Board Game Boffins:
SPEAKING & LISTENING, PROJECT
As a project, get the students working in pairs or small groups to design a new board game. They have to form a games ‘company’, and then plan the concept and design of their game. After that, they have to make a working prototype, which they test out, and which is then tested along with all the other ideas in a games tournament. Each company has to explain the reasons behind the design choices that they made in constructing their game. The students then all vote for their favourite games in categories such as: ‘Most playable game’, ‘Game most likely to
make a $million’, ‘Best design and construction’, and so on. (You could use the board game template on p.125 as a starting point, or SS could start from scratch and perhaps be inspired by their own favourite board game.)
Our Living Photo Album:
SPEAKING & LISTENING, PROJECT
Ask each student to bring in a few photographs of things that are important to them, that you can keep to put into a class photo album. Give them time to prepare a two-minute talk about their photograph(s), which could be, for example, of a place, or a family member or an event that has touched their life. Then sit in a circle with all the students and your ‘living photo album’ will come to life, as each student in turn explains why their photo is important or memorable to them. You could make a display with the pictures, or literally fill an album with them that everyone can enjoy looking at. Explain that you will give the photos back at the end of the course (or even at the end of the week). This is a good activity to help a relatively new group of SS get to know one another.
What Time Is It On…?
SCAN READING, LISTENING, ACTION
A good one for testing telling the time, and as a general reading comprehension using realia. Select a page from the Radio Times, or any English language TV guide (or print out a page from a listings website) and photocopy it so that each student has a copy. Split the group into two teams and ask them questions based on the programme information given in the TV guide. For example, you could ask, “What time is x on?”, and “What time does x finish?”, before moving on to more complex reading comprehension questions such as, “Who stars in x?” Get the
students to nominate a ‘runner’ from their team who runs and writes the answers on the board. You can even get them drawing clock faces as an answer, or writing the answer using the twenty-four hour clock.
Students at all levels enjoy puzzling over this game. It is also a good way to get them looking in their dictionaries. Your students suggest nine letters at random, either vowel or consonant, which you write on the board. In small groups, students have five minutes to come up with as many real English words as they can from the original nine letters. The team with the most words spelt correctly gets 10 points, and the next round begins with a new set of nine letters.
This is another good letters-based game. It is good because students can get up and lead this one just as well as the teacher. It’s also good because it’s quick and can pull students together for a quick bit of group work just before going home. Think of a word or phrase and draw a number of dashes on the board that corresponds to the number of letters. The other students suggest one letter at a time. If they are correct you have to fill in the letter on the board in its correct place. If they are incorrect you draw part of the hangman shape (see below). Students can take a guess if they know the word. The person who guesses correctly steps up to the board to think of a word for the next round.
Get your students to leave the building and go out in small groups or pairs with the task of writing down ‘Ten things you can see at…’ various places near to your school or college. For example, they could write down ten things they see at… the leisure centre, the shopping centre, the sports stadium, the post office, the doctor’s, the bus station, the railway station, the market, the funfair, and so on. Ask them to make sure that their spellings are correct before coming back to you with their list(s). Of course, you could always make it ‘Fifty things you can see at…’ if
your group are particularly gifted – or if you just want to get rid of them for the whole lesson…! When they come back, discuss together what each group has found.
What Is It…?
Put the class into teams. Take one student from each team out of the room, give them each a whiteboard pen (or chalk stick, or marker, etc.) and give them the name of a book, TV show, film, or famous person. They have to run back into the room and draw clues on the board, while the other students try to guess what it is. The SS who are drawing are not allowed to write any words or to talk. The game can be played just as well using vocab sets such as, furniture, food and drink, animals, and so on.
What Am I…?
For this game, you will need to put a sticker on the back of each student, with a noun written on it, for example, apple, chair, Wednesday, bathroom, or bottle of tomato ketchup. The students have to mingle with one another and ask questions to find out “What am I…?” Students can only reply with either “Yes” or “No”. Once they have found out what they are, they report to you and tell you what they are and what questions they had to ask in order to work it out. They could then go and write down the different questions. You could also use specific vocabulary sets linked to a topic or syllabus. This is a great game for practising making questions and to get students talking.
The class needs to be in groups of around eight people. Lay out a finish line at one end of the classroom with no desks or chairs in the way. The students stand in a line, as if about to start a race. On your signal, they either run or walk towards the finishing line. However, all of the students must cross the line at exactly the same time. This is a fun and energetic warmer that encourages students to talk to one another – particularly when they keep getting it wrong! If you give your teams several attempts at this, they should get it in the end.
Get A Move On:
Split the class into two teams. Set a starting line and a finishing line. This is a slow-walking race, where both teams are competing to be the last to cross the finishing line. The only proviso is that everyone in the race must keep moving forward at all times. It’s also good fun played with individuals in heats, building up to quarterfinals, semi-finals and a grand finale.
Get the whole class together. Ask one of them to leave the room, then get the remaining students to change a fixed number of things in the classroom (e.g. 6-8). For example, you could put a chair on a table, or get two students to swap jumpers, or anything – as long as it is not too subtle. Then bring the student back in and get them to guess what changes you have made.