Taxi!

Taxi is a great processing game that reviews vocabulary and high-frequency phrases and, most importantly, gets every student up and moving.

In this activity, half the students pretend to be taxi drivers while the rest are passengers. The passengers use simple or complex phrases to get the taxi drivers to take them to places around the classroom.

Here’s what you’ll need for the activity:

  • About 4-10 destination signs taped up around the room.
  • Enough “Taxi” signs for half your class.
  • At least one passenger prompt for every destination. You’ll need at least enough copies for half your class, and it’s a good idea to have a few extra.

You’ll also need to decide which phrase(s) you want passengers to use: I want to go to…, I would like to go to…, I need to go to…, Take me to…, etc.

So, you have your destination signs taped on the wall, a stack of taxi signs and a stack of passenger prompts. Now you can pass out materials and do a sample or two to get students started. You can let the activity go as long as you’d like.

  • Pass out taxi signs to half your students.
  • Pass out passenger prompts to the rest of the students.
  • Passengers find a taxi (which can include polite expressions like Excuse me, sir!) and tell where they want to go (I want to go to the park).
  • The taxi driver takes the passenger to the destination sign. They can have fun, act it out and make noise.
  • Afterwards, the passenger and taxi driver swap cards. I remind my students to “swap and shop”, i.e. find a different partner. You can even have a designated Taxi Stand to make it easier for students to find new partners.
  • Students can come to you for a new destination card if they end up going to the same places over and over.

More Planning Ideas

You can use old or new vocabulary images for destination signs. The destinations can be anything: places around town, famous cities or monuments, numbers, written L2 characters, people, and so on. You can work additional structures by using “destinations” like the boy who’s sleeping or the cat who’s sitting under the table.

I usually put TAXI in the target language on brightly-colored paper so the taxis are easy to identify. You can keep these signs and use them again in the future.

You can make the activity as simple or as complex as you want:

  • Limit passengers to a single phrase or allow them to choose from several options.
  • Put as much or as little language on passenger cards as you want: I want to go to the restaurant or to the restaurant or simply the restaurant. Personally, I don’t like students to have to use so much brain power that they lose motivation or can’t enjoy the review factor.
  • Use simple prompts the first time. Later, when students know how the activity works, you can get more creative. This is an activity that can grow with their proficiency.

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