Crossed Wires

In the Crossed Wires ESL activity, students dictate a text down a string that criss-crosses their group.

Students for Crossed Wires ESL Activity:6+Time for Crossed Wires ESL Activity:5-15 mins
Resources for Crossed Wires ESL Activity:
String/Yarn; Dictation Text

Divide the class into groups of six to ten students. The groups sit down in circles. Give each group a ball of string/yarn.

  1. One student holds the end of the string, and passes the ball to someone else in the group (not someone sitting next to them).
  2. The next student holds a piece of it and passes it again (to a new person). This is repeated until all the students have a piece of the string, and it crisscrosses the circle.
  3. The last student (who now has the ball), takes a notebook or piece of paper. Give the student in each group with the end of the string a short text (pre-prepared or from a textbook).
  4. The students dictate the text two or three words at a time, by passing them down the string. When words reach the last student, they can write them down. They must pass the message as quickly as possible, so they will have to speak over each other and listen carefully as the words criss-cross the circle.
  5. When they have finished, compare the original text with the written text to see how similar they are.
Target Language

The Crossed Wires ESL activity is usually just used as a light-hearted warmer with some speaking and listening practice. However, you could match the text with a particular language topic the students have been learning if you wish.

For a similar activity based around introductions, try Introdustring.

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