For kids learning a new language, information gaps ultimately lead to frustration! Equip your kids with solutions to work around information gaps by being linguistic detectives. Teach circumlocution so that they can rely on what they do understand to help them decipher what they don’t. With these fun information gap activities, your learners will be building vocabulary and understanding in no time!
1. Picture Difference
Give one student a picture that’s different from everyone else’s. They must describe what they see, with the others trying to detect what is different in the pictures. Find great printables online or use real-world pictures of the same place.
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2. Unusual Hotel Concierge
Create information cards for students that list the name of a hotel, its location, an unusual feature, and the cost per night. Have your students pretend to be concierges and guests who chat over the phone, asking questions to figure out the missing information on their cards.
Learn More: ESL Printables
3. 20 Questions
Practice forming yes-or-no questions while allowing one kiddo a linguistic break – they can only answer yes or no. The others must decipher the mystery item by asking no more than 20 questions. Use picture cards to help.
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4. Descriptive Dream House
In pairs, each child will secretly draw a picture of their dream house. Then, they must describe how to draw it so that their partner can replicate it. Details matter so be sure to encourage them to use descriptive language!
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5. Guess Who
Play the classic game of Guess Who so that each learner can practice asking questions, analyzing the picture cards, and then answering yes or no. The aim of the game is for players to decipher who the person is on their partner’s chosen card.
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6. Blind Activities
Pair up kids and blindfold one of them. Have the other take their partner through a series of everyday tasks such as writing their name on a piece of paper, doing laundry, cleaning up, etc. Partners must guide their blindfolded counterparts around the room and complete each of the tasks. Then switch!
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7. Mad Libs
Give one kiddo a story with fill-in-the-blank spaces that are labeled with parts of speech. Players are then prompted to fill in the missing answers and read their silly story aloud. This is a fantastic method for testing grammar knowledge whilst having fun!
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8. Map Directions
Giving directions and asking for help are essential skills for language learners. Give kids a map and have them pick a starting place and an ending place. Then, get them to write directions that will guide their partner from start to finish.
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9. Phone Message
Kids either listen to recordings of phone conversations or conduct their own; role-playing a position at a store. You can prerecord the calls or play ones online. Afterward, ask them questions related to the calls to see if they have gleaned the correct information from simply listening.
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10. Haunted House
To begin, have learners pair up. One child is then given a picture with ghosts, and their partner’s picture is ghost-free. They must ask questions using prepositions to locate the ghosts. For example, ” Is there a ghost on the stove” or “Is there a ghost in the bedroom next to the bathroom.”
Learn More: Teachers’ Guide
11. Riddle Me This
Riddles are a great way for more advanced speakers to practice deduction. Students will listen to a riddle and must then discuss the clues to figure out the answer. A written version of the riddle may help multi-modal learners.
Learn More: Teaching Expertise
12. Famous Artists
Each child is given two items- a skeleton worksheet that’s missing information and an article about a famous artist. The articles should contain different information so that learners will need to discuss information with their peers to fully complete their worksheets.
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13. Job Interview
Assuming the role of a potential employee, one child pretends to be a job-seeker. Another student, the interviewer, only has partial information in a job application for their partner. They must ask questions to fill in the missing components in this great speaking, listening, and writing activity.
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14. Weather Forecast
Each student should be given a partially-completed worksheet with only some students having the same information. The worksheet key helps them to identify weather symbols. Students must circulate and ask each other questions about the weather and locations to complete their sheets.
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15. Family Tree
Give each child a different copy of the same family tree with missing information. They must then ask each other questions in order to complete their partner’s family tree. This is a great way to reinforce family vocabulary.
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16. Information Grids
Each child gets a copy of a spreadsheet with information about different literary or historical characters. Character names are listed in the first column whereas character traits are listed across the top. The charts should not match so the students must ask each other questions to complete the missing information.
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What other information would your kiddos like to know about a person they already know? Write the questions down and then have them interview the person to discover the answers. This is a great exercise in interpersonal communication!
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18. Restaurant Question Strips
Choose a topic and prepare a list of questions with your kids. Ask them what they want to know about each other within the borders of this topic. They can cut the questions into strips and place them into a bowl. Get the learners to take turns pulling questions to ask their peers to learn more about one another.
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19. What Are They Doing?
What is everyone doing? Practice present continuous tense by giving partners incomplete grids. Learners must then ask and answer questions. Examples are: “What is James doing?” or “He’s riding a bike.”
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20. Bargain Hunters
Armed with a shopping list, kids become bargain hunters! They must solicit information from various shops; asking for the cost of the items on their list. Deem 3-4 kids the shop owners and give them store circulars so that they can answer questions about item costs.
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21. Pre-Story KWL
Before you teach a subject, prep kiddos by giving them a list of facts. Ask them whether they think each is true or false. If false, get them to provide a statement as to what they think the right answer is. Then, read the information and repeat the activity. Use the chart as a guide.
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