Speaking Games in “Àgora”

Today our 4th of ESO students have had a great time talking in English through different games:

  • B1 speaking practice: in pairs and for approximateley 15 minutes they had to ask each other questions regarding common pictures and talk about their views and opinions on topics related to the pictures. That exercise is very similar to what they will find in the real B1 test.
  • Story Telling Memory Game: players sit in a circle (in groups of 5 or 6) and one student begins a story with a single word they wish. The players take turns repeating the sentences and adding a new one. If someone misses a word, they are out. The student who is able to tell the story without a mistake is the winner.
  • 2 Truths and 1 Lie: a student tells two personal and true anecdotes and an invented one which is by all means a lie. The other players will have to guess which one is the lie!

It was great to see them engaged and motivated! Thank you!

Learning English with board games: does it work?

Of course it works! It’s an excellent resource for both teachers and students. The 3rd and 4th of ESO as well as the 1st of batxillerat students have devoted one session to play these board games in the English class.

How can you do it in your English class?

1- Organise the classroom in different corners, 1 corner per game (I tend to have 7 corners)

2- Make groups of maximum 3 students.

3- Use just 5 minutes to tell them the instructions to play every game.

4- Tell them they will have just 7 minutes to play every game.

5- Make heterogeneous and multi-level groups.

6- Walk around the classroom while they are playing and check their English (correct them when necessary).

7- Time their participation in the board games and tell them to move to a different corner once the 7 minutes are over. ONLINE TIMER

WHAT I HAVE LEARNT FROM MY STUDENTS

  • Students wish to play board games for a longer time. So: more time and less board games, maybe 15 minutes and 3 board games instead of 7.
  • Monitoring them does not necessarily mean correcting them all the time. Us teachers should do it just when they make a huge mistake because correcting them systematically may weaken their self-esteem and their confidence. It’s important to let them speak and flow at their own pace because what really matters is that they somehow communicate in English!
  • Using gamification in class is fun and practical but doing that once a month is more than enough.

Let’s see the mutliple benefits board games have when learning a language…

Benefits of playing board games
My Board Games in English Box
BOARD GAMES (click on the board games to get more info)PROS AND CONS
The Art of Conversation (TAOC)


It is a conversation game based on questions
related to a wide range of topics.
It is suitable for all ages. It’s not a quiz
and never about who knows most.
Rather it provides the ideal blend of fun,
interesting, thought-provoking ways to enjoy
relationships as you get to know others, and yourself, better.
– Lots of varied questions on different topics (300)
– For all ages
– Excellent ice-breaker or warm-up before starting an English session
– An opportunity to get to know their classmates better



– Some questions are for adults
– Students find it boring
– Not very dynamic



Story Cubes (Rory’s) and Story Teller Dice (Tiger)

Both are used to tell stories
(either fantastic or more realistic ones) and
use one’s imagination. The game is simple:
use images to create cooperative and inspiring stories.
– They foster creativity and imagination
– They can be played both to improve speaking and writing competences
– Many variations: fantasy, action, voyages… which can be combines
– They can be played in any language
– The stories are original and funny most of

the times
– Students like it

– Easy to play
– Cooperative

– Better for advanced English students
(they have more vocabulary and a better
command of grammar)

Sussed (Games to Get)

From your scenario card one player reads
aloud a question and its answers (A,B,C).
Choose which answer is closest to the truth for you.
The other players will have to guess which
answer you may have chosen.
The one who gets more matches wins!
A great game to prove how well you know the other player.
– Students talk about themselves
– Students get to know their clasmates better
– Students love it!
– It may lead to spontaneous conversations among advanced students


– For all ages
– Better to improve pronunciation and oral comprehension
Guess What (Tiger) NO LINK AVAILABLE

It’s a very easy and fun description game.
Players take turns describing an image on a
drawn card to their partner.
The describing team gets a point for each card
they guess successfully and the opposing team
gets a point for each card they pass on or
make gestures on. An excellent party game!
– Surprisingly it is one of the students’ favourite board games
– Can be played in teams
– For all ages (even for primary education students)
– Easy images to describe
– Everyone participates


– Sometimes they lack vocabulary to describe the image and they end up using gestures
– Not many cards


True or False (Lagoon)

One player reads out a statement and
the others must decide if it is the truth or
a lie, fact or fiction, true or false
.
– Students learn about curious facts and false myths
– They learn new vocabulary and expressions
– Good for improving their pronunciation and oral comprehension


-Some questions are very difficult for teenagers
– A little bit boring
– It’s not their piece of cake!
Brain Box English (Lagoon)

It’s a visual memory game.
The object of these fun little boxes is to
study the card for 10 seconds and then
answer the question on the roll of a die.
If the question is answered correctly the card
is kept and the person with the most cards
at the end is the winner.
– Fun and fast-paced
– Improves visual recall
– For all ages
– Small portable pack
– The students’ favourite!


– Not very communicative
– For intermediate or advanced English learners


– IDEA: Questions should be organised in levels of difficulty!
TeReo English (Tereo)

Great family game to practise and improve English. There are different cards with a wide range of selected activities like: reading, speaking, pronunciation, drawing, mimics, performing and guessing. It’s really complete!
– Family board game
– 7 minutes are not enough to play this board game, you’ll need a whole session!
– Varied and dynamic
– Different teams can play the game
– Different competences to work out
– Adapted to all levels: beginners, intermediate and advanced
– Creative and varied
– Students think it’s cool because they can play it in big teams!

– Some activities may be too easy or difficult if the groups are homogeneous

Related articles:

The Impact of Board Games on EFL Grammar Retention

Playful Learning in the EFL Class

The Effect Of Using Board Games In Reducing Language Anxiet And Improving Oral Performance

SMARTies: Using a board game in the English classroom for edutainment and assessment

Effects of Board Game on Speaking Ability of Low-proficiency ESL Learners

BOOKTUBERS 4th of ESO and 1st of BATXILLERAT

Post your videos answering the questions related to the book you’ve read:

READERS GUIDELINE

Answer all the following questions in English. Write between a minimum of 50 words for each question:

  1. Summarise the PLOT of the book:
  2. Describe your favourite CHARACTER (physical and psychological description):
  1. What’s the CLIMAX (the most important moment in the book)? Describe it:
  1. How does the story end? Explain:
  2. What GENRE is it? Give arguments to support your answer:
  1. Did you like it? Why or why not? Explain:
  2. Do you feel identified with any of the characters or with the story itself? How can you relate the content on the book with your life? What similarities can you find? Explain:
  1. Write a different ending to the one in the book:

INS Manuel de Montsuar’s Writing and Listening Lab

‘Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.’

–Benjamin Franklin

Being proficient in a foreign language implies mastering 4 key skills which are: written and oral communication as well as written and oral comprehension. We would like to focus on the written communication and the oral comprehension today. Eventhough nowadays most of our students get lots of English input from the social media, videogames and the film industry, they still find it hard to overcome some of the existing problems when completing a listening task properly. Our English language teenage learners basically claim they “do not understand a single thing” (which is by all means untrue), they also complain that the speakers accents are really tough to grasp or that speakers talk too fast. Consequently, some of them give up and many end up turning their back on listening comprehension and thus making no effort at all. The same goes for the written interaction. Some students are used to apply digital translators to accomplish their tasks. This is undeniably an invalid and mistaken strategy as long as our students aim is to become succesfully autonomous at expressing their thoughts in written English.

Since one of the goals of our foreign languages department is to polish up these difficulties and to improve them too, we have established different methodologies so as to help them out:

1- We have designed written and listening guidelines for our students to use autonomously and at their own pace both in class and at home. You can download them below.

2- The listening and written tasks will be carried out in class, not at home, whenever it is possible, so as to foster their autonomy and to hamper them from using any external help. We also intend to accustom them to use the English they know and avoid dictionaries as far as possible. It is desirable that they start writing simple sentences rather than copycat ellaborated and difficult ones. When one creates their own texts, these remain in the brain longer because they come straight from one’s creative soul and life-learning experience. Besides, the teacher will guide them so that they are eventually used to naturally apply the adequate techniques to boost their own listening and writing skills.

3- We will enhance and strengthen these skills by using authentic material in class, like news programmes, real resources adapted to their age like BBC teens and a bunch of written games in class basically devoted to promote their creativity and their English command.

We are convinced that our Monstuar’s students will surely benefit from all these learning strategies and procedures intended to build up their written communication and oral comprehension as well as to help them gain self-confidence and autonomy.

http://steph1203.over-blog.com/2016/04/nbmb.html

Tips to Beat Exams Successfully

1st of batxillerat students doing an English Test

The end of the 1st term is close which roughly means that students are about to face a couple of exhausting weeks before Christmas. Undeniably, that’s a situation we’ve all ever come to experience and it can get really stressing and hectic though, unless you are the organised and efficient type of student…

Our students here at INS Manuel de Montsuar are getting really anxious and worried about exams. Some of them are pushing the panic button! There’s no time to lose! Let’s get down to it before it gets too late…

First of all, remember to do a 10-minute mindfulness guided session before you start cracking the books and burning midnight oil. You will feel that your agitation vanishes and you feel more focused.

Here are some tips that will surely help you with your exams and remember:

Never leave for tomorrow, what can be done today!