Fighting the Winter Doldrums with Games

There are many large group games that prioritize communication and are perfect for the proficiency-based classroom. In addition, these games work to strengthen relationships between students and increase the intent to speak because they are fun.

You will find game ideas under the games category to the right. To escape the winter doldrums, I have added three new ones into my 8th grade French I class that I want to share with you as well.

Alibi A detective is chosen and he or she leaves room, next the person who committed the crime is chosen. The detective returns and starts asking “Qu’est-ce que tu as fait (tel jour) à (telle heure)?” The students answer one by one making sure to add in detail. The more detail the better because the second time around, the person who committed the crime changes one little detail, so the detective has to listen carefully. The others have to listen carefully as well because sometimes someone will say they did something with someone else and the story needs to line up. Ex “Je suis allé au parc avec Alexandra parce qu’elle adore jouer au basket.”

Celebrity This is a guessing game between two teams. To make your numbers work, maybe run two games going at the same time in the class. There are three rounds with the same names: 1. Describing the celebrity 2. Acting like the celebrity and 3. Using one word clues. Players start by writing the name of a celebrity on a slip of paper without showing anyone else. One team starts and picks a leader. The teams try to guess the names of the celebrities their leader picks from the pot, one by one for a minute, describing each. Switch teams and continue play until all the slips are used up. Then run the other two rounds with new leaders. At the end, count up all the points to determine a winner.

The Newlywed Game Students get in partners of two people who know each other well. The teacher helps the students who don’t have an obvious person to work with. Each player should have a piece of paper and a writing utensil. The teacher asks random questions that the students were not aware of beforehand. One student writes down her answers to the question and the other writes down what she thinks her partner will say. As a group go over answers of the pairs, and then repeat the process with the pairs changing roles. The goal is for the pairs to match answers. The pair with the most matching answers wins. From: Using Games In A Foreign Language Classroom by Amy Talak-Kiryk

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