Tried and tested (and approved!) games and activities to help English learning.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Speeding to the Wall!

Level: Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced.

Skills: speaking.

Topic: vocabulary, grammar.

Materials: none.

Time: 20 to 30 minutes.

It is a team game, however it works even better when teams are uneven in size at it means that students get to "compete" with someone different each time around. It allows for everyone to contribute something - the student who is agile but not so good at languages can use that, the student with the great memory for vocabulary is an asset to the team, as is the problem solver, and even the maths whiz depending on your questions. The game allows for consultation among the team, but there are also rules that control the volume too.

Get rid of all the desks (except two) - push them to the very edge of the room, stack them etc. You will need a large rectangular space. Line the chairs up in two lines facing each other at least one and a half metres apart (so there is space for 2 students to run back down the aisle at one time). You need one chair for each student. Put two desks (with another 2 chairs) at one end of the aisle next to each other facing down the aisle. At the far end of the aisle there should be a space that students can touch at the end of their run without knocking anything over - a wall, another desk or chair, a cupboard etc. Don't worry - the students get very quick at setting up the class for games once they know which set up you need!

Remember to go through safety rules (no pushing, tripping etc) as always!

Divide the class in two teams using whatever method you prefer and get them to sit in the chairs facing in each other. The two students who are nearest the two desks will go first. While they are sitting, call out a question (very useful to revise last class grammar and vocabulary points). Now, there are two possibilities...

a) The students know the answer - they get up, run to the other end of the aisle, touch the wall / cupboard and run back and sit at the desk.

b) They don't know the answer - in this case, they get up, run to the person on their team who they think will know and consult. No one else is allowed out of their chair. When they have the answer, they must go back and touch their chair before running to touch the wall at the far end and then running to the front to sit at the desk. (so, needing to consult will slow them down.)

The person who is sitting at the desk first is selected to answer the question. If they get it correct, they get a point. If they get it wrong, the other team gets to try. If it's partly right, the other team can have a go at giving a "better answer" - e.g., full sentence answer - up to you how you allocate points in this case. If they are both wrong, you can either let them run again with the same question (and same rules regarding consultation) or move on to the next question.

At the end of the turn, those students go to the far end of the aisle of seats and everyone shuffles up one chair so that the next student is in the head seat.

Extra rule for noise control:
No one can speak while their team's runner is running - otherwise they need to touch their chair and run again. This can reduce cheating also as it means they can't call an answer out.

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