DIY boardgames for vocabulary and grammar revision

Level: intermediate to advanced.
Scope: teens to adults.
Type: board game.
Skills: speaking; listening; reading.
Language focus: revision of the week’s vocabulary and grammar structures.

HandDrawnBoardGame

Materials:

  • copies of your boardgame, one per group of 4 or 5 students (an example I’ve used is above);
  • this set of tongue-twisters and challenges (or make your own);
  • dice or coins, one per group;
  • a bag of sweets or some paperclips as prizes.

Preparation: before the lesson, hand-draw a board game revising the week’s vocabulary, and at the start of the lesson, board a tongue-twister from the page above.

Procedure:

  • Show the board game to your students and explain you will use it to revise the week’s vocabulary. Explain the rules:
    1. They should roll a dice/toss a coin to see who starts (if you’re using a coin, heads = go forward 2 spaces, tails = go forward 1 space).
    2. When a student lands on a square, they have to talk about the topic for one minute. Other students can ask them questions to help them continue speaking. If they are still speaking after one minute, they get to stay on the square. If they can’t speak for one minute they have to go back to the previous square they were on, or go back to the start square. Explain that the students should time each other, saying when to start speaking and when to stop.
    3. If a student lands on a “TT” square, that means a tongue twister. Show the tongue twister on the board. Invite individual students to practice saying it, first slowly, and then as quickly as they can. Give a prize (a sweet/a paperclip/whatever) to the student who can say it fastest but still accurately.
    4. If a student lands on a “C” square, that means a challenge. Read out one of the challenges from the page above. Say that if a student does this challenge successfully, they win a prize. Otherwise, they have to go back to the previous square they were on. Pre-teach any necessary vocabulary (e.g., “rub your belly”, “waggle your ears”, “an eyebrow”)
    5. Demo the game with a student or two.
    6. Group the students in fours or fives and let them begin the game. Monitor for a couple of minutes to make sure they are playing by the rules, and telling each other when to start and stop speaking; after this, you could either monitor their language for subsequent feedback, or call individual students to one side for needs analysis and to find out how they’ve been enjoying the week’s classes and what they’d like to work on next.

Acknowledgement: I saw my friend and fellow teacher Laila GrÄ«nberga creating her own board game for her students (with much better artwork than mine!), which gave me the idea for this; and my ma convinced me that adding challenges, etc., would stop my own version from becoming too repetitive (though I’m sure Laila’s version has never been dull).

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