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ELT Game Corner

Welcome to my Game Corner. Here I introduce a game for you to use in your classes to help make English come alive.

October 01, 2003

What Am I?

what_am_i.jpg What am I? is an exciting guessing game. It's naturally fun for EFL students to see who can guess the answer first. Wrong answers add to the excitement, and laughter always brightens the learning atmosphere.

The colorful cards are rather big and sturdy. They consist of pictures focusing on one object on one side of the card and easily understandable clues to identify the picture on the other side. The set includes 24 cards.

Set up two teams and make one student the scorekeeper. The teacher faces the teams and reads one clue at a time, repeating when necessary. There are three clues for each picture. For example, one card reads in the following way:

  1. I have four legs.
  2. I like bones.
  3. I like to catch balls.*

As the teacher reads one clue at a time, members from both teams shout out what they think the object is. If they are wrong, the teacher continues to the next clue until someone guesses it correctly. When someone guesses it correctly, the teacher hands the team the card and the scorekeeper gives that team a point; the teacher then moves on to the next card. The teacher can check back with the scorekeeper from time to time to ask for the tally. "How many points does the New York Team have?" "How many points does the San Francisco team have?" to which the scorekeeper would reply. When all the cards have been used, the team winning the most points wins. (If no one guesses the object, the teacher can go back and repeat the clues one by one and give additional hints.)

The vocabulary words in What am I? are: cat, dog, fish, chopsticks, ramen, pizza, pumpkin, apple, strawberry, chocolate, ice cream, flower, baby, computer, TV, clock, bath, newspaper, book, pencil, piano, ring, shoes and key. This game works well with students from elementary school level to beginning adults.

As always, the students think winning is the object of the game. But the teacher knows otherwise. Through this activity, the reading of the clues on the back of the cards builds listening, reading and reasoning skills in that the students have to guess the right answer before their opponents do. Students also learn to listen for "key words" as opposed to listening to and trying to understand each and every word. The game also encourages students to think in English under pressure, as they lose too much time translating into Japanese. This game enables the teacher to use various teaching methods to initiate and maintain good English learning habits. Also, What am I? encourages students to guess, and in so doing, it helps them overcome their fear of making errors.

Suggested modifications are as follows: With higher level classes, a student can be the teacher. Also, to make the game more exciting, the teacher can give 5 points to the team that guesses the mystery object with the first clue, 4 points to the team that guesses it with the second clue and 3 points to the team that guesses it with the third clue.

Actually the game moves along like a quiz show, and the pace, mood and stimulation all combine to make it an ideal activity to use at the end of class for the last ten minutes. When we play this game at Little America, the students always walk out of class smiling!

*P.S. Did you guess the answer to the above riddle? DOG...



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