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Just A Minute:

1.Setting Up
Divide the class into two teams in whichever way you prefer – based on seating, organized by age, nationality,
ethnicity or gender, or using captains to choose their teams, etc.
2.Subject Preparation
Ask each team to prepare a list of subjects on which their opponents will have to speak for one minute. These
should suit the level of your students. The best topics are those, which challenge the students’ vocabulary
without being too difficult. Good examples include:

My home town A place would you like to visit


My favorite sports team Your favorite technological gadget
My family and friends My first day at school
The best vacation I’ve ever been on My hero
A lucky day How to make ….

3. Rules
Explain the rules and be ready to model the game for students who may not have seen it before. They must
speak continuously for one minute. No long pauses are allowed, only those a presenter would normally take.
They may not change the subject or repeat information or opinion; the opposing team can raise an objection if
they feel this has happened, best done by raising a hand.
4.Key Element
Every student should take part. The teams can organize themselves, or the teacher could choose the next
contestant in whichever way works best. A large wall clock is useful to keep track of time. There’s no need to
wait for the second hand to reach the top of the minute; you could announce that the contestant will begin
speaking at the 30’ or 45’ mark, for example, and continue for sixty seconds.
5.Winding Up
Once the contestant has completed their minute, give them a score which will be tallied on the board. I’m very
generous with this, giving 10/10 to anyone who doesn’t break the rules. If there’s some pausing, or the student
repeats a thought, consider giving them an 8/10 or 9/10. You might give bonus points for especially good
choices of vocabulary or particularly effective use of a tricky grammar point.
While the students are speaking, their classmates (of both teams) should respectfully listen. During this time,
the teacher can silently encourage the speaker, especially if they are of a lower level. Nodding, smiling and
using a range of ‘keep going!” gestures has had good results. If they really hit trouble, the teacher could drop
in a hint – an aspect of the topic the student has yet to cover, or a piece of vocabulary, which might unlock a
few more seconds of speaking.