Name of Teacher: Kristin Kawashima
Class/Grade/Language Level: Elementary School Grades 3-6
Textbook and specific lesson: none
Goal: Speaking practice for target vocabulary/grammar
Preparation: Small flashcards with pictures of vocabulary (enough for each student to have one card)
Class time: 10-20 minutes depending
This game is perfect speaking practice for all the vocabulary and weird phrases elementary students have to learn.
First, review the key vocabulary/phrase. If there is no phrase associated with the vocabulary (eg, the kids are simply learning articles of clothing or food vocabulary), also teach them the question, “Do you have a ~?” and the answers “Yes, I do” and “No, I don’t.” If there is a phrase associated with the vocabulary, such as “Can you ~?”, then don’t worry about teaching them anything else.
Distribute the flashcards to the students—each gets one card. Tell them to keep their card a secret. Explain to the students that you will choose one vocabulary word as the “spy word”. The students that have cards with the spy word are now the secret spies.
Then, choose 3-4 students as volunteers and have them leave their card face down where they were sitting and come to the front. Quietly tell them what the spy word is so the other students can’t hear. Explain that their job is to go find the “spies” who have cards with the spy word on them. When you say “GO!”, the student volunteers have to go ask each student, one by one, if they have the card with the spy word on it. For example, if the spy vocabulary word is “hamburger”, the volunteer students will go around asking, “do you have a hamburger?” If the spy word is “swim” and the phrase associated with it is “can you swim?”, students will go around asking, “can you swim?”
If the volunteer students find students with spy word cards, they bring them to the front as quickly as possible, and continue working through the class until all students in the audience have been asked. The student that finds the most spies can get a pat on the back or a sticker.
The students who were brought to the front with spy cards now become the new volunteers who have to find spies. Choose a new spy word and start all over again.
This game is really simple, but students seem to love it because it’s fast paced and competitive. It also gets every student in the class to speak at least once!