In the Only Talk On The Clap ESL game, students take turns saying items from a vocabulary category, on the clap sound of a rhythm.
Prepare a suitable set of questions/challenges for your level/target language. Or, if you have an Internet-connected device, try using our ESL Challenge Generator.
Arrange the students on a circle of chairs facing inwards. If you have more than twelve students, form multiple groups with as much space as possible between them.
- Establish a rhythm by hitting your thighs twice then clapping your hands twice repeatedly at a steady pace. Get the rest of the students to copy you.
- Explain to the students that they can only talk on the clap part of the rhythm. Add to the rhythm by saying the following introduction on the clap sound: Only talk — (thigh-thigh) — on the clap — (thigh-thigh) — names of — (thigh-thigh) — types of — (thigh-thigh).
- Explain that you will then say a vocabulary category, e.g. animals, jobs, food, clothes etc. Going clockwise around the circle, the students will take turns to say an item from that category, again only talking when the rest of the students clap. For example, elephant — (thigh-thigh) — giraffe — (thigh-thigh) — monkey etc. Model gameplay and do a practise round if necessary.
- Play the game with a suitable vocabulary category. If a student can’t think of a word or messes up the rhythm, they have to answer a question or complete a challenge.
- Repeat the process with other vocabulary categories.
The Only Talk On The Clap ESL game is a great light-hearted warmer for intermediate and advanced students. Note that it is hard for the students to think quickly enough, so beginners often find it too difficult. For the same reason keep the vocabulary categories simple whatever the level (at least initially)!
You can also adapt the questions/challenges according to your level and use them to practise the target grammar of your choice. Our Challenge Generator has pre-made categories for different levels and language topics.
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