Oh, the things you can find online these days! For teens, tweens, and ESL learners, much fun can be had doing Cool Makeover Games. This site has a number of games, each with the potential of being the basis of a communicative activity. Take Colors of the Rain, for example. You can change the clothes of a couple. The man can wear a casual plaid shirt or a variety of trendy shirts and coats. The woman can wear a floral skirt or sleek black pants. There’s a lot to choose from. If you give them an umbrella to share, it starts raining. This is wonderful for reviewing clothing vocabulary and practicing the present progressive.
- Option 1: Students work in pairs at computer stations during the lesson. Student A makes choices for the male model, and Student B describes the finished picture. “The man is wearing jeans and a sweater. He’s holding an umbrella. It’s raining.” Then they switch. Student B makes choices for the female model, and Student A describes the finished picture. “The woman is wearing a black dress and pink boots. She’s carrying a white purse.” The activity can repeat if new clothing choices are made.
- Option 2: You can “dress” the models yourself on one main computer if there is a screen large enough for the class to see. As you make selections, have students describe what they see.
- Option 3: Students can do the activity at home. Have them print out their finished pictures and write 3-4 sentences about each person using the present progressive.
Other games include changing the facial appearance of an animated character: hair color, hairstyle, eye color, etc. This could be used to contrast past and present tenses. Example: “She had blonde hair. Now she has red hair.” / “She was wearing a white and blue shirt, but now she’s wearing a pink shirt with stars.”
Need something more appealing to the guys? Try the Simpson Dress-Up game. Mr. Simpson (a.k.a. Homer) needs clothes, accessories, and a setting. This activity can help students practice describing physical appearance using the present progressive.
Don’t want to talk about fashion and physical appearance? Try designing the exterior of a house. This activity makes for a meaningful exchange between two students using prepositions of place. You can also highlight the order of modifiers: “There is a large door in the middle of the house. Above the door there is a small round window.”