Language Games

Have just had fun exploring Carolina’s blog called rightly “Fun For Spanish Teachers”. It was very inspiring for many reasons but for this time i enjoyed reading her games page. It made me realise that i could share some of the games i use in the Indonesian classroom successfully.

Charades- all ages
One of the games she explained reminded me of a game we played at the IALF (Bali). A student is shown a phrase written on a card and then has to act it out to a small group or to the class who then has to guess exactly what the phrase is. The winner is the one who can say it aloud. Another variation we played was in teams – Chinese whispers. The first team members read a phrase shown to them by the teacher and then they whispered it to the next person in their team and so on. The final person had to go the board and write down the phrase they heard. The winning team is the one that repeated the phrase exactly or closest to.

Flyswatter – JP
Flashcards with illustrations of the vocabulary being studied are laid face up on the floor with students sitting in a circle. 4 students hold a fly swat (4 different colours) and gently swat the picture that correlates to the vocabulary i say.

Dimana Monyet? – JP
students sitting in a cicle. All but one cover their eyes or put thei face down. One student stands and taps a 2nd student on the shoulder who hides monyet either up their shirt or behind their back. We all say together, “Dimana Monyet?” The students then take it in turns to guess who is hiding him.

Bola Kenalkan – MP & UP
in my room i have a soft squishy ball which is perfect for this. Students sit spaced out on the floor. I throw the ball to one at a time and ask them either:
Siapa nama
Tinggal dimana?
Umur berapa?
Apa kabar?
Ada berapa orang di keluarga (name)?
Even though it is only one student at a time answering my questions, my students adore this game and are totally miffed if they don’t all get a turn! I begin with expecting one word answers and build up to complete sentences. If the student is perplexed and needs a clue, i repeat the question and then answer it in Indonesian for myself. There is no English at all in this game.

Siapa nama Saya? JP & UP
One student sits in the hot seat while another student stands behind them and writes the name of one student in the room on the board behind them. The student in the hot seat has to ask questions in Indonesian eg. Umur saya berapa? When they know who it is, they say their name.

Bingo – MP & UP
This can be either the assessment task for a whole terms work to produce a bingo grid or students quickly draw up a 3×3 or 4×4 grid on a scrap piece of paper. In each square, students write the english or draw a picture of whatever vocabulary we have been learning and i call it out in Indonesian. Winner gets an Indonesian fruit or chili lolly!

The Twin Game – MP & UP
Each student is given a card which has information about:
Altogether students work their way round the class asking umur berapa and tinggal dimana of each other. When they find their “twin” they sit down. The winner is the first set of twins to find each other!

Evolution – MP
Each student is given a set of 4 cards, each with a different picture of an animal. I use the animals from my room as we are all familiar with their names. One card has an orangutan (top of the evolution ladder), then a beruang (next in line), then a babi (third in line) and finally at the bottom of the evolutionary ladder is ikan. Students make sure their cards are in order: ikan, babi, beruang, orangutan with ikan on top facing upwards. They then move around asking each other questions in Indonesian. They can only talk to someone on the same evolutionary step as themselves. If they could each question and answer correctly, they play rock paper scissors. The winner of rock paper scissors moves up the evolution ladder by moving the ikan card to the bottom of their pile while the looser remains at that level to hopefully win their next confrontation. On orangutan, they must come and converse with me. I put myself in mainly to check that the winner has been saying the vocabulary correctly and not cheating.
The four levels of questions are up to the teacher. For ikan, students ask each other siapa nama? For babi, they ask this and tinggal dimana? For the beruang level, they ask both about nama and tempat tinggal and also ask umur berapa? For orangutan, they add in apa kabar to me. Technically if the person they ask the question to makes a mistake, they should either start again or choose a new partner. The element of luck means it is not always the same person who wins!
Variation: mistakes in word order/answer student drops down an evolutionary step.

Just a few of the ones i can remember. Will add more when i think of them! Have you played any of these successfully in your language classroom? Do you have some you’d like to share?

One thought on “Language Games

  1. Jenai says:

    Thanks for sharing! I have been looking at Indonesian teacher blogs to follow and enjoyed reading that post! I have bought two flyswats now and look forward to trying it out. My kids in middle school absolutely love it when I play Fruit Salad (I call it Rujak to make it sound more Indonesian).


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