By Kevin Fabris

April 20, 2016

5 - 10 Minutes, Big Class, Big Room, EFL, ESL, Fun, Game, No Materials Required, Practice It, Speaking, Use It, Vocabulary, Young Learner

ESL games that don’t rely on teacher’s talking time are one of the most effective ways to instil a sense of fun and ability in your ESL / EFL students. Playing Social Butterflies is a great way to minimize the role of the teacher and get your class talking to multiple people quickly.  Best of all  Social Butterflies has lots of opportunities to practice your lesson’s target language, vocabulary and grammar.

This ESL Game’s rules are simple.  Students are instructed to talk to as many of their classmates as possible within a given time limit.  Each time they speak to a new student they are required to use a simple dialogue that includes your lesson’s language target.  After completing the objective both students write their names on the each other’s pieces of paper and then switch partners and repeat until the time limit expires.   The student that speaks with the most classmates and has the most names on their piece of paper wins!

How to play Social Butterflies:

  1. Give the students the language they’ll need to play this game.  E.x. “Hello, my name is ………”  “What’s your name?”
  2.   If you have a small class set the time limit to a minute or two.  With a larger class give them five minutes.  You’ll want to keep the limit low enough that it’s near impossible to talk to everyone in the class within the allotted time.
  3.  Instruct the students to keep track of everyone they’ve spoken to by getting each of their speaking partner’s signatures .
  4.  When the timer goes off the student that has spoken to the most of his or her classmates is the winner.
  5.  Switch target languages and repeat.

Remember, kids are clever.  There will undoubtedly be one or two students that will try and get around the rules and just get quick signatures from their friends without actually using the target language.
You can tell the class that anyone caught getting signatures without using the language will have (pick a number) of the signatures removed from their totals.  This little tweak will dramatically increase the level of competition and fun.

Enjoy playing Social Butterflies!

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