Here are a couple games I played last year with my classes. They require comprehensible input to be taught, total physical response to play, and some may require negotiation of meaning with teammates (differentiated for level). Overall they all provide some fun, laughter and community building in my 100% target language class. Teacher and students avoid English the entire class period. These games help create that fun environment and a shared context to talk about afterwards!
Circle Ball– Janet Lash found this gem! Ultimate Camp Resources is a go-to of mine, so check out all of their games. I modified this one a little for my purposes and based on the materials I had. The cones and dots are the out-of-bounds lines. The milk crates were the goals. Basically, students have to form teams ( I did 1/4 of class) and stay connected as a team during the entire game. They need to kick the small plastic ball into the opposing team’s goal (I said no one could kick the ball more than once in a row). Once they achieve that then the big ball becomes fair game to make a goal with it.
Each class ended up modifying the rules a little. My stronger speakers talked about strategies and my lower classes enjoyed the brain break and took in the directions as input.
Line-up! (on chairs)
Use tape or carpet squares to stay closer to the ground!
Have students put chairs in a line in the classroom, and each students stands up on one chair. For them to be comfortable, we run through our newest vocabulary and phrases with actions. Then ask them to get into order from shortest to tallest without touching the floor. Then maybe alphabetical order, youngest to oldest, distance they live from school, etc. We did about 3-4 different orders. The debrief is fun, too! I had students describe the activity in their notebooks and then share out about it in small groups.
*Only use chairs if you trust the students playing to do this safely. This is a group I’d worked with for two years and knew they could handle it. I played a similar version on carpet squares with my new students.
Here’s another favorite, not as active: Four on A Couch. I play with two teams, not by gender.
Learn more of these on August 17th at my Games & Team Challenges in the Target Language Workshop!