Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Grid Game: A Good No-Preparation Speaking Activity

So the books are selling very well, thank you for that, Internet. Just enough to provide a nice little bit of bonus income but not enough to worry me that my identity may become an issue.

Here's a bonus chapter, which I couldn't stick in the first book due to some issues of formatting regarding the pictures. (Although, of course, it's really just something I wrote on the original website in 2003.)

Might stick it in my third book, which will concern speaking activities, and which should be available in the next couple of months.

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This used to be one of my favorites. Suitable for killing a good half-hour to forty-five minutes when you have a bad hangover and haven’t prepared, or you get shanghaied into teaching somebody else’s class, or you just want a good “getting to know you” activity for the first day of an intermediate level class. Basically it's kind of a general review of question formation.

Make a grid on the board resembling the following:

Now you could do this as a team game:

Divide the class into two, or however many groups you need, and explain to the students that they have to make a question using the question word and the auxiliary verb indicated on the top and side of the board for the square they choose, to claim one of the squares in the grid.

For example, to get the square marked with “x” in the picture, they’d need to make a question with “what” and “does”.

For example, “What does your mother think of your pathetic career choice of English teaching?” They ask you the question, and you answer it.

“Well, she’s misguided enough to think I’m doing it out of a sense of adventure, rather than just laziness and general degeneracy, and she’s ignorant enough of conditions to actually think I’m performing a public service.”

Alternately, you could have somebody on the other team answer it.

And the team which makes the correct question gets that square – marked with whatever symbol, for example, an X. Then it’s the next team’s turn. The object is to get three squares in a row, horizontally, vertically or diagonally. In the picture, Team O would have needed to make a question with “Where” and “is”. “Where’s the nearest titty bar?” for example.

Don’t be an idiot and stop the game after one team gets three in a row – let them keep going and try for more three-in-a-rows, until the whole grid is filled in.

In the picture, Team X is leading Team O by a score of 3 – 2. Rah team rah.

You can do lots of different things with this. If you don’t feel like answering questions, or it’s a big class, you can put the students in groups of 2 to 4 and have them play, drawing their own boards.

For advanced classes you could make a larger grid with “How long” “How many” and a few other questions words, and maybe “have” and “has” and “can” along the top.

Warn them there may be a few squares that aren’t possible. It’s not possible to make a question with “When” and “has” or “have”, for example, except for a rhetorical question like “When have you ever seen an English teacher who’s not a drunk?”
So enjoy.

And make sure to tell everyone you got the idea from English Teacher X.


Anonymous said...

Oh come on, Robert. . . everyone knows who you are. . .

Anonymous said...

I love your orthotic inserts. (Your secret is safe with me.)

Anonymous said...

Definitely will use this. It's good to know we are not alone Teacher X :P