Time bomb gameI use this party game called Tick Tack Bumm to practise class words. (I\'m sure it\'s an internationally distributed game). The game comes with a time bomb that runs on two batteries. You click the button on the bottom, then it starts ticking and you don\'t know when it will go off, it might be 30 seconds, 45 seconds, 1 minute, etc., up to 2 minutes. We sit in a circle with the students, and I give each one of them three printed life points. Then we start the time bomb, and I ask the first person (who is holding the bomb) a word from the previous classes. If (s)he knows the answer, (s)he can pass on the time bomb. I give each students about 10 seconds to announce the right word (no guessing allowed), and if (s)he doesn\'t know the word, (s)he loses a life point and passes the bomb. The bomb keeps being passed around until it explodes along with a realistic sound. The one who has bomb exploding in their hands also loses a life point. So it\'s also a game of chance.The game goes on until only two people remain. I give both of them a prize. How long one round takes depends on how well the students know the words. The more prepared they are, the longer the game takes, as it will take longer for them to lose their life points. The students like the game so much that they usually demand more rounds. I can highly recommend this game to revise vocabulary (and perhaps other materials) in an enjoyable way.
I played this with my ninth graders when we were practising the present simple vs progressive tenses. You can use any online quiz for this game, e.g. this one. You can also print out the questions, but you can also project them onto the board. First, I give everyone 100 euros of imaginary money, and they have to place bets on the right answers to the quiz questions. If their bet is correct, they can add the amount of their bet to their original capital. If the bet is wrong, they have to subtract the amount of their bet from their capital. Before the next question, they calculate how much their current capital is, then place a new bet on the next question. If they lose everything in a round, I give them 1 euro to play with in the next round. You can also play grammar casino with complete sentences, and in this case, students bet on whether the sentence is grammatically correct. You can use this template of mine to create your own grammar casino sheet. This "grammar casino" is an old idea, which is capable of buzzing up even a tired class. It is always a lot of fun for my kids.
Reading English texts spelled in IPA
Practice for reading IPA: most often when language teachers wish to practice the IPA symbols, they have their students convert English words into IPA character strings. But why not reverse this task, and ask students to read words or short texts spelled in IPA?
Now the only obstacle is to convert your text into IPA characters easily? You can do that online here. All you need to do is copypaste your text into the type field, solve a captcha and click on Submit, then you will get the same text in IPA below it. (See screenshot below.)
Write an email to your future self
Here's an idea for an ESL writing activity. It's interesting to think about what you would say to your future self. But just how could you have that message delivered easily? The solution: tell your students to visit http://www.futureme.org, an email service which allows students to type up an email addressing themselves as the recipient (addressing themselves as "You"), and have that message delivered to their inbox at a given future date.
For example, if you\'d like your students to think about their goals in English class at the start of the school year, you can have them write it up as an email, and have it delivered on the last week of school, so you can assess the year based on this goal setting email. Alternatively, have them write an email in summer to their future self who will be starting the next school year.