Published 28th April 2017

We all love games. Our students love them because they feel like they are not doing work and we love them, well, because it feels like we are not doing work. Games are useful if you need an activity to consolidate or practise a language point, if you need a change of pace or if you just have a spare five minutes to kill.

You probably have your own stash of games which you use when you need to, but we thought we’d give you some extra ammunition for those times when you want to work on your students’ fluency. These four games are guaranteed to be fun, entertaining and useful while forcing the students to speak quickly and so improve their fluency.

20 questions

Also known as the Yes/No game, it can be played as a class or in pairs or groups. One student is given (or chooses) a word, be it a person, place, object, or anything that relates to language recently learnt in class – occupations or emotions, for example. The other students must try to guess what the word is but can do this only by asking yes/no questions. In other words, the student can only answer yes/no. The game continues until 20 questions have been asked. If nobody has guessed what it is, then the student is the winner. If somebody guesses correctly, then they have a turn being the answerer.

Categories

A great game to revise vocabulary. Divide the students into groups. Each group must have a table on a piece of paper, like this:

Letter
Person
Food/drink
Place
Occupation
Adjective
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The categories are flexible and can be changed according to the class or according to what needs to be revised.

The teacher then chooses a letter and each group must come up with a word for each category beginning with that letter. For example:

Letter
Person
Food/drink
Place
Occupation
Adjective
B
Bryan Adams
banana
Borneo
bartender
bright
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

When a group has thought of words for all the categories they shout Stop! and all the groups must put their pens down. They then share their answers with the class. If another group has the same answer, that answer is cancelled. Any other legitimate answers are awarded points. At the end of a few rounds, the group with the most points, wins.

Complete the Sentence

This is a great game to get students thinking on their feet and becoming more natural with their language. Before you start, you can decide on a theme or a language point if you want, or you can let your students’ creativity take over.

Basically, one student starts a sentence with one word. The next student must say another word which logically continues the sentence. This continues until someone makes a mistake and then the sentence must be started again, or until the sentence is complete.

Taboo

This game takes a little preparation. Before you start, get the students to write a few cards which look like this:

Person – Roger Federer

Place – Barcelona

Occupation – lawyer

Colour – yellow

Noun – book

Again, these categories are fluid and can changed to anything that suits your lessons.

Once your students have written a certain number of these cards (five, for example) they must keep them without showing them to anybody. Divide the class into groups. In each group, each student takes turn to turn over their card – again, without their team members seeing. They have 30 seconds to describe their words to their teams without using the words. They can describe them in any order and in any way they want to, as long as they don’t use the word. If a team guesses all the words before the end of 30 seconds, they can shout Finished and the team gets 5 points. The other teams are awarded points for each answer they guessed correctly. The game continues until all the cards have been used.

All of these games need the students to think quickly and speak even more quickly. They will help more confident students express themselves while they will encourage shyer students to focus more on fluency than accuracy. All in all, a definite win-win situation for all involved.