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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.

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Hot Potato

The students pass a ball around the room, either in order or randomly from student to student. The teacher can play music, or have the students sing a song, spell words aloud, or chant something (numbers, months, the ABC’s) while the ball is being passed around. When the teacher shouts “STOP!” (or stops the music), the student holding the ball has to answer a question. The game continues as long as the teacher wants it to last – generally less than 5 minutes, as this game gets old fast.

Variation – pass two different-coloured balls around. When the teacher says stop, the student with the red ball asks a question for the student with the blue ball to answer.

Variation for large classes – Divide the class into teams. Each team has their own ball to pass around, and the students holding balls race to answer the question first.

You can also have the students spell a vocabulary word or make a sentence with a vocabulary word, rather than answer a question.