ESL Games: Similarities Galore

The Game: The object of Similarities Galore is to see relationships in visual photos and to listen to others’ ideas about the personal connections they see. These relationships help spark imagination and creative thinking while building stronger language skills.

Research Says: This game is a type of game that “… encourages students to focus on the use of language rather than on the language itself” (Games for Children, Gordon Lewis, 1999).  If the group of players is large, you might consider playing with two decks and remaining as one large group or split into two groups.

What You Need
One set of 50 images mounted on construction paper, index cards, or card stock (2” by 3”) per group of players.  Students can help you find the images in magazines and by using online public domain sources. You might want to laminate the cards for more durability. The images should be a mixture of natural and human-made objects. There are five wild cards. (You can link the images to a unit of study to reinforce vocabulary or use images of  specific objects to introduce new vocabulary.)

What You Do
Turn the cards over and deal five cards to each player. The cards can be placed face-up on the table. The dealer turns the next card up and places it in the center.

Players need to find ways in which one of their cards is similar to the center card. The first player to do so places the card next to any side of the center card. He or she explains how the cards are similar. Cards can be connected in more than one way, and players are encouraged to name as many ways as they can.

Before playing the game, you might want to discuss what makes things similar. Some suggested ways include category of object, lines (smooth, rough, thick, thin, spiral, arched, curving, horizontal, vertical, diagonal), shapes (geometric, 2D, 3D, organic), patterns (lines, shapes, figures), certain qualities (color, texture, material, size), and so forth.

Before moving clockwise to the next player, the players must accept the first person’s explanation. Cards are placed horizontally, the edges of each card touching. If the similarity is disapproved, the card is removed and the player must try to find another similarity. If one is not found, the player forfeits a turn.

Cards placed next to more than one card (with multiple edges adjacent to other cards) must “connect” to each card they touch. After an answer is approved, the player picks another card from the deck.

The Wild Cards are to be used to place any card down, even if a connection cannot be found.

The game continues for a set amount of time, until all of the cards are used up, or until no one can play any more as they have run out of ideas.

Anderson_Similarities Galore






Read Marc’s other ESL Games posts. Marc’s previous blogs with TESOL as a guest blogger include the highly popular “Best Language Learning Games” series.

About Marc Anderson

Marc Anderson
Marc Anderson is the CEO of online English training company that teaches English online to students around the world. During his free time he likes to read, travel and enjoy life.
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