Does anyone have any suggestions for games that work well in small spaces with a large number of students? (20-25)
I feel my games are old and repetitive. I sometimes loses the classroom because they sometimes never shut up, or act out of line by copying other students. I’m refering to my kindergarten classes of 3-6 year old’s.
I don’t have much support in this class, no assistant and the kindergarten teachers are not helpful.
My favorite game has always been using a key word such as ‘tiger’ to ask them to sit down quickly when they hear it. They read the content words loudly and follow actions. All my classes like this very much, but I can’t use it every class.
Another game they like is what’s missing. I read the content words on the board. I ask them to turn around and close their eyes. I remove a flashcard and ask them what’s missing. They will then tell me. It generally works well, because some of them try to cheat and it can be hard to monitor so many that the game is sometimes ruined.
The game guess who is also ruined by people cheating / giving up the person. A student stands at the front of the class and another reads the content word, the student then has to guess who it was. This game really isnt for this age group, but I’ve tried to use it before with mixed success.
Please share your game ideas with me.
There’s one game that comes to mind. I call it "I am an actor" vocabulary game. You can separate the class into several smaller groups of up to five people and ask the students take turns within the group, or, if you choose not to, have each student take turn at the board. You give them a picture of the vocabulary you want them to learn, and ask them to act it out for the rest of the class to guess.
You can read more, here:
Background in Applied Linguistics and Social Studies. Likes the creative process in using an L2. Chomsky addict. Obsessive-compulsive about cats. Active contributor to http://teachers.onlineenglishexpert.com/
It is tricky with 25 3-6 year old children.
For the game you mention where the children spot which picture is missing I get around the cheating by having all the children place their heads in their folded arms on their desks – all heads are down – then you quickly whip away one of the cards and tell them to look again.
You need some movement in the class but not too much or they will get over-excited. Use actions for vocabulary words and sing a song or make up a rhyme doing the actions for the words when they come up. Using that technique you can teach your target vocabulary effectively.
A good game with limited movement to introduce new vocabulary is one I call "Jump the Line". You put up two rows of pictures on the board and call out the words, if the word is to the left children jump to the left, and if to the right they jump to the right. If you have no room in the aisles for jumping the kids can use their arms to each side. Kids don’t have to know left and right, just to be able to point to the correct side of the line.
Another nice game is a type of pass the parcel, I call it Hot Potato in my book of games for preschoolers. The children pass round potatoes or use flashcards or any objects you have to hand that are not fragile. On passingn the item the children must say a short phrase or word. It cannot be a long sentence or too many children will struggle. You play music very softly and when you clap and stop the music those children with the potato (or item) stand up and do a forfeit such as a silly dance, name a vocabulary flashcard you show, do a press up. Change the forfeit for each time you clap so the children never know what they will have to do so there’s a surprise element. Also have all the children who have the forfeit do it together to keep the game moving along without any hanging around.
Putting on a well-known song is a good way to get everyone’s attention if you find the class are too excited – you always need to do actions to a song because it makes it more fun for the children and they aren’t just sitting there like lemons while the music plays.
Stories are always a real captivator with young children and they love to hear them over and over again. I recommend telling stories in every lesson, use the actions technique just mentioned. Once students know a story well, have one or two children at the front to act out dialogues as you tell the story – they can just do simple actions that are relevant to whatever is happening.
You’ll find a ton of activities just for that age group in my book – link in signature.
Stories, plays and skits, games, songs for teaching English to kids in classes and one on one. http://www.teachingenglishgames.com
When teaching younger learners and larger classroom sizes, it is usually best to vary the activities every 10 minutes or so. Otherwise, the kids tend to get bored and become less engaged. Of course, if an activity or game is going particularly well, then by all means, extend the time.
Below are some of the best ESL activities that work very well for my classes.
Print out traditional BINGO cards with different themes. You can use BINGO generator apps online to make the cards. Print them out and hand a card to each student or put them in pairs with one card to share. It’s great for practicing new vocabulary and testing listening skills.
2. Google Map Directions
This works great if you have a projector screen in the room. Bring up any location on Google Maps so the whole class can see. Put a start and end location on the map. Students then practice giving directions to other students on how to get to the final destination. Adapt it as you wish.
3. Big Numbers
Gather a collection of facts online about geography that contain numbers. For instance, the population of cities and countries works really well. Print out a blank fill activity sheet with questions like:
The population of Chicago is _______________.
Brazil has a population of ______________.
Students can look up the numbers on their smartphone or computer to find the answers.
4. Apples to Apples
This is great for reviewing nouns and adjectives. The traditional rules of the game apply. You can make your own cards or find versions online to print out.
5. Two Truths and a Lie
Get students to practice this classic game in pairs or groups. They usually like making up some creative lies that their classmates have to guess!
Always classic, these games are super versatile, let students practice specific vocabulary and expressions, and have the added bonus of encouraging a gleeful sort of atmosphere. Create a stack of words, phrases, concepts, or historical figures that your class has recently studied and try to mix levels amongst teams. You might like to experiment with playing as a whole class (where half competes against the other half) or in smaller groups with time limits.
This is a great way to get students speaking and practice your unit’s vocabulary. In Taboo, one student must communicate a concept or word to their partner without using a specific list of related words. For example, they must make their partner say “forest”, yet they are not allowed to use the words “tree,” “woods,” “Sherwood,” or “Black”. Once their partner says the word, the students switch roles.
When teaching learners this young it is hard to keep them focused and on task. However, telling stories is always a great strategy despite the age of your learners. The key to success in this case is how you tell your story. With the youngest, you must quickly get their attention, you will only have a minute or less. I would recommend you bring something new to the classroom. You can dress up as a funny character, you can bring realia, an object that they have never seen or a precious treasure chest that is locked. You will find out they will be hooked, then you can begin the story telling. Later, you will have to give them time to interact with the objects, you can create a circle and have them passing the object around.
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