Category Archives: Young learners

Review with ‘World Cup Vs Pac-man Catch-up’

Final term tests are approaching fast for students in Japan, so now is a perfect time to review previous lessons.

I’m not going to take credit for the following game.  One of the fellow Interac’s in Kochi-Ken kindly shared this one with us at the last Shikoku meeting.  All I have done is used my Pac-man characters from Pac-man ping-pong and changed the name of the game to fit.

At first I didn’t realise how much of a hit this game would be.  My most rowdy of classes were completely engaged.  I can safely say this one was a complete success for me.

It went so well I thought I’d use it as a warm up in each of my elementary classes.   The response was even better.   I also think the students good behavior had a lot to do with the beautiful weather and the fact that I was alive and  genki to take on a new day.

Like any good game you use, the best time to stop is when they want it the most.  That way they will be more excited about playing it again.   This one is a solid tool in my box for future review sessions.

Here’s how to play.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Mrs Pac-man (cut out, laminated, magnet stuck to the back)
  • 1 Mr Pac-man (cut out, laminated, magnet stuck to the back)
  • Chalk/Board Pen
  • Flash cards
  • A set of questions on the subject you want to practice
  • 2 teams of students numbered from 1~10 in each team (for a class of 20)

Directions:

  1. Draw a large circle in the centre of the board
  2. draw small circles evenly around the big circle (these are stopping points for the characters)
  3. Place Mr and Mrs Pacman on opposite sides of the circle (Horizontal)
  4. Draw direction arrows around the outside of the circle to mark the direction Mr and Mrs Pacman move.
  5. Ask any pair of numbers to stand up, e.g.  ” Number 5s stand up please.”
  6. Ask those students a question.  The first student to ping-pong with the correct answer moves their Pac-man one space.
  7. The object of the game is to catch the other teams Pac-Man to win.

I mix up the style of question asking and choice of students to stand, so as the students never feel they can doze off until it’s their turn.

When I wanted to ask some tough questions and bring the game to a close, I asked the teams to choose their strongest members.

Keep it fast and fun!

Variation:

Next class, I intend to use the hype of the world cup combined with this review game, however, using the mascot from this years world cup along with mascots from earlier years world cups.

You can find all mascots here

If you are looking for more world cup ideas, check out the ESL Imaginarium.  Most lessons and activities are media based, but there are some which you could use in any classroom. Enjoy!

If you can think of any other fun variations, please share.  I look forward to your comments.  Thanks ♥

Number + Colour(adjective) + Noun

I wanted to come up with a few activities to review numbers and food, but introduce colours at the same time.

This game is for beginners, 1st to 4th grade elementary.

I have made some cards which you can find in the title below for use in the following game. The cards are fully customisable

COLOUR + Food GAME CARDS

  • AppleBlue, Red, Yellow, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple, Black, White
  • TeaBlueRedYellowGreenOrangePinkPurple, Black, White
  • BananaBlue, Red, Yellow, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple, Black, White
  • PepperBlue, Red, Yellow, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple, Black, White

First of all I made 3 copies of the cards 1 set each for 3 teams.  I laminated them then stuck magnets to the back of each card.

After all the necessary drilling of new vocabulary, I followed with a TPR (total physical response) card game.

The first activity I tried out was a listening and speaking race.

Directions:

  1. Split the class into 3 teams and line them up in their teams at the back of the class with a good distance between the first student in each row and the board.
  2. Stick all teams cards to the board.
  3. give a coloured balloon to the student at the front of each team.  Have those students put the balloon between their knees.
  4. Call out  “one + COLOUR + food” (working with higher numbers = making more cards)
  5. The students with the balloons have to make their way to the board trying not to drop the balloon.  If a s drops it he/she has to go back to the starting line.
  6. When they reach the board they have to collect the card you asked for then run with the card and balloon back to their team and pass both down the line with each student in turn saying what’s on the card until it reaches the student at the front of the line.
  7. The quickest team with the correct card gains a point.  Put that card in an allocated points section for that team.
  8. Return the slower teams cards  to the center of the board.

This game practices Listening and Speaking, with pretty much the entire class being engaged at the same time.

If you would like to use the the flash cards I used as apart of the lesson drill please click on the (4 Food Flash Cards) title below.

4 Food Flash Cards

The next activity is to put into practice what the students have just learned, but this time using items which are easy to get to around the class room.

Using the same teams, I numbered the students from 1~6 (or however many are in each team)

Number ones stand up.

I call out a  number+COLOUR+item   e.g  “2 yellow hats”

The first student to run and return with the goods, saying what he/she has, “2 yellow hats” gains a point for their team.  (I used Mario Kart characters on a race track to mark their points.  The team to reach the finish line first wins stickers)

Infinitives pair work activity

Kitty:   What do you want to do?
Cow Boy:  I want to go to Tokyo to eat cakes

For this activity I have to thank mes English for this one.   They provide a perfect template for the game “Get 4” to practice many grammar points or for simple vocabulary practice.

The reason I am posting it today is that I have used it in my Elementary classes right up to my adult learners.  It has been a success every time.

Like any activity I change the rules to suit the abilities and needs of my students.

In the ideal classroom, all students behave perfectly and never cheat.   However, this is never the case, so I always look for the best ways to make this activity fool-proof.  Even this one can have it’s faults, but you have to try to trust your students a little sometimes.

Today I used it for practicing infinitives;


A:  What do you want to do?

B:  I want to go to Tokyo to eat cakes.


Infinitives GET 4

(image to follow)

Ingredients:
  • 1 worksheet per pair of students
  • an enlarged copy (I enlarged it to A1) to use to demonstrate the game to the class.
Directions:
  1. Split your class into pairs
  2. Give one worksheet per pair of students
  3. 1 student is X and the other is O
  4. Play RSP to decide who is A in the dialogue
  5. For the sake of explanation the student who is O starts by saying to X, ” What do you want to do?”
  6. Student X chooses the squares he/she wants, such as,  “I want to go to Tokyo to eat cake”
  7. Student O looks for that square then marks an X in that box for student X.
  8. The students switch roles.
  9. In short, X student marks Os square with an O
  10. O student marks X‘s sentence with an X

I find this variation of the rules cuts down the potential to cheat and encourages more listening and speaking.

I hope my directions were clear enough.  The students really get into this activity.  I found that even the slow learners participate well.  Success.  I just hope they can remember the structure for the next lesson without too much re-explanation.

Numbers Challenge – How Many Fingers?

This is a great game to practice numbers in any language.  I have used this one from 3rd grade elementary up to 2nd grade Junior high.  It’s another limited resource activity which works great as a warmer/filler or for a part of your practice within your lesson.

Ok so here are the rules:

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 4 students (depending on the difficulty and numbers you want to practice)
  • 1 or 2 hands per student (again depends on the numbers you want to practice)
  • 1 small score sheet for each student.

Directions:

  1. split the class into teams for 2~4 students
  2. each student holds up 1 or 2 hands made into fists (1 hand each for lower levels)
  3. In a team, all students together say, “3,2,1 – GO!” as if they are about to play ROCK SCISSORS PAPER.
  4. At the same time all students in the team display their fingers of choice from 0~10 (or 0~5 for lower levels)
  5. The first student to count and call out the correct number the fastest gains a point.
  6. This game precedes until the allocated time you have set for the game is over.
  7. Ask the students how many points they have, then reward the overall winners in the class.

My kids love this game.  Even the quiet kids really get into it.  I hope it works for you too.

Pacman Ping Pong

This esl activity is one of my favourite ways to make drilling new vocabulary with young learners more fun.

In my first blog post I introduced this game, but without the use of Pacman.

I have noticed that turning the black board into a computer game really sparks interest in the more troublesome of classes.

My kids really get into this game.  It can become a little rowdy, but since the students are enjoying the activity the noise level doesn’t bother me so much.

So, for the game:

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Cut out the ghosts, fruit, Mr and Mrs Pacman.  Laminate them then stick magnets to the back of each piece.
  2. Draw a big circle on the board
  3. Insert the ghosts and fruit into the big circle
  4. on either side of the circle, place the characters.
  5. Under each character draw 2 small circles (these are the fruit bowls to collect the winnings)
  6. Make some monochrome fruits around 10, just like the coloured ones, but draw question marks on the front.  On the back, write points ranging from – 6 ~ + 23. Put those fruits in the big circle among the others
  7. (Rules)
  8. Split the class into 2 teams then line them up in front of the board.
  9. You should stand facing the students
  10. When you show a flash card, the quickest student to say “Ping Pong” gets to answer first.
  11. If the ss answers correctly, he or she gets to take a piece of fruit from the big circle and place it in their teams fruit bowl.
  12. If the student chooses a grey fruit, the points must stay secret until the end of the game (he/she can’t look at the points).
  13. Each normal fruit and ghost is worth only 1 point.
  14. When the game is over, 1 student from each team counts their teams points.

This game works best when you keep it fast pace.  Have fun!!

REWARDS For Young Learners

Rewards are always a great way to promote positive reinforcement in the classroom.

Here in Japan the students are really motivated to collect stickers, which is why I have added this post sharing with you the sticker sheets I hand out to the students from grades 1 to 7

Please feel free to use them in your classes, or simply use them as an idea to customize your own, using characters you know your students love.

This year I have used a continued theme of  ‘Mario Kart’ in the classroom.

I have also printed and laminated all of the ‘Mario Kart’ characters in colour for use in team games for the students/teachers to easily mark points on the board.

They can also be used as players in chalk/white board soccer/baseball.

Another use is for playing ‘Shark attack’.  A game similar to ‘Hang Man’, but using a set of 3 stairs and a shark in the water at the bottom of the stairs and 1 Mario character at the top of the stairs (I will explain this game in more detail later, if you are unsure of the rules)

Anyway, below are links to my reward sheets.  I hope you find them useful.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Looking forward to hearing your thoughts

Suzie 😀

Game of the Day, ‘STOP THE BUS’

Below is a game I really enjoy playing with my students.  The joy about this game is that it’s completely adaptable for all levels of students and really challenges their vocabulary.

I play this often with my English club students, who really get into it, especially loving the competitive nature of the game.

I have attached a worksheet which you can download easily and adapt to your students abilities.

This is another activity which requires little or no preparation if you are looking for something effective and enjoyable for both you and your students at minutes notice.

Please click on the title to download;

STOP THE BUS


Ingredients:

  • 1 worksheet per pair of students

Directions:

  1. have the students make pairs (you can have them in 3s or 4s if you like)
  2. give each group a worksheet
  3. draw the first ‘stop the bus’ grid on the board with a space for each teams answers.
  4. Choose one student in the class to stand and say the alphabet in their head (I usually have them play ROCK SCISSOR PAPER to decide who does this)
  5. Have another student shout stop for the alphabet student to stop on a letter of the alphabet
  6. That student calls out the letter he/she stopped on
  7. Use that letter for game one (each grid has 3 games)
  8. When a pair/group of students completes all categories they have to shout, “STOP THE BUS”
  9. At that time all teams must write on the board the answers they came up with
  10. If any team have the same answer neither team gets a point for that word
  11. Points are only allocated to words which no other team has used.