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Hello there fellow English teachers!

Here is a question I received today from a teacher who wants to use ESL games in his class, and he takes his English class at lunchtime.

“My childrens very active kids…

However..i have difficult to make them hear what i want to say…

They also can’t to understand the rules…

I have teach this class after lunch hour…”

So, here are my suggestions on how using ESL games can solve this problem:

Firstly it’s very difficult taking children at lunch hour. It is totally normal that they will be noisy – let’s face it this time is supposed to be play time for them, not more lessons. Thus it is doubly important to teach with ESL games rather than give any kind of traditional lesson. It’s supposed to be a break right?!

I have taught at lunch hour so I know what it is like – at least in England!

I would start calmly while I introduced the key vocabulary or target language using a quiet ESL flashcard game that can be played on the floor with everyone sitting in a circle. After that I would practise that vocabulary or language using more active ESL games that involved movement, including running.

For example try this ESL game: Put the children in teams with piles of flashcards at the end of the room and call out a vocabulary item, either the word alone, or that word used in a sentence that contains the target grammar or language structure you are wanting to practise. One member of each team runs down to their pile of cards, fishes out the relevant one and runs back to the team.

This way you keep their lunch hour lesson like a play time, but with learning through ESL games. Personally I think kids should be allowed to play and run around. So YES they won’t learn quite as much as if you had them in a classroom at 9 o’clock in the morning, but they will still learn something and they won’t be robbed of their play time totally either.

Now regarding explaining the ESL games; well if you can’t explain them, that’s no problem, you DEMONSTRATE them so you actually show the children what they are to do.

After you have shown them yourself you show them again with a couple of students who demonstrate the ESL game again. Then you should be ready to play the game with the class.

Getting the most language out of an ESL game:

Whenever you are demonstrating an ESL game use simple commands in English such as “listen” – you name the flashcard, “run to the pictures” – then you run down to the pictures, “pick up the picture” – you demonstrate this, and so on.

This way in addition to the vocabulary you are practising with the flashcards you are also teaching useful verbs and other language, all through the use of an ESL game. As the children understand these commands more and more, it will make your job a lot easier too!

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