Teaching Tools and Activities Students Love

For a brief moment, let us put ourselves in the role of an ESL student. Each and every day, we wake up and prepare for school.  We go to our first school, then our second and so on. During that time, we do various studies to expand our knowledge in preparation for our future. After that, we go home and do homework for another few hours. Repeating the process again the very next day. The cycle repeats itself.

Apple and Chalkboard

For an ESL student, the days can be truly monotonous. For teachers, we can recognize the monotony that plays into our students lives. We have the great opportunity to brighten up the days for each student attending our class.

When we are with a student, many times, we are following a curriculum or book, we try to fulfill the lessons or obligations. There can be a tendency to “go by the book”.  This is when we teach from page to page until completion of the lesson.

In this article, we are going to discuss a few activities or tricks to help our lessons grow out of the everyday routine. We are going to look into some solutions to get out of the tendency of being dull or boring and try to bring out a more engaged and active class where students are participating together. We want to have a positive impact on our student’s growth and make our classes something  they actually look forward to everyday.

Homework Pages

This is rather simple. When teaching, we don’t have to do everything in class. Some pages can be assigned for homework. The students could help to do activities at home, thus enriching their memory and learning process and the balance of our class time.

When we recognize the material repeating itself, we can assign an activity or two for homework. Sometimes, the activity can be a bit challenging. Just make sure we give the right guidance to complete the activities. This would save so much class time and have students and teachers engage in other fun activities.



Students love to see achievements. Seeing that every day is a progression in their studies is a wonderful feeling! At an early age, it is hard to understand the achievements of studying hard. Therefore, teachers can remind the young students of which road is best to be a good student.

We could just explain it as simply as stars or a point system. We can use stickers on a point sheet (any stickers can work). Of course, after accumulating a series of stars, then a treat is appropriate. Some candy would be appropriate or a day off from homework. It’s up to you to decide. Remember to make it worthwhile. Making it special makes it worthwhile to achieve!

Surprise Points

This is a simple class game using the point system and taking it to the next level. All you need to do is to make a set of cards (large enough to see it from the white board). Having about 9 cards is even and symmetrical on the board. One side of the cards is blank.  The other side of the cards has a point system: 5 cards have +1, 2 cards have +2, and 2 cards have -2. Put them on the white boards and use the following to order the cards (Alphabetically and Numbered). See example below:

Surprise Points 1

Students would then pick a card with stars (hidden blank side) facing the students. He or she may have a chance to choose either +1, +2, or -2 points.

Surprise Points 2

This is a great game to get students out of the linear pattern of the class. Putting the cards up randomly on the board creates a bit of suspense and surprise, thus keeping the energy going in class.

Therefore, whenever the students participate in class, then they have a chance to choose a card to get points. The prize is up to you (candy, stickers, etc).

Classroom involvement and participation can get students coming out of the normal days with a smile on their face. This spices up our days too. We can feel the energy emitting of our students. Thus, we have the ability to create the energy of the class and make both students and teachers have a great class experience.


A great way to bring us out of the classroom monotony is to get the students involved. With more classroom participation, we can create the energy of our class. These activities are just the basics to create a fun class. Just remember to keep the activity simple.

Have fun in class!


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