ESL Sleeping Elephants

3 Versions of ESL Sleeping Elephants Game: Grammar, Whiteboard, & Spelling Versions

YLE Activities Sentence Making/Grammar/Spelling
LevelA1-B2
TopicAny
Length30-50 minutes

If you already know how to make use of this ESL resource feel free to scroll to the bottom this post or click the button above to get a free download of this free ESL activity: Sleeping Elephants. I’ve made three different versions available depending on your ESL or EFL needs – a grammar version, a spelling version, and a version particular to using whiteboards. First off, I’ll provide a brief overview and go over the rules.

Overview:

Is the ESL game for for you?

If you are working with a mid to large classes of ESL students, want to get your students speaking more, or are want to add a fun engaging element to your classroom than this group activity resources will be especially helpful for you. Secondly, it works best as a review activity for the ESL target language you’ve already covered which may be speaking based, grammar based, or spelling based. Below, I’ve provided the rules. Feel free to get into contact with us via Facebook or patreon if you are interested in getting or requesting additional free ESL resources, games, or activities.

Rules (Whiteboard Version):
1) To start, divide the class into teams and assign students from both teams the numbers – 1 up to 15 depending on how many students are in each team. Explain that each student will be assigned a word within a sentence, and that when the teacher says “teams wake up,” they must work together to form all their words into the sentence the teacher has chosen beforehand.

TIP: The teacher can laminate all of these sheets so that this game is reusable. The teacher
and the students can use board markers to write on the laminated sheets


2) The teacher then tells the students to “go to sleep,” and the students should respond by putting their heads down
on the desk. Don’t let the students peek!


3) The Teacher then calls out the numbers in order one by one: “Number One Wake Up, etc.” As each number is called out, one student from each team puts their head up, looks at the board where the teacher will uncover the word for them to memorize by lifting the ‘cover sheet’, and memorizes the sentence fragment or word that is being shown on the board. Once they have memorized their fragment, the teacher then tells them to sleep again: “Number One, Go
to Sleep”. The teacher repeats this process until each group knows one piece of the sentence.


4) Once each student has seen their sentence fragment, the teacher then calls out “wake up!” At this time, each team tries to piece the sentence together in the correct order. The team that completes and writes down the sentence on the provided ‘answer sheet’ first correctly first wins a point.

Rules (Grammar Version):

This version includes parts of speech instead of numbers e.g. ‘noun’.


1) To start, divide the class into teams and assign students from both teams a part of speech (one for each student in the group). The ESL teacher should carefully explain that each student will be assigned a word or part of speech within a sentence, and that when the teacher says “teams wake up,” they must work together to form all their words into the sentence the teacher has prepared beforehand depending on the ESL grammar target language. The functional difference here is that the the grammar parts of speech will serve as further clues to help them progress through this learning activity.


2) The teacher then tells the students to “go to sleep,” and the students should respond by putting their heads down on the desk.

3) The Teacher then calls out the parts of speech one by one: “Noun Wake Up, etc.” As each part of speech is called out, one student from each team puts their head up, looks at the board where the teacher will uncover the word for them to memorize by lifting the ‘cover sheet’, and memorizes the sentence fragment or word that is being shown on the board. Once they have
memorized their fragment, the teacher then tells them to sleep again: “Noun, Go to Sleep”. The teacher repeats this process until each group knows one piece of the sentence.


4) Once each student has seen their sentence fragment, the teacher then calls out “wake up!” At this time, each team tries to piece the sentence together in the correct order. As with the previous version the team which completes a written sentence on the provided ‘answer
sheet’ first correctly is awarded a point to incentivize their learning.

Rules (Spelling Version):

In this last version the students are given letters rather than words or sentence fragments so that the team must puts their cards in order to spell out the ESL vocabulary target words.

Here’s the text link if that image didn’t work: https://www.halandsteveenglish.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/sleeping-elephants-ESL-Game12.pdf

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