Oh, games. What would a teacher do without games? Here’s a compilation of 7 awesome games that you need in your MFL lessons!
Why use games? First of all, games can be very motivational and engaging, no matter the age of our students! Secondly, they are a great way of using the target language in class.
If you spend hours and hours looking for the perfect game for your lesson, I will tell you something: It’s much easier than that. Just think, “Would my students be happy to play this game in their own language?” If the answer is yes, stop looking and get started!
If you are interested in incorporating popular games to your lessons, this article might be of interest!
Time: 30-40 minutes Preparation: None
If we are talking about awesome games for MFL, this one needed to be mentioned as it is a classic that everyone loves!
In this game you give your students a set of categories, (e.g. country, colour, food, animals, objects in the house, etc). Students draw a column for each category and then you give them a letter. They will have to find a vocabulary item for each letter in a given time (e.g. one minute). They can work individually, in pairs or small groups. If a student or group finishes before the time has expired, you can stop everyone.
Students get 10 points for an item that nobody else has written, and 5 for the word that is repeated. Of course, you can adapt the system of points.
#2. “Fui al supermercado y compré…”
Time: 20 minutes Preparation: None
At the beginning, I was a bit sceptical of using this game with my older students, but what a surprise when I saw everyone so focused while playing this game!
This game is ideal to practise vocabulary and pronunciation. How does it work? First, divide your class in groups of 5-6 students. One starts saying, “Fui al supermercado y compré…” (I went to the supermarket and I bought…) and adds one item (e.g. “una manzana”). The next person will have to repeat what the previous one said and add one more item. For example, “Fui al supermercado y compré una manzana y arroz”. If one player cannot remember what it was said, they start the game again.
You can adapt the starting sentence to revise other topics. For instance, if you want to revise the topic of animals, you could start with “Fui al zoo y vi...” (I went to the zoo and I saw…).
#3. Who am I?
Time: 20-30 minutes Preparation: Low – Post-its/Stickers
This is one of the best games for MFL if you teach intermediate and advanced students.
You will need stickers with the name of famous people/characters from history, celebrity culture, fiction, cartoons, etc.
Attach a sticker to a student’s forehead and they go around the class trying to find their identity by asking yes/no questions. When they have finished, they can come to you for a new one! So, be prepared with lots of stickers or post-its!
Time: 15 minutes Preparation: None
This is a very cool version of bingo I learnt when completing my teacher training. I have used it since then as it helps students revise key vocabulary and practise their listening skills.
Every student will need a paper strip (an A4 paper will give you 5-6 strips). Ask students to divide the strip into 8 squares or boxes. Then, write or show on the board 10 words or phrases in the target language you want them to revise (e.g. clothes). Ask students to pick 8 words from that list and write them down in the different boxes in the order they want.
You then say out loud words on this theme and, if a student has the word at either end of the strip of paper, they may tear it off or cross it. Remember that you will have to repeat the same words over and over! The process continues until one student has no words left.
#5. Mute customer
Time: 15-20 minutes Preparation: None
This is an awesome game for pairs or small groups (3).
Prepare a short list of vocabulary (10 words is more than enough!). Explain to the class that one person will be the store assistant and the other a customer that cannot utter a word. The customer has written down a list of items for wedding presents. By using the gesture alone, the customer has to explain what they want to buy, while the shop assistant guesses aloud.
You can use specific categories for this game, such as household items, digital devices, clothes…
#6. Beat the clock
Time: 10 minutes Preparation: None
This is an amazing game that can be used as a starter, brain-break or plenary. I have used it several times with my young students and I can confirm it’s a win-win!
Write on the board or display a selection of words or phrases that you want your students to revise. Tell them they have 2 minutes to look carefully at the words, and set a timer. Once the time is up, give students another 2 minutes to write down as many words as they can remember. Give 2 points for each word that is spelled correctly and 1 if there is a spelling mistake.
#7. Speaking board games
Time: 20-25 minutes Preparation: Low: Template and dice
If you are looking for a great game to revise several topics, today’s your lucky day! This board game was born of the need to revise GCSE topics with my students in a fun, effective manner. And what is better: It makes them speak in the target language without pressure.
These board games include diverse questions around GCSE topics. At the same time, they are a fun way of practicing the language and the relevant vocabulary and grammar at the same time. Students can play individually, in pairs or groups. You can download this game here.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about these 7 awesome games for the MFL classroom! If you are interested in teaching Spanish as a foreign language, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram! ¡Hasta luego!