ESL Games: Hit the Target

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Well if you are teaching English as a second language then you know better than anyone that finding a good teaching game is important. A good learning game can definitely help the flow of a class (especially with younger kids) when you can get them playing a game. Of course teaching isn’t just sitting around playing games though, it’s about teaching content through your games. So here’s a game that’s helped me a lot lately and has been a blast to play with my students.

Hit the target is the name of the game. To play this game you will need a ball. A tennis ball works, but I also use a slightly bigger ball as well. What I will typically do with my classes (grades 1-4) is I take a list of 6 or so new vocabulary words and I will write them on the blackboard (this is also good if I don’t have flashcards). Then from the blackboard we will practice pronunciation and reading. I usually space the words out evenly across the board.

Then after we’ve spent enough time practicing how to say the words and the students are comfortable with the new words, I will go to the blackboard and draw a square around each word. To make it easier I try and make the square pretty good size. Then I split the class into two teams and have a student from each team come up, one at a time.

When the student gets up to the front I have them stand behind a line 7-10 feet away from the board (or whatever you can manage in your classroom). I then hand them the ball. Once they’re ready I call out one of the vocabulary words and then they take the ball I’ve given them and try to hit the box with the word in it. If they hit it, they earn a point for their team. Afterwards, I have a student from the other team come up. We do this for a little while and eventually the team with the most points is declared the “winners”.

Anonymous YWAMer