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Abbreviations and acronyms are everywhere! They are so common that we often forget, or don’t realize, we’re using an abbreviation or acronym. Learning what they mean is an essential part of vocabulary development, especially for English language learners living in an English speaking country. This fun, easy to prepare, easy to play game is perfect for practicing “translating” common (and a few not-so-common) abbreviations and acronyms into their full names. The cards are divided into three sections: abbreviations, acronyms, and social media / SMS abbreviations. You can decide to use one set, two sets, or mix all three together.
To prepare the game:
1. Print and laminate one game board for every 2-4 students. The game is best when played with four students per group, but it works fine in pairs as well. It will work with only three players per group but one player ends up with a bit of an advantage.
2. Print, laminate, and cut the cards—one set per group. I put each set on a different color of cardstock so I can quickly separate them when I choose. Place the cards in an envelope or other container (I’ve used old peanut butter and similar containers and these work great.). It just needs to be something students can reach their hands in and draw cards out one at a time.
3. Print the glossary for students to reference as needed. You’ll need one per group. I usually do this on regular paper.
4. Gather dry erase markers—one per student, each student in the group will need a different color.
1. Students each choose a start square and mark it with their color. Some of my students just make an X, others prefer to color it in all the way.
2. The first student draws a card from the envelope/container and reads the abbreviation or acronym aloud. (This is a great chance to practice pronunciation and remind students to put the stress on the last letter.) He/she then states what the abbreviation/acronym represents. If needed, another student can check the glossary for the answer.
3. If the answer is correct, the student claims a square on the game board and records his/her points (I give my students dry erase boards for this or tell them to use a piece of scrap paper.). The claimed square MUST share at least one side with a square he/she has already claimed (for the first turn that would be the start square). The card is discarded and play continues. If the answer is not correct, the card is discarded and the turn is forfeited.
4. If a student is no longer able to claim any more squares, he/she is out of the game. Once no one else can claim any more squares, the game is over. Students add up their points and the winner is the person with the highest total score.