Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How to come up with games?

This is a question that I get from some of my colleagues.  They hear my class, through the wall and wonder what I'm doing that sounds so fun.  The fun is usually some type of game, involving an element of skill but also random luck.  And they want to know where I found the idea. 

The truth is that I love games!  Ever since I was a little kid, my family has played board, word, and card games for hours.  My sister and I still play games endlessly, whenever we're together.  Many of my games, I've adapted from my old favorites.  For example:

1. One of my favorite get to know new people games is: Two truths and a lie.  Students write down on a piece of paper 2 true things about themselves, and one lie.  Example: I've been bungee jumping 2 times.  I have a twin sister.   Then, the student reads their 3 sentences and the other students have a few minutes to question them, to try to uncover which is a lie.  The rest of the students choose which one is a lie, and if they're correct in their guess, they get one point. 

2. A favorite party game is: guess the job/animal, etc.  I adapt this to whatever unit we're studying.  If we're studying about jobs, I'll write down lots of them on pieces of paper.  Then, you tape one to each student's back, so they don't know what job they are.  They have to walk around the class asking their friends questions until they can uncover what they are. 

3. I love board games.  So, I'll often make one up, Snakes and Ladders style to fit whatever we're studying.  If we're doing the simple past, I'll make a question for each square that the students have to answer if they land on that square.  If they're incorrect, as judged by their classmates, they have to go back to the previous square.  And to introduce some random luck, I'll put lots of go back 6, or trade with the person on your right, or go ahead 4 squares. 

4. I liked 20 questions a lot when I was a kid.  And it can actually fit with a lot of things that you're studying.  Animals, famous people, or countries for example.  I sometimes adapt it to 10 questions if I choose the category for them already.

5. And do you remember x/o?  You can play the simple tic/tac/toe variety, but I used to play the big board version when I was a kid.  I do this in class sometimes and Korean students love it.  It works best for review.  They have to answer a question and if they are correct, they get to pick a square.  Usually the first team to get one point is the winner.  

Anyway, for your own ideas?  Think about games you played as a kid.  I'm sure you can adapt them to fit your class and have a happy, fun English learning environment!


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