WHY SHOULD WE USE GAMES TO TEACH ENGLISH LEARNERS IN THE CLASSROOM?
- Tic-Tac-Toe (British Naughts and Crosses) is altered slightly to accommodate for team play, but the traditional objective of three-in-a-row remains the same. Students must work together to correctly answer questions in order to gain a chance to place an X or O (based on their team) and each person on the team gets a chance to answer for their group. Questions can be in the form of pictures which match vocabulary, to creating a sentence using grammar points, or whatever you choose to review with the students. (Firstien, 526)
- Concentration is a game to teach English learners that uses cards to match vocabulary or grammar points and is best played in circle-groups so that everyone can see the cards. The students can help you by making pairs of cards so that they get extra practice. Once you've shuffled each set of cards, they should be laid face-down in the middle of the circle. Each student takes a turn by flipping two cards face-up. If they match, the student wins those cards. If they do not match, the student must flip them face-down again and continue to pay attention so that they can make a match on their next turn. Students will help each other decide when a match is made, but you will want to monitor as well and perhaps have each student share their pairs at the end of the game for extra review. (Firstien, 527)
- The Clothesline is a game to teach English learners of building sentences using different words each time. Have many different options for each part of speech, including punctuation, in piles. Students take turns (in teams or individually) changing the words in order to create sentences. Students read the sentence they've created upon completion, and points are awarded for correct use of vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. The student or team with the most points at the end of the round wins. (Firstien, 529)
- Oral Matching can be a fun way for English learners to mingle and practice conversation. Each student is given a slip of paper with either a question or an answer on it (for more variety, they can have one of each, so long as they don't match!) and they are to read their questions and answers to their fellow students in order to decide which ones go together. For more fun, use a dialogue or story to create your question and answer slips. Once each student has found his or her matching pair(s), you can have the students put it back together in the original order and read it together. (Firstien, 531)
- Scrambler is more of a puzzle type of activity that can be fun for English learners as a break from traditional worksheets. Create a target word that you wish the students to discover (this can be an answer to a key question as well, if you wish). Use various vocabulary words that contain letters to be used in the target word. Then, scramble the vocabulary words so that the students must discover from each scrambled word the vocabulary to go letter-by-letter in the boxes behind it. The target word can then be placed in a vertical fashion using those letters from the vocabulary. If you are using a key question, be sure to leave a blank so that the students can re-write the target word from the boxes once they've discovered the answers to all the scrambled words.