This game/exercise is a win-win with my students. It can be ammended for the level appropriate (above absolute beginner). I bring to the classroom a box of odds and ends--a wide assortment of all different items such as a feathers (blue, yellow), keychains, marbles, a battery, different colored spoons, etc. I make teams consisting of from 3 to 5 students well diversed in ability so team-mates can help those not up to another's standard (I also find it humourous to let other teams determin the team name of their opponents). I then choose items appropriate for the learning level from the box and put them on a table. Then I write a task on the board such as "Go to the white table and find the little brown mouse. Put it in the pink spoon. Carry it to the teacher and give it to him, her." A variance for higher levels which adds more fun would be "Dance to the white table and find the little brown mouse. Place it in the spoon colored pink. Walk like a penquin to the door and 'oink' like a pig." I recommend for higher levels that key letters be left out of words as you write them on the board, filling them in only when play is about to start, as strong teammembers will inevitably try to get a head up on what you're writing. The key of this lesson is to wait for a strong team-member to raise his/her hand, but select a different member to perform the task, stressing that they must translate and understand as a team. This fortifies group learning/teaching and adds an element of chance for the teams. I give a "buzz" for any failed actions, sending that "action member" back to his/her team, and a "ding-ding-ding" for correct accomplishment. The number of the tasks involved determine the points awarded. The kids absolutely LOVE this activity and it is the best reading enabler I've ever encountered. Give phonic and reading assisitance along the way (clues) as needed. You'll have as much fun with this as the students, I promise.
San Hsia, Taiwan
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