Have You Tried These 5 Quick ESL Speaking Activities with This Impressive App?

Duration: 10-15 Minutes

Type: Individual/Partner

What You Will Need for These Activities


  • iPads or Computers for each student or each group
  • Familiarity with the concept or language objective so that students are ready to speak about it
  • The super-cool Seesaw app (It’s free!)
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Overview of the Seesaw App Activities


Students record themselves speaking into the Seesaw App in various ways.

They can record themselves speaking vocabulary sentences, explaining a concept they have learned, having a conversation with a partner, or telling a story. 

5 Speaking Ideas Using Seesaw


  1. Come up with the speaking objective you would like students to practice. You will want to practice it until students are familiar enough that they will be comfortable speaking easily about it. Here are some example objectives:
    • Say 5 sentences using vocabulary you have just learned.
    • With a partner, one student asks questions about a science topic, like microbes, and the other student answers.
    • Two students retell a story that they have read, putting it in their own words.
    • A student summarizes the lessons they have learned from a social studies unit on how the American Revolution started.
  2. After brainstorming what a good response looks like and students have practiced together enough to be sufficiently confident, students get on the iPad or computer.
  3. The Seesaw app is very easy to use and there are a number of ways for students to show mastery. Here are 5 activity ideas from simple to more involved. 
    1. Take a picture of a page and hit the audio record button.
    2. Hit the video record button to film a video response.
    3. Students find multiple pictures to illustrate the different sentences or different points to be made, then record separate audio responses over each picture.
    4. You find pictures to illustrate the sentences or concepts and students select the picture that best fits as they read or speak. This idea comes from Katie Toppel in a Twitter post that you can check out here.
    5. Students make props and film themselves acting out their responses while they record.

Benefits of Using Seesaw with English Learners


  1. Students can practice their speaking in a way that reduces pressure. They can delete and record if they are unhappy with their response.
  2. Because students love interacting with devices and sharing with their friends, their is an inherent motivation built into this activity, not only to complete it, but to do a good job.
  3. You have an opportunity to assess students’ speaking abilities without them feeling like it is a test.
  4. Students taking assessments like the ACCESS test are required to speaking into devices for the speaking section and this gives them more practice with this kind of activity.

Free Be-Verbs Pack

You can sign up to grab a copy of the FREE Be-Verbs Pack here if you haven’t already which you can use with the activities in this article.

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