After having discussed tips and tricks for lesson preparation, here is the last part of the list with some useful and enjoyable game-activities for YL classes:
• Scrambled words: another exam exercise that needs to be practised from the beginning. I found on amazon a wooden alphabet, which I used to revise the alphabet. Then I picked letters, mixed them and asked the boys to reconstruct the words. It can be easily done on the whiteboard with a marker. In the Cambridge exam, there is a visual input, which helps a lot, but it also turns the exercise into a recognition task and not a restructure one. I usually give them the lexical field: think of colours, for example, without giving more hint.
• Alphabetical order: an exercise to follow up the scrambled words can be to organize the words in alphabetical order. This is a simple task if somebody knows the alphabet well, but it’s really challenging when somebody is learning it. It checks the knowledge of the alphabet and even makes it more interesting involving the second or third letters.
• Blind map: I also like geography exercises. I was not good at geography at school, but was not my fault. Not even my teachers’ fault. I hated our books. It listed everything about industry and agriculture, but honestly, who cared? Animals, beaches, interesting stories about pirates or inventions would have been more useful to grab my attention. And this is what I try to do. We ‘travel’ to Egypt and talk about the Nil crocodiles and take a look at the last PlayMobile pyramid (cool!). Or we ‘go’ to Denmark to play with LEGO. They will remember these, but might not know whether people in Egypt grow aubergines or not.
And last but not least: Testing in a different way:
One golden rule is that you need to test your students as they were prepared (or prepare them as they are going to be tested). So if a course is based on games, then the testing process needs to be a game too. I found this exercise very good:
• Pass the hat, otherwise…: I asked the boys to sit in a circle and I put on some dance music and a hat onto my head. I explained that they had to pass the hat to their neighbor on their right, while they heard the music. Once I stopped the music, the student who had the hat on his head or in his hand, had to answer to my questions. The questions were previous exercises: a sheet with different vehicles and the candidate had to name all of them or numbers they had to call out, etc. I checked most grammar and vocabulary points and I checked everybody. Obviously, this can be done in a small group, in a bigger one you can concentrate onto one or two syllabus points. But the thing is, they have so much fun that they don’t even notice that are being tested.
• Random tasks: another great idea is to set up a box with random tasks. You can use this for testing, but also for simple punishment, for example for missing homework or poor conduct. The student needs to pick a card from the box with a task on it, like: tell me the alphabet, count from 10 to 0, sing a song, name 10 animals, etc. This can also be linked to the reward chart and if the student cannot answer the question, they can even lose a hard earned point.
The ideas above are not my ideas, they come from different sources, like BusyTeacher, Education.com and some ideas even from the British Council newsletters. They have in common that they are successful to make any superhero play and learn at the same time.