A Guest Post by Marc Anderson
Marc Anderson is the CEO of online English training company TalktoCanada.com that teaches English online to students around the world. During his free time he likes to read, travel, and enjoy life.
This is the last article in a series of recommended language games for ELLs. As I mentioned in the first article, I was cleaning out my files and moving classrooms for the beginning of a new school year recently, when I stumbled upon this box of homemade language games. I was reminded of how much language progress the students made with these games and how much fun they had, too. I thought you might like to hear my choices of the Best Learning Games. This week’s game is I Have, You Have (Learning English) which is based on a popular game that provides reinforcement with various academic skills through an interactive group activity.
These language games have been featured so far:
I Have, You Have (Learning English)
How to Play
The group activities in this game consist of game cards that students read and interactively answer. There are a number of question and answer cards arranged in columns from top to bottom in the order they are read in class. You can have any number of cards. You could type this on the computer or write them by hand on index cards.
The first card begins with the words, I have the first card. Then it asks a question. The next card answers the first card and asks a new question. This pattern is repeated until the last card. In this case, the card has the answer followed by the question, Who has the first card? If the game is played correctly, all of the cards should be used in the correct order.
You can design your own language game based on any number of literacy skills: phonics, vocabulary, grammar, parts of speech, idioms, spelling, etc. You might want to consider laminating the cards to last longer. You can play the game by distributing the cards to individual students or students can play as partners on a team. To begin the game, the person with the first card reads the card out loud. The person who has the answer to the card reads their card, and the pattern continues.
I found it helpful to read the card a second time to the students after the student reads the card out loud. Sometimes, I allow students who have used up their cards to join others in the room to help them. This game will keep everyone on their toes because their card(s) might be called at any time. It is a great way to review any skills you have covered in class or additional skills the students need to work on. Many of my groups of students like to play the game and have me time them. They try to play the game faster with repeated play.
- Blank reproducible card templates or index cards
- A thin black marker
How to Make the Game
- Make photocopies of the blank reproducible card template for the number of cards you might need, or use index cards/thin black marker. (I have shown you a short sample above. Naturally, you will have more cards per set.)
- Write out the questions, linking one card to the next.
- Laminate (optional) and cut out the cards if using a computer template.
- Mix up the cards and distribute to students.
- Explain the rules to the students.
- Have the student with the first card, read it. You read it next. (Explain if necessary).
- Collect the correct answer card.
I dusted the bookshelf and placed these games on the top shelf. There was so much more to do to finish my classroom for the first day of school. But I was reassured that these games would create excitement in learning while teaching logical and critical thinking, and boosting self-confidence and social skills for my “new” students. What’s more? These ELLs would become more proficient and independent English language speakers.
Perhaps you have a story to share about one of these language games or one of your Best of the Best? I would love to hear from you. Until then, enjoy your students and the school year.