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5 games that just work

There are, and will be many times in your teaching career, when you have a class without any teaching aids. Be it your fault or someone else’s, it happens. So what do you do? Moan? Well, yes that is one option, but the better option is to just suck it up and deal with it. 

So, the best way to get through a class with no teaching aids, is vocabulary building. Teaching grammar and sentence structure is best saved for a class where you have plenty of resources available. 

When teaching vocabulary some simple games ALWAYS, I really mean always, help keep students focussed. I personally think that no matter what the age group, games help keep things flowing nicely. 

Here are 5 simple games that actually work! Hurray!

1. Word-number.

Word number is probably the easiest game in the world. You need a points system first; teams, groups, individuals. All you do is write the new words on the board and number them 1 - however many you have. Then call out a number and student who puts their hand up first and reads correctly gets the point for their team or themselves. The catch is that if you read out a number that’s not on the board and they raise their hand they lose a point. 

Sounds boring, but when you get creative and start saying things like ‘won…derful’ it catches lots of students out and becomes an interesting game.

2. Word-snake.

Another blackboard game. After teaching the new words divide the class into 2 teams. The game is one continuous word, the first person sat in each team comes to the board and writes a new word, the next person that writes must continue on from the last word, (eg. applessand) and it goes round the team until everyone has written a word. The team with the longest ‘word-snake’ gets a point but their is a bonus point for whichever team fits in the most new words.

3. Word-dart

For this game you will need something to throw. I suggest something that is soft and preferably leaves a mark or sticks. You can buy suction darts that when thrown stick to basically any surface, or use a tennis ball and make it a bit wet, or if you don’t have anything use some wet tissue. 

Basically all you do is write the new words around the board. they then throw the ‘whatever’ and whatever word its closest too they read, when read correctly they earn a point. However, it’s not that easy. Next to each word write a ‘loser word’. When they hit this ‘loser word’ they must do whatever it says. So you can write; sing, dance, dog, elephant, chicken and so on. It really is a good one for getting the class moving and laughing whilst learning new words.

4. Word-race

Teams again. Once all the new words have been taught choose a student from each team to come to the front you then read a word or sentence and they have to spell or draw, (depending on the age), the new word. Easy, quick but also very competitive at times, so do your best to keep things light hearted and fun.

5. Lost words

Similar to ‘word-number’, write the new vocal on the board then write 1- however many, along the bottom of the board, link each word up to a number but make the path a scribbly one and try to make it difficult for them to read. Then choose 2 students and say a number, first one to read gets the point/prize.

There you have it, 5 games that actually work in class that require no tools and can be set up in a heart beat.

We hope you enjoyed reading this post. Remember to share with your friends and fellow teachers. Do you have anything to share? If so, get in touch!

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