Games and Activities for the Teaching Learning English as a Second Language
Flip a Card
Level: Any Level
Rationale: Students develop vocabulary and, at higher levels, practise proper word order by forming sentences.
Materials: Standard deck of playing cards.
Method: For each card from ace to king, assign two letters of the alphabet, and write these on the board. Assigning letters can be done at random, but it is logical to have some sort of order, e.g.:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K
A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
For beginners: Flip a card. The student must think of a word beginning with one of the letters that card represents. If, for example, the card is a 3, the student must say a word beginning with C or P. Variation: The word must fit a category, e.g. animals, occupations, etc.
For higher beginners and intermediate: Flip a certain number of cards-say, seven. Each student must write down a sentence using words beginning with the given letters, in order. If the teacher so wishes, the students can work in small groups. Students then read their sentences aloud.
For advanced: Taking turns with each card flipped, students orally form grammatically and syntactically correct sentences. For example:
Cards: A, Q, K, Q, K, 6, 8, 7, 5, 4, 4, 10, 2, K, 2, 2, 8, 9, A, 7.
Sample sentence: A lovely monkey laughed merrily, for his green
elephant drank quickly while orange zebras brought over hungry,
intelligent, naughty giraffes.
Bingo! (with irregular verbs)
The teacher prepares a 5×5 grid with 25 irregular verbs in the past tense in each square. Make enough variations of these grids so each student has one that is slightly (or very) different.
The teacher then calls out the verbs in their present tense form until a student gets five in a diagonal or horizontal row. Bingo!
While it may seem time-consuming to make the grids, they can be used over and over. This game is received very enthusiastically because often, students are already familiar with it. It is great as a warmup activity and can have many variations (past-participle, time of day, vocabulary)
Level: Medium to Difficult
Select 4 or 5 categories – either general (I normally use countries, sports, animals, food and drink and names) or areas from the textbook that is in use – and then divide the board into three – assigning each area with a point score (100, 200, 300 – etc…). Divide the class into teams, or get them to work individually and ask them to select a category and a score.
Countries Sports Animals F&D Names
During your preparation time, think about the easiest and hardest answers for each category and the level of the students and consider how many possible answers there are for each letter of the alphabet (in the case of sports: Archery, Basketball, Cricket, Diving, Equestrian, etc).
If a team or individual is unable to answer or gives a incorrect reply, then that letter remains in that point range until someone answers correctly. If a stalemate situation ever occurs – give correct answers and encourage the students to repeat them a few times, so as they will remember them.
This game is lots of fun, and my students always want to play.
For variation, you can draw a soccer park or basketball court on the board and assign areas in the same way.
Level: Any Level
Each student is given a card with a familiar adverb on it–i.e. quickly, angrily, loudly, happily. Then the class tells the student to do something so they can guess what adverb is on the card. They can tell the student to do things in pantomime, like drink a bowl of soup, or really do it in class, like open a door or take a book from the teacher. (Can’t recall where I read this idea, but it is fun and can be played in teams.)
Who am I??
Level: Any Level
You can use use this with any subject. Write the names of famous people (mixed nationalities) on small pieces of paper. Tape a name on the forehead of each student. The individual student should not see his or her paper, but the others should. Then, like with 20 questions, only yes or no questions should be asked. Perhaps start with yourself and ask “Am I am man?” If the answer is yes, I can ask again, but if the answer is no, it’s the next person’s turn. Play until everyone has guessed who he or she is! This can be played with nationalities, countries, household objects, anything and it’s a gas, especially for adult students!!
Guess the Object
Level: Any Level
The teacher prepares cutout pictures that are pasted or taped to index cards. One student selects a card and must describe it in English until another student can guess the object. This is very much like “20 Questions” but instead of the challenge being to ask questions, the bonus is on the cardholder to verbalize the description.
The teacher should be careful to select pictures that reflect the vocabulary level of the students. Simple objects, like “baby”, “door” or “car” are good for beginners. Later on, more complicated
Posted 30th July 2011 by ERWIN HARI KURNIAWAN