More Teaching: Pre-Midterms

April 25, 2012

So, it's the week before midterms and it's probably one of my favourite weeks to teach. Although it's a really stressful time for students, it's pretty laidback for me. I made a Jeopardy game for review, but I give the students a choice between playing the game or using the time to study for their tests. This is one of those times when I'm thankful not to have a textbook to adhere to so I have freedom to choose what I do with my classes.

I love playing games with my students in class. They thrive on competition; Even if they're mentally and physically exhausted, they still manage to have enough energy to yell at each other. It's awesome.

One of the best parts of playing games has nothing to do with playing the game all, it has to do with the invention of team names. I ask each team for a name, and remind them that it has to be an English name (both because it's English class and for the sake of my being able to spell/understand it). Popular choices are K-Pop group names like "I.U." and "Girls Generation". My favourites are when the boys name themselves "Pretty Girls" or "Sexy Pigs". It's endearing, really.

Two games that have worked the best in my class are Scattergories and Bomb Game.

For my rendition of Scattergories, I give the class a category + a letter and the teams have to come up with as many words as they can for that category that begin with the letter. After two minutes, I go around to see what they come up with and give them points. It's really simple, but they get super into it. They get pretty creative, too. One annoying thing is when they try to pass off non-words by saying it's "a traditional Korean thing"... Mhmm. These are some of the gems I remember:
Cities [N]: Nude beach
Things that can kill you [K]: Kangaroo
Fruits and vegetables [C]: Cocaine, cigarettes
Animals [L]: Lindsay

Another game my students love is Bomb Game. This game is just a grid on PowerPoint with a bunch of trivia/review questions from class. The fun comes when, after they answer the question, they are presented with some symbol to represent either points, a bomb (the team loses all their points), dynamite (they choose another team to lose all their points), a thief dude (they steal 5 points from another team),  or a swap (to change points with another team). This game usually ends up with all the teams ganging up on one team until karma takes action.

Although less exciting, I have also enjoyed classes where students opt for study time. It means that I don't have to listen to myself speak and I get to float around the room to talk with my students.

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Exciting news! My flight is booked. On August 21st, my toes will be on Canadian soil!


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