Board Games

by Sophia McMillan
(Japan)

Board Games


Using board games in the classroom is a fun and engaging way of reviewing or practising language communicatively. There are many board games you can create with your learners using blank board game templates. These can be photocopied and enlarged to A3 size.

You can either prepare the materials yourself or get learners to prepare them for you (writing and using English of course!) Below are a couple of suggestions, they are obviously adaptable between levels and ages. Games can be used to practice collocations, idioms, tenses etc. Remember the learners must have the necessary language to play the game and make sure the games do not go on for too long. It is not always important to finish the game if the learners are moving on to a worthwhile activity.

Verbs

Level: Elementary

1 dice and counters for players

General review

Write a verb in every odd numbered space and a noun in every even numbered space (e.g. walk; chair; eat; pen) at every sixth space write a question word (Why? Who? When?

Which? How? etc)

Learners roll the dice and move according to the numbers indicated. When a learner lands on a square they have to make a sentence using the verb or noun which is true about them. If they land on a question square they have to ask a question for all the other learners to answer.

To make the game harder set time limits for responses or make learners miss a turn / move back two spaces if they cannot make a sentence.

Have you ever..?

Level: Intermediate

1 dice and counters for players

Practice of present perfect simple

Simply write various ‘experiences’ around the board (e.g. ride / motorcycle? write / poem?) – Learners roll the dice and wherever they land they ask the learner next to them a question by putting the verb in the correct form (e.g. Have you ever ridden a motorcycle?) Encourage learners to ask each other follow-on questions (E.g. Where did you ride it? etc).

Activities ‘Mime’ field

Level: Elementary to Intermediate

1 dice and counters for players

Action verbs

Make several ‘mime’ cards with ‘actions’ on one side. On the game board write ‘mime’ on every fourth square. On the remaining blank squares write a selection of place names (home; countryside; museum) and prepositions (on, at, in etc.). Place the mime cards face down. When a player lands on a place name they have to say what they do at / in / on that place (e.g. at the beach – I sunbathe; on the train – I read my book). When they land on a preposition square they have to think of a place and an action (e.g. at – at the cinema I

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watch films). If they land on the mime square they take a card and have to mime the action for the rest of the group (e.g. painting; running). The first learner to accurately guess what the action is and where it is happening can move forward one space.

Tasks

Level: Upper Intermediate

1 dice and counters for players

Language review

Take 45 words from units recently covered with learners and write these on slips of paper or cards and shuffle. Place them face down. On the game board randomly write in the following:

Draw it

Make a sentence

Describe it

Mime it

Put the learners into two teams (alternatively they can play individually). Learners roll the dice and take a secret word card. If they land on ‘Draw it’ they have to draw the word and elicit that from their partners; if they land on ‘Make a sentence’ they have to say a sentence using that word; if they land on ‘describe it’ they have to give oral clues to elicit the word from their partners; if they land on ‘mime it’ they have to mime the word and elicit that from their partners.

Stress!

Level: All

1 dice and counters for players

Stress patterns

Rather than writing words on the board write simple stress patterns (E.g. O○; ○O○ etc). When a learner lands on a square they have to think of a word that matches the stress pattern. Words can only be used once. Make sure learners know the stress patterns are from words or a topic they have studied recently.
How to teach English in Japan.

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