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July 2011 Archives

July 21, 2011

Heads and Tails: Hungry Dog

Hello. I was asked recently by Chris Sharp to describe one of the card games found on my new digital data CD-ROM BAH 4, which is available through ELTbooks. The name of the game is "Heads and Tails" (Hungry Dog). I first perceived the game during a discussion on http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ETJ-Activities/ about a "Sound Dominoes" card game produced by Peter Warner, whilst looking at a game on the Genki English website called "shiritori", which is a popular game in Japan.
There are three different sets of cards on the disk, the red, the yellow and the green set and the cards can be used to play two different games. In one game we match the tail of the dog to the nose of a dog by matching the final sound of a word with the initial sound of a word to form a closed loop with the cards. Here's an example of a completed loop using the yellow cards: crab-bed-dog-golf-fish-ship-pen-nut-tennis-snail-lunch-chick and back to crab to complete the loop. No matter which card is played first the loop will always be closed successfully.

Here is a sample from the yellow set:

It's more challenging to move from head to tail as the Japanese game, shiritori, moves from tail to head.
To play the "Hungry Dog" version, place the picture of the hungry dog, with its bowl of food, at the finish. If possible have three teams playing this game together, the green, the yellow and the red. Scatter each team's cards face up at three different start locations and have them (or yourself) choose a start card and place it with the nose of the dog pointing towards the food, as it is sniffing out the food. Now teams race to match the heads to the tails so that the beginning sound of one word matches the final sound of the following word so we may end up with this line: ship-fish-golf-dog-bed-crab-chick-lunch-snail-tennis-nut-and pen which will take you to the bowl of food; it's challenging to turn these words around in your head. To celebrate, with fun, the winning team gobbles the food and points to the other children shouting "Hungry dog!", which I find far more satisfying (pun intended) than "We won!", which you sometimes hear (not in my class). Then they exchange colours and play again. They always want to play at least three games. If one team is always losing, then the balance of the teams is not good, so the teacher perhaps should have the final say on who is in each team.

Here is the "hungry dog".

If your students are used to playing phonic games or have used the loop cards which are found on the disk, then you probably don't have to give them any instructions or help for the first game, though with this second game they could very well need help. I sometimes race against them, and of course win, without giving them any instructions when we play "Hungry Dog", there always seems to be a perceptive child who works it out without any help and I usually ask that child to keep it a secret as I want the child to think about initial and final sounds of these target words or by himself/herself. Whenever a child doesn't know one of the target words, then they just ask "What is it?"

Here is a sample from the English Land set, which is found on my disk BAH 4:


The example loop card uses vocabulary from English Land by MariNakamura 

If you don't have the disk and want to try out the game (Heads and Tails), then I'm happy to send you one of the colours.
David Lisgo

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