How to Use Humor and Games in the Classroom

Recently, I had a chance to test two elementary games from Scholastic with some ESL students. The one I tested this time was a fun card game called “Can You See What I See?” that reinforces oral vocabulary.

The game begins when each student picks a random card from a small deck. If s/he has for example, a “seashell,” each student removes the card(s) from his/her 12 playing cards that has a “seashell.” The winner is the one whose finds all the items on his/her cards. It’s similar to the “I Spy” game series.

They had a lot of fun just finding the items. The objects on each card are cleverly hidden. The items are visually striking and each card is durable! After playing just one game, one student said, “What a fun game! I like it!”

As a product evaluator, I love it when children are so honest and direct with their feedback and in such a positive way. And as a teacher, this feedback is essential for learning what works and what doesn’t in the classroom. When students enjoy a game so much that they don’t even realize they are learning, teachers know they are doing something right!

Humor and games are two great motivators for teaching students new words, language learning skills and other concepts. For my new resource book I prepared many games that have been teacher tested over the years. These games are simple for teachers to use. Plus, they don’t require complex materials or a lot of them, and can be easily adapted or modified.

So as you’re planning your weekly lessons this week, consider using a few authentic learning games. Games are a fun and great form of authentic instruction – perfect for engaging students!

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