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GAMES FOR YOUNG LEARNERSAgainst the ClockSkills: verbal description; vocabulary reviewGroup Size: 2-20Time: 5-15 minutesMaterials Needed: Vocabulary word or picture cardsInterest Level: 5-young adultAbility Level: upper beginning to advancedKeep a box of vocabulary cards in the classroom. (I usually write out each weeks vocabularywords on index cards at the beginning of a week, then add these to the box as I teach them.) Asan end of the week review or a filler for those last five minutes of class, I select a student, handhim or her the box and set a time limit of thirty to sixty seconds. This student draws a card fromthe box, then proceeds to describe the object, action, emotion, etc. written thereon to the class.As soon as the class guesses the word, the student proceeds to the next card, and so forth. Onepoint is given for each word guessed by the class. If a student does not know the meaning of avocabulary word he or she draws, he or she may skip it; however, one point is deducted for eachskipped card. This activity works well as either a team or an individual exercise. For addedpractice, you may randomly ask students to use reviewed words correctly in sentences at theend of each timed turn.Alpha TossSkill: identifying initial sounds; combining sounds to create wordsGroup Size: 4 to 30Prep Time: >1 hourPlaying Time: 5-20 minutesInterest Level: ages 4 to 12Ability Level: beginning to intermediatePrint each letter of the alphabet on a separate A4 sheet. In the lower right hand corner, assign apoint value to each letter. (I use the letter values from Scrabble.) If at all possible, laminate thesefor prolonged life.Purchase half a dozen bean bags, or create bean bags by filling old socks with dried beans,sand, etc., then tying them shut.Place letters in four rows, six in the first, seven in the second, six in the third, and seven in thefourth. Students then stand at an assigned line and toss a bean bag onto the playing area.Beginning students must think of a word beginning with the letter upon which the bean baglanded, then use the word in a sentence. Intermediate students should toss two to three beanbags, think of words that began with all letters, then use all words in one sentence. For moreadvanced students, you might have them toss all six bean bags, then create a word using asmany of the letters as possible. Points are assigned for each letter used.
Close Your Eyes!Skills: Describing physical appearance; asking and responding to questions; visualdiscriminationGroup Size: 4 to 24Prep Time: nonePlaying Time: 5-20 minutesInterest Level: ages 3 to adultAbility Level: beginning to intermediateLanguage used: "Look at _________." "Close your eyes!" colors, shapes, positions, articles ofclothingGame: Choose a student to begin. Tell the student, "Look at _______." Allow the student toexamine the person or object for about five seconds, then direct the student, "Close your eyes!"After the students eyes are closed ask him or her a question about the person or objectexamined. For example, you might ask, "What color is Sung-hos shirt?" or "Is there a box ofcrayons on my desk?" If the student responds incorrectly, direct him or her to open his or hereyes and inspect the object for five more seconds. Direct the student to close his or her eyesagain and ask another question. Depending on class size, you may allow students up to threeturns. If the student correctly answers the question, he or she chooses a player as well as aperson or object and asks the next question.Im Going to the Supermarket...Skills: naming food items, listing items in alphabetical order, identifying initials sounds, recallingitems in a seriesGroup Size: 2 to 36Prep Time: nonePlaying Time: 5-15 minutesInterest Level: ages 3 to adultAbility Level: beginning to lower intermediateChoose a student to begin. This student will say, "Im going to the supermarket to buy [food itembeginning with "a"]." The next student will then say, "Im going to the supermarket to buy [fooditem beginning with "a" named by first student] and [food item beginning with "b"].Play continues, with each student recalling all previously mentioned items and adding anotheritem in alphabetical sequence. If a student misses an item or cannot think of an item to add, heor she is out. The last remaining student wins.If play continues after all letters have been exhausted, students repeat all previously namedwords, then add a new word beginning with "a" and continue through the alphabet once more.For example, "Im going to the supermarket to buy apples and . . . zebra meat and apple juice . .."Note: The letters "q," "x," and "z" may be ommitted if you like. Or you may encourage creativity--quiche, a xylophone-shaped cake, zebra meat, etc...
"I Spy With My Little Eye.."Objectives: to describe common objects; to increase sensory perception; to verbalize sensorydetailGroup Size: 4 to 24Prep Time: nonePlaying Time: 5-15 minutesInterest Level: ages 3 to 16Ability Level: beginningLanguage Used: Classroom objects; colors; "Is it ____?"; "Yes, it is."; "No, it isnt."Game: Choose one student to be the spy. The spy looks around the room and selects andobject which he or she then whispers to the teacher. (With very young students, it might be betterto have them tell a teachers outside of the classroom.) He or she then announces to the class, "Ispy with my little eye something [color]." Students then take turns guessing the what the spy hasseen object (i.e. "Is it the teachers shirt?") Whoever guesses correctly becomes the next spy.In the CitySkill: Following oral directions to arrive at a specific locationsGroup Size: 4-12Prep. Time: 5 minutes [ready-made map]-1 hour [teacher-made map]Time: 10-30 minutesInterest Level: ages 3-adultAbility Level: beginningMaterials: two identical city street maps listing sites such as school, post office, departmentstores, hospital, churches, police stations, etc. (may be teacher created); two Matchbox carsGame: Divide students into two groups. Student from each group places his car on map at aprescribed location. Teacher gives directions to destination. (Example: "Turn right on to MainStreet. Go four blocks. Turn left at the church. Turn right onto the next street. Cross the railroadtracks. Take the next left. The supermarket is two blocks down on your right.") Other studentsshould monitor to see that driver follows prescribed route. (In one class, I gave each student 10tokens at the beginning of the game. Observing students were highway patrolmen who could finedriver one token for directional violations. Students got to exchange tokens for M&Ms at the endof the game.)In the DarkSkill: Describing how a given object feels; associating descriptive terms with an appropriateobjectGroup Size: 4 to 24Prep Time: ~1/2 hourPlaying Time: 5-20 minutesInterest Level: ages 3 to 14Ability Level: beginning to intermediate
Language used: Common objects; words that describe texture/feeling--soft, hard, rough,smooth, silky, light, heavy, small, large, cold, sharp, dull, etc.Game: Fill a box with textured items--a piece of blanket, a feather, a square of sandpaper, arock, a small pillow, a bean bag, a coin, a ball, etc. Blindfold one student. Quietly choose oneitem from the box and show it to the rest of the class. They must then give the blindfoldedstudent clues to help him or her find the object. For example, "its small. Its round. Its cold. Itsheavy," and so forth.Occupation, Please!Skill: identifying and discussing occupationsGroup Size: 4 to 20Prep Time: > 20 minutesPlaying Time: 5-20 minutesInterest Level: ages 5 to adultAbility Level: beginning to lower intermediatePaste pictures of people engaged in various occupations on 4 x 6 or larger cardstock, or writeoccupations on cardstock (if students can read).Select student to begin. The student draws a card and must assume that occupation shown.Other students ask yes/no questions in order to guess occupation. Sample questions might be... Do you work inside? Do you treat sick people? Do you work with children? Do you work in an office? Do you travel a great deal?Photographic MemoryVocabulary Objective: to review and remember vocabulary.Game Objective: to recall items, words, or pictures seen.Group Size: 4 to 24Prep Time: > 10 minutesPlaying Time: 5-20 minutesInterest Level: ages 3 to adultAbility Level: beginning to intermediatePreparation: Place a variety of small items or flashcards (word or picture) face down on a table.Cover these with a cloth or towel until playing begins.Game: Uncover the objects and allow the players a set amount of time (1-3 minutes, dependingon students ages) to memorize them. Players may not make any notes about the contents. Atthe end of the time, objects are removed or recovered. If players can write, they are asked to listas many of the items as they can remember. The student with the most detailed list wins. Ifstudents cannot write, they are divided into two teams. Teams form two separate lines. Thestudent in the front of the first line tries to recall an item he or she saw. For recall, one point is
awarded. If the student can also use the item in a sentence, a second point is awarded. Thestudent then goes to the back of the line. The student at the front of the second line repeats theprocess. If a student cannot remember an item, he or she goes to the back of the line and nopoints are awarded.Variation: If you are teaching phonemic awareness, you might have the student name the letterof the initial consonant sound instead of using the word in a sentence.Silly SentencesSkills: combining adjectives, nouns, and verbs to create sentencesGroup Size: 4 to 24Prep Time: > 20 minutesPlaying Time: 5-20 minutesInterest Level: ages 6 to 15Ability Level: beginning to lower intermediateCreate three sets of cards. The first should contain simple adjectives; the second, commonnouns; and the third, basic verbs. Following are lists of suggested words:Place all three sets of cards face down on the table. Make sure that the three sets remain inseparate stacks. The first student draws the top card and from any stack he or she chooses andreads the word on it. He or she then uses the word in a sentence. If the sentence is correct, thestudent may keep the card. Adjectives Nouns Verbs [color words] boy run [number words] girl walk short man sit tall woman stand long dog eat old cat shop young bird sleep new fish go kind home stop mean car write good bus paint bad truck sing wet park jump dry store dance hot tree play cold grass study big flower bake little game draw ugly class color pretty ball work first doll wash last pen clean
rich pencil cry poor crayon laugh smart book talkThe next student then draws a card from the stack of his or her choice and uses it in a sentence.As before, the student wins the card if the sentence is correct. If the student can use both theword he or she has drawn and the card previously drawn in a sentence, he or she wins bothcards.The third student draws a card from the stack of his or her choice and uses the word correctly ina sentence for the card. This student may win any of the previously drawn cards by using thosewords in his or her sentence as well.Play continues, until all cards have been disbursed. The student who has the most cards wins.Variation: To use this game with younger students, you may substitute picture cards for wordcards; however, this greatly increase prep. timeWho Am I?Skill: asking and answering personal questionsGroup Size: 4 to 30Prep Time: ~1 hourPlaying Time: 5-20 minutesInterest Level: ages 4 to adultAbility Level: upper beginning to intermediatePaste pictures of popular characters on 4 x 6 or larger cardstock. With very young children, youmay want to use cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Simba, Nola, SnowWhite, Donald Duck, and so forth. With older students, you may choose to use well-knownathletes, political leaders, actors and actresses, musicians, and so forth.Call one student away from group. Show the student a card. (Make sure that the studentrecognizes the individual on the card.) The student then stands in front of the class and his or herclassmates ask questions in order to guess who the student is. Students may ask questions like ... Are you male or female? Are you a real person? Are you a child or an adult? How old are you? Do you like sports? How often are you on television? Where do you live? How much money do you make? Who likes you more, children or adults?When a student correctly guesses who the student is, he or she becomes the next mysteryperson.
Suggestion: Collect pictures from magazines and newspapers or print from internet (especially ifyou have access to a color printer).Variations: Ask each student to bring a picture of him or herself to class. Make cards for each class using photographs of students in that class. Watch selections from a video. Create cards using characters seen in the video. Instead of using pictures, write out names for students who can read reasonably well.