Teaching English as a second language (ESL) to high school students can be challenging. Many activities are available for beginning students, but it can be harder to come up with activities for advanced ESL students that are appropriate to their ages and language levels. High school students don't want to be treated like children but still want activities that are fun and entertaining. Many ESL activities for high school students can be used to teach and reinforce integrated and higher English skills.
The Hot Seat
The Hot Seat is a no-preparation game that you can adapt to teach vocabulary, verb tenses, phrases or other grammar principles. You need a list of words, a chair or desk, a blackboard or whiteboard and something to write with. Divide the class into two teams. The team going first (or you) will choose a member to sit in the hot seat at the front of the class, facing away from the board. Write a word or phrase on the board. The student's team must try to get him to guess the word or phrase by giving non-verbal clues. You can make this timed or not timed, depending on your students and their language levels.
The Hotel Managers
This is a collaborative project for higher-level ESL students. Divide your class into small groups. No more than five people should be in each group. Explain to them that they are all managers of a beautiful beachfront hotel that has many problems that they need to solve. Hand each group a problem, such as "No one knows about the hotel, so there are few guests" or "There are no activities for children." Give your students a certain amount of time to prepare their solutions, then ask them to make presentations concerning the problem and how they would solve it. If you want to make it more complicated, you can ask them to include visual aids, use PowerPoint presentations or include a cost analysis.
Skit in a Bag
For Skit in a Bag, you will need slips of paper and plastic or paper bags. Prepare a list of nouns, adverbs and adjectives, including location names. Divide your class into small groups and give a bag to each group. Students will have a certain amount of time to come up with a skit that uses all the words in the bag and includes each member of the group. For higher-level practice, make a rule that all discussion and preparation has to be done in English.
Amber D. Walker has been writing professionally since 1989. She has had essays published in "Fort Worth Weekly," "Starsong," "Paper Bag," "Living Buddhism" and more. Walker holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Texas and worked as an English teacher abroad for six years.