Middle School EFL/ESL Games

Three Kingdoms

Three Kingdoms ESL Classroom Game

20-25 minutes Groups of 3-5 Make questions with Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How

Preparation for the Three Kingdoms Game:

For this game you will need to prepare 3 sets of cards:

1) Cards with question words including a card that has the word “China” on it.  You should have 5 to 10 copies of each question word but only have one China card.

2) Army cards (with just the text “10 Attack Points” written on them). You need 30 to 40 of these.

3) Castle cards ( with just the text “50 Defense Points” written on them. You only need 10 to 15 of these.

Kingdom names can be written on the board and points tallied and calculated on the board as well.

You will mix up the question word cards and have them on the table for the students to come up and choose. You will keep the Army and Castle cards with you to give to the teams as they progress.

Game Play for the Three Kingdoms ESL Classroom Game:

  1. Place a number of cards with the words “Who,” “What,” “Where,” “When,” “Why,” and “How” face down
  2. Among the cards is a “China” card
  3. Divide the class into three groups and designate them as one of the ancient Korean kingdoms: Shilla, Baekje, and Goguryeo
  4. All “kingdoms” start with 100 points
  5. Groups take turns flipping over and one card at a time and make a question with the word.
  6. For every correct question they make, they get an “Army” cards, which has 10 attack points.
  7. For every third correct question, they get a “Castle” card which has 50 defense points. (adds to the 100 they started with)
  8. After making a correct question, groups can choose to take an Army card OR they can choose to use up their army cards to attack another group and destroy their points”
  9. When a team wants to attack you ask them: Who do you want to attack? Then they must respond with the name of another kingdom or if you want to make them use a full sentence (Ex. We want to attack the Shilla Kingdom)
  10. When they attack they give you as many Army Cards (worth 10 attack points each) as they have (or as many as they want) and the defending team will lose the same number of points. (Ex. Shilla has 100 points + 1 castle card so 150 defense points and Baekje attacks with 4 army cards now Shilla has only 110 points)
  11. Continue playing until one team has destroyed all other teams points and they are declared the winner.
  12. However, whoever turns over a “China” card will cause ALL groups to lose one Castle (-50 points) and ALL their Army cards! (essentially re-setting the game)

Variations to this ESL Game:

  • Make smaller groups and include other “kingdoms” such as Gaya and Mahan
  • If you are teaching in other countries change names
    • For example, if you are teaching in China, you can change the “Kingdom” names to states or dynasties in Chinese history and have the “Huns” or “Mongols” as the killer card
  • Include other question words, not just the standard who, what, where, when, why, and how
  • Put grammar or trivia questions on cards
  • Assign each group a “capital city” as a starter castle and city names or specific castle names to “castle cards,” this way you can also “Who do you want to attack?” and “Where do you want to attack?” or “What do you want to attack?”

 

ESL Games: Words in Words

15-30 minutes Teams of 3-4 Use the letters of a long word to spell smaller words

  • Have each time submit words one at a time and write them on the board, with no duplicate words allowed
  • Words that every team has are omitted and have no point value
  • Simply have teams hand in word sheets and tally scores
  1. Make sure each team has a dictionary
  2. Write a large word or phrase on the board
  3. Give teams 10 minutes to come up with as many words as possible by using the letters on the board
  4. When time is up, one leader from each team will say the team’s words
  5. Each word is scored as follows:
  • 1-letter words = 1 point
  • 2-letter words = 3 points
  • 3-letter words = 5 points
  • 4-letter words = 8 points
  • 5-letter words = 10 points
  • 6-letter words = 12 points
  • 7-letter words = 15 points
  • 8 or more letter words = 20 points

Spell from a Bag

5-20 minutes Small groups of 2 or more Review vocabulary words and practice spelling

  • Use letter blocks instead of having students write their letters on paper
  • Use sentences with some similar words for more advanced students
  1. Divide the class into groups of 2-4 students
  2. Assign everyone a vocabulary word
  3. Have each student write their word out with each letter on a separate small sheet of paper
  4. Place all the letters in a bag
  5. Students take turns taking one letter out of the bag at a time
  6. If the letter is one found in their word, they keep it and give the bag to the next student
  7. If the letter they select is not one of the letters in their word, they put it back in the bag and give it to the next student
  8. For
    example, say S1 has CAT as their word, S2 has DOG, and S3 has COW. If
    S1 draws C from the bag (even if it is not the C that they wrote), they
    keep it and give the bag to S2. S2 draws a W, puts it back in the bag,
    and gives it to S3, etc.
  9. The first student to spell their word wins

Spin the Coin

10-15 minutes Groups of 3-5 Practice grammar structures and vocabulary words with flashcards

  • Use pictures for less advanced students
  • Have special flashcards such as ‘place your marker on any available card’ or ‘remove 1 marker from a card’
  • Only allow one marker on each card
  1. Lay out an arbitrary number of flashcards in a circle
    formation, making sure the edges of the flashcards are touching (i.e.
    no “holes” in the circle: taping the cards down helps)
  2. Give each player some marker pieces (colored chips work well)
  3. Prepare a ‘coin’ from cardboard, etc. with a line on each side, from the center of the coin to the edge
  4. Spin the coin in the middle of the circle and have the first student slam their hand down on the coin
  5. The
    line on the coin serves as a pointer and the student says the
    vocabulary word or grammar structure on the card the line points to
  6. If they are right, they place one of their markers on the card
  7. The first student to get rid of all of their markers wins

Team Spelling

No more than one minute per word A maximum equal to the number of letters in the target words (less students is fine though) To correctly identify vocabulary from images and spell the word As preparing a lot of words all the same length (e.g. you have teams of 5 students each: it can be hard to think of lots of 5-letter words without going outside the students’ knowledge of vocabulary) you can have words `wrap around`:
If you give a six letter word to a team of five students then the first student has to write down both the first and last letters.
Sitting the students in a ring can help them get the idea.

Put the class into teams.

The teacher shows a team a photograph or drawing and the team must each write down one letter of that word (without showing their teammates), depending on their position. The leftmost student writes down the first letter, the next student the second letter, etc.
e.g. the teacher shows a group of five students a picture of an apple.
The leftmost student writes down “a”, the next student “p”, the next student “p”, the next “l” and the rightmost student “e”.

Give them a short timelimit (ten to twenty seconds depending on their English level) and then have them all reveal the letters they wrote. Award one point if the word is correctly spelled, then move on to the next group.

The Hot Seat

45 minutes Any Communicate words without saying them

  • Use simple words like animals or days of the week for weaker students
  • Use the word ‘pass’ as one of the words on the board to challenge strong students
  1. Break class into 4 or less teams
  2. Place a ‘hot seat’ in front of the class and facing away from the board
  3. Each team selects a leader
  4. One team is up at a time and their leader sits in the hot seat
  5. Write ten words on the board so the leader can’t see them
  6. Number the words 1-10
  7. Each team member is assigned a word or words on the board
  8. Some team members may have more than one word
  9. Team
    members take turns communicating their word to the leader without
    saying the word with No spelling, writing, or drawing allowed
  10. Team members can say ‘pass’ if their word is too difficult
  11. Each team has 1 minute to get as many words as possible
  12. The team with the most points at the end wins

Typhoon

15-40 minutes Groups of 3-6 Practice making sentences with game board grid

  • Play with ‘Bankrupt’ instead of ‘Typhoon’
  • Use category cards instead of word cards
  • Make a minimum number of words for each sentence
  • Have students listen and repeat after correct sentences
  1. Draw a 6×6 bingo grid on the board
  2. Randomly write points in the squares
  3. In some squares, write ‘Typhoon’ instead of a number
  4. Stick words cards on top of the squares and cover the number/typhoon
  5. One team chooses a word card and must make a sentence with the word
  6. If they make an incorrect sentence, move on to the next team
  7. If they make a correct sentence, they get the number of points under the card
  8. Typhoons allow you to erase all the points from another team
  9. The team with the most points at the end wins

ESL Games: How Many Words Do You Know?

10-15 minutes Any Write down all of the 2-letter words you know

  • Three-letter, four-letter words, etc.
  • Words that begin with the letter ‘S’, ‘R’, ‘Th’, etc.
  1. Divide chalkboard into four equal vertical sections (columns).
  2. Make two rows of deskbound students one team
  3. Have teams pick a team leader to go to the chalkboard
  4. Leaders write all the two-letter words they know on the count of 1, 2, 3, GO!
  5. Team
    members help their leader by shouting out words and by writing words in
    big letters on paper and holding it up for leader to see
  6. Stop with 10, 9, 8,…0, STOP!

ESL Games: In The Mix

5-20 minutes 41690 Review and learn new vocabulary words by slapping flashcards

  • With very small classes, play in a seated circle with very small groups and place enough objects for everyone but one or two students in the middle
  1. Prepare a set of flashcards based on a theme (colors, numbers, months, etc.) with words students know
  2. Prepare another set of flashcards based on a theme with words students don’t know
  3. Break class up into two teams
  4. Have teams line up in two lines space in between
  5. Place a random object in between the teams (card, book, etc.)
  6. Review flashcards that students have learned
  7. Place one flashcard from the new set into the review set and shuffle
  8. Show class one flashcard and have them say the word
  9. Repeat with next flashcard in the pile
  10. When the new word turns up, one first person from each team makes a grab for the object (they can slap it if it is a card)
    1. Whichever team grabs/slaps the object first gets a point
  11. Elicit the new word and teach the meaning
  12. Insert another new word flashcard and call up the next students in line

ESL Games: Janken Slap

5-20 minutes depending on how many cards are used Groups of 2-4 Review vocabulary words/grammar structures by slapping flashcards

  • Use one flash card for each person in the group
    • 2 for pairs, 3 for groups of three, and 4 for groups of four
  • You can use alphabet letters for younger children and more advanced grammar structures, such as past tense, 10-word sentences, etc. for students of a higher level
  1. Get into groups of two and give each group a set of flashcards
  2. Place two flashcards on the table or floor and label them 1 and 2
  3. Explain to students that they will shoot rock-paper-scissors (ie Janken in Japanese)
  4. Have students shoot 1 or zero fingers instead of rock, paper, and scissors
  5. Students add up the thumbs and try to slap the flashcard with that number
    1. Flashcard #1 for one thumb, #2 for two thumbs, and so on
    2. Do it again if everyone shoots fists
  6. Whoever slaps the correct card first gets a point if they say the word or sentence on the card out loud