ESL Level: Intermediate+
Language Focus: Expressions for agreeing and disagreeing.
Class time: 40 minutes
Worksheet Download: four-ina-row-agree-disagree.docx
Speaking Activity #1: Four in a Row
Before doing this activity, you need to teach your students some expressions for giving opinions, agreeing, disagreeing, and interrupting. I usually work with the expressions provided by EnglishClub, though I delete a few to make the list more manageable. Spend some time practicing.
After teaching expressions for agreeing and disagreeing, distribute the below worksheet to your students.
Have them complete Part 1 individually. Make sure they write three questions that are suitable for sharing opinions.
Next, put them into groups of three. Explain the game (described in Part 2 below). Make sure they understand that they need to 1) use the expressions on the card, 2) use them at a relevant time in the conversation, and 3) Follow-up the expression with an idea (e.g. “I beg to differ. The person who invited the other should pay the bill on the first date — not necessarily the man.”)
That’s it. Feel free to change the expressions on the card to suit your level/fancy.
Speaking Activity Preview
Four in a Row – Agreeing and Disagreeing
Part 1. Write three questions for discussion with your groupmates. The questions should be good for giving opinions and agreeing and disagreeing.
E.g. Do you think the man should pay the bill on a first date?
Part 2. In groups, ask your questions and have a conversation. Try to use the below expressions. If you use an expression successfully, you can cross it off. The first student to cross off four squares in a row is the winner.
(Note: After using an expression, you have to say something relevant).
Speaking Activity #2 – Agreeing / Disagreeing Card Game
Another simple activity is a game that involves putting some expressions for agreeing and disagreeing on cards. Here’s an example template:
Sample Download: agree-disagree-cards-esl.docx
Firstly, distribute about four cards to each student.
Secondly, tell them to write a conversation topic on the back of each card. This topic should be suitable for agreeing and disagreeing, e.g. guns, medical marijuana, best country in the world, etc.
Next, tell them they are going to walk around the room and ask their classmates for their opinions on one of their topics. In their conversation, they should try to appropriately use one of the expressions printed on the other side of the card, for example, “I beg to differ”. If they use the expression correctly in the right context, then they can give the card away to their interlocutor. At the end, the student who has zero cards (or the fewest) wins. Again, stress that after they use an expression (e.g. “You’re dead wrong!”), they have to make a relevant comment (follow it up with some support).
Then, let them speak for about 20 minutes and monitor as required. Stop when the time is up and applaud the student who was able to use all of his/her expressions (hopefully s/he also had some meaningful conversations too).
Enjoy your ESL classes.
– Matthew Barton / Creator of Englishcurrent.com