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June 29, 2007

Living on a Budget- Games

Hello Readers,

Many teachers choose to play games in their classrooms to add a little excitement to the classroom. Games can be used to motivate the students, to spark interest in the language, to review what's already been learned, and to provide students with communicative language practice. Sometimes games are also used to simply fill time. Fair enough.

Games like scrabble, memory, pictionary...

... can be useful in the classroom. But let's say you don't have enough money to buy those games. Have you considered 'making' them out of the things you have access to? To play an ESL version of scrabble, all you need to do is create a 'letter box' by creating your own letters out of paper and having the students create words out of the letters given. Memory can be played by creating your own flashcards using the vocabulary from your recent lessons. Pictionary can be played on the whiteboard, using vocabulary words that the students think are the most important ones from the lesson.

Perhaps you've found that while you want to use a game in your lesson, you can't be bothered because of all the pieces you need to buy. Some of the typical objects that you need to play ESL games include a pair of dice, counters, buzzers, and pointers (wands). Depending on where you are located, you may not have easy access to these things. So what can you use instead?

Pair of dice: coins (heads= 1 space, tails= 2 spaces), 6 slips of paper with a number on each, 6 crayons (red= 1, orange =2, etc.), deck of cards, make your own (see: http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/dice2.html)

Counters: colored paper clips, different sized coins, buttons, small paper squares,

Buzzers: two pens or pencils (students clang them together to make a noise), hands up,

Pointers (Wands): Paper rolled up to make a wand, rulers

While you can search for objects that you have in your own classroom, it might be a good idea to organize a "game box" for your classroom.

Things you might want to include:
*objects above (pair of dice, counters, buzzers, pointers (or equivalents)
*small slips of paper (for students to write their own words on for charades, back to the board or other games)
*common objects (for memory games- eg. show the students the objects for 30 seconds, take them away, give students a few minutes to try to remember which objects were shown)
*sets of pictures (of actions, objects, people, emotions, etc.; to be used for story-telling, impromptu speeches, describe the objects, etc.)
*deck of cards
* a 'letter box'
* a word box (instead of creating words, students can create sentences)

What other money-saving tips do you have for playing games in the ELT classroom? Feel free to share your tips below.

Until next time...

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb

Looking for MORE articles about living on a budget as an ESL teacher? Click HERE!

About the author of this entry:
About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker who hails from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, worked in China for more than 7 years. During that time, she worked with students of all ages and levels. She worked at universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, and did private tutoring as well. Besides teaching, she also worked as a head teacher, an education manager, and a material development manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she also writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing. Carol is also currently working on her MA in TESOL at Oxford Brookes University in England. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at June 29, 2007 03:28 AM

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