Author Topic: Vocabulary and games...  (Read 8786 times)

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Offline Silvia Iglesias

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Vocabulary and games...
« on: October 15, 2008, 11:05:45 PM »
For vocabulary acquisition I use a lot of games with my students... I think that is  a great way to review vocabulary and have fun at the same time. The teacher can adapt the vocabulary according to the topics and readings covered in class. The great thing about games, is not only the specific vocabulary that the teacher includes to work with... it is also the vocabulary that students acquire just for the kind of language that we use when we are playing (throw the dice, your turn, etc). Here is a link that I found with some good games, for students to recycle vocabulary and work in groups as well. Hope you find them useful! ::)

Offline Moon

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Re: Vocabulary and games...
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2008, 11:40:58 PM »
Thanks for your cool information about a number of fun activities regarding vocabulary acquisition and a review of it as follow-ups. Without doubt, they will be good resources when I feel that I need to reexamine my students? vocabulary acquisition or bring up some temporary change in the way I do vocabulary teaching, that is, teacher-centered, lecture-based vocabulary learning/teaching,
     However, at this moment, I also feel that I need to raise a fundamental question of how much we should incorporate these game-like activities into the real classroom situations, not simply driven by the pursuit of fun and a variety itself of classroom activities. I believe that often, we are destined to face some decision-making moments over a long period of our journey as English teachers, regarding which way among alternatives would be best for our children, nicely reflecting the strong opinions of their parents, institutional guidelines, and, simultaneously, resolving matters of time constraint and cost.
     To say of one unforgettable example, when I was studying English in a private language institute in Korea, I witnessed that an English teacher was blamed for doing game-oriented vocabulary activities during class by the principal there. Some of the students, who took that class, complained that the teacher had neglected his responsibility of doing more meaningful activities like reading as many articles as possible, by letting students absorbed in remembering vocabulary through games. In fact, in Korea many people think that students can learn words even at home, without having to relying on commercial institutes, or be efficiently taught by teachers directly without time-consuming and ?distracting? activities during class.
     Needless to say that it would be desirable to acquire vocabulary in the meaningful context, however, when carefully comparing the pros and cons of these two ways to learn vocabulary, nobody could claim that there is one absolutely right answer. Therefore, I think that any activities, especially in the form of a game, should be introduced carefully, or implemented in a balanced way during the class.  :redstar

« Last Edit: October 19, 2008, 11:45:19 PM by Moon »

Offline Hollis

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Re: Vocabulary and games...
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2008, 02:08:33 AM »

First of all:  ::thanks  and   ::Good one!

I really liked the website you posted on "Vocabulary Games!"  There are lots of really good games there for learning vocabulary. 

The game that I like the most out of all the ones listed is "Taboo" because you can use it as an exercise in teaching students the all-important skill of "paraphrasing" while, at the same time, teaching them new vocabulary.  Furthermore, due to the repetition of related vocabulary, there is a lot of associations made as well as repetition of vocabulary items as the other students try to guess the taboo word.

Here's how the Taboo Vocabulary Game works:

Divide the class into Teams A and B. Team A sits in a group on one side of the classroom, Team B sits on the other side. Bring two chairs to the front of the room so that when seated, a student is facing his or her respective team and their back is to the blackboard or white board. One member from each team sits in their team's chair. The teacher writes a word, phrase, or sentence on the board. The students in the chairs mustn't see what's written on the board. Once the teacher yells 'go', the teams have one minute, using only verbal clues, to get their seated teammate to say the item written on the board. The only rule (or taboo) is that they MUSTN'T say the item written on the board, in full or part. The first student in the hot seat to utter the word scores a point for their team. When the round is over, two new team players are rotated into the hot seat and a new item is written up. The first team to score X number of points wins.

Variation: To ensure a slightly quieter and less chaotic game, the teams can take it in turns. Rather than two students in the hot seat, only one member from each team plays at a time. The teacher as usual scribbles a word on the board and gives the team one minute to get their teammate to say the item. If the hot-seated player manages to say the word, the teacher quickly writes another item on the board and so on until the minute is up. The team scores a point for every item they manage to say within one minute.

NOTE FROM CHRIS: Make sure the students use lots of good paraphrasing techniques when doing this game.  Therefore, you might want to "pre-teach" to your students how to paraphrase in the second language in the case that they are new to the idea in their L2.

(Game rules adapted from the following website:

  :tasmanian devil :tasmanian devil
« Last Edit: October 26, 2008, 02:10:46 AM by Hollis »
Christopher J. Hollis
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Offline salvador

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Re: Vocabulary and games...
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2010, 06:40:40 PM »
I'm going to resurrect this thread because it mentions Taboo, which might be my favorite board game of all time. The game is played similarly to the version posted above, except that during a round, there is ONE person trying to get the rest of his or her team to say the targeted word. Taboo makes it harder by also providing a list of OTHER words that the person cannot say.

This game works best if the teacher goes through the cards and removes any cultural references that would be too obscure for ESL students. Also, the taboo words are on vary in terms of difficulty, so the teacher could customize the deck to suit the class level.

Here is an online version of the game: