This is a great game for this time of year because A. everyone is engaged and B. they’re quiet! And this exhausted teacher relishes all the quiet moments she can get when it’s the end of MAY and we still have 2 weeks to go!
It’s like the old school party game “Telephone” but with a few twists to up the Comprehensible Input impact.
To set up: Type up a few sentences with vocab structures they’re familiar with. They can be connected and form a story or totally random. After each sentence copy it and paste the same sentence 5 times below it, with spaces between each line. Sound confusing? It’s not, here are the sentences that my Spanish 1s played with today so you can see the set up.
Then, cut in between each sentence mostly across the page, but leave everything connected. This is will make it much easier for you during the game.
See how they’re mostly cut apart but still attached? And see how the first 6 lines are the same sentence and then there’s a new set. And see the typo “cierre” instead of “cierra”- it’s fixed now! Of course I didn’t realize it until we were playing… like I said, exhausted teacher, here!
Divide your kiddos into 4 or 5 groups and have them move their chairs into rows facing the whiteboard, so all the kids in the same team are sitting in a straight row. (If you haven’t ditched your desks yet, it would probably be best to move them out of the way or out the window never to be seen again.) Give the 1st kid in each row (the one closest to the board) a marker.
To play: Give the last kid in each row (the one farthest away from the board) a sentence. (Super easy to tear it off since you already cut between each row!) The last kid in each team gets the same sentence and they wait until you give them word. When the teacher announces “Start” the last kid reads the sentence and starts whispering it to the student sitting in front of him/her, who relays the message to the student sitting in front, who passes the message along to the next student, until it gets to the 1st kid in the row, who writes it on the board. Only the last student can look at the paper, everyone else must listen carefully and repeat what was said to the next student. If the student writing has a spelling question or needs clarification, he can only ask the second student, who must ask the question to the 3rd student and so on until it gets back to the last student holding the paper, who will check the paper and answer the question, passing it all the way up the line again. While students are whispering the teacher is holding the same sentence and checking the sentences on the board. The sentence has to be perfect before points are awarded…perfect I tell you, accents, punctuation, spelling, everything! Sometimes they’ll think they’ve finished the sentence but they’re missing an accent. The person holding the sentence realizes the problem and will whisper up “there’s an accent on the e in él” which will get passed through the line to the first person who will dash to the board and add in that pesky accent. Careful now, the teacher has to pay close attention to see which team got it written perfectly 1st, which was 2nd and which was 3rd to award the points. Normally I pass out Poker Chips as points but today I passed out tiny Bears because they’re cute and my fabulous colleague Paula gave them to me- I award 3 points to the fastest team, 2 points for the 2nd place team and 1 point to the 3rd place team.
Then, because we really want them UNDERSTANDING the language we give them, you can either ask them to read and translate the sentences on the board with a partner, do it as a whole class OR give everyone a chance to read it, think about the meaning then call one random student to translate (and award points if you want).
Then all the students stand up and move forward one seat. The 1st student (who just wrote) leaves their accumulated points (poker chips, bears, paper clips, dirty socks, whatever) under their chair and goes to the back of the row. He or she will be the next student to get a new sentence and we’ll begin again.
If you think your students will have a hard time whispering, you could always start all the teams with 5 points, just so you can threaten to take away points if you hear them!
I love this one not only because they’re engaged (and quiet!) but they’re also really focused on spelling, accents, punctuation…it feels like a dictation but 1000x more fun!
Hope your end of the school year is going smoothly! If you’re already on vacation…you lucky dog, you! Enjoy!