Classroom Games For Larger Classes

It dawned on me that I’ve never talked about the classroom games I use.
Here’s where I fix that.

I use several janken (rock-scissors-paper) games on a regular basis in my
classes. They are a fun and easy way to drill vocabulary and let off steam at
the same time.

 

Janken Stations

I use this game frequently with the phonics flashcards. How it works is
simple. I put five (or so) flashcards on the board. Then I choose one
student to stand in front of each card, manning the station. The other
students form lines in front of each station. The student at the front of the
line greets the student manning the flashcard, then they both say the word or phrase on the card. The two then do rock-scissors-paper. The winner mans the station and the loser joins another line to try again. There is no real “end” to this game, so I usually set a time limit and whoever is manning the stations at the end can be considered the winners.

 

Janken Race

This game is a good lively vocabulary drill game. First, make row of
flashcards across the blackboard. I usually use eight cards depending on the
difficulty of the vocabulary and the size of the blackboard. Split the class
into two teams and have them line up at opposite ends of the blackboard. The
first students in line each point at the flashcard on their end of the row and
say the word or phrase on the card. They then proceed to the next card, say
the word, proceed to the next card, and so on. The two players will meet
somewhere in the middle and do rock-scissors-paper. The winner continues
forward, while the loser goes to the end of their team’s line and the next
player starts. If a player makes it all the way to the other end of the row
of cards, that player’s team gets a point. Whichever team scores the most
points wins!

 

Friend Catcher Janken

This game is another good vocabulary drill game. Divide the class into two
teams and have them line up opposite each other. The teacher stands at the
front of the two lines and holds up a flashcard. The students at the front of
the line each say the word or phrase on the card then do rock-scissors-paper.
The student that loses is “caught” by the winning student. The winner leads
the loser to the back of the winner’s team’s line and the next two students
play. At the end of the game the biggest team wins. I usually determine the length of the game by how many times I want to cycle through the flashcards I’m using.

 

 

I’ve used other games over the years, but these three are the ones I keep
coming back to. They are easy to play, require little or no explanation,
and my elementary school students really enjoy them.

Hi Friends 2 Race to 100

Hi Friends 2 starts out with a wildly disjointed unit which begins with counting, using “How many…?”.  From there the unit shifts focus to the alphabet and lower-case letters and the “Do you have a …?” structure.

To impose some order on this mess, I try to keep the focus on counting and numbers to 100.  Drilling numbers gets dull quickly though, so I’ve come up with a little challenge to spice up the task.

The Race to 100 team challenge is really quite simple.  Students sit in a circle and pass a baton or ball while saying a number.  The first student starts at 1, the next student says 2, and so on, passing the baton until they’ve arrived at 100.  Using a stopwatch, time how long it takes each class to make it to 100, and make it a competition.

I’ve prepared a scorecard for keeping track of class times.  If you only have one group of 6th graders, try breaking up the class into smaller groups and running them off against each other.  It’s a good team building exercise.  I usually run off two or three attempts at the beginning of class, then transition to an easy game using the alphabet cards in the text.

Give it a try and share your results in the IRC chat!

2013_RaceTo100_chart

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone! We are back and getting ready for the 3rd and final term of this school year.

Hi Friends 1 and 2 present us with much the same content as Eigo Note did, so we will be doing pretty much the same lessons as we have done in years past.

Hi Friends 1 brings us the “I study Japanese” theme, followed by the “What would you like?” theme.
For the “I study Japanese” theme, I use these sets of cards.
First, Days of the Week

Next, School Subjects

I finish with this up with a group project, planning an original time schedule.

As a group, students assume the role of teachers and decide what subjects to teach and when to teach them.

Once the schedule has been decided, they then complete the time schedule worksheet, taking turns filling in the days and the classes.

Additional rules may be needed to avoid things like six straight hours of P.E.  I limit subjects to at most twice a day, and require that all

subjects are taught at least twice a week.

Weekends are for things like sports practice, homework, piano lessons, shopping and so forth.

Students also need to come up with a name for their school, an English name of course!

When everything is complete, the groups present their original schedules to the class.

schedule

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the worksheet, I recommend one B4 size for the group, but smaller individual worksheets could

work better if students prefer not to share.

 

 

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Hiconic users, here’s hoping your Christmas was happy and your New Year is bright. Thanks for visiting, hope you found some useful tidbits to freshen up your classes in 2012. We will be taking a short break, but will be back in 2013 with tips, hints, and tools to breathe some life into Hi Friends 1 and 2.

So, all you teachers out there, enjoy your holidays and rest up. The kids will be back before you know it!

The Color Wheel … simple color names and simple color theory

Everyone enjoys colors, and elementary school students are no exception.  Teaching the colors can be done with drills and flashcards, but why not seize the opportunity to break from routine and do a little hands on learning?

Lesson 5 in Hi Friends 1 brings us a rather poorly executed framework for practicing the “What … do you like?” structure.  The theme appears to be shapes and colors and t-shirts. I have decided to break the lesson up into sections; first shapes, next colors, finally returning to the “What … do you like?” grammar and interview activity.

This Color Wheel worksheet is what I use when teaching colors, students color and write the names of the colors, I talk a little about color theory, and we play a game or two.  The kids enjoy it, and it helps to brighten up these dark November days.  Try it for yourself!color wheel english esl efl eigo noto hi friends

Happy Halloween! Let’s make a Jack o’ Lantern!

Happy Halloween to everyone!  Halloween activities are more or less de rigeur in ESL and EFL classrooms these days, and can take many forms.  Scary monsters, Halloween videos, Trick or Treat,  I’ve tried them all.  This year, I have whipped up a fun Jack o’Lantern project that dovetails neatly with the Shapes flashcard set I posted recently.

 

This activity requires two prints, the shapes and old Jack.  The shapes are for coloring and cutting, students can mix and match to make their own original Jack o’ Lantern.  Pretty self explanatory, really.  Enjoy!

Make your own Picture Dictionaries!

Sometimes our students have trouble retaining new vocabulary,  especially when the time between lesson is a week or more.  In order to combat this and to give learners something to refer back to,  I have prepared a “Picture Dictionary” worksheet to use in conjunction with our many fine flashcards.

The worksheet consists of eight blank squares with spaces underneath.  Students draw the object on the flashcard in the square, then write the name of that object in the space underneath.  Simple, right?  Double checked for spelling, the worksheet becomes a resource for future lessons, especially those involving writing.

I have been using this worksheet along with the Shapes Flashcards from the previous post to good effect in my elementary school classrooms.  It’s especially nice for classes that don’t do well with more energetic activities.  Give it a try!

 

Hi Friends ESL English eigo picture dictionary

I like… and I don’t like… worksheets for Hi Friends 1

Hi Friends 1 covers a lot of grammatical ground in two or three pages in chapter 4.
You could blow through it all in a lesson or two, but really it is an excellent opportunity to do a little writing and speaking.  I like to use this worksheet for practice.  Students write their likes and dislikes (in English, of course) then present their lists to the class.  It makes for a good confidence builder and a fine opportunity for more advanced learners to show off their chops a little.

The completed list also lends itself well to interview type games and activities, and can be illustrated and embellished if desired.

Likes and dislikes I like esl efl eigo hi friends worksheet english

Getting Back to School with Shapes

Getting back into the groove after a long summer break can be difficult for teachers as well as students. Sometimes a few easy and fun lessons are necessary before plowing back into our English textbooks. I like to use the first couple of lessons to talk about the places everyone went and things they did (in English, of course), taking the opportunity to teach “Where did you go?” and “I went to…” along with some other simple past verbs like “ate”, “saw”, and “played”.

This generally works quite well for older students, but can be a bit too much for the first and second graders. Thinking about simple yet useful things to do with my little kids, it occurred to me that I have never taught shapes! A glaring oversight on my part, yet easily corrected with a set of simple Shape Flashcards!

Enjoy!

Sports Sports Sports Sports

Sports. Kids like to play sports and like to talk about sports. Sports vocabulary can be used in a variety of ways in the ESL/EFL classroom. In particular sports vocabulary lends itself very well to teaching “I like…” and “I can…” expressions (as well as “I don’t like…” and “I can’t…” ;-)).

It just so happens that “I like…” is the subject of Hi Friends 1 Unit 4, while “I can…” is the subject of Hi Friends 2 Unit 3. While these expressions can be used to discuss a variety of things, using sports can help get the ball rolling. This set of flashcards doesn’t cover all the bases, but presents a broad enough range to encourage further discussion.

I’ve opted to use “soccer” because in Japan (where I teach) and in the US (where I’m from) that’s the term we use. I’ve also intentionally left out American Football because very few places outside the US have an interest in the game, plus it’s just a mouthful to say. If your favorite sport is missing, leave a comment and if there’s enough interest I’ll make up a flashcard for it!

When teaching “I like…” foods and fruit are also great conversation starters. Animals work well also. Mix it up and have fun!

Update: Had a bit of a think and decided to make up a football card as well. No reason not to!