I realised I mostly wrote about quick games, fillers or warmers that may help the teachers to motivate the students or change the phase or the pace of a lesson.
I believe these activities are great to present and practice a new language. During the activities, students will be more involved, enthused and eager to do or finish the activity and the teacher will look more friendly, approachable and cheerful.
I’m sure the experienced members of my PLN will have more to add to the followings but let’s say this is kind of an introduction for the new comers to the ELT world.
Games and game like activities
ICEBREAKERS AND WARM-UPS
- Tongue twisters: these are great challenges and also good for pronunciation and memory.
- Find someone who: You can use this activity anytime you want during the lesson, as a warmer for presenting or awareness-raising or at the end of a lesson as a filler to practice the target language.
- Puzzles, word games: these are good for vocab revision. I also ask my students to create their own puzzles then they exchange the puzzle and try to solve the ones their friends prepared. If you want they can prepare them in pairs or groups.
- Charede: this one is my favourite. It can be used as a filler. Team them and tell them they will compete. Usually we play charde with grammatical structures such as If clauses, time clauses or relatives. Once they code certain things and get the rule they easily guess the sentence. Plus they mime and have fun.
- Yes-No Game
- Line up according to: This is a good warmer and also works well to group your students for the next activity. You can line your students according to the seasons they were born in or the fast food they like or the shoes they are wearing. The alternatives are endless. Just use your imagination.
- Stand up if: This one is also a great warmer, filler or energizer. Shout out sentences and tell your students to stand up if the statement is correct for them. You can change the instruction and say, for instance, touch your nose if you agree and jump if you disagree.
- Associations : give 2 object, which looks completely different and ask them to find the similarities.
- How can we use it other than: Give them an object, say a paper clip and give them time to list what else we can do with a paper clip apart from attaching paper.
- Tic-tac-toe: you can use it to practice and revise vocabulary and grammar points.
- Shake hands: This is a great activitywith lots of laughter and action.Play some music and tell your students when you stop the music they will greet each other as you instruct. Instruct your students as follows:
- Greet each other as two close friends
- Greet each other as neighbours
- Guided Fantasy: it is great after a hard day’s work, just relax, close your eyes and imagine…. You will find lots of ideas in Imagine That by J. Arnold,H. Puchta, M.Rinvolucri .
- Sentence completion: good for feedback and/or evaluation.
- Memory games
- Flash dictations.
- Wall dictation
- Chinese whispers
- Hot seat
- Vocabulary match to find the new partner
- Hang a man
- Find someone who: Find someone who with words and definition. Find someone who can define ‘a word’. / Find someone who can use ‘this particular word’ in a sentence. / Find someone who knows a synonym or antonym for ‘this word’
- Find someone who
- 20 questions
- Kim’s game
- I went to the market and I bought
- Stand up if
When the schools are about to finish, I tend to do more fun activities instead of grammar revisions. Some of these activities are from books, workshops, colleagues, TV programmes and some of them are adaptations.
Here I go:
1. Imagine and write.
Play some instrumental music.
Tell students to imagine a character and jot down the adjectives that describe that person.Set time limit. Then tell students to imagine a place which can go with the music as well and write short descriptive phrases or words until you stop music. Start the music and tell them to imagine the weather conditions and take some notes while listening. When they have all finished writing down their notes ask them to write a short story.
Write the words on slips of papers and put in an envelope or a box. Team your students as Xs and Os. Draw a tic-tac-toe grid on the board and tell them to choose a number and take a piece of paper from the envelope. If they know the meaning of the word, cross the number with X or O. Continue until the words finish.
3. Best friends
Tell students you are going to play a game to understand how well they know each other.
Pair best friends together and send a pair out of the class. The ones in the class will prepare questions to find out their friends likes dislikes, habits and routines. Choose a secretary to write the questions and answers. Then ask student A to come to class and answer questions for student B. Do the same with student B.
When they both finish, read their answers and let them see how well they know each other.
Yesterday I explained how to reduce relative clauses into phrases to my 11 graders and they were all confused. Then I distributed the handouts I prepared for them to exercise and asked them to rewrite the sentences. While doing the exercises they were bored and they couldn’t get the idea.
Today I played a game with them and they were more confident in the end.
The game was one of my favourites, noughts and crosses, as I can adapt it to many grammar topic.
I wrote sentences on slips of papers and put them in an envelope. I divided my class into two teams and told them how to play the game. They had to choose a box from the grid all together as a team and one by one in turns, they had to take a slip of paper from the envelope and reduce the relative clause. I allowed them to look at their notes while waiting for their turn and in the end the victory was for all of us.
I gave them pos- it notes and asked them to write feedback. I also asked them to compare doing exercises and playing grammar games.
My students were happy with the game and they explained the pros and cons of playing games in classroom very well.
- We focused on the rules.
- We were more careful
- We tried to learn and remember the rules not to lose the game
- We saw our mistakes
- We wanted to win
- We remember better
- We practised the relative clauses
- We had fun.
- It was more enjoyable than writing on a handout
- We did something like competition and it makes you try harder
- Losing a game is not good
- I get so nervous when I play a game
- We could have practised more if I did them on handouts
In every classroom, you will find competitive students who will enjoy playing games and in every classroom you will have students who will become unhappy when s/he loses a game. But life is a game and we should learn how to play, how to survive, how to win and we should also learn how to overcome stress.