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Games

Games

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ESL Games
Some of these can be used as warm-ups. Most of them can be linked to anylesson theme or grammatical form you're working on. These games usuallyrequire at least a small group to play, but you may be able to adapt some of them for one-on-one settings.
y
 
Find
Someo
n
e Who...
(literate beginner-intermediate, group)
 Create a list of characteristics such as "likes chocolate," "has twochildren," or "can swim." There should be 10-15 items, and you canrelate them to your lesson if you wish. Then let the learners mingleand get signatures of other learners who fit the descriptions. Makesure they are using appropriate question forms ("likes X" becomes"Do you like X?") and aren't just pointing to the items on the page.This can be made into a Bingo activity by putting the items on a grid.
y
 
P
icti
o
n
ary
(any level, group)
 Divide into 2-3 teams and give each a supply of paper if you aren'tusing a whiteboard. It's best if each team can sit around a table orhave their own whiteboard space. Tell one member from each teamwhat item to draw, and on your signal they may begin. The first teamto guess wins a point. Play a fixed number of rounds and the teamwith the highest score wins. Notice that in this version, all teams areworking independently at the same time to guess the same word, butyou could take turns with each team. You can also give stickers orwrapped candy to the person or team guessing correctly if you don'twant to make it competitive with points.
y
 
S
c
ave
ng
er Hu
nt
 
(any literate level, group)
 Divide into teams and hand out a list of items to be collected (apenny, a stick of gum, a signature, a pine cone, a shoelace, becreative). Define the searching range (classroom, house, campus,neighborhood, building). The first team to return with all the itemswins a prize.
y
 
Tw
e
nt
y Ques
ti
o
n
s
(intermediate-advanced, individual or group)
 Select an object in your mind and let the learners ask up to twentyquestions to guess what it is. Trade places with the winner and letthat learner select an object for the next round.
y
 
S
t
oryl
in
e
(intermediate-advanced, group)
 Divide into groups of 4-6 people. Give everyone a sheet of paper andask them to write the first sentence of a story at the top of the page.It may begin "Once upon a time..." if they like. Then they pass thepage along to the next person in the group. That person reads thefirst sentence and adds one more to it to continue the story. Thenthat person folds the top of the page backwards so only his or herown single sentence is visible and passes the page to the nextperson. That person writes one more sentence, folds the paper backto hide the previous sentence, and passes it along again. When thepages have passed through the entire group one or two rounds,everyone unfolds the pages and reads the stories. They are oftenhilarious, and this game usually generates contagious laughter.
y
 
T
elepho
n
e
(any level, group)
 Divide the group into two teams and have them stand in single file
 
lines. Whisper a somewhat complex sentence (according to theirlevel) into the ear of the first person in each line. Make sure no oneelse hears. Give the same sentence to each line. Then each personmust whisper it into the ear of the next person until the end of theline. The last person must either say the sentence or write it on awhiteboard. The team whose final sentence most resembles theoriginal one wins. In case of a tie, the fastest team wins. Try givingan easy sentence to start with to build confidence before moving ontoa difficult one. If the game is too hard in the first round, learners willdecide it's no fun.More ideas may be found on the following pages:
y
 
Sample Edutainment Games
 Free samples of lots of games and activity ideas from the book
dutainment: How to Teach
nglish with Fun and Games
(DeltaSystems Co., 1998).
y
 
Sarah and John's TEFL Pitstop
 Free games and lesson samples, mostly appropriate for groups,adaptable for various levels.
y
 
Ernie's Activity Page
 Game ideas for groups, adaptable for various levels.
y
 
Games and Activities for the English as a Second Language Classroom
 Several game/activity ideas for small or large groups at variouslevels.
y
 
The students always enjoy games where money is used. Set up a shop and have themmake purchases.
y
 
In small groups I play "Dollar Awards." The teacher reads out aquestion. The student who answers it correctly is awarded playmoney from all the other players. The amount awarded can varydependent on difficulty.
y
 
For example:
y
 
Teacher: This is a ten dollar question. What colour is my shirt?The student who answers correctly receives $10 from each of theother players.
y
 
Teacher: This is a twenty dollar question. What time do you eatlunch?The students must give $20 each to the student who answerscorrectly.
y
 
If a student answers incorrectly they must pay a penalty of $5 to allthe other players.
y
 
You can copy the play money supplied (pages 33 and 34 of the book)and have the students cut them out.
y
 
y
 
y
 
Fast Games
 
y
 
You might already know these games but this is the way I use them.
y
 
L
ast 
L
etter 
 
 
y
 
("Shiritori" in Japanese)(vocabulary/spelling)
 
y
 
The last letter of the word must be the first letter of the next word.
y
 
You will need a ball, but a screwed up piece of paper is fine.
y
 
The teacher throws the ball to one student and says a word, such as"dog".
y
 
The student must reply with a word starting with "G," such as "girl".
y
 
When answered, the ball is thrown back to the teacher and it is thenthrown to the next student, who continues.
y
 
The sequence may then be (for example):
y
 
girl, look, king, go, octopus, student ... and so on.
y
 
You can have the students throwing to each other.
y
 
i.e., student A = "Cat," throw to student B = "Today," throw tostudent C = "Yes," etc.
y
 
Please be warned, you may have some fastball pitchers in the class!
y
 
Chin
ese W 
hi 
spers
 
y
 
Divide the class into even rows.
y
 
The last member of each row (at the back of the class) is taken out of the classroom. A "key" letter, word or sentence (depending on level)is given.
y
 
The students run back inside, and whisper the "key" to the nextstudent in their row. It is whispered down through the row until thelast member writes it on the board.
y
 
The first student to write it on the board correctly wins the point fortheir team/row.
y
 
Fast Words
 
y
 
The class is arranged into rows. The first person in each row is givena piece of chalk. The blackboard is divided into sections. No morethan six teams.
y
 
The teacher calls a letter and the students must write as many wordsas they can beginning with that letter, in the allocated time. Theirteam-mates can call out hints, but be warned, this is very noisy.
y
 
Next, the second member gets the chalk and goes to the board andthe teacher calls out a new letter.
y
 
The team with the most correct words is the winner.
y
 
Word Assoc 
at 
o
n
 
y
 
The teacher starts the game by saying a word, such as "Hotel".
y
 
For example:
y
 
Teacher: Hotel 
Student A: BedStudent B: RoomStudent C: ServiceStudent D: FoodStudent E: RestaurantStudent F: Chinese
y
 
As you can see, any association is ok.
y
 
If the student can't answer (5 second limit) he or she must stand up.The last student seated is the winner.
y
 
If the association is not obvious, the student is asked to explain theassociation.

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