English Communication Activities (card games) are activities for practicing English in a "real" situation (moving beyond call/response, etc.). The card game aspect involves using a deck of cards (printed by the teacher) to create a situation in which English can be used authentically. My games all include a custom PowerPoint presentation to introduce and demonstrate the game for the students. The PPT not only helps students efficiently understand the game clearly, but is also a vehicle for teaching game-related language.
All of the English Communication Activities are designed with the following three principles at their core:
1) Accountability: Students must show that they've participated in the lesson. This is done through taking notes on the worksheet and teacher observations during the activity.
2) Low-ability participation: Students of all levels must be able to participate, including the lowest-level students in the class. This is possible because the competitive elements aren't based on speed and peer-help benefits the helpers as well as those being helped.
3) Listening element: The activities must have a meaningful listening element (more than repeating what's heard, etc.). The students must listen and consider what is said in order to move forward.
The Skills Game CARD GAME is an activity in which students have a hand of cards made up of draw, sing, dance, and swim. The students must ask the other players if they can do one of the activities. When a match is made, the students put it into their match pile. This game provides an excellent opportunity for students to practice asking what other people can do without it being boring, tedious, or monotonous. Teaching students to use English for common interactions allows them to start opening up and using English authentically, moving beyond thinking of English only as an academic subject.
Unlike many games presented as teaching games, the process of this game actually focuses on the language used (both listening and speaking), instead of on beating the other players and gloating (or sulking, for the losers). I avoided games in class for many years because winning always seemed to become the central motivation and losing was disastrous. I then came up with the idea for these games, which do not focus on the competitive aspect, but rather on the language used within the games. I've never had issues with any of my English Communiation Activities with regards to overly-zealous competition or winning/losing, and students learn extremely well with these activities in the teaching mix (I try to use a range of teaching methods, including listening dictation, songs, stories, etc).
The lesson begins with an introduction of the game (An introduction to the necessary grammar and vocabulary are included in the PowerPoint that takes the class through the game directions). Students are then grouped and given time to play the game. The lesson is wrapped-up nicely by collecting the cards and reviewing the target language. After the lesson, students show a huge step in competence in using the language practiced in the game. An alternative to doing everything in one lesson is spending one lesson on the directions and teaching language associated with the game (e.g., It's your turn; It's my turn; Whose turn is it?; Speak up; Be quiet.), and then reviewing and playing the game in a second lesson.
This activity can be done in a number of different ways: pairs or small groups are the "normal" way, although you could expand that into progressively-large groups, or as a whole-class activity for zero-level learners.
The focus of learning is the grammar patterns "Can you ___?", "Yes, I can ___," and "No, I can't ___."; and the vocabulary "draw," "sing," "dance," "swim."
The product includes a worksheet (in single-sided and double-sided versions), printable cards, an animated PowerPoint file that walks everyone through how to play the game, an animated PowerPoint file to demonstrate how to group students, an animated PowerPoint file for teaching other game-related language in addition to the target language; and a TXT file with explanations and suggestions for teaching.
The material included in the sample includes about half of the PowerPoint files for teaching the directions, the single-sided version of the worksheet (not the double-sided option), and blank cards. The detail level of pictures has been reduced for a smaller file size.
Keywords: Skills, Can you _ ?; Yes, I can; No, I can't; draw; sing; dance; swim
Store: Daniel Jenne