ESL / EFL Teaching Tip: A Theater Game for -ed Adjectives

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For this week’s video, I would like to share a fun game with you called “Taxi Driver” (or “Bus Driver” or “Train Driver”, etc.). This game is a classic theater improv game and can be used to meet a bunch of different objectives. I personally use it to practice –ed adjectives of emotion and to build group dynamics. Here are the basic steps:

1. Optional: Have your students prepare cards with –ed adjectives of emotion ahead of time OR have them think of the emotions on the spot during the game. It is up to you.

2. Divide the class into 2 groups: the players and the audience (they will eventually switch). You should have at least 5 players (4 passengers and a driver).

3. Tell the audience that they need to guess and write down the adjective that each passenger is portraying. They will also need to write down details supporting their ideas. There will be a class share at the end of the activity.

4. The driver begins ‘driving’. Players enter the vehicle one-at-a-time. Usually one person will get picked up and the next passenger will wait 2-3 minutes until they signal the driver to get picked up. Each time a person enters the vehicle they have to take on an emotion. The driver also takes on that emotion. If there are other players in the car, they also have to take on that emotion. The player must demonstrate the emotion through the scene and can’t directly say what it is. Each time a new player/passenger enters, the emotion will change and everyone in the vehicle will adopt the new emotion. As I mentioned before, the players can choose pre-made emotion cards, or can come up with an emotion on the spot.

5. Once all the players are in the vehicle, they will leave one-by-one in the same order—so the first to enter is the first to leave. As a player leaves, the emotion returns to the previous player’s emotion. Eventually the driver will be all alone. This is the end of the game.

6. Now have a class share with the audience to see if they can guess the emotions. Make sure they use full sentences, the proper adjective form and support their ideas with examples of what they saw during the game.

7. Now have the audience and the player groups switch and play the game one more time!

Try it out and have fun!

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