Sunday, 31 January 2010

stepping stones

Another version of a Q&A activity - can be vocab or longer answers...

Place stepping stones across the room (these can be pieces of paper, or the students love it if you use chairs or desks for them to walk across). As a student answers a question correctly, they take a step forward. This can be done as a team game, with the first team to get all members across winning. In this case, you may like to make rules which allow for students who have already made it across to go back across the stepping stones to help out a weaker student.

Another variation - "human checkers". Students can deliberately block others through their choice of where to step. (Or you can use real checkers rules to allow students to get other students out by "jumping over" them.

my word!

In some ways this is a variation of banned words or key words. Each student is given a secret word. They need to use this word as often as they can without anyone else guessing what word they have been given.

It can also be reversed - each student has a secret "banned" word, which they can't use for the lesson. The challenge can either be for them to simply get through the lesson, or they need to get other students to guess what the word is (kind of like charades, but talking is permitted)

I have also used this as a short, small group, card based game. I make up cards which have at the top a word which the student needs to get the others in the group to guess. To make it challenging, I add some other words which the student also may not use to the card. Example cards could be:
TEA (drink, hot, coffee)
UNIVERSITY (study/learn, student, school)

In Indonesian, I will often use a base-word (eg "ajar") which the students can not use. It means that they can use a different word that means the same thing if they can think of it, but also increases the range of banned words as they can not use any words that use that base.

At the end of the game, you can ask students to make their own suggestions for cards to use in the future. I have been using the same set of cards for a few years now, just adding to it from time to time. Once you've made up the cards, it's easy!

Banned words

Easily adapted to a variety of levels by the word you choose to "ban" for the set time period (this could be 10 minutes, a full lesson, a week or longer!)
With Upper school students this can be a great way to get them to practice circumlocution or finding synonyms.
With younger students or those with less knowledge, it can be for just practicing creativity & problem solving.

Reverse quiz

Very quick instructions for this: you supply the answers, students need to give the questions. (I really think students don't get enough opportunity to practice asking questions) Many of the other games can be adapted to this, or you can throw in a couple of "reverse questions" into a regular quiz or Q&A activity.