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Alphabet Soup

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Materials: Chalk and a Blackboard
Level: Any
Prize: Any (my Chinese students love sweets)
Skills Enhanced: Speaking, Vocabulary and Participation
Method: Divide the class into as many teams as you desire. Write Team A, Team B, etc. on the blackboard. Write on the blackboard "Say a sentence using words beginning with the supplied letter. Your team gets one point for each word you use beginning with this letter in the sentence. You must raise your hand before speaking." Write the letter "A" on the blackboard and then choose the first student to raise his/her hand. They must say a grammatically correct sentence or no points. The teacher should correct pronunciation, but give them the point(s). Then write "B" and continue as above. To keep them from getting ahead of you, skip a letter or two and write them later. For example, use "A", then "B", then "D". After all of the letters are used, if time permits, underline a previously used letter and have them come up with more sentences. I love to use "Q", "X", and "Z" repeatedly (just to be a big bad mean teacher). I was surprised to get responses such as "My monkey made me make him a meal." (6 points) And then they throw in "on Monday morning". (8 points) Be sure to ignore students who shout out sentences without raising their hand and being chosen by you - if you don't ignore them, it turns into a shouting match. I, just for interest, write the letters all over the board, in different colors rather than just white chalk with the letters lined up in a row.
Keep up with the points and at the end of the game, tally the points and declare the winning team. Give prizes to the one or two students of each team who participated the most...great motivation for the next time you play this. This works with my worst, I mean "most challenging" classes.
Please give me feedback, suggestions for improvement, etc.
Richard (richardwi2001@yahoo.com)

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