The Gesture Game (1-6 grade, adaptable activity)

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Name of Teacher: Gabrielle Martin

Class/Grade/Language Level: Elementary school grades 1 to 6

Textbook and specific lesson: Best for Animals or Sports HF2 L3 (but also feelings HF1 L2 or food)

Goal: To have the kids move around and learn new vocabulary at the same time!

Preparation: Almost none

Class time: 10 to 30 min depending on what the teacher wants


This is a game I invented that I call the gesture game; it works best for animal and sports (or feelings/food if you want a challenge for your kids) for any grade at elementary school. This game is used to teach new vocabulary to the students in a very fun way. You will need flashcards for the subject you`re teaching (the more the better; as the game will last longer and be less repetitive), and also a bell or anything that the kids can press that makes a sound. You can get a metal bell (the ones used at stores on the counters) at daiso for a 100yen.

After practicing the new words with your class, divide them in teams (2 to 4 works the best), and have one student of each team come at the front of the class. Place the bell on a desk in front of the students (that are at the front of the class). Make those students turn their face to the blackboard, so their back faces the rest of the class. Show the rest of the students one flashcard without showing the kids at the front, tell them to be quiet and not tell what the flashcard is. When you say “GO!”, the students at the front of the class turn around and face the rest of the class. All the other students will start gesturing the word of the flashcard you showed them. The first students at the front to ring the bell and say the answer in English wins a point for his/her team. Make sure to tell the students to only do gestures, and not make any sounds or say anything to not ruin the game for the others.

This game allows every student to be participating at once in the game, nobody sits and does nothing. My students usually really enjoy doing gestures, but are often too shy to do them by themselves at the front of the class. This way, everybody can take part without being singled out! You can even go further with making your students participate by having a different student pick out the flashcard every turn, they loooove to choose!

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