3 Games for ELL Teachers

1. Board Race

Board Race is a fun game that is used for revising vocabulary, whether it be words from the lesson you’ve just taught or words from a lesson you taught last week. It can also be used at the start of the class to get students active. It is a great way of testing what your students already know about the subject you’re about to teach.

  • Why use it? Revising vocabulary; grammar
  • Who it’s best for: Appropriate for all levels and ages

How to play:

First, watch this helpful video of real teachers using this game in the classroom:

This is best played with 6 students or more – the more, the better. I’ve used it in classes ranging from 7-25 years of age and it’s worked well in all age groups. Here’s a step by step explanation:

  • Split the class into two teams and give each team a colored marker.
  • If you have a very large class, it may be better to split the students into teams of 3 or 4.
  • Draw a line down the middle of the board and write a topic at the top.
  • The students must then write as many words as you require related to the topic in the form of a relay race.
  • Each team wins one point for each correct word. Any words that are unreadable or misspelled are not counted.

2. Where Shall I Go?

This game is used to test prepositions of movement and should be played after this subject has been taught in the classroom. This game is so much fun but it can be a little bit dangerous since you’ll be having one student in each pair be blindfolded while the other directs them. So make sure to keep your eyes open!

It is also excellent if you’re teaching teenagers.

  • Why use it? Prepositions; Speaking and Listening
  • Who it’s best for: All ages and levels

How to play:

  • Before the students arrive, turn your classroom into a maze by rearranging it. It’s great if you can do this outside, but otherwise push tables and chairs together and move furniture to make your maze.
  • When your students arrive, put them in pairs outside the classroom. Blindfold one student from each pair.
  • Allow pairs to enter the classroom one at a time; the blindfolded student should be led through the maze by their partner. The students must use directions such as step over, go under, go up, and go down to lead their partner to the end of the maze.

3. 20 Objects

Test your students’ memories and vocabulary at the same time with this fun game. All you need is a clear desk and 20 common items from around the classroom. You can even grab things from your backpack or purse.

  • Why use it? Vocabulary; Speaking and Listening
  • Who it’s best for: Appropriate for all levels and ages

How to play:

  • Arrange the objects on the desk and let students gather around to look at them.
  • Cover everything with a sheet (or something similar) after one minute and send everyone back to their seats.
  • Each students should write out as many items as they can remember on a piece of paper, all in English.
  • When everyone is done, write a list of the items on the chalkboard and allow students to self-correct.

Alternatively, you can call out the objects and give a point (or special treat) for each one that is correctly written.

Sources: Gooverseas.com and Fluentu.com

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