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Halloween Concentration

Before class, make several sets of concentration cards featuring typical Halloween images: pumpkins, ghosts, black cats, witches, owls, bats, spiders, and zombies. I print them in black ink on orange card stock. If you want to use them for other games, like Go Fish, you might want to make “suits” by giving each image a happy, sad, angry, or crazy face.

At the beginning of class, teach the students the new vocabulary words for Halloween. Also teach them phrases like “It’s a pumpkin” and “This is a spider.” Then, divide the class into groups, each of which gets one set of cards.

For concentration, put one whole set of cards face-down on the desk in front of the students. Students take turns flipping over two cards. If the cards match, they keep them. If not, they return the cards to their original positions. The student with the most cards at the end wins.

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Memory

This is a fun game for reviewing sight words or vocabulary in a younger class, but you can adapt it for older advanced classes as well.

A simple grid, with the solution filled in - this is the teacher's copy. If you're good at drawing, you could use pictures instead of words in a pre-reading class.

A simple grid, with the solution filled in – this is the teacher’s copy. If you’re good at drawing, you could use pictures instead of words in a pre-reading class.

Before class, prepare a chart of vocabulary words, which you won’t show to the students. Each vocab word appears in the chart twice (which means that the chart can’t be 5×5 – there has to be an even number of squares). Draw an empty version of this chart on the board, with just the gridlines showing.

Draw this on the board - this is all the students see.

Draw this on the board – this is all the students see.

Divide the class into two teams. One student from each team comes to the front and does Rock-Paper-Scissors (Paper Scissors Stone, here in Taiwan) to determine who plays first. I make the loser ask the winner a review question as well, before they play. (You could also ask both students a review question, and let the student who answers faster go first.)
The first student chooses two squares. The teacher writes the words into those squares. (Don’t just tell the student the word – make them read it!) If the squares contain the same vocab word, the student’s team earns one point. If the words don’t match, the teacher erases them and no points are given. (Give all students a moment to read and remember the word before erasing.) After the winner plays, the loser gets a turn, too. Continue playing until all the words are matched.

Team A went first and got lucky - their first guess matched. Team B wasn't so lucky - now the teacher erases "horse" and "monkey" and students have to remember what words appeared in which spaces in the grid.

Team A went first and got lucky – their first guess matched. Team B wasn’t so lucky – now the teacher erases “horse” and “monkey” and students have to remember what words appeared in which spaces in the grid.

Extra challenge – the team has to define the word, or use it in a sentence, in order to earn their point for the word.
Advanced version – instead of having two words that are the same, the grid can contain synonyms or antonyms, or words plus definitions.
Basic version – For students who don’t read yet, you can play this game with quick drawings instead of written words – this would work for foods, animals, and colors. You could also use flash cards, stuck facing the board, to play.

An intermediate version, matching opposites instead of exact words.

An intermediate version, matching opposites instead of exact words.

An advanced version, in which students match definitions with vocabulary words. And yes, they have to use it in a sentence to get credit for the word!

An advanced version, in which students match definitions with vocabulary words. And yes, they have to use it in a sentence to get credit for the word!

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Bonk!

A silly game for reinforcing new vocabulary words through chanting. This works well with months, days of the week, ordinal numbers, the alphabet, and other ordered lists of words. If you teach math, this would be good for times tables!

Go over the words ahead of time, making sure everybody remembers the words in order. To play the game, all students stand up. Start by saying the first word yourself. Point to the first student and have them say the next word, and go around the room having each student say one word. If a student messes up (saying the wrong word or freezing up and saying nothing), shout “Bonk!” and bonk them on the head (or desk) with a squeaky hammer. They sit down, and the class continues until only one player is left standing, or until nobody makes any more mistakes. The last student standing is the winner!

Variation: The whole class chants together, while you bonk their names on the board. “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, BONK!” The eighth student’s name gets erased, and you continue chanting, erasing students’ names as you go. Add your own name to the list for fun, and change directions occasionally so the order is less predictable.

Variation 2: The class is divided into groups, table by table or row by row, and groups go back and forth saying the words in order. If one person in the group messes up, use the chant as a kind of “eeny, meany, miny, mo” to eliminate one of the students in the group. Continue until only one group remains.