggestions, web links, new formats… all are welcome and much appreciated. I’m really struggling to come up with some new ideas!!!


Thank you :o)

8 Sep 2017      

United Kingdom

Dear ´Travelling ´.
In answer to your request, I have posted here, on the ESLP Forum, one of my Worksheets. It encourages Students to speak impromptu, without using written notes too much. The asterisk, *, represents basic information which the Teacher or Student must give, to supply facts which are relevant to the Topic. The student enlarges on this information, and speaks at some length.
You, and any other Members, (especially those without points), are at liberty to use this Worksheet. I hope that you find it useful.
In transferring it to the Forum, the Worksheet has lost some of its formatting. However, in the future, I intend to post it as an ESLP Worksheet. Those who miss it here, can get it later.
Best Wishes.
Les Douglas 

Exam Topics: (Suggested topics, divided into sections. Students write appropriate details.)

Student, choose a Topic to talk about in Class. Write a few SHORT NOTES about your topic, as reminders. Glance at your notes and practise speaking about the topic, at some length. Remember the facts, and tell the audience as much as you can, from memory. DO NOT SIMPLY READ THE NOTES!

The topics and notes below are only SUGGESTIONS. Teachers/Students can choose ANY appropriate topic, and write notes for it.

1. A Country, a City or a Place, called X.

2. The capital city of X is *.

3. The principal cities of X are *, **, and ***.

4. The biggest river of X is the River *.

5. The highest mountain in X is Mount *.

6. The population of X is * million people.

7. X is * million hectares in area.

8. X is * kilometres wide by ** kilometres long.

9. The principal religion of X is *. The next is **.

10. The most famous buildings in X are *, **, and ***.

11. In X, wild animals you can find are *, **, and ***.

12. The principal exports of X are *, **, and ***.

13. The President/King/Queen/* of X is * *.

14. The favourite food of X is *. It is made with *, and **.

15. The most popular ceremony in X is *. It is …

16. The most important festival in X is *. It is …

17. I like X very much because …

18. The weather in X is hot/cold/*

19. X has borders with * in the north/*, and ** in the east/*.

20. A Film, a TV programme, a Story, a Poem, or a Play.

21. The name/author/writer of this film/* was a * *.

22. I chose this film/TV programme/* because ---.

23. The principal person in this film/* is * because ---.

24. I first saw/read this film/* last week/month/year/*

25. I like this film/story/poem/* because ---.

26. This * is/is not popular in my country because ---.

27. The person I liked best in this * was ** because ---.

28. I disliked * because ---.

29. I have seen/read/* this * once/twice/3/* times.

30. I think/I don’t think this is a happy * because ---.

31. This * lasts 1/2/3/5/10/20/* minutes/hours/days/*.

32. You can see/read/* this * in an English version.

33. The best part of this * is when ---.

34. A Visit, to X.

35. I liked X because ---.

36. X is very famous because ---.

37. In X, everybody likes to go to the * because ---.

38. In X, there is a restaurant/café/sports-hall/shop*.

39. In X, you can buy lots of gifts, for example *.

40. X is a good place for children to visit because ---.

41. It is a good place for a family to visit because ---.

42. X is expensive/is not very expensive/* because ---.

43. The best thing to see in X is the *, because ---.

44. X is not far from *, only 5/50/* kilometres.

45. Students should visit X because ---.

46. A Famous Person, whose name is X.

47. I will describe this person. He/she is --- and ----.

48. I decided to talk about X because ---.

49. X is still alive today/X is dead now.

50. X is/was married. His/her spouse is/was called * *.

51. X has/had a family. [He/she had a mother/etc.]

52. X was born in France/England/Iran/China/Japan/*

53. X lived all his life in Italy/Iraq/Africa/Asia/*

54. When he/she died, X was 52/60/* years old.

55. There is a film about X, called * * *.

56. People remember X because ---.

57. I like/admire X very much because ---.

58. Many people want to be the same as X because ---.

59. My Family.

60. My family name is *.

61. In English, this name means --- --- ---.

62. My father’s name is * *.

63. My mother’s name is ** **.

64. My brother’s name is *** ***.

65. My sister’s name is **** ****.

66. In my family, there are 2/3/4/5/* people.

67. The most important family person is *.

68. This person is important because ---.

69. A typical family meal is *, with **, and ***.

70. The names of the children are *, **, ***, and ****.

71. The children love to eat caramels/chocolate/fruit/*.

72. The game the children love best is * because ---.

73. The best time of the year is * because ---.

74. The entertainment the family love best is *.

75. A Festival, a Ceremony, a Special Day.

76. This festival/* is in January/February/Spring/*.

77. This * usually take place in church/the street/*.

78. It is important because ---.

79. Lots of people take part, possibly 100/* people.

80. The most important person is the * because ---.

81. The festival/* lasts 1/2/3/* minutes/hours/days/*.

82. At this festival/* a person wears *, **, and ***.

83. A special food, *, is made. It contains **, and ***.

84. This festival/* is/is not expensive because ---.

85. I love this festival/* because ---.

86. This * occurs everywhere/only in my country/*.

87. If you meet someone, you must say: “--- --- ---”.

88. At the ceremony/*, lots of people dance/sing/*.

89. Everybody is happy at this festival/*, because ---.

90. I have also seen this festival/* in England/*


8 Sep 2017     

United Kingdom

Les ´s worksheets to promote speaking are great. May I also ask if you know about the ´picture based discussion ´ topics on here?

8 Sep 2017     


Pair work activities integrated into classwork are a great way to create a culture of speaking and to help students gain more confidence with speaking.
E.g. when teaching weather, introduce a pair of maps, each with half of the information. Pupils must ask their partner "What ´s the weather like today in Birmingham/Manchester/Inverness...?" and draw or write in the answer on their map.
When teaching clothes, I stick a selection of pictures up (or project them on the board) and pupils must ask their partner questions to guess which person their partner has chosen. "Is the person wearing a skirt? Does the person have a hat on?" etc.
With more advanced topics, you can give pupils a set of question cards about the topic and ask them to draw a card and ask their partner a question. (See my worksheet on  "music and music preferences discussion" for an idea of what I mean.)
If your pupils are very nervous speaking spontaneously, you can give them some preparation time. So with weather, you could give each pair a different weather map and ask them to work together to write the script of the weather forecast, then present it to the class.  With the clothes activity, you could give them each a picture for which they have to write a description, then collect in all the pictures and mix them up. Each pupil then reads out their description and the other pupils try to guess which picture is being described.
The idea is that rather than specifically working on "speaking" as a stand-alone activity, you just integrate it into each unit, so that pupils learn to speak about the topic at hand and use the new vocabulary in reading, listening, speaking and writing activities as part of their everyday practice. 

11 Sep 2017     

Travelling High and Low

Dear Idethemagicman, cunliffe & Frausue,
Thank you very much for your kind replies. They have all been very helpful. 
Idethemagician, I really like the idea of having the students practice free talking. Recently I ´ve been trying to stress the importance of thinking in English, opposed to just relying on memorization/notes. Thank you for providing me with some great examples.
Cunliffe, introducing some picture based discussions is a great idea. The series of worksheets that you created is very helpful for this, thank you.
FrauSue, thank you for your helpful suggestions. I especially like the idea of having the students draw a card/ask a question.
Thanks again :o)

13 Sep 2017