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ELTBITES Challenge: Teaching with no resources – “5 Important Things”

"5 Important Things" - this works well for new language learners!

This entry is a response to an ELTBITES blog challenge, asking participants to describe an English teaching activity which would use a minimum of resources (or none). This is something I’ve tried – with success – on many summer courses, as icebreaker activities, and to get learners to know each other better.

Feel free to read through it, even if you’re not an ELT professional – maybe you’ll get some ideas for your language learning? If you do, share them in the comments below!

Activity: “5 Important Things”

Aims: to give learners a chance to practice speaking in a freer, personalized context (talking about things that matter to them); to enable learners to develop their planning skills (outlining, preparing to speak, making notes)

– Skills practiced: Speaking, listening, writing (note-taking, summarizing, outlining)

– Resources needed: pens & paper (works well with bigger sheets of paper)

– Level: Elementary + (really takes off from Pre-Intermetiade upwards)


1. Teacher draws 5 things on a board / piece of paper. No words, just pictures / symbols. T explains that these things are important to her. T asks students to listen to a short explanation, take notes & ask for more questions about these things.

2. T delivers a mini-talk, explaining each image in turn. Ss take notes, then ask questions about th3 5 things.

3. T asks ss to draw their own 5 important things on their sheets of paper.

4. Ss prepare their own short talk about what their 5 things are & why they matter to them.

5. Other ss listen, take notes, interview the speakers.

6. Feedback: t listens & notes down vocabulary to focus on later.

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One Responseso far.

  1. Hi Wiktor, thank you very much for your welcome addition to ELTBITES. It’s clear from the activities that have been posted so far that using images drawn by teachers and learners either on paper or on the board is useful in relation to developing language activities in the classroom. I’d be very interested to know what 5 things you drew on the board. Also do you feel it is important to have reasonable artistic skills because I’m sure a lot of teachers and learners may lack confidence in this area. I’ve put a link below to a book by Andrew Wright called 1000 + pictures for teachers to copy, I’ve used this book continually over many years, highly recommended.