Today was a day for charades. The end of Holy week (spring break) has marked the school year is near over and you know what this means; tired, uninterested students counting down the days for summer vacation. One of my funny students asked, “Can’t we just sleep in class.” He knows the answer but I love how he tries. Hey, he’s practicing his English and that’s what my class is all about, Speaking da English!
I always start off class with a Question of the Day and everyone has to speak. No, if’s ands or but’s about it. Sometimes I think, my teaching style, was my worst nightmare as a student; “You want me to speak in class, sometimes in the front of class, and you want me to do silly things, like be the teacher or play charades? Say what!?” But now as the teacher, I know why teachers made me do these things and I’m thankful for them, even if I despised the activities then. There are things about students that have no borders and are age-less; I think most teens feel this way: “Ah, I’m in high school, I can’t look odd or different among my peers, no I don’t want to try something new. I may make a fool of myself or… I don’t know.”
Examples of Question of the Day:
If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
If you had the power to change or make up a law, what would it be and why?
Tell me your about your favorite holiday and Why?
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and what would you do?
What activity or sport do you enjoy doing? Tell me 3 reasons why.
Describe a movie you watched/liked. If you could have any super power what would it be and why?
See a trend? I love to ask them WHY. Why you ask? To get them speaking more in English, of course! Sometimes they try to get away with saying a few words and sometimes I encourage more talking by asking a few more questions but sometimes, I’m just happy they’re speaking. Often they surprise me with their answers!
After question of the day, we played Charades, which may seem contradictory in a conversation class but they do have to explain what’s happening in English. Of the 5 students (usually 8), no one wanted to volunteer. Nevermind, everyone has to participate. And they did. I went first. I suggested we could play outside but only one was interested.
You have the opportunity to have class outside and you’re not running out the door? What’s up? Without many words, I realized they were more concerned with other students potentially seeing them. Ha. I guess, I’ve certainly moved past this stage. I make a fool of myself all the time, and kinda enjoy it. But at 16, I was just like them.
But we went outside where there were no other students watching them and they got into the game of charades. Maybe the actions were easy: Riding a bike, At the airport, Cooking dinner, cleaning your room, Kite surfing, at the beach, taking the metro, shopping at the supermarket, watching a movie at the cinema etc but I was impressed at how, after one round, they got into acting out the activity and they were quick to guess the answer. I suggest using vocabulary they are studying or expand on what they already know.
I always love to build on an activity and with 15 minutes left in class I tell them; using the actions you just acted out, now create a story” I was thinking, let’s head back inside, get paper and pen and write but a student blurted out a sentence and I thought, “perfect.” No paper needed. We stayed outside, each student adding a sentence to create a story, I was impressed. I love these teaching moments of being flexible and able to improvise in the moment. These are the moments that I love about teaching!
Their improvised story went something like this: “I was at the beach and then suddenly rode my bike to take the metro. I missed the metro and ran up the stairs where I met an orange duck. The duck said to me, ” you crazy, you’re a crazy, man.” I got on the metro. We went to a party and there were a group of duck’s who tried to kill us. And then we were in the hospital and my mom said, “you need to clean your room” and the duck said, “You’re crazy, crazy man” and then we went to the movies to see a film at the cinema. We saw SAW. And then we killed the duck. Strangled the duck.
Now there was bit more to the story but sadly I don’t remember every line that was said, nor may this make much sense but that wasn’t the point. I was impressed at how quick they each had a sentence, bam bam bam without hesitation. They were thinking in English and in my class, this is all that really matters.
Check out other fun ESL activities: Scattergories, Role Reversal, and Music and Lyrics
Have you played Charades in your ESL class? If you have or if you do, let me know it goes?
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