Board Games

Level Aims Grammar Time Materials
junior high school to senior high school Practice test grammar in a time-pressed situation, with stress relievers. any 35 mins Game sheet(s), dice

Use the blank game board to create a game to suit your needs. (You can see a very fine example of this concept at work in Congo Bongo.) If you elect to do the former, fill in the blank spaces using whatever material you wish the students to review. As with many board games, students roll dice or spin a 'spinner' to see how far to move. Have the students use their erasers (Keshi gomu) for markers, or some personal item such as a novelty pen top. If you elect to use the completed board, be aware that it was designed as a review of the year's work for second year.

Provide tasks each step of the way, whether it be actions, answers to questions, creation of sentences using task material, or whatever. Having some of the tasks require students getting out of their seats and moving about relieves some of the tension created by the excitement of the game. Excitement?!? Yes! It may only be a "stupid board game" to you, but it is a challenging task, outside of their normal routine, to the students. Laughter, screams (of delight), and animated discussion (in Japanese and English) are the norm.

Hints and cautions

+ If students cannot, or refuse to, answer or perform an activity, their marker returns to its last position.

* This is a good game for English club, since it is small and can be quite challenging. For classes, either use a board p/c'ed onto an OHP cell and divide the class into groups (each with its own marker for the OHP) , or give each group its own board, set of task cards, and spinner (or dice).

+ If one student or group has an obvious advantage over the others, put "Super Bonus Rules" on them; give them 1/2 the time to answer, or make them miss a turn occasionally.

* Get questions (or the patterns for them) from the text book. This gives the students a chance to understand what is being asked, gives them valuable review practice, and lets the JTE hear pieces of the text being used in class.

* Have the student whose turn it was last (whether playing in teams, or between teams) read the question for the student whose turn it is currently. This is good reading and listening practice, and helps keep everyone involved.

* Spinners are cheaper, more easily replaced, and harder to lose or throw around undetected than dice. They are also very versatile. E.g., include one 'miss a turn', or a double-bonus section.

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