Games for question practice
AN ESSENTIAL skill in communicating is the ability to ask questions. Students sometimes get lots of chances to answer questions but here is how you can get them to ask some questions themselves. These activities can be used with a whole range of levels.
* FAQ’s challenge
Step 1: Tell students to prepare information on a topic, e.g. tourist information for their town.
Step 2: Put students in groups.
Step 3: Let them brainstorm a list of six to eight frequently asked questions on the subject.
Step 4: Let the whole class pool their questions and discuss them.
Step 5: Students prepare the answers for the next lesson.
* Quiz question challenge
A quiz game based on recent vocabulary and topics can form the basis of this game.
Step 1:The teacher read aloud the answers from quiz cards.
Step 2: In teams students must guess what the question is. Allow conferring between team members.
Step 3: Award two points for getting the question exactly right and one point for providing a question which makes sense and gets the answer, e.g. if the answer is “21”, the questions could be “How many students are there in this class?” (two points) and “How old is the assistant?” (one point)
* Guess the object
Step 1: Divide class into groups.
Step 2: Guide students by providing the lists of objects yourself or specific question types to suit your classes.
Step 3: Each group makes a list of three or four objects. Tell them to focus on words recently studied, words for objects in the room or words for objects related to a topic e.g. home, studying, music, etc.
Step 4: One group must guess the objects of another group by asking questions, e.g. “Is it made of metal? Can you find one in this room? Is it bigger than this table?”
Step 5: Set a limit to the number of questions possible for each object, e.g. six to eight questions.
Step 6: Give a point to the team if the object is guessed within the number of questions allowed.
* Unscrambling questions
Give one question with the words jumbled up. The first pair or group to unscramble it correctly are the winners.
Step 1: Take four or five question types recently covered by students.
Step 2: Jumble the words of the questions.
Step 3: Challenge small groups or pairs to re-order. Run through the questions scoring two points for each correctly ordered question.
Step 4: Challenge students again to think of logical answers to the questions or to use a couple of the questions in a mini dialogue.
A spelling game
Step 1: Choose, in advance, the group of spellings to be practiced. Four to eight words are best, depending on the age and ability of the student.
Step 2: Prepare suitably sized grids. If two students are playing, each will need a pair of grids. Continue the vertical alphabetical co-ordinates down the second grid to avoid confusion between grids. See example below.
Step 3: Each student writes the same chosen words on a line in between their two grids. Check for correct spellings at this stage.
Step 4: One student hides the words in his top grid. Likewise, the other student hides the words in his bottom grid.
Step 5: Students take turns to say one square reference, e.g. B6. The other student says which of his letters (or nothing) is in that square. The letter or nothing is entered in the appropriate grid.
Step 6: The first student to find and mark the positions of all his opponent’s words is the winner.
This game can be played with a group where the teacher puts a grid on the blackboard and each student has one grid plus a list of the words that are to be found. The students take turns to identify a square and the teacher (who has prepared the word positions on a separate piece of paper) marks the relevant letter on the blackboard. The winner is the first student to find out the correct positions of the teacher’s words.
Step 1: Divide the class into pairs and give each pair a set of alphabet cards.
Step 2: Ask students to use their cards to make as many words as they can in a particular lexical set, e.g. parts of the body. Set a time limit, e.g. five minutes.
Step 3: Ask each pair in turn to say and spell one of the words they have made.
Step 4: If other parts have the same word, they take their cards for this word away, so that the same word does not get reported back repeatedly.
Step 5: Keep a score of how many words the students collectively manage to make.
Step 6: Remind them of any words that are part of the lexical set that they have forgotten.
Here are two more activities.
* Dictate words related to a story or text while students use the alphabet cards to make the words you say as fast as they can.
* Students choose six to eight alphabet cards, lay them on their desk and turn them over as you say the letters. The first student to turn over all the letters says “Bingo!” and is the winner.
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