Saturday, 27 September 2014

I have... Who has...?

I hesitated to share this one for two reasons - firstly, because it does require some more preparation than most games in this blog, and secondly, because it was the first time I've used a game that was a complete failure - or so it felt at the time.
The thing that bothers me is I can't see why it failed. It's a great concept, the kids (my Year 9 class, who have been playing games with me for 2.5 years now) agreed that it should work... but it just didn't.
The instructions (pinched directly from Games in the Foreign Language Classroom, which has a great range of games with clear instructions), are copied at the bottom of this post. You may want to read them first before reading about how it went with my class...

We played it with weather & cities ("It's raining in Surakarta, what's the weather like in Banda Aceh?").
Coming up with more than 50 places so that the kids would get at least 2 cards each took a little research!  I tried not to repeat the weather types too much, by giving different combinations and by adding modifiers (very, a little) etc where I could. Next time I'd add temperatures as well. To give students a reason to listen, I made them write down the weather of the place they were asking for. I used English only on the cards, and the weather was dot-points rather than a sentence.

The kids and I found it frustrating as it only took a momentary lapse of concentration for someone to not hear the question that corresponded with their card, so there were long pauses and quite a bit of repetition across the class (Who has Sulawesi? Alice, do you have Sulawesi?" - poor Alice was the first one to not hear her place, and so when the next pauses occurred, everyone immediately blamed her - yes, the name has been changed!)

BUT - on reflection:
  • the students did hear the question and relevant sentences over and over without being bored by it.
  • the students practiced asking about and giving details about the weather
  • the students were exposed to a lot of Indonesian cities, regions and places that they hadn't heard before (as well as some familiar ones) - and this prompted discussion about where places were, similarities in names as well as differences and the fact that some place names were similar to familiar words.
  • Most of the frustration expressed and resolved in the target language (eg, other people around the room repeating the question or asking poor Alice directly in Indonesian rather than in English)
So - yes, I will use this again. Perhaps I'll experiment first with that Year 9 class now that they know how to play, experimenting with dividing them into smaller groups as is suggested at the end of the instructions at Games in the Foreign Language Classroom. I also didn't use a stopwatch - maybe this would add a little more excitement & "need for speed" so I will definitely incorporate a timer next time I give it a go.

Maybe it was just because it was the last lesson of the day of the last Monday of what has felt like a long term... (they did much better with Weather Battleships the next day!)

Do you have any other ideas on what could make this work? I'd love to hear from you!

I have __, Who has ___?
• Teacher must prepare cards carefully in advance as follows:
o Each card has “I have” and a vocabulary word in the TL on the top half.
o On the bottom half the card has “Who has” and a different vocabulary word pictured or in English.
o The cards “chain” so that eventually they circle back to the beginning.
In these examples, imagine the top in the TL:

I have Dog
I have Cat I have Horse I have Cow I have Duck I have Hen
Who has Cat? Who has Horse? Who has Cow? Who has Duck? Who has Hen? Who has Dog?

o The set should contain enough cards so that every student will get one to three cards.
o Be creative: if the vocab list isn’t long enough, tweak the way it’s used: for ex weather (in Nice it's cold what's the weather in Paris?)

• Shuffle the cards, and distribute them all. If students have more than one card, each student should make sure than his/her cards don’t connect.
• Teacher begins by starting a stopwatch and calling out “Who has” and one of the words (in English). (I borrowed a stopwatch from the PE teachers until I got my own—sometimes one of the students has a stopwatch feature on his/her watch).
• The student who has the TL for that first word reads their card: “J’ai chien. Qui a cat?” (Tengo perro. Quien tiene cat?).
• The next student reads their card.
• The object is to get through the whole set as quickly as possible.
• I have multiple sections, and make it into a competition—each class period get three attempts (and we trade cards in between each round).
• If you plan carefully enough, you can make each set the same number of cards (thirty, let’s say) and have the class attempt to beat their past times (works instead of competing among sections)
• After the class learns how to use the cards, use the sets in groups so each kid has 5 or 6 cards each. They really get lots of vocab practice.


  1. Going to try this one today - I'll let you know how it goes!

  2. Good luck! I think the timer is the key element I missed... Looking forward to hearing how it went!

  3. It went well. I used sports in French so fairly basic vocab but the timer was essential - especially when I told each class how quickly the other class did it.