Archive for group activities

Board Game – Follow the Instructions!

This is a game I came up with for a class of 10-11 year olds. It involves some movement, which is great for kids that age. It can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of your groups. Don’t forget you’ll need dice and markers!

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Board Game – Are you allowed?

This is a board game activity that reinforces the use of the phrase “Are you allowed to…” and the idea of permission.

It requires all the players to speak, and it can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of your groups. Don’t forget you’ll need dice and markers!

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Family Q&A Board Game – Recommendation

I have used the Family Q&A board game available at esl-galaxy.com with great success. It goes well with lessons on family vocabulary and relationships, and students always love a game.

Take a look at it here:

Thumbs Up esl-galaxy.com board games

(scroll down to where you see “Who’s in your family?-Family Q and A”).

Revising “Getting to know you” Vocabulary & Structures

With beginning students (or with any students for that matter), it can be a good idea to revisit things they already know in order to reinforce them. The usual “Getting to know you” questions run along the lines of:

  • What is your name? My name is…
  • Where do you live? I live in…
  • How old are you? I am … years old
  • Do you have any brothers or sisters? Yes, I have … / No, I don’t
  • Do you have any pets? Yes, I have… / No, I don’t
  • What do you like to do for fun? I like to…

To revise the questions at a later date, I will give each student a picture of a person from a magazine. I try to make sure the pictures are not of famous people. I then ask them to imagine the answers to these questions for the person I have given them.

Each student then tells the others what they have come up with for their picture.

Variations:
1. Change the questions to include other topics, such as jobs, children, etc.
2. Give all the students the same picture and have them brainstorm the information for the person together while you write their ideas on the board.

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Tic-Tac-Toe

Known as Noughts & Crosses in Britain and Morpian in France, Tic-Tac-Toe is incredibly versatile and useful in the classroom. Like Hangman, it lends itself well to using teams. One game of Tic-Tac-Toe can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes to complete, depending on the difficulty.

I will often use it to reinforce vocabulary by placing certain words in the spaces and then requiring students to produce a grammatically correct sentence incorporating the word in order to win the space. If I have the students in teams, the teams alternate in coming up with sentences until there is a winner, or, more likely, the game ends in a tie.

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Hangman

A good game for any age that can fill 10-20 minutes. Hangman (Pendu in French) can be played a number of different ways, but it is always more successful if you split the class into teams.

Sometimes I will draw the hanged man on the board so the students have a standard picture to work from. Everyone draws him differently, and it makes a difference to the number of chances there are to guess letters.

To play with the teacher in control of the board:

  • No teams: the students guess letters individually
  • Teams: each team guesses a letter in turn

To play with the students in control of the board (requires teams):

  1. Choose a team to start (Team A)
  2. Team A chooses a word quietly among themselves and verify the spelling with the teacher, if necessary
  3. A representative from Team A goes to the board and marks the places for the letters
  4. Team B guesses a letter (hopefully after mutual agreement)
  5. Play continues until Team B has either lost or won
  6. Control of the board can then go to Team B, or it can stay with Team A if Team B lost (this is at the teacher’s discretion; I often alternate teams even if they have lost)

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Simon Says

We all know this game from childhood; in France, it is known as Jacques a dit. It’s great to play with 10-12 year olds, and it can take as long as you like (just keep playing more games if you need to fill more time). I have had students be so excited about it that they have refused to go to recreation period until the game is finished.

One caveat: make sure you have something for the students who are “out” to do. You cannot rely on them being interested enough to just watch the others keep playing.

I usually begin with a warm-up review of body parts or action verbs before having all the children stand in a group and begin play.

Always do the actions with the students so they can see what the words mean. It’s also a good way to catch them out if they aren’t listening.

I sometimes have small prizes like stickers for the winners, but I find they are usually not necessary.

A twist: If one student seems exceptionally good at the game, make him or her be “Simon”. He or she will need help from you to give the correct commands, but it’s great speaking practice.

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