Lessons & Classroom Games for Teachers

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ESL Environmental Games
By:Valerie Madison

An ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher can center lessons around any topic, helping students to learn about other concepts while gaining language skills. Environmental games can teach students about caring for natural environments, while inspiring them to think about how they can help these habitats. In the process, they'll learn and practice many common words related to weather, climate, and similar topics.

Nature Bingo
A nature bingo game is lots of fun for students of any age. Both younger and older students enjoy getting outside of the classroom and walking around outside. Give each student a bingo card with words that represent plants, animals, insects, land formations, and other things they might see outside the school. Then take them on a nature walk, telling them to check off each item they spot. Gather in a circle at the end of the walk and talk about what you saw. If the students did well with the exercise, take the opportunity to introduce new vocabulary while you have their full attention. You might say, "Grasshoppers leap into the air. What does 'leap' mean?"

Eco-Friendly Quiz
You might give students an informal quiz about eco-friendly practices, like the ones ESL Printables offers on its website. You can easily make up your own quiz, asking questions such as, "What is an environmentally-friendly type of energy?" Group students into teams to make the game more interactive, and take turns asking each team a question. Let the other team try if the first team misses a question.

Role-Play
Advanced or higher level intermediate students could role-play as a journalist and interviewee. The interviewee could be a CEO of a firm accused of destroying local habitats, or someone else who may not want to speak honestly with the reporter. This will make the exercise more challenging. Have each partner brainstorm separately about questions to ask, or answers they might give, before beginning the exercise.

Custom Board Game
Create your own board game using the free board game generator on the Tools for Educators website. This game designer lets you place a wide variety of pictures around the board, selecting them from a drop down menu. All the pictures relate to nature. The game also allows you to insert commands on the board, such as "Skip a space," or "Go back to start." You can customize the spaces to say things like, "Name an ecosystem found in a warm climate." Or, write "Take a card," and create a stack of note cards with this type of questions. The game designer does the rest, creating a game you can print.

News Network
In a more advanced class, have students pretend they run an environmental news network. In this role-play, the students must prepare a news broadcast about pressing environmental issues. Write these issues on note cards, and have each student or pair of students draw a card from a box. Then, tell them they have half an hour to research their issue and write a brief summary of their findings. Give them a bit more time, and some pointers, if they're unfamiliar with online research.





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