You were finding out to count, to reason, to develop techniques, to negotiate, to conflict and also argue, to make decisions, to think critically.

You are watching: Do you think grammar is a game

Even when you were thinking to yourself, you were still arising abilities in your first language!

If playing games is so useful for initial language acquisition, why not usage them in the international language classroom?

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Why Teach and also Learn Grammar with Games?

It’s the rare gem of a teacher that can make a grammar lecture interesting, yet via limited class time, it’s even more crucial to gain your students speaking! They deserve to review grammar explanations at house and you have the right to spot check to encertain that they have learned the basics—old-college grammar drills still carry out have a purpose! Then you can move on to grammar games to reinpressure what they have actually learned.

Ever believed of offering your students language information, sitting earlier and also watching them attempt to number the rules out for themselves? Don’t! Not all students want to be linguists, so why spend useful course time on such an task once you can acquire your students speaking at the outset? Do something tried and true: playing grammar games is a great way to obtaining your students to speak!

Grammar external of conmessage is difficult to remember and difficult to grasp. By developing games wbelow students are able to utilize what they have actually learned, they develop etymological patterns for later usage.

Just as teachers have their own layouts, students have actually their very own preferred finding out style and also recognize which is the majority of efficient for them. Grammar games provide a range of input types, auditory, visual, complete physical response to name yet 3, that permit students to learn in a style the majority of efficient for them.

Thinking creatively is reasoning critically. Grammar games provide students the possibility to be imaginative. They will certainly begin trial and error their boundaries, playing via words, negotiating definitions, plotting strategy—all the skills that they will certainly should use in the genuine civilization when they’re utilizing the language or listening to it in genuine media such as the videos from wgc2010.org.


wgc2010.org takes real-people videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and also inspiring talks—and also transforms them right into personalized language discovering lessons.


Mastering these skills in a international language helps students job-related in their first language.

When students are being drilled in class, they are periodically self-mindful around speaking and making mistakes. When playing a grammar game, students acquire so wrapped up in the moment that this self-consciousness goes amethod. They speak even more openly. You listen and assess what they truly understand and also are able to usage.


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How Can Grammar Games Reprimary Educational?

Playing games in the language classroom must have a particular pedagogical function and a certain outcome. Gamings are not somepoint you must use because you are tired or you desire to entertain your students.

Gamings will aid to reinpressure student responsibility. No student desires to be left out of playing a game, and also no one wants to be the perchild making the exact same mistakes over and over aobtain. If students are forced to be acquainted through the grammar prior to showing up to course, the discovering atmosphere playing games creates—wanting to win—will ensure that students do their reading!

A teacher’s project is to teach, however you must try to allow students to help each various other in teachable moments before jumping in to describe eincredibly allude. This will encourage them to help each various other external of game cases and, let’s face it, when you proactively define something, you understand also it much better than when you internalize it passively.

If you usage non-confidential indevelopment from your students in some of your games, you will certainly allow them not just to learn the language however likewise about each other. This will certainly assist to produce positive bonds in class and carry your students closer together.

Everyone wants prizes for winning a game, and the language classroom isn’t any various, yet make it a prize pertained to the tarobtain language. Give candy, postcards, sticker labels. This will certainly permit you to introduce cultural artefacts into the class—and also “culture” is among the Cs we should teach—and introduce the vocabulary words for these prizes.

6 Grammar Gamings for the Language Classroom

1. Pictionary Plus

Who hasn’t played Pictionary? One perboy will certainly draw a photo and everyone else, overall, will scream out what they think the answer is. When someone gets the answer correct, they take a revolve to attract, and also the game continues till the vocabulary is worn down.

While this is an excellent activity to master vocabulary, we can modify it to revolve it right into a grammar game!

Consider a language, such as Russian, Germale or Latin, which is greatly inflected, via sepaprice endings for masculine, feminine, neuter and plural nouns and also adjectives. This is regularly a tough idea for students to grasp at the beginning of their research studies, unmuch less they have actually studied an additional such language. So, let’s rotate Pictionary into an chance to exercise these endings.

Divide the course into two or 3 teams, relying on course dimension. Have a list of vocabulary words you wish them to practice. Ask one person from each team to come forward, show them the word and also have them all attract at the same time. This adds excitement to the game, and increases kinetic task, bereason a group deserve to guess the word from one more group’s image. Once one team has guessed properly they receive one point, and then we change into grammar practice for an additional point.

Let’s say the word is car, машина in Russian. The students are then compelled to produce the adhering to dialogue that techniques feminine endings:

Что это? What is this?

Это машина. It’s a automobile.

Где машина? Wright here is the car?

Вот она. Here it is.

Чья это машина? Whose car is it?

Это моя машина. It’s my automobile.

Какая это машина? What sort of car is it?

Это новая машина. It’s a new automobile.

In this way, students exercise their inflectional endings, drill them in an innovative means and establish grammatical fads that are valuable.

The sooner students understand their endings, the even more easily they will certainly understand the language! This grammar game is one means to perform that.

2. Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Tright here was a wonderful British comedic game present, later lugged to America by Drew Carey, called “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”

One of the games they played, for which the entire show was called, was to take random sentences composed by members of the audience, offer them to the teams of contestants, check out the sentence at a random minute and also then improvise the rest from tright here.

We have the right to redesign this activity for the international language classroom.

Let’s say you’re towards the end of the chapter around food. Ideally, you will certainly desire your students to create dialogues indicative of real-life situations making use of the vocabulary and also structures they have learned in that chapter. The content of these dialogues ends up being sensibly predictable, so let’s include a twist.

IKEA sells note pads that look choose dialogue bubbles. Buy a set (or produce your very own homemade ones) and also create in some sentences or inquiries that you would certainly prefer your students to occupational right into their dialogues, fold them up and number them so you can straight your students to use them, yet remember: They can only see and use them at the minute you show.

For example, one line can be, “I desire to go to the circus,” which have to be supplied after the other student has asked: “Wright here execute you want to go?” in the instance of deciding where to go to eat. Both students will certainly be momentarily shocked by that statement, however after they recover, one will certainly have to ask “Why?” and also the various other will need to attempt to describe exactly how the circus relates to obtaining food to eat. Maybe they love the warm dogs at the circus!

One or two provided lines for each student will be sufficient for this game, and also it needs the teacher to be both extremely imaginative and also to pay incredibly cshed attention to what is going on. The payoff will be amazing: You don’t understand where the students will certainly go with their dialogues after they usage the sentences or inquiries you provide them, so this will be a truly spontaneous and artistic activity!

Students will certainly be compelled to think on their feet and readjust course midstream in their dialogues. There will certainly be some laughter, some mistakes and also probably some embarrassment over them, yet in the course of a purposely-designed silly case, all that won’t issue. What will matter is that they have actually played via the language, interpreted the language and also provided the grammar normally, regularly without realizing it. That’s the hallmark of a well-designed grammar game.

3. Simon Says

You played “Simon Says” prospering up, didn’t you? You tried to trick your brother, sister or friends into touching their head once you didn’t say “Simon says!”

The game is perfect in a foreign language classroom for drilling body parts, simply as it was for finding out them in your initially language, but we have the right to turn it from a vocabulary game right into a grammar game!

Aget, think about those langueras that are heavily inflected. While English imperatives are not various from various other verbal develops (I read, you review, read!), that is not true for other languages. Let’s revolve “Simon Says” right into an opportunity to exercise developing these imperative forms.

Select a number of verbs for which it is reasonably straightforward to execute or imitate the task (review, compose, sing, swim, fly, kick, jump are a couple of that concerned mind). Write each on a card. Ask one student to come to the front of the room, attract a card and also continue to say (or not say): “Simon says jump!” The added catch here is that, even if the command is construed and also Simon does “say,” students have to not percreate the task if the imperative is not properly formed.

If the imperative is correctly developed, then all tricked students sit dvery own, and also “Simon” proceeds until all students have actually been removed. However, if “Simon” does not form the imperative correctly, then “Simon” sits down and also a new “Simon” comes to the front of the room.

Continue till you run out of cards.

This games gives students a fun way to exercise commands and also ensures that they will certainly job-related on learning to create them. No one desires to be the “Simon” who can’t create the command he or she is trying to offer.

4. Find Someone Who…

Remember all that indevelopment you gathered from your students the initially day of class? You asked them their hometvery own, various other langueras they recognize, places they have actually lived and also traveled, likes and dislikes. Why not turn this indevelopment right into a grammar game that will certainly additionally let them acquire to understand each other?

Use the information to compose up about 20 implied concerns in English. For example:

Find someone who speaks Italian.

Find someone who has stayed in Indiana.

Find someone who likes pizza.

Make sure you compose inquiries they are able to develop in the language you are teaching. Of course you have to also encertain that tright here is someone in class who meets the criteria of the question. Just for fun, you have the right to toss in a pair about yourself so the students are motivated to communicate you as well.

The game consists of 2 steps: First, each student asks in the target language a maximum of 2 or 3 inquiries of another student, depending upon course dimension, before moving on to the following student. The student need to answer in a complete sentence. 2nd, gather the class together, having a student ask “Who speaks Italian?” and also letting one more student answer this question, again in a finish sentence.

By the finish of the task, for those langueras that have actually inflected verb creates, you have actually exercised three or four (of primarily six) forms: I, you (singular/familiar and/or plural/polite), and who/he/she, possibly even they for those concerns that have multiple answers:

In pairs: “Do you sheight Italian?” “Yes, I sheight Italian.”

As a class: “Who speaks Italian?” “John speaks Italian.” or “John and Mary speak Italian.”

Students proactively conjugate verbs in context in a method they will remember for future use.

5. Word Scramble

Students who take foreign languperiods can not be future professional linguists, yet they perform love to play through the language. You will certainly find that they frequently love puzzles that allow them to execute exactly this!

You deserve to provide them this chance through a traditional word scramble, again through a twist.

Write a sentence, break down the words into their fundamental forms, reduced the words acomponent, give piles of words to each team of students and also let them form a sentence out of them.

For a greatly inflected language, such as Russian or German, offer all nouns and adjectives in their nomiaboriginal form and all verbs in their infinitive form. This means you have actually a much more complicated game, wbelow students not only need to control the semantics of the words you give them but additionally identify the correct grammatical form(s) as they piece their sentence back together. You can specify whether the verbs need to be in the present, past or future tense, but also better: Insert an adverb that hints the students in to the tense.

In this method, they have to take dictionary creates and also make finish sentences, using all of their unified knowledge. It is the incredibly essence of reasoning critically.

6. Mad Libs Rub Out and Replace

“Rub out and replace” is a really traditional grammar game. Let’s make it more amazing by beginning with a round of Mad Libs.

If you don’t remember playing Mad Libs in the summer prospering up, the idea is straightforward. You start through a paragraph on a specific topic, minus some words. One of your friends goes through the blanks telling you what kind of word is lacking (noun, color, activity verb, past-tense verb, number) and also you pick a random word in that category to fill in the empty. Your frifinish then reads with the paragraph, using your preferred words, and also you all have a good laugh, as the outcome is mostly pretty absurd.

Let’s attempt a variation of this in the international language classroom. You, as the instructor, will create up a paragraph on the chapter theme, minus some essential words. You will, as in the typical game, ask for certain word develops (Accusative-situation noun, third-person plural verb) and you will read the result to the class. After, yet, you will task the completed variation of the story to the whole course, whereupon the students in teams will them rub out the words that are specifically absurd—occasionally, entirely by accident, a word alternative actually functions out!—and also come up through a brand-new, logical story.

In this way, the students have actually come up via grammatically exact creates external of context and also then negotiated with their peers grammatically and also semantically precise word develops in the final version.

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I hope you appreciated these twists on some conventional games and find them valuable in your teaching. Feel complimentary to play approximately via the rules yourselves, and if you uncover somepoint that functions much better, I would certainly love to hear around it!

Jonathan Ludwig has 25 years of international language teaching endure. He has properly directed language programs, taught and mentored existing and also future teachers, and is always in search of new and also exciting means to interact and also educate his students.

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