Back and forth
Divide students into two teams. Get a student from each team to stand up. You set the category i.e. days of the week or fruit etc. The students must say one word then the next student quickly says another related word. When one of them breaks the order (A: Monday B: Tuesday A: Wednesday B: Saturday), takes more than 5 seconds to respond or says an irrelevant word to the category they lose.
Give each student a blank sheet of paper. Have them draw a grid of 6 boxes. Tell them to write a word in each. Depending on the students’ level you can have them pick 6 months of the year or 6 common nouns etc. Call out related vocabulary at random. If a student has 1 of the words they can tick it off. The first student to tick off all of their words shouts BINGO and wins.
Make one student stand up and turn their chair around so that nobody can sit on it. Have another student move their chair into the centre of the room and sit on it. Ensure that any spare chairs in the room are also turned around. There are many variations of this game, largely depending on the ability level of your students. Generally speaking, the student sitting in the middle of the room will ask the student standing up a question, “what do you like?” and the student replies “I like playing computer games”, the students who also like playing computer games must swap chairs (the standing student must attempt to find an empty chair too). There will be a different student sitting in the middle every time. Another variation is where every student swaps chairs each time a question is answered.
Bring a student to the front of the class. Show them a flashcard or word without anyone else seeing it. Have the student mime the action and the rest of the class try to guess the vocabulary.
Use two copies of the flashcard set. Lay the cards out on the floor face down. Students take turns to stand up and turn over two cards- shouting out the card after they turn it over. If the cards match they get to keep the cards. Student with the biggest collection at the end wins the game.
Make a set of word only cards and do a copy. Lay the cards out on the floor face down. Students take turns to stand up and turn over two cards- shouting out the card after they turn it over. If the cards match they get to keep the cards. Student with the biggest collection at the end wins the game.
Crossing the lake
Draw a big lake on the floor. Lay out flashcards as stepping stones. Have the students start on one side of the ‘lake’ and take turns to cross to the other side. When they step on a card they must say the vocabulary. If they can’t then they ‘fall into the lake’ and have to start again. Add drama by creating a story of sharks and crocodiles lurking in the water.
Fast flashcard collecting
Reveal flashcards to the class one by one. The first student to say the word on the card successfully keeps the card. The student with the biggest collection when all the cards have been handed out wins.
Flashcard Show down
Two students are back to back holding one flashcard each in the centre of the room. The other students say ‘go’ the students both take 3 steps in opposite directions away from eachother and then turn around. The 1st child to say the word/grammar structure correctly on the opposing student’s flashcard wins. If the grammar structure is ‘What’s that?’ then the class can say ‘What’s that?’ rather than ‘go’ and the 2 students will take 3 steps, turn and say ‘It’s a……’ and state what is on the flashcard.
Put a flashcard in each corner of the room . Get all students into the middle of the classroom in a huddle. When you call out a word they must race by crawling, hopping, frog leaping, skipping, dancing or doing any other action to the correct card and shout out the vocabulary. Another variation to this game is to have one child blindfolded whilst the other students scatter to a corner/flashcard of their choice and the blindfolded child calls out a flashcard, the students at this corner are out. Continue until 1 child remains.
Shuffle your flashcards and hand them out to the students faced down. If you have more students than different flashcards make some copies beforehand. Stand at the front and say ‘give me…’ the student(s) with the relevant card should come forward and give it to you. You could integrate a points system for this activity.
Grab the card
Make 2 lines of students, one on either side of the room. Draw lines that they must stand behind until they can go. Have a pile of flashcards in the middle. When you shout out the flashcard, the two students at the front of each line must race to grab the right card and say it.
Bring a student to the front of the room, have them face the board. Place a card behind their back, displaying to the rest of the class. The student asks simple questions i.e. ‘is it a dog?’ ‘is it a cat?’, the rest of the class respond with a positive or negative answer.
Jumping on the card
Spread out the cards on the floor. Have all students sat in their chairs. When you shout out a word they race to the correct card, jump on it and shout the word 5 times. This works having students in teams and having head to head rounds with 1 student from each team competing to get a point.
Have students in two teams, lined up. The students at the front of each line should turn to face their team. The class say 1,2,3, go! The two students turn around and shout out the flashcard that the teacher has revealed. The first one to shout out the correct answer wins a point for their team. They then go to the back of the line and the next two come forward.
Get a rope and a student at either side to hold it stretched out. Other students line up at one side of the rope. They must say the word on the flashcard correctly then go under the rope without touching it. Start the rope at a reasonable height and lower it after every round. Eliminate students when they touch the rope while passing under it or fall to the floor during their attempt.
Bring a student to the front but command them to remain absolutely silent at all times during the game. Reveal a flashcard/sentence on paper to them. They must try to silently say it to the rest of the class- who are trying to guess what it is.
Students sit in a circle. Lay out the flashcards in the middle. Choose 1 student to be the memorizer. Each of the other students in turn choose a word to be theirs for that round but they cannot take the card from the middle. After all the cards have been selected, the memorizer must try to give the cards out to the correct owners.
Lineup the flashcards on the floor. Play music or sing some kind of tune whilst the students are walking in a circle around the cards. When the sound stops the students say the card closest to them.
Have a line of chairs back to back. Put flashcards down on the chairs. Play music or sing whilst the students are walking around the outside. When the music stops they sit down and the teacher goes around and listens to students saying the word on their chair. If the student cannot say it they are out. You can add another elimination element to the game by turning around a chair after each round so that the students can’t sit on it. The student left without a chair when the music stops is out.
Ordering the cards
Put students into pairs. Give them a set of cards each. Say the vocabulary in a random order and finish by saying “go!” At that point each pair must race against the others to assemble their cards in the order that you called them out.
Over and under
Have students stand in 2 lines. Give the front two students a flashcard each. When you say go they must pass it back switching between over their head and under their body i.e. between their legs. Each time a student receives the card they must shout out the word.
Pass the card
Get the students into a circle. Pass a flashcard around. Each student has to say the word then pass it around. To make it more lively try to have several cards circulating simultaneously.
Make two lines of students (preferably teams). You stand at the front. Reveal a flashcard to the two students at the front of the lines and the first to say it correctly wins and goes to the back of the line. The next two come forward. If you have a teaching assistant you can ask them to write down the points to speed up the game.
Stand your students on one side of the room. You stand in the middle. Reveal a flashcard for a couple of seconds and ask a relating question. Students can come up to you and whisper what they think is the answer. If they are correct they are allowed to move over to the other side of the room. If wrong they must stay on that side.
Roll the dice
Write the numbers 1 to 6 on the board and give each number a word or sentence. Students take turns to roll the dice. They simply say the sentence or word that corresponds with the number they roll. Depending on the level you can make it more complicated. For example, you can have 1= say a past tense sentence 2= say a future tense sentence 3= spell a word the teacher says and so on. Also you can allocate a certain forfeit to a number such as dance, sing or say a slightly embarrassing sentence 5 times. You can easily incorporate teams and points into the game.
Round the track
Assemble a big collection of flashcards. Lay them out onto the floor into a big square or circle track around the room. Every student starts on a different square. In turn they roll a dice and move forward the amount of times on the dice. They have to say a word or make a sentence with the card they have landed on.
Sit students in a circle on the floor with their hands on their heads. Drop a card into the circle. The first student to hit the card and say the word gets to keep it. The student with the biggest collection at the end is the winner.
Hold your pack of flashcards facing the students. Very slowly start to reveal one of the cards behind the front card and have students shout out what they think it is.
Get two sets of the same flashcards shuffled together, preferably smaller sized ones. Sit the students in a circle on the floor. Deal out the cards one by one, face down. Students take turns to put a card down and say the word. When a card is dealt that is the same as the previous card the first student to hit the card and say ‘snap!’ keeps the pile of cards. The student with the biggest collection at the end is the winner. Shuffle the pack and play again.
Give each student a flashcard and have them sit on their chair. Stand at the front and shout out the words at random. When their flashcard is called out students must stand up, say it then sit back down. Start slowly and pick up the pace. Have students switch cards after every minute or so.
The paper, scissors, rock challenge
Lay out a line of flashcards on the floor and have a team of students lined up at either side. The two at the front walk on opposite sides of the cards in the opposite direction, saying the vocabulary as they walk past each card. When both students have reached the other side, they do ‘paper, scissors, rock’. The winner receives a point. Alternatively, you can simply do a relay race format with this game in which each team must race to get all of their team to the other side after successfully saying all of the vocabulary.
Sit your students in a circle. Pass a flashcard around the circle and countdown from 15 seconds. The student holding the card at the end has to say it. Alternatively you could play music and when it stops the student who has the card has to say it.
Give each team a pile of cards with the alphabet/numbers/days of the week/months on. Time how long it takes them to put them in order. Repeat the process and make them try to beat their best time.
Place your flashcards around the room. Shout out ‘touch the (flashcard vocabulary)’ and students run to the correct card, touch it and shout it out.
Use chairs or a bed sheet to make a ‘tunnel’ for the students to crawl through/under. Make them line up in front of the tunnel. In turn they go through it and at the end say the flashcard that you are holding.
Flashcard head to head races
Draw a starting line at the back of the class. Lay out your flashcards at the front. Bring 2 students from each team to stand behind the line. When you say go one student per team will say the grammar point whilst the other runs to pick up a flashcard and shouts it out. After the race, make all the class shout out the full grammar point and vocabulary.
Get it, say it
On either side of the classroom put 3 or more flashcards. Have a student from each team sat on the floor in the middle of the room, back to back. When you say a sentence with one of the flashcard vocabulary in it they jump up and race to the right card, hold it in the air and say the full sentence or just the vocabulary depending on ability.
Knock it off
If your board has a ledge on along the bottom to hold stationary, line your flashcards up along it. Draw a line about 10 feet away from the board (depending on the age group). In turn students stand behind the line, say the sentence including the vocabulary from one of the flashcards. If they are correct they can throw a ball or small eraser to try and knock off one of the cards.
Get students in a circle. Give one student a ball. They start by asking another student in the circle a question then throwing them the ball. The receiver answers the question then passes the ball to another student and asks a question.
Have students in a circle. Write a sentence on the board. Throw a balloon in the air. The first student to hit the balloon says the first word of the sentence; the next student says the second word and so on.
Have students in a circle. Bring one into the middle and blindfold them. Spin them round 5 times then have them point to a student and begin a conversation. They should try to guess who they are talking to by listening carefully to the voice.
Duck, duck, goose
All students sit in a circle on the floor. 1 student ‘Bob’ stands up and taps the head of each student whilst saying the phonic or letter ‘g, g, g, g, g’ then on 1 student ‘Bob’ will tap their head and say the word for the phonic or a word for the letter ‘girl’ this student should then jump up and catch ‘Bob’ before he sits in their place. If they catch him then ‘Bob’ repeats it. If they don’t catch him then they are the next person to tap the phonic/word.
Tell the students that they are ‘in the English language military’. Have them line up and shout out quick commands for them to follow i.e. ‘touch your head’, ‘say apple’. Make it fast and get them listening carefully.
Have students walking around the room. Randomly shout out a number between 1 and 8. Students must quickly form groups of this number. Odd students are eliminated.
Put your students into two lines. Stand at the front and say a sentence such as ‘how are you today?’ The student at the front of each line must go down the line and say the sentence to each student then stand at the back of the line. The first team to get back to the start position wins.
Put your students into one or more ‘trains’ by having them line up and hold onto each other’s shoulders. Shout out words such as ‘slowly’, ‘quickly’ to direct them around the room and so on.
Hide the Flashcard
One student stands outside the classroom whilst another student on the opposing team is inside the classroom and hides a flashcard with new vocabulary on it. When the student comes back in to look for the flashcard all students chant the word louder as the student gets nearer to the flashcard and quieter as the student moves further away from the flashcard to give the student an idea when they are near to the flashcard in order to find it. This is an excellent game for drilling vocabulary words or alphabet letters.
Students sit in a circle. Elect an action master. Have the first student perform a chant whilst doing the action. Go around the circle until it reaches the action master who then changes the action and passes it around.
Back to back
Put the students in pairs. Have them running/hopping/skipping around the room. When you shout out “back to back” they must find their partner and stand back to back with them. You can then develop it by adding “face to face” and “shoulder to shoulder”.
Split the class into two teams. Give each student a blank piece of paper and have them write their team name on it. Have them stand up and balance the paper on their head. Call out some actions and get them moving around. If they drop their paper they must freeze where they are. Another member of their team can pick up the paper and put it back on their head; whilst trying not to drop their own paper. Set a time limit of 3 minutes- the team with most people balancing their paper at the end are the winners.
Prepare some balloons with notes inside them before the class. Pass a balloon around the room. Each student must sit on the balloon for 3 seconds. If it bursts they must follow the instructions of the note inside it “dance” “say the alphabet” and so on.
Take a big blanket or bed sheet into class. Have students stand up and hold onto the edge. Put a ball in the middle. The aim is to toss the ball into the air and catch it in the blanket. Each time it flies up students must say a word or short sentence.
Students line up on one side of the room. Choose one student to be the bulldog. The bulldog is on hands and knees in the middle of the room. When you call “bulldog”(or a related word) they must run to the opposite side of the room without being caught by the bulldog. If they get caught they too become a bulldog and must try to catch the other students as they run across the room. If they reach the other side they have to shout out a piece of vocabulary.
Catch it/drop it
Get the students in a circle with one in the middle of it. Give the one in the middle a ball and tell the others to cross their arms. The ball holder must look at a student and say either “catch it” or “drop it” before throwing them the ball. If they say “catch it”, the student must unfold their arms and catch the ball. If they say “drop it”, they should keep their arms crossed and make no attempt to catch the ball. If they make a wrong move or fail to catch the ball at the right time they are out. Antoher variation is to have the student in the middle saying a word and certain words are linked to drop it and some to catch it and students should do the corresponding action for the word said.
Circle quick switch
Put your students in a standing circle. Select 2-4 pieces of vocabulary and assign them to the students. When you call out a word the students who have been given it must run around the circle and back to their position.
Choose a student to be ‘it’. You then say a colour and ‘it’ must find a person with that colour clothing on and touch it. The student who has been touched then becomes ‘it’.
Copy my chant
In a standing circle, have your students clapping a continuous beat. The beat combination is up to you, you can keep it very basic or mix up the tempo. One person is in the middle. They must think of a series of 4-6 words to chant in time with the beat. When they have one in mind they can stand in front of any student in the circle and perform their chant. If the other student cannot correctly replicate the chant, in terms of correct words and word order plus in time with the beat sequence; they are the next student in the middle.
Before you start, tell the students that every word with a certain number in it (i.e. 5, 15, 25) is to be changed to a word such as ‘apple’ or ‘monkey’. Go around the room counting up to 100 or down from 100. If a player fails to substitute the number for the word they are out.
Get the students to push themselves off the floor, facing the ceiling, on their hands and feet (in a crab position). Have them drill vocabulary or ask them questions. If their body touches the floor they are out.
Do it now
Sit the students in a circle. Choose one to stand in the middle and start performing an action i.e. hopping, dancing and so on. Whilst doing this they can tap other students on the head and say “come and… with me now”. The students who have been tapped get up and join in with the action. At some point you call out “stop doing it”! Now the students must race to sit back in the circle. The last one to sit down is now the head tapper in the middle.
Give each student an empty cup. Make them stand up and balance the cup on their head upside down. Have them do actions orTPR. The last person to remain with the cup still on their head is the winner.
In your class select 2 people to be ghosts. Give the others 10 seconds to find a spot in the classroom and stand still. Then instruct the non ghosts to cover their face with a book or just close their eyes (watch out for cheating). The ghosts must stealthily walk up to someone and hold their hand above their target’s head for 5 seconds. The non ghosts can save themselves by saying ‘is there a ghost in the room?’ (or another relevant phrase). If they fail to do so they become a ghost.
Students stand in a circle. Give one a handkerchief and have them walk around the outside of the circle. They must try to drop it and try to complete a full lap of the circle without being detected. If detected, the student who has the handkerchief behind them must try to catch the dropper before they can re-enter the circle. If they cannot catch them, they become the dropper.
Choose a person to come to the front of the room. Either blindfold them or have them cover their face with a book. Tell the rest of the class to switch chairs. Have one of the others say “hello”/ ”good morning” or any phrase depending on the ability level of your students. If the person at the front successfully guesses who said it then they switch places with the speaker. If they can’t, gesture a different student to say a phrase. Encourage your students to try and disguise their voices.
Put the students into pairs. Have one being the horse and one being the jockey (i.e. riding on their back). Place flashcards around the room. Call out words and have them race each other to grab the right card and shout it out. Be sure to make the bigger students the horse.
Pass around a ball or other object. Turn and face the wall. When you say stop the person holding it has to say a sentence. Alternatively, pass a flashcard around and then they have to say the word or a sentence with the word in.
Form two lines with one team on each side and students facing each other. Have them sit down, stretch out their legs and touch feet with the person opposite. Give each pair in the ladder a number or word. When you call out their word, the pair must jump up, hop through the ladder one way then turn around at the end, run down the outside, hop through the bottom part of the ladder and sit back in their position. The first student to do so wins the point for their team.
Students are standing in a circle. One is in the middle spinning around with their arms stretched out and pretends to be the hurricane. You then shout out a sentence such as “all the girls switch” or “if you like football switch”. The students who your sentence applies to must switch positions by running through the middle. If the furricane catches one of them they then become the hurricane.
Stand your students in a line. Have one of them stand facing the board, at the front of the class. Instruct the rest of the class to change position in the line and quietly take one student (or even teaching assistant) out of the room. Tell the one at the front to turn around and give them 10-20 seconds to guess which person has been ‘taken’.
Two equal circles are formed- one inside the other. The student each person is facing in this starting position is their partner throughout the game. Play some music or sing. During this the inner circle rotates clockwise and the outer circle spins anti clockwise. When the music stops the inner circle must get into the horse position and their partner from the outer circle must climb on their back in the jockey position. The last pair to get into this position is eliminated.
Lions and tigers
Split the students into 2 teams- lions and tigers. Have them in the middle of the room in two lines about 4 feet apart facing each other. Draw a ‘safety zone’ on either side of the room. Stand at the side and shout out either ‘lions’ or ‘tigers’. The team you shout out must try to run to the safety zone with the other team trying to catch them. If caught the student joins the opposite team.
Nice to meet you
Students are stood in a circle. One student walks clockwise around the outside. At any point they can tap another student on the back. This student must turn around, shake their hand and say “nice to meet you.” The student who is ‘it’ responds “nice to meet you too”. ‘It’ then runs around the circle clockwise whilst the student who was tapped on the back runs anti clockwise. The aim is to beat the other student to the now open place in the circle. The student who is left outside the circle becomes/remains ‘it’.
Race against the ball
Students are in a circle. One sits in the middle each round. Give them a category then give a ball to a student in the circle. The student in the middle must say as many related words as they can before the ball is passed all the way around the circle. Count how many each player can say. After everyone has been in the middle, the player with the most words during their round is the winner.
Students sit in a circle on the floor. Give them a word or piece of vocabulary related to the lesson topic each. If you are teaching fruits, give them a fruit each. You remain standing, walking around the room and reading out a story. When the students’ word is mentioned in the story they get up and follow you around the room. When you shout “panic” they must quickly run and sit back down into the circle. This is a good test of their listening skills.
Say it quickly
Set a category for the students to follow (perhaps the vocabulary set from that lesson). For lower levels it can be something like fruit and for higher maybe something like adjectives. Pick a student to be ‘it’. ‘It’ must try to tag a student but the others can exempt themselves by saying a word from the category as ‘it’ comes towards them. If a student can say a word then ‘it’ must go for someone else. If the target can’t and they get tagged then they become ‘it’.
Students make a line facing one direction. Have them hold onto each other’s shoulders or waist. When you say go the ‘head’ of the snake (student at the front) has to catch the ‘tail’ of the snake (student at the back). If the link is broken or if the head cannot catch the tail then this students goes to the back.
The class stand in a circle. One student is in the middle and is ‘it’. They walk up close to any student in the circle and ask a question i.e. “what do you like?” The other student responds appropriately. At any point two or more students can try to switch places with each other while ‘it’ is distracted. ‘It’ must try to steal a place in the circle and force one of the attempted switchers to be in the middle.
Tell me their name
Stand your students in a circle with one in the middle. The student in the middle points to a person in the circle and says either “RIGHT, what is their name please?” or “LEFT, what is their name please?” The student being pointed at must say the person on their right or left’s name before the student in the middle can finish their sentence or they are eliminated. If they confuse right and left they are also out. This game can be easily adapted to different grammar points.
Put your students into small groups. Have them stand together in a circle with their closed fist in the middle. Count down from 5 seconds. The students then decide whether to stick up neither of their thumbs, just one of them or both. The group must then race to count how many thumbs are up as a whole and shout out the number.
Have all the students stand up. Set a category i.e. kinds of drink. Call out words and after each word do the action for the category. If the word is not in the category and the students copy your action or if your word does fit the category but they don’t do that action then they are eliminated.
Wink of death
Line the students up against a wall, facing the wall. Tap a student on the back who then becomes the murderer. Students walk around the room, when the murderer winks at the other students they wait 5 seconds then fall to the floor dead. At any point one player can accuse another by saying “I think you are the murderer/killer”. If the accusation is wrong both players die.
3 legged races
Set up a race track in the class. Bring pairs of students up to the front, have each pair stand side by side. Tie one students right leg to the others’ left or vice versa, using rope or something else. Have them race against other pairs, each time their ‘shared leg’ hits the floor they have to say a word.
Get all students on one side of the room. Stand out of the way with a soft ball. Shout out a piece of vocabulary and make them run from wall to wall doing the actions i.e. animals. As they run across the room throw the ball into the crowd and whoever is hit first is eliminated.
Set out your flashcards in a straight line along the floor, with about 3 feet gaps. Use a big sized ball. Draw a start line on one side. Have them control the ball with their feet in a zigzag fashion through the flashcards. Each time they pass a card they say the vocabulary. At the end they pass the ball back to the person at the front of the line and run to the back of the queue. You can use 2 sets of cards and have teams competing in a relay race.
Balloon volley ball
Divide the classroom into two equal halves. Use a row of chairs as a dividing line through the middle. Put a team on either side. Blow up a balloon and give it to one team. The aim is to hit the balloon over to their opponent’s side and make it touch the floor on the opposite side of the fence to gain a point. Set a theme or category, each time a student hits the balloon they say a related word. Penalise them for not doing so.
Students stand up. Cover your eyes with one of your hands and tell them you are going to catch them, with your eyes closed so they must try to run away. When you catch a student ask them a question i.e. a recent grammar point. Alternatively when you catch them if they are incorrect, they become the blind student.
Card heads races
Stand your students at side of the room. Give out flashcards or pieces of paper with vocabulary written on them to balance on students’ heads. Tell them they have to race to the other wall and back 5 times whilst balancing the paper on their head. If (when) it falls on the floor they have to say the word or make a sentence using their word- depending on ability level.
Assemble your students in a small circle on the floor. Hold your stack of flashcards behind a book and don’t let them see what is coming. Throw a flashcard in the middle and say the word. The first student to slap the card and shout out the word gets to keep it. Throw in some bluffs to make it more interesting i.e. say ‘apple’ and put down a ‘banana’ before picking the card back up. When all the cards have been thrown down count up who has the most and give them points. Take back the cards and start the next round. It’s best to pretend certain students won even though they didn’t to encourage them and distribute the points fairly.
Use chairs to create a big maze in your classroom. Place flashcards around the maze. Get the students on their hands and knees. Shout out vocabulary, they must crawl through the maze, grab the card and shout out the word.
Circle clap and chant
Students sit in a circle on the floor. Give students a flashcard. Go around the circle having them clap their hands and saying the vocabulary on their card. You can create a chant to accompany this activity and mix up the pace.
Divide the room into four squares. Count down from five, whichever square students are standing in is their square for the duration of the game- they cannot leave it. Give one student a ball. Ask them a question or have them simply shout out the vocabulary from the flashcards. If they are right they can throw the ball at any other student (including those in their own square). If the target is hit without them catching the ball they are out. However if they catch the ball, the thrower is out. The game continues until one student is left standing and is therefore the winner.
Lay out your flashcards on the floor in front of you. Sit down on the floor. Create a story such as “I’m a monster that is going to try and get you when I wake up. It’s ok though because you have a magic wand that can zap me and send me to sleep”. Lay down on your back then lift up to the seated position and pretend to be a monster. Have the students use their ‘magic’ to zap you back to sleep. Set the sound effect for their wands as a new word. When they have ‘put you to sleep’ lay on your back and pretend to sleep. At this point they can stand up and place/drop a flashcard onto you whilst saying the vocabulary from it. After random periods of time you spring up and play the monster again and the same process occurs.
Do this/do that
This is a Simon says style of game to warm your class up and get them listening. Do random actions, when you say ‘do this’ they must obey and copy you, when you say ‘do that’ they should ignore you and remain in the previous position. If they make a mistake they are eliminated.
Get your students in a circle on the floor. Give each one a flashcard. Go around the circle telling them what their card is. Get them to put their fingers in their ears and repeatedly say the word to themselves. Tap on the floor to instruct them to find a corner of the room and keep saying the word for 15-20 seconds then bring them back to the circle, go around and have each student hit their card in turn and say what it is.
Form a long line of all your students. Tell them to hold hands. You stand at one side and tell them that you are going to put your finger in an imaginary power socket. When you do this you will act out the shock and say a phonic or word. Shake your arms up and down to create a wave effect through the class, each student saying the sound or word as the ‘shock’ travels down the line.
Head butt the flashcard
To drill flashcard vocabulary, line your students up facing the front of the class. Start from one side of the room. Shout out and show the card. Hold it above the first students head, have them jump up and head butt the cards whilst saying the word. Go all the way down the line.
Sit down in the middle of the class. Draw a circle around yourself, just big enough to make your students have to reach out their arms to touch your head. Lay out your flash cards. Sit in a straight, still position. Ask the students to come and pick up a flashcard, say the vocabulary and place it onto your head. When a pile starts to build up on your head, dramatise a sneeze or cough and make them start again. When they do manage to pile all of the cards on your head, create drama and excitement by slowly trying to stand up whilst balancing the cards on your head. You can have the students do it in two teams, with a student sat down from group, once you have demonstrated how the activity works
Have your students stand in a circle with you in the middle. Stick out one of your arms and tell them to duck as you spin your arm around like a helicopter. When a student gets their ‘head sliced off’ they must say the grammar point or vocabulary etc.
Draw a hop scotch grid i.e. a series of square stepping stones with numbers or words on them. Shout out a word and one of your students has to hop from the starting square to the one with your word on it. Each time they land on a square in between they must say the word.
Create a race track in your classroom. Bring up a pair from each team to stand at the start line. When you say go one student from each pair gets down in front of their partner on hands and knees whilst the other leaps over the top of them saying a phonic or word. Next the students who were on the floor leap over their partners and the process is repeated until the first pair crosses the finish line.
Line up your students across one side of the room, one line in front of the other depending on how big the room is. Lead them through military style marches from wall to wall chanting vocabulary.
Pigs in the middle
Split your classroom into three rectangular sections, with the middle sections being slightly bigger than the two outside. Make three groups of students and put one in each section. The middle section group are the ‘pigs’. The aim is for the two outside groups to pass a ball back and forth without the pigs intercepting it. If they do get hold of the ball, the team that threw it switches places with them and becomes the ‘pigs’. Sit on the side and hold up flashcards for them to shout out before their throw or ask them questions.
Choose a student to start as ‘it’ or be ‘it’ yourself. When ‘it’ catches someone he/she asks them a question (this can be their choice or directed by you before the game- in which case write it up on the board). The student being tagged answers the question and chases the other students, repeating the question passing process.
Sit down game
Get your students stood up in the centre of the class. Go through a random sequence of actions i.e. ‘touch your…’, ‘hop’, clap’, have them shout out words from flashcards, do TPR or anything you want to drill. Be creative. Spontaneously shout out “sit down!” The last student to sit on the floor is eliminated.
Take a big bed sheet or blanket to your class. Spread it out and tell your students to grab an edge each. Lift it up in the air and get everyone to run under it. As it comes back down it will create a tent with everybody inside. You can do a multitude of activities from here. Even simple flashcard saying and repeating works well because students are too distracted and excited to realise that they are drilling vocabulary.
Wall to wall TPR
Get one group standing against one side wall and the others on the opposite side. Shout out the vocabulary (animals is a good topic for this game). Have them do the action whilst racing to the opposite side, trying to avoid the other team coming towards them.
Sit students in a circle on the floor. Tell them that you are a wizard and that you are going to cast spells on your students. Dramatise the action of you doing this whilst using a new piece of vocabulary as your ‘magic word’. Get students to do it to each other and pass it around the circle.
With your new vocabulary, put your students into pairs or small groups and have them create a simple song that uses the new words. Have a sing off at the end and choose a winning team.
Shout me to death
With a phonic or new word, tell your students that if they shout it at you long enough and loud enough you will die. Dramatise it several times and trick them into drilling.
Guess my cards
Have your students make word cards. In pairs have them lay out their cards, face down in front of them. The first student points to one of the opponent’s cards and tries to guess what it is. If they are correct the card is turned over. The student who guesses their all of their opponent’s cards first is the winner.
Get a clear, plastic folder. Put a piece of card inside with a small shape, such as a star, cut out of the middle. Place a flashcard into the folder, behind the card so that students can see a tiny section of it. Have them shout out guesses as to which flashcard it is.
Draw a line down the middle of your classroom, one section is positive response other is negative. Ask the class a question, they run and stand in the section they agree with and shout it out.
Go throw the flashcards and tell the students to shout out the words in a certain way i.e. with a certain emotion, singing the words, saying a different word purposely or anything else to liven up basic drilling.
Play some music. Have your students doing different actions. When they music stops they freeze in position.
Get students to do actions and choose one or two students to be photographers. When the photographers get in position to take a student’s picture they have to freeze.
Hold up a tissue and tell your students when you drop it they have to say the phonic or new word as many times as they can before it hits the floor.
Pass the word/sentence
Divide students into two teams. Have them stand in lines. Pass the two front students a flashcard or a piece of paper with a sentence written on it. They have to race each other to say the vocabulary or sentence then pass it back to the end of their line.
Get students to make word cards with the new vocabulary from the lesson. Tell them to keep one card on their desk and to put the others on the floor. Shout out ‘show me…’, the students who have the word you say must stand up and say it.
Find a vocabulary partner
Have your students make word cards with new vocabulary. Tell them to keep one on their desk and put the others on the floor. When you say ‘go’ they have to go around the class asking questions to determine who has the same card. Eventually they will get into groups.
Write 6-8 words on the board. Students from one team write a word from the bored, without showing anyone else and put their writing book face down on the floor. The other team chooses 3 words from the board. If any of the student’s wrote these words they must stand up and say a sentence using the word. The students who didn’t have their word guessed win a point for their team.
Crazy card grabbing
Get your students to write words on a piece of paper tear them into slips. Get your students to sit in the middle of the room on the floor. Collect all the slips of paper and throw them in the air. Students must try to grab as many cards as possible. When all cards are collected, go around the room and each student must say the word on their slips and pile them up. The winner is the student with the most slips so they get points for their team.
Basketball clean up
When an activity involving massive amounts of word cards is completed, hold up the rubbish bin and have them come up one by one, say a sentence then throw their waste paper in the bin.
Get students to make paper aeroplanes. Get a student from each team to stand at the start line. Get them to perform a drilling task. After doing this they throw their planes and whoever gets theirs the farthest wins.
Rather than just doing basic flashcard drilling, tell students to repeat the words in a happy/sad voice, by singing it, using the 4 Chinese tones etc to make it more interesting.
Allocate each student a number between 1-10 (depending on how many students you have and what numbers you have to cover that lesson) give 2 students the same number, 1 on each team. Teacher shouts out a number ‘5’. Then the 2 students who were given the number ‘5’ should stand up and shout ‘5!’, then sit back down. The student who is the slowest out of the 2 or who fails to stand up and say their number at all gives the opposing team a point. This can be played for as long as you want and with as many numbers as you want. You can even give each student 2 numbers to remember each.
Using 2 identical sets of flashcards, place them on the floor in the centre of the room in 2 separate line back to back to each other (like you would with chairs in a game of musical chairs) but not in the same order. Then split students into 2 teams and line them up on either side of the flashcards on the floor (a little like a snake on either side of the flashcard line). The teacher or a student should call out the word, phonic or grammar structure on one of the flashcards. The student at the front of each line must jump and sit in front of the correct flashcard, say it and sit down. Every member of the team should repeat these steps one by one then all students raise their hands. The 1st team to complete this wins.
Put a selection of flashcards on 2 whiteboards in the room and get 2 students, 1 from each team to stand on 2 marks on the floor that are an equal distance from both boards. Then a student or the teacher shouts out a word/phonic on one of the flashcards on the board and the 1st student to run to the correct flashcard, slap it and say the word correctly wins a point.
Zombie name game
Students form a large circle in the middle of the room. 1 student is in the middle and has to walk and act like a zombie and slowly walk towards another student saying that students name ‘Sally, Sally, Sally, Sally’ before the Zombie reaches Sally and tags her to become the next zombie she must call out another student’s name to avoid it and its then repeated with the next students name and so on.
Draw it race
Students are in 2 lines. Teacher whispers 2 different words to the 1st two children in the line from the flashcards or new vocabulary list. The students should then whisper this word down the line and the person at the back of the line should run to the board behind them and draw a picture of the word they hear. The 1st child to guess what the opposing team have drawn wins a point for their team.
Guess the letter
Get students into 2 lines, 1 behind the other, tell them to pretend to write a letter on the back of the person in front of them with their fingers and they have to guess which letter it is.
Teacher stands at front of class with flashcards. Students are in 2 lines. The two students at the front go first and face away from the teacher…students say ‘1.2.3, go!’ The 2 students quickly turn around and the first child to call out the correct answer wins a point for their team.
Separate children into 2 teams, Teacher and T.A hold up a blanket in the centre of the room, the 2 teams should gather on either side of the blanket. 1 child from each team should put their noise up to the blanket, after 3 the Teacher drops the blanket and the first child to name the other child wins a point for their team or wins that member onto their team. So the winner is the team with more members or more points.