Just a Minute

Green stopwatch that reads one minute

Purpose:  To provide learners with the opportunity to practice spontaneous speaking on a variety of topics

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  A ball, whiteboard


  1. Have the learners brainstorm a variety of topics that they could talk about. As the learners call out topics, write them in random places on the whiteboard.
  2. Divide the class into partners or small groups of three to four. Have the partners or groups decide who will talk first, second, etc.
  3. Select one learner to throw the ball at the board. The topic that is the closest to where the ball hit is the one that they will speak about.
  4. Start the timer, and the learners in the partners or groups who are speaking first talk about the selected topic for one minute. The goal is for them to try and talk continuously with minor pausing for the whole time.
  5. Erase the first topic and have a second learner throw the ball at the board to select a new topic. The learners in the partners or the groups who are speaking second talk about the topic for one minute. Erase the topic once they have finished.
  6. Continue the process until everyone has had an opportunity to talk at least once. If you have a small class, each partner may speak several times.


Use the basic format of the “Just a Minute” activity (talking continuously for a minute to a partner) in a variety of ways. It can be used as a warm-up at the beginning of class to have learners talk about a previous topic, at the end of class to review what was learned, after an explanation (of grammar, math, or vocabulary) to restate the main points, or select a silly or very easy topic to give learners a brain break in the middle of class.

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