Monday, 11 August 2014

Shoot 'em Up

Stick the FCs on the walls around the classroom, just like with the This, That game. The students gather in the centre of the room. The teacher calls out one of the FCs. The first student to point to that FC wins a point for their team.
 You’ll need a quick scoring system for this game in order to keep the pace going. See Association Drill and Hit for examples.
 As you’re playing, you can optionally encourage the students to make gun shapes with their thumb and fingers so that rather than just pointing to the FCs, they are shooting them. It is also fun to name the student who was first to shoot the FC each time, thus offering encouragement, etc.
 As a follow up to Shoot ’em Up, I often get the students to go round in pairs, pointing to each FC on the wall, asking and answering target language questions. For example if the FCs are for colours, the students could be going round in pairs saying, “What colour is it? “It’s [blue].” If the FCs are for food, they could be asking, “Do you like [Lasagne]?” “Yes, I do.” Or if the FCs are for animals (plurals), they could be asking each other, “What are they?” “They are [giraffes].”

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Memorising Orders

A simple concept really. Let's image you're practicng months. Standing at the whiteboard, you say January, then point to the student on your right and encourage them to say February. Then to the next student who says March, etc. You going round the class with each student saying a month until one pauses for too long, mispronounces or says the wrong month. When this happens you run back to the whiteboard and award a point (or a progession along the scoring system) to the opposing team.

You begin again, this time you may choose to start with a different student, you go through the months with each student saying the next month until someone makes a mistake.

So this is the game. And now you've played it you might want to try it with different vocabulary. For one of your lower level classes you could try it with days of the week for example. Or for morning, afternoon, evening, night.

How do you use this game with flashcards? Easy. Simply stick a set of flashcards on the board, drill them a couple of times, then play the game going round the class with each student saying the next flashcard in the order you've given them.

Finally remove the flashcards from the whiteboard and carry on playing the game. Students are remembering the FC vocabulary and challenging themslves to remember the order.

Red, Green, Yellow, Blue, White, Purple, Black. (close your eyes, can you remember the order?)

Mountain, Mount Everest, Mount Fuji, River, The Yellow River, The Mekong River, The Jin Mao Tower, Taipei 101 (recently I played the game with these FCs, going round the class with each student having to remember and say the next FC in the order).

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Conveyer Belt

This is a good game for getting the whole class involved. It practises the Q&A as well as the FC vocabulary.

Flashcards are placed on the floor in a line along the centre of the classroom, as shown below.


                                                   TA            FC              TB
                  #1s             FC             #1s
                  #2s             FC             #2s  
                  #3s             FC             #3s
                  #4s             FC             #4s
                  #5s             FC             #5s
                  #6s             FC             #6s

The teacher gives the each of the #1 students a ball  let us say a small red ball to team A and a small blue ball to team B. (Actually the ball can be any object but it is nice for the students to take a hold of something fun and to choose the colour of their teams object).

The #1s of each team passes their ball to the #2 student next to them. As they do so they ask the target language (TL) question. Let us say that the TL question is, What colour is it? and the FCs are colours. The #1s passes the ball to the #2s and says, What colour is it? The #2s takes the ball, and rather than answering the question they simply pass the ball on to the #3s while again asking, What colour is it? The ball continues along the line with each student saying the TL question as they pass the ball along. When the ball reaches the last student in the line (in the above diagram this would be the #6s), this student simply passes the ball back to the [#5s] and the ball goes back down the line in the opposite direction towards the #1s again (and when it reaches the #1s it goes back again).

So for each team you have a ball being passed up and down the line with the TL question being repeated by each student as they pass the ball along.

Finally the teacher shouts out one of the FCs (e.g. Red!). The student from each team who is holding a ball now jumps out of their chair and rushes to slap the [Red] FC. The first student to slap the FC and shout out the TL answer (e.g. Its Red!) is the winner and is awarded points for their team.

The game then starts up again: What colour is it, what colour is it, what colour is it, what colour is it, what colour is it …” Teacher shouts, Purple! and the two students holding a ball dive onto the floor, slap the purple FC and shout, Its purple!

Although it takes a while to explain here in words, this game is really easy to set up and is a quick, fast paced activity. You can go through five or six rounds of passing the ball and slapping the FC until finally tallying up the scores to see which team is the overall winner. Either that or allow the first student to hit the FC to collect that FC for their team. The team that has collected the most FCs by the end is the overall winner  and having less and less FCs on the floor each time can add to the excitement.

There are a few other ways of adjusting the game to make it slightly different. Optionally the teacher can turn to face the whiteboard so they cannot see who is holding the ball (adds to the fun and randomness). Also, rather than naming an FC for them to slap, the teacher can just shout, Go! and the students themselves can decide which FC to slap  maybe the Team A student decides to slap the blue FC, saying, Its blue! while the Team B student goes for the orange FC, saying, Its orange. When playing this version you can note down on a piece of paper how many points each [colour] is worth, then reward points at the end in an exciting round up: So, the teacher says, once all the FCs have been collected. The [orange] FC was worth fifty points  which team collected the orange FC? The [yellow] FC was worth a hundred points  which team collected the orange FC?

Of course this game is not only limited to What colour is it? and colours FCs. It can be played with whatever TL Q&A and FC vocabulary you happen to be teaching at the time.

For example:

What are you doing? with activities FCs
What did you do yesterday? with past activities FCs
What do you have? with objects FCs
What is it? with animals FCs
What can you do? with that units FCs
Is it a ? with the relevant FCs
Can you ? with abilities FCs

  and the list goes on.

As a final note, if you are worried about kids clashing heads as they dive on to the floor to slap the FCs, you can instruct them to slap the floor next to the FC on their teams side of the classroom  if required you can mark out a space by drawing boxes or dots next to each FC.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Drilling Games and Random Card

Now that the book is available on amazon you can check out the free look inside to find 6 drilling games and one FC activity 'Random Card.' Click on the link here and select 'look inside' to view.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Loser Stays On

A set of flashcards are put in a line along the floor. One student from each team stands either side of the first FC of the line. The game must begin with the two #1 students playing first.


                                TA                                                           TB
#2s                           FC                           #2s
#3s                           FC                           #3s
#4s                           FC                           #4s
#5s                           FC                           #5s
#6s                           FC                           #6s
                                                        #1s   FC   #1s

Saying each flashcard in turn, the two #1 students progress to the end of the line. I.e. they slowly say the FCs together (each time saying aloud the FC they are standing next to) as they move to the final FC nearest the whiteboard.

Once they reach the final FC they do a paper scissors stone. The winning student can sit down while the losing #1s must go back and play again against the other team’s #2s. Again a paper scissors stone once they reach the end of the line and the winner returns to their seat while the loser has to go back and do it again, competing against the next student from the opposing team. The first team to have all its members play and win is the winner. The game can then be played again with the #6s playing first.

This is a good review game, and a great way to get the students to say all of the target FCs individually. They have a little help from the student they are competing with (often the two students will say the FCs in unison). If a student mispronounces one of the FCs you can make them say it again, helping them with pronunciation.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Ball and Basket

This is a drilling game. I.e. a game in which the students are repeating the new vocabulary as a class, now and then taking a break between drills to do an exciting activity. Ball and Basket is an example of what that ‘exciting activity’ can be.

Two balls (preferably basketballs) are placed in the basket/box, which is put about a metre in front of the whiteboard, as shown in the diagram. One ball belongs to team A, the other belongs to team B. A line is drawn on the floor at the other end of the classroom (again shown in the diagram).


                                TA                                                           TB
#1s                                                           #1s
#2s                                                           #2s
#3s                                                           #3s
#4s                                                           #4s
#5s           __________________                 #5s
#6s                                                           #6s

The teacher calls on “[#1]” students (i.e. the student from each team who has been allocated the number [1]) to compete in taking their ball, bouncing it along the classroom floor, then when they get to the line they can take a shot at getting their ball into the basket/box (with a well guided throw). If their ball misses the basket/box, they must try again; bouncing the ball along the classroom floor, turning around when they get to the line and throwing once more. If the ball lands in the basket/box, they return to their seat – the first student to do this is the winner and is awarded points for their team.

After this you go back to drilling the flashcards and after another half minute or so you repeat the game, this time calling on a different pair of students, e.g. [#3] students.

New Introduction

Now that TEFL Flashcard Games for Young Learners is to be published, I have found that, for copyright reasons, I am no longer able to post those FC games (included in the book) on my blog.

So there is only one thing for it – write a whole new set of games and post those!

The challenge is: can I come up with enough new games to continue posting on a regular basis? We will see. 

The activities in my TEFL Flashcard Games book are ordered to be progressively more challenging. Primary drills are used for the first time the students come into contact with the vocabulary (look, listen and repeat); then things became more student-centred: following games test how well students can remember the FCs (matching games); work on individual pronunciation, and finally there are games for using the new vocabulary in a language context.

In this blog I have decided to be less strict with the ordering of the games. I am, after all, simply posting up a new game when I think of one.

I hope that these posts can be of help to all TEFL teachers - and for more games you can of course click on the 'Buy the Book' page for the Amazon link (and a free look inside).

Monday, 20 January 2014

Guess Who?

So unfortunately I’m going to have to take this post down because TEFL Flashcard Games for Young Learners will soon be published on the kindle. I’m all for free sharing but rules are rules and if I leave it up here it’s a breach of contract.

In time I may decide to post a few new games that are not included in the book. But as for now, well, thanks for reading, and if you found the blog useful and would like to read more then you don’t have long to wait. Details of the kindle release to follow shortly …

UPDATE: TEFL Flashcard Games for Young Learners is now available. Click here for the link.

Monday, 6 January 2014

True or False?

So unfortunately I’m going to have to take this post down because TEFL Flashcard Games for Young Learners will soon be published on the kindle. I’m all for free sharing but rules are rules and if I leave it up here it’s a breach of contract.

In time I may decide to post a few new games that are not included in the book. But as for now, well, thanks for reading, and if you found the blog useful and would like to read more then you don’t have long to wait. Details of the kindle release to follow shortly …

UPDATE: TEFL Flashcard Games for Young Learners is now available. Click  here for the link.