The Name of the Game

The object down here is to get the students to use English; listening reading writing and speaking. Ariela, one of my teacher told me that children don’t like grammar, they like games and fun. I spent months working on ideas. Part of it is scalability. Some ideas work great for a small class but not a group of thirty plus who have a lot of energy.

One idea that I came across involves beach balls. We are teaching the students about members of the family. On the ball is written types of family members (mother, father, etc). When they catch the ball, they are to say the word that their left hand is touching or closest to. This was not initially successful, mostly because we did not exercise enough control in teaching the activity and the first groups basically batted it around like Olympic beach volleyball. I’ve since developed a way to teach the game that is still fun and educational while not letting it get too crazy.

Those little paper fortune tellers have been an interesting experiment. Most days, I make one in the morning and another in the afternoon. Then I sit in the courtyard playing with it. Eventually, a group of girls comes over and wants to play. But to play they have to say the numbers and letters in English. Then, they have to count and spell in English. And of course, the fortunes are in English. I make these daily and after playing a while, I give it to one of the girls and hope she continues to use it in English. This is a bit of a sneaky way to get them to use English but it works.

The final photo shows a quiz game using The Simpsons. Much of the world knows The Simpsons. This too is used to teach the students about the family. I use photos of The Simpsons and create a family tree. We review the family tree and then I have a set of multiple choice questions. The class is divided into three groups and we play the game show style. I carry on like Regis Philbin of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. The girls all seem to want to give their answer in Spanish but I’ll only accept the answer in English. Prizes are awarded to the winning team. Somehow, I always end up giving out more prizes that there are girls on the winning team, but it is all good fun. Also, it gets them invested in learning the English names for family members like nothing else we tried.
Note: Photo credit for the last image to Gerson, one of the people who helps make the program here work.

20 thoughts on “The Name of the Game

    1. milfordstreet Post author

      That is the name of the game. The fortune tellers was my wife’s idea. The Simpsons quiz cards, I downloaded. There are so many amazing ideas out there. Cheers and thank you, Laurie


    Actually I learn a lot from you Chris.
    You teach level one, don’t you?
    Can I ask how many students are there in a class?
    It is not easy for me to divide the class into groups because the students make a lot of noise and the English I teach is full of grammar and vocabulary .
    I ask them always to write paragraphs and stories at home on different topics and then I collect them and correct then tell them about the best ones.
    Teaching is more interesting when the number of students at class is not big,isn’t it?
    The images are very nice and the students are lucky cause Chris is their teacher.Cheers!

    1. milfordstreet Post author

      Hi Soheir, my friend. I have 25-30 students to a class. I am teaching girls from age 9-15. I meet with each age 1-2 times a week.
      I was asked to teach about family but I have a lot of freedom about how I teach it. I would love to work with a smaller groups. A group of 30 girls can be very noisy. It is interesting to hear about your teaching. Cheers.

      1. milfordstreet Post author

        Wow. Doing a game or other team activity for 48 students would be a real challenge. Let me know if you want me to come to Egypt to try!

  2. loisajay

    That little paper fortune teller–we used to do that back in grammar school! Oh, that was so much fun. They know about The Simpsons-that’s wild! Your games sound like such great learning tools.


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