Like the antithesis of Christmas, exam season is coming round once more. ‘Tis the season to do past papers; ’tis the season to cram on vocab lists; ’tis the season for grammar exercises. Right?
Well, these can be useful, as is getting heads in the right place with some simple psychology training. As well as this, gamifying revision with homemade (student-made) board games can add a bit of colour and interaction to end-of-term revision lessons.
The content of the squares depends completely on your class’s learning objectives (exam content, weaknesses etc.), and should be adapted to fit these. All you need is some card, lots of small paper squares/rectangles or post-its, a die and a bit of glue. Here are a couple of boards that my classes made and played recently:
1. Past and future speaking board
- Split the class into groups of 3-6 and give each student an even number of small paper squares.
- On half of them, students write dates of significant events in their past, and on the other half, dates of significant future events (we colour-coded orange/light orange papers for the future and pink for the past).
- Students draw out a simple path on the large paper/card, stick the dates down in random order and they’re ready to play. It’s useful to go over ‘on + day’ and how to say years before starting.
- Each player chooses a piece to go round the board with. Take turns to roll the die, move the piece that number and whoever wrote that date has a minute to explain what happened/will happen on that date.
- You can add difficulty by awarding extra points for using certain ‘complex’ tenses (if that will win them points in the exam) – 3rd conditional to talk about the past, future continuous for the future etc. etc.
- Either the student who gets to the end first wins, or whoever earns the highest number of points.
2. Grammar revision board
- Overall, the process is the same as the past and future speaking board, but this time each student is given a grammar point to be the master of.
- On their papers, students write gap fill sentences using their grammar point.
- On the way round, students complete the gap fill and then personalise the grammar by using it in a sentence about themselves.
Other ideas for board content
– Vocabulary – Tricky words; students have to define them/use them in a sentence.
– Idioms – Each square has an idiom on it and students invent a situation that represents it.
– Prepositions (everyone’s favourite in multiple choice gap fills!)
Any other ideas? Please share!