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Why Games? They help involve students actively in the learning process. They help students forget they are studying. They encourage team building and collaborative learning. They provide extra practice without inducing boredom.
A Few Reminders Rather than explaining a game or an activity, it is usually best to demonstrate it. Don’t allow the game to go on for too long, as the students might lose interest. Try to use games where there is more than one winner. Treat games as incentives. Only if your students behave in class and do their homework should they be allowed to take part in a game.
G-h-o-s-t The teacher (or a student) picks a letter. Each student adds a letter until a word is formed. The student who picks the final letter of the word loses (and gets a “G”). Continue until one student has lost enough times to spell out G-H-O-S-T. -Note: if the students misspell a word, everyone loses that round and gets a letter added to their name.
Mafia Divide the class into the following roles: townspeople, one sheriff, and five or six mafia members. Tell everyone to close their eyes. Tell the mafia to look up and identify themselves. Then, have them close their eyes and raise their hands, so the sheriff can identify them. After the sheriff has closed his or her eyes, let the mafia pick a murder victim. Then, tell everyone to open their eyes and inform the class who has died. The class must then decide who is innocent and who is in the mafia. Whomever they accuse of the murder is eliminated from the game. Then, repeat the whole process. The townspeople win if they successfully eliminate all of the mafia members. The mafia win if they outnumber the townspeople.
Contact Think of a word but do not reveal it. Tell your students to ask you questions in order to find out what it is. You may only respond to their questions with answers that begin with the first letter of your word. When you can longer come up with answers that begin with the first letter, you may reveal the second letter. From then on, you can only respond with words that begin with the first two letters of the word. Continue doing this until the whole word is revealed.
Treasure Hunt Divide the class into teams (as many as you want). Give each team directions to a “treasure,” which can be any anything in the room. The first team to find the treasure wins. -Note: this is a great way to practice directional vocabulary and prepositions (left, right, under, over, next to, etc.).
Fantasy Island Give each student the outline of an island. They should fill in the island with forests, rivers, etc. Then, have each student find a partner, sit back to back, and dictate their island to their partner. The partner listens and draws on a new island paper. In the end, the two islands should look the same. -Note: this is a great way for students to practice directional vocabulary (North, South, East and West).
True/False Stories Divide the class into groups of three and tell them to prepare three stories (one story per student). One story must be true, and the other two must be false. Each group should present their stories to the class. After each story is told, the class may ask some questions. When every member of the group has told their story, the class must decide which story is true. -Another variant of this game is known as “Two Truths and a Lie.”
Snowball Ask one student to tell you what his or her name is and what they bought at the store. Then, the next student must repeat what the preceding student said and add what they themselves have bought. Continue doing this until the students can no longer remember who bought what.
Freeze! Divide the class into pairs or groups of three and tell them they are going to write a letter (you might want to show them the format for an informal letter first). Every few minutes say “Freeze!,” and then transfer each letter to a new group. Tell your students to read, correct, improve and continue their new letter. Keep doing this until you feel the students have written enough, and then have each group read their completed letter aloud to the class.
The Cooking Test Put the students into pairs and give them a random list of ingredients (seven or eight is usually enough). Ask each pair to invent a meal using all of their ingredients, and then have them describe it to the class. If you wish, you can re-pair the students and have them come up with more recipes.
Monster Drawing Have your students take out a blank sheet of paper. Tell them they are going to draw a monster. Then, describe how the monster looks (colors, body parts, etc.). This is a great way to review body parts with younger learners.
Hangman Think of a word your students have recently learned, and write a blank space on the board for every letter in the word. In turn, let your students call out letters. If the letter is in the word, put it into its appropriate space. If the letter is not, draw one body part of a man (head, arms, legs, etc.). If the man is completely drawn before the students can guess the word, the students lose. -Note: this can also be played in teams.
Which One is Different? Write four or five vocabulary words on the board, one of which does not relate to the other ones. Have the students decide which word does not fit (and why that is the case). Example: lemon, orange, apple, nut -The word nut does not fit because it is not a fruit.
Bingo Have the students draw a four by four square chart. Tell them to put a number, a vocabulary word, or a letter (for beginners) into each empty square. Then, call out the numbers (or words, or letters). As the students hear each item, they should cover up the corresponding space on their chart. The first student to cover up four spaces in a row (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally) wins! -Note: see chart on the next slide.
Working With Music Listen to the following song by the Barenaked Ladies, entitled, “If I had a Million Dollars.” See if you can fill in the blank lyrics.
Working With Movies Movies can be a fun treat for your students (and educational too). Always remember to introduce the main characters and the plot before starting a movie. To keep the students on task, write a questionnaire for them to complete during the presentation. At the end of the movie, discuss their answers and general opinions. Be careful to select a movie that is appropriate for your students and easy enough for them to understand.
They help involve pupils actively in the learning process.
They help students forget they are studying.
They encourage team building and collaborative learning.
They provide extra practice without inducing boredom.
Rather than explaining a game or an activity, it is usually best to demonstrate it.
Don’t allow the game to go on for too long, as the students might lose interest.
Try to use games where there is more than one winner.
Treat games as incentives. Only if your students behave in class and do their homework should they be allowed to take part in a game.
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