Tuesday, 3 November 2015


This was inspired by another improv game, with the instructions adapted from Bringyourimprov.

I imagine this primarily as a aural comprehension activity, with the teacher doing the narrating.

One of the students (or the teacher!) acts as the Narrator. They mime typing on a typewriter or computer, and pretends to read what they are typing out loud while typing. The students (who have been allocated roles before the start) act out what they hear.  The Narrator can switch to another location, introduce new character or add unexpected events. 

Students who are not participating watch carefully, and could either act as prompts to help the actors, or could take over a character if an actor makes a mistake or doesn't demonstrate their understanding well enough.

Variation (from the original instructions)- When a scene goes bad, the Narrator can mime ripping a couple of pages of his story apart, and restart the scene (or the story).

Other ideas: If you have a dress-up box, then you could add descriptions of the characters, and students need to select the appropriate clothes to wear.  
Provide props that they need to select when mentioned in the story, or perhaps there are a number of students who can be selected to be the prop.

Selamat bermain!

A conversation game

I was initially inspired by from a drama / improvisation game as explained at bringyourownimprov called Alphabet, but this is quite a way removed from that original idea.

Divide the group into two teams. The teams are each given a person's name (e.g. Jono and Sani) and line up facing each other. Each team IS that person.
The first member of the first team (Jono) begins the game by starting a conversation (e.g. "Good morning sir, can I help you?").
The first member of the second team (Sani) responds (e.g. "Good morning, yes, I'd like to buy a shirt.")
then, the second member of the first team continues the conversation as if they were the first person (Jono).
next, the second member of the second team (Sani) responds, and so on until someone can't continue the conversation, or says something that doesn't make sense given the rest of the conversation, or repeats something that has already been said (unless they make it clear that this is deliberate - e.g. "what size was that again, sir?").

The idea is that they need to listen to what comes earlier, and answer questions appropriately and use the information that has already been given in the conversation.

Alternatively, it could be a story instead of a conversation, and could just go around a circle rather than having teams. (the teams just make it clearer for the conversation as to who is who, if that makes sense!)

If you have a class with a lot of experience with oral practice that can be relied to get on with using the target language without constant monitoring, or if you have an assistant in the room, you can divide the class up into 2 or 3 groups which are then divided into teams. It would also work you are using the peg system of encouraging target language use, or appoint "TL use monitors" who give out points for people using the TL, or take them away for using English (or their background language).

To get everyone involved for the whole time (beyond just listening carefully) you could get the whole team to do appropriate actions for that person. (e.g. holding out hand to shake when the first person introduces themselves, or in the shopping for a shirt example, holding up shirts to select from, or trying on the shirt ... depending on the character).

To make it harder (e.g. for upper school classes), I'd go back to the improv game that inspired this - I've copied the instructions below.
This is a scene consisting of 26 lines of dialogue. The first line starts with a given letter (say `R`). The reply to that line must start with a `S`, and so on, until the whole alphabet has been covered. After `Z` comes `A`. Players that hesitate, use the wrong letter, uses random words or does not move along the scene are replaced by another player. 

This could be done as per the original, or as the team version I've described.

I'm going to be looking into improv games that I can adapt over the next few weeks, so hope to have some more ideas to share soon! Please drop me a line or write a comment if you have other game ideas, or to let me know what you think of this activity!
I'm off to go play pass the parcel with my Year 7s - have a great day!

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Kerajaan (Empires)

I was just thinking the other day that I should add something,  and then this morning I came across Andrew Teo's version of Empires as written up in Warta WILTA - I've copied it verbatim below. I love games that get students to use and then remember vocab items like this, and can't wait to try it out with my classes. 

Students write a word/term on one side of a small piece of paper and their name on the other side. The teacher collects and reads all the words/terms on the pieces of paper. It doesn’t matter if words/ terms are also used by other students. Students listen and remember the words.

A nominated student starts off by asking another student: “Apakah kamu ... [word/term]? The person asked answers “Ya, saya.......” or “Bukan, saya bukan..........” [if it is a noun] or “Tidak, saya tidak .......”[for verbs/adjectives]

These ways of asking and answering should be written on the board for easy reference. If the questioner gets it right, the student who answers “Ya, saya .....” is OUT of the game AND moves over to where the questioner is sitting. This student is now part of the questioner’s EMPIRE. The questioner keeps asking others as long as he/she gets right answers. If not, the person who is asked has a turn.

When a questioner asks a student who already has an ‘empire’ and gets it right, then he/she gets all of the ‘empire’. The ‘empire’ moves over to where the student who got it right sits. The student with the largest ‘empire’ [after a certain time] is the winner. Generally, in most games, I’ve found students are able to recall all the terms used and it ends up with one student being the winner.

NOTE: To speed up the game, give each student only 5 seconds to ask a question. Students who are part of someone’s ‘empire’ are to help recall what terms haven’t been used ie they are helping. 

One variation that I may make would be to write the list of words up on the board in English, so that it becomes about remembering the meaning as well as the word itself. I think that the it's important to keep the students who have already been selected engaged, so the final point that Andrew makes about them helping create the largest empire could prove to be particularly useful. I suspect that it will very quickly become a game of strategy in my classes!

What would you change? Or would you leave it as is? Do you have a favourite game or variation that I haven't included? I'd love to hear from you!