ESL Games: What Am I? – Parts of Speech Game

The Game: What Am I? – Parts of Speech is a board game that helps ESL students of all levels with identifying parts of speech and how words are correctly put together into sentences. The game also teaches vocabulary, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Research Says: Language learning games “…create contexts in which the language is useful and meaningful. The learners want to take part and in order to do so must understand what others are saying or have written” (Games of Language Learning, Cambridge University Press, 1984, Wright, Betteridge and Buckby). This game does just that!

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Materials

  • Cardboard to make a gameboard
  • 20 index cards for sentences (typed or hand-written and highlighted with 3 different words/sentence and 3 sentences per card)
  • Spinner
  • Markers for individual players (up to 6 players individually or in 2–3 players/group)
  • Answer key with explanations

How to Play

  1. Players take turns and spin. The spinner is divided into 4 numbers so the player will move 1–4 spaces a turn. Each number of the spinner also has the 3 letters (A, B, and C) written each two times within each quadrant. These are color-coded according to the highlighted words.
  2. So when the player spins, he or she moves the number of spaces dictated by the spinner, and then answers the question (1-A, 2-B or 3-C) and the part of speech according to one of the three colors of the letter (A, B, or C) and the matching highlighted word.
  3. The player reads the sentence and must identify the part of speech for that word in the respective sentence.
  4. If the correct answer is given, the player gets 5 points. If the answer is incorrect, no points are scored.
  5. The “winner” of the game is the person with the highest number of points. The conclusion of the game can be one of the following:
    • When someone gets a certain number of points
    • When everyone has had a certain number of turns
    • When someone has moved completely around the board
    • When a certain predetermined time limit is reached

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How to Make It

  1. Divide a large piece of cardboard into 5 sections per side or use an old gameboard and cover with construction paper before attaching the index cards or typed sentences (see #2).
  2. On index cards or typing paper, construct 3 sentences for each section (15 sentences/side of the board) for a total of 60 sentences. Label each sentence A-C. So on side #1 you would have 5 cards each with 3 sentences, each sentence with 3 different words color-coded for a total of 45 words color-coded per side.
  3. When composing the sentences, keep in mind the ability and interest level of your students.
  4. Glue the sentences (on index cards or typing paper) into the sections.
  5. Make a spinner. Divide the spinner into 4 even sections (quadrants) and print the numbers accordingly in the middle of the spinner (1–4). Next add the letters A, B, C, A, B, C on the edge of each quadrant. Vary the colors to match the 3 colors you used to color-code the highlighted words.
  6. Keep a copy of your sentences as an answer key. Write the parts of speech for each highlighted word for easy access when playing the game.
  7. Print the word “START” in one of the corners to indicate where players begin the game.
  8. Write the name of the game in the middle of the board and add images, if you choose.

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Variation

1. Depending on the ESL ability of your students, you could vary the highlighted words/sentences. Perhaps choose one word per sentence instead of three.

2. Select the sentences from students’ reading or their own writing. Or students can do research and create their own sentences from a unit of study.

3. Students can play the game for fun and disregard the points.

4. Students can play the game as one large group having the students take turns reading the questions and spinning. However, the group moves as one unit about the board. There is no team competition and everyone learns together.

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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 TalktoCanada.com 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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4 Responses to ESL Games: What Am I? – Parts of Speech Game

  1. Hi Mr. Anderson, Thanks for sharing your professional experience in English Language Teaching. I agree with this kind of technique to teach the parts of Speech using sentences with scientific information. Could you share me the website where I can find more sentences like the three ones you used as examples above. Thanks so much.

  2. Christy,

    I am glad you like the game. Yes, I think it could be adapted to any age level and ability of students. For kindergarten, you could just have nouns and verbs color-coded after you taught these skills. You could also play the game with letter recognition, spelling a word, reading a word or defining a word. I agree kids learn a lot from each other. And games are one source of meeting the needs of all students in a fun, engaging way.

    Thanks for your comments.

  3. Christy Rolfe-Taylor says:

    Mr. Anderson,
    This is a great game for learning parts of speech. I would use this with my own children in 5th grade. How do you think this would work for a Kindergarten classroom with multi-level reading readiness skills? I find that students learn best from their peers and if I can use a game that guides and scaffolds literacy content in a fun visual and tactile way.

    Mrs. Rolfe-Taylor

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