My name is Katie and I like games. I will use any excuse I can to play games and incorporate them in to some kind of educational form. Everyone should still like games of some sort; if you don’t, then I suggest you try them again and revert back to your childhood for a few blissful minutes as – especially seeing as games in the classroom make the perfect ice-breaker for you and your student when teaching English abroad.
I played a LOT of games when I was teaching in Uganda a few years ago. I’ll be honest, it was my way of taking a break whilst still teaching and getting back on track. My school was extremely basic with just a chalkboard and wooden desks in the classroom.
The good thing about my school was that it wasn’t short of outdoor space, and I took full advantage of that. Any opportunity we had to be running around (and learning) we took it. If the children were getting tired in the hot classroom, we’d sit under a tree and cool down in the shade.
No such thing as a playground though, we had uneven grass to play on, and the lawnmowers came in the form of cows that the nightwatchman took from his farm to the school to eat the grass. Brilliant. I’d normally break the day up with a spot of the following:
1. Sleeping Lions
2. Duck, Duck Goose
3. Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
4. Grandma’s Footsteps
For some reason the children in Uganda went mad for Grandma’s Footsteps. They LOVED it! If you’ve never played Grandma’s footsteps before then I urge you to do it soon, preferably not with random strangers.
Choose someone to be ‘Grandma’ who stands at one end of a room/track/swimming pool (if you’re lucky enough!) and the children have to creep up on Grandma without her noticing. If Grandma turns round and someone is moving, they get sent back to the beginning. Great fun, a great opportunity to bond with your students and break the lesson up a bit. It’s an easy enough game to explain to children who do not speak English also by acting it out yourself with one student playing the part of Grandma.
My advice – don’t be afraid of looking a little silly in front of your students, it makes you more of a human to them.
So tell me… what games in the classroom do you like to use as warmers and why have they worked so well?