Characters Calling

This activity is to help students get familiar with speaking on the phone and inviting their friends out.

Submitted by Englipedia Archive

June 25, 2019

Estimated time: 15-50 min

Archived from Englipedia.
Originally submitted by Joyce P. Le on Jan 26, 2011.


  • CharactersCalling attachment
  • Paper phones: These phones are simply used as a fun prop. You'll need to spend a couple of minutes teaching students how to make them but the reward of keeping the students engaged in the activity is well worth the couple minutes of sacrificed class time. For more information how to make these phones, check out this site.


  • After students are familiar with the phrases, give them 5-10 minutes to write five sentences using "Why don’t we..." or "Let’s..." or "Shall we…" Then, ask a few students to write one of their sentences on the board and use those as examples to practice reading. Allow slower students to copy the example sentences.
  • Tell students that they have to become a character and mark it on their paper. Remind students that their identity should be a secret to other students so their mark should not be too obvious, maybe just a tiny dot next to the character’s name or picture. To avoid segregation in class, have the girls choose a female character and the boys choose a male character. The point of the activity is to find all eight characters so students will eventually have to speak to the opposite sex.
  • The goal is to guess the partner’s identity in ONE try. Students can only “call” each other once so if they can’t guess the partner’s identity, they must move on to the next person. Once a student finds all eight characters, s/he is done.
  • If the student guesses the right identity, s/he will invite the partner to do something. This is where the five “Why don’t we…” questions come in handy. Students only need to say one of their sentences during each phone call (whether or not the partner accepts or declines the invitation is not important in this activity). When the student guesses the right identity, s/he will write his/her partner’s name and what the invitation is next to the character. Since this is a speaking activity, students only need to take notes, not write in complete sentences for their phone calls. Then, they switch roles.[]
  • If a student guesses the wrong character, the partner needs to say, “Sorry, s/he is not here right now.” and they switch roles. There will be no writing if a student guesses the wrong character.
  • After students finish “calling” each other once, they will find a new partner and start the “calling” process again. The way students change partners during the activity depends on the teachers and class environment.
  • Give students 15-20 minutes to do the activity and then ask for a few volunteers to role play in front of class.


  • As a model example, the HRT will call the ALT (or vice versa). The ALT should let the students know which character he/she chooses beforehand. If the HRT guesses the ALT’s character, the HRT will write the ALT’s name next to the character and invites the ALT to do something. Next, the ALT will call the HRT but make sure that the ALT asks for the wrong character.
  • The ALT and JTE should be flexible with their characters. During the activity, it is recommended that the ALT and JTE go around the classroom speaking to students and answer to any characters the students ask for. This will help the shy students accomplish the task and allow students to practice the target sentence with the teachers.


  • Some students will only speak in Japanese or skip the whole telephone dialogue and go straight to asking who is who just to complete the activity.
  • The target sentence for this activity is slightly different from the Total English textbook. This activity uses: “Why don’t we…” not “Why don’t you…”

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