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Texas ISD School Guide
Texas ISD School Guide

Lessons & Classroom Games for Teachers

ESL Teaching Games
By:Marysia Walcerz

English as a second l anguage (ESL) classes aim to teach English to non-native speakers. Many students are enrolled in ESL classes at a young age to pick up a new language early and develop it as they grow older. There are numerous teaching tools for ESL educators to use in the classroom, not the least of which are language games that get students having fun while learning.

Word Circle
Word Circle is an excellent game for getting students to work on reviewing concepts while keeping them on their toes. To play, write a series of words or numbers on the blackboard, fitting as many as you can in the space. Some ideas include nouns, irregular verbs, the numbers one to 10 or difficult syllable combinations. Then, divide the class into two teams and give each team a piece of different color chalks. Call out a word or number that's on the board, and have one runner from each team race to circle it with chalk.

Classmate Scavenger Hunt
Classmate Scavenger Hunt is a good getting to know you game, suitable for the first day of class. Write a series of clues on slips of paper, such as "Someone who has lived abroad" or "Someone who likes cats." Give the slips to the students, and instruct them to go on a scavenger hunt for the classmate that matches that description. Make sure to encourage students to ask all their questions during the scavenger hunt in English.

Guess the Word
Guess the Word is well-suited for middle school age children. Choose one student to be "It" and have her leave the classroom. Then, get the other students to come up with a secret word in English. Invite the student who is It back in, and have the other students ask her a series of questions, trying to get her to say the secret word. She loses when she says the word, and a new student is chosen.

Category Words
Categories is a simple game that gets students flexing their vocabulary muscles. Brainstorm a list of categories, such as animals, transportation, cities or buildings, with the class and write them on the board. Then, give students a letter and have them quickly write down as many items in each category starting with that letter. The student to come up with the most number of items that fit into the categories in the shortest amount of time is the winner.

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