The Slam Game comes with a warning : This game will most likely cause mass excitement in the classroom. If the aim is getting students to speak, recall and have fun then this is the activity that makes that happen. If you have classes in close proximity to your own classroom, make sure you can control the sound level a little, as this can get very LOUD. This game is designed to learn and review vocabulary groups, so you will have to make sure that you have some flashcards for whatever words you are wishing to teach. E.g. If you are teaching occupations, you will need a set of at least 13 occupation flashcards.
You can view the video of this game in action at the bottom of this blog post but please read the instructions here to make sense of it all. Small promotional note: If you don't have the time to make your own cards, I have some cards with word groups for this game on sale in my store by going here.
This can be played by using magnets to put the flashcards on the blackboard (as in the video below), but personally I've not had much luck doing it that way. The students show so much enthusiasm that the magnets fall off and the cards fall on the floor (sometimes if you just don't have the space, you just don't have a choice) Therefor I recommend this set up : Arrange 13 desks in a horse shoe shape, split the students into two teams and get the teams to line up at either end of the horseshoe of desks. Place the picture flashcards face up, one on each desk and get ready to play.
Note:Before playing make sure the students know how to play "Rock, Paper Scissors" it is a major part of this activity.
Playing Slam is really very simple. The first student from each team starts their journey across the board or around the desks, heading towards the other teams home base at the far opposite end. As they go along they must touch each card and say what the picture is (I write the object on the back of my cards so if they are learning the vocab or forget, they can turn it over to remind themselves...the downside for them when they do this is it slows them down giving the other team an advantage to mow them down quicker)
At some point (usually somewhere around the middle) the two students will meet face to face. These two students will now have to face off in a Rock Paper Scissors challenge. The winner of this contest wins the right to keep progressing along the line of vocab review cards, touching and naming the flashcards as they go, all the time edging closer to the goal of reaching the other teams home base at the other end of the line. Meanwhile the loser of the rock, paper, scissors contest has to go back to his home base and join the end of the line and wait for another turn to play whilst the next student in line quickly starts again from their first card on the journey working around the flashcards until they run into their opponent who is probably now getting close to invading their home base.
When a team finally makes it to the home base of the opposing team, there will be huge cheers. Keep score on the board to see which team will be" The Slam Game" champions.
It's a great way for the kids to learn and remember new vocabulary,
A Handy Hint: Many students from Asian countries will rote learn and memorise a sequence of words in no time purely by using their memory...To get around this problem and make sure they are actually recognising the objects, change up the order sequence of the cards after each successful round has been won and completed... and keep spare cards to totally interchange some cards in and out of the line sequence.
Here's a video of a china class playing on the blackboard due to lack of space.
Do You Wanna Buy A Duck? Without a doubt this is one of the best TESOL activities to tempt students into speaking full sentences. Watch students have a humongous amount of fun with the dialogue. There's little preparation involved with this activity but a thorough explanation is required usually including a slow demonstration with a practice run (and running a video of it in action can also be a good idea). I find it's best to ask for a group of 5 volunteers to come up the front of the class to be the guinea pigs for the demonstration at the same time as the explanation. This is a dialogue game so write it up on the board or buy the prepped pack here. Choose your 5 demonstration students and make them stand in a line at the front of the class.
A Brief Intro To The Dialogue Idea
Student 1 - Do you wanna buy a duck?
Student 2 - A what?
Student 1 - A duck!
Student 2 - Can it swim?
Student 1 - Of course it can swim, it's a duck!
Now this same dialog is used the whole way down the line of students but each student replaces the object (the duck) with a new different object, which in turn makes the student asking the "Does it" question, have to alter their response. For example, if student 2 decided he was selling a ball, student 3 would have to ask him "does it roll"? and not "can it swim"?
After student 1 and student 2 have finished the first dialogue, student 2 turns to student 3 and carries on by asking student 3 if he wants to buy...lets say, a ball. It's not quite that simple though check the dialog and video below to see the added twist.
Student 2 - Do you wanna buy a ball?
Student 3 - A what?
Student 2 (turning back to student 1) A what?
Student 1 - A duck!
Student 2 -(turning back to student 3) A ball!
Student 3 - Does it bounce?
Student 2 - (turning back to student 1) Can it swim?
Student 1 - Of course it can swim, it's a duck!
Student 2 - (Turning back to student 3) Of course it bounces it's a ball!
Student 3 - (turning to student 4) Do you wanna buy a...? and so on.
Yes, it sounds rather complicated but once you work through a demonstration with a group of kids, it really isn't too hard. Please don't be put off by the explanation, it really works and is a wonderful activity.
What The Students Learn With This Activity
The kids have to really take part in this activity, making them concentrate, listen and speak. I find that with the "Wanna Buy A Duck" dialogue, they are happy to join in the fun and at the same time they learn so much. There is a lot of basic vocabulary covered in this activity in addition to thinking about what they are selling to the next student, whilst also thinking of the action associated with the item that the previous student is selling to them. It also helps them work on getting some expression into the tone of their words sentences.
Note: Make sure that they grammatically ask the correct questions. For example they can't ask "Do you wanna buy a milk".
If your class is into competing, you can time each group as they run through the dialogue and see who can complete the activity in the quickest time, but if you do, be sure that they don't disregard pronunciation for speed.
For TESOL students the inclusion of (wanna) in place of "want to", is something they really get a kick out of. Students love to try to get their English to sound as close to native English speakers as they can and seeing as TESOL teaching often focuses on trying to help the students speak more naturally, fluently and with greater ease, this little activity is an absolute gem.
Fully prepped pack available including worksheets, the below video demonstration in full, links to other useful "Wanna Buy A Duck" videos and instructions. Can pick it up here
(TpT) or here