Updated 2 February 2016
This is one of the games that I use most of all and it’s only taken me this long to write about it because I couldn’t think of a good name for it. I think this name really sums up what it is and its selling points though.
Students listen to the teacher reading out sentences and hold up cards that they have been given or made to show if they think they are hearing a “request” or an “offer”, a “formal” or “informal” sentence, an “email” or “telephone” phrase, etc. They can also raise both for sentences that could be either, or leave them both down if it’s neither (e.g. because it’s only face to face or isn’t something we say in English). Livelier groups can also put the two cards on the table between them and race to slap the right one first.
Students then label the same sentences on a worksheet, test each other in groups in the same way, subdivide the sentences into further categories, help their partner remember all the sentences in one category, and/ or practise responding to those sentences.
This is a great way of introducing loads of language in a gentle way. I also think it teaches students a useful real life skill, because quite often the challenge is to work out if all those words are starting the conversation or ending it, etc.
Some of my many photocopiables using this approach:
Being sympathetic and unsympathetic – NEW
Travel English simplest responses and key word games
Guests and hosts in restaurants key words and card games
A, an and the in starting and ending presentations phrases simplest responses game –
Giving positive and negative feedback in academic discussions
Alphabet homophones and minimal pairs – expanded and updated version
Starting and ending negotiations simplest responses game and key words
Beginning and ending negotiations (simpler version of the game above, but more in need of editing down…)
Saying Yes, No and Maybe in negotiations simplest responses game and key words
Negotiations Insist or soften position
Meeting people and meeting people again review
Starting and ending telephone calls game
Telephone/ Face to Face/ Both
Opening and closing emails game
Checking your understanding and their understanding phrases games
Meeting and leaving
Language for guests and hosts in restaurants
Meeting people and meeting people again
Starting and ending conversations lesson
Past or not?
Requests and offers functional language review
Body part positions Normal or strange
Prepositions and school vocabulary Normal or strange?
Teleconference or face to face game and functional language
Weak and strong opinions game and analysis (Advanced version)
Strong and weak opinions game and analysis Intermediate version
Email formality review
Academic Word List positive and negative connotations
Interrupting and getting back on topic game
Agreeing and disagreeing language review
Dealing with enquiries – Saying yes and no
Opening and closing presentations
Email or telephoning language guessing game and lower level version
IELTS Listening – expressions which show it is or isn’t the answer
IELTS Speaking candidate or examiner game
Classroom language for starting and ending classes
Remembering and forgetting phrases
IELTS work and study vocabulary game
And here is a less than successful attempt to take it beyond two things to hold up:
IELTS presentations Beginning, middle and end
I’ll put more up as I remember what they are…
Another TEFLtastic classic The Same or Different can start with students holding up “the same” and “different” cards in the same way, and for all the other TEFLtastic classics see here.