I love using games in my classes ! Why? In nutshell, it helps to build an effective learning atmosphere. It helps the leaners to relax and lose their inhibitions. It brings fun, laughter and also a healthy element of competitiveness to the classroom.
Following on from a super blog from Chia Suan Chong, I would now like to share with you a fun method / game of mine that I use for recycling language in my classroom.
First of all we need to create the questions. The questions could be based on lexical chunks, collocations, functional language, useful phrases and expressions for meetings, telephone exchanges, negotiations etc etc, a grammar point such as ‘many vs much vs a lot of’, pronunciation…basically anything that is relevant, learner centred or has emerged or caused problems in previous lessons.
The questions need to be formed in a way that allow multiple choice (2-4 choices) answers. The types of questions could be true or false, what’s the correct definition of…, spot the odd one out, fill in the blank with the correct word, which phrase is suitable / unsuitable for meeting someone for the first time…there are many question themes / formats out there.
Now in order to present this game and provide the questions, I use Powerpoint containing fancy colours, animations & audio to give it a more visual effect, but you could use paper cards or even read-out the question verbally....remember, when it boils down to it we are not in the classroom to impress the learners with our Powerpoint skills!
Before the game begins, the Ss are ideally paired up and are given 100 (or whatever amount you choose) in monopoly / fake money. If there are an odd number of learners they can work either in a group of 3 or alone. Obviously 3’s work better than alone as there is more interaction. If a learner works alone, I give them a bit more money, say 150.
The groups are also given 4 cards with A, B , C and D on them (these correspond with the possible multiple choice answers).
The idea of the game is to not lose your money. For each question the groups must bet ALL their money by placing it on one or more of the cards (labelled A-D). If they are certain of the answer they will / can place all of their money on for example B. However, if they are unsure they can split the money and put it on multiple cards (hedge their bets). Before the game starts, it is a good idea to set a time limit on how long the groups have to negotiate the answer. A stopwatch or a timer from a board game (like the old egg-timers) are very useful. I believe 1 minute per question works well or 20 seconds after the 1st group has answered.
Once the groups have negotitated the answer & placed their bet, the answer is revealed. Any money that is placed on a A-D card that is incorrect is returned to the teacher (banker). Any money that is bet / placed on the correct answer is kept by the group / learners. That’s basically it. Then move on to question 2.
The game finishes after 10 questions and the remaining money is counted. During the game if a group loses all their money, I give them another 100 and explain that it is a loan and they are now in debt to me.
You will find that some of the learners will playfully challenge you by saying ” but we can’t win any extra money”. To get around this and to make the game even a bit more exciting, I have random bonus questions where the groups have a chance to win extra money by answering a question correctly first. This question / task could be in the form of an ‘ unscramble the phrase’ , what word goes with all these words to make a collocation, think of 5 words / phrases related to…
If you want to continue after 10 questions, you give the groups (maybe even change the groups) an extra 100 monopoly money and let the fun, banter and laughter start again.
In my class, each week I record each persons remaining money and at the end of the course the winning person / boy / girl (whatever you / I chose) receives a gift. I find this encourages the learner not to be reckless with their bets. Also a little bit of external motivation doesn’t do anybody any harm….apart from my wallet!
Just to reiterate keep it relevant, learner centred and try to keep it contextualized. Random irrelevant decontextualized grammar questions = unengaged yawning learners! Don’t forget to use the group interactions productively and listen for new emerging language.
I hope I have explained myself clearly. Feel free to ask me to clarify anything. If you like I can send you a copy of my Powerpoint file I use…let me know. I would also love to love to hear from you, if you decide to implement this in your class
love, peace & joy!