Fun Games for the Classroom
If you don’t think that there is a place for games in an adult English language class, then take it from me – there most certainly is!
I don’t care how old they are – I’ve used these games in classes with students aged 7 to 77 and they have gone down a storm each and every time. Some of them I picked up when I was training on my part-time CELTA course in London, others I’ve come by via other teachers I’ve met over the years.
No matter where they come from, though, they worked – which is why I’m happy to share them with you.
Split the white board in half by drawing a line straight down the centre. Next, make two teams by splitting the class in half. Give each team a marker for the board and get them to huddle near the back of the classroom.
Write a subject in the middle of the board, and have one person from each team come up and write an English word that goes with the subject. So, for example, write “weather” as the subject, and the first people could write “rain,” “wind,” “umbrella” etc. Dish out one point for a correct word and a bonus point for correct spelling. Set a time limit and start the game and see which team can get the most words and points.
This is a really fun way to activate the class while brainstorming useful vocabulary groups that never fails to get grown adults jumping up and down like little kids, and little kids engaged in a vocabulary lesson like they were grown adults.
This game is great to play in pairs, so organise the class into twos. Write a word on a piece of paper and give it to one half of the pair. They must describe whatever the word is (without using the word itself, of course), while their partner draws their understanding of the description.
Set a time limit to make it more competitive, and you can even have the drawing partner hold up their picture to see if the rest of the class can guess what they have drawn.
This is a fantastic game for improving fluency and practising listening, and it’ll test your students’ vocabulary as much as their artistic skills.
Write a numbered list of topics on the board. They could be favourite films, healthy eating, childhood pets, dangerous sports…. near enough anything. The students select a number at random, and must then give a 60-second monologue talking about whatever topic they have drawn.
To encourage participation from everyone, once the 60 seconds are up you can pick three people from the group to each ask a related follow-up question.
This game encourages creativity, thinking on your feet, and is brilliant for helping to develop individuals’ confidence. Since there’s no opportunity for revision and practice, it’s also a great indicator of the student’s current strengths and weaknesses.
Each student gets a piece of paper on which they can draw one item. It’s important you don’t tell them the purpose of the game, just ask then to draw an object – the first thing that comes into their head.
When everyone has a drawing – then it’s time for the big reveal! In this game, all the students are trapped on a desert island, and only half get to stay. They get a 60-second speech each to convince their classmates that they deserve to remain on the island – using only the item they drew a picture of. Now watch as they try to convince their classmates of how their tree, sheep or fried egg will prove invaluable to the group (lucky him or her who drew a boat).
Games are a great way of getting students laughing and learning in class, helping to change up the routine a little, and putting their growing language skills to the test – so why not try out one of these classics in your class today?