mannequin challenge

I guess I should spare you from explaining what a mannequin challenge is. Whether you love it or loathe it; whether you have ever been lured into posing for one or not, it might still be a fun thing to try in the classroom. “A mannequin challenge?”, I hear you say.

Write “mannequin challenge” on the board and ask your students to generate questions they may think of using these two words (if they can’t think of any or a few, you can write the questions yourself. For low level classes, it’s ok for the students to give you their questions in their L1 language, then you can simply translate and write on the board).

  • What is a mannequin challenge?
  • Have you ever taken part in one?
  • If not, would you like to?
  • What is the title of the song that is usually played with mannequin challenges?
  • Do you like mannequin challenges? Why? / Why not?

Play the video below and then ask the students to write down as many different actions as they remember from it by using the present/past continuous (whichever verb tense you would like them to practice).

If you are ok with recording a video of your students, they can pose “performing an action” and then you can record a video and then play for them to tell you what everyone is doing. If you can’t or won’t record a video you can still tell half your class to pose for a minute or so for the rest of the students to tell each other what everyone is doing and then they can switch roles. You may narrow this down and give them a topic, such as sports and then they have to “perform” playing a sport. Or house chores (ironing, doing the dishes, hoovering, dusting, etc.). Or jobs (a mechanic, a teacher, a bus driver, a hairdresser, etc.). What other suitable topics can you think of? Do you see yourself trying this out in your lessons? Are you up to the challenge?

skeleton questions

There are a handful of websites where you can get conversation questions arranged by topic. These seem to be the most popular ones, prompted by an “esl conversation questions” search query on Google.

Conversation questions for the ESL/EFL Classroom

ESL Conversation questions

ESL Discussions


English Current

ESL Gold

Basically these sites (or sections within the sites) provide a menu of arranged categories by topic and lists of questions for each of the topics. You will have to sieve through the questions, as some might not be very engaging or conducive to discussion. Conversation questions for the ESL/EFL classroom features close to 200 questions for the topic of money and shopping but I wonder whether the students will have much to say about this:

– Do banks pay a higher percent of interest here or in your country?

– Do you have a credit card? If so, do you have more than one?

– How much does it cost to get a haircut in your country? Here?

And, quite frankly, I would personally steer away from the million dollar question:

– If someone gave you a million dollars, what would you do with it?

At any rate, these sites can be useful to pick and choose questions that might work for your students, if you want them to have discussions around those topics.

And here is the tweak. Once you have chosen a handful of questions, instead of reading them out for the students to copy or writing them down on the board or displaying on a screen, simply provide the key words (mostly nouns and verbs) for the students to figure out the full questions. Here are some skeleton questions from the same source. Can you figure out the questions in full? (check at the bottom of the post)

– ever/find/money/if so,/what/do

– something/want/buy/never/will

– most expensive/ever/buy

– different/taxes/country


Allow some time for the students to work individually first and then they can stand up and compare their full questions with their classmates. It’s not essential that their questions match exactly the original ones. For instance, for the third skeleton question, they may generate questions such as “What’s the most expensive thing/gift/gadget that you have ever bought/that you may ever buy? Have a look at their questions as the students pair with each other and point at possible question making mistakes. Finally elicit the full questions and write them (or have a student come to the front to do the job) on the board.

– Have you ever found any money? If so, what did you do?

– What is something you want to buy but you never will?

– What is the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

– What are some of the different taxes in your country?

– What is the next “big” thing you are going to buy?