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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.

September 01, 2005

What am I? #2

what_am_i2.jpg What am I? #2 is a follow-up guessing game to the first What Am I?. All EFL students are eager to see who can guess the correct answer first. Wrong answers add to the excitement, and laughter always brightens the learning atmosphere.

These 24 big, colorful and sturdy cards 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.

Rules: 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 am black and brown.
  2. Mothers hate me!
  3. Help! *

As the teacher reads one clue at a time, team members from both teams shout out what they think the object is (without raising their hands). 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 Chicago team have?" "How many points does the Miami team have?" to which the scorekeeper would reply. When all the cards have been used, the team with 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? #2 include:

ball, bird, camera, cell phone, cockroach, cookie, door, duck, elephant, glasses, gloves, guitar, mirror, pencil case, pillow, popcorn, rabbit, soap, sushi, rainbow, umbrella, wallet, watch and watermelon.

The 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. Playing the game also encourages students to think in English under pressure, as they lose too much time translating into Japanese. Also, What am I? #2 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, What am I? #2 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 our school, the students always walk out of class smiling!

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

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