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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.

February 01, 2005


twister.jpg TWISTER is an old American standard which guarantees to foster uncontrollable laughter and enjoyment by all who play it. The game can and should be modified for Japanese students in the EFL class. The main modification is that one player goes at a time since Japanese students are uncomfortable being in close proximity of others, especially on the TWISTER Mat.

The game consists of a direction board with a pointer. There are four areas on the board: left foot, right foot, left hand and right hand. Each area has four colored circles: green, red, yellow and blue. The TWISTER Mat is rather large and consists of six rows of green, red, yellow and blue circles.

The following format is the way I suggest playing TWISTER in Japan:

Divide the group into two teams.

If the class is big, then one student can be the "Scorekeeper," one student can be the "Directions Announcer," and one student can be the "Direction Board Turner." If it is a small class, then the teacher can be all of the above.

The TWISTER Mat is placed on the floor. The two teams line up on either side and the first person from one team stands at the bottom of the mat without shoes. The Direction Board Turner hits the pointer which will land on a right or left hand or foot area. The Direction Announcer will tell the player to (for example), "Put your left foot on green," if the pointer lands in the left foot area on the color green.

The player puts his/her foot on the green circle in the first row. The game continues as the Direction Board Turner hits the pointer again and tells the player to (for example), "Put your right hand on yellow." The player puts his/her right hand on yellow in the second row while keeping his/her foot in the green circle in the first row. The game continues until the player has reached the last (sixth) row of the mat without falling. If the student falls, he/she loses his/her turn. And the next team gets to go.

But if the player reaches the sixth row, which can usually be done in a very contorted position, the teacher should ask three English questions, such as: "What is your address?" "What is your favorite sport?" "When is your mother's birthday? " If the player can answer these questions, under pressure, in the contorted position, then his/her team gets a point.

The team with the most points wins.

The merit of playing TWISTER in English class is manifold. The students have to think in English under pressure. They can easily understand the directions because the vocabulary is very specific: right, left, hand, foot, green, red, yellow, and blue.

Please note girls who are wearing skirts should not play because of the contorted positions. I would suggest, instead, letting these students be the Scorekeeper, Director Board Turner and Direction Board Announcer.

Please give it a try. Everyone walks out of class smiling after playing TWISTER.



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