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One of the most difficult challenges a foreign language teacher faces is motivatingn learners to speak.

Games and toys are a great way to provoke learners to speak spontaneously and build sentences creatively. The desire to compete and the opportunity to win are unimportant here. Those who don’t like winning still get good grades or at least a warm smile from their favourite teacher.









Xs and Os
Divide the children into two teams. Before the lesson, prepare a board (3×3 squares). You can draw it on a large sheet or on the board (mine is eco-friendly – I made it from two drawing pad covers). In each square, write the words, phrases or instructions to be used in the game. Magnetic boards are also great for this – you can use magnets to attach the instructions and X and O symbols to the board.
How to play
This version is for young children. On the board, put words or pictures known to the children. Each team says what square it wants, and must build a correct sentence using the word in that square. If the sentence is correct, they can cover that square with an X or an O.
You can also put questions in the squares. The task is then to correctly answer a question.

This game can also be used to practise spelling. On the board, put words you want the children to spell correctly (on the pictures I used cards with category names from the game “Let’s Eat in English”).

You can also use elements from other games, e.g.: task cards from “Travel with English” or from one of the games for learning conditionals: „What will happen if..?”, „What would happen if..?” or „What would have happened if…?”.

The first player asks any question. The others must answer, also in the form of a question. This game is ideal for recalling and consolidating question forms. In turns, the players ask questions, and must not use any other form of sentence. They can collect ‘minus points’, and the person who gets the most points loses. A minus point is given when an answer is not in the form of a question or has no relation to the previous question. This game is very comical, and appreciated by cabaret artists as well! It’s difficult, even in Polish. But it shouldn’t present too much difficulty for advanced groups.

Example 1:
A: Do you like reading books?
B: Why are you asking me?
A: Is it a secret?
B: Don’t you have anything more interesting to talk about?
Example 2:
A: Why were you late?
B: Don’t you see what the weather is like?
A: Is a little rain such a big problem?
B: And you don’t think it is?
Who am I?
Before a lesson, prepare headbands and cards (best from drawing paper) on which each player writes the first and last name of a famous person. Each player then places such a card on the headband of the person on their left. Each player has to guess who he or she is. They ask questions to which the other players answer Yes or No, e.g.: Am I a man? Am I an actor?
This is a popular game involving guessing a phrase acted out or drawn by a player from the other team. Because we want the learners to speak a lot, I propose a version of the game in which players describe the phrase to be guessed in words. We can invent our own phrases or use the ones from prepared games. I recommend “Beat About the Bush” – word cards divided into two groups: blue for easy and yellow for more difficult. These cards allow us to adjust the level of the game to the skill level of the players.

All players sit in a circle. The first player (any player) says a word of their choice out loud. The next player says a word that begins with the last letter of the previous word. If someone hesitates too long or gives a wrong word, they are out of the game. The player who keeps giving correct words the longest wins.



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