When you're a new teacher starting, it can be difficult to know where to start, and complicated flashcard games can be daunting, especially when you're learning how to manage the class successfully. So I want to share five of the most basic yet effective ESL games that every teacher should know. These games are a great starting point for any new teacher and help you capture your students' attention.
This first game is called quick flash, and it's exactly what it sounds like. All you need to play are some flashcards of the vocabulary you want to teach. This game can capture students' attention when introducing a new word or as a game to practice recognition of new words you have just taught. Mix up your flashcards; you can do this by having the class chant "mix, mix, mix," and then very quickly flash one flashcard to the students. Students then need to tell you what it is they think they saw. If they have a higher English level, you can extend this by having them use the word in a sentence.
The Slow Reveal
Game number 2 is called the slow reveal, and it's the opposite of the quick flash game. Once again, all you're going to need are some flashcards of the words you want to teach. But this time, instead of showing a flashcard quickly, you're going to cover the flashcard and very slowly reveal the picture to the class. Once again, students need to tell you what they think the picture is as quickly as possible. You can award points to the student or team that gets it correct the fastest.
Quieter & Louder
Game number three is called Quieter and louder, and to play, all you need are some flashcards of the vocabulary you're teaching. This is a great game to get students to repeat new words. Introduce a flashcard and have the class repeat the word three times using chants and TPR. Then keep repeating the word as you slowly raise the flashcard up into the air, saying the word louder and louder as you do. Once you reach your peak, slowly start moving the flashcard downward while repeating the word and getting quieter and quieter. Remember to always end on a quiet note, so it's easier to move on to the next activity.
Jump 'N Shout
Game number four is a great game to get students moving, and all you need are some flashcards of the vocabulary you're teaching. Introduce the flashcards one by one using chants and TPR as you do. Lay the flashcards out, face-up in a line on the floor. Pick a student to come to the front and jump on or next to the flashcards one by one, saying the words out loud as they do.
This game can also be used as a fun dismissal game by having students line up by the cards and jump over them one by one before leaving the class.
Simon Says Please
Game number Five is Simon says please, a great game to work on listening skills. Explain to the class that you give some instructions and that they should only follow them if you use the word, please. You can then give students some simple instructions, like put your hands on your head, please, stand on one foot please, hop on one foot, etc. The students that then follow your instructions when you haven't said please are out and need to sit down. Keep going until you have one student left that can be crowned the winner.
Remember that these games can be adjusted to suit your situation. So think about your class and your lesson goals and adjust the games to suit those needs.
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