Classroom Activity: Speaking Marathon (Warm-up)

Classroom Activity: English Speaking Marathon (ESL)

ESL Level: Lower-Intermediate

No. of Students: 4-30

Activity Focus: speaking, confidence-building, fun

Class Time: 5-8 minutes

Classroom Speaking Activity Execution:

I teach a Japanese Elementary/Jr. High school. The kids don't get many opportunities to speak freely, so I designed this simple classroom speaking activity for my Jr. High school kids.

  • First, put the students in pairs. Have them stand opposite their partner.
  • Next, tell them that you want them to speak in English with their partner for as long as possible. Tell them they can start from How are you? and continue from there. Encourage them to try to have a normal English conversation and that it doesn't matter if they make mistakes. The purpose of this activity is to talk talk talk. Tell them that if their conversation stops for too long (e.g. 5 seconds) or they start speaking in a language other than English (e.g. Japanese), they have to sit down. The last pair standing wins the classroom speaking marathon.
  • Have them start. As they speak, walk amongst them and listen. Don't correct them, but try to make sure they are using English and that they are having a real conversation (I prohibited my students from just repeating the same question back and forth).

I did this with 12 students (6 pairs). After about 10 minutes, I had to end it prematurely because it seemed like their conversations would never end. I only had to make one group sit down for speaking Japanese. The others were still talking about their families, favorite books, etc. I was surprised by how many ideas and questions my students could communicate when they didn't have to worry about making errors. I will do it again.

If you think your students would enjoy this classroom speaking activity, give it a try.

– Matthew Barton /

Was this helpful? Donate to our web hosting bill to show your support!

5 comments on “Classroom Activity: Speaking Marathon (Warm-up)

  1. Doug (Posted on 9-5-2013 at 13:42) Reply

    I did this activity word for word with a bunch of Russian 14 and 15 year olds. They loved it, It got them moving around and having fun. Its even more enjoyable when you just randomly switch partners (at least it was more enjoyable for me).

    Thank you for this activity, it was a great filler and the kids enjoyed it.

  2. Reha (Posted on 11-2-2013 at 09:46) Reply

    I liked this activity very much and I am going to use it with my students

  3. Anonymous (Posted on 10-13-2017 at 23:11) Reply

    Sounds like a great activity!
    I will use it tomorrow thanks

  4. Anonymous (Posted on 12-10-2017 at 22:04) Reply

    Sounds good

  5. Annie Gil (Posted on 5-24-2018 at 23:46) Reply

    It sounds a great and useful
    activity.I’ll try it with my students.
    thanks a lot!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.