Languages

1st December 2006 at 00:00
Ages 14 to 16

Think your Year 11 pupils are too old to play games? Rubbish. Mine love it.

It keeps lessons lively, novel and motivating whilst revising the sometimes dull material we all face at GCSE. Here are two of my favourites: Musical chairs: good for practising questions for oral exams.

Music is not necessary. Move the desks to one side, and place chairs in a circle or two semi circles, one behind the other. In a mixed school you could play boys versus girls. Go round the circle asking each pupil a question in turn on a particular topic, for instance, "Where do you live? Describe your town." Every so often stop and call out the names of five or six children at random - they then have to get up and swap seats. If the last person to sit down is a girl, the girls lose a point. Then carry on with the questioning.

My top set will play this for an hour, laughing so much they don't notice they've answered German questions all lesson.

Yesno game: also good practice for oral exam questions.

Divide the class into two teams. One member of each comes out to the front and they sit side by side facing the class. You, or a nominated pupil, then ask them some GCSE-style questions: "Did you go on holiday last summer?"

etc. Pupils may not answer JaNein or OuiNon. They must answer instantly and are not allowed say "aha". If they hesitate or utter the forbidden word, they lose a point for their team and another pupil takes their place

Sara Sullivan is head of languages at Woodlands School, Basildon, Essex

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