Sunday, October 5, 2014
How to Host Your Own English Language Olympics
As the year comes to a close, celebrate everything that your students have learned with this fun review of the year’s English lessons. Here’s how to host your own English Language Olympic Games.
Use this event as a review of all your vocabulary words for the year. Write each word on a small slip of paper, and put it in a bucket. This will be your pool. Then, have one person from each team take turns “diving” their hand into the bucket and choosing a word. They will then have sixty seconds to write a sentence on the board, which clearly shows the meaning of the word they chose in their dive. If the sentence shows the meaning of the word, score five points. If it is also perfect grammatically, score another five points. Play as many rounds as you like and then award medals to the teams according to their scores in the event.
While Olympic riders race to complete a jumping course in the quickest time, your students will race all at once to reach the end goal while spelling words. In essence, this is a spelling bee, but in Olympic style. To prepare, scatter several papers around your classroom floor or another open playing area. Tell students these papers are like rocks in a stream, and they will have to step from one to another to get to the goal. No two people can occupy the same spot at the same time. Students will have to choose what they think is the shortest route from their starting position to the goal. Have teams draw for the order in which they will play. On each team’s first turn, they begin at a designated starting spot. Give the player a word to spell. If that person spells the word correctly, he or she may jump to a square of their choosing. Then the next player goes. If a person spells a word incorrectly, they must return to the starting point. If they miss the square on their jump (both feet have to land entirely inside the paper) they must return to the starting point. Students will have to decide if they want to spell more words and take more careful steps or if they want to take bigger jumps in hopes of getting to the finish faster. The first person to reach the end wins gold, the second silver, and the third bronze.
Firing arrows in your classroom probably isn’t a good idea, but you can easily set up a dartboard for this simple game. First, choose the skill you want to test. - it might be a particular grammar point or comprehension questions on something your class has read. Then set up your dartboard with a line down the middle. Label one side A and the other side B. When students compete in the event, ask each person a question on the target structure and give him or her a choice of answers between A and B. The student must choose what answer they think is correct and then throw the dart at that side of the board. Award one point to the team if the dart lands on the correct answer. If the dart misses the board completely, subtract one point from their score. At the end of the game, the top three scoring teams are awarded metals.
How many synonyms do your students know for common words? How many items can your students name from a given category? Find the answers in this simple vocabulary faceoff. Students from two teams come to the front of the room and face each other. You announce a category, such as sports. The players must then take turns giving an item from each category until one person cannot think of another one. The last person able to give an item for the category scores a point. Play enough rounds so each team has the same number of turns and award the top three scoring teams at the end of the event.
You can create other games of your choosing, or do an encore of in-class exercises after giving them an Olympic sounding name. Add up points for all the medals your students won, and award the final prizes in the closing ceremony.
What are your favorites?