A great revision game for the language classroom that a friend of mine once showed me on a summer camp is the Spider Game. It’s extremely easy to set up but will allow for lots of revision and fun of either grammar or vocabulary items and will add a Spark to your lessons!
- You need some cards (I usually work with 12) with whatever language items you’d like the students to revise.
Set up in class
- Stick the cards on the board with some blue-tac and underneath each card (so that students won’t see) draw a picture. I usually use three or four different pictures:
- a spider = 5 points
- a present = 3 points
- a lightning bolt = -1 point
- 1 tornado or whirlwind = -3 points
How to play
- Divide the students into groups of 3-4 students.
- Create an area on the board to score points and ask the students to come up with a team name. (If you have a lot of students, you can divide the students into teams of 6-9 students and then divide them into smaller teams of 2-3 students. They then compete as three small teams against each other).
- Select a person from the first team and ask them to pick one of the cards on the board.
- Give them a set amount of time to complete the task (say 20 seconds), after that time you ask for their answer: they either write it on the board or on a paper that they then give to you or to team B.
- If the answer is incorrect, move onto the next team, there are no points for anybody. If the answer was correct, remove the card to reveal what is underneath the card to find out how many points they won or lost (depending on the picture, i.e. if it’s a spider they won 5 points, if it is a lightning bolt they lost a point).
- Keep track of the points on the side of the board. Winner is the team with most number of points at the end of the game.
Examples language points:
- Spelling: flashcards (if you have any) or pictures to review vocabulary or spelling. Students have to name and spell the word correctly.
- Grammar: using flashcards or a picture you give them a grammatical structure they have to use along with the word in a sentence. e.g. you have a picture of a whale and would like them to use the past simple: “George the big blue whale ate a buffalo on his way back from school.”
- Grammar: instead of pictures, write a grammatical structure on the card and tell them to come up with a correct sentence including at least 8 words or ask them a question or gap fill related to this grammar point.
- Idioms: using pictures, key words or a description, ask them to tell you the idiom you are looking for.
It’s a very easy game to play and requires very little preparation time, but the fact that the points are hidden (and could be minus points!) adds to the excitement of the students, which makes it a very motivational tool to review the language points.
Inge Hol is the Director of Educational Programmes at Spark Languages in Southern Spain. Originally from the Netherlands and with a degree in Clinical Neuro Psychology, she decided to follow her passion and become an English teacher in Spain in 2007. After teaching for many years, she moved on to teacher training, language programme management and conference speaker until in 2010 she started Spark Languages together with her partner Douglas Haines. Spark organizes Spanish and English courses for children, teens and adults as well as school trips to various areas in Spain.